True Witnesses of Jehovah Believe
- That man is body, soul and spirit. "And I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless onto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:23). See also Hebrews 4:12; Romans 8:16. These and other Scriptures teach that the soul is not the entire man and that the spirit is not mere breath. That human beings die of other than physical causes is further evidence of the complex nature of the human kind as distinct from animals. To rightly understand and appreciate our being, we must believe in God's record of our creation in His image, Genesis 1:26-27. Then we will understand that the highest value of man is the invisible or spiritual; see Matthew 16:26.
- In the survival of spirit and soul after physical death. Can any reasonable person suppose that Paul, though in bonds, could wish to be silenced by annihilation (if "to be with Christ" meant that) rather than continue, though under suffering, to be a real blessing to humanity? How could such a death then be "far better"? See Philippians 1:23; also Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 6:9–10. All true believers realize the Old Testament vision was dim in this respect. God so designed it, as we learn from 2 Timothy 1:9-10. We clearly see all saints in the Old Testament with hope of survival beyond the grave, however dim the vision. "And as touching the dead, that they rise: have you not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the god of the dead but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err" (Mark 12:26-27). Compare to Exodus 3:6.
- That through Jesus Christ, "life and immortality came to light through the gospel" (2 Timothy 1:10). While Christ came to save the whole man, body, soul, and spirit, all New Testament teaching emphasizes that it is the "inner man" or spiritual nature which first must be reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit, on the basis of the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, before the entire man can be helped, or hope to meet God in peace. See John 3:1–8; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 3:21; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15. While the new nature restrains these sin-cursed bodies according to the Word and power of God, we look for the final deliverance and the new body; see Romans 8:23; Philippians 3:21.
- True witnesses of Jehovah have always believed that they are saved by grace alone, that their good works have no saving or atoning merit but are proof of God's salvation and necessary service in winning other sinners to God; see Ephesians 2:1–10. Jesus' reply to the question: "What must we do to work the works of God?" was, "this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent" (John 6:29). While we are saved alone by grace, it is only by continuance in faith and obedience that we can maintain our assurance; our endurance being based entirely on faith in the covenant-keeping God who "will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6); see also John 8:31–32; 1 Peter 1:3-6; 2 Peter 1:1-11; Philippians 2:12-13; 2Timothy 1:13–14; 2:10–13. True witnesses of Jehovah never boast of their "being secure" apart from sincere faith and obedience to the Word of God!
- The coming kingdom of Christ. In reply to the question of the time of restoration of the kingdom to Israel, Jesus said, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:7–8). It had already been announced that the kingdom of God was at hand, which statements must have prompted the question. It is clear from the reply and the continuing story of the Acts of the Apostles, that the message of Christ is now the forgiveness of sin and indwelling Holy Spirit, received by faith in Christ's finished work on Calvary. "Kingdom messages", "claims" and date-setting appeal to men's fantasies, but are not developed in Scriptures as so-called "Jehovah's Witnesses" would claim.
- True witnesses of Jehovah know they are God's children by evidences which abound in their lives according to the Scriptures. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14). "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Romans 8:16). "And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments" (1 John 2:3). There are many more evidences in 1 John, Roman 6, and Galatians 5.
- True witnesses of Jehovah need no apology for teaching Hell. Hell was prepared for man, the devil, and his angels, per Matthew 25:41-46. Some pretend to honor God by trying to pervert His mercy into annihilation! By defaming His justice in so doing, they set themselves as wiser than the Word. "Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe" (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10). The Epistle to the Hebrews is shot through and through with warnings such as, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation" (Hebrews 2:3)? See also Hebrews 10:28–31. Though all the Scriptures in which the English translate "hell" for 'sheol' be cut out of the Bible, many other Scriptures teach judgment and everlasting punishment.
- True witnesses of Jehovah do not consider persecution as direct proof of righteousness. It is certain that all true Christians must suffer for Christ, 2 Timothy 3:12. It is also a fact that all religions at times are persecuted or opposed in one way or another. However, this is no proof of their "apostleship". The persecution of the Jews does not therefore make them righteous, nor any other similar case. We are not to be hated because we deserve it, but because our holy lives are a standing rebuke to sin; and our duty calls us to warn and rebuke sin all about us.
- True witnesses of Jehovah have never looked to man as the revealer of God's holy truth. God never delegated such power to any pope, pastor, or teacher. A host of false prophets and false Christs stalk through the earth to persuade man by much clever reasoning. All sincere believers have always to a large degree regarded the Holy Spirit as divinely commissioned interpreter of the Word; see John 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26-27; 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:9–10. Compare Paul's claims of inspiration with the blasphemous claims of popes, fathers, pastors, seers, etc., who in their various ways add and take from the truth to suit their own fancies and to attract followers; see Galatians 1:1-10. The warnings are terrible to all who follow any other doctrine than that which is given; Acts 20: 28–31; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 2 Timothy 3:1-7; 2 Peter, chapter 2; Jude.
- True witnesses of Jehovah agree with Jehovah's Witnesses (falsely so-called) that the system of organized churches is badly deteriorated, but not that all have always been bad, or that all are now totally bad; but that among all groups who have had and still have Christ as a crucified and risen Savior, God the Father has found (and is still finding) true worshipers; see 2 Timothy 2:19.
CONCLUSION: True witnesses of Jehovah have never considered all the followers of the sect called Jehovah's Witnesses as deliberately wicked deceivers. Rather are they deceived, having been led astray through a twisting of the Scriptures, and all need to come to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, whom to know is life eternal. All sincere inquirers may find Him thus in an earnest, unbiased study of His Word.
Adapted from Walter Brauen
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