Last time, we looked at the first two assertions made in “Bible Teach,” Chapter 3.
Today, we’ll examine the last three assertions of that chapter.
Watchtower Assertion #3: We are in the middle of a sovereignty challenge initiated by Satan against Jehovah.
Jehovah’s Witnesses see all of life as a loyalty and endurance test. Will we side with Satan or Jehovah, and will we endure faithful to Jehovah to the end?
This worldview is what drives their us-versus-them persecution mindset.
Paragraph 8 (pp. 29-31) says that Satan challenged Jehovah’s way of ruling. Who should rule our lives—Jehovah? Satan? Ourselves? It also states that God could have executed both angels and humans who rebelled against him but that wouldn’t have proved that God’s way of ruling is right.
My question is, “Proved to whom?” Isn’t God the ultimate judge?
The Watchtower’s reply is that God is allowing the results of Satan’s rule be manifested in order to prove him a liar
Again, my question is, “Prove to whom?”
God isn’t taking a worldwide poll. Witnesses will agree that most people throughout human history have remained rebels against God.
The Watchtower sees the sovereignty battle in terms of God seeking some small remnant of people who will stay loyal to him. That’s how they see their role. Thus, paragraph 10 (p. 31) says, “Yes, you have the opportunity to support Jehovah’s side in answer to Satan’s challenge. You can accept Jehovah as your Ruler and help to show that Satan is a liar.”
Watchtower Assertion #4: Satan is the current ruler of this world.
Paragraphs 11-12 (pp. 31-32) identify Satan as the ruler of this world.
Speaking of Jesus’ temptations in Matthew 4, a photo caption adjacent to paragraph 11 (p. 30) asks, “How could Satan have offered Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world if he did not own them?”
That’s intended as a rhetorical question, but my answer would be, “The same way a con artist can offer to sell you real estate that he doesn’t own.”
Paragraphs 11-12 (pp. 31-32) also argue that Jesus never doubted that Satan was the ruler of this world when he tempted him by offering him the kingdoms of this world if he would bow down and worship him. How would it have been a temptation to Jesus, the Watchtower asks, if Jesus knew Satan wasn’t the world’s ruler?
My response is that Jesus knew who the rightful owner of the world is. Have the Witnesses read Psalm 24:1 aloud from their Bibles: “To Jehovah belong the earth and everything in it, the productive land and those dwelling on it.”
Paragraph 12 (p. 32) cites several Bible passages to prove that Satan is the ruler of this world. I have added the texts below:
- John 12:31: “Now there is a judging of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” (note the context– the “ruler of this world” being cast out!)
- John 14:30: “I will not speak with you much more, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has no hold on me.”
- John 16:11: “…then concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:3-4: “If, in fact, the good news we declare is veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.”
- 1 John 5:19: “We know that we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.”
As Christians, we agree that Satan wields immense power in our world, but we need to balance these passages with other Scriptures:
- Jesus’ statement in Matthew 28:18: “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.”
- Romans 13:1-2a: “Let every person be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God. Therefore, whoever opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God…”
- Acts 17:26-27a: “And he [God] made out of one man every nation of men to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he decreed the appointed times and the set limits of where men would dwell, so that they would seek God…”
- You can also note that in Job 1, Satan had to ask God’s permission to proceed with each step of his attack against Job.
Watchtower Assertion #5: God’s Kingdom will soon remove Satan and make earth a paradise.
Paragraph 15 (p. 33) has a heading: “The New World Is At Hand!” Paragraphs 16-23 (pp. 33-36) provide a list of blessings that will come to the earth when God’s Kingdom rule soon begins.
You can ask the Witnesses if the millennial kingdom will be a moral paradise of Jehovah-loving people.
Ask them to read aloud what Revelation 20:7-8 says regarding how many rebels there still will be at the end of the 1,000 years: “Now as soon as the 1,000 years have ended, Satan will be released from his prison, and he will go out to mislead those nations in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war. The number of these is as the sand of the sea.”
Ask, “With that widespread a rebellion, in what sense will the millennial reign really be a moral paradise?”
Paragraph 24 (p. 36) at the end of Chapter 3 of “Bible Teach” includes this statement: “It was to the coming Paradise on earth that Jesus pointed when he promised the evildoer who died alongside him: ‘You will be will me in Paradise.”
You can ask the Witnesses, “Where does the Watchtower teach that the forgiven evildoer will be located in Paradise—heaven or earth?”
They will tell you “the earth.”
Then ask, “Where does the Watchtower teach that Jesus will be located in Paradise—heaven or earth?
They tell you “heaven.”
Then say, “I’m sorry. I’m confused. Jesus didn’t just tell the evildoer that they both would be in Paradise someday. He promised that he would be with him there. If the evildoer will never go to heaven to be with Jesus and if Jesus will never return to earth to be with the evildoer, then in what sense was Jesus telling him the truth when he said, ‘You will be with me in Paradise’?”
I think you can see from this chapter how a Christian could be led into becoming a Jehovah’s Witnesses.
There is something in each one of the five main assertions of Chapter 3 with which Christians can agree. If you were to let down your guard and just passively accept the Watchtower’s teachings and their implications, you might be well on your way to into buying into all of its major doctrines and becoming a Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Instead, you will be an active, questioning student, always asking yourself, “What statements here are truly consistent with the Bible, and what statements or implications are wrong? Where are they off track?”