Another Blog from UK Partnerships for Christ (www.upfc.org.uk)

Worship That God Approves – What the Bible really teaches Chapter 15

bible teach

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

http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/united-nations-association.php

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.

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3 Responses »

  1. Matthew 4:10 says ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord (kurios) your God, and serve him only.’ If it is necessary to call God ‘Jehovah’ (Hebrew doesn’t have a ‘J’ but anyway) then why did the NT writers put the word ‘kurios’ (Lord) on Jesus’ lips? Also, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible (the Septuagint, or LXX) translates the tetragrammaton as ‘kurios’. For example, the booklet (p.148) quotes Ps.83:18 “Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD– that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.” LORD is translated ‘kurios’ by the Septuagint.
    So a question for JWs: is the Septuagint a corrupt translation that made it impossible for Greek-speaking Jews to worship the true God?

  2. In Chapter 15 , the Watchtower prophet in Brooklyn tells readers what the worship that God approves is . Not surprising the answer is that only the beliefs of Jw’s are “Bible based” and thus their worship is exclusively approved of by God . Let’s look at some of the statements made in Chapter 15 :

    on page 145 it says : ” It is important that we worship Jehovah in the way that He approves.”

    Response : the “way” that He approves of is to comply with His will in His new arrangement .That “way” is Jesus –Jn 14:6 , it’s through him , through coming directly to him [Jn 5:39-40 ; Matt 11:28] that access and approval with the Father is gained . Matt 11:28 is still the way today because Jesus is alive and will hear the petition of those asking him for pardon of sins [ Mk 2:10 ] . The N.T. reveals that a personal relationship also with Jesus is the Father’s will for true worshipers today . Sadly , the Watchtower has warned Jw’s that personal contact with Jesus [relationship/friendship ] is not a “Bible based ” teaching . So they not only miss out on knowing Jesus intimately but they also fall short of complying with God’s will in His new arrangement , and therefore have no salvation .

    on page 145 ” It is not even enough just to claim to be a Christian .”

    Response : That’s true . There are those who claim they’ve heard from Jesus , been sent by Jesus as a prophet/ messenger to introduce His gospel . Sadly they are seen to be false prophets once their preaching is examined . Same for those today who claim to be “Jehovah’s witnesses ” , His true messengers / prophet . They seek to convince people to accept their doctrines largely because they call God “Jehovah” . But the Bible records that false prophets also can use His name –Jer 23:16, 25 . Watchtower leadership is one such prophet today .

    on page 145,146, it uses Jn 7:13,14,16,17 ,to make some points ; but not vr 15 . Verse 15 talks about being aware of false prophets . That’s not a topic the Watchtower is fast to discuss.

    on page 146 it says ” ….beliefs and practices of the true religion are not based on human views or tradition. They originate in God’s inspired Word the Bible .”

    Response : While true beliefs do originate in the Bible , many of the Watchtower prophet’s teachings did not originate there at all . What was called accurate interpretation of the scriptures ” Bible based ” spiritual food from the Watchtower turned out to be man made doctrine — human views . The short history of the Watchtower , when examined , reveals a pattern . It’s a pattern of confusion , a multitude of unstable doctrines that Jw’s were told was true and reliable . However these teachings were dumped for something different — Eph 4:14 .
    The Watchtower is a proven false prophet and a poor guide to use to understand the Bible .
    The Watchtower prophet likes to claim they alone practice ” clean and undefiled worship ” . Yet their teaching track record reveals they have not been loyal to Jehovah because they have not dismissed the false prophet in Brooklyn they follow :

    ” And those who are leading this people on prove to be the ones causing [them] to wander ;and those of them who are being led on, the ones who are being confused .” Isa 9:16 NWT .

    on page 148 it says : ” Those who practice true religion worship only Jehovah and make His name known .”

    Response: God’s new arrangement is that while His name is still important , the new “way” to gain His approval , especially for salvation , is to come to His Son and proclaim gospel his gospel of salvation like Paul , Peter etc did . The old arrangement : Isa 43:10 ; the new arrangement : Acts 1:8 . The Old arrangement : ask Jehovah for pardon and salvation –Joel 2:32 ; the new arrangement : ask Jesus for pardon and salvation –Acts 22:16 .
    Jesus is worthy to be worshiped along with His Father , that is Father’s will and it pleases Him to have it so — Jn 5:23 ; Phil 2:10-11; Rev 22:3 . Incredibly , even Watchtower Presidents Charles Russell and Joseph Rutherford understood this fact . One example :

    In the Oct. 15, 1945 W.t. p 313 it states the following after quoting Jn 5:22,23 :

    ” Since Jehovah God now reigns as King by means of His capital organization Zion , then whosoever would worship Him must also worship and bow down to Jehovah’s Chief One in that organization namely , Christ Jesus his Co-regent on the throne of the Theocracy.”

    Amazing that such a fundamental truth of the Bible could be dumped by the Watchtower prophet who now tells Jw’s that Jesus is not worthy of worship , only the Father . Today Jw’s are told that to worship anyone other than just the Father is a form of idolatry . So for many , many , years , while Jw’s were claiming to be practicing “clean /pure” worship , they were in fact engaged in a form of idolatry by worshiping Jesus !

    Jw’s have no personal relationship with Jesus having deemed Him not worthy of worship . Thus they are stuck in the Old Testament and have not complied with the Father’s will for an
    approved standing with Him which the New Testament reveals . Knowing about God by amassing quantities of information about him is one thing , but to know him is quite another thing altogether . To know him is like how friends know each other — James 2:23 . Same for Jesus — Jn 15: 13,14 .

    cont.

  3. cont.

    on page 149 , after quoting Acts 4:12 , it says ” And God requires that we obey Jesus ….That is why the Bible states : ‘ He that exercises faith in the Son has everlasting life ; he that disobeys the Son will not see life ‘ — John 3:36 .”

    Response: God the Father does require that we obey Jesus . To obey Jesus is to follow him , but that starts by first meeting him personally , that’s why Jesus was voicing the Father’s will when he said ” Come unto Me ” — Matt 11:28 .
    Exercising faith in what Jesus did ( Ransom) is one thing but personal salvation becomes a reality when a person comes directly to him and asks to be pardoned — Mk 2:10 ; 1 Pt 2:24 — he will then abundantly forgive , and the Father will accept .

    on page 151 , it cites Matt 24:14 this ” good news of the Kingdom” .

    Response: The real good news which the N.T. records centers on Jesus and his redemptive work . Jesus , not joining a religious organization , is the door to everlasting life in the Kingdom
    — Jn 6:68 ; 10:9 .The Book of Acts details this truth See Acts 8: 5,12,35 .

    on page 151 the claim is made that only Jw’s base all their teachings on the Bible .

    Response : That’s a claim the Watchtower has always promised . However, it is a classic half truth . Simply put , many of the doctrines which the Watchtower prophet once introduced as spiritual truth have become discarded . Excuses have been offered for this vacillating behavior
    but there’s to many changes so the excuses ring hollow — Eph 4:14 .

    The Watchtower prophet once claimed that Jesus returned in 1874 . It was taught that “the scriptures showed ” this [ W.t. magazine 3-1-1922 ,p 67 ] . There are more examples of similar false prophecies .

    What’s really sad is that Jw’s don’t even know what ” pure ” or “clean ” worship is . Since they are told by Watchtower leaders that they as individuals cannot interpret the Bible for themselves [W.t. 10-1 -1967 , p 587 ] they are forced to believe whatever their leaders in Brooklyn tell them is wholesome spiritual food from Jehovah . As a result for years they believed doctrines that were later changed , then admitted to be “Babylonish” !
    A few examples :

    The Great Pyramid for many years was called ” The Bible in Stone ” [ W.t. 3-15-1911 ] . It was used to validate some Watchtower doctrines , one of which was that Jesus had returned in 1874 But years later this “Bible in Stone ” became something different now it was called ” Satan’s Bible” [W.t. 11-15-1928 , p 344] , by the Watchtower . Those who followed the Watchtower prophet had been trusting in Satan’s Bible and thus were not practicing pure worship after all because their worship was contaminated with unclean teachings , and trusting in a pagan structure .

    At one time the Watchtower prophet advised not to take vaccinations , calling them a ” devilish practice” [ Golden Age mag . 10-12-1921 , p 17 ] . But later this devilish practice turned out to be not such after all , as Jw’s found out .

    Birthday celebrations are viewed as being a pagan practice , spiritually dangerous . Yet for many years this was not the doctrine promoted Watchtower prophet . So for a long time those who were celebrating a birthday were practicing unclean worship before God but were blind to that , all because the Watchtower deemed the practice not in violation of the scriptures .

    For many years the cross was viewed as a Christian symbol by the Watchtower . The Watchtower magazine on it’s cover had a cross and crown logo . The following was God’s truth provided by the Watchtower :

    ” The cross of Christ is the greatest pivotal truth of the divine arrangement , from which radiates the hopes of men .” [ The Harp of God , 1921 , p 142 ] .

    Many of those who followed the Watchtower prophet once wore ” cross and crown ” pins .

    Yet years later this “Bible based” doctrine was dumped .And concerning wearing of the cross and crown pins , Watchtower Pres. Rutherford now viewed wearing of those pins to have been ” Babylonish ” [ 1975 Yearbook of Jw’s , p148]

    What this shows is that at the very time the Watchtower claimed it was the sole promoter of pure and clean worship — worship that was approved by God ; much of what it was teaching was just the opposite , and Jw’s did’nt even know the difference . How did this happen ? answer : Matt 15:14 .

    Today , Jw’s relay the same claims of the Watchtower concerning worship that God approves yet at the next Jw Convention , or the next Watchtower book , there can come a reversal of what they today claim is or is not a part of pure worship .
    It’s whatever the Watchtower decides it does’nt like , then presto it becomes a pagan practice , a Babylonish activity , etc . and Jw’s will be scared and jump and submit no matter how ridiculous the new teaching is .
    This is because the individual Jw is not actually a Bible student , they are a Watchtower student of the Bible . That’s a sad scenario .

    Jw’s , are sincere people who have been fooled by a false prophet of the last days –Matt 24:11.

    ” Look out : perhaps there may be someone who will carry you off as his prey through the philosophy and empty deception according to the traditions of men …” [ Col 2:8 NWT ]

    Sadly, Jw’s have been carried off as the prey of the Watchtower prophet .
    Pray for the Jw’s they deserve better .
    May they come to discover the full truth about worship that God approves .

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