Do you think of “Judgment Day” as a terrifying time?
The Watchtower believes it will be “a wonderful time…of hope and restoration.”
“Bible Teach”, Chapter 7, paragraphs 17-19 (pp. 72-73) starts the discussion by saying that there will be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous.
They explain that the righteous are the Old Testament worthies as well as Jehovah’s servants who die in our time.
Paragraph 19 (pp. 72-73) asks, “What about all the people who did not serve or obey Jehovah because they never knew about him? These billions of “unrighteous” ones will not be forgotten. They too will be resurrected and given time to learn about the true God and to serve him. During a period of a thousand years, the dead will be resurrected and given an opportunity to join faithful humans on earth in serving Jehovah. It will be a wonderful time. This period is what the Bible refers to as Judgment Day.”
In support of this claim, it refers you to an appendix entitled, “Judgment Day—What Is It?” (p. 213). This appendix ignores a lot of key Scriptures in making its points, Scriptures you should bring to the Witnesses’ attention.
The appendix begins as follows (p. 213): “How do you picture Judgment Day? Many think that one by one, billions of souls will be brought before the throne of God. There, judgment will be passed on each individual. Some will be rewarded with heavenly bliss, and others will be condemned to eternal torment. However, the Bible paints quite a different picture of this period of time. God’s Word portrays it, not as a terrifying time, but as a time of hope and restoration.”
Point out to the Witnesses these Scriptures:
- Revelation 20:5, which says that there will be two resurrections—one of which takes place at the end of the 1000 years, not at the beginning (the Watchtower has a different interpretation of that verse, which I’ll discuss below).
- 2 Peter 3:9: “So, then, Jehovah knows how to rescue people of godly devotion out of trial, but to reserve unrighteous people to be destroyed on the day of judgment…”
- Matthew 11:22: “But I say to you [Chorazin and Bethsaida], it will be more endurable for Tyre and Sidon on Judgment Day than for you.”
As I recommended in both The Jesus Is the God-Man Approach (p. 168) and The Divine Name Approach (p. 223) from my book, Getting Through to Jehovah’s Witnesses: Approaching Bible Discussions in Unexpected Ways, you should draw the Witnesses’ attention to what John 5:22-23 actually says about this: “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.”
Pages 213-214 state that although Jehovah is the ultimate judge of mankind, he delegates the actual work of judging to Jesus. If that is the Witnesses’ explanation, make sure they understand your point. Psalm 50:6 states, “The heavens proclaim his righteousness, for God himself is Judge” (emphasis added). Yet John 5 states that the Father judges no one. He has entrusted all judging to the Son so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
Ask, “Do you see why from this I believe that Jesus as well as the Father is God and should be given the same honor?”
You can also ask, “If you prayed John 5:23 aloud at your Kingdom Hall and said, `Jehovah, we honor you and we honor your son, Jesus Christ, just as we honor you,’ how would your fellow Witnesses react?”