Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Part two, What do Jehovah's Witnesses believe in?

I was going to answer another question in this forum (the question is, "What do Jehovah's Witnesses believe in?"). But I decided to make a new question. I am soo confused. when the JW's give a person scriptures to show the answer to a person's questions, I want to know about those scriptures. Are those scriptures in context? Are they symbolical only if the author of that Bible part intended to be symbolical? There are 60 plus books in the Bible, some poetical and others historical. One can't interpret them like a jigsaw puzzle (a verse here, a verse there), to make their own picture.

No Greek scholar has figured out that hell is not fire and brimstone but annihilation? No pope ever found out that Jesus was an archangel? Did some writer of the first few century mention early Christians to be like JW's?

I HAVE to know the answers to the question. I want to be a JW, but I do hear the Christian Research Institute and Carm.org, and they make me afraid. How can it be that other Bible scholars all get it wrong for 2000 years, but the WT doesn't? That they are so different means something, because God's people have to stand apart.

I've got to know soon. the JW's published a booklet in 2004 called, Keep on the Watch. About people before who heeded God's words were saved. I felt it was written for me, and I am very concerned.

Update:

such great answers and resources. thank you folks, I was shocked to hear about Weasley. I've got to most important quest in life to complete!!

Update 2:

since the answers are so great, and they have given me such a wealth of information, I will not vote for best answers (they all seem best!), so I will let the readers vote. thank you folks!!

18 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best answer

    I understand your concern about things possibly being taken out of context.

    However, to study the Bible by reading it from beginning to end is much more difficult than it is to study it by subject. Example: Ezekiel 18:4 says that the soul that is sinning, it itself will die. Read the surrounding verses and ask yourself if the context lends any different understanding to the statement. Is it even possible to understand it differently? If not, then it is clear that the soul is not immortal as many churches teach. Now if you read the parable about the rich man and Lazarus it is also easy to understand why some think not only that the soul is immortal but that there is also a fiery hell where people are tormented after death forever and ever. For the Bible to be true, it can't contradict itself. If the scripture in Ezekiel [and others] can have no other meaning then the account at Luke 16:14-31 about the rich man and Lazarus has to have another explanation and it does. Verses 14 & 15 there say, " Now the Pharisees, who were money lovers, were listening to all these things, and they began to sneer at him. Consequently he said to them: “YOU are those who declare yourselves righteous before men, but God knows YOUR hearts; because what is lofty among men is a disgusting thing in God’s sight." The entire account of the rich man & Lazarus ends up being an illustration or parable of how the Jewish religious leaders who at one time were favored by God would lose God's favor and how the ordinary and unlettered ones would be the ones that would receive God's favor (Acts 4:13). And while it speaks about them being conscious in Hades, this is only an illustration which would require some length to explain. [Feel free to contact me for a complete explanation.] The fact that the context helps us reach this conclusion is noteworthy. As you study the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses more and more you will come to appreciate that it is because of the context that we draw the conclusions that we draw. (That is - IF your heart is receptive to the message.)

    Understanding the Bible is thought to be difficult by many but it really isn't if it is done in an orderly fashion and step by step. For example do you understand complicated mathematical equations? advanced math or trigonometry? [Maybe you do but most don't] Yet it is math. And math is made up of 4 basic things: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. You have to understand the basics first before you can begin to understand the deeper things. [1Corintians 2:10]

    Consider Matthew 13:10-15:

    So the disciples came up and said to him: “Why is it you speak to them by the use of illustrations?” In reply he said: “To YOU it is granted to understand the sacred secrets of the kingdom of the heavens, but to those people it is not granted. For whoever has, more will be given him and he will be made to abound; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them by the use of illustrations, because, looking, they look in vain, and hearing, they hear in vain, neither do they get the sense of it; and toward them the prophecy of Isaiah is having fulfillment, which says, ‘By hearing, YOU will hear but by no means get the sense of it; and, looking, YOU will look but by no means see. For the heart of this people has grown unreceptive, and with their ears they have heard without response, and they have shut their eyes; that they might never see with their eyes and hear with their ears and get the sense of it with their hearts and turn back, and I heal them.’

    And so when teaching others about God's word we start with the basics. You must first understand Jehovah, Jesus, the devil, & man. Who is Jehovah? What are his attributes? Why did he make us? How are we made in his image? Who is Jesus? What is his relationship with Jehovah? Where did the devil come from? Did God create such a wicked entity? Is he somehow used by God for the purpose of punishing the wicked or is he being allowed only a limited time to oppose God before he is destroyed? Why does God permit evil? What is God's purpose for man? Was man created on earth so that he could die and go to heaven? Was it God's purpose that man should sin or was it his desire that man should be obedient? If Adam was obedient would he ever have died? What is man expected to do today to be pleasing to God? Are there ways to identify the true believers?

    After understanding the basic things and appreciating that the theme of the Bible is God's kingdom that Jesus taught his followers to pray for everything else will begin to fall into place. But still, don't expect perfection until God's purposes are fully accomplished.

    Source(s): JW for more than 47 years Online Bible [NWT]: http://www.watchtower.org/e/bible/index.htm You can download the audio book, What does the Bible Really Teach? here: http://www.jw.org/index.html?option=QrYQZRQVNlBBX Listen to it and hit the pause button when you come to a scripture and look it up in your own Bible (whatever translation you prefer) and pray to God for understanding. PLEASE don't be afraid to have one of Jehovah's Witnesses call on you to answer your questions. You can fill out a request for that purpose here: https://watch002.securesites.net/contact/submit.ht... or you could try contacting the Witnesses locally by looking up Jehovah's Witnesses in your phone book. Try calling on a Sunday morning or a Tuesday or Thursday evening or even a Saturday morning around 9AM or 9:30 AM as these are the times when someone is likely to be at the Kingdom Hall but you could call at anytime, depends whether the number published is the Kingdom Hall phone or another phone.
  • 1 decade ago

    Hello

    I can understand your concern about "cutting and pasting" scriptures from one place in the Bible and combining it with others to form a picture. To be honest with you, this is the method Jehovah's Witnesses have always used. When we first started as "Bible Students" what we did, was to use a comprehensive concordance and looked up all the scriptures on a topic by topic basis.

    Questions like "what is the condition of the dead?" were answered this way.

    Are the scriptures "taken out of context"? In the sense that you only quote a portion of the scripture, I suppose. But no one says that of any scripture you read that we have quoted that you cannot read the WHOLE context of it. In fact you are urged to do just that. You will find that none of our literature changes in meaning when you read the whole context of a scripture. NONE of it.

    How do I know this? Because I have consistently tried to read the context surrounding scriptures to determine if what I'm being told is what something means, is actually what it means. So far I haven't found any discrepancies.

    However with others who quote scriptures I have OFTEN found that things are taken out of context, that certain scriptures even within the same book are ignored and even other parts within the same scripture are ignored if it isn't what that person wants to try and teach.

    For instance for those who support the Trinity teaching. They use the scripture where Jesus says "the Father and I are one" (John 10:30) and they ignore what he means by that. He means that they are at one in union with one another, not one being. How do we know that is what he means? Because John uses similar phrasing when Jesus is praying for his disciples to be "one"

    John 17:20,21 "20 “I make request, not concerning these only, but also concerning those putting faith in me through their word; 21 in order that they may all be one, 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,"

    Read the context by all means. Read the whole book of the Bible if it makes the meaning clearer to you. Read the whole Bible all of it and read it every day. You aren't going to find that we have taught you any lies. Whereas you may find that a lot of lies have been taught you from other sources.

    Be like the Boreans (we encourage that). These people "daily examined the scriptures" as to whether the things the apostles were teaching them were true. You SHOULD do this exact thing.

    What you shouldn't do however is to sit and ask strangers (many of whom hate Jehovah's Witnesses) to tell you things about Jehovah's Witnesses. That is like asking Judas to tell you about Jesus. Or asking Satan to tell you about Jehovah. What do you expect to hear from such a source? The truth? or a lie?

    God's word is truth. If we teach you something that doesn't come from the Bible or if in reading the context you seriously disagree ask questions. Dig deeper. If the scriptures can't convince you what will? What is a better authority on what the Bible teaches, the Bible? or some man's words about what they think?

    Source(s): Years of being a Christian Witness of Jehovah and the Bible.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Hi am a JW. I understand your concerns. I was once like you who really examined the teachings i received. It is really important for us to test whether what we believe are based on the Holy Scirptures. Philippians 1:10 reads.. "that YOU may make sure of the more important things, so that YOU may be flawless and not be stumbling others up to the day of Christ,.." So as i study the bible with JWs i also make personal research and study of what i've just heard. It is important for us to read the scriputures daily in order to be familiar with it. I believe that JWs are able to explain things since regular/daily bible reading is part of their lives. Rather than examining first what others say about JW, why not read the bible first and use it as a benchmark. The bible is an enough gauge to measure whether a certain group is approved by God or not. (John 13:34-45, John 15:19, 1 Peter 2:21)

    I also have bible studies, they also have questions, i see to it that my answers are based on the bible. SO i make research. So when you have questions, feel free to ask for bible text to support their answers, JW will be glad to share it with you, at the same time, you are free to examine it.

    Regarding the comments above by Non JW's, it is no surprise that some people call JW's as cult. Even Jesus' followers were called as part of Sect! Besides, they couldn't even give a single bible text to support their claims, why should we believe them?

  • 1 decade ago

    visit

    www.watchtower.org

    This is the official website for Jehovah's Witnesses. There is an abundance of information there. I too had many questions when I first started studying with the JW's and I have looked up scripture in both the New World Translation, KJV and NIV versions. The New World Translation is easy to read and understand. Many will say the JW are a cult, they are NOT.

    I have researched and attended many different churches and the JW's are the ones who made sense to me and were aligned with what I already believed. Blessings to you in your study of the truth

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  • 1 decade ago

    Hon, COUNTLESS people know Jesus is Michael the archangel even though they believe Jesus is God. In the Methodist church, founder John Wesley notes such in his explanatory notes of the Bible. Another Methodist scholar, Adam Clarke, also said so in Clarke's commentary. Many Protestant and some Catholic and some generic historical sources all say this. I've answered that and other questions many times online with LINKS to the websites of those reference works so people who are sincere can check it in their own references rather than strictly JW sources.

    The same is true of the origins of trinity which teaches Jesus is not truly God's son, of hellfire/difference between hell/gehenna, etc.

    We JWs get tired of showing all this. We offer free home Bible studies by email, postal mail, telephone, instant messenger and in person so people can learn these things by doing library, etc. research and checking whatever Bible version they prefer.

    Would you like a study or an email discussion?

    Best wishes,

    Debbie debbiepittman@yahoo.com

    Source(s): Bible and internet
  • 1 decade ago

    JW's is NOT a cult. Look up the definition. You should always keep an open mind with matters of religion. If you feel that JW is the right path for you to take but are having doubts, than seek sources that you can trust. have you tried speaking to a JW?

  • 1 decade ago

    Oh no. You're going to get all sorts of nasty answers about Witnesses on here. The Internet is Satan's tool for stuff like that. Of course there are going to be hateful websites against Jehovah's Witnesses because they are God's people! We even read in the Bible that the first century Christians were called a "sect" and they were disliked very much. Remember when Jesus said that a slave is not greater than his master? It means if he was hated we're going to be hated, too!

    Honestly, we don't want to look to men for answers. We want to go straight to the Bible for answers. And that's what Jehovah's Witnesses do. They don't interpret anything in their own way because they believe interpretations belong to God. (Genesis 40:8)

  • 4 years ago

    From what I m reading here and talking to my sister, they use texts prepared by Jehovah s Witnesses to explain the Bible. That belief is based on the writer s knowledge.

  • 1 decade ago

    First and foremost, Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the entire Bible is the inspired Word of God, and instead of adhering to a creed based on human tradition, they hold to the Bible as the standard for all their beliefs.

    Perseverance in your quest for Bible truths will prove to be rewarding:

    "If you call out for understanding itself and...if you keep seeking for it as for silver, and as for hid treasures you keep searching for it, in that case you will understand the fear of Jehovah, and YOU WILL FIND THE VERY KNOWLEDGE OF GOD." (Prov. 2:3-5)

    The best way to learn about Jehovah's Witnesses is to find out about them from themselves.

    The following is a link to an online brochure published by Jehovah's Witnesses ABOUT Jehovah's Witnesses:

    Jehovah's Witnesses—Who Are They? What Do They Believe?

    http://www.watchtower.org/e/jt/index.htm

  • 1 decade ago

    This is a good summary of the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses

    on the official Watchtower website (www.watchtower.org)

    http://watchtower.org/e/jt/article_03.ht...

    The best way to learn about our beliefs are to study with Jehovah's Witnesses, attend meetings at the Kingdom Hall, and regular association with them.

    Edit: If you haven't attended the District Convention: Guided By God's Spirit please do so.

    Some highlights from the convention are:

    Answers to Questions About Holy Spirit:

    This is a talk given during the Friday session. It gives detailed info. on the Holy Spirit.

    Symposium:Empowered By Holy Spirit

    This talk is given during the Saturday session. It discusses how we can successfully fight against peer pressure and temptation and how we can ask for Jehovah to give us Holy Spirit.

    Symposium: Cultivate "the Fruitage of the Spirit"

    This talk is given on Sunday. This part goes into depth on each of the qualities denoted in Galatians 5:22,23.

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