The Jehovah’s Witnesses was begun by Charles Taze Russell in 1872, he was born on February 16, 1852, the son of Joseph L. and Anna Eliza Russell. He had great difficulty in dealing with the doctrine of eternal hellfire and in his studies came to deny not only eternal punishment, but also the Godhead, and the deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit. When Russell was 18, he organized a Bible class in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In 1879 he sought to popularise his aberrant ideas on doctrine and so, he co-published a magazine named, ‘The Herald of the Morning’ with its founder, N. H. Barbour and by 1884 Russell controlled the publication and renamed it ‘The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom’ and founded Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society, now known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
The first edition of The Watchtower magazine was only 6,000 copies each month. Today the Witnesses’ publishing complex in Brooklyn, New York, churns out 100,000 books and 800,000 copies of its two magazines, daily! Russell claimed that the Bible could be only understood according to his interpretations, which was dangerous because he controlled what was written in the Watchtower magazine.
After the death of Russell on October 31, 1916, a Missouri lawyer named Joseph Franklin Rutherford took over the presidency of the Watch Tower Society which was known then as the International Bible Students Association. In 1931 he changed the name of the organisation to ‘The Jehovah’s Witnesses.’ After Rutherford’s death, Nathan Knorr took over and after Knorr, Frederick William Franz became president. The Society was led by Mr Henschel who died in 2003.
The group has over 4 million members worldwide and according to The Watchtower Society statistics, they make around 740 house calls each day and are required to recruit each of the nearly 200,000 new members who join every year.
They have several ‘book studies’ each week and although the members aren’t required to attend, there is a level of expectation that gently urges converts to participate. It is during these ‘book studies’ that they are constantly exposed to counter Christian teachings. The average Jehovah’s Witness, with his constant Watchtower indoctrination, could easily pummel the average Christian when it comes to defending his beliefs.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses vehemently portray the doctrine of the Trinity as pagan in origin and that Christendom, as a whole, has bought the lie of the devil. Along with denying the Trinity is an equally strong denial of the deity of Christ, the deity of the Holy Spirit, the belief in hell, and eternal conscious punishment in hell.
Make no mistake about it, they believe much like the Mormons that the Bible has become seriously corrupted over the years, and so time and time again they receive a ‘new revised version’ which like the original, is totally in contradiction to what the Bible originally says.
Some people who aren’t that familiar with the New Testament may not notice the subtle but huge differences between the Bible and the New World Translation. They have inserted the term Jehovah into the text of the New Testament 237 times despite the fact that Greek has Kurios, which means Lord. in each instance.
Yes, there may be some grounds for including the name ‘Jehovah’ in the text of the Old Testament, but there’s really no good reason to justify its use in the New Testament.
They can argue and try and justify this addiction to their Bible, but the truth is there’s not one single manuscript of the New Testament that contains the Hebrew word for God, ‘YHWH’, Jehovah. The only reason I believe they’ve done this is to try and justify their name, Jehovah’s Witnesses.
In order to further their false teaching concerning Christ and His deity, the New World Translation reads as follows.
‘The Word was a god,’ and if you take a moment to read the footnote of their Bible, you will see that it says, ‘A god’ in contrast with ‘the God.’
Think about this for a moment, their translation supports polytheism, more than one god. Since they refuse to accept Jesus as a member of the Godhead, they take the crazy position that Jehovah is the Almighty God, while Jesus is merely a mighty god.
In other words, as far as they are concerned, there is a big God and a little god, and the big God created the little god, ‘the only begotten god,’ as John 1:18 of the New World Translation reads. If this isn’t a contradiction, even within their own scripture, I don’t know what is.
It’s a contradiction because even their own version says,
Now anyone with any knowledge of the Bible knows that this language is applied to Jesus, showing that He is God.
Their description of Christ as ‘a god’ and ‘the only begotten god’ is seriously misleading and wrong because over and over again, the Bible clearly teaches that Christ was God in the flesh. Isaiah 9:6 / John 1:1 / John 1:14 / John 8:58 / John 20:28 / Revelation 1:8 / Revelation 2:8.
They have inserted the word ‘other’ four times without any justification from the Greek text whatsoever. But why would they insert the word ‘other’ in this text?
Well simply because they believe that Jesus was created before all other things, and so, their Bible can’t be allowed to say absolutely that he created ‘all things,’ because that would imply that Christ created Himself. In other words, their translation reduces Christ from Creator to created.
Because they deny the Deity of both Christ and the Holy Spirit, they don’t accept or recognise the Holy Spirit for who He is, according to them the Holy Spirit ‘is not a person, but God’s active force.’
And so, because their own teaching and theology don’t agree with the original Scriptures, they refuse to capitalise the words, Holy Spirit and use ‘holy spirit’. Like so many other doctrines they have, this use of the words, ‘holy spirit’ can be and is very misleading, never mind being totally wrong.
Think about this for a moment, they want us to believe we are to baptise someone into the name of the Father, the Son, and an impersonal active force! It’s worthwhile noting that the three terms used here are each preceded by the word ‘the’ and so, the capitalisation of ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ but not ‘Holy Spirit’ in their translation is inconsistent.
How could this impersonal force be said to ‘hear’, ‘speak’, John 16:13 and even possess a distinct will, 1 Corinthians 12:11? It’s amazing the depths that people will go to in order to support their religious views.
Much like other texts they have abused to suit their own agenda, they also teach that Jesus didn’t establish His kingdom and begin to reign over it until 1914. This is obviously not right as Mark 9:1 and Acts 2 tell us, and so in order to make their theology valid, for them at least, they made a change to Hebrews 12.
They slightly changed Hebrews 12:28 to make it speak of the kingdom in the future tense rather than the present tense of that time.
Is the New World Translation reliable? I think not. The Jehovah’s Witness organisation denies that Jesus Christ is God, they deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, they deny the Holy Spirit is God, they deny the eternal punishment of the wicked and they deny that human beings have a spirit that exists after death and the list could go on.
What we’ve covered here isn’t even scraping the surface of the many false teachings they promote, and the many other errors found within their scripture. We could go on forever and a day looking at various other texts, but I believe the point has already been made.
All this translation does, apart from everything we’ve already mentioned, is confuse people, puts doubt in their minds and leave most people who study with them very frustrated.