Jehovah’s Witnesses Who Are They? pt.4
What Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Believe?
The beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses are no secret, for their literature is readily available in hundreds of languages. Below is a synopsis of some of their main tenets.
“The Father is greater than I am.”—John 14:28
- The Bible The Witnesses believe that “all Scripture is inspired of God.” (2 Timothy 3:16) Jason D. BeDuhn, an associate professor of religious studies, wrote: “[Jehovah’s Witnesses built] their system of belief and practice from the raw material of the Bible without predetermining what was to be found there.” They align their beliefs with the Bible; they do not interpret it to suit themselves. At the same time, they recognize that not everything in the Bible is to be taken literally. The seven days of creation, for example, are symbolic, referring to extended periods of time.—Genesis 1:31; 2:4.
- The Creator The true God has given himself a personal name—Jehovah (or Yahweh, as used in the Roman Catholic Jerusalem Bible and preferred by some modern-day scholars)—that distinguishes him from false gods.* (Psalm 83:18) The Hebrew form of the divine name appears some 7,000 times in the original text of the Scriptures. Stressing the importance of that name, Jesus said in his model prayer: “Hallowed be thy name.” (Matthew 6:9, King James Version) God rightly demands exclusive devotion. Hence, the Witnesses use no icons or images in their worship.—1 John 5:21.
- Jesus Christ He is the Savior, “the Son of God,” and “the firstborn of all creation.” (John 1:34; Colossians 1:15; Acts 5:31) As a created being, he is not part of a Trinity. “The Father is greater than I am,” said Jesus. (John 14:28) Jesus lived in heaven before coming to earth, and after his sacrificial death and resurrection, he returned to heaven. “No one comes to the Father except through [him].”—John 14:6.
- God’s Kingdom This is an actual heavenly government with a King—Jesus Christ—and 144,000 corulers, who are “bought from the earth.” (Revelation 5:9, 10; 14:1, 3, 4; Daniel 2:44; 7:13, 14) They will rule over the earth, which will be cleansed of all wickedness and will be inhabited by many millions of God-fearing humans.—Proverbs 2:21, 22.
- The earth Ecclesiastes 1:4 states: “The earth endures for ever.” (The New English Bible) After the destruction of the wicked, the earth will be made into a paradise and populated forever by righteous humans. (Psalm 37:10, 11, 29) Jesus’ words in prayer “thy will be done in earth” will thus be fulfilled.—Matthew 6:10, King James Version.
- Bible prophecy “God . . . cannot lie.” (Titus 1:2) Hence, what he foretells always comes true, including the Bible prophecies concerning the end of the present world. (Isaiah 55:11; Matthew 24:3-14) Who will survive the coming destruction? “He that does the will of God remains forever,” says 1 John 2:17.
- Secular authorities “Pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God,” said Jesus. (Mark 12:17) Accordingly, Jehovah’s Witnesses obey the laws of the land when these do not conflict with God’s laws.—Acts 5:29; Romans 13:1-3.
- Preaching Jesus foretold: “This good news of the kingdom” will be proclaimed earth wide before the end of the present world. (Matthew 24:14) Jehovah’s Witnesses consider it an honor to share in that lifesaving work. Of course, whether people listen or not is their own choice. The Bible says: “Let anyone that wishes take life’s water free.”—Revelation 22:17.
- Baptism Jehovah’s Witnesses baptize only those who, on the basis of a thorough study of the Bible, want to serve God as one of his Witnesses. (Hebrews 12:1) These symbolize their personal dedication to God by water immersion.—Matthew 3:13, 16; 28:19.
- The clergy-laity distinction “All you are brothers,” said Jesus to his followers. (Matthew 23:8) The early Christians, including the Bible writers, had no clergy class. This Biblical pattern is the one that Jehovah’s Witnesses follow.
“This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”—Matthew 24:14
* Jehovah’s Witnesses did not coin the name “Jehovah.” Many centuries ago, God’s name was rendered “Jehovah” in a number of non-Biblical languages, including English and German. Sadly, some modern-day Bible translators have replaced the divine name with titles, such as “God” and “Lord,” thus showing gross disrespect for the Author of the Bible.