TightropeHow are the Great Crowd supposed to achieve moral perfection?

As we saw last time, the Watchtower teaches that in order to obtain everlasting life, members of the great crowd must achieve moral perfection by the end of the millennial kingdom.

How are they supposed to accomplish this?

How will these imperfect, sinful humans ever manage to progress to and attain perfection? The Watchtower claims, “Throughout this time, as the result of the dripping and trickling down of righteousness from the ‘new heavens,’ the human soil of the ‘new earth’ will respond and become fruitful in a corresponding way.”[1] 

What does that mean? I don’t know, and I’m sure if you ask them, Jehovah’s Witnesses won’t be able to explain it.

Although this vague and colorful metaphorical language sounds profound, what it boils down to is the unsupported assertion that somehow God will make the progression to and attainment of perfection possible.

Satan and demons will be bound during this time and unable to tempt people.[2] Jesus’ rule will be perfect, justice will be ideal, and righteousness will prevail.[3] Those in the new system will have the benefits of Christ’s “ransom sacrifice” applied to them as they submit to Christ’s righteous rule.[4] They will also have the help of Jesus as High Priest to “help them get out of their weaknesses and inclinations to badness.”[5]

In addition, there will be earthly leaders—“princes” including the ancient Israelite worthies and Jehovah’s Witness elders—to help them learn about Jehovah and his ways and progress to perfection.[6]  There will be “scrolls” containing new instructions regarding how to progress to perfection during the 1000-year reign of Christ.[7]

“This will enable the ‘great crowd’ to grow in true inward righteousness. This will more and more overpower ‘the law of sin’ in their bodily members with which they survived the battle of Armageddon into the new order. What sins they may yet unwillingly commit through fleshly weaknesses inherited from Adam will be forgiven them when they confess them, repent and ask God’s forgiveness through Christ. Finally, through faithful molding of themselves to righteousness, they will get that ‘law of sin’ nullified in themselves and become perfect human creatures, like the perfect Adam in the garden of Eden.”[8] (emphasis added).

Establishing their own righteousness through the final test

If they prove worthy to enter the millennial kingdom and if they further prove worthy by enduring faithfully to the end and progressing to perfection, members of the great crowd will still face a final loyalty test by Satan at the conclusion of the millennium.[9] Not all will pass this test. When Satan and demons are loosed, “an indefinite number of perfected, human free moral agents will let themselves be misled through selfishness. (James 1:13-15) These willful rebels will be summarily executed, in a destruction as complete and everlasting as by fire, because they failed to prove worthy of being justified by the great Judge Jehovah God.”[10] (emphasis added)

For those who pass the test, “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. He will adopt and acknowledge them as his sons through Jesus Christ.”[11] (emphasis added)

Establishing their own righteousness throughout eternity

Despite having progressed to actual perfection and holiness, the great crowd will still never experience total security in their salvation. They will be back to where Adam was before he sinned: “All mankind will then be, like the perfect man Adam in the garden of Eden, free moral agents, with no inborn sin or weakness or bad inclination to enslave them to a certain course of action. Now, without any disability, but with vaster understanding and experiences, they can demonstrate to God directly that their unchangeable choice, their unbreakable decision, is to worship and serve the only living and true God forever on their paradise earth.”[12]

But like Adam, they still might chose to sin. That is, even after all of this it will still be possible for them to rebel against Jehovah. If this happens, Jehovah will annihilate them. However, since they will have progressed to perfection and have passed Satan’s final test, it is very unlikely that this would happen.[13]

So throughout eternity, those in the great crowd continually must establish their own righteousness through perfect obedience or face annihilation.

Ask Jehovah’s Witnesses how confident they are that they will be able to achieve all this. Help them to see that if the Watchtower is right, their salvation will never be completely secure.

Your turn:

Have you ever had this type of discussion with Jehovah’s Witnesses? How did it go?

Share your thoughts in the comments.


[1] The Watchtower, “Would You Want to Be There?”, 5/15/74, p. 293

[2] Insight on the Scriptures, Volume 2 (Brooklyn: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society & International Bible Students Association, 1988), “War”, p. 1169

[3] The Watchtower, “Would You Want to Be There?”, 5/15/74, p. 292

[4] The Watchtower, “Benefiting Now from Christ’s Ransom”, 1/15/62, p. 39

[5] Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God, p. 397

[6] The Watchtower, “Would You Want to Be There?”, 5/15/74, p. 292

[7] The Watchtower, “Holy Spirit’s Role in the Outworking of Jehovah’s Purpose”, 4/15/10, p. 11

[8] Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God, p. 391

[9] Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God, pp. 398-399

[10] Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God, p. 399

[11] Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God, p. 400

[12] Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God, p. 398

[13] The Watchtower, “Questions from Readers”, 8/15/06, p. 31

(Photo By Philip Bitnar (Flickr: 86m Longline_Piotr Hirnyk) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)