Salvation

 

 

The way of salvation according to Jehovah’s Witnesses

 

 

 

Here is what Jehovah’s Witnesses teach about salvation. Because of Adam’s sin all men have inherited physical death and inborn sin. Jesus Christ made atonement for us and thus removed for believers the results of Adam’s sin. They explain the word atonement by saying that the word atonement is drawn from the expression at one, and means that what makes satisfaction for another thing which has been forfeited must be ‘at one’ with that other thing, that is, must be exactly equivalent to it. When applied to the work of Christ, atonement means that ‘the human life that Jesus Christ laid down in sacrifice must be exactly equal to that life which Adam forfeited for all his offspring; it must be a perfect human life, no more, no less’ (You May Survive Armageddon, page 39). This human life which Jesus sacrificed for his people is called a ransom. In other words, Jesus sacrificed His human body in order to atone for the sin of Adam, which means that He renounced His body permanently and did not take it back again. His human body was the ransom He had to pay, so he could not take it back through the resurrection. That’s why God did not raise Him from the dead as a human Son, but as a mighty immortal spirit Son (thus, the physical resurrection of Jesus is denied).

So God provided through Christ a redemptive price whereby ‘those of men who have faith in God’s provision may come into harmony with him and, serving him faithfully, they may receive the gift of life, being freed from inherited sin and from eternal death as a result of sin’ (Let God Be True, page 113). It should be noted at this point, that according to Jehovah’s Witnesses, the penalty for Adam’s sin was physical death which was to be followed by annihilation, thus the purpose of Christ’s death was to rescue men from the annihilation in which they would otherwise have remained after death (Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the existence of an immortal soul inside man’s body which after death goes either to heaven or to hell).

For whom did Christ make this atonement? Not for everyone. For Adam is not included among those ransomed nor are included among those ransomed all those who remain eternally dead and are thus permanently annihilated (Cain, those who died in the flood, the people of Sodom, Judas Iscariot, and the religious hypocrites of Jesus’ day). Christ laid down His life for the other sheep as well as for the bride class (the 144,000), for non-Jews as well as for Jews, for all the worthy ones of Adam’s children and for all the believers of Adam’s family. This ransom provides the basis for the resurrection of the dead who are in God’s memory and their eventual gaining of life. The ransom, in fact, extends its benefits even to those who practiced vile things on earth, but who will be raised during the millennium and will then be given the opportunity of responding to the gospel.

Who will benefit from the ransom of Christ? Two classes of believers, that is, the anointed class and the other sheep: ‘All who by reason of faith in Jehovah God and in Christ Jesus dedicate themselves to do God’s will and then faithfully carry out their dedication will be rewarded with everlasting life (Romans 6:23). However, that life will not be the same for all. The Bible plainly shows that some of these, that is, 144,000, will share in heavenly glory with Christ Jesus, while the others will enjoy the blessings of life down here on earth (Revelation 14:1,3; Micah 4:1-5)’ (Let God Be True, page 298). However, the way of salvation is not the same for both classes.

 

The anointed class

 

Let us first look at the doctrine of salvation as it applies to the anointed class or 144,000. How do they obtain salvation? They must first believe and repent. Obviously, they must believe that Jesus is not God, for faith in the Divinity of Christ is a false faith. This faith must be followed by a change of life.

True faith and true repentance require that one should give up one’s selfish course and dedicate oneself to do God’s will, just as Jesus did. Since Jesus publicly confessed His dedication to do His Father’s will by being baptized, everyone who has agreed to do God’s will should be baptized (by immersion), as a symbol of his dedication.

We are told that God declares such people righteous because of their faith in Christ’s blood, so since they exercised faith in Christ’s blood before their baptism, we should come to the conclusion that when they were baptized they were already justified. However it appears that this justification takes place after their baptism or dedication. Here is what we read in Let God Be True: ‘Christ Jesus then [after one has exercised faith and has dedicated himself to God] acts as an advocate, covering the sins of such a dedicated one by the merit of his sacrifice. The dedicated one is now in position to be justified or declared righteous by God, and thus he has access to God through Christ Jesus. He has an acceptable body and the right to perfect life on earth, and all this can be presented for sacrifice with Christ Jesus’ (Let God Be True, page 299). What does ‘one is now in position to be justified or declared righteous’ mean? It means that their justification will take place at the close of the earthly life of the 144,000, for in order to be declared righteous they must prove to be faithful imitators of Christ to the close of their earthly life: ‘For their [the members of the anointed class] proving faithful imitators of his Son to the close of their earthly life, making their calling and their being chosen certain, Jehovah God will pronounce them righteous’ (New Heavens and a New Earth, page 167). So their justification is based on works and not on faith. Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that the fourth chapter of the epistle to the Romans, where Paul speaks of justification, applies to the justification of the anointed class.

What happens after baptism? God causes His active force (that’s how they call the Holy Spirit for they deny His personality and deity) to act upon them so as to bring them forth as spiritual sons with the hope of life in the heavens and God acknowledges them as His sons. They become members of Christ’ body, and are made kings and priests of God. However, they do not yet have eternal life, for they will receive it if they maintain their integrity until death. In other words, they will obtain the right to share heavenly life with Christ after death if they gain it through their own sacrifice. Here is what the Watchtower Society says: ‘To gain that incorruptible prize they must be loyal to God even at the cost of their human lives’ (This Means Everlasting Life, page 121), and again: ‘Before such members of Christ’s body can receive their heavenly inheritance they must be set apart more and more from this world and to the holy service of Jehovah God, demonstrating their dependability by carrying out their dedication faithfully until death’ (Let God Be True, page 301). In the light of their teaching, therefore, the members of the anointed class must earn their own way to heaven! They don’t obtain salvation by the grace of God when they believe, for salvation is something which they will receive at the end of their earthly course if they are faithful to God or rather to the Watchtower Society.

At this point I need to speak of the first resurrection in order to understand how, according to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, those who belong to the 144,000 are enabled to share heavenly life with Christ after death, for, as you know, Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the existence of an immortal soul which continues to live after death. First of all, they affirm that in 1918 Christ came to the temple, that is, the Jehovah’s Witness organization, to cleanse it of rebellious members. A very short time after the temple’s cleansing, still in the year 1918, the members of the anointed class who had died by that time were ‘raised’ with spiritual (that is, non-physical) bodies, and were placed on the throne with Jesus Christ. That was the ‘first resurrection’. Now, since a remnant of the anointed class is still alive today (they are in the Watchtower Society, of course), when the members of this remnant die it happens that they undergo the ‘first resurrection’ at the moment of their death. Immediately at death they enter into an eternal spirit existence! They are resurrected in the spirit, are changed instantaneously to spirits immortal, incorruptible, and they go to heaven with Christ!! ‘…. At death they are changed from human to divine, incorruptible, immortal, spiritual, in but a moment or twinkling of an eye’ (New Heavens and a New Earth, page 320). The 144,000, during the millennium (which will start after the battle of Armageddon) will reign with Christ (in heaven and not on the earth). We are told that, during the millennium, they join Christ in dispensing the benefits of Christ’s ransom sacrifice to the believers of mankind during the thousand years of the kingdom rule (cf. This Means Eternal Life, pages 274-275).

 

The other sheep

 

How do the other sheep obtain salvation? They, too, need to have faith in God and in Jesus Christ; they, too, must dedicate themselves to do God’s will and must faithfully carry out their dedication; they, too, must be baptized by immersion as a symbol of their dedication. However, the other sheep are not justified by God – at least not during their present existence -, nor are they regenerated by God, for they cannot be born again, nor are they made kings and priests, nor are they sanctified by God. There are great differences, therefore, between the members of the anointed class and the other sheep. However, one thing must be clear; the other sheep can’t affirm that they have been saved either, for they need to work very hard to deserve to be saved; to be saved from what? Above all from Armageddon. However, the fact is that even though the other sheep do all their efforts to be counted worthy to survive Armageddon, they are not sure they will be saved at Armageddon. William J. Schnell, who was a Jehovah’s Witness for thirty years, has affirmed that during his years with the movement the other sheep were told that if they stayed close to the Watchtower organization, listened attentively to its indoctrination, went out regularly to distribute literature, and rigidly reported the time spent in doing so, they might be saved at Armageddon (that is, perhaps they would be saved at Armageddon)!! I have personally realized this, for I have talked with many members of ‘the other sheep’ who have told me that they are not sure they will be saved at Armageddon; they hope to be saved but they can’t affirm that will surely be saved!! To support this ‘hope’ with the Scripture they quote the following Bible passage: “Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger” (Zephaniah 2:3 – NIV).

Now, you may ask: ‘Since only the members of the anointed class go to heaven at the moment of their death (through an invisible resurrection!), for they alone are worthy to reign with Christ in heaven, what happens to the other sheep when they die?’ Well, they remain in the condition of non-existence, into which death has plunged them, till their ‘resurrection’, which will take place during the millennium (which will start just after the devastation of Armageddon). Their resurrection is called ‘resurrection of life’ (as a matter of fact it is a recreation because they were totally annihilated when they died), and through this ‘resurrection’ they will be enabled to live again on this earth during the millennium. Besides the other sheep who died before Armageddon, many other people will be raised during the millennium: the Old Testament people who were faithful to God and those who lived at the time of Christ but died before Pentecost. These people also will take part in the ‘resurrection of life’. There are still many other people who will be raised during the millennium: they are those whose hearts may have been wanting to do right but who died without ever having had an opportunity to hear of God’s purposes or to learn what He expects of men. However, the resurrection of these people is called ‘resurrection of judgement’. All those people who will be raised during the millennium (that is, both those who will take part in the ‘resurrection of life’ and those who will take part in the ‘resurrection of judgement’) will be physically raised but not with perfect human bodies. The following people, however, will not be raised during the millennium: those who are killed at Armageddon, those who knowingly and deliberately did wrong, those who have sinned against the Holy Spirit, Adam and Eve, Cain, those who died in the flood, the people of Sodom, Judas Iscariot, and the religious hypocrites of Jesus’ day.

Now let me explain to you what Jehovah’s Witnesses teach about the millennium. The millennium is called ‘Judgement Day’ because all those who will be on earth during the millennium (that is, the survivors of Armageddon and all those who will be raised from the dead during the millennium) will be judged by Christ. In other words, they will be tested by God, in that the millennium is a thousand-year day of test. The basis for this judgement will not be the lives people have lived before they died, but the works they perform during the millennium! Those who pass the judgment-test will receive the right to eternal life. In other words, they will receive eternal life if they deserve it; once again you can see that salvation is by works even during the millennium. However, though the ‘day of judgement’ extends throughout the millennium, this is still not the last judgement; the final judgment will not come until the end of Christ’s thousand-year reign. At the end of the millennium Satan and his demons will be loosed or released from the abyss in which they have been confined for a thousand years. Satan will use some sly appeal to selfishness, making people think they will be better off if they follow him. This attempt of Satan will be a final test of obedience which everyone on earth will have to face. Satan, his demons, and his followers will assault the camp of the holy ones, but fire will come down out of heaven and devour all those who follow Satan. All human rebels, all the demons, and Satan himself will be cast into the lake of fire, which means that they will be annihilated and they will be as if they had never existed. Those who don’t yield to Satan’s temptation however, and who thus pass the final test, will be declared righteous by God and will be given the right to perfect life on the earthly paradise forever. Listen to what the authors of You May Survive Armageddon say: ‘God will be vindicated as true by their unbreakable steadfastness and he will judge them worthy of the right to everlasting life in the earthly paradise. He will accordingly justify them [the other sheep], and the names of these unchangeably righteous ones will be ‘written in the book of life’ (page 360). As you can see, the members of the ‘other sheep’, both those who will survive Armageddon and those who will be raised during the millennium, need to pass a test which will last one thousand years before they can say that they have been justified and they have eternal life!!

 

 

Confutation

 

Jesus took back His body

 

First of all, I want to affirm that according to the Scripture after Jesus offered Himself for our sins, that is to say, after He died on the cross to make atonement for our sins, He rose again physically. His physical resurrection took place on the third day. We affirm that His resurrection was physical because when Jesus appeared to His disciples His body was made of flesh and bones and had the prints of nails on it (consequently, He could not be a spirit). Here is what Luke says: “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them” (Luke 24:36-43). David foretold the physical resurrection of the Messiah centuries before it took place, saying: “My flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:9-10 - NKJV). Jesus had to be raised physically in order to destroy death and put away sin. Therefore, it is true that He gave Himself as a ransom for us to redeem us from our transgression, but in order to complete His work of redemption, and thus to redeem us, He had to rise again with the same body that He had offered on the cross for us. Therefore, Jesus renounced His body temporarily, that is, for three days and three nights, to take it back. Glory be to His name forever. Amen.

 

Jesus died and rose again to save us not only from sin but also from an everlasting torment

 

The Scripture teaches that one does not cease to exist totally when he dies for he has an immortal soul which lives on. The soul of a man goes either to heaven or to hell after death depending upon the spiritual state of the individual at death. Heaven is a wonderful place of rest (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:1-4), while hell is an awful place of torment (cf. Luke 16:22-23) where is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Jesus died on the cross and rose again in order to save us not only from the bondage of sin, but also to save us from hell. Therefore, Jesus did not die in order to rescue men from the annihilation in which they would otherwise have remained after death, but in order to rescue them from hell. Besides hell, there is another place of torment, which is called the lake which burns with fire and brimstone which is the final destination of all the wicked for when all sinners are raised from the dead (at the end of the Millennium) they will be judged according to their works and cast into it, where they will be tormented forever and ever (cf. Revelation 20:11-15; 14:11; Matthew 25:46). When one repents of his sins and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ he is sure he will be saved both from hell (Hades or Sheol) and from the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is called the second death.

Therefore, Jehovah’s Witnesses are wrong when they deny the existence of an immortal soul which continues to live after death as well as when they deny the existence of a place of torment where the souls of the wicked go. Furthermore, they are wrong also when they affirm that not all men will be raised from the dead and that the wicked will be annihilated.

 

The people of God is not divided into two classes

 

Those who have believed in the Lord are not divided into two classes of believers with two different kinds of hope, that is, those who were appointed to reign in heaven and those who were appointed to live on earth. There is one people, one Church, one body, according to the Scripture. And all the members of the Church of God have the same hope. For Paul says: “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling” (Ephesians 4:4), and also: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29).

 

Jesus gave Himself for all men so that they might be justified by His grace

 

As we have seen, according to Jehovah’s Witnesses Jesus died in order to enable those who believe on Him to be justified through their good works. It should be noted, however, that while the 144,000 will be justified (declared righteous) if they prove to be faithful imitators of Christ to the close of their earthly life, the ‘other sheep’ will be justified not during their present existence but at the end of the millennium if they are counted worthy to be justified (in that they will be ‘raised’ from the dead to be tested for a thousand years at the end of which if they pass the test they will be justified forever and live forever on the new earth!) By the way, among those who will be tested during the millennial reign there is even Abraham, for he was not a member of the 144,000! Now I will refute their teaching on justification.

 

The ‘anointed class’.

 

The teaching on the justification of the 144.000 taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses is false for the following reasons.

The Scripture teaches that justification is obtained by faith alone before water baptism, as it is written: “The just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4 - NKJV), and not after water baptism. Furthermore, the Scripture teaches that all those who have repented and believed in Jesus Christ have been justified. Paul did not make any difference between the 144.000 and the ‘other sheep.’ To him all those who have believed have been justified, for he said to the Jews of Antioch in Pisidia: “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38-39 – NKJV). As you can see, the expression ‘everyone who believes’ nullifies the doctrine on justification taught by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, because it shows that all those who believe, and not just some of them, are justified. However, they are justified when they believe, and not after water baptism (because faith precedes water baptism), not after mouths or years or after one has shown through his life his faithfulness to God. For the Scripture says that when Abraham believed God, God accounted it to him for righteousness at once, as it is written: “And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6 - NKJV). Therefore, Abraham was justified on the same day he believed; not some time later, such as when he was circumcised or when he offered his son Isaac, but on the same day he believed in the Lord. The example of Abraham shows how and when God declares a person righteous in His sight: He does declare a person righteous by his faith and not by his conduct; consequently when he believes and not some time after he has believed. All this because justification is obtained by faith alone apart from good works, as it is written: “…. knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ ….” (Galatians 2:16 – NKJV), and also: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28 – NKJV), and again: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1 – NKJV).

As for Abraham, I want to say the following things to refute the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Now, according to them, Abraham was not a member of the anointed class (the 144000), and thus he was not justified fully (for they say that even Abraham will have to be tested during the millennium before he can be justified); however, strange to say, the Jehovah’s Witnesses affirm that the teaching on justification which is in the fourth chapter of the epistle to the Romans applies to the 144000! Therefore, I ask these people, ‘How is it that Paul, in order to speak about the justification of the 144000, took as an example Abraham who was not a member of the anointed class? If Abraham was not justified for life (the justification for life is the kind of justification which is received by the members of the anointed class), as you say, and thus he also must be tested during the millennial reign in order to be justified for life, how is it that the justification he received applies to the justification of the 144.000, who don’t have to pass the millennial test?’ Furthermore, I ask you this, ‘How is it that the father of all those who believe was appointed by God to live on earth, while his children were appointed to live in heaven? Why should his children (the 144000) be in heaven and their father on earth? And why from heaven should they rule over their father?’ The truth is, Jehovah’s Witnesses, that even though Abraham does not belong to the 144000 (however, not for the reasons you say), he was fully justified by his faith, and he had a heavenly hope because he wanted to go to his heavenly country, for in the epistle to the Hebrews it is written that Abraham and others “confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13 – NKJV) and now “they desire a better [country], that is, a heavenly country” (Hebrews 11:16 – NKJV). And we, who have believed in Christ, also have been justified as Abraham, who is our father, and we too desire a better country, that is, a heavenly country, as did Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I will say something else about our father Abraham: even though he is not a member of the 144.000, he is in the kingdom of heaven for one day Jesus said: “And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11).

I want to remind you that when God declares a man righteous through his faith, He gives him eternal life as well, so he who is justified has the assurance that he has eternal life, as it is written: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13 – NKJV), and also: “ …. That having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7 – NKJV). However, such an assurance is foreign to the theology of the Watchtower society, for nobody can say that he has eternal life! Not even the members of the anointed class can say they have eternal life! For they must offer themselves in order to obtain eternal life. According to what I have read in their books, a man can’t receive eternal life as a gift from God because of the merits and the sacrifice of Christ, but rather men can receive eternal life on account of their own merits and sacrifices. Works, works, works, they speak always of good works, as if God put eternal life up for sale! Their message is the same as the message of the Roman Catholic Church, that is, ‘We must earn eternal life!’ But they are greatly mistaken, for eternal life is the gift of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, which is obtained by faith alone, as it is written: “He who believes has everlasting life” (John 6:47 – NIV), and also: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life” (John 3:36 – NKJV). Glory to God forever. Amen.

I want to remind you also this. When a person is justified by God through his faith, he is also saved; so he can say that he has been saved. For the apostle Paul says to the Ephesians: “For by grace you have been saved through faith ….” (Ephesians 2:8 – NKJV). However, Jehovah’s Witnesses can’t affirm that they have been saved. Not even the members of the ‘anointed class’ can say such a thing. Why? Because, in order to be saved, they (the 144000) must obey God till the end of their life. To them, if someone who has believed in the Lord states that he has been saved, he is a presumptuous person! But how can a person be accused of being presumptuous when he says that he possesses what God in His great mercy has given him freely?

 

The ‘other sheep’

 

The teaching on the justification of the ‘other sheep’ is false for the following reasons.

The Scripture unequivocally states that when a person repents of his sins and believes in the blood of Christ is justified by God at once. When God justifies a man, He imputes to him the righteousness of God which is in Christ Jesus; Paul says that Christ became for us righteousness from God (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:30), so Christ is our righteousness before God. And since Christ fulfilled the law, the righteousness which is imputed to him is complete. In other words, he is considered as if he has never sinned, because God has justified him from all his sins, and He remembers his sins no more. Here are some biblical passages which confirm what I have just said. Paul says to the Colossians: “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians 2:13 – NKJV), and to the Romans: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1 – NKJV). As you can see, a Christian has already been justified, and he does not need to wait for the end of the Millennium before he can say that God has justified him. He believes in Jesus, therefore he has now the righteousness which is from God by faith. And since he has been justified by God, he has the assurance that he will be saved from the wrath to come, as it is written: “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:9-10). What a Christian must do, therefore, is to continue in the faith, that he may be found in Him, not having his own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith. If he continues in the faith, he will surely be saved from the wrath to come. He is also sure that if he continues in the faith, he will go to heaven after death, for he has eternal life. For the Scripture says: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life” (John 3:36 – NKJV), and also: “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11 - NKJV). There is a glorious life awaiting all the believers after death, for they go to a marvellous place of rest called Paradise. Those who go to heaven are not just 144.000, for, according to the Scripture, all those who have been born again of water and the Spirit will enter the kingdom of heaven (cf. John 3:5); all those who do the will of God will enter the kingdom of heaven (cf. Matthew 7:21); God has given the kingdom of heaven to all those who belong to the flock of the Lord (cf. Luke 12:32). To confirm that those who go to heaven are more than 144.000 I remind you that the apostle John saw also a great multitude in heaven, besides the 144.000, as it is written: “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9-10). I want you to notice that those people were before the throne of God and before the Lamb, that is, in heaven.

If we consider carefully this teaching on the justification of the ‘other sheep,’ we will notice that it attacks the atonement made by Christ, because according to this teaching the blood of Jesus is not able to blot out all sins from a Christian’s conscience when he believes in Christ and, consequently, it is not able to justify him nor to reconcile him to God during his present existence. For the full reconciliation between believers and God will take place at the end of the Millennium!! While the Scripture clearly states that all our sins have been taken away by the blood of Jesus Christ and we have been reconciled to God through Christ. For the author of the epistle to the Hebrews says: “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:13-14); and Paul says to the Corinthians: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19), and to the Colossians: “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight” (Colossians 1:21-22 – NKJV).

 

All those who believe in the Lord are born of God

 

As we saw before, according to the Jehovah’s Witnesses only the 144.000 are born again; however, that’s not true, because the Scripture says: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13), and again: “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God ….” (1 John 5:1 – NKJV). Therefore, in the light of the Word of God, all those who believe that Jesus is the Christ, are born of God, and consequently when they die they will enter the kingdom of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words.

 

The first resurrection has not yet taken place

 

According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, in 1918 the members of the anointed class who had died by that time rose again with non-physical bodies and were placed on the throne with Christ. That’s untrue, for, according to the Scripture, the first resurrection is a bodily resurrection and it will take place when Jesus is revealed from heaven. Here is what Paul says: “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). After the dead in Christ are raised and the living are changed, the Millennial Reign will start. And all the saints will reign with Christ on the earth, as it is written: “And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4-6)

It follows that it is not true that when the members of the remnant of the 144.000 die, they undergo the first resurrection. For when Paul says: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds” (1 Thessalonians 4:17), he does not refer to the invisible and spiritual resurrection of the members of the remnant of the 144.000, but rather to a completely different thing, that is, he refers to the fact that the body of the saints who are alive and remain till the coming of the Lord will be transformed that it might be conformed to the glorious body of Christ, which is a physical body and not a spiritual body for Jesus rose from the dead physically and not spiritually.

 

The resurrection of life and the resurrection of judgement, according to the Scripture

 

According to the Bible, the resurrection of life, of which Jesus spoke, is the resurrection of the just, which will take place at the return of the Lord. It is also called the first resurrection, and those who will take part in this resurrection will reign with Christ on the earth, as it is written: “Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years …. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4,6 - NKJV). Therefore, all those who take part in the resurrection of life, will obtain an immortal and incorruptible body and will reign with Christ during the Millennium. They will not be raised to be tested by Christ. When they are raised, they will appear before the judgement seat of Christ that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:10). Therefore, they will be rewarded for what they have done in their body (that is, in the present existence).

Instead, the resurrection of judgement (or condemnation), of which Jesus spoke, is the resurrection of the unjust which will take place at the end of the Millennium, as it is written: “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. …. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell [Hades] delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell [hades] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:5,11-15).

As you can see, those who will take part in this resurrection will be judged according to their works done during the life they have lived before they died, and they will be sentenced to the second death, which does not stand for everlasting destruction, but for everlasting torment for it is written that they “will go away into everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46 – NKJV), and they will have no rest day or night (cf. Revelation 14:11).

 

All men will be raised

 

As for the teaching that not all men will be raised from the dead, it is false because Jesus said that “the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth ….” (John 5:28-29 - NKJV).

 

Men will be given no second opportunity to accept the Gospel after death

 

As for the teaching according to which during the Millennium many sinners will be raised and they will be given the opportunity to become part of the sheep of the Lord, it is false because Jesus said that “he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16 – NKJV), and the author of the epistle to the Hebrews says that it is appointed for men to die once, and after this the judgement (cf. Hebrews 9:27). They died in their sins, so they will be raised from the dead to be judged and cast into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.

 

The Millennium is not a judgement day

 

The teaching of the Watchtower about the Millennium has nothing to do with the truth, it is a heap of nonsense. The Millennium is a period of time which will last a thousand years, during which the saints (both those who will be raised from the dead and those who will be changed at the coming of Christ) will reign with Christ on the earth (cf. Revelation 20:1-4). It is not a ‘Judgement day’ at all.

 

The Day of Judgement

 

The Judgement day of which the Watchtower Society speaks has nothing to do with the Day of Judgement of which the Bible speaks. For the Day of Judgement is a day on which all the sinners will be raised from the dead and appear before the throne of God to be judged according to the works done in this life, and they will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).

 

Conclusion

 

According to the Word of God, justification is by grace through faith in Christ. All those who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, therefore, have been justified by God, and consequently they have been reconciled to God through Christ. They are sure that their sins have been purged from their conscience by the precious blood of Christ. They have eternal life, and shall not come into judgement, but have passed from death into life. So when they die, they will go to be with the Lord in the kingdom of heaven where they will wait for the resurrection from the dead. Then, when they are raised from the dead, they will reign with Christ on the earth for a thousand years.

Beloved, let no man deceive you with empty words.

 

 

 

Back