In the June 2022 study edition of the Watchtower magazine Jehovah’s Witnesses were looking at Job and the lessons we can come away with. There is much to encourage a Christian here. Two questions arise from the article:
1 the nature of the hope Christians have.
2 the reason for being confident in that hope.
The Watchtower study article 27 begins:
‘JEHOVAH has given a beautiful hope to all those who love him. Soon he will bring an end to sickness, sorrow, and death. (Rev. 21:3, 4) He will help “the meek” who are hoping in him to transform the earth into a paradise. (Ps. 37:9-11) And he will make it possible for each one of us to have a warm, personal relationship with him that will be even more wonderful than what we enjoy now. What a marvelous hope that is! But what basis do we have for believing that God’s promises will come true? Jehovah never breaks a promise. We thus have good reason to “hope in Jehovah.” (Ps. 27:14) We show this by waiting patiently and joyfully for our God to bring his purpose to completion.—Isa. 55:10, 11.’
Have they missed the central point in talking about hope? Have they missed the central character on whom Christian hope is founded? Is there any reason here at all for Jehovah’s Witnesses to hope? What is Watch Tower hope?
Watch Tower Hope of a Better World
Typically, Jehovah’s Witnesses begin their message with the promise of a better world to come, ‘an end to sickness, sorrow, and death. He will help “the meek” who are hoping in him to transform the earth into a paradise.’
The message taken around the doors runs along the lines of, ‘ The world is a mess, but you can live forever in paradise on earth.’ In their book What The Bible Can Teach Us, pp 38,39, the message is summarised in four points:
1. God created us for a purpose, to make earth a paradise
2. Satan rules the world, the whole world is lying in his power
3. God’s kingdom will solve the problem
4. God’s kingdom will make the earth a paradise (wouldn’t you want to live in paradise?)
These sum up the Watch Tower hope.
In the Watchtower article they say, ‘In the book of Revelation, Jehovah promised that in our day, he would bring together people out of every nation and tribe and tongue, and he would unite them in pure worship. Today, that remarkable group of people is known as the “great crowd.” (Rev. 7:9,10) Although consisting of men, women, and children of different races, languages, and backgrounds, that diverse group forms a peaceful, united global brotherhood.’
The way to share in the hope of a paradise on earth is to join the great crowd, Jehovah’s Witnesses. What qualifies someone for this paradisaical life? So far, it seems to be those who join Jehovah’s Witnesses, trust in the governing body, and who prove meek in character.
Of course, the message of the kingdom is a message of future hope, of a time when Christ’s kingdom will be established on earth and we see the restoration of all things. Peter, speaking to the crowd in Solomon’s Portico said the Lord sent Christ Jesus, ‘whom the heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.’ Acts 3:21
It is a time when creation, which is subjected to futility now, will be released from its bondage to corruption Romans8:19-21. As we await its consummation we can, indeed, learn a lot from the example of Job.
However, the message of the Bible is, ‘all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: None is righteous, no, not one; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside, together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.’ Romans 3:9-12
The problem is not that Satan rules the world, though he does rule in so many hearts, the problem is us! We are not victims, we are in open rebellion against God. If there was no devil we would still have to struggle against the flesh and the world, ourselves and the world our fallen nature has created.
The solution the Bible speaks of is not joining an organisation but turning to Christ, confessing our sin, our need of a Saviour, kneeling before the cross, and receiving God’s free gift of salvation.
There are two groups of people in the New Testament, Jews and Greeks (Gentiles). Both are called to repentance, to receive the gift of Salvation and become one, Galatians 3:28. After this there are still two groups of people, the repentant and unrepentant, the just and the unjust, those justified in Christ and those who refuse Christ. What there is not is an elite and a serfdom.
The Watch Tower Calvinist Class
Jesus told Nicodemus, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ John 3:3
We must be able to say with Paul, ‘I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’ Galatians 2:20
In order to even see the kingdom we must, according to Jesus, be born again, according to Paul we must die to ourselves and know Christ living in us. The Watch Tower reserves this experience for the 144,000:
‘So being born again prepares a person to rule with Christ in God’s Kingdom. This Kingdom rules from heaven, so the Bible describes the “new birth” as providing an inheritance that is “reserved in the heavens.” (1 Peter 1:3,4)’
Who gains the new birth Jesus spoke about?
‘However, God chooses those who will be born again, or anointed with holy spirit. According to the Bible, being born again “depends, not on a person’s desire or on his effort, but on God.” (Romans 9:16)’ See here
It turns out the anointed class are the Calvinist class; elect, foreordained, those whose calling depends entirely on God. What about everyone else?
‘Christ’s sacrifice provides salvation not only for those who are born again as the ones who will rule with Christ in heaven but also for the earthly subjects of God’s Kingdom.’
The rest must join Jehovah’s Organisation and prove meekly submissive to the governing body to gain from Christ’s sacrifice.
A New Heart in a New Creation
Paul wrote to Corinth, ‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.’ 2 Cor.5:17
In their commentary on this passage their website makes clear:
‘in union with Christ: Lit., “in Christ.” Each spirit-anointed Christian enjoys a oneness with Jesus Christ….he is a new creation: Each anointed Christian is a new creation—a spirit-begotten son of God with the prospect of sharing with Christ in the heavenly Kingdom. (Ga 4:6,7)’
Again only the chosen, the 144,000, through no effort of their own, is a new creation. Applying 1 Peter 2:9 exclusively to themselves, they teach:
‘Jesus became God’s initial “new creation” upon being anointed at his baptism as a spirit-begotten son of God with heavenly prospects. Additionally, Jesus and his anointed corulers (sic) collectively make up the Christian congregation, which is also a new spiritual creation.—1Pe 2:9.’
Not only have they reduced the hope of the great majority to a hope in the governing body and the anointed class, a hope in men, they have reduced Jesus to the place of first among equals, not in the Godhead, but in the anointed class. To a place where he rules God’s kingdom alongside Stephen Lett!
Allow that to sink in.
Watch Tower Hope: SAVED?
‘If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’ Romans 10:9,10
It’s a simple enough promise with profound and eternal implications. With, ‘It can’t be that easy,’ generations of cult members have rejected it. The good news is, indeed, the good news of the kingdom. It is what Jesus was anxious to preach throughout his ministry (Lk.4:43), but entry into the kingdom comes by the new birth (Jn.3:5), through which we gain the gifts of new life; new minds, new hearts. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the new birth is a euphemism for a new beginning, but it is much more than that. It is literally a second birth into a new life in Christ. It is gained by putting all your hope (believing in) the finished work of Jesus on the cross.
The Watch Tower robs people of this message, which is available to ‘whoever believes in him,’ not just the 144,000, and whoever believes inherits this new life, which John describes as ‘eternal life.’ (John. :16)
The way the Watch Tower presents its message looks so authentic. Apparently full of Bible promises, it puts people off their guard, deceiving many. The Bible’s promise of the kingdom is so much more than Jehovah’s Witnesses believe and offer. Think of the prodigal who thought he had it all and ended eating the husks fed to swine (Luke 15:11-32) Jehovah’s Witnesses believe they know hope, but they are feeding on the empty husks of a false religion that keeps the best for the elite.
It is our responsibility to know our Bibles, to be familiar with God’s promises, and to share the great good news that, ‘Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.’ (1 Peter 3:18)
Every true believer should be able to confidently declare with Paul: