In Act V, Scene V of Macbeth, the title character laments: “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Human beings can’t last long believing that. Each one of us wants a sense of meaning and purpose in our life.
We don’t want to be just one drop of water in a vast ocean.
We want to be significant.
We want to be special.
What if you could join a religious organization consisting of millions of people who have a knowledge of God and his purposes that no one else has? That group would be large enough to have significance but small enough in comparison to the world’s population to be special.
Suppose further that when you share this knowledge with others that most of them scoff and reject it. Perhaps they even persecute you because of your beliefs. Although hard to endure, that opposition would make you even more special in God’s eyes, wouldn’t it?
This is what the Watchtower purports to offer Jehovah’s Witnesses. Consider what it tells them:
“… Jehovah’s organization alone, in all the earth, is directed by God’s holy spirit or active force. (Zech. 4:6) Only this organization functions for Jehovah’s purpose and to his praise. To it alone God’s Sacred Word, the Bible, is not a sealed book. Many persons of the world are very intelligent, capable of understanding complex matters. They can read the Holy Scriptures, but they cannot understand their deep meaning. Yet God’s people can comprehend such spiritual things. Why? Not because of special intelligence on their part, but as the apostle Paul declared: ‘For it is to us God has revealed them through his spirit, for the spirit searches into all things, even the deep things of God.’ (1 Cor. 2:10) Jesus Christ praised his heavenly Father for ‘hiding such things from the wise and intellectual ones but revealing them to babes.’ (Matt. 11:25) How very much true Christians appreciate associating with the only organization on earth that understands the ‘deep things of God’!”
What are some of these things?
- Jesus has been invisibly present since 1914 and is about to bring to an end “this wicked system of things” through a fiery judgment at Armageddon during which only Jehovah’s faithful ones will be spared.
- Exactly 144,000 Christian witnesses of Jehovah will go to heaven and rule with Christ.
- The rest of Jehovah’s faithful, a great crowd too large to number, will live on earth for 1,000 years under the rulership of Jesus and the 144,000. If they prove faithful to Jehovah through their works, they will be allowed to live forever in paradise on earth.
As Christians, we want to get through to Jehovah’s Witnesses and to show them that they are putting their faith in a human organization rather than in God, that they are following a false path to salvation.
The problem we have in getting through to them is that we are challenging their core worldview—the very things they think give their life meaning, the things that make them significant, the things that make them special.
The danger is that the more we express disagreement with the Watchtower, the more we tend to reinforce Witnesses’ belief that we are the supposed “wise and intellectual ones” from whom Jehovah has hidden spiritual understanding and they are the ones with childlike faith to whom he has revealed “the deep things of God.”
At first, they will try to be patient with us, instruct us in Watchtower teachings, and invite us to Watchtower meetings in the hopes that we will repent and come into “the truth” as they have.
This attitude often comes through to us as arrogance and condescension. Jehovah’s Witnesses are generally blind to this. To the contrary, they see themselves as humble servants of Jehovah who, out of love, are devoting countless hours to helping us avoid the cataclysmic judgment which is coming any day now at Armageddon.
Some Witnesses exhibit more patience than others, but once they see that we are not going to come around to their way of thinking and submit to the authority of the Watchtower organization, they will conclude that we are opposers of the truth. At that point, they will avoid casting their pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6). They will “kick the dust off their feet” (Matthew 10:14) as a witness against us and leave us to our destruction.
Understanding this mindset teaches us valuable lessons as we try to get through to Jehovah’s Witnesses:
- We must treat them with respect or we will quickly lose them.
- We need to look past whatever arrogance and condescension they may exhibit, realizing that they believe they are showing great humility.
- Trying to teach Witnesses something directly usually fails because they think they are in the truth and we are in darkness. What could we possibly teach them?
- Asking Witnesses questions to clarify what they believe and why (not “gotcha” questions to shame them) is the best way to continue the dialogue.
- That said, we need to find ways to get them out of their prepared Watchtower presentations so they examine what the Bible is really saying.
- We need to show them that true purpose and significance is available to them through a relationship with Christ rather than though affiliation with a religious organization.
Do you believe these insights will be helpful to you in your efforts to get through to Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Please share your thoughts in the comments.
 “Praise Jehovah with His People,” The Watchtower, 7/1/73, p. 402
(Photo: cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Keith Evans - geograph.org.uk/p/2171533)