The question is asked: How can we identify the true religion? This is a question that demands some serious thought. There are many religions all contending that they have the ‘truth’, but which one is true?
The Watchtower Society makes the claim that they alone are the true religion, so this post will seek to address the claims it makes.
Early on in the chapter we find this statement: ‘you don’t have to study and compare the teachings of all the many religions. You only need to learn what the Bible really teaches about true worship’. This sounds reasonable, but let us consider what The Watchtower is really saying.
When it says ‘learn what the Bible really teaches about true worship’ it means let Watchtower literature convince you of what true worship is.
According to The Watchtower true worshippers will be identified by the following:
- Teachings based on the Bible
- Worship only JEHOVAH and make His name known
- Show love for one another
- Accept Jesus as God’s mean of salvation
- Are no part of the world
- Preach God’s Kingdom as man’s only hope
First mark of true religion: True worshippers will base their teachings on the Bible
Response: Which Bible? The New World Translation used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses is widely acknowledged as a corrupt paraphrase. It adds/removes and changes words particularly concerning the nature/deity of Jesus. Much of what is believed and taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses is not based on the Bible at all, but rather it is based on unbiblical Watchtower theology.
Second mark of true religion: Worship only JEHOVAH and make His name known
Response: Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ Matthew 4:10 (NIV) The NWT says: ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’”
Though the name Jehovah appears all over the NWT it is not found anywhere in the Bible text. The adding of the name in the NWT, convinces Jehovah’s Witnesses that this is God’s name and it MUST be used and MUST be made known.
It is therefore strange that they admit that the name Yahweh is more accurate:
While inclining to view the pronunciation “Yah.weh” as the more correct way, we have retained the form “Jehovah” because of people’s familiarity with it since the 14th century.( The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, 1969, p.23)
So The Watchtower sticks with Jehovah because of tradition, rather than sound Biblical reasoning. They also assert that Jesus and his disciples would have used the name Jehovah and they made it known (though there is no evidence that they did).
Of course Jesus and his disciples never used the name Jehovah, nor is there any evidence of them using the name Yahweh. Rather, Jesus taught his disciples to call God ‘ Father’. Jehovah’s Witnesses will often cite John 17:26: ‘And I have made your name known to them and will make it known, in order that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in union with them’ (NWT), asking ‘what is the name Jesus made known?’
They make a mistake in assuming that the word ‘name’ means a literal name like Bobby or Jason. There are many instances in the New Testament where the word “name” is used as a noun, and it is used in the sense of “reputation” or “authority”. For example:
He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. Matthew 10:41
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Matthew 28:19
Third mark of true religion: They show love for one another
Response: Jehovah’s Witnesses say that they show love for one another, but their love is conditional; the condition being that they are faithful and loyal to the organisation. The moment anyone asks questions of the organisation, or moves away from total obedience to Jehovah’s mouthpiece, the love is withdrawn. This can lead to the cruel ‘unbiblical’ practice of disfellowshipping. Rather than being shown love, disfellowshipped ones are torn from their families, their friends and shunned. Are they truly as loving as they claim?
Fourth mark of a true religion: They accept Jesus as God’s means of salvation
Response: Jehovah’s Witnesses accept The Watchtower as God’s means of salvation. They believe that all Jesus did was put right what Adam got wrong, thus giving us the possibility of everlasting life on a paradise earth, if they please Jehovah. Theirs is a gospel of works never knowing whether they have done enough to qualify for the life to come.
Not only that, but they also have a far from biblical Jesus. Hebrews 13:8 says that ‘Jesus Christ is the SAME yesterday, today and forevermore’ let’s compare this to the Watchtower Jesus.
The Watchtower Jesus is not eternal he was created by Jehovah as the Archangel Michael. He then left his ‘angelic’ position to become the ‘man’ Jesus. When he died on the ‘torture stake’ he became non-existent (dissolved into gases!) for three days and nights, only to be remembered in Jehovah’s memory. After three days he was recreated from Jehovah’s memory to become a ‘spiritual’ (not physical) being, who stayed around for 40 days before returning to heaven to become once again the Archangel Michael.
What does the Bible say:
Jesus is God:
- John 1:1 “the Word (logos-context shows this to refer to Jesus) was God (theos)”
- John 20:28 Thomas called Jesus “my Lord (kurios) and my God (theos)”
- Hebrews 1:8 (quotation of Psalm 45:6-7) Jesus the Son is called “God (theos)”
- Titus 2:13 “our great God (theos) and Saviour, Christ Jesus”
- 2 Peter 1:1 “our God (theos) and Saviour, Jesus Christ”
- 1 John 5:20 “…the Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God (theos) and eternal life.”
Jesus is Eternal
- If Jesus is God as the Bible claims then he is ETERNAL
- John 8:58 ‘Before Abraham was I AM’ (reference to Exodus 3:14)
- Notice these words were spoken concerning Jesus in Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever.” God Himself spoke of the Son in Hebrews 1:8 and says, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.”
- In John 17:5, Jesus said, “And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I ever had with Thee before the world was.” Jesus clearly indicates that He existed before the foundation of the world. (See also Genesis 1:26; John 1:15; 3:13.)
Jesus was physically resurrected
Did Jesus rise from the dead in the same physical body in which He died? Yes!
After the resurrection Jesus was able to eat (Luke 24:42-43). He showed people His hands and feet, with the nail prints in them (Luke 24:39; John 20:27), and people even grabbed His feet and worshipped Him (Matt. 28:9). As the reports of Jesus’ resurrection were spreading, Thomas, who was doubting the resurrection of Christ, said, “Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe,” (John 20:25). Later, Jesus appeared to Thomas and said to him, “Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing,” (John 20:27).
If Jesus’ body had not risen, then He would not have feet and hands with the same holes of the nails of the crucifixion. Consider the following verses as further proof that His very body was raised:
- “When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples therefore rejoiced when they saw the Lord,” (John 20:19-20).
- “And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have,” (Luke 24:38-39).
It is obvious that Jesus was raised in the same body in which He died, with the same holes in His hands and feet. We see that Jesus proclaimed He had flesh and bones. Does a “spirit body” consist of flesh and bones? Not at all. (Source: CARM)
This clearly shows that the Jehovah’s Witnesses theology comes from the Watchtower and not from the Bible!
Fifth mark of true religion: They are no part of the world
Response: Jehovah’s Witnesses show they are no part of the world by not celebrating birthdays, Christmas, refusing blood transfusions, not voting and most importantly, by not going to war!
“In our century, which religion has obeyed this law of love? Surely not the religions of Christendom, for they have slaughtered one another by the tens of millions in two world wars and other conflicts. Jehovah’s servants are unique in obeying the rule spoken by Peter and other apostles to a high court: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)” Watchtower 1990 Feb 1 p.22
Who in our time demonstrate such obedience to Gods commandments on love? Who have been persecuted, imprisoned, thrown into concentration camps, or executed because they would not take up weapons against fellow believers or even unbelievers of other nations? The record of this century’s history answers: only Jehovah’s Witnesses. Watchtower 1989 May 1 p.28
The Witnesses are from being unique. There are numerous Christian groups and individuals that would refuse to go to war, but The Watchtower has so blinded the minds of its adherents that they believe that they and they alone refuse to go to war.
Witnesses are keen to talk about the fact they do not go to war, but less keen to talk about The Watchtower’s past involvement ‘in the world’ with the scarlet coloured beast of Revelation – the United Nations.
For more information about this
Sixth mark of true religion: They preach God’s Kingdom as man’s only hope.
Response: What do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe about God’s Kingdom?
When he was on earth, Jesus taught his followers to pray for God’s Kingdom. A kingdom is a government that is headed by a king. God’s Kingdom is a special government. It is set up in heaven and will rule over this earth. It will sanctify, or make holy, God’s name. It will cause God’s will to be done on earth as it is done in heaven.—Matthew 6:9, 10. (Source: JW.org)
Matthew 24:14 is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses favourite verses as they claim they are the only group fulfilling it.
And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come (NWT)
What is the good news of the kingdom according to Jehovah’s Witnesses?
“Let the honest-hearted person compare the kind of preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom done by the religious systems of Christendom during all the centuries with that done by Jehovah’s Witnesses since the end of World War I in 1918. They are not one and the same kind. That of Jehovah’s Witnesses is really “gospel,” or “good news,” as of God’s heavenly kingdom that was established by the enthronement of his Son Jesus Christ at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914.” (The Watchtower 5/1/81, p.17)
So the good news is that Jesus returned invisibly in 1914 and he was enthroned as King. At this point, God’s heavenly kingdom was established. From that point Jehovah has been collecting for himself a people through his appointed agency – The Watchtower Society. Only those who align themselves with Jehovah’s channel of salvation have any hope of surviving Armageddon and living on a paradise earth.
Is this what the Apostles and early church preached? Let’s look at what the Apostle Paul said:
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Cor.1:17,18)
For Paul preaching the gospel meant preaching the cross for it is the power of God to those who are being saved.
‘but we preach Christ crucified…’ (1 Cor.1:23)
The gospel (good news) message that Paul preached was that Jesus death paid the penalty for man’s sin (Romans 5:1-9) and that we are saved by faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8,9).
Paul’s words to the Church at Galatia are so fitting for Jehovah’s Witnesses:
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But 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 1:6-9)
Unfortunately, as we have seen the Jehovah’s Witnesses fall well short on the six marks of true religion that they themselves list. They say true religion leads to everlasting life but they are wrong. Jesus is the way to everlasting life (John 14:6), leads to everlasting life. My prayer is that they will flee from the organisation and put their faith in Jesus.