Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 12, 1960
NUMBER 39, PAGE 1,5b-6

The Word Of God Or The Watchtower?

John W. Wilson, San Bernardino, California

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc. of Brooklyn, New York, has its devoted servants out at all hours selling and giving away thousands of pieces of Society literature and making contacts for further study of their doctrines. The zeal of these workers is the envy of many and the proud boast of the Society. But are these workers to be commended or condemned, praised or pitied? Zeal and devotion to a cause is a fine thing only if the cause is worthy. Zeal without knowledge and loyalty to a false cause is condemned in the scripture. In Romans 10:1-3, we read of just such a case. So before we can correctly appraise the work of this religious people we must ask, "Are the `Jehovah's Witnesses' true or false witnesses?"

In this brief study we propose to examine a few of the basic doctrines of this sect. The Word of God or the Watchtower Society — Which is right?

"To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" — Isaiah 8:20.

The Nature Of Man

"What is man that thou art mindful of him?" — Psalms 8:4 & Hebrews 2:6.

The Watchtower Society publications teach that man is wholly mortal and unconscious between death and the resurrection. They deny that man has anything about him that is immortal. These things are plainly taught in Let God Be True, 2nd Ed., which is a Society publication of recent date. Pages 66-75 of this book deal exclusively with the nature of man. On page 68, paragraph 6, they claim the scriptures teach that man, in his nature, does not differ from the beast. But what saith the scriptures? Does the Bible teach that man has a soul, spirit, or entity that is in the image or nature of the immortal God, thus distinguishing him from the beast?

Let us begin where man began. In Genesis 2:7 we learn that the body of man was formed from the "dust of the ground". Thus, the body of man is mortal (Romans 8:11), having flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). In Genesis 1:27 we read that man was created in the "image and likeness of God". Now since God is a spirit (John 4:24), yet a spirit "hath not flesh and bones" (Luke 24:39), it is obvious that the body of man cannot be in the image or likeness of God. What, then, did God create in His image and call it man? We have shown that it could not possibly be the body of man.

To determine this answer we appeal to the universally known fact that the off-spring partake of the nature of their fathers. The scriptures bear out this principle, for we learn in Hebrews 12:9 that our fleshly fathers give us our fleshly bodies. But we also have a heavenly Father. In 1 Timothy 6:16 we learn that our heavenly Father "only hath immortality". In other words, immortality is His nature. But we receive from God, the Father, our spirits (Hebrews 12:9), being His offspring (Acts 17:29). This being true, it follows that we partake of the immortal nature of God, our heavenly Father. Let us arrive at this conclusion in logical form:

1. The offspring partake of the Father's nature.

2. But the Father's (God) nature is an immortal nature — 1 Tim. 6:16.

3. Therefore, the offspring partake of an immortal nature.

From this logical conclusion which is based upon plain scripture, we see the error of the Watchtower Society concerning the nature of man. The scriptures show that man does indeed differ from the beast. THE WORD OF GOD OR THE WATCHTOWER? Which will you take?

The Punishment Of The Wicked

On the subject of "hell" the Watchtower Society has also spoken. In Make Sure Of All Things, another Society publication of recent date, we find their position on this subject clearly stated. Under the heading, "Definition of Hell", found on page 154 of this book, they claim that eternal punishment consists of the annihilation of the rebellious. They also make much to do about what they call the injustice of a God who would allow a man to suffer eternal, conscious punishment in hell. They tell us that God will just never raise such sinners from the grave. They say He will just forget them. This, briefly, is the Watchtower Society position on the punishment of the wicked.

But what does the Word of God say on this subject?

First, let us note that the Watchtower Society is wrong when they say that the wicked are not raised from the dead. In John 5:28-29 we read: "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." Notice that "They that have done evil" will be raised from the dead." The Word of God is right and the Watchtower is wrong!

But what will be the punishment of the wicked? Will they simply be brought up from unconsciousness to be cast back into unconsciousness again? Will they just be annihilated, or will they suffer unending punishment? The word of God uses the same word to describe the duration of the punishment of the wicked as is used to describe the duration of the reward of the righteous. In Matthew 25:46, we read: "And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life" (ASV). How long will the righteous enjoy their reward? Unendingly, eternally, of course. Well, just as long as these righteous enjoy their reward, the wicked will suffer their punishment.

If the punishment of the wicked consists merely of annihilation or causing them to cease to exist, then wherein is the punishment? If they truly "cease to exist", then their punishment would also cease to exist. And that which "ceases to exist", cannot be "eternal". You cannot punish that which does not exist. You might as well talk about the eternal punishment of a clod of dirt as to speak of the eternal punishment of a man who does not exist.

Of the wicked, Jesus said: "And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 13:42). If the wicked just "cease to exist", become unconscious, how then could be heard the "wailing and gnashing of teeth"?

We might as well speak of annihilating God as to speak of annihilating man. It would be impossible to annihilate God since He is immortal (1 Timothy 6:16). But we have already learned that man partakes of God's immortal nature by receiving a spirit that is in God's image (Gen. 1:27; Heb. 12:9). We learn further that all mankind will be raised with immortal bodies (1 Corinthians 15:22-52). That which is immortal cannot be annihilated. Therefore, the spirit — the immortal part of man, cannot be annihilated.

Death, according to the Watchtower Society, also means the termination of existence or utter cessation of consciousness (Make Sure of All Things, p. 86). So we see that their definitions of death and punishment of the wicked are the same. Now if this is true, then the best man who ever lived suffered eternal punishment when he died! Jesus Christ died, but did He suffer eternal punishment? Such is the inconsistency of the Watchtower Society. They are false witnesses — not Jehovah's Witnesses.

Again we ask, THE WORD OF GOD OR THE WATCHTOWER? Which will you take?

The Kingdom Question

Again, "Jehovah's Witnesses" make some serious errors on this subject. For example, in Let God Be True, 2nd Ed., p. 136, they claim that God never proposed to convert the world. But Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" — Mark 16:15. He also said that this is "the gospel of the kingdom" — Matthew 24:14. Then in Romans 1:16 we learn that the gospel "is the power of God unto salvation". From these passages we see that God did propose the gospel for the salvation of every creature in this old world. Now since this "gospel of the kingdom" is for all the world, we must conclude that the kingdom is for all who will enter it.

In the same Watchtower publication (Let God Be True, p. 143), we are told the kingdom was established in the year 1914, but that it was in heaven and invisible. But is this the truth? Was the kingdom not established until the recent date of 1914? And, is it so invisible that its subjects cannot be seen here on earth?

It is necessary at this point to establish from the Word of God the fact that the kingdom and the church is the same relationship. If you will read Matthew 16:1319, Hebrews 12:22-28, and Colossians 1:13-18, you will notice that the words "kingdom" and "church" are used to refer to the same people. Also, Jesus put the Lord's Table in the kingdom (Luke 22:30), and Paul, by inspiration, put the Lord's Table in the church (1 Corinthians 11:23-33). This clearly proves the kingdom and the church to be the same relationship and not two separate entities, as some teach.

Furthermore, we can see and observe the citizens of the kingdom, the members of the church. About three thousand individuals were observed as becoming members of the church in Jerusalem — Acts 2:41. The members or citizens of the kingdom can not only be seen in the New Testament but also can be seen today.

It is interesting to note that "Jehovah's Witnesses" have taken the word "church" out of their New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures. This Watchtower publication is palmed off on an unsuspecting public as being a superior translation of the New Testament scriptures. But in a letter dated January 2, 1959, the Watchtower Society denies any knowledge of the names of the scholars who worked on this translation. If they do not know them, as they claim, how can they know that the translators had the qualifications to produce a superior translation of the scriptures? They don't know, friends. The only reason they are publishing this version, which is more of a PER-version, is that it obviously compliments certain points of their false system. We have already noted that the word "church" is excluded from this version. Other examples of obvious perversion rather than correct translation are found in Acts 22:16 where the impression is left that a sinner washes away his sins by calling upon the name of the Lord; Acts 20:7 where the impression is left that the disciples came together for a common meal and not to observe the Lord's Supper; and Hebrews 12:28 where the passage is made to look forward to the receiving of a kingdom. All of these and many other errors are corrected in scholarly translations.

It takes more than a new translation of the scriptures to prove that the kingdom was not established before 1914. The prophet tells us of the beginning of the kingdom (Isaiah 2:2-4). Three things were named by Isaiah that would identify the beginning of the kingdom. They were the time, the place, and the purpose. The time was "the last days", the place was "Jerusalem", and the purpose is for "all nations" to flow into it. All three of these things are found to be fulfilled in Acts chapter 2. (1) The "last days" began here — Acts 2:17; (2) They were in the city of "Jerusalem" — Acts 2:5; and (3) What was there preached Was for "all nations" — Acts 2:38-39. Thus, we have the kingdom, the church of Christ, established in Jerusalem and people were added to it daily — Acts 2:47.

From this time forward in the New Testament we find the kingdom spoken of as having already been established. As an example, read Colossians 1:13: . . . who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." If the kingdom was not established until 1914, how can Colossians 1:13 be true? So, THE WORD OF GOD OR THE WATCHTOWER? Which will you believe? It is impossible to believe both.

The Second Coming Of Christ

The second coming of Christ as a fact of scripture is not in issue. That Christ will come again is admitted by all who believe the Bible. But when and how He will come, and what He will do when He does come are the questions upon which "Jehovah's Witnesses" teach falsely.

The Watchtower position is: (1) that Christ came in 1914; (2) that He established His kingdom at that time; and (3) that His coming was invisible. All of these positions are found on page 319 of Make Sure of All Things. Remember, this is a Watchtower publication.

The Watchtower folks are not the only ones who have tried to fix the date of the second coming of Christ. But the Word of God clearly shows all such date-setting to be false. Jesus said: "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my father only" (Matthew 24:36). The verses that follow this statement of our Lord show conclusively that the coming of Christ will not be known in advance by any man. The Watchtower claims knowledge that the Word limits to the Father only!

Their claim that His coming was invisible is also false. If you will read Acts 1:9-11, you will notice that He was seen going away into heaven. His going was visible. The disciples were told that He "shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." His going was certainly visible and the angel said that His coming would be in like manner. Then in Revelation 1:7, we are told that when He comes "every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him." This shows that His coming will not only be visible to the saints, but to sinners also..

But what will He do when He comes? Will He establish His kingdom and begin His reign on the earth? Let the word of God tell us. "...afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even thq Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and all power" — 1 Corinthians 15:23-24. Then cometh the end! When? — At His coming. "Then" is an adverb of time and the antecedent of it is "at His coming". At His coming, therefore, is when the end comes. If you can see the difference between the words "end" and "begin", you can easily see the difference between the Watchtower and the Word of God on what Christ will do about the kingdom when He comes. THE WORD OF GOD OR THE WATCHTOWER? WHICH WILL YOU TAKE? WHICH WILL YOU BELIEVE?