January 5, 2016 9:18 am Comments Off on Beware of Jehovah’s Witnesses
A cult is a religious group with beliefs and practices that are deviant from those of mainstream Christianity. Although they may agree with some of the basic Christian doctrines, they are dangerous because they also have their own false doctrines which are contrary to what the Bible teaches. This article explains why Jehovah’s Witnesses is a very dangerous cult which should be avoided at all cost.
Jehovah’s Witnesses is one of the largest Christian cults in the world. By 2012, they had a membership of about 7.53 million. They are found in 239 countries with 111,719 congregations. About 19,000,000 million people attend their meetings or conventions.
The roots of Jehovah’s Witnesses are traced back to the American Adventist movement. In 1816, William Miller, a Baptist lay preacher, began proclaiming that the Second Advent (second coming) of Jesus Christ would be in March 1843. When Jesus failed to return, his recalculations moved the promised Second Advent to March 1844 and later to October 1844. But Jesus did not return as Miller had promised.
After the death of Miller in 1849, some of his disappointed followers kept his movement alive. They eventually formed several sects such as the Advent Christian Church, the Life and Advent Union, and the Seventh-Day Adventists. The founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Charles Russell, was influenced by the Adventists.
Russell was born in 1852 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1868, he came under the influence of an Adventist preacher called Jonas Wendell. Other Adventists who influenced him included a preacher called George Stetson, and George Storrs who was the publisher of the Bible Examiner magazine. Thereafter, Russell started his own Bible study group.
In 1876, Russell came under the influence of another Adventist group that was led by Nelson Barbour of Rochester, New York. The group believed that Jesus had returned invisibly in 1874. Russell’s small Bible study group became affiliated with Barbour’s Adventist group. At the same time, Russell became the financial backer and assistant editor of Barbour’s The Herald of the Morning Magazine.
In 1879, Russell resigned as the assistant editor of The Herald of the Morning Magazine and began to publish his own magazine known as Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. He also organized 30 study groups which were scattered from Ohio to New England. In 1884, Russell’s increasingly divergent teachings forced him to create his own organization known as Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
After the death of Russell in 1916, Joseph Rutherford became the president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. It was Rutherford who transformed Russell’s scattered congregations into a tight-knit organization. In 1931, he renamed them Jehovah’s Witnesses. Rutherford shifted the sect’s emphasis to vigorous public witnessing work and distributing the Society’s literature from house to house.
The literature consisted mainly of Rutherford’s attacks of government, big business and the Catholic Church. He also formed a radio network which he used for the same purpose. His attacks backfired and led to mob violence against Jehovah’s Witnesses and government persecution in many parts of the world.
After the death of Rutherford in 1942, Nathan Knorr, became the leader of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Knorr initiated training programs to transform members into effective recruiters. The average Jehovah’s Witness received instruction on how to speak persuasively. They learned how to give sermons during their home visits on a variety of subjects. Knorr’s training programs produced a rapid growth in membership.
Knorr died in 1977 and Frederick Franz became the president of the sect. Franz inherited an organization troubled by disillusionment over the failure of Knorr’s prophecy that the world would end in 1975. The sect lost thousands of members for the first time in decades. Franz responded by initiating a crack-down on dissidents which culminated in the resignation and excommunication of many leaders. Even people who left quietly and voluntarily were denounced as disloyal and were shunned. A siege mentality took hold of the sect.
In 1992, Milton Henschel became the president of the sect after the death of Franz. The current president of Jehovah’s Witnesses is Don Adams who took over in 2003 after the death of Henschel. Today, Jehovah’s Witnesses are controlled by a Governing Body which consists of 8 men who are said to have direct guidance from God.
Heretical Beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses
While some of their beliefs are similar to those of mainstream Christians, others differ substantially. Theirs is a cunning mixture of the scriptures and their heretical beliefs. They stress their doctrines which are similar to those of the mainstream Christians in order to avoid controversy. Their other heretical teachings come later after one joins their sect.
Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the existence of the Trinity – that is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. They believe God’s name is Jehovah and that is why they call themselves Jehovah’s Witnesses.
They believe that God’s first creation was Jesus through whom God created everything else. They deny the divinity of Jesus and teach that prior to his incarnation, Jesus was known as Michael the Archangel. They also teach that Jesus’ body was not raised from the dead; he was instead resurrected as an invisible, non-material, glorious spirit creature.
They deny that the Holy Spirit is one of the three Persons in the Godhead. They instead believe the Holy Spirit is God’s immaterial active force which he uses to interact with the world.
Jehovah’s Witnesses only recognize their own, New World Translation of the Bible which has changed key passages in the Bible to fit their heretical teachings.
They believe that the penalty for sin is physical death because people do not have immortal souls. Salvation will come only to those who have faith in Jehovah by being his faithful witnesses on earth. Salvation comes by accepting their beliefs, being baptized, and following activities specified by the group. They do not have a personal relationship with Christ. They focus on living a moral life and witnessing about their faith to others.
They believe that Jesus was nailed to a single upright wooden stake with no cross beam. They reject the cross which they consider of pagan origin. They view it as an idol and wearing or displaying one is considered idol worship.
They believe that only 144,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses will go to heaven to rule with God and Jesus. The rest of Jehovah’s Witnesses will enjoy a restored paradise here on earth.
They also deny the existence of hell. They insist hell is a false concept created by Satan to turn people away from God. According to them, hell is mankind’s common grave, not a place of torment where sinners go when they die. They also believe that human beings do not have immortal souls; they simply cease to exist when they die.
Christ’s Second Coming
They believe that Jesus returned to earth invisibly in 1914 and has been ruling from heaven ever since. World War I was a sign that Satan was cast from heaven to earth. The event marked the beginning of the woes that would accompany the last days of this system of things. In the meantime, Jesus is working through Jehovah’s Witnesses to re-establish Jehovah’s kingdom over the earth.
Jehovah’s Witnesses consider themselves as the only true Christians and deny that other Christian groups are Christians. They believe the church age ended in 1914 and that is why they meet in Kingdom Halls. They denounce all churches as apostate. They refer to the Church as the Babylon the Great, Great Whore of Babylon or the world empire of false religion.
Battle of Armageddon
They are obsessed with the Battle of Armageddon which they consider as the final battle between Jehovah and Satan. Only Jehovah’s Witnesses will survive it and live forever on a purified earth. There will also be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. The righteous will be granted eternal life while the unrighteous will be given a second chance to accept God’s rule. Those who refuse will be annihilated.
Other Beliefs and Practices
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not salute flags (that would amount to worship of flags), recite the pledge of allegiance, stand for or sing national anthems, run for public office, vote or serve in the armed forces. This is because they believe that Christ has already returned and set up his kingdom which supersedes all human governments.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are not allowed to accept blood transfusions for themselves or their children since they believe it is the same as eating blood which is forbidden in the Bible. They also do not celebrate Christmas, birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving or any other holiday as they claim that all are of pagan origins. They are also not allowed to read religious materials of other Christians or associate with people who do not belong to their sect, including family members. Exceptions are made if the family members are living in the same house.
Jehovah’s Witnesses is a cult that has perverted the gospel of Jesus Christ to suite its false beliefs. The Bible warns that, “In later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1-2).
Jehovah’s Witnesses have also ignored the Bible’s warning that, “Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” (Galatians 1:8-9).
Cults like Jehovah’s Witnesses are very dangerous because their false doctrines lead to deception and spiritual death. The ultimate price that Jehovah’s Witnesses pay is the loss of their souls which will end up in hell for eternity. You must, therefore, avoid being lured to join them at all cost. If you are already a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, you must get out right now before it is too late and join a church that preaches the true everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ.
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