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Dr. Thomas Kulanjiyil
Introduction to Religion
07 April 2013
Investigation and Analysis of Jehovahs Witnesses
According to the passages of the Bible, Jehovah God addressed the people You are my witness, even my servant whom I have chosen (New World Translation, Isaiah 43:10). In this respect, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of the Jehovahs Witnesses justify that they are the only true religion on earth, which is directed by Gods spirit and have been deemed His witnesses (You Can Live Forever 192). Furthermore, the organizations beliefs rest on the assumption that the teachings from the Scriptures should not be assessed by a human beings personal interpretation, but rather should be preached by the sole Christian organization, which tells the earth about the established Kingdom of God (You Can Live Forever 198). Therefore, this organization preaches that there can be only 144,000 of people who can have instant life after death in heaven, which can be achieved through spreading of the Kingdoms message, forgetting that Romans 6:23 prophesied that eternal life can be earned through Christ Jesus our Lord (Love 37). At this point, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society claims that Jesus Christ is not God, since He was Gods archangel before He made Himself visible through materialized fleshly body, and, therefore, denies the trinity nature of God and argues that such beliefs are of the devil (What Does Bible Really Teach 218). In this respect, the main argument of their congregation is based on the provision of the message about the salvation, which can be gained only through the Gods visible organization, which is to be declared righteous for the first time of the eighteen centuries of the churchs history.
According to Rashid Adnan, the common misconception about Jehovahs Witnesses is that they can earn an eternal life by preaching from house to house, spreading the Watchtower Bible and Tract Societys publications, and working hard to enlarge their congregation (Adnan par. 3). However, the passages from Romans 5:1 clearly state that the gift of eternal life is available for everyone who puts faith in Jesus Christ, because all who are led by the spirit of God are sons of God, and God the Son is the way to peace with God (Love 37). Therefore, it is reasonable to argue that the hard work that Jehovahs Witnesses perform to gain the reward of salvation cannot be considered a gift of God, but rather as a payment for their zealous job.
Furthermore, their zealous attempts to engage and convert greater number of devoted believers require adhering to the set of rules, whose violation can cause discharge from the parishioners (Ankerberg 27). These rules prohibit accepting blood transfusions through the mouth or veins, serving in the military or attending political ventures, worshiping Cross, and attending Catholic or Protestant churches (Ankerberg 25). Regarding the blood transfusion issues, the devoted witnesses appoint to the passages from John 5:28-29, Hebrew 11:6 and Genesis 9:4, regard the issue similar to intravenous feeding, and state that their confidence in the future resurrection by Jehovah God prevails over this temporary prolongation of life (What Does Bible Really Teach 130). However, it is fair to agree with Rhodes, who stated that the organization was changing position regarding medical issues of vaccination, which was regarded as a direct violation of the everlasting convent between God and Noah after the flood, and organ transplants, which were regarded as the cases of cannibalism, but later were proved to be allowed (Rhodes 381). In this respect, the medical scholars justify that the blood transfusion cannot be considered as eating of forbidden blood but rather as a sacrifice for life, because blood does not function as food during transfusions (Milligan and Bellamy 36).
Throughout the history of the Jehovahs Witnesses existence, they tried to provide an endless chain of proof text in support of their theology (Rhodes 18). Considering the ethnographic interpretation of the selected information on the Jehovahs Witnesses religious movement, Holden identified it as disillusionment with modern society in general and orthodox Christianity in particular of the founder of the organization Russell resulted into the provision of the nonconformist ideas, which became a basis of some teachings of the congregation (Holden chapter 2). Furthermore, the Watchtower Society continued to disseminate spiritual information and replace the passages of the Scriptures with the doctrines of the congregations puritanical beliefs. At this point, Love justified that, in 1975, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society regarded Satan in accordance with the passages of Matthew 13, which says the man who sows the seed in the parable of the mustard seed (Love 30). Furthermore, the author claimed that the same year congregation regarded Jesus Christ under this passage (Love 30).
However, the most controversial interpretation of the Scriptures teachings is regarded to the name of Jehovah God, which cannot be found in the original languages of the Bible (Rhodes 11). Rhodes stated that the Jehovahs Witnesses were taught to believe that the superstitions of Jews regarding the issue of breaking the third commandment made them to remove the name of Jehovah from the Bible , because they believed that Gods name should not be taken in vain (50). Considering the fact that the New World Translation was drafted by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the Jehovahs Witnesses are proud to state that Gods true name is mentioned 7000 times in the Bible (Love 34). Furthermore, the witnesses appoint to the passages from the Romans 10:13, and regard them essential to ones salvation since everyone who calls on the name Jehovah will be saved (What Does Bible Really Teach 9).
Therein, it should be mentioned that, the Old Testament of the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts contain the name Yahweh, and; therefore, the name Jehovah was not known in the ancient Biblical times (Dolo 558). Furthermore, the passages from New World Translation indicate that Jesus never called God or the Father as Jehovah, but rather as Our Father, Lord of heaven and earth (Matthew 3:15, Mark 14:36 and Luke 10:21). In this respect, Rhodes argument seems reasonable if to consider that the people had to understand who God is in his true nature of being when He talked to Moses in Exodus 3:15 and told him to remember His name throughout the generations as The Lord, the God of your fathers (Rhodes 57).
In addition, it should be admitted that, the Christian gospel brings salvation, and; therefore, some concepts of the organization have reasonable interpretations. However, the common grounds of the Jehovahs Witnesses commitment to God oppose the Christian studies that had been taught and practiced for over eighteen centuries before the congregation formed. Given the knowledge that, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society teachings warn the witnesses to stay away from the literature written by Christians, they question the authority of being called Christians. Furthermore, if the followers of the congregation question the authority of the Watchtower Society they can be disfellowshipped, and, therefore, must unquestionably accept the organizations teachings, which are believed to unable the Jehovahs worshipers to ascertain the true meaning of Scripture. At this point, there are vast investigations of the scholars that confirm that throughout the history of their publications the Jehovahs Witnesses have had the tendency of replacing the true meaning of the Scriptures with the doctrines that appropriately suit the congregations teachings. Additionally, the question remains open, whether this established religion will grow to acknowledge the true meaning of the life salvation and will consider the appropriate medical interventions applicable for such purpose.