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by Les Sherlock, March 2021 but originally posted c2009-10
In the past approx. 60 years I have met many Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are lovely, sincere people, who go to a great deal of trouble to proclaim their message to others. The result of all this contact is that I have had the opportunity to examine the teaching from the Watchtower against that of the Bible, which I have read very many times. I am deeply concerned that these kind people are being deceived with a belief system that is actually preventing them from entering into the relationship with God that both they and He desire. Hence this page.
I shall concentrate on two publications by the Watchtower, which is part of the Jehovah's Witnesses organisation. Where I quote from their own translation of the Bible (The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, revised 1970), they will be marked (W) as it frequently distorts the original meaning of the text in order to make it fit with their doctrines. However, even in their version the truth can still be seen, so I include quotes from it [a] to show the distortions and [b] to show that even their own version does not support some of their teachings.
The Watchtower version of the Bible can be read on-line here, but I do not recommend it unless you have a valid translation of the Bible with which to compare it, because while most of it is a fair translation, there are important differences here and there in the use of words and punctuation that significantly alter the meaning in order to make it line up with JW doctrine where a valid translation contradicts it. For example, it translates Luke 23:43 as
“And he said to him: "Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise."
An authentic translation is:
And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."
By altering the punctuation, in this case moving the comma to the other side of the word ‘today’, the meaning is changed to fit Watchtower teaching, which, in this case, is that there is no existence for humans outside of the physical body. The original says that Jesus told the thief he would be in Paradise that day; while their version has it that it was that day Jesus was telling him that he would eventually enter Paradise.
This is an important point: there is no punctuation in the Greek or Hebrew languages because they do not need it. The meaning of the sentences is determined by the spelling and positioning of the words. In English, while the spelling of words and their position affects the meaning, punctuation is also required in order to make it clear. So when a translator turns Greek or Hebrew into English, he uses the punctuation required in order for it to say the same in both languages.
This means it is not valid to claim that because Greek does not have punctuation you can therefore change it to whatever you want in English. You can’t! The translator has used the punctuation needed to reflect what can be read in Greek, and if by changing the punctuation you are altering the meaning, you are taking it further away from the original, not bringing it closer.
With that in mind, on to the publications: 'The Divine Name That Will Endure Forever' and 'Born Again What Does It Mean?'
The Name Above All Names
Introduction/ Verses Relating to The Name of Jesus
'The Divine Name that will Endure Forever'
How Many Gods?
Jesus was not resurrected!
Born Again What Does it Mean?
Born Again: What Does it Mean?
Is Jesus God?
Salvation Available For All People
Scriptures Where Jesus is Worshipped
Name above all names
The Name Above all Names
Before we delve into the first of the JW publications, The Divine Name That Will Live Forever, I think it important to go into some detail to see what the Bible actually says.
Which Name is more important than any other to the person really determined to be obedient to Almighty God? The answer must be found in the Bible which is the ultimate source of reference to the truly committed Christian. Furthermore, the New Testament must provide the most complete answer, as only here can be found the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, and the fulfilment of many of the Old Testament 'mysteries'.
So what does the New Testament teach about The Name? The simplest way to discover this is to investigate all the verses containing the word name. Here we produce a fairly comprehensive list, but excluded are approximately 86 verses containing this word which have no real bearing on the study.
Luke 1:13 ....you shall call his name John.
Verses not having direct effect on the study will only be quoted and not written out in full. Words are omitted only to conserve space and do not alter the meaning of the verse and in any case this can be easily checked. Words in scripture references that are not found in the original Greek text are in italic. Words in capital letters in New Testament verses are those quoted from the Old Testament.
VERSES RELATING TO THE NAME OF JESUS
Named at His birth:
Matthew 1:21,23,25; Luke 1:31; 2:21
Name above all names:
...Christ ...raised… up ...far above every government and authority and power and lordship and every name named.
Ephesians 1:20–21 (W)
For this very reason also God exalted Him to a superior position and kindly gave Him the Name that is above every other name, so that in the Name of Jesus every knee should bend…
Philippians 2:9–10 (W)
NOTE: The word 'kindly' is not in the original Greek.
Hebrews 1:4 So He has become better than the angels, to the extent that He has inherited a Name more excellent than theirs.
Philippians 2:9–10 (W)
An honoured Name:
...and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you...
2 Thessalonians 1:12
The Name proclaimed by God's people:
…repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations...
Do you preach repentance in the Name of Jesus?
But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ…
But the Lord said to him, "Be on your way, because this man is a chosen vessel to me to bear my Name to the nations" ...So Ananias went off and entered into the house, and he laid his hands upon him and ...he told them in detail how on the road he had seen the Lord and that He had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the Name of Jesus. And he continued with them ...speaking boldly in the Name of the Lord.
Acts 9:15, 17, 27–28 (W)
Do you bear the Name of Jesus to the nations?
I know where you are ...and yet you keep on holding fast my Name.
Revelation 2:13 (W)
...you kept my word and did not prove false to my Name.
Revelation 3:8 (W)
The context of Revelation 1:17–20 shows those two verses do refer to Jesus.
I am He who lives, and was dead,
Salvation through His Name:
and in his name Gentiles will trust..
However, as many as did receive Him, to them he gave authority to become God's children, because they were exercising faith in His Name.
John 1:12 (W)
Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did.
but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
And everyone who calls on the Name of Jehovah will be saved.
Acts 2:21 (W)*
The Greek word translated ‘Jehovah’ in the Watchtower version here is 'kurios' - Lord - and to prove that Jesus is the Lord mentioned, check the context later in the chapter:
Therefore let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus...
Let it be known ...that in the Name of Jesus Christ ...does this man stand ...Furthermore, there is no salvation in anyone else, for there is not another Name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.
Acts 4:10, 12 (W)
Do you believe that salvation can only come from believing in the Name of Jesus, by putting faith in Jesus, and that there is no other name which will enable us to be saved?
...Jesus Christ: this One is Lord of all....To Him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone putting faith in Him gets forgiveness of sins through His Name.
Acts 10:36, 43 (W)
...wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Proof that this refers to Jesus Christ is found in Acts 9:15, 17 (quoted above)
Through whom we received grace and apostleship for obedience of faith among all the nations on behalf of the Name of Him...
Romans 1:5 (Nestle's Interlinear English/Greek text)
For everyone who calls on the Name of Jehovah (kuriou) will be saved.
Romans 10:13 (W)
Greek ‘kuriou’ - LORD. Jesus is the LORD being referred to - see the context:
For if you publicly declare that word in your mouth, that Jesus is Lord (kurion), and exercise faith in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
The reader of the original Greek would see from v9 that Jesus is ‘kurion’ (Lord) and from v13 that calling upon the Name of kuriou (therefore the Name of Jesus - the change of letter at the end alters only the case, not the meaning) produces salvation. To translate kuriou as ‘Jehovah’ is not only inaccurate but dishonest as it treats kurion (Lord) differently from what is clear in the original. If it is claimed that kuriou should be translated as ‘Jehovah’, then v9 reads ‘...Jesus is Jehovah’!
...But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus...
1 Corinthians 6:11
And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ...
1 John 3:23
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, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
1 John 5:13
Is your faith in the Name of Jesus?
Condemnation apart from His Name:
...he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Baptism in His Name:
...baptising them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Note that 'Name' is singular, not plural - Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, not names of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One Name, but three persons.
...Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ...
...They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord...
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
So, in spite of the clear instruction to baptise in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, there is no New Testament record of any baptism other than that in the Name of Jesus. The only explanation is that either the disciples were being terribly disobedient (unthinkable), or that baptising in the Name of Jesus is baptising in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit sent in His Name:
Signs, wonders, miracles, works, healings, results of faith, devils cast out in His Name:
...Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?
Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
And everyone who has left… for My name's sake, shall receive..
"Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me." Now John answered Him, saying, "Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us." But Jesus said, "Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me.
For whoever gives you drink a cup of water in my Name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly I say to you...
For whoever gives you drink a cup of water to drink on the ground that you belong to Christ, I truly tell you...
Mark 9:41 (W)
Why does the Watchtower version omit that it is done in the Name of Christ?
...In My name they will cast out demons...
... “Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great." Now John answered and said, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name..
Luke 9:48, 49
Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name."
...whatever it is that you ask in My Name, I will do this, in order that the Father may be glorified in connection with the Son. If you ask anything in My Name I will do it.
John 14:13–14 (W)
The two words in italics do not appear in the Greek text. Their use here distorts the meaning which is quite plain in the original - The Father is glorified in the Son, not merely in connection with the Son!
...that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
...whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full… In that day you will ask in My name…
John 16:23–24, 26
Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."
And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong
... they asked, "By what power or by what name have you done this?"...let it be known… by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth… this man stands here before you whole.
Acts 4:7, 10
...signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.
...But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her."
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together...
1 Corinthians 5:4
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Do you do everything in the Name of Jesus?
I write to you, little children, Because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake.
1 John 2:12
because they went forth for His name's sake...
3 John 7
Paul writes and commands in His Name:
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…
1 Corinthians 1:10
But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…
2 Thessalonians 3:6
God's people everywhere call on His Name:
...to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord…
1 Corinthians 1:2
Gatherings in His Name:
For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.
Those naming His Name depart from sin:
For all that, the solid foundation of God stays standing, having this seal: “Jehovah knows those who belong to Him,” and: “Let everyone naming the Name of Jehovah renounce unrighteousness.”
2 Timothy 2:19 (W)
Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
2 Timothy 2:19 (NKJV)
The Greek here is kuriou - LORD - and to prove Jesus is the LORD being referred to check the context:
...peace from God the Father and Jesus Christ OUR LORD (kuriou).
2 Tim 1:2
The Greek word that is translated 'Jehovah' in the phrase 'naming the name of Jehovah' by the Watchtower, is Χριστός - Christos: Christ. There is no justification for doing this. Additionally, 2 Timothy 2:1, 8, 10 show that it is Jesus rather than the Father or the Holy Spirit who is being considered throughout the letter.
You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus... Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David... Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory...
2 Timothy 2:1, 8, 10
Furthermore, as kuriou is translated ‘Lord’ in verses 2 Tim 2:22, 24 in the Watchtower version, it is inconsistent to translate it as ‘Jehovah’ in verse 2:19.
Suffering for His Name:
And you will be hated by all for My name's sake...
...and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.
And you will be hated by all for My name's sake...
But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake.
And you will be hated by all for My name's sake.
If you suffer persecution, is it because of the Name of Jesus?
But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name." So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
Acts 4:17, 18
saying, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name?...
...they summoned the apostles, flogged them, and ordered them to stop speaking upon the basis of Jesus Name, and let them go ...went their way ...rejoicing because they had been counted worthy to be dishonoured in behalf of His Name.
And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.
For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake."
...Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem…
men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
…I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."
Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you…
1 Peter 4:14
and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary.
Context proves this refers to Jesus:
...I am the First and the Last and the Living One; and I became dead, but look! I am living forever...
Giving thanks in His Name:
giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Jesus’ new Name:
...He had a name written that no one knew except Himself… and His name is called The Word of God… And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Revelation 19:12, 13, 16
Deceivers coming in His Name:
Matthew 24:5; Mark 13:6; Luke 21:8; Acts 19:13
The following references are those not specifically referring to Jesus by name:
God’s (theos) Name:
Luke 1:49 Holy
Hebrews 6:10; 13:15 Honoured
Romans 2:24; James 2:7; Revelation 13:6; 16:9; 1 Timothy 6:1 Blasphemed
Acts 15:14 A people for His Name.
The Lord's (kurios) Name:
Acts 15:17 Called on.
James 5:10, 14 Works done in.
The Lord God's Name (kurios ho theos):
Revelation 11:17, 18 Rewards for fearing.
The Father's Name:
Matthew 21:9; 23:39; Mark 11:9, 10; Luke 13:35; 19:38; John 5:43; 12:13 Jesus came in.
John 10:25; 17:11, 12, 26 Jesus worked in.
Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:2; John 12:28; 17:6; Hebrews 2:12 Jesus honoured.
Romans 9:17 Declared and honoured.
Ephesians 3:15 All families named by
Matthew 28:19 Baptism in
Revelation 14:1 In the foreheads of 144,000.
When I pointed this page to a couple of Jehovah’s Witness some years ago, they said, “You’ve just put a list of verses with the word 'name' in them!”
Precisely! That is the main subject of the publication. THE NAME. The whole point is which name?
As can be seen from these scriptures, the number of references to the Name of Jesus is startling, when contrasted with the number of references to God where they clearly do not refer to Jesus. It is obvious from all these scriptures that in the early Church a very great emphasis was placed on the Name of Jesus.
The message that the New Testament Christians preached was that salvation comes through/in the Name of Jesus, and indeed apart from that Name, salvation is impossible.
"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
All they did, whether natural or supernatural, was done in Jesus’ Name; including baptism, which as previously pointed out would have been extraordinary disobedience in an act which was considered to be a vital element in salvation, unless it was what they had been told to do.
Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
It is evident from the scriptures listed under the heading of 'Suffering for His Name' that the major cause of persecution for the early Christians by the Jews was their insistence on the use of the Name of Jesus. This is understandable, as up until this time God's Name had always been known to them as ‘Jehovah’, but now attributes which had always been linked with that Name were declared to be the domain of Jesus. For example, they knew from Old Testament scriptures that there was no other Saviour but Jehovah.
For I am the LORD (Hebrew: YHWH) your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior… even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there is no savior.
Isaiah 43:3, 11
Now they are told the only Saviour is Jesus.
…let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole… Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
Acts 4:10, 12
It is certainly worth noting that the Name of The Father is barely mentioned at all outside of the Gospels. From this can be seen that the Name by which the early Christians lived, worked and died was Jesus, but that the Name by which Jesus lived, worked and died was that of The Father - although there is no evidence that He ever spoke the Name Jehovah. Indeed, while the Watchtower organisation calls itself ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’, the New Testament Christians were Jesus’s witnesses:
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.
and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.
And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."
And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem… Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people.
For the Christian, everything revolves around Jesus:
And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life.”
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world.”
Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.”
"I am the good shepherd.”
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life.”
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
“I am the true vine,”
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
Since the Bible says of Jesus:
…His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; …who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person…
…then serving Jesus is serving Jehovah; worshipping Jesus is worshipping Jehovah; honouring the name of Jesus is honouring the name of Jehovah.
In summary, because Jesus (The Word of God) is the revelation of God to mankind, His work is to honour the Name of the Father. But because He is the revelation of the Father to us, our work is to honour the Name of Jesus – the English form of the Hebrew name Y'SHUA. This means Jehovah is salvation, according to the Watchtower booklet The Divine Name That Will Endure Forever, printed in 1984 and in future referred to as DNTEF.
'The Divine Name that will Endure Forever'
In this magazine, published by the Watchtower in 1984, there are approximately 150 Bible references in support of the teaching. As most contain more than one verse, this makes at least 300 verses - probably more. Very impressive! Until one examines them, and discovers that of all these references only 24 from the New Testament have direct relevance to the Name of God the Father. On closer examination, it becomes apparent that some of the verses are repeated as many as five times over, and in fact there are only 11 different references quoted. They are (where a verse appears more than once, the number of repeats are in brackets):
1. ...Our Father in the Heavens, let Your Name be sanctified.
Matthew 6:9 (W) (5 times)
2. baptising them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 28:19 (W) (twice)...
3. Father, glorify Your Name…
John 12:28 (W)
4. I have made Your Name manifest to the men You gave me…
John 17:6 (W)
5. And I have made Your Name known to them and will make it known.
John 17:26 (W) (4 times)
6. Jehovah’s (kuriou) Spirit is upon me ...to preach Jehovah’s (kuriou) acceptable year.
Luke 4:18–19 (W)
7. (twice) And everyone who calls on the Name of Jehovah (kuriou) will be saved.
Acts 2:21 (W)
8. ...God ...turned His attention to the nations to take out of them a people for His Name. And with this the words of the prophet agree.
Acts 15:14–15 (W) (3 times)
9. For everyone who calls on the Name of Jehovah (kuriou) will be saved
Romans 10:13 (W) (5 times)
10. For all that, the solid foundation of God stays standing, having this seal: "Jehovah (kuriou) knows those who belong to Him," and: "Let everyone naming the Name of Jehovah (kuriou) renounce unrighteousness."
2 Timothy 2:19 (W)
11....a great crowd in Heaven. They said, “Praise Jah” ...for the second time they said, “Praise Jah” ...twenty four older persons and the four living creatures ...said, "Praise Jah” ...They said, “Praise Jah...”
Revelation 19:1, 3–4, 6 (W)
All of these references have been mentioned earlier in this study, except for the verses from Luke and Revelation. My points regarding the alteration of the original text in the verses in references 7 & 9 above can be found earlier.
Of the rest:
1 & 3 There is no teaching in any denomination I know which says that God's Name should not be sanctified/glorified.
2 This verse does not say in which name people should be baptised – but throughout the New Testament, the disciples baptised in the Name of Jesus.
6, 7, 9, & 10 The verses have been changed to make them support Watchtower theories.
11 Examples of the most common expression of praise to God used in all the denominations.
This leaves just three verses (4, 5, & 8) on which to base the theory. Not one of these verses contains a command to Christians to do anything in the Name of Jehovah. In spite of the claim on page 26 of DNTEF that Paul meant in Romans 10:13 that we should call on the Name of Jehovah, when you compare the overwhelming weight of evidence in the scriptures quoted in this study with the few in a booklet designed to present absolute proof on the subject, you can be left with no doubt that Paul meant what he said: kuriou - the Lord - Jesus.
It is acknowledged that the disputed verses (6, 7, 9 & 10) are quotations from the Old Testament which contain the Name YHWH, being the revelation of God’s identity to man at that time. However, Jesus came to provide a more complete revelation of God:
He that has seen me (Jesus) has seen the Father also.
John 14:9 (W)
NOTE: The word ‘also’ does not appear in the original text.
The Name by which God now reveals Himself to man is Jehovah-Saviour, or in its shorter Greek form Yeshua — Jesus.
It must also be observed that in Romans 10:13, Acts 2:21 and 2 Timothy 2:19, these Old Testament passages are taken by the speaker and applied to Jesus. In each case, the speaker declares Jesus to be kurios and quotes the Old Testament using that same word – kurios – instead of YHWH. This is why the early Christians' use of the Name of Jesus caused persecution from the Jews who had rejected Christianity, as can be seen from the verses above under the heading of ‘Suffering for His Name’.
What was it about using the Name of Jesus that brought such persecution to the early Church?
How Many Gods?
How Many Gods?
The Watchtower will quote verses to support the point that there is one God. But this is not the real issue. I, too, believe there is one God. Not two Gods; not three Gods; not ten Gods; one God. The issue is not how many Gods there are, but what is the nature of that one God!
Of course the word trinity does not appear in the Bible. Probably because the connotations it throws up can be so easily misunderstood - in the way the Watchtower misunderstands it, for example. It is not a word I like myself, but is a convenient label to attach to a highly complex concept. I am quite happy to dispense with the word, but what I cannot do is ignore the very clear Bible verses which point very definitely in the opposite direction to the Watchtower teaching.
For example, in regard to Jesus:
In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.
John 1:1 (W)
Note that all Greek scholars other than J.W.s accept this translation is incorrect. Greek grammar demands that the verse should end: ‘the Word was God’.
The Watchtower's claim that Jesus was a god who accompanied the God is quite clearly unscriptural:
This is what Jehovah has said ...I am the first and the last, and besides me there is no god. And who is there like me? Let him call out that he may tell it and present it to me... Does there exist a god besides me? No, there is no rock. I have recognised none.
Isaiah 44:6–8 (W)
I am Jehovah ...With the exception of me there is no god.
Isaiah 45:5 (W)
...I am Jehovah and there is no-one else.
Isaiah 45:6 (W)
I myself have made the earth ... I – My own hands have stretched out the heavens…
Isaiah 45:12 (W)
I am Jehovah and there is no-one else.
Isaiah 45:18 (W)
... Is it not I, Jehovah, besides whom there is no other god; a righteous God and Saviour, there being none except me?
Isaiah 45:21 (W)
I am God, and there is no-one else.
Isaiah 45:22 (W)
...I am the divine One, and there is no other god, nor anyone like me.
Isaiah 46:9 (W)
Be very clear about this point. Isaiah says Jehovah is the only God and there is no other god, yet according to the Watchtower Translation, John said Jesus (the Word) was a god by/with Him.
According to Isaiah, Jehovah created everything by Himself, yet John tells us that all things were created through Jesus.
According to Isaiah, there is no-one else like Jehovah, yet Colossians tells us that Jesus is the image of God.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
In Isaiah 44:8 God says He is the only rock and there is no other. 1 Corinthians 10:4 says
and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.
The only way these passages can be true, is by Jesus being included in the being called Jehovah and that when John says “the Word was God” he means the Word was God!
...he (Jesus) was also calling God His own Father, making Himself equal to God.
John 5:18 (W)
Note: This is the conclusion of the apostle John, who is writing here. It is not, as J.W.’s claim, what the people to whom Jesus was talking thought – if it was it would say something like:
They thought Jesus was making Himself equal with God when He called Him Father.
...Thomas said to Him (Jesus): "My Lord and my God".
John 20:28 (W)
This is an act of worship of Jesus as God, which Jesus would have rebuked if it was wrong in the same way He rebuked Peter when he got it wrong:
But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, "Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."
...Christ Jesus, who, although He was existing in God's form…
Philippians 2:5–6 (W)
The only way Jesus could exist in God’s form was by being God. It does not say He was in a form like God, but was in God’s form.
....I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end ......and I shall be his God.
Revelation 21:6–7 (W)
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end........I, Jesus…
Revelation 22:13, 16 (W)
So the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end is identified first as God, and then later as Jesus.
Notice also that in Revelation 22:6 it is Jehovah who sent His angel, while in Revelation 22:16 it is Jesus who did this.
Furthermore, in the Isaiah passage quoted earlier, Jehovah is called the first and the last. Now Jesus applies that title to Himself. There can't be two Alpha's, two Omega's, two First's, two last's; that would be nonsense. One Alpha; one Omega; one First; one Last; one God! If you reduce God to the level of man, then of course that is contradictory. But the Bible shows that God is omnipresent - everywhere at the same time; so why should it be impossible for Him to reveal Himself in more than one place and more than one form at the same time?
If God is Almighty and omnipresent, is it impossible for Him to reveal Himself in more than one form and more than one place at the same time?
Finally, if the Holy Spirit is not a thinking, reasoning, feeling being (to use an inadequate human phrase), why does the Bible refer to Him as HE in John’s gospel?
..when that One arrives, the Spirit of the truth, He will guide you into all truth, for He will not speak of His own impulse, but what things He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things coming. That One will glorify me, because He will receive from what is mine and will declare it to you.
John 16:13–14 (W)
The Watchtower tries to get around this, by claiming that the word 'He' refers to the Father from whom the Holy Spirit comes; but not only does this once again destroy the laws of grammar, it also produces nonsense – "He will not speak of His own impulse". If 'He' refers to the Holy Spirit, then it is clear that He speaks by the impulse of the Father; but if 'He' refers to the Father, what impulse could He speak by, if it was not His own?
Mark 7:7 would appear to be appropriate to this Watchtower teaching:
and in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'
Jesus not resurrected!
Jesus was not resurrected!
This startling lie is the result of Watchtower teaching. While all Jehovah's Witnesses will claim vehemently that they believe in the resurrection, in actual fact their beliefs make this impossible.
Firstly, they teach that man does not have a spirit – they say this word simply refers to his breath. Nor does he have a soul (they claim) – he is a soul. So man is simply a physical being, and when his body dies, his being goes out of existence. Only by his body being resurrected, can a man have existence restored. There is nothing in a human being that can continue to exist outside of the body after death.
Secondly, according to Philippians:
(Jesus) "...emptied Himself and took a slave's form and came to be in the likeness of men".
Philippians 2:7 (W)
So they must accept that when Jesus was born, all that He had been prior to that event was gone and He was now entirely man. Therefore, according to their teaching He had no eternal soul or spirit within His human form that could continue to exist after He died. So when Jesus died, He ceased to exist. This must be the case because He was fully man and as such there was nothing within Him that could continue to exist after the death of His body.
Thirdly, they teach that the body that was killed on 'the torture stake' (as they prefer to call the cross) could not have been brought back to life, because this would have been, quote:
'taking the sacrifice off the altar'.
God in some way destroyed that body and created a new one. So the body the disciples saw after the resurrection was not the same one that had died a few days earlier, but a different one.
Now put those three points together. The result is that the Jesus who died for the sins of the world could not have been resurrected because only by restoring the original body to life could this take place. According to them He had no soul or spirit that could inhabit a different body, therefore He could only live again by the same flesh being resurrected. But the Watchtower says that God destroyed that flesh and made a second body. So the Jesus who came out of the tomb must have been a second Jesus – a duplicate of the first, but not the first.
This point is vital, because according to Romans it is only by believing Jesus was raised from the dead that a person can be saved.
…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
So a person accepting Watchtower teaching cannot be saved, because although they may use the words "I believe Jesus was raised from the dead," they actually mean the opposite – they mean a duplicate copy of Jesus was created by God and presented himself as being the same Jesus who had died; while in fact the Jesus who had died was a body that God had destroyed for all time.
This has serious implications for us, because we will have a resurrection like His:
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection
If His resurrection was actually replacement, then so shall ours be!
On the other hand, if they accept that the resurrected Jesus is the same Jesus who died, then they have to accept that He had a spirit, or a soul, or something that could continue to exist apart from the body and be transferred from the first body to the second body. So since Jesus was fully man, then it follows that we also must have something within us that continues to exist apart from the body.
There are problems if we believe that Jesus' original body was destroyed:
The scars which He displayed to His disciples as evidence that it was really Him, were not present in His new body as a result of the nails and the spear. The body that suffered these things had been destroyed by God. So these scars were a fake – artificially introduced into the replica body by God. Can God ever indulge in deception?
The angels said to the people at the tomb that the fact it was empty proved Jesus had risen:
He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.
Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.' "
But if His body had been destroyed by God, it proved no such thing. All it proved was that His body had been destroyed by God. So the angels were lying!
Was Jesus Resurrected or Replaced?
If you believe He was resurrected, then you believe:
There is some part of a human that continues to live after death
God did not destroy Jesus’ body but restored it to life.
If you believe His original body was destroyed, then it must have been replaced. This means you believe:
You too will be replaced at the end of your life and not be resurrected to enjoy eternal life.
The scars in Jesus’ hands, feet and side were not the result of His suffering but artificially produced in a replacement body.
The angels lied: the empty tomb was not evidence that Jesus had risen but simply proof that His body had been destroyed.
By introducing its own doctrines and changing Scripture in order to try to prove them, the Watchtower has in fact taken away from its followers the only way for salvation. If you have managed to read as far as this, then I implore you to ignore man's theories and trust only in what God has said in His Word, which is:
Believe that Jesus died for you and rose again on the third day
Ask Him to forgive your sins and make you His child. You will become a child of God
Be water-baptised in the Name of Jesus
The result of giving your life to God in this way is that you will be endued with the presence of His Holy Spirit and a possessor of the certainty of eternal life.
The following Scriptures prove the Bible teaches this is the way of salvation.
...if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:12, 13
Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
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, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
1 John 5:13
There is much more detail here about what the Bible teaches regarding the way of salvation.
Born Again what's it mean?
Born Again What Does it Mean?
The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Watchtower magazine, volume 130 no. 7
(ironically published 1st April 2009!)
Page 3: “…a current dictionary defines a born-again individual as “a usually Christian person who has made a renewed or confirmed commitment of faith especially after an intense religious experience”… Would you be surprised to learn that the Bible does not agree with that definition?”
I wouldn’t be surprised, because this is not what either the Bible or the Christian Church teaches. It is not merely a commitment of faith, but repentance (a change of mind resulting in a change of behaviour) and confession (to God, not man) of sin, asking for forgiveness on the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus, who paid the price to enable this to take place. The result is that the old person passes away and new person is born: a change from ‘death’ to ‘life’:
…it is you God has made alive, though you were dead in your trespasses and sins.
Ephesians 2:1 (W)
Furthermore, though you were dead in your trespasses and in the uncircumcised state of your flesh, [God] made you alive together with him. He kindly forgave us all our trespasses.
Colossians 2:13 (W)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17
So the old life has ended and a new life has begun – literally! This is why it is called ‘born again’: it is literally a new birth, a new life. The person’s physical body may remain the same, but the person’s spirit becomes radically different (more on this below) as the next scripture indicates:
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God
It is not merely a mental assent to something, or a resolution to be different, but a metamorphosis just as real and transforming as a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Contrary to Watchtower teaching, there is something within humans that continues to live on and is conscious after the death of the body:
For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven… So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:1–2, 6–8
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows
2 Corinthians 12:2–3
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you
And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
As mentioned at the start of this page, the Watchtower version of the Bible wrongly translates this verse:
And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise.”
Moving the comma to the other side of the word ‘today’ cannot be justified from the Greek text but alters the meaning to fit with JW teaching.
So Paul tells us there is something that can be away from the body and with the Lord, in the body or out of the body, which can depart from life in the flesh to be with Christ, which can leave ‘this tabernacle’ and depart; and Jesus said He would be with the thief in Paradise while His body was in the tomb.
Also, in Luke 16:19–31 (the experience of Abraham, Lazarus and the rich man after their deaths), Jesus taught that consciousness continues after death. While some may argue about the distinction between spirit and soul (that such a distinction exists is clear from Hebrews 4:12), it is obvious from the above verses that this ‘non-physical’ part of man’s being continues to exist after physical death, and it is this element that is transformed at the new birth.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.
2 Peter 1:13–15
The subject is too large to go into here, but in short the spirit is the God-conscious part of man; the soul is the self-conscious part and the body is the world-conscious part. The spirit is transformed at the new birth; the soul is being changed in this life (2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:16), and the body will be changed at the resurrection.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3:18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:16
The spirit communicates with God and functions via conscience, for example; the soul functions with the mind, emotions and will; and the body is the physical element, functioning with the five senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight, enabling us to interact with the physical world.
The spirit is the spiritual part of man; the body is the physical part of man; the soul is the intermediary between spirit and body, bringing the spiritual into the physical realm (“your Kingdom come on the Earth as it is in Heaven”).
A person ruled by their spirit is spiritual (if inhabited by God’s Spirit this will result in righteousness, if inhabited by evil spirit(s) it will result in sin); ruled by their soul is soulish (and driven by the mind or emotions); ruled by their physical desires is carnal (and driven by physical desires).
Question: what change has taken place in those people within the Jehovah’s Witnesses who do claim to be born again? If there is no part of us that continues to live after death, then the only thing that is capable of experiencing change is our physical bodies. So in what way do they change when the new birth takes place? Or do they claim the new birth is simply ‘turning over a new leaf’ or the fact that God has now designated that person to be a part of the special group of 144,000? If so, then all the scriptures telling us about the radical change that takes place when becoming born again are meaningless.
Although page three of the booklet tells us ‘born again’ only appears once in the New Testament (John 3:3, 7), in a footnote it does give the reference to 1 Peter 1:3, 23, which are two more verses saying the same thing:
Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot
see the kingdom of God." ...Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
John 3:3, 7
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead... having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever…
1 Peter 1:3, 23
Page 5: “Since Jesus viewed the new birth as a matter of such great importance, Christians should make sure that they understand this subject accurately. For example, do you think that a Christian can choose to be born again?”
The Watchtower belief system is radically different from what is taught in the Bible, as we shall see as we progress. Hence we find such strange questions as that in the above quote. The people Paul was writing to at Ephesus and Colossi in the quotes above were Christians. These are the people who he said were now alive who had previously been dead: i.e. they had experienced the new birth. The consistent teaching of the New Testament is that a Christian is a person who has been born again. If someone is born again, they are a Christian; if they are not born again, they are not a Christian. So the idea that a Christian can choose to be born again is completely wrong: if he is a Christian, he has been born again.
Page 5: “A careful reading of Jesus’ words shows that Jesus did not teach that it is up to man to choose whether to experience the new birth or not.”
This is self-evidently untrue, as will be seen in what follows. It is man who chooses whether to repent or not. It is man who chooses whether to be baptised or not. According to Peter in Acts chapter 2 (quoted later) everyone undertaking these two steps will receive the Holy Spirit. So in that sense the initiative comes from man. However, strictly speaking this is not the whole story since the first initiative came from God, who planned and accomplished the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus to make our salvation possible. Having initiated the process He is now waiting for us to respond to Him, and in everyone who does so He performs the miracle of new birth.
Page 6: “…when Jesus said you must be “born again,” He was stating a fact, not giving a command.”
It makes no difference whether He was stating a fact or giving a command. Either way the effect of His words is the same: it is vitally important that a person is born again; otherwise it is impossible either to see or enter the Kingdom of God. Therefore, clearly, it is both necessary and possible for us. Yet the Watchtower in its teaching tells the majority of its followers that they cannot be born again! Presumably they know better than Jesus…
“If we keep the expression “from above” in mind, it is not hard to understand why an individual cannot cause his own new birth.”
Untrue! It is God who gives us the new birth certainly – we cannot do it ourselves – but it is we who have to present ourselves to Him in order for it to happen. If we do not, it will not happen: if we do, then it will.
On page seven in the chapter “What is its Purpose?” we are told:
“Thus, one needs to be born again in order to enter into God’s Kingdom, not in order to receive salvation.”
Another statement that is untrue: as will be seen in this discussion, salvation is entering into God’s Kingdom. If a person is in God’s Kingdom he is saved: if he is not in God’s Kingdom he is not saved. If one reads the entire chapter of 1 Peter 1 it is clear that the new birth referred to in 1 Peter 1:3, 23 results in salvation. For example, immediately following verse three it is clear that…
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:3–5
Therefore the new birth, the entrance into God’s Kingdom and the reception of salvation are all different aspects of the same experience. The Watchtower disagrees, however:
Page 7: “‘But,’ some may say, ‘are not these two expressions – entering the Kingdom and receiving salvation – referring to the same reward? No, they are not.”
I agree! They are not referring to the same reward because neither entering the Kingdom nor receiving salvation is a reward, but a free gift. There is nothing anyone can do to earn salvation; nothing anyone can do to earn entrance into the Kingdom:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
However, there then appears a very deceptive paragraph, giving scripture quotations in support, which in fact do not say what is claimed. Quote:
Page 7: “…Christ’s fellow rulers are individuals chosen “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” and will “rule as kings over the earth.” (Revelation 5:9, 10; 20:6) God’s Word further reveals that those who will rule as kings form a “little flock” of 144,000 individuals “who have been brought from the earth.” Luke 12:32; Revelation 14:1, 3.”
So let’s look at those scriptures.
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth."
Translations vary regarding whether the song in this passage refers to the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders who were singing, or to others. Either could be the case, depending on whether the Greek word hemas is translated ‘us’ or ‘them’: either ‘redeemed us’ or ‘redeemed them’. According to Strong’s Greek dictionary, hemas is the Accusative plural of the Greek word ego – ‘I’ or ‘me’, making hemas ‘our’, ‘us’ or ‘we’. If this is the case, then the passage cannot refer to the 144,000. The Watchtower translation translates it ‘them’, but even if this were the case, there is nothing in the context to restrict it to the 144,000: it simply refers to people who were redeemed by Jesus’ blood out of every nation and there is no verse in the New Testament that limits the number of the redeemed to 144,000.
Ἡμᾶς, hēmas, hay-mas' Accusative plural of G1473; us: - our, us, we.
(Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries)
However, if the Watchtower are saying that only the 144,000 are redeemed by the blood of Jesus, then the rest really are in trouble! The word ‘redeemed’ has its roots in slavery, where if a slave could get enough money to buy his own freedom, he could ‘redeem’ himself. The Bible teaches that the whole of the human race is born into slavery to Satan as a result of Adam’s sin. Jesus, through His sacrificial death, made it possible for us to be redeemed, the price of which is His blood. The only way for anyone to come out of slavery to Satan and into freedom, is by being redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ. If a person is not so freed in this life, he will not be freed in the next either:
He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.
So there is a stark choice: slavery to Satan (i.e. ruled by Satan in his kingdom) or freedom in Christ (i.e. living in God’s Kingdom and under His rule). There is no other alternative. The choice is ours to take now, in this life, which determines our destiny both in this life and the next: repent, be baptised and God will give the gift of the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of eternal life; or do not take that step and remain in slavery to Satan in this life and be cast out of God’s presence in the next. In Revelation there is a company too large to number, with robes washed white in the blood of the Lamb, which could only refer to redemption through Jesus’ blood. So it is obvious the number of the redeemed is not limited to 144,000.
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands… And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Revelation 7:9, 14
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.
There is nothing in the context of the chapter to restrict this verse to the 144,000. However notice that all those who take part in the first resurrection will rule with Christ. So no Jehovah’s Witnesses who have died will be resurrected until after Christ’s 1,000 year reign, unless they are part of the 144,000, according to their teaching.
"Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Who was Jesus talking to?
Then, turning to His disciples, Jesus said...
Peter asked if Jesus was referring just to them or to others in Luke 12:41, and in His reply (Luke 12:42–53) Jesus made it clear it was for everyone who continued to obey Him. So there is nothing in the context of this passage to claim that the ‘little flock’ to whom Jesus was speaking here was the 144,000 and no-one else.
Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads… They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.
Revelation 14:1, 3
The 144,000 are identified in Revelation 7:4–8 as Israelis. There can be no doubt about this, as the names of the tribes are specified. So, for example, those Israelis from the tribe of Reuben are such because they can trace their ancestry back to Reuben. If the 144,000 are not Israelis but Jehovah’s Witnesses, on what basis are 12,000 of them of the tribe of Reuben? They certainly can’t trace their ancestry back to Reuben.
Furthermore, it couldn’t possibly refer to Jehovah’s Witnesses who lived and died in the 19th and 20th centuries, because the 144,000 are living on the Earth just after the events of the four horsemen, the sun becoming black, the moon becoming like blood and terror in everyone on the Earth (Revelation 6:1–17). They were sealed for their protection before further judgements fell on the Earth, sea and trees.
…saying, "Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads."… They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
Revelation 7:3; 9:4
The fact that many people claimed by the Watchtower to be a part of the 144,000 have now died is therefore evidence that they are not! While parts of the book of Revelation are not chronological, because there are different descriptions of different time periods, it cannot be claimed that the sealing of the 144,000 is not chronologically where I have described because they are all living on the Earth and sealed at the same time, between the opening of the 6th and 7th seals (Revelation 6:12 and 8:1 respectively).
I looked when He opened the sixth seal…
When He opened the seventh seal…
Furthermore, according to this magazine:
Page 9: “…the 3,000 converts were first baptised with water, and then they received the holy spirit.”
So by Watchtower reckoning the converts on the day of Pentecost are included in the 144,000. But John’s revelation, which came toward the end of his life while exiled on Patmos, was of events to come in the future. By the time his revelation came some of the 3,000 had already died and of course they all died nearly 2,000 years ago. Since the sealing of the 144,000 takes place while they are alive on the Earth – before the resurrection – these too are then obviously excluded!
Question: if Peter was on the Earth today, preached the same sermon as he did on the day of Pentecost, and 3,000 responded in repentance and baptism, would they too all be born again? If not, why not? What was so special about the 3,000 in Acts 2 that they should immediately be born again, while others responding in the same way today are not? They did nothing different from anything millions of people since that day have done.
In Revelation 14 the 144,000 are present with the Lamb and later we are told about saints on the Earth needing to endure, who are therefore different people from the 144,000 now with the Lamb. So there are saints in addition to the 144,000.
Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads… Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus…
Revelation 14:1, 12
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. 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.
How many Jehovah’s Witnesses have been beheaded, refused to worship the beast or its image and refused its mark on their foreheads? The answer is none because the mark of the beast, without which no one can buy or sell, has not yet been instituted. When it is, an angel will be seen warning mankind not to accept it, and that certainly has not happened yet. The people who have been martyred in this way will reign with Christ for 1000 years, but the Watchtower says only the 144,000 will do this. Clearly, Revelation 20:4 is contrary to Watchtower teaching!
… no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.”
Page 8: “What then did Jesus mean when He stated that one must be born again to “enter the Kingdom of God?” He meant that one needs to be born again in order to become a ruler with Christ in heaven.”
This is a clear case of twisting the meaning of scripture to fit an unscriptural idea. The fact that I entered the United Kingdom when I was born in England as a baby did not mean I became a ruler of the United Kingdom! Clearly I did not: I just became a subject. When Jesus said one must be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, He meant one must be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, which has nothing to do with whether one rules within it or not. What it does so clearly mean, however, is that until one is born again, one is outside of God’s Kingdom, and even unable to see it. Therefore if he is not born again a person is still in Satan’s kingdom and under his rule – there is no other option.
Page 11: “Since the days of the Apostles, God has been choosing from among mankind a limited number of faithful Christians, adopting them as sons.”
Untrue! Where is the scriptural basis for this claim? There is absolutely no limit on the number of people who can become God’s sons:
However, as many as did receive him, to them he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name…
John 1:12 (W)
Everyone believing that Jesus is the Christ has been born from God… children of God…
1 John 5:1–2 (W)
Those two scriptures alone are enough to destroy this Watchtower teaching; but they aren’t alone! During the course of writing this paper I have read right through the New Testament, and at the end of this discussion I have listed dozens of scriptures, all of which speak about salvation, redemption through Christ’s blood, being God’s children, etc., none of which make any reference to any limitation regarding the number of people to whom they apply. Nor do they give any distinction between people who are born again and so are God’s children, and others who are saved but not God’s children.
In contrast, the Watchtower can only come up with a handful of scriptures in support of its teaching, all of which are clearly either taken out of context or interpreted in a way differently from that which was so obviously intended.
The Watchtower error came about historically because they originally said Jehovah’s Witnesses were the 144,000, but when it became apparent that there were going to be more J.W.s than this number, they had to find a way around it. They did this by misusing:
And I have other sheep which are not of this fold. Those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.
John 10:16 (W)
So the 144,000 became the sheep ‘of this fold’ by this new teaching and everyone else joining the Watchtower became the ‘other sheep’. However, this is quite obviously wrong even from the same verse, since Jesus says
“…there will be one flock…”
Not two flocks – one flock. This can only mean one thing: the sheep from two different flocks are mingled together so they become one flock and thereafter their origin becomes unimportant and indistinguishable. According to Watchtower teaching there will always be two different flocks; according to Jesus there will only be one flock. And this one flock receives eternal life:
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
It is obvious from New Testament teaching what Jesus was referring to: ‘This fold’ was the Israeli people to whom He was ministering. E.g. when the Canaanite woman came to Him asking Him to heal her demonised daughter:
But He answered and said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
And when He sent his disciples out:
These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: "Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
So His earthly ministry was primarily to Israel (although He did respond to requests from ‘foreigners’), but His commission to the disciples after His resurrection was to evangelise the entire world:
And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
These are the sheep ‘not of this fold’. Note, there is no limit or restriction on the number of people to whom this applies in this verse. Nor is there any hint that at some future time after they have become Christians a minority of these will be born again while the majority will not. However, Paul tells us about the uniting of these two flocks into one, this time using the analogy of the two, Israeli and Gentile, becoming one new man:
…that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace
This theme is continued elsewhere:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
However, Paul also says the Israeli nation will ultimately be restored back to God:
For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB;
This, clearly, is where the 144,000 come from: when “the fullness of the people of the nations has come in” (Watchtower translation) the Israeli people will turn back to God, 144,000 of whom are the group mentioned in Revelation. There is no scriptural justification whatsoever for the Watchtower to claim that JWs are the 144,000, or that the 144,000 are the only ones who are born again, and the very few scriptures they can produce in support of the claim are quite clearly taken out of context and the true meaning distorted. So in Acts, there is just one flock:
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
On page nine we are told that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is one of two elements that constitute the new birth.
Page 9: “…the new birth takes place by a twofold process. Note that Jesus first got baptised with water. Then He received that holy spirit. Similarly the early disciples had first been baptised in water (some by John the Baptiser), and then they received the holy spirit. (John 1:26–36)”
However in Acts chapter two:
Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."
There is no limitation of 144,000 there! The promise is to all that are far off – which can apply equally to being far off in time as well as distance. If it should be claimed that the limitation is that it only applies to those God calls to Him and God is only going to call 144,000, then:
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9
And then He told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.
Notice there are only people who believe and are saved, and people who do not believe and are condemned: there is no third option. Over and over again, in scripture after scripture, the good news of salvation for as many as will receive it is repeated. The only limitation regarding the number of people who can receive everything God has for us is in the mind of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It certainly cannot be found in the Bible.
Note also that according to Acts 2:38–39 the acts of repentance and baptism will be followed by the gift of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t say ‘might be followed’, or ‘some of you shall receive’. Since the Watchtower says the gift of the Holy Spirit equals the new birth, and the Bible says this gift comes to all who repent and are baptised, their theory about the limitation to 144,000 is clearly wrong.
Additionally, they claim that this gift must be given by God and is therefore solely His initiative; but He has promised He will give it to all those who take these two steps. So the idea that man has no part to play in this is also obviously wrong.
Page 9: “First a person repents of his sins, turns away from a wrong course, dedicates his life to Jehovah to worship and serve Him, and makes his dedication public by water baptism. Then, if God chooses him to serve as a ruler in His Kingdom, he is anointed with holy spirit.”
This is quite clearly unscriptural as we have seen: the promise of the Holy Spirit is to all who repent and are baptised, not just a select few. Furthermore Jesus said that all who believe will receive the Holy Spirit:
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:38–39
Page 10: “when used as a figure of speech, the word “birth” means “beginning”…”
Who says it is a figure of speech? It may serve the Watchtower to claim this, because otherwise it would not fit in with their teaching, but there is no Biblical evidence to justify it. Certainly Nicodemus took it literally, and when he questioned Jesus over the point –
“Can a man enter his mother’s womb a second time?”
Jesus, far from saying
“I meant it as a figure of speech”
emphasised the fact that He meant it literally:
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
The fact is that the Watchtower insists there is nothing more than the physical body in the makeup of a human, and clearly the physical body cannot be born a second time apart from the resurrection. So they are obliged to interpret Jesus’ words in this way. It is one more case of them bringing their own theories to the Bible and trying to make it support them.
The tripartite nature of man is too large a subject to deal with in any kind of depth here (the brief review given earlier will have to do!), so one scripture will have to suffice:
Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
1 Thessalonians 5:23
So there are three elements that make up a person ‘wholly’, which therefore must all be different otherwise it is tautology. It is the spirit of man that is born again. The transformation of the physical body will take place at the resurrection.
In the chapter ‘What Does it Accomplish?’ (pages 10–11) the description of adoption by God is fair enough, except, of course, for the continued insistence that it only applies to the 144,000. So, for example, when Romans 8:15–16 (quoted earlier) tells us the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children, the booklet makes it clear that it does not apply to those outside of the 144,000. Indeed, this is the insidiousness of the teaching: the powerful promises of Romans 8, for example…
So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
…are denied to everyone outside that limited number. Note from that scripture that only when the Spirit of God dwells in us can we be pleasing to God. So the Watchtower believes most of their followers are not pleasing to God, because His Spirit does not dwell in them!
By insisting there are two different types of people who receive salvation – a notion foreign to the teaching of scripture – it imposes a mind-set on its followers that prevents them from applying the scriptures to themselves. Indeed, it is difficult to see what part of the New Testament is left to the vast majority of people seeking to serve the one true God, since in so many cases they are clearly applied by the Watchtower only to the 144,000 who they say are exclusively God’s children.
In the following chapter “Rulership for Some, Benefits for Many” we are told:
Page 11: “God’s word also states that others besides those who are born again will receive everlasting salvation.”
Page 12: “…God purposed to save two groups of people – a comparatively small group of rulers living in heaven and a large group of subjects living on earth.”
In support of this unscriptural idea we are given just two New Testament scriptures. Here is the first:
And He is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, yet not for ours [the small group] only, but also for the whole world’s [the large group]. (Words in brackets theirs)
1 John 2:2 (W)
There is absolutely no justification for this interpretation of the verse. What John is so clearly saying is that the salvation they are enjoying is available to the whole world. There are so many scriptures proving this, it is an embarrassment of riches. For the moment we’ll look at one:
For God loved the world so much that He gave His only-begotten Son, on order that everyone exercising faith in Him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 (W)
The second scripture given in support of the idea is:
For the eager expectation of the creation [the large group] is waiting for the revealing of the sons of God [the small group]. (Words in brackets theirs)
Romans 8:19 (W)
Once again the context of the verse is ignored in order to distort its true meaning.
For we know that all creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together until now.
Romans 8:22 (W)
Creation came into bondage as a result of Adam’s sin, with thorns appearing on vegetation, animals turning wild and fighting and consuming each other, and so on. So the whole of creation is groaning in the way verse 22 mentions. To narrow the meaning of the phrases ‘the creation’ in Romans 8:19, or ‘the whole world’ in 1 John 2:2, down only to the ‘large group’ of J.W.s who are not included in the 144,000 is obviously wrong.
The same error is made in the only other scripture they give, this time regarding Abraham’s promise:
And by means of your Seed [the small group] all the nations of the earth [the large group] will certainly bless themselves. (Words in brackets theirs)
Genesis 22:18 (W)
As page 12 shows, Abraham’s seed in the New Testament is primarily Jesus Christ and secondarily through Him, all the sons of God are also Abraham’s seed.
Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "AND TO YOUR SEED," who is Christ… For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus…And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3:16, 26, 29
As we have already seen, this means everyone who has repented and been baptised, who has therefore received the Holy Spirit. It is nonsense to claim the phrase ‘all the nations of the earth’ refers just to the group of JWs who are not included in the 144,000. Quite obviously, the blessing of all the nations is that Abraham’s seed – Jesus – will be their means of salvation should they choose to accept it.
Furthermore, God’s promise to Abraham was that his seed would be so many it would be impossible to count them:
Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be."
…blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.
Since it is obviously possible to count the 144,000, they cannot be what God is referring to here. However:
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands… And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Revelation 7:9, 14
If there is any group in the book of Revelation that is likely to qualify to be Abraham’s seed, it is this one. They are from every nation, and God said in Abraham’s seed all the nations of the world would be blessed; and they are too many to number, which is what God said Abraham’s seed would be. In contrast, the 144,000 are not too many to number, and are only from the nation of Israel. So on both counts the 144,000 do not qualify to be uniquely Abraham’s seed. They will certainly be included in the seed, but for God’s promise to Abraham to be true countless others have to be included as well.
Page 15: “Jehovah…values human life and the potential that each individual has for repenting and learning to do what is right.”
Precisely! That is why God is no respecter of persons:
Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him
Therefore He places no restriction on the number of people who can become His children. If He had set a restriction of 144,000 on the number of people who could become His children, then He would be respecting persons. To claim, as the Watchtower does, that only 144,000 people will qualify to reach this position is contrary to the teaching of the New Testament that salvation is not by works, but by grace. There is nothing anyone can do to achieve their own salvation: it is by grace through faith. Works follow certainly and they will be rewarded, but they are the result of the new birth, not the cause of it!
Furthermore there is no hint of the 144,000 anywhere in the New Testament outside of the book of Revelation, which was written a few decades after the birth of the Church. This means that all the references in the letters to the churches regarding them being sons of God would at that time be taken to apply to everyone in them because there is no teaching anywhere to suggest that only a minority of them were born again sons of God. E.g.
You are all, in fact, sons of God, through your faith in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:26 (W)
So for example the Romans would understand that the many references to the Holy Spirit within believers were for all of them – not just a select few. This is in stark contrast to the ‘letters’ (Watchtower publications) to the Watchtower ‘churches’ in which they are told these promises do not apply to the vast majority of them! In the Bible, however, we are told that when the Gentiles believed, they were given the Holy Spirit:
And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: "Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us.
“You must be born again.”
The Watchtower twists His words around in this magazine to say,
“You cannot be born again”
to the vast majority of its followers. Why did Jesus say to Nicodemus “You must be born again?” He makes it very clear: unless a person is born again he can neither see nor enter the Kingdom of God. What is the Kingdom of God? Well, what is the kingdom of the Queen of England? It is the territory over which she reigns. Likewise, the Kingdom of God is where God reigns. In this the Watchtower is in agreement, as can be seen later. In one sense God reigns everywhere, since as Creator He made it all and holds everything together by His power. However, the Bible says the world lies in the hand of the enemy:
We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
1 John 5:19
I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.
Therefore the world has been hijacked by Satan and become the area of his reign: so we are born into the kingdom of the enemy. It is imperative that we leave that kingdom (i.e. the reign and power of Satan) and enter the Kingdom of God (i.e. the reign and power of God), and the only way we can enter the Kingdom of God according to Jesus in John 3 is by being born again. How is a person born again?
…that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
It is not by ‘works’: there is nothing we can do to achieve it. Salvation comes by faith:
…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation
What are we being saved from?
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,
Who can be saved?
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.
Notice there is no ‘two-tier’ hierarchy of Christians in any of these verses! You are either saved or you are not. You are either in the Kingdom of God or the kingdom of Satan: the Kingdom of light or the kingdom of darkness. You are either a sheep or a goat (Matthew 25:32–46); wheat or weed (Matthew 13:24–30). There is no third kingdom and no neutral territory. Every person on the planet is either in God’s Kingdom or Satan’s kingdom: there is no alternative. Should the Watchtower wish to dispute this, I challenge them to produce one single scripture which clearly tells of an alternative to being a member of either of these two Kingdoms. The Bible says:
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
When Paul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus, he was told his work would be to turn people from darkness and the authority of Satan to light and an inheritance from God:
So I said, 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.'
This is perhaps the most important point in the whole of this study. The Watchtower tells most of its followers that they are not in the Kingdom of God, because they are not born again. So what Kingdom are they in? There is only one other alternative: the kingdom of Satan! You either have life or you do not have life; you either have Jesus Christ or you do not have Jesus Christ:
And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life
1 John 5:11–12
You can know without any doubt that you have eternal life: if you don’t know, you probably don’t have it!
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, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
1 John 5:13
The Watchtower booklet says that God’s Kingdom is the area where God governs:
Page 7: “A kingdom is a form of government. So, then, the expression “kingdom of God” means “government of God.””
Therefore those outside of God’s Kingdom are outside of His government. So by the Watchtower’s own reasoning the vast majority of their followers, who they say are not born again, are not in God’s Kingdom, not under His government. So they must still be in Satan’s kingdom; still in darkness, still under his government. There is no other alternative. We are either born again, or we are not. We are either children of God or children of Satan:
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
It is not for me to tell Watchtower supporters what to do; but for myself, if I discovered I was a member of an organisation that told me I was a member of Satan’s kingdom, under his government, and they could give me no means of leaving it, I would be out of there so fast my feet would not touch the ground!
While it is true there are rewards for serving God, the new birth and the resulting eternal life is not one of them! Throughout the New Testament we are told this is entirely God’s work, performed in those who turn in faith to Him. The rewards are for those who, having experienced salvation, then go on to serve God faithfully.
The awful thing is that in their teaching the Watchtower is preventing its followers from taking the step of faith (see Galatians below) necessary for the new birth to take place, by telling them it does not apply to them.
This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
It tells them that the new birth is for the privileged 144,000, and the rest, as long as they work hard enough, can be ‘saved from the wrath to come’ but they will never be sons of God. By so doing, the Watchtower places itself in the category of 2 Corinthians 4:4:
…whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
2 Corinthians 4:4
Is Jesus God?
Is Jesus God?
Since in some ways this duplicates what we have already looked at, I will inevitably be quoting scriptures I have already used.
In the chapter called ‘Is Jesus God?’ (pages 18-19) we have the Watchtower theory that the end of John 1:1 should be translated “the word was a god”. While it discusses Greek grammar, its conclusions are wrong. The only way the Greek language can express the phrase ‘the Word was God’ is theos eimi ho logos. The definite article ho (the) is missing from theos (God) in order to show it is the object, not the subject of the phrase. This Watchtower magazine uses some commentators to try to prove their point. Here are some more:
Barnes: There is no evidence that John intended to use the word “God” in an inferior sense. It is not “the Word was a god,” or “the Word was ‘like God,’” but the Word “was God.” He had just used the word “God” as evidently applicable to Yahweh, the true God; and it is absurd to suppose that he would in the same verse, and without any indication that he was using the word in an inferior sense, employ it to denote a being altogether inferior to the true God.
Clarke: And the Word was God - Or, God was the Logos: therefore no subordinate being, no second to the Most High, but the supreme eternal Jehovah.
Darby: But, lest it may be thought that He was something which eternity implies but which the Holy Ghost comes to reveal, it is said that He "was God." In His existence eternal — in His nature divine — in His Person distinct, He might have been spoken of as an emanation in time, as though His personality were of time, although eternal in His nature: the Spirit therefore adds, "In the beginning he was with God." It is the revelation of the eternal Logos before all creation.
Gill: In the beginning was the word… That this is said not of the written word, but of the essential word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, is clear, from all that is said from hence, to John 1:14 as that this word was in the beginning, was with God, and is God;
Matthew Henry: The Word was with God, (1.) In respect of essence and substance; for the Word was God: a distinct person or substance, for he was with God; and yet the same in substance, for he was God, Hebrews 1:3.
Jamieson Fausett and Brown: was God — in substance and essence God; or was possessed of essential or proper divinity.
Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge: the Word was: John 10:30–33, John 20:28; Psalm 45:6; Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 40:9–11; Matthew 1:23; Romans 9:5; Philippians 2:6; 1 Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8–13; 2 Peter 1:1;1 John 5:7, 1 John 5:20
Vincent Word Studies: ¨In the Greek order, and God was the Word, which is followed by Anglo-Saxon, Wyc., and Tynd. But θεὸς, God, is the predicate and not the subject of the proposition. The subject must be the Word; for John is not trying to show who is God, but who is the Word. Notice that θεὸς is without the article, which could not have been omitted if he had meant to designate the word as God; because, in that event, θεὸς would have been ambiguous; perhaps a God. Moreover, if he had said God was the Word, he would have contradicted his previous statement by which he had distinguished (hypostatically) God from the word, and λόγος (Logos) would, further, have signified only an attribute of God. The predicate is emphatically placed in the proposition before the subject, because of the progress of the thought; this being the third and highest statement respecting the Word - the climax of the two preceding propositions. The word God, used attributively, maintains the personal distinction between God and the Word, but makes the unity of essence and nature to follow the distinction of person, and ascribes to the Word all the attributes of the divine essence. “There is something majestic in the way in which the description of the Logos, in the three brief but great propositions of John 1:1, is unfolded with increasing fullness” (Meyer).
The claim that John 1:1 should read ‘was a god’ is in direct conflict with Isaiah, which can only be in agreement with John if Jesus is included in the Hebrew word Elohim (God):
I am the LORD, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me…
For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: "I am the LORD, and there is no other.
... For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me.
So Isaiah 45:5 says there is no God beside the Lord (Jehovah). The Watchtower says there was a God beside Him! Isaiah 46:9 says there is none like Jehovah God, but the New Testament says of Jesus:
…who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
I and My Father are one."
Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
So Jesus is the image of God. This is a direct contradiction unless Jesus is included in the term ‘God’ in Isaiah 46.9. See here for 100 truths about Jesus as found in the Bible. Furthermore, at the beginning of Revelation we are told of Jehovah:
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
(Note: ‘the Beginning and the End’ is omitted from the Watchtower translation, but it is in the Greek New Testament.) However, at the end of Revelation we are told of Jesus:
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last…
"I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches..."
Revelation 22:13, 16
There cannot be two Alphas, two Omegas, two Beginnings and two Endings! But Revelation says these descriptions apply equally to Almighty God and to Jesus. Additionally, Philippians tells us that the form of Jesus before he came to earth as a baby was that of God:
…who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
Furthermore we are told by the Apostle John (and note this is John’s comment, not merely the thoughts of Jesus’ enemies):
Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
Jesus accepts worship in 13 verses: Matthew 2:2, 8, 11; 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 20:20; 28:9, 17; Mark 5:6; Luke 24:52; John 9:38; Hebrews 1:6.
Return to text
These are shown in full at the end of this page here (you can jump there now if you wish and RETURN TO TEXT), but one example is:
When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.
Yet Jesus said worship should only be given to Almighty God:
Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND HIM ONLY YOU SHALL SERVE.' "
And Jesus answered and said to him, "Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND HIM ONLY YOU SHALL SERVE.' "
The Watchtower get around this by translating the Greek word for worship (proskuneo) as ‘obeisance’ when related to Jesus.
proskuneo: to fawn or crouch to, that is, (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore): - worship.
(Strong’s Hebrew and Greek dictionaries.)
However this is deceptive: the word appears 60 times in the New Testament and the context of every occasion proves that Strong’s definition above is correct. Anyone reading the Greek New Testament would see that Jesus said only God should receive proskuneo - Matthew 4:9–10; Luke 4:7–8, shown above - and yet He accepted proskuneo Himself.
The angel told John he should worship (proskuneo) God, confirming the teaching throughout the Bible that only God should receive worship.
Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then he said to me, "See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God."
So the fact that Jesus was quite clearly worshipped is further evidence for His deity.
Thomas said Jesus was his Lord and his God; but unlike the angel correcting John and Jesus correcting Peter earlier, Jesus did not rebuke him but rather said he believed only because of what he had seen:
And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." John 20:28–29
Perhaps one of the clearest verses in the New Testament is:
…of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.
This couldn’t be plainer. The Christ is the eternally blessed God. Of course, those who deny this truth try to avoid the clarity of the sentence by changing the punctuation to make the final phrase a kind of doxology, rather than a description of the Christ; but this is dishonest, as the grammar of the Greek text does not allow it.
The reason for this is very simple: while in English, Greek and Hebrew the meaning of words is determined by the context and their position in a sentence, in English it is also determined by punctuation. There is no punctuation in the other two languages. Instead, the spelling of the words changes to clarify their meaning. So when a translator translates Greek into English, punctuation is used to reflect the original meaning that can be seen from the spelling of the words. Therefore altering the punctuation to make a sentence in English say something different to what the translator put is taking the meaning away from what was there originally. Most translators outside of the Watchtower agree on the punctuation of this verse.
Other scriptures making this clear are:
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
1 Timothy 3:16
But to the Son He says: "YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER; A SCEPTER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS IS THE SCEPTER OF YOUR KINGDOM… And: "YOU, LORD, IN THE BEGINNING LAID THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORK OF YOUR HANDS.
Hebrews 1:8, 10
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
1 John 5:20
On the subject of the Trinity, the Watchtower denigration of the Holy Spirit to ‘God’s active force’ is quite clearly unscriptural. In John’s Gospel He is referred to as ‘He’!
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
"But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”
The Watchtower version of the Bible translates ekeinos as ‘that one’ instead of ‘he’, but it amounts to the same thing. ‘That one’ or ‘he’ can only refer to a person, not an impersonal force. Notice what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit:
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—
Another Advocate (or Helper)! A man in a pub spills someone’s beer, so he says,
“Sorry, I’ll get you another one.”
So he goes to the bar and when he comes back brings a packet of crisps. Has he done what he said? No! What if he brings back a glass of Coke? Still no! ‘Another’ used in this context means one of the same kind. Jesus had been the disciples’ Helper up until this point; but now He says another Helper will be given to them: another of the same kind. Not an impersonal force, but a caring, thinking, feeling being. We see this in the scriptures. The Holy Spirit can be grieved and therefore has emotions:
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
This is not true of a force. The Holy Spirit teaches:
“For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say."
This is not true of a force. The Holy Spirit gives direction and makes decisions:
For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things…
This too is not true of a force. The Holy Spirit speaks, and therefore has thought and reasoning processes:
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "TODAY, IF YOU WILL HEAR HIS VOICE…”
In the activity of the Holy Spirit described in the New Testament, we are shown that He feels emotions, makes decisions, thinks, reasons, directs and speaks. In fact everything that makes a person a person is attributed to Him. So the Watchtower’s claim that the Holy Spirit is merely God’s active force and therefore without personality, is plainly wrong. Only the teaching of the Trinity can harmonise these scriptures (and many more). There is one God – Jehovah – who simultaneously expresses Himself in three different ways.
Salvaton for all
Salvation Available For All People
Finally, here are some scriptures demonstrating the universality of salvation and the new birth. There are very many of them and I do not expect you to read through them all. They are there simply to show the enormous number of scriptures with promises for all of us, in which there is not one that has any indication of restriction to a select few people.
Bear in mind all the books of the New Testament were initially intended for the people living in the first century and these scriptures were clearly meant to apply to all the hearers, not just a limited few who were part of the 144,000: no-one had heard anything about the 144,000 at the time all the books other than Revelation were written, with the possible exception of the epistles of John; and with those one is forced to ask why he did not make it clear that the references to sons of God only apply to 144,000 people, if this is the case. He gives no hint that there is any restriction to the number of the sons of God, and since he received the Revelation - the only book mentioning the 144,000 - surely he more than anyone else knew who they were. He would certainly have made it clear if the promises he wrote only applied to a limited number of people and not to all.
There is no hint anywhere in any of the scriptures below that the promises are not available to all who will accept them.
And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins."
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled… Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven… Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you… "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden… Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven… that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
5:6, 9–10, 12, 14, 19, 45
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! …"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
But go and learn what this means: 'I DESIRE MERCY AND NOT SACRIFICE.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."
"Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven… He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother."
But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." … The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one… Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
13:23, 38, 43
and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me… For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost… Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
18:3–5, 11, 14
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.
…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: … And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother."
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it.
Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."
So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.
"And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”
Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." But after that no one dared question Him.
And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS TO THE CHILDREN,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." … To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace."
AND ALL FLESH SHALL SEE THE SALVATION OF GOD.' " … John answered, saying to all, "I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
"THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE HAS ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR; HE HAS SENT ME TO HEAL THE BROKENHEARTED, TO PROCLAIM LIBERTY TO THE CAPTIVES AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET AT LIBERTY THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED;
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."
Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said: "Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God… Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
But He answered and said to them, "My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it."
Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
And heal the sick there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' …'The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.'
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
"Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God… But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God.
"The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.
But Jesus called them to Him and said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God… So He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life."
for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: … The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God… He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world."
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live… and come forth— those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." …And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst…All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out… This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day." … Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life… I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world." …Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.
6:27, 35, 37, 39–40, 44, 47, 51, 54–57
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." … And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." …Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
8:12, 32, 36
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep… I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd… My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
10:10–11, 14–16, 27–28
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor… And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." … I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.
12:25–26, 32, 46
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me… "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father… He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." … Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
14:6, 12, 21, 23
"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing… If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent… Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are… "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
17:2–3, 11, 20–21
'AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THE LAST DAYS, SAYS GOD, THAT I WILL POUR OUT OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL FLESH; YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS. AND ON MY MENSERVANTS AND ON MY MAIDSERVANTS I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT IN THOSE DAYS; AND THEY SHALL PROPHESY… AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS THAT WHOEVER CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED.' … Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." … praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
2:17–18, 21, 38–40, 47
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord… Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women… And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."
Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.
But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized… Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money… Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
8:12, 17, 18, 36–37
Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him… To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins."
…While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
Note: In the incident described above, contrary to Watchtower teaching, the Holy Spirit was given before they were baptised!
…who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.' And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, 'John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?" When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life." … And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord… For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.
11:14–18, 21, 24
…and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses… For so the Lord has commanded us: 'I HAVE SET YOU AS A LIGHT TO THE GENTILES, THAT YOU SHOULD BE FOR SALVATION TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.' " Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed.
So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren… And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: "Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us… But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they."
15:3, 7–9, 11
Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.
Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
…he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" So they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." …When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ… Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood… "So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
20:21, 28, 32;
And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, "You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law;
I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.' "Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance… that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles."
"Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!"
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit… But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His… For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
8:1, 9, 29
As He says also in Hosea: "I WILL CALL THEM MY PEOPLE, WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE, AND HER BELOVED, WHO WAS NOT BELOVED." … As it is written: "BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STUMBLING STONE AND ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND WHOEVER BELIEVES ON HIM WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME."
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
The Message of Salvation to All… that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved… For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES ON HIM WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For "WHOEVER CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED."
10:4, 9, 11–13
…that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith—
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: … 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.
NOTE: In the above passage, the only two groups are the lost and the saved
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
1 Corinthians 2:14–15
NOTE: In the above passage, the only two groups are the spiritual and the natural: the spiritual have received the Holy Spirit; the natural considers the things of the Holy Spirit to be foolishness.
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God… Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.
and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
…just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit… For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.
But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.
NOTE: In the above passage, the only distinction is those who are Christ’s and those who are not.
…who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them… knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
4:3–4, 14, 15
that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.
…who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
…and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised… knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed." So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham… For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith… For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life… Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: …having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,… In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory… and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
1:1, 5–9, 13–14, 19
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ… For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
…that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel… that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
…till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ… that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness… And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
4:13, 22–24, 30
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children... For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure… that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…
giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins… 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—if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister... To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
1:12–14, 21–23, 27–28
and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 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, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God… For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory… Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him…
3:1, 3–4, 9–10
Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.
…knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
…that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory… forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.
Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit… But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness… But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him… I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren.
5:5, 8–10, 27
…which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer…
But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
NOTE: In the above verse, God desires all men to be saved!
who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,
NOTE: In the above verse, Jesus – a ransom for all.
For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe… Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind… who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began… That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
1:7, 9, 14
This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us… in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men…
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: "I WILL DECLARE YOUR NAME TO MY BRETHREN; IN THE MIDST OF THE ASSEMBLY I WILL SING PRAISE TO YOU." And again: "I WILL PUT MY TRUST IN HIM." And again: "HERE AM I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN ME." … and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage… For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
2:9–13, 15, 18
but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end… For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end…
For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "SO I SWORE IN MY WRATH, 'THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,' " although the works were finished from the foundation of the world... Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience… Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession… Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
4:2–3, 11, 14, 16
And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises… that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption… how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance… For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us… so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
9:12, 14–15, 24, 28
By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before… Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful… for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven… For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise… But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
10:10, 14–15, 19–23, 34, 36, 39
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him… God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God… And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "MY SON, DO NOT DESPISE THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD, NOR BE DISCOURAGED WHEN YOU ARE REBUKED BY HIM… But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
12:1–2, 5, 22–23
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU."
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him… Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures… Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
1:12, 18, 21
Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?
Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "GOD RESISTS THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE." …Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time… that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls. Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you… To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into. Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct… knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot… having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever…
1:1–5, 7–10, 12–15, 18–19, 23
NOTE: Verse one, above, was written to pilgrims of the dispersion – not just a select few.
as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby… you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, "BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHIEF CORNERSTONE, ELECT, PRECIOUS, AND HE WHO BELIEVES ON HIM WILL BY NO MEANS BE PUT TO SHAME." …But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy... who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
2:2, 5–7, 9–10, 24–25
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit… There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly… But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
1Pe 5:11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen… Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.
5:2, 10, 14
Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ… as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust… For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ… And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts…
1:1, 3–4, 9–11, 19; 3:9, 13–14
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world... I write to you, little children, Because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake. I write to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one… For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever… But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things… Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life… But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
Children of God… If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.
2:1–2, 12–14, 16–17, 20, 23, 24–25, 27, 29
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is… In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother… We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death… And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
3:1–2, 10, 14, 23–24
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world…
We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love… No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.
4:4, 6–8, 12–17
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him…
Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Testimony Concerning the Son of God… And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 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, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
5:1, 5, 11–13
Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.
and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." …Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death." '
2:7, 10, 11
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels… He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name… Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
3:5, 12, 20
And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth."
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" …And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth."
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. 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.
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." …And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son… But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
21:3–4, 6–7, 27
Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city… And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Verses Jesus Worship
Scriptures where Jesus accepted worship (proskuneō):
…"Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." …And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also." …And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
2:2, 8, 11
And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean."
While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, "My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live."
Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God."
Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, help me!"
Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.
20:20 (King James Version)
And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him…When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.
And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
Then he said, "Lord, I believe!" And he worshiped Him.
But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM."
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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