IS YOUR HOPE BIBLE-BASED?
Written by: Brown, David L. Posted on: 04/24/2003
Category: Cults / Sects / Non Christian Religions and Topics
IS YOUR HOPE BIBLE-BASED?
Questions and reflections for Jehovah's Witnesses
FOR THE JEHOVAH'S WITNESS READER
The apostle Peter told the Christians in his day:
"But sanctify the Christ as Lord in your hearts, always ready to
make a defense before everyone that demands of you a reason for the
hope in you, but doing so together with a mild temper and deep
respect." (1 Peter 3:15)
The reason this brochure has been written is to humbly challenge
you to consider whether your hope is really based on the
Bible. The defense you give of the "reason for the hope in you" -
is it really Scriptural? We ask you to follow this advice
of the best-selling Watchtower publication, The Truth That
Leads to Eternal Life (page 13):
"We need to examine, not only what we personally believe, but
also what is taught by any religious organization with which
we may be associated. Are its teachings in full harmony with
God's Word, or are they based on the traditions of men? If
we are lovers of the truth, there is nothing to fear from
such an examination. It should be the sincere desire of
every one of us to learn what God's will is for us, and then
to do it.-John 8:32."-(1981 revised edition; emphasis ours)
FOR THE NON-WITNESS READER
Those who are unfamiliar with the teachings of Jehovah's
Witnesses regarding their hope of salvation may need a little
explanation about what they believe. The Witnesses believe only
144,000 will receive the call to be with Christ in heaven. The rest
of faithful mankind have a different hope, everlasting life here on
earth. Only those who claim to be of the 144,000 (now estimated
to be under 9,000 of the over 3,395,000 Witnesses world-wide)
believe they are born-again or are now God's sons. Over 99% of
the Witnesses believe they will live on a Paradise earth. They
never hope to be with Christ or go to heaven. Verses that speak of
a "great crowd" or "other sheep" are applied by them to this group
with an earthly hope (Revelation 7:9; John 10:16). Since the year
1935, almost all those becoming Jehovah's Witnesses profess this
earthly hope. Jehovah's Witnesses also believe that all of God's
people who died before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at
Pentecost have only the earthly hope. This means that all those
who served God in Old Testament times will live on earth and never
go to heaven.
The Witnesses believe that those with the heavenly hope are
now justified and made God's children. They also believe that those
with the earthly hope only receive a partial justification for now
and will only become God's sons after the Millennium. Those with
the earthly hope will never be born-again. They also are not
entitled to partake of the bread and wine at the Witnesses' annual
Memorial (Communion). The 1987 Memorial attendance was 8,965,000.
Only 8,808 partook of the bread and wine. Most congregations of
Jehovah's Witnesses had no partakers.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture citations are from the
1984 edition of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures,
published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
ONE HOPE OR TWO?
Ephesians 4:4-6: "One body there is, and one spirit, even as you
were called in the one hope to which you were called; one Lord, one
faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all persons, who is over
all and through all and in all."
What Bible verse specifically states there are 2 hopes for
1 John 5:1: "Everyone believing that Jesus is the Christ has been
born from God."
Do you believe that Jesus is the Messiah (the Christ)?
DO YOU WANT TO ENTER GOD'S KINGDOM?
John 3:5,7: "Jesus answered: `Most truly I say to you, Unless
anyone is born from water and spirit, he cannot enter into the
kingdom of God. Do not marvel because I told you, You people must be
DO YOU HAVE FAITH IN CHRIST?
Galatians 3:26: "You are all, in fact, sons of God through your
faith in Christ Jesus."
Have you been born again as one of God's children?
ARE YOU IN HARMONY WITH THE FLESH OR THE SPIRIT?
Romans 8:5-8: "For those who are in accord with the flesh set
their minds on the things of the flesh, but those in accord with
the spirit on the things of the spirit. For the minding of the flesh
means death, but the minding of the spirit means life and peace;
because the minding of the flesh means enmity with God, for it is
not under subjection to the law of God, nor, in fact, can it be.
So those who are in harmony with the flesh cannot please God." Read
Romans 8:12,13: "So, then, brothers, we are under obligation, not
to the flesh to live in accord with the flesh; for if you live in
accord with the flesh you are sure to die; but if you put the
practices of the body to death by the spirit, you will live." Read
ARE YOU A SON OR A SLAVE?
Romans 8:14-17: "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
Are you in harmony with the Spirit? Are you led by God's Spirit?
If so, are you one of God's sons? Or, are you still a slave to
sin? If a son, then you are also a joint heir with Christ! Compare:
Galatians 4:6,7: "Now because you are sons, God has sent forth
the spirit of his Son into our hearts and it cries out: `Abba,
Father!' So, then, you are no longer a slave but a son; and if a
son, also an heir through God."
HAVE YOU RECEIVED CHRIST?
John 1:12,13: "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; and they were born, not from blood or
from a fleshly will or from man's will, but from God."
Have you exercised faith in Christ's name? Have you received
Him? Have you been born from God and become one of His children?
Physical life begins with birth. Spiritual life also begins with a
ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB IN THE HEAVENLY KINGDOM?
Matthew 8:11,12: "But I tell you that many from eastern
Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of the heavens; whereas the sons of
the kingdom will be thrown into the darkness outside."
Jesus is clearly speaking of something in the future. ("Many ...
will come.") Should we view this as merely figurative? The March
15, 1962 Watchtower, pages 191 and 192, argues that Abraham stands
for Jehovah God, Isaac stands for Jesus Christ, and Jacob stands
for the 144,000 (see also page 28 of the September 1, 1978
Watchtower). They say this is all that will be in the heavenly
kingdom. However, such a view is inconsistent with Jesus' words.
For "Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" are not the only ones in the heavenly
kingdom! "With" them will be "many from eastern parts and western
parts"! That would be many more than just Jehovah, Jesus and
144,000 resurrected humans. The December 1, 1986 Watchtower, page
9, relates some of the context of Jesus' words:
"`The sons of the kingdom . . .thrown into the darkness
outside' are natural Jews who do not accept the opportunity
offered first to them of being rulers with Christ. Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob represent God's Kingdom arrangement. Thus
Jesus is relating how Gentiles will be welcomed to recline at
the heavenly table, as it were, `in the kingdom of the
heavens.'" (Emphasis ours; ellipsis in text)
The context of Matthew 8:11,12 (when a Gentile army officer
manifested his faith) makes it clear Jesus is referring to the
fact that many Gentiles would come into the Kingdom. Considering
that many Gentiles `from the East and from the West' would recline
with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob' in the heavenly Kingdom makes
the Watchtower Society's interpretation improbable. Besides,
Jesus uses similar words in another sermon as recorded at Luke
13:28,29. There He speaks of "Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and
all the prophets" with people from the East, West, North and South
also reclining at the table in the Kingdom. If Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob are figurative, who do "all the prophets" symbolize? Really,
can't we just accept Jesus' words at face value?
Hebrews 11:16 (speaking of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob): "But
now they are reaching out for a better place, that is, one belonging
to heaven. Hence God is not ashamed of them, to be called upon as
their God, for he has made a city ready for them." (Compare Hebrews
12,000 & 144,000-LITERAL OR SYMBOLIC?
Revelation 7:4-8 speaks of 144,000 sealed from the 12 tribes of
Israel. 12,000 are to be sealed from each tribe. On pages 12
and 13 of Commentary on the Letter of James (published in 1979 by
the Watchtower Society) we are told:
"Since natural Israel consisted of 12 tribes, it logically
follows that spiritual Israel would be spoken of as having 12
tribes to show that it was a complete spiritual nation, with
no part or tribe missing. There is no numerical imbalance
within spiritual Israel, for the Bible book of Revelation
symbolically reveals that an equal number-12,000-is sealed
from every tribe. (Rev. 7:4-8)" (Emphasis ours)
If the number 12,000 from each tribe is symbolic, wouldn't the total
be symbolic also? If the number 144,000 is literal, shouldn't there
be 12 literal groups of 12,000 comprising the 144,000? To say the
12,000 is symbolic and the total 144,000 is literal is
inconsistent. (Interestingly, most Jehovah's Witnesses would
interpret the numbers 12,000 and 144 elsewhere in the book of
Revelation to be symbolic, as at Revelation 21:16,17.) Bible
commentators differ whether the numbers 12,000 and 144,000 should be
understood literally or symbolically, but it is obvious the
numbers should be considered both literal or both symbolic.
WHERE DO THE GREAT CROWD SERVE GOD?
Revelation 7:9,10,15: "After these things I saw, and look! a
great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations
and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and
before the Lamb, dressed in white robes; and there were palm
branches in their hands. And they keep on crying with a loud
voice, saying: `Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the
throne, and to the Lamb. That is why they are before the throne of
God; and they are rendering him sacred service day and night in
his temple [Greek: naos]; and the One seated on the throne will
spread his tent over them." Compare this with:
Revelation 7:11: "And all the angels were standing around the
throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell
upon their faces before the throne and worshiped God." In the same
vision the angels, elders, and 4 living creatures are also said to
be before the throne. Where are they? In heaven or on the earth?
OUTER COURTYARDS NOT PART OF "NAOS"
What does it mean when it says the "great crowd" worship God "in
his temple"? Doesn't that indicate they will be in heaven? The
Watchtower Society says the "great crowd" worship God in a particular
location in God's temple. According to the August 15, 1980
Watchtower, page 15, the "great crowd" worship in the outer
courtyards of God's temple - the Court of the Gentiles (the nations)
- which they say represents earthly worshipers, not heavenly
worshipers. Consider, please, how the rest of the book of
Revelation shows us how the Greek word naos ("temple") is used:
Revelation 11:1,2: "And a reed like a rod was given me as he
said: `Get up and measure the temple sanctuary [Greek: naos] of God
and the altar and those worshiping in it. But as for the courtyard
that is outside the temple sanctuary [Greek: naos], cast it clear
out and do not measure it, because it has been given to the
nations, and they will trample the holy city underfoot for forty-two
In the New World Translation the same Greek word naos is translated
as "temple" in Revelation 7 and as "temple [sanctuary]" in Revelation
11. (The Watchtower Society's Kingdom Interlinear Translation
translates it both times as "divine habitation.") Why the
difference? Evidently the Society does not want to admit that the
"great crowd" worship in the heavenly sanctuary. Instead, they
try to divide God's temple into 2 areas. The Society says the
inner temple area (closest to the sanctuary) represents heaven.
They say the outer courtyards represent earthly worshipers. That
is why the Society teaches that the great crowd worship in the
outer courtyards of the temple - the Court of the Gentiles, as in
King Herod's temple. However, Revelation 11:1,2 argues persuasively
against the idea that the outer courtyards would be included in
the naos. It says the the courtyard given to the Gentiles (the
nations) is "outside the naos," outside the temple. In fact, the
Greek word naos always refers to God's heavenly temple in every
other place it appears in the book of Revelation! (Naos occurs in
the Greek text at Revelation 3:12; 7:15; 11:1,2,19*; 14:15,17;
15:5,6,8*; 16:1,17; 21:22*.)
( * "Naos" occurs twice in these verses. The NWT translates some of
these simply as "sanctuary.")
THE GREAT CROWD IN HEAVEN?
Revelation 19:1: "After these things I heard what was as a loud
voice of a great crowd in heaven. They said: `Praise Jah, you
people! The salvation and the glory and the power belong to our
God.'" Compare Revelation 7:9,10. Notice the similarity in wording
between Revelation 19:1 and Revelation 7:9,10 (quoted on page 4).
Some say the "great crowd" here are angels. However, why would
angels ascribe salvation to God? The angels that sinned will not be
saved (2 Peter 2:4). The faithful angels do not need salvation.
SOME OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED:
"WHAT ABOUT THE NEW EARTH?"
Revelation 21:1,2: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for
the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea
is no more. I saw also the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down
out of heaven from God and prepared as a bride adorned for her
Traditional Christianity affirms there will be both a new heaven and
a new earth. Revelation chapters 21 and 22 seem to indicate there
will be some sort of uniting of heaven and earth, when the New
Jerusalem descends from heaven. (We are not told exactly how this
uniting of heaven and earth will take place. Nor do we know what
sort of physical changes may be required.) This is what some call
"the final state." George Eldon Ladd writes:
"The final state of the Kingdom of God is a new heaven and a
new earth ([Revelation] 21:1ff.) This expresses a theology
of creation that runs throughout the Bible.The Old
Testament prophets picture the Kingdom of God in terms of a
redeemed earth (Isa. 11:6-9; Joel 3:18; Amos 9:13-15). This
is described in terms of a new heaven and new earth even in
the Old Testament (Isa. 65:17;66:22). . . However, a
fundamental theology underlies these expectations, even
though they must be clarified by progressive revelation: that
man's ultimate destiny is an earthly one. . . The New
Testament does not outstrip this theology, although it
reveals more than the Old Testament does by showing that the
newness of the eternal order is much more radical than God
had disclosed to the prophets.Jesus spoke of the
regeneration of the world (Mt. 19:28), and Paul spoke of the
redemption of the created order (Rom. 8:20-21)." A Theology
of the New Testament, by George Eldon Ladd. Published by Wm.
B. Eerdmans, 1974. Page 631. (Emphasis ours)
Revelation 5:10: "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests
to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth." (New
International Version) The New World Translation has "reign
over" which is a possible translation, but not the most literal
translation. However, the Kingdom Interlinear shows the basic
meaning of the Greek word here is "upon." Initially, Christians
will worship God in His temple in heaven (Revelation 7:9,15; 19:1).
After that, in the final state, the saints (holy ones) will reign
upon the earth, when the New Jerusalem descends from heaven. That
is described in detail in chapters 21 and 22 of Revelation.
"WHO WILL THE HOLY ONES RULE OVER?"
-To which we respond with this question-
WILL YOU BE OUTSIDE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM?
Revelation 5:10 (quoted in the section above) says the holy
ones (saints) will reign. Some claim this means the holy ones
must have subjects. However, take time to read the description
of the final state in Revelation chapters 21 and 22 and it becomes
obvious that the New Jerusalem is the home of the redeemed. What
of those outside the city? Carefully consider this passage:
Revelation 22:14,15: "`Happy are those who wash their robes
[compare Rev. 7:14], that the authority to go to the trees of life
may be theirs and that they may gain entrance into the city by its
gates. Outside are the dogs and those who practice spiritism and
the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone
liking and carrying on a lie.'" What is your hope? Do you hope
`to gain entrance into the city,' or will you be outside with those
judged by God?
Does the fact the holy ones (saints) reign mean they must
have subjects? Compare this passage:
1 Peter 2:9,10: "But you are `a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people for special possession, that you should
declare abroad the excellencies' of the one that called you out of
darkness into his wonderful light. For you were once not a people,
but are now God's people; you were those who had not been shown
mercy, but are now those who have been shown mercy."
The early Christians that Peter wrote to were already a
"royal priesthood" at that time. Since they were called royalty,
did that mean they ruled over others? Or, is the emphasis on
the glories Christians share in because of their position in union
with Christ? (Compare Ephesians 2:4-7 where Paul says that
Christians in Ephesus had been `raised up and seated together in
the heavenly places in union with Christ.') Christians already
share royal blessings. However, this doesn't indicate that
they rule over others. Nor is that indicated at Revelation
Anthony Hoekema gives a possible additional meaning for the reign
of the holy ones:
"One might wonder over whom these glorified saints will
reign, since all human beings on the new earth will
participate in this reigning. Perhaps the best answer to
this question is that this will be a reigning over the new
creation. Man will now be able to fulfill in a perfect way
the mandate to have dominion over the earth which he could
only fulfill imperfectly on the present earth. In the life
to come, in other words, man will for the first time since
the fall rule the earth properly." The Bible and the Future,
by Anthony A. Hoekema. Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979.
Page 283. (Emphasis ours)
So it is not a question of who the holy ones rule over, but of
what they rule over. In discussing the description of the New
Jerusalem given in Revelation chapter 21, Hoekema adds these
interesting points (on page 285 of the above-mentioned book):
"The fact that the names of the twelve tribes are inscribed
on the twelve gates (v. 12) and that the names of the twelve
apostles are written on the twelve foundations (v. 14)
suggests that the people of God on the new earth will include
believers from both the Old Testament covenant community and
from the church of the New Testament era."
"JOHN THE BAPTIST WON'T BE IN HEAVEN!"
Some interpret Jesus' words at Matthew 11:11 to mean John the
Baptist will not be in the heavenly kingdom. Is this so?
Matthew 11:11: "Truly I say to you people, Among those born of
women there has not been raised up a greater than John the Baptist;
but a person that is a lesser one in the kingdom of the heavens is
greater than he is."
Some say this means that one who will be `least' in the
heavenly kingdom will be greater than John the Baptist. However,
Jesus uses the present tense here: "is," not `will be.' Jesus was
not speaking of future destinies in this verse. He was
speaking about current blessings. While at times the Kingdom is
spoken of as future, it is also spoken of as present. (Compare
Colossians 1:13 where it says God has "transferred" [past tense]
Christians into the Kingdom. See also Matthew 12:28; Mark 10:15;
Luke 17:20,21.) Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom. John the
Baptist had no part in that, except to introduce Jesus. So those
who would be following Jesus (and thus be in the Kingdom) would be
greater (more privileged) than John, who did not get involved with
Jesus' ministry. This verse says nothing about John's final
"JESUS HAS `OTHER SHEEP,' EARTHLY SHEEP!"
John 10:16: "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."
Traditional Christian belief has been that these other sheep are
the Gentiles (starting in the first century) who would join
Jewish believers and form one body of believers. Some say that
Jesus was prophesying an earthly class to be formed nearly two
thousand years later. Let's read something in the next chapter:
John 11:49-52: "But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, who was
high priest that year, said to them: `You do not know anything at
all, and you do not reason out that it is to your behalf for one man
to die in behalf of the people and not for the whole nation to be
destroyed.' This, though, he did not say of his own originality; but
because he was high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was
destined to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but in
order that the children of God who are scattered about he might
gather together in one."
In the very next chapter John speaks of the Jewish nation and
others `not of that nation,' who would be gathered into one.
Wouldn't it be more likely that these Gentiles would be the other
sheep? (Compare Ephesians 2:11-22.)
"ONLY A `LITTLE FLOCK' GOES TO HEAVEN"
Luke 12:32: "`Have no fear, little flock, because your Father
has approved of giving you the kingdom.'"
True, Jesus' words above indicate those inheriting the Kingdom would
be few. Yet, that doesn't limit that "little flock" to a specific
number, like 144,000. Compare:
Matthew 7:13,14: "`Go in through the narrow gate; because broad
and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many
are the ones going in through it; whereas narrow is the gate and
cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones
finding it." God's people are still a minority in this world, even
as in Jesus' day. (Please also see Luke 13:23-30.)
SOME FURTHER THOUGHTS:
DID THE PASSOVER PICTURE THE MEMORIAL?
1 Corinthians 5:6-8: "Your cause for boasting is not fine. Do you
not know that a little leaven ferments the whole lump? Clear away
the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, according as you are
free from ferment. For, indeed, Christ our passover has been
sacrificed. Consequently, let us keep the festival, not with old
leaven, neither with leaven of badness and wickedness, but with
unfermented cakes of sincerity and truth."
To be sure, there are a few differences between the Passover and
the Memorial. (Such is usually the case between shadow and reality.)
Yet, Paul ties together the old Passover festival with the
Christian celebration of the Lord's Supper (Communion). After all,
the Lord's Supper was instituted at the time of the last Passover
Jesus had with his disciples (Luke 22:15).
WHO PARTOOK OF THE PASSOVER?
Exodus 12:43-49 explains that all circumcised worshipers of
Yahweh celebrated the Passover, not just the priestly Levite
tribe. Even alien residents who had joined themselves to Israel
were to celebrate it: "And in case an alien resident resides as an
alien with you and he will actually celebrate the passover to
Jehovah, let there be a circumcising of every male of his.
First then he may come near to celebrate it; and he must become
like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised man may eat of
it. One law is to exist for the native and for the alien resident
who is residing as an alien in your midst." (Exodus 12:48,49;
compare 2 Chronicles 30:25-27)
The Society likes to compare their "two classes" of Christians
(their 144,000 with a heavenly hope and their `great crowd' with an
earthly hope) to the natural circumcised Israelites (picturing the
144,000) and those aliens who converted to be worshipers of Jehovah
(picturing their `great crowd' class). This sort of typology is
inconsistent. The Society teaches that the `great crowd' class
cannot partake of the bread and wine at the Lord's Supper and yet
even the alien residents in Israel partook of the Passover! (Isn't
it more likely that the natural Jews and proselytes in ancient Israel
picture that in the Church today both Jews and Gentiles would make
up one body of worshipers to God?)
"UNLESS YOU EAT. . ."
John 6:53,54: "Accordingly Jesus said to them: `Most truly I say
to you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his
blood, you have no life in yourselves. He that feeds on my flesh
and drinks my blood has everlasting life, and I shall resurrect him
at the last day.'"
Surely Jesus had in mind the symbol of the Lord's Supper when
He commanded Christians to eat and drink his flesh and blood. They
could not understand His words until later (Compare John 6:60-
66). Like another of Jesus' statements, this one could not be
fully understood until after what He was referring to occurred
(Compare John 2:18-22). Of course, the `eating' and `drinking' of
Jesus' flesh and blood refers to our believing in Him as God's
sacrifice for us (John 6:29,33,35,40). There can be no doubt Jesus
knew He would institute the Memorial as the fulfillment of the
Passover and had that in mind when He said these words. So, the
question remains: Where is the scriptural basis to say that most
Christians today should not eat the bread or drink the wine at the
DO YOU FOLLOW JESUS' COMMAND?
1 Corinthians 11:23-25: "For I received from the Lord that which
I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he
was going to be handed over took a loaf and, after giving thanks, he
broke it and said: `This means my body which is in your behalf.
Keep doing this in remembrance of me.' He did likewise respecting
the cup also, after he had the evening meal, saying: `This cup means
the new covenant by virtue of my blood. Keep doing this, as often
as you drink it, in remembrance of me.'"
Where does the Bible indicate that millions of people should refuse
to partake of these emblems starting with the year 1935? Have
Jesus' words been superseded? If so, on what Biblical command?
WHEN DO WE PROCLAIM CHRIST'S DEATH?
1 Corinthians 11:26: "For as often as you eat this loaf and drink
this cup, you keep proclaiming the death of the Lord, until he
Do you proclaim His death at the Lord's Supper?
OLD COVENANT-NEW COVENANT
The Society claims that only the 144,000 "anointed ones" are in the
New Covenant (April 1, 1979 Watchtower, page 31).Since their
`great crowd' class are not in the New Covenant (they only benefit
from the New Covenant by their association with these 144,000),
they cannot partake of the emblems of the Memorial. However, all of
ancient Israel were in the old Covenant - both the natural
circumcised Jews and the proselyted aliens. Both these groups had
the same promises, the same responsibilities, the same
blessings (Exodus 12:49; Leviticus 19:33,34). So, where is the
precedent to say not all Christians today are in the New Covenant?
BEING IN THE NEW COVENANT MEANS FORGIVENESS OF SINS
Hebrews 10:15-17: "Moreover, the holy spirit also bears witness to
us for after it has said: `This is the covenant that I shall
covenant toward them after those days,' says Jehovah. `I will put
my laws in their hearts, and in their minds I shall write
them,' it says afterwards: `And I shall by no means call their
sins and their lawless deeds to mind anymore.'"
Are you yet in sin? Or, have your sins been forgiven?
IS CHRIST YOUR MEDIATOR?
1 Timothy 2:5,6: "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
To be consistent with their theology the Society has had to teach
that Jesus Christ is the mediator for only the 144,000. They teach
He is not the mediator for the `great crowd' class (See April
1, 1979 Watchtower, page 31; compare also page 10 of the 1986
publication Worldwide Security Under the "Prince of Peace".) After
all, if the great crowd are not in the New Covenant they cannot
have a mediator. However, didn't all Israel have Moses as the
mediator of the Old Covenant, both the natural circumcised Israelites
along with the foreigners who joined themselves to Israel? What
Scriptures explicitly teach that most of God's people today would not
have Christ as their mediator?
`THOSE IN CHRIST HAVE NO CONDEMNATION'
Romans 8:1,2: "Therefore those in union with Christ Jesus have
no condemnation. For the law of that spirit which gives life in
union with Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of
(The New World Translation expands "in Christ" to "in union
with Christ.") Those in union with Christ (or, in Christ) do not
stand condemned before God. The next verses of Romans 8 (vs. 3-17)
clearly show that those who are in union with Christ are those who
are God's sons. Do you feel condemned before God? Are your sins
forgiven? Are you right with God? Are you in Christ?
John 5:24: "Most truly I say to you, He that hears my word
and believes him that sent me has everlasting life, and he does not
come into judgment but has passed over from death to life." Have you
passed over from death to life, escaping God's judgment?
The February 15, 1986 Watchtower, page 13, gave new understanding
to the phrase "in union with Christ" (referring to John 17:20,21):
"So, today, both groups, the heavenly and the earthly, are
"in union with the Father and the Son"-at full accord with
them in accomplishing God's work. Jesus prayed, `That they
may all be [at unity], just as you, Father, are in union with
me and I am in union with you, that they also may be in union
with us.' This oneness is not limited in meaning to joint
heirship, for obviously Jesus' disciples do not become any
"body of Jehovah" or "joint heirs with Jehovah." They are
`in union' in that they show oneness of cooperation, being of
one heart and mind with both Jehovah and Christ, as they
witness to the world of mankind." (Brackets and emphasis
Before this time the expression "in union with Christ" was always
used in reference to the 144,000. (See, for example, Life
Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God , pages 102, 109,
110, 143-146.) Now the Society applies it also to the `great crowd'
class. The Watchtower article quoted above cited John 17:21 and
applied it to both those with the heavenly hope and those with the
earthly hope. Yet, compare what Jesus prayed in the next few
John 17:22-24: "Also, I have given them the glory that you have
given me, in order that they may be one just as we are one. I in
union with them and you in union with me, in order that they may be
perfected into one...Father, as to what you have given me, I wish
that, where I am, they also may be with me, in order to behold my
glory that you have given me." Jesus prayed that those who
would be in union with Him would be with Him in glory one day. Is
that your hope?
2 Corinthians 5:17: "Consequently, if anyone is in union with
Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away, look! new
things have come into existence." Those in Christ are new
creatures in Christ. Another way to put it is that they are new-
born. Their old selves have died (along with their sin) and they
have started the road anew. (Romans 6:2-11) Is that true of
you? Have you died to sin? Are you now alive in union with Christ
as a new creation, reborn as a child of God? If not, are you now
condemned before God?
Romans 5:1,2: "Therefore, now that we have been declared
righteous ["justified," Kingdom Interlinear] as a result of faith,
let us enjoy peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through
whom also we have gained our approach by faith into this undeserved
kindness in which we now stand; and let us exult, based on hope
of the glory of God."
The words "declare righteous" or "justify" occur many, many times
in the New Testament, particularly in Paul's writings. Those who are
made right with God are justified. In the December 1, 1985
Watchtower, pages 8-18, the Society argues that most of God's
servants receive only a partial justification for the present. (This
includes Old Testament servants of God.) The 144,000 receive
complete justification now. However, consider these verses:
Romans 4:2,3,6,7: "If, for instance, Abraham were declared
righteous as a result of works, he would have ground for boasting;
but not with God. For what does the Scripture say: `Abraham
exercised faith in Jehovah, and it was counted to him as
righteousness.'. . .Just as David also speaks of the happiness
of the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
`Happy are those whose lawless deeds have been pardoned and whose
sins have been covered.'"
Galatians 3:8,9: "Now the Scripture, seeing in advance that God
would declare people of the nations righteous due to faith, declared
the good news beforehand to Abraham, namely: `By means of you all
the nations will be blessed.' Consequently those who adhere to
faith are being blessed together with faithful Abraham."
True, the Old Testament servants of God lived and died before
the coming of Christ. Yet, according to Revelation 13:8 Jesus
was the `Lamb that was slain from the founding of the world.' Paul
at Romans 3:25 and 26 explains how God could forgive people even
before Jesus gave His life for us. Where is the Bible verse
that says their salvation is any different than ours? Where does
the Bible speak of different types of justification? Where
does it speak of partial justification? On the contrary, the
early Christians at Galatia were told they were being blessed
together with Abraham, not apart from him.
ARE YOUR SINS FORGIVEN NOW?
Surprisingly, the Society teaches that it is only the 144,000 who
now experience complete forgiveness of sins. The rest of God's
servants must wait until the Millennium. The January 1, 1987
Watchtower, page 30 says:
"While the small group selected to be taken to heaven have
had their sins forgiven from Pentecost of 33 C.E. onward and
thus already enjoy the Jubilee, the Scriptures show that the
liberation for believing mankind will occur during Christ's
Millennial Reign. That will be when he applies to mankind
the benefits of his ransom sacrifice." (Emphasis theirs)
Where do "the Scriptures show" that most of God's servants will
not have their sins completely forgiven until during the Millennium?
Where does the Bible say God only partially forgives?
ON WHOSE MERIT WILL YOU STAND BEFORE GOD?
Isaiah 64:6: "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and
all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a
leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away." (New International
Yet, the Society teaches that most of mankind will be
declared righteous at the end of the Millennium, as a result of their
own merit. We are told on page 400 of Life Everlasting in Freedom
of the Sons of God (1966):
"Jehovah God will justify, declare righteous, on the basis of
their own merit all perfected humans who have withstood that
final, decisive test of mankind." (Emphasis ours)
The only way anyone will stand before God is through the blood of
the Lamb! Not by one's own merit (Revelation 7:14; Ephesians
A FEW PERSONAL QUESTIONS. . .
DO YOU HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE, NOW?
John 3:36: "He that exercises faith in the Son has everlasting
life; he that disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath
of God remains upon him."
John 3:18: "He that exercises faith in him is not to be judged.
He that does not exercise faith has been judged already, because he
has not exercised faith in the name of the only-begotten Son of God."
John 5:24: "Most truly I say to you, He that hears my word
and believes him that sent me has everlasting life, and he does not
come into judgment but has passed over from death to life."
1 John 5:13: "I write you these things that you may know that you
have life everlasting, you who put your faith in the name of the
Son of God."
DO YOU HAVE THE SON?
1 John 5:11,12: "And this is the witness given, that God gave
us everlasting life, and this life is in his Son. He that has the
Son has this life; he that does not have the Son of God does not
have this life."
DOES CHRIST DWELL IN YOUR HEART?
Ephesians 3:17: "to have the Christ dwell through your faith in
your hearts with love; that you may be rooted and established
on the foundation."
Galatians 4:6,7: "Now because you are sons, God has sent forth
the spirit of his Son into our hearts and it cries out: `Abba,
Father!' So then, you are no longer a slave but a son; and if a
son, also an heir through God."
John 14:23: "In answer Jesus said to him: `If anyone loves me, he
will observe my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come
to him and make our abode with him.'"
Does Christ dwell in your heart? Are you a son or a slave? Has
the Father and the Son made their abode in you? Do you have
everlasting life? Do you have the Son? Or, are you still in slavery
WILL YOU ACCEPT HIS INVITATION?
Revelation 3:20: "Look! I am standing at the door and knocking.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into his
house and take the evening meal with him and he with me."
Matthew 11:28: "Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded
down, and I will refresh you."
John 14:14: "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will
do it." (New International Version. Compare the literal Greek word
for word portion of the Kingdom Interlinear Translation: "If ever
anything you should ask me in the name of me this I shall do.")
A Christian is someone personally united to the Lord Jesus
Christ. All Christians share the "one hope" spoken of at Ephesians
4:4. This hope is to someday be with Christ where He is (John
17:20,24). In fact, Christ Himself is "our hope." (1 Timothy 1:1)
Paul's message to the Gentiles was `Christ in you, the hope of
glory.' (Colossians 1:27,28) This relationship with Christ is
described in various ways. When we come into God's family we are
said to be re-born as His sons and daughters (John 3:3,5).
Previously we were slaves to sin. Now we have been adopted as His
children (Rom. 8:14-17). This happens when we receive Christ by
faith into our hearts and allow God's Spirit to work in us,
leading us into all truth (John 1:12; Eph. 3:17; Gal. 4:4-7; John
16:13). No longer are we dead in sin (Rom. 6:2); we are alive in
Christ! (Rom. 6:4-6; Eph. 2:1,5-7) Our walk with Christ should be
a daily walk. Yet, we must not forget those special times when
we remember how He gave His body and blood to redeem us-at great
cost to Himself. How glad we are to proclaim His death at the
Lord's Supper, for His loving sacrifice of Himself means that we
might have life (1 Cor. 11:26; John 6:53,54). Knowing that Christ
has paid the full price for our sin, we do not try to add to that
perfect price. Rather, we gladly `live no longer for ourselves,
but for Him who died for us and was raised again.' (2 Cor. 5:14;
compare Ephesians 2:8-10) Knowing God loves His children reassures
us when we fall or are uncertain. "Let us then approach the
throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and
find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:16, New
International Version) Dear reader, if you do not have this "peace
of God that excels all thought" please accept Jesus' invitation to
give you this rest when you do as He said: "Come to me!" (Matthew
11:28,29; Philippians 4:7) Take Him at His word. Men may fail
you, but He will never disappoint you! (Romans 3:4; 9:33)
(The above material, plus further appendices on the meaning of "naos"
as well as the memorial supper, is available in printed form from
Alpha and Omega Ministries, P.O. Box 47041, Phoenix AZ, 85068. The
booklet is entitled "One Hope or Two?" It was written by Dave Brown)
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