Who Are Jehovah’s Witnesses?
What do you know about Jehovah’s Witnesses? Some people have called them Christian propagandists, a new Christian cult, a Christian sect influenced by Judaism, or fanatics who reject medical treatment. Actually, the Witnesses are none of these things. Why do some people think such things about them? Mostly because those people have been given wrong information.
As their name shows, Jehovah’s Witnesses are Witnesses for Jehovah. Who is Jehovah? Jehovah is the name that Almighty God gives to himself in the pages of the Bible.* It is a personal name, not a title like God or Lord. In a general sense, throughout history anyone who witnesses to God’s glory could be called a witness of Jehovah.—Exodus 3:13, 15; Isaiah 43:10.
Thus, the Bible, when listing a long line of faithful men of old starting with Abel, calls them “so great a cloud of witnesses.” (Hebrews 11:4; 12:1) Outstanding individuals, such as Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and David, are listed as God’s witnesses—witnesses of Jehovah. Jesus Christ is called “the faithful and true witness.”—Revelation 3:14.
Why Witnesses Are Needed
The Bible says that man was created perfect and placed in a paradise. The Creator made him with the ability to live forever, to have children, and to extend the boundaries of his Paradise home worldwide. At that time man knew his God, and there was no need for witnesses.—Genesis 1:27, 28.
God endowed man with free will, but our first parents made a wrong decision. They chose to be independent of him. Hence, while God remains perfect, just, and pure, mankind on earth became sinful and unrighteous. Nevertheless, our holy God will allow sin and wickedness to continue only for a limited period of time. The Bible indicates that we are near the end of that divinely permitted time period. So that mankind can know these things, He has preserved His Word—the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel—down to our day.
Since most humans do not know God, he has commanded faithful humans to witness about him. To such faithful ones he says: “You are my witnesses.” (Isaiah 43:10) About the work they accomplish, he says: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.”—Matthew 24:14.
Today, more people than ever before, from all races, languages, and nations, are honestly investigating God’s Word. They have found that many religious customs are of pagan origin and are displeasing to God.
As you may know, some have used religion for commercial purposes. Others have used it to further their political ends or to get rich at the expense of the poor. How do you think such religious profiteers react when a true witness about God is given? Obviously, they feel threatened. That is one reason why you may hear some speak evil of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Whatever the cost, Jehovah’s Witnesses adhere closely to the Bible. They have not invented a new religion. They merely follow what is written in the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel, which is the foundation of true religion. What, then, do they believe? Below are listed some of their teachings. Read and see whether these have the ring of truth or not.
The Bible does not teach the Trinity doctrine. Rather, it says that there is only one true and eternal God. “Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.” (Deuteronomy 6:4) He is the Creator—eternal, almighty, without equal. Jesus is not Almighty God. Jesus lived on earth as a perfect man and died for imperfect mankind. God kindly accepted the life of Jesus as a ransom, and thus through him is the salvation of the faithful. This is God’s will.—Luke 22:42; Romans 5:12.
No Immortal Soul
What happens to people when they die? God’s Word says: “The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5) Man does not have an immortal soul. People who think they are talking to the dead are really communicating with demons. Similarly, prayers for the dead benefit no one except the clergy who are paid to utter them.
Man’s real hope is the resurrection, the coming forth of the dead to an earth restored to Paradise conditions. Those who have served God will be blessed for their faithfulness. Those who have died without finding God will have that opportunity then. Thus, “there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) Only those whom God judges unworthy will not receive a resurrection.
A loving God would not create a place where the dead suffer eternally. God himself described the burning and torturing of humans as “a thing that I had not commanded and that had not come up into my heart.”—Jeremiah 7:31.
God does not write anything on the foreheads of people. There is no fate that determines our future before we are born. We are responsible for what we do, for the choices we make. “Each of us will render an account for himself to God.”—Romans 14:12.
No Clergy Class
Everyone dedicated to God is equal in His eyes. True worshipers are all brothers and sisters. God did not appoint an elevated clergy class. Jesus said: “Everyone that exalts himself will be humiliated, but he that humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14) God will judge adversely those who through religion elevate themselves over others.—Matthew 23:4-12.
“God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) True worshipers do not use idols.
Neutral in Politics
Jesus said his followers would be “no part of the world.” (John 17:16) Hence, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not interfere in national or local politics. Further, they are a law-abiding people.—Romans 13:1, 5-7.
High Moral Standards
Jesus described how to recognize true worshipers when he said: “This is my commandment, that you love one another just as I have loved you.” (John 15:12, 13) Another chapter in the Bible says: “The fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22, 23) Those manifesting these qualities do not lie, steal, gamble, abuse drugs, or commit sexual immorality. (Ephesians 4:25-28) They love God, so they avoid things that God hates. These principles govern the lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The Approaching End of This World
What makes our time different from other times? Fulfillment of prophecy shows that we are living in the last days of this system of things, this world. (Daniel 2:44) Today, the issue is, Do the things we do please God? God is one, and there can be only one true religion. This religion cannot be out of harmony with the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel. Hence, we must examine that Word.
That is what Jehovah’s Witnesses do. Whatever your religion, you need to do the same. Nobody can make a decision for you in this regard. Remember: “Each of us will render an account for himself to God.”—Romans 14:12.
No individual is born a Witness of Jehovah. Every single Witness makes a personal decision. After making an honest search of God’s Word, the searcher recognizes truth, and on this basis he dedicates himself to the true God, whose name is Jehovah. If you would like to make a similar investigation, please write to one of the addresses below.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Bible quotations are from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.
In the world of Islam, the Bible consists of the books known as the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel. At least 64 verses of the Koran speak of these books as the Word of God and emphasize the need to read them and to carry out their commands. Some assert that the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel have been changed. However, to say this is to ignore the words of the Koran and to say that God cannot preserve his Word.