Jesus is God!!!

I had left the JWs about 8 years earlier and was now a professor at a Lutheran liberal arts college in Nebraska.  I had just finished a radio interview on the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Blood Transfusions for a Christian radio program based out of St. Louis.  I was one of two former JWs who were guests on the program.  The other former JW was Wayne Rogers who had just been excommunicated from the JWs for his dissenting views on Blood Transfusions.  After the show, Wayne and I continued to talk.

Wayne asked me if I now believed in the Divinity of Christ as most Christian denominations believe.  I told him that I did and what follows is the reasoning and discoveries that I shared with Wayne and now share with others to show why I became convinced that Jesus is God.

As a JW, I was taught that Almighty God is God the Father whose name is Jehovah and that Jesus is the first being and the only being that was directly created by Jehovah.  I was also taught that Jehovah used Jesus to make all of the rest of creation from the created spirit creatures known as angels to the entire physical universe including humans.  The JWs identify this pre-human Jesus as Michael the Archangel.

I wanted to know if I could come to the JWs’ view of Jesus as Michael the Archangel by using only the JWs’ New World Translation of the Bible or if some other view of the nature of Jesus was possible using this translation of the Bible.  What I discovered shocked me as I will demonstrate.

Is Jesus Michael the Archangel?

The JWs understand angels to be spirit creatures that live in the heavens with Jehovah. I wanted to see if Jesus, the Son of God, is ever equated with these types of created spirit beings.  I was shocked to discover that exactly the opposite is true as in the following:

God, who long ago spoke on many occasions and in many ways to our forefathers by means of the prophets, has at the end of these days spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things.  He is the reflection of [his] glory and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power; and after he had made a purification for our sins he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in lofty places. So he has become better than the angels, to the extent that he has inherited a name more excellent than theirs. For example, to which one of the angels did he ever say: “You are my son; I, today, I have become your father”? And again: “I myself shall become his father, and he himself will become my son”? But when he again brings his Firstborn into the inhabited earth, he says: “And let all God’s angels do obeisance to him.” Hebrews 1:1-6 New World Translation (Bold is added.)

Notice how their own Bible says that the Son, whom the JWs believe is Jesus, is more excellent than an angel. And, that no angel has been referred to as the Son of God in the manner that Jesus has.  I was particularly troubled by the comment that the Son of God, whom the JWs believe is Jesus, is considered the exact representation of his [God’s] very being and wondered what this could possibly mean.  In any case, it became very clear to me that Jesus is certainly not an angel in the manner that the JWs have described him but he is clearly something else.

So, if Jesus is not an angel, as the JWs describe him, then what is he?

Hebrews 1:3 in the New World Translation states that he, Jesus, the Son of God, is the “exact representation of his [God’s] very being.”    This comment was particularly troubling to me because as JWs we were taught that Jesus represented Jehovah on earth as merely a perfect human and it made no sense to me that a mere creature could possibly represent Almighty God’s being exactly, no matter how perfect a creature they are.  For example, even Adam in his perfect state, I reasoned, could not do the things that only God can do such as create something out of nothing.   In fact, we were constantly taught as JWs how demeaning the belief in the divinity of Jesus was because it ascribed to Jesus, whom the JWs believed to be a mere created being, the attributes and abilities which in the JWs’ mind belonged only to God the Father, whom the JWs call Jehovah.

I was then, even more troubled by what I discovered in the following verses of Hebrews Chapter 1 in the New World Translation:

“But with reference to the Son: “God is your throne forever and ever, and [the] scepter of your kingdom is the scepter of uprightness. You loved righteousness, and you hated lawlessness. That is why God, your God, anointed you with [the] oil of exultation more than your partners.” And: “You at [the] beginning, O Lord, laid the foundations of the earth itself, and the heavens are [the] works of your hands. They themselves will perish, but you yourself are to remain continually; and just like an outer garment they will all grow old, and you will wrap them up just as a cloak, as an outer garment; and they will be changed, but you are the same, and your years will never run out.”-Hebrews 1:8-12 New World Translation (Bold Added)

The bold section above is a quotation by the writer of the letter to the Hebrews from Psalm 102 as cross referenced in the 1984 New World Translation Study Bible.  In this edition of the New World Translation it states the following about the purpose of Psalm 102:

“A prayer of the afflicted in case he grows feeble and pours out his concern before Jehovah himself.”

So, this Psalm is a prayer to Jehovah.  Notice how the Psalmist refers to Jehovah in verses 25 and 26:
“Long ago you laid the foundations of the earth itself, And the heavens are the work of your hands. They themselves will perish, but you yourself will keep standing; And just like a garment they will all of them wear out. Just like clothing you will replace them, and they will finish their turn.” -Psalms 102:25, 26 New World Translation
I was shocked!  Here we see the author of the letter to the Hebrews taking a scripture from the Psalms that is a prayer to Jehovah and applying this to Jesus!  In short, the author of the letter to the Hebrews is equating Jesus with Almighty God.  This is blasphemous unless of course Jesus truly is Almighty God.

Are there other examples of the New Testament Equating Jesus with Almighty God?

Yes, there is.  A particularly troubling example of this is when Jesus entered Jerusalem.  According to the New World Translation the following occurred:

“So the disciples got on their way and did just as Jesus ordered them. And they brought the ass and its colt, and they put upon these their outer garments, and he seated himself upon them. Most of the crowd spread their outer garments on the road, while others began cutting down branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. As for the crowds, those going ahead of him and those following kept crying out: “Save, we pray, the Son of David! Blessed is he that comes in Jehovah’s name! Save him, we pray, in the heights above!”-Matthew 21:6-9

The New World Translation says the people were crying out to Jesus “Save, we pray, the Son of David!”  The phrase “Save, we pray!” is also translated as “Hosanna!” in other versions of the Bible.  It is my understanding that the Jews used this word mainly when addressing Jehovah in prayer.  Now, the Jewish religious leaders were greatly offended by what the crowds were saying to Jesus because they viewed this as blasphemy that is why they said the following to Jesus:

“When the chief priests and the scribes saw the marvelous things he did and the boys that were crying out in the temple and saying: “Save, we pray, the Son of David!” they became indignant and said to him: “Do you hear what these are saying?”-Matthew 21:15, 16 New World Translation

The Jewish religious leaders were obviously upset that the people were addressing Jesus as if he were Jehovah.  They wanted Jesus to put a stop to such blasphemy.  Is that what Jesus did?  Well, here is Jesus’ response:

“Jesus said to them: “Yes. Did YOU never read this, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings you have furnished praise’?” And leaving them behind he went outside the city to Beth´a·ny and passed the night there.”-Matthew 21:16, 17 New World Translation

Notice how Jesus did not stop the people from referring to him in that way.  In fact his response to the Jewish religious leaders was to quote a scripture from the book of Psalms. Jesus quotes to them from Psalm 8:2 which says the following in the New World Translation:

“O Jehovah our Lord, how majestic your name is in all the earth, You whose dignity is recounted above the heavens! Out of the mouth of children and sucklings you have founded strength, On account of those showing hostility to you, So as to make the enemy and the one taking his vengeance desist. “-Psalms 8:1, 2

So, Jesus’ response was not to silence the crowd but to apply to himself a prayer from the Psalms that the Jewish people prayed to Jehovah!  He was telling the Jewish religious leaders by his actions that he deserved the same honor from the Jewish people as Jehovah.  Again, this is blasphemous unless Jesus is, in fact, almighty God.

And the Word was God

Perhaps no scripture has been debated and discussed more often when it comes to the divinity of Jesus between JWs and mainstream Christians as John 1:1.  Both Christians and JWs recognize that the Word being referred to in this scripture is the Son of God prior to his becoming human.  In the New World Translation this scripture is rendered as follows:

“In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.”

In contrast, the Catholic Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible renders John 1:1 as follows:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Understanding John 1:1

Most often JWs’ assume that Christians believe that the third part of John 1:1 where it says “and the Word was God”, means that Christians are saying that God the Father, whom the JWs believe is Jehovah, and the Word (who is Jesus) are the same person.  They believe that by translating the third part of John 1:1 in the New World Translation as “and the Word was a god” more accurately distinguishes the Word as a separate person from God the Father and also shows that the Word is merely godlike and not quite the same in nature as the Father.  This is explained in the JWs’ Kingdom Interlinear Version of the Greek Scriptures as follows:

“The God with whom the Word, or Logos, was originally designated here by the Greek expression ό θεός, that is the•os’ preceded by the definite article ho.  This is an articular the•os’.  The articular construction of the noun points to an identity, a personality, whereas a singular anarthrous predicate noun preceding the verb points to a quality about someone.

Therefore, John’s statement that the Word, or Logos, was “a god” or “divine” or “godlike” does not mean that he was the God with whom he was.  It merely expresses a certain quality about the Word, or Logos, but it does not identify him as one and the same God himself.”-page 1139

In reality, Christians do not believe that the Word and the Father are the same person but Christians do believe that God the Father and the Word have the same divine nature and that this is what St. John is expressing in John 1:1.   Where Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses differ is in what having the same divine nature as God the Father means.

For JWs, the divine nature of Christ is that of merely being godlike and of having an inferior nature to that of the Father and only some of the qualities of God.  For Christians, the Word having the same nature as that of God the Father means that Jesus has all of the fullness of the divine quality of God the Father and, therefore, Jesus has all of the qualities of God the Father.

Another example of the claim that Jesus’ divine nature is equal to that of the Father’s divine nature is demonstrated in St. John’s Gospel in Chapter 5 where Jesus tells the Jews that he can do whatever the Father does.  This occurs when Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath and while defending himself to the Jewish religious leaders for doing this work of healing on the Sabbath, Jesus keeps claiming to have God as his father.  Notice the following:

The man went away and told the Jews it was Jesus that made him sound in health. So on this account the Jews went persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things during Sabbath. But he answered them: “My Father has kept working until now, and I keep working.” On this account, indeed, the Jews began seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath but he was also calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God.”-John 5: 15-18 New World Translation

Here the Jewish religious leaders knew that Jesus was making the claim that he could do whatever it is that God the Father does.  Does Jesus deny that he is making himself equal to God in the succeeding verses?  Notice the following:

Therefore, in answer, Jesus went on to say to them: “Most truly I say to YOU, The Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative, but only what he beholds the Father doing. For whatever things that One does, these things the Son also does in like manner.  For the Father has affection for the Son and shows him all the things he himself does, and he will show him works greater than these, in order that YOU may marvel. For just as the Father raises the dead up and makes them alive, so the Son also makes those alive whom he wants to. For the Father judges no one at all, but he has committed all the judging to the Son, in order that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.”-John 5: 19-26 New World Translation

Notice how in the JWs’ very own New World Translation as quoted above, Jesus is recorded as saying that he does everything in the same manner that the Father does.  He raises the dead, like the Father does.  And, the Father does no judging at all but has given this to the Son so that we may honor the Son just as we honor the Father.  This comment that we should honor Jesus just as we honor God the Father is blasphemous, unless Jesus is Almighty God which is what Christians believe that the Gospel of St. John teaches us.

Furthermore, St. Paul clearly says that Jesus is divine in the following scripture as rendered in the New World Translation:

“Look out: perhaps there may be someone who will carry YOU off as his prey through the philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ; because it is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily.”-Colossians 2:8, 9

Note that St. Paul says that Jesus has in him “ALL of the fullness of the divine quality”.  So after reading this scripture, I asked myself the following questions:

If someone has all of the qualities of God could it be said that this person is fully divine? If someone is considered to be fully divine would that not make that person fully God?

I was shocked as I read this scripture in the JWs’ own Bible which clearly states that Jesus has all of the qualities of God and is, therefore, completely Divine and completely God.

Translating John 1:1

There have been many things written about the appropriate way to translate John 1:1 and much of the arguments are based on the grammar rules of Koine Greek.  I am not an expert in Greek and neither am I an expert in the grammar rules of Koine Greek.  If someone wants to explore the grammatical rules of Koine Greek in more detail, I highly recommend the book entitled The Trinity: Evidence and Issues by Dr. Robert Morey.

However, there is an aspect of translating John 1:1 that the Jehovah’s Witnesses use to support their particular view of Jesus as a mere godlike created being.  The JWs say that in John 1:1 when St. John says “and the Word was with God”  the Greek expression used for Almighty God in this verse is “the God” or ‘ho the•os’.  The JWs claim that the Greek expression, ‘ho the•os’, is only used in reference to God the Father, whom they consider to be Jehovah but when the word, ‘the•os’, is used without the modifier, ‘ho’, it merely means that the person is divine or godlike and does not have all of the qualities, attributes, or abilities of God the Father.  Therefore, one would expect that the phrase, ‘ho the•os’, would never be used in reference to Jesus if what the JWs say is true.
They explain this in their Bible encyclopedia entitled Insight on the Scriptures it says the following on page 54:
“Additionally, the word for “god” (Gr., the•os’) in its second occurrence in the verse is significantly without the definite article “the” (Gr., ho). Regarding this fact, Ernst Haenchen, in a commentary on the Gospel of John (chapters 1-6), stated: “[the•os’] and [ho the•os’] (‘god, divine’ and ‘the God’) were not the same thing in this period. . . . In fact, for the . . . Evangelist, only the Father was ‘God’ ([ho the•os’]; cf. ÞJohn Ü17:3); ‘the Son’ was subordinate to him (cf. ÞJohn Ü14:28).”
The problem with this explanation is that in this same article in their Insight on the Scriptures publication, the Jehovah’s Witnesses admit that St. John uses the phrase, ‘ho the•os’, to refer to Jesus when quoting what St. Thomas said in response to seeing the risen Christ. Notice the following:
“On the occasion of Jesus’ appearance to Thomas and the other apostles, which had removed Thomas’ doubts of Jesus’ resurrection, the now-convinced Thomas exclaimed to Jesus: “My Lord and my God! [literally, “The Lord of me and the God (ho The•os’) of me!”].”  (John 20:24-29) Some scholars have viewed this expression as an exclamation of astonishment spoken to Jesus but actually directed to God, his Father.” –  Insight on the Scriptures page 55

I find this attempt to explain away the reference to Jesus as “the God [ho the•os’] of me” by St. Thomas as some 1st Century version of the modern English expression “Oh, my God!” as extremely weak given the very strong Jewish prohibitions on using any references to God in this way as a form of taking God’s name in vain.  Furthermore, this interpretation attempts to ignore the clear context of the comment when it says that St. Thomas was speaking this directly to the Risen Christ and, thus, recognizing the Risen Christ as Lord and Almighty God.

After looking at the evidence above and by using the JWs’ own New World translation of the Bible, I became convinced that a good argument could be made that Jesus is not a created angel and, while a separate person from God the Father, has all of the same qualities of God the Father and, therefore, is completely divine, completely God by nature, and is Almighty God.

The next questions I needed to attempt to answer had to do with the nature of God.  What attributes does God have?  Is God subjected to space and time or does He exist beyond space and time?  What abilities and qualities are attributed to God alone?  And what person or persons in the New Testament are said to have these attributes?  And what should I believe about the Holy Spirit?  Christians believe He is a person with all of the qualities of God and the JWs deny this.

Advertisements

He Has Drawn the Sign of the Cross on All Things

In today’s Epistle reading for the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (Ephesians 3:13-21), St. Paul tells the Christians in Ephesus that he prays for Christ our Lord to dwell in the hearts of believers. Why?

So that believers may understand with all the Saints in heaven, “what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth” of God’s love for us. It is as if St. Paul is using the dimensions of the Cross as a way to describe the completeness of Our Lord’s love for us in that it embraces and redeems all of the “dimensions” of this world. St. Paul reminds us that Our Lord has drawn His Cross on all created things to the point of giving us more for our own good than we would ever even think of asking.

This drawing of the Cross on all creation is demonstrated in the sufferings and difficulties that we experience in our lives. Since becoming a Catholic, I understand that these events have a special meaning in my life.  These difficulties and challenges are those gifts that the Lord gives us without asking which give us the opportunities to grow in virtue and love.

In fact, I was reminded after thinking about this Epistle reading today of those times that I have prayed to Our Lord and have asked the Lord to take away some difficulty in this life that bothers me whether it is a physical ailment or some other “thorn” and the answer has been either “no” or “not yet.”

This Epistle reading reminded me that in these cases Our Lord has something better in mind for me and that Our Lord is asking me to persevere in whatever suffering He chooses to allow in my life. It is my Cross. The one He has drawn for me in this life to lead me, and others, to our place in His Kingdom so that we may become more like Him and learn to love like He loves in our own very small, but with the help of God, meaningful way.

God Has Visited His People

I went to Mass today in the Extraordinary Form where we celebrated the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost. The Gospel reading for today was from Luke 7:11-16 where Jesus went into the city of Naim with His disciples and sees a funeral being attended by a great multitude. He discovers that the dead man is the only son of a widow and there is much weeping. Our Lord in His Divine Mercy raises the dead son and gives him back to his mother and the crowd glorifies God by saying that God has visited His people this day.

While reflecting on this Gospel, I cannot help but wonder about how God visits His people today. I realized that God visits us in a variety of ways but mainly through the Sacraments and ultimately through the Mass which effects our salvation, our own resurrection from the dead both spiritually but ultimately at the end of time physically as well in the new heavens and the new earth.

The 1962 Missal in its brief explanation of the readings for the Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost, makes some interesting comments as it says that just as Our Lord has pity on the widow who has lost her son in the city of Naim, so today our Lord has pity on our Holy Mother, the Church, who laments the loss of Her children due to sin. Similarly through the Sacraments administered by the Church, our Lord resurrects the children of the Church. Notice the emphasis on the widow’s only child. I would imagine that each of us Children of Holy Mother Church are so valuable to God through His Church that we are loved as if we are the only child that Mother ever had. Notice also that when the Lord resurrects the widow’s son he gives him to his mother. Likewise, when our Lord resurrects us to a state of grace, he gives us to our Mother, the Church who nourishes and keeps us in this state of grace, if we choose to cooperate with the graces we receive from Our Lord through His Church.

It never ceases to amaze me, how generous Our Lord is with us and these readings today reminded me of this.  Perhaps when we attend Mass we can remember that God is visiting us today, healing us, and giving us to our Mother the Church to keep us safe on our Journey Home to Him.

Eternity with Jesus as an adopted Child of God

Eternity with Jesus as an adopted Child of God!

It was a warm Louisiana day as most days are and I was going from door to door distributing Watchtower Literature.  I met a man at his home who was very cordial to me.

The man was busy doing yard work but to his credit he stopped to engage me in a conversation.  I had a picture of the promised paradise that we, as Jehovah’s Witnesses, showed to people.  It depicted a garden with a beautiful house, picturesque landscaping, delightful animals, great food and attractive men and women enjoying the good life.  I asked the gentleman if he would like to live forever in paradise on earth as depicted in the picture in my Watchtower publication.  To my shock and amazement, the man said emphatically, “NO!”

When I asked him why, the answer was unlike any answer that I had heard.  He said that his hope was to live for all eternity with Jesus and that there was no better place to spend eternity than there and that eternity with Jesus was even better than living forever in paradise on earth.

I had no response.  I believed, as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, that only a few select individuals, 144,000 to be exact, were going to spend eternity with Christ.  I knew that it was going to be a glorious experience for them but somehow I guess I had never had any Christian ever say it like this man had said it to us.  I knew deep down in my heart that eternity with Jesus was infinitely better than living forever in a paradise earth but the rest of me was not yet ready to accept it.  This encounter was, in a certain sense, the first serious knock on heaven’s door that I had encountered.   The Holy Spirit had used this man’s short response to plant a seed of truth in my heart that would take root a few years later.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Two Class System of Salvation

The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that there are two destinies for humans with regard to where they will spend everlasting life. They teach that 144,000 humans have the hope of living forever in heaven with Jesus Christ. These persons are considered to be members of spiritual Israel.  This is taken from an unusual interpretation of the 7th and 14th chapters of the book of Revelation.  Their book You Can Live Forever In Paradise on Earth says the following on page 124:

“So rather than all good people going to heaven, the Bible reveals that only 144,000 tried and faithful persons will be taken to rule with Christ.”

The Watchtower also teaches that the vast majority of JWs will live forever in paradise on earth after surviving the destruction of the world and the final battle between good and evil known as the “Great Tribulation” and “The Battle of Armageddon”. The book You Can Live Forever In Paradise on Earth on page 126 says:

“But there will be many more who make up the “new earth” including persons who survive the end of the wicked system of things.”

The December 1st, 1985 issue of The Watchtower magazine explains on pages 11, 17, and 18 that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the merits of Jesus’ death are applied differently to the 144,000, those Jehovah’s Witnesses with the heavenly calling, than it does to the “other sheep”, those Jehovah’s Witnesses who have the hope of living forever in paradise on earth.  It says the following:

“There are two aspects to justification, or the declaration of righteousness: (1) God’s accounting that person guiltless (2) God’s declaring that person perfect and worthy of everlasting life on earth. The 144,000 anointed Christians are declared righteous in both respects. They sacrifice their human life rights and are begotten as spiritual “sons” called to become kings and priests with Christ in the “new heavens.”

“That the “other sheep” are God’s friends and even now have a relatively righteous standing before him is also made clear in Jesus’ prophecy on the ‘sign of his presence’, which includes the illustration of the sheep and the goats. Because the “sheep” do good to the remnant of Christ’s 144,000 “brothers” still on earth, they are blessed by Jesus’ Father and are called “righteous ones”. Like Abraham, they are accounted, or declared righteous as friends of God.”

“By faith in “the blood of the Lamb”, the “other sheep”, are given an approved standing before Jehovah and are thus declared righteous for friendship with him and for survival during the “great tribulation”. They will attain perfection by the end of the Millennium. After the final test they will be declared righteous for life.”

So let’s compare the different ways Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus’ ransom applies to these two groups of people. If a JW is a member of the heavenly class, the JWs believe that Jesus’ ransom declares that person righteous for everlasting life NOW and that this person is adopted as a “SPIRITUAL SON” of God. If a JW is  a member of the earthly class, Jesus’ ransom declares that person righteous as a “FRIEND OF GOD” (not a spiritual son) and that person receives only a relatively righteous standing before God.  This relatively righteous standing before God will, according to the JWs, only save this individual through the “Great Tribulation” and “The Battle of Armageddon”.  Then this individual must spend 1000 years working himself back to human perfection prior to undergoing one more test at the end of the Millennium which will determine if this person can be declared righteous for everlasting life in paradise on earth.

In addition, those JWs of the heavenly class are considered by the JWs to be the primary recipients of the New Testament and as such the writings in the New Testament apply primarily to them.  The book United In Worship of the Only True God on page 111 says the following:

“…and nearly all the inspired letters in the Christian Greek Scriptures are primarily directed to this group of Kingdom heirs – “the holy ones,” “partakers of the heavenly calling.””

The May 1st, 1970 issue of The Watchtower adds on page 284:

“However, unlike those with the heavenly hope, the “great crowd” do not have human perfection imputed to them and are not reckoned in the Scriptures as “holy ones.”

So it is clear that the Watchtower teaches that the Christian Greek Scriptures of the Bible were written by God primarily to be used by his “holy ones”, those with the heavenly calling.

Also, JWs do not believe that Jesus serves as the Mediator between God and all mankind.  The book Worldwide Security Under the Prince of Peace on page 10 says:

“Likewise, the Greater Moses, Jesus Christ, is not the Mediator between Jehovah God and all mankind. He is the mediator between his heavenly Father, Jehovah God, and the nation of spiritual Israel, which is limited to only 144,000 members.”

The JWs’ Two Class System of Salvation
The Heavenly Class of only 144,000 Members The Earthly Class
Jesus Sacrifice Declares them Righteous for Eternal Life Now and makes them into Sons and Daughters of God (and not merely Friends of God). Jesus Sacrifice Declares them Righteous as Friends of God (not as children of God) and marks them for possible Salvation through the “Great Tribulation” and “The Battle of Armageddon”.
Jesus serves as their Mediator Jesus does NOT serve as their Mediator
The Bible is written primarily to them and for them. The Bible is NOT written to them or for them.
When they die, they are taken directly to heaven to be with Jesus. When they die, they are asleep and will not be resurrected until the 1000 year reign of Christ begins.
They will see Jesus face to face. They will NEVER see Jesus face to face.
They do NOT have to work themselves back to human perfection during the 1000 year reign and they do NOT have go through a test at the end of the 1000 year reign to receive everlasting life in heaven with Jesus. These must work themselves back to human perfection while living on earth for 1000 years and must go through a final test at the end of the 1000 years to receive everlasting life in paradise on earth.

Becoming A Child of God

It was the two-class system of salvation that was really the first doctrine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses to be knocked down in my heart and mind.  It did not happen overnight but occurred a little at a time.  The final knock came one day after an intense prayer to God.

I had been really bothered by a variety of teachings of the JWs after leaving the World Headquarters in 1988.  It was during this time that I began reading the Bible in context and without the assistance of Watchtower Publications.  The more I did this the more contradictions I discovered between what the historic Christian faith teaches and what Jehovah’s Witnesses teach.  These contradictions became more and more troubling.

For example, after reading the JWs’ book Worldwide Security Under the Prince of Peace which states that Jesus is not the mediator for all of mankind, I read in the JWs’ New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures the following:

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all—[this is] what is to be witnessed to at its own particular times.”-1 Timothy 2:5, 6

Clearly this scripture in their own Bible contradicts what their book teaches about the role of Christ for all of mankind.  This and other discoveries like them were very disheartening.  As I will demonstrate later, as a JW I believed that the leaders of the JWs were appointed by Jesus Himself to teach us authentic Christianity but these contradictions helped to destroy this belief as well and since my whole life had been centered on being a JW and doing the things that JWs do this experience was quite disruptive for me.

One day the internal upheaval was getting hard to deal with so I asked God to just make things simple for me and to tell me somehow just exactly what it was that He wanted me to know at that very moment.  After saying this prayer, I opened up my Bible and it fell open to the first chapter of the book of Romans.  So, I read the entire book of Romans after saying that prayer.

While reading the book of Romans that day, the following scripture caught my attention:

“For all who are led by God’s spirit, these are God’s sons. For YOU did not receive a spirit of slavery causing fear again, but YOU received a spirit of adoption as sons, by which spirit we cry out: “Abba, Father!” The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children. If, then, we are children, we are also heirs: heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ, provided we suffer together that we may also be glorified together.” Romans 8: 14-17  New World Translation

This was the scripture that indicated to me that I was being called to live for eternity with Jesus.  I realized that God was telling me that He wanted me not as a mere friend of His, which is what the JWs said God was offering me, but as a full member of His family as an adopted child of God who would receive the same inheritance as Jesus Christ.  In fact, this scripture told me that I now had the opportunity to have a relationship that was so close to God that I could actually call God “Abba!” which is the Aramaic word for “Daddy!”  The leaders of the JWs had applied this verse exclusively to those JWs with the heavenly calling, the 144,000.  However, the context indicated to me that this offer to become a full member of the family of God was being extended to all Christians who had received the spirit of God! After realizing this, I thanked God for His goodness and I had a few moments of internal peace after this.

However, I began to question over time, what does it mean to be a full member of the family of God?  Also, who is this Jesus?  Is Jesus the created being of that the JWs describe?  Or, is he almighty God as others have confessed?  These were just a few of the questions that I needed to address next and the answers to these questions eventually lead me home to the Catholic Church.