Chapter 1 – What is the truth about God?
What the first 3 pages of this book show, is what life will be like in the paradise, the next thing the Jehovah’s Witnesses will show you in this book is whether or not this is possible for you. Of course without a God it would be impossible, so they will show you that YOU can be in paradise, but first they need you to believe in God. It is not un-common for the Watchtower to do this, if you read all their “bible study” aids (Live Forever book or knowledge book) they all start with a picture of paradise. This is actually a technic to get you interested in what you are about to read.
A lot of this chapter I would not have a huge issue with, as I agree with Jehovah’s Witnesses, there is a God. The first thing I take note of in paragraph 7 it reads “Worse yet, religious teachers sometimes lead people to think that God is hardhearted. How so? When tragedy strikes they say that it is God’s will. In effect such teachers blame God for bad things that happen.” Other than the word of faith movement I have never heard of religious leaders that teach that God is “hardhearted”. While it is biblical that sometimes God allows bad things to happen to Christians like he did with Job, to say that some religious leaders teach God is “hardhearted” I would certainly question as to where the Watchtower got this information from. This is just to try and elevate their own religion over others.
I also note something of interest in paragraph 12. It reads “For example, does it not bother you to see innocent people suffer? If you care about such injustices, be assured that God feels even more strongly about them.” You would expect that Jehovah’s Witnesses would also feel the same then? Well no…if you read The Watchtower of June 1st 2003 under the sub heading “Giving that pleases God” note that on the grounds that Jesus said in Mark 14 “there will always be poor people” that they do not encourage their members to give to charity other than to the Watchtower. You will also see that during disasters they will always look after other Jehovah’s Witnesses, they will not help anyone else even though Jesus says “love your neighbour” and “love your enemy”. I know this is just a side issue, but I just think it is ironic that they ask whether you care about innocent people suffering, when actually they teach not to help such people unless they are Jehovah’s Witnesses.
In paragraph 14 they quote “we call God by his actual name and don’t just call him GOD” . They then criticise other groups that don’t call him by this name. From here they will then do one of 2 things… 1) Get you to turn to your Psalms 83:18 in your Kings James Bible where it is says “Jehovah” or 2) Criticise the fact that your translation does not use the name Jehovah.
Jehovah is NOT Gods actual name. The name Jehovah is a made up word. It first came about in the 15th century by a guy called Peter Galatinus who was a catholic. The divine YHWH had no vowels so he thought it a good idea to add some vowels to make the name easier to say. So he took the name YHWH and added the vowels from andonai (Hebrew name for Lord) when you add them together you get YaHoWaH so when translated it says Jehovah.
While it is not a sin to call God Jehovah, it is not correct to claim that Jehovah is Gods divine name. Paragraph 14 says that the name Jehovah “appears in thousands of ancient manuscripts” However, the New Testament manuscripts DO NOT contain the name YHWH or Jehovah. This has been added to their New World Translation. I believe this is to try to disprove the true deity of Jesus Christ.
They use the name Jehovah throughout the whole of this book, and in paragraph 16 & 17 they will show you how Jehovah is unique and how he created all things (Revelation 4:11).
So, why does the bible say that Jesus created all things?
You could at this point open up your Kings James and show them Colossians 1:14-16 “ 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him”
Although there translation will be different you could ask them :-
How is Jehovah unique when Jesus is the image of him, surely that makes Jesus and Jehovah the same? When I look in the mirror and see the image of me, it is merely a reflection of me, not someone different.
They will however cover the subject of Jesus in chapter 4 of this book.
I 100% agree with paragraphs 18-21 about being able to draw close to God. However I would urge all Jehovah’s Witnesses to think about what paragraph 22 says “as you learn from the bible, you may find that some well-meaning people will urge to stop such studies. They may worry that you will change your beliefs. But do not let anyone stop you from forming the best friendship (with God) you can ever have”.
Please ask a Jehovah’s Witness or even a friend who maybe considering the teachings of the Watchtower the following. The above paragraph says “as you study from the bible” are you studying “what the bible really teaches” or are you studying a book that is showing an opinion of the bible?
If you want to study the bible why don’t you read it on its own without a book? I can assure when you do will see things very differently. If you do read the bible on its only without the use of the watchtower people of your congregation will encourage you to stop. But don’t let anyone stop you from forming the best friendship you can ever have. That friend is the truth, for Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and life. No one comes to the Father expect through me”. We get to God through Jesus Christ, not the Watchtower.