Jehovah’s Witnesses and Judgment Day

watchtower-judgmentdayThe Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that only they will survive the “Battle of Armageddon”, all non-witnesses will be destroyed on site, and that the birds of heaven will be called to eat the flesh of the dead (Revelation 19:19, 20) They teach that the world will be in peace for a thousand years, at that time Satan will be allowed one last chance to deceive the people, at that time Satan and all those who side with him will be destroyed in the second death. What do the Scriptures really say about Armageddon? Below are a list of Scriptural comments examining the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses on this subject.

People who live in so-called “judgment periods” will be resurrected. All final judgment for the world is reserved for the Millennial Judgment Day.

Adam was a sinner and was justly sentenced to death. But so are all of his children.

Romans 3:10 just as it is written: “There is not a righteous [man], not even one.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

If Adam had not sinned, no ransom would be needed. The ransom (corresponding price) consisted of the sacrifice of the perfect man Jesus to redeem the perfect man Adam who had sinned. Incidentally Adam’s offspring were condemned and incidentally they are redeemed.

1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

Romans 5:18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense [judgment] came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act [the] [free] [gift] [came] to all men, resulting in justification of life.

1 Timothy 2:6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

[NOTE: In all three of these verses the same Greek word PAS is used. It is also used in Matthew 24:14 “And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” In these four instances the New World Translation is inconsistent, rendering it “all” in Matthew 24:14 and in 1 Corinthians 15:22, but “all kinds” in Romans 5:18 and footnote of 1 Timothy 2:6.]

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

Matthew 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

This text cannot be understood to contradict the thought of a ransom for all, since in Romans 5:19 The same Greek word polus rendered “many” or “all” – “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”

The slaying of animal sacrifices in the Old Testament pointed forward to Christ’s scarifice to cover sins. Since it was God’s intention to redeem Adam from death, He provided him with a cost of skin.

Genesis 3:21 And Jehovah God proceeded to make long garments of skin for Adam and for his wife and to clothe them.

There are no Scriptures to show that Adam is excepted from the benefits of the ransom.

The World in Noah’s Day

The disobedient angels, who were largely responsible for the evil and corruption in Noah’s day, were not then judged. Since their judgment day is still future, it seems reasonable that the people will also be judged in the future.

Genesis 6:4-12 The Neph’i·lim proved to be in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of the [true] God continued to have relations with the daughters of men and they bore sons to them, they were the mighty ones who were of old, the men of fame. Consequently Jehovah saw that the badness of man was abundant in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time. And Jehovah felt regrets that he had made men in the earth, and he felt hurt at his heart. So Jehovah said: “I am going to wipe men whom I have created off the surface of the ground, from man to domestic animal, to moving animal and to flying creature of the heavens, because I do regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of Jehovah. This is the history of Noah. Noah was a righteous man. He proved himself faultless among his contemporaries. Noah walked with the [true] God. In time Noah became father to three sons, Shem, Ham and Ja’pheth. And the earth came to be ruined in the sight of the [true] God and the earth became filled with violence. So God saw the earth and, look! it was ruined, because all flesh had ruined its way on the earth. [NWT]

2 Peter 2:4 Certainly if God did not hold back from punishing the angels that sinned, but, by throwing them into Tar’ta·rus, delivered them to pits of dense darkness to be reserved for judgment.

Jude 6 And the angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place he has reserved with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day.

Romans 5:12-14 That is why, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned-. 13 For until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not charged against anyone when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death ruled as king from Adam down to Moses, even over those who had not sinned after the likeness of the transgression by Adam, who bears a resemblance to him that was to come.

There are no Scriptures to show that the people in Noah’s day are excepted from the benefits of the ransom.

Sodom and Gomorrah

The Sodomites would have repented and not been destroyed if they had received as much light as Capernaum in Jesus’ day. Sodom’s judgment day is yet future.

Matthew 11:23-24 And you, Ca·per’na·um, will you perhaps be exalted to heaven? Down to Ha’des you will come; because if the powerful works that took place in you had taken place in Sod’om, it would have remained until this very day. Consequently I say to YOU people, It will be more endurable for the land of Sod’om on Judgment Day than for you.”

The Scriptures definitely prophesy the return of the Sodomites from Death.

Ezekiel 16:55, 61-62 And your own sisters, Sod’om and her dependent towns, will return to their former state, and Sa*mar’i*a and her dependent towns will return to their former state, and you yourself and your own dependent towns will return to YOUR former state….And you will certainly remember your ways and feel humiliated when you receive your sisters, the ones older than you as well as the ones younger than you, and I shall certainly give them to you as daughters, but not owing to your covenant.’…”‘And I, I myself, will establish my covenant with you; and you will have to know that I am Jehovah.

Jude 7 So too Sod’om and Go·mor’rah and the cities about them, after they in the same manner as the foregoing ones had committed fornication excessively and gone out after flesh for unnatural use, are placed before [us] as a [warning] example by undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire.

[NOTE: If this Scripture id understood to mean Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed and are not to come forth in the resurrection, it would contradict the scriptural promises just cited. A harmonious understanding is obtained by noting that “eternal” is from the Greek AIONIOS, meaning “age lasting”. Thus the people of these cities were blotted out not for all eternity, but only until the close of the age, that is, the Gospel Age, and will come forth in the resurrection of the Millennial Judgment Day.]

Fleshly Israel in Jesus’ day

Jesus clearly said that the period of his earthly ministry was not a time of judgment.

John 12:47-48

But if anyone hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I came, not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He that disregards me and does not receive my sayings has one to judge him. The word that I have spoken is what will judge him in the last day.

[NOTE: The last day is the time of resurrection.]

The Scribes and Pharisees must come forth from the dead in the Kingdom in order to “see” Abraham , Isaac and Jacob. They will be “thrown outside” of the position of rulership due to their unfaithfulness.

Luke 13:28 There is where [YOUR] weeping and the gnashing of [YOUR] teeth will be, when YOU see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves thrown outside.

Even those who crucified Jesus were considered as doing it in ignorance.

Acts 3:12-17 When Peter saw this, he said to the people: “Men of Israel, why are YOU wondering over this, or why are YOU gazing at us as though by personal power or godly devotion we have made him walk? The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our forefathers, has glorified his Servant, Jesus, whom YOU, for YOUR part, delivered up and disowned before Pilate’s face, when he had decided to release him. Yes, YOU disowned that holy and righteous one, and YOU asked for a man, a murderer, to be freely granted to YOU, whereas YOU killed the Chief Agent of life. But God raised him up from the dead, of which fact we are witnesses. Consequently his name, by [our] faith in his name, has made this man strong whom YOU behold and know, and the faith that is through him has given the man this complete soundness in the sight of all of YOU. And now, brothers, I know that YOU acted in ignorance, just as YOUR rulers also did.

Spiritual Israel, the Church class, gains the chief favor, the heavenly reward, but natural Israel is not cast off.

Romans 11:2, 15, 25-26, 32 God did not reject his people, whom he first recognized. Why, do YOU not know what the Scripture says in connection with Eli’jah, as he pleads with God against Israel?…For if the casting of them away means reconciliation for the world, what will the receiving of them mean but life from the dead?…For I do not want YOU, brothers, to be ignorant of this sacred secret, in order for YOU not to be discreet in your own eyes: that a dulling of sensibilities has happened in part to Israel until the full number of people of the nations has come in, 26 and in this manner all Israel will be saved. Just as it is written: “The deliverer will come out of Zion and turn away ungodly practices from Jacob… For God has shut them all up together in disobedience, that he might show all of them mercy.

The New Covenant is yet to be made with natural Israel and their iniquity forgiven.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 “Look! There are days coming,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “and I will conclude with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant; 32 not one like the covenant that I concluded with their forefathers in the day of my taking hold of their hand to bring them forth out of the land of Egypt, ‘which covenant of mine they themselves broke, although I myself had husbandly ownership of them,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.” 33 “For this is the covenant that I shall conclude with the house of Israel after those days,” is the utterance of Jehovah. “I will put my law within them, and in their heart I shall write it. And I will become their God, and they themselves will become my people.” 34 “And they will no more teach each one his companion and each one his brother, saying, ‘KNOW Jehovah!’ for they will all of them know me, from the least one of them even to the greatest one of them,” is the utterance of Jehovah. “For I shall forgive their error, and their sin I shall remember no more.”

Only natural Israel was scattered, not the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Thus natural Israel is unmistakably referred to in the following prophecies:

Ezekiel 11:16-20 therefore say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: “Although I have put them far away among the nations, and although I have scattered them among the lands, yet I shall become to them a sanctuary for a little while among the lands to which they have come.”‘ 17 “Therefore say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: “I will also collect YOU from the peoples and gather YOU from the lands among which YOU have been scattered, and I will give YOU the soil of Israel. 18 And they will certainly come there and remove all its disgusting things and all its detestable things out of it. 19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I shall put inside them; and I shall certainly remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 in order that they may walk in my own statutes and keep my own judicial decisions and actually carry them out; and they may really become my people and I myself may become their God.”‘

Jeremiah 32:37-41 ‘Here I am collecting them together out of all the lands to which I shall have dispersed them in my anger and in my rage and in great indignation; and I will bring them back to this place and make them dwell in security. 38 And they will certainly become my people, and I myself shall become their God. 39 And I will give them one heart and one way in order to fear me always, for good to them and to their sons after them. 40 And I will conclude with them an indefinitely lasting covenant, that I shall not turn back from behind them, for me to do them good; and the fear of me I shall put in their heart in order not to turn aside from me. 41 And I will exult over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land in trueness with all my heart and with all my soul.’”

Jeremiah 24:6-7 And I will set my eye upon them in a good way, and I shall certainly cause them to return to this land. And I will build them up, and I shall not tear down; and I will plant them, and I shall not uproot. 7 And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am Jehovah; and they must become my people, and I myself shall become their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

Amos 9:14-15 And I will gather back the captive ones of my people Israel, and they will actually build [the] desolated cities and inhabit [them], and plant vineyards and drink the wine of them, and make gardens and eat the fruit of them.’ 15 “‘And I shall certainly plant them upon their ground, and they will no more be uprooted from their ground that I have given them,’ Jehovah your God has said.” [NOTE: captivity is from the Hebrew, SHEBOOTH, meaning figuratively “a former state of prosperity.]

The Jews are to be used as a “teacher nation” in the Millennium.

Zechariah 8:13 And it must occur that just as YOU became a malediction among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I shall save YOU, and YOU must become a blessing. Do not be afraid. May YOUR hands be strong.’

Zechariah 8:22 And many peoples and mighty nations will actually come to seek Jehovah of armies in Jerusalem and to soften the face of Jehovah.’

The World from 1918 to Armageddon

Some will definitely survive Armageddon who were unrighteous and disobedient.

Zephaniah 3:8-9 “‘Therefore keep yourselves in expectation of me,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ’till the day of my rising up to [the] booty, for my judicial decision is to gather nations, for me to collect together kingdoms, in order to pour out upon them my denunciation, all my burning anger; for by the fire of my zeal all the earth will be devoured. For then I shall give to peoples the change to a pure language, in order for them all to call upon the name of Jehovah, in order to serve him shoulder to shoulder.’ [NOTE: The righteous already new the pure language.]

Psalm 46:1-10 God is for us a refuge and strength, A help that is readily to be found during distresses. That is why we shall not fear, though the earth undergo change And though the mountains totter into the heart of the vast sea; Though its waters be boisterous, foam over, Though the mountains rock at its uproar. Se’lah. There is a river the streams of which make the city of God rejoice, The holiest grand tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of [the city]; it will not be made to totter. God will help it at the appearance of morning. The nations became boisterous, the kingdoms tottered; He sounded with his voice, the earth proceeded to melt. Jehovah of armies is with us; The God of Jacob is a secure height for us. Se’lah. Come, YOU people, behold the activities of Jehovah, How he has set astonishing events on the earth. He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth. The bow he breaks apart and does cut the spear in pieces; The wagons he burns in the fire. “Give in, YOU people, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Zechariah 14:1-3, 12-19 “Look! There is a day coming, belonging to Jehovah, and the spoil of you will certainly be apportioned out in the midst of you. And I shall certainly gather all the nations against Jerusalem for the war; and the city will actually be captured and the houses be pillaged, and the women themselves will be raped. And half of the city must go forth into the exile; but as for the remaining ones of the people, they will not be cut off from the city. “And Jehovah will certainly go forth and war against those nations as in the day of his warring, in the day of fight….”And this is what will prove to be the scourge with which Jehovah will scourge all the peoples that will actually do military service against Jerusalem: There will be a rotting away of one’s flesh, while one is standing upon one’s feet; and one’s very eyes will rot away in their sockets, and one’s very tongue will rot away in one’s mouth. “And it must occur in that day [that] confusion from Jehovah will become widespread among them; and they will actually grab hold, each one of the hand of his companion, and his hand will actually come up against the hand of his companion. And Judah itself also will be warring at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the nations round about will certainly be gathered, gold and silver and garments in excessive abundance. “And this is how the scourge of the horse, the mule, the camel, and the male ass, and every sort of domestic animal that happens to be in those camps, will prove to be, like this scourge. “And it must occur [that], as regards everyone who is left remaining out of all the nations that are coming against Jerusalem, they must also go up from year to year to bow down to the King, Jehovah of armies, and to celebrate the festival of the booths. And it must occur that, as regards anyone that does not come up out of the families of the earth to Jerusalem to bow down to the King, Jehovah of armies, even upon them no pouring rain will occur. And if the family of Egypt itself does not come up and does not actually enter, upon them also there shall be none. The scourge will occur with which Jehovah scourges the nations that do not come up to celebrate the festival of the booths. This itself will prove to be the [punishment for the] sin of Egypt and the sin of all the nations that do not come up to celebrate the festival of the booths. [NOTE: Some that are left, were aggressors (in Armageddon) and again shall be disobedient]

Isaiah 24:19-22 The land has absolutely burst apart, the land has absolutely been shaken up, the land has absolutely been sent staggering. The land absolutely moves unsteadily like a drunken man, and it has swayed to and fro like a lookout hut. And its transgression has become heavy upon it, and it must fall, so that it will not rise up again. And it must occur in that day that Jehovah will turn his attention upon the army of the height in the height, and upon the kings of the ground upon the ground. And they will certainly be gathered with a gathering as of prisoners into the pit, and be shut up in the dungeon; and after an abundance of days they will be given attention. [NOTE: This being “given attention” (or “visited” KJV) shows that the rulers, etc. who went down in death at Armageddon, will be resurrected from the dead.]

The marking and slaying of Ezekiel 9:4-6 and Revelation 7:1-3 are not literal.

Ezekiel 9:4-6 And Jehovah went on to say to him: “Pass through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and you must put a mark on the foreheads of the men that are sighing and groaning over all the detestable things that are being done in the midst of it.” And to these [others] he said in my ears: “Pass through the city after him and strike. Let not your eye feel sorry, and do not feel any compassion. Old man, young man and virgin and little child and women YOU should kill off-to a ruination. But to any man upon whom there is the mark do not go near, and from my sanctuary YOU should start.” So they started with the old men that were before the house.

Revelation 7:1-3 After this I saw four angels standing upon the four corners of the earth, holding tight the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow upon the earth or upon the sea or upon any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the sunrising, having a seal of [the] living God; and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying: “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until after we have sealed the slaves of our God in their foreheads.”

[NOTE: The Revelation account continues that only the 144,000 were sealed, showing the marking to be symbolic or acceptance in the heavenly bride class, and the slaying symbolic of rejection or casting off from this position, not the sealing of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the destruction of all others.

Revelation 7:4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel

Some Scriptures speak of mankind or certain ones not rising again. This refers to their not rising throughout the reign of sin and death, but in the Millennial Age they will come forth in the resurrection.

Job 14:10-15 But an able-bodied man dies and lies vanquished; And an earthling man expires, and where is he? Waters do disappear from a sea, And a river itself drains off and dries up. Man also has to lie down and does not get up. Until heaven is no more they will not wake up, Nor will they be aroused from their sleep. O that in She’ol you would conceal me, That you would keep me secret until your anger turns back, That you would set a time limit for me and remember me! If an able-bodied man dies can he live again? All the days of my compulsory service I shall wait, Until my relief comes. You will call, and I myself shall answer you. For the work of your hands you will have a yearning.

Isaiah 26:14-19 They are dead; they will not live. Impotent in death, they will not rise up. Therefore you have turned your attention that you might annihilate them and destroy all mention of them. You have added to the nation; O Jehovah, you have added to the nation; you have glorified yourself. You have extended afar all the borders of the land. O Jehovah, during distress they have turned their attention to you; they have poured out a whisper [of prayer] when they had your disciplining. Just as a pregnant woman draws near to giving birth, has labor pains, cries out in her birth pangs, so we have become because of you, O Jehovah. We have become pregnant, we have had labor pains; as it were, we have given birth to wind. No real salvation do we accomplish as regards the land, and no inhabitants for the productive land proceed to fall [in birth]. “Your dead ones will live. A corpse of mine-they will rise up. Awake and cry out joyfully, YOU residents in the dust! For your dew is as the dew of mallows, and the earth itself will let even those impotent in death drop [in birth].

Jeremiah 51:57 And I will make her princes and her wise ones, her governors and her deputy rulers and her mighty men drunk, and they must sleep an indefinitely lasting sleep, from which they will not wake up,” is the utterance of the King, whose name is Jehovah of armies.

Psalm 9:17 Wicked people will turn back to She’ol, Even all the nations forgetting God.

Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Psalm 90:3 You make mortal man go back to crushed matter, And you say: “GO back, YOU sons of men.”

The Judgment and separation of the sheep and goats is not taking place now.

Matthew 25:31-46 “When the Son of man arrives in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will put the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, YOU who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for YOU from the founding of the world. For I became hungry and YOU gave me something to eat; I got thirsty and YOU gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and YOU received me hospitably; naked, and YOU clothed me. I fell sick and YOU looked after me. I was in prison and YOU came to me.’ Then the righteous ones will answer him with the words, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty, and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and receive you hospitably, or naked, and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to you?’ And in reply the king will say to them, ‘Truly I say to YOU, To the extent that YOU did it to one of the least of these my brothers, YOU did it to me.’ “Then he will say, in turn, to those on his left, ‘Be on YOUR way from me, YOU who have been cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I became hungry, but YOU gave me nothing to eat, and I got thirsty, but YOU gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger, but YOU did not receive me hospitably; naked, but YOU did not clothe me; sick and in prison, but YOU did not look after me.’ Then they also will answer with the words, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them with the words, ‘Truly I say to YOU, To the extent that YOU did not do it to one of these least ones, YOU did not do it to me.’ And these will depart into everlasting cutting-off, but the righteous ones into everlasting life.”

First the Church class must be completed and glorified, since they are the “angels” who are with Jesus at the time. “Angels” is from the Greek word AGGELOS, meaning “messengers”, as in James 2:25 – Rahab the harlot was justified by works, when she had received the messengers.

(Revelation 3:21) To the one that conquers I will grant to sit down with me on my throne, even as I conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

(1 Corinthians 6:2) Or do YOU not know that the holy ones will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by YOU, are YOU unfit to try very trivial matters?

(Colossians 3:4) When the Christ, our life, is made manifest, then YOU also will be made manifest with him in glory.

The judgment is based on the works done: feeding the strangers, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison and the sick, etc. These are symbolic of an attitude of love and helpfulness to fellow men, assisting each other up the highway of holiness toward perfection during the Millennial Age.

Jesus’ bothers (verse 40) are those who do God’s will: “Whoever does the will of God, this one is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:34-35)

The term “brothers” need not be limited to the Church in the Gospel Age, but can also be applied to those who do God’s will in the Millennial Age. Those who would so limit it (to try to prove the setting is not future) run into the inconsistency of having the sheep class (earthly) ministering food etc., (truth) to Christ’s brothers (the Church Class) while they really believe the reverse is true – That the spirit-begotten remnant of the Church class ministers the truth to the other sheep class.

A similar acount of the judgment day is given in Revelation 20:11-15, and is definitely shown to be during the reign of Christ and the Church.

“And I saw a great white throne and the one seated on it. From before him the earth and the heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. But another scroll was opened; it is the scroll of life. And the dead were judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds. And the sea gave up those dead in it, and death and Ha’des gave up those dead in them, and they were judged individually according to their deeds. And death and Ha’des were hurled into the lake of fire. This means the second death, the lake of fire. Furthermore, whoever was not found written in the book of life was hurled into the lake of fire.”

The Millennial Age – the Judgment Day taught in the Bible.

There is a day of judgment, the Millennial Age, rather than various judgment periods.

Acts 17:31 because He has appointed a day in which He is going to judge the world in righteousness by a Man whom He appointed, having given proof to all by raising Him from the dead.

2 Pet. 3:7-8 But the present heavens and the earth being kept in store by the same word, are being kept for fire until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But, beloved, let not this one thing be hidden from you, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

That time is yet future.

Micah 4:1-4 But it shall be in the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. And many nations shall come and say, Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob. And He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for the law shall go forth out of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 And He shall judge between many peoples, and will decide for strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, And they shall not still learn war. But they shall sit each one under his vine and under his fig tree; and there shall be no trembling; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken,

Psalm 96:10-13 Say among the nations, the LORD reigns; and the world shall be established; it shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples in uprightness. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness of it. Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it; then shall all the trees of the forest rejoice before the LORD; for He comes, for He comes to judge the earth; He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth.

Isa. 26:9-10 With my soul I desired You in the night; yea, with my spirit within me I will seek You early; for when Your judgments are in the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. Let favor be shown to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.

Psa. 72:2-8 He will judge Your people in righteousness, and Your poor with judgment. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills by righteousness. He shall judge the poor of the people; He shall save the children of the needy, and shall crush in pieces the cruel one. They shall fear You as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. He shall come down like rain on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth. In His days the righteous shall flourish; and abundance of peace, until the moon is not. He shall also have the rule from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.

That judgment day will be for the whole world.

John 5:28-29 Do not marvel at this, for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have practiced evil to the resurrection of condemnation. [judgment] [NOTE: The New World Translation is misleading in rendering the Greek word MNEMEION as “memorial tombs” since the correct definition is “monument, grave, tomb, or memorial”, which gives the thought of man’s memory of his loved ones, and does not refer to God’s memory at all. All the dead are in God’s memory and will be raised for judgment. Those who then prove unfaithful will be destroyed eternally.]

Acts 24:15 And I have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

Phil. 2:10-11 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly ones, and of earthly ones, and of ones under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Rom. 14:10-11 But why do you judge your brother? Or also why do you despise your brother? For all shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”

Second Death.

The Ransom sacrifice releases Adam and his offspring from first death (Adamic), but second death is a death from which there will never be a resurrection.

An individual must be released (reckonedly or actually) from Adamic death before it is possible to suffer second death.

Before the Gospel Age none were released from Adamic death, so none were released from Adamic death.

2 Tim. 1:10 But it is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has made death of no effect, bringing life and immortality to light through the gospel

During the Gospel Age, only those who are enlightened with the truth, justified by the blood of Christ (reckonedly released from Adamic death), and spirit begotten, and who then deny Christ and fall away from the truth go into second death. Only the prospective members of the body of Christ are now justified and on trial.

Heb. 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the world to come, and who have fallen away; it is impossible, I say, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify the Son of God afresh to themselves and put Him to an open shame.

Heb. 10:26-29 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He who despised Moses’ law died without mercy on the word of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will be thought worthy to receive punishment, the one who has trampled the Son of God, and who has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

Matt. 12:31 Therefore I say to you, All kinds of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven to men.

During the Millennial Age, after coming forth in the resurrection (actually released from Adamic death), those who continue to be disobedient to God will fall into second death. The whole world will then be on trial for life or death (second death).

Acts 3:23 And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be destroyed from among the people.”

Jer. 31:29-30 In those days they shall not say any more, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the teeth of the sons are dull. But every man shall die in his iniquity. Every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be dull. Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will cut a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah,

Psa. 145:20 The LORD watches over all those who love Him; but all the wicked He will destroy.

Rev. 20:12-15 And I saw the dead, the small and the great, stand before God. And the books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead in it. And death and hell delivered up the dead in them. And each one of them was judged according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death. And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire.

Conclusion

Adam and all his children are under God’s condemnation and dead in his sight, without any standing before him, until they learn of and exercise faith in the ransom. It makes no difference whether one dies at an early age by a specific act of God or later in life by so-called natural causes; both are the results of sin and divine condemnation.

Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Matt. 8:22 But Jesus said to him, Follow Me, and let the dead bury their dead.

John 3:18 He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.

1 Tim. 2:4 who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

The view that God desires to destroy all people except those of one denomination is not in harmony with God’s will. God desires to bless, not to destroy mankind.

Luke 9:53-55 And they did not receive Him, because His face was going toward Jerusalem. And seeing, His disciples James and John said, Lord, do You desire that we command fire to come down from Heaven and consume them, even as Elijah did? But He turned and rebuked them and said, You do not know of what spirit you are.

Isa. 60:2-5 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but the LORD shall rise on you, and His glory shall be seen on you. And the nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawning. Lift up your eyes all around, and see. All of them gather themselves; they come to you. Your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall fear and become bright, and your heart shall throb and swell for joy; because the abundance of the sea shall turn to you, the wealth of the nations will come to you.

Acts 3:25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, “And in your Seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.” [NOTE: Other texts where this promise is recorded use the word “nations”, but here the promise is made more all-inclusive with the word “kindreds”, or “families” as in the New World Translation}

John 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to Myself.

Luke 2:10 And the angel said to them, Do not fear. For behold, I give to you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Eze. 18:21-23 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins which he has committed, and keep all My statutes, and do justice and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. All his transgressions that he has done, they shall not be mentioned to him; in his righteousness that he has done he shall live. Do I actually delight in the death of the wicked? says the Lord Jehovah. Is it not that he should turn from his ways and live?

Paradise Earth, is it for Christians?

paradise-earthFor David is not ascended into the heavens.”—Acts 2:34

The Old Testament Scriptures we accept as of equal authority with the New Testament, because Jesus and the Apostles so accepted them, and indeed based all of their teachings upon them. The false impression which has gone abroad amongst Christian people, that the Old Testament Scriptures are obsolete, that their predictions have all been fulfilled, is very erroneous. This has greatly hindered Bible study, and has paved the way to grievous errors. It should be remembered that the Old Testament represents the only Divine revelation made to man during the 4158 years from the creation to the time when Jesus at His baptism was proclaimed “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.”

In all the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi, not a single suggestion is offered of a change of nature from human to spiritual, nor of any other heaven than that which God had originally provided for man—the Garden of Eden. The hopes inspired in Israel by the Divine promises pointed them forward to the time when God’s blessing would obliterate the curse of sin and death and uplift mankind from present degradation, back to the original perfection. The Seed of the woman, it was promised, should ultimately “crush the Serpent’s head,” destroying the evil that is in the world, and establishing a reign of righteousness instead of the reign of sin and death. Messiah, as Emmanuel, would bring these great blessings to Israel; and, through Israel, they would be spread amongst all nations by Divine power. Paradise, lost through disobedience, will be restored by Messiah.

Instead of expecting a change of nature from human to spiritual, the teachings of the Old Testament led the Israelites to expect that God would make no change from His original purpose. He made not the earth to be destroyed by fire nor to be perpetually under the cloud of sin and death (Ecc. 1:4). He formed it to be inhabited by a human race, in His own image and likeness, Adam in his original purity being a sample.

DAVID’S SOUL IN HELL

As the Old Testament tells nothing about a heavenly condition, likewise it tells nothing about a hell of fire or torment. Such devilish theories were invented by the heathen, from whom many Christians have since absorbed more or less of the false doctrines. The Law and the Prophets do refer to hell some sixty-six times, but the hell which they teach is the grave, the tomb, the state of death. From first to last all mankind, both good and bad, go to hell, sheol, the tomb. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the Prophets died without giving the slightest intimation of Purgatorial suffering for anybody, or a hell of eternal torture.

The writers of the New Testament were also Jews, and it might here be noted that nowhere did they describe the Hell and Purgatory which we Protestants and Catholics conjured up during the Dark Ages. The New Testament, written in Greek, is in full accord with the Old Testament, written in Hebrew—the sheol of the latter is the hades of the former. Unfortunately our translators have, in the English Bible, mixed things up in a terrible fashion, giving us hell and pit and grave as synonymous interpretations of sheol and hades. “Orthodoxy” made hell fiery and thus our eyes of understanding have been darkened through the machinations of our great Adversary, “the Prince of darkness.”

But all this demoniacal misrepresentation of the Divine character and Plan is soon to be scattered. The morning is at hand; the Prince of Light, the Savior, Messiah and His glorious Church, will soon shine forth as the Sun in the Kingdom of the Father, while Satan will be bound for that thousand years that he may deceive the people no more. “Then all the blind eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears shall be unstopped,” and “the knowledge of the glory of the Lord shall fill the whole earth;” and “to Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, to the glory of God.”

SLEPT WITH HIS FATHERS

All through the Scriptures natural sleep is used as a figure for death, as the present time of the reign of sin is represented as a night time, and the coming reign of Messiah is prophetically described as the morning of a New Day, a New Epoch. “Weeping may endure for a night” wrote David. The night has lasted for six thousand years; the New Day is the seventh-thousand, the Sabbath of the great week. It will be the awakening time, as the six thousand years of the reign of sin and sorrow are the time in which our race has been going down into death—into the deep sleep from which none will come forth except by the call of Messiah.

The penalty of death upon our race would have blotted us out of existence like the brute beasts had not God’s mercy from the beginning made provision for a Redeemer and for His Church and Joint-heir; and for the Messianic Kingdom; and for the resurrection, the awakening of all mankind, through this Kingdom. It was in view of that hope of a resurrection of the dead that believers spoke of their deceased friends as falling asleep.

This expression is used frequently in the New Testament. St. Stephen fell asleep in death; St. Paul, having in mind the great work of Christ on behalf of the world and the eventual awakening of all, declared that believers need not sorrow as others over the death of their friends and neighbors, but might realize that all “sleep in Jesus,” and that eventually God, through Him, will bring to pass the general awakening of the dead, all of whom are yet to be brought to a knowledge of the truth.

Wel quote the Scripture, “Abraham slept with his fathers,” and declare that Abraham’s fathers were heathen. We call attention to the fact that good and bad, kings and princes and others, are, in the Scriptures, declared to have fallen asleep. So it was with David. These all slept in the Bible hell—in the tomb. They are all unconscious; as the Scriptures declare, “The dead know not anything; their sons come to honor and they know it not; they come to dishonor and they perceive it not of them”; “There is neither wisdom nor knowledge nor device in sheol (hell, the grave) whither thou goest”—whither all go (Job 14:21; Ecc. 9:10).

THOU WILT NOT LEAVE MY SOUL IN SHEOL

The Prophet David declared his faith in a resurrection of the dead when he wrote, “Thou wilt not leave My Soul in hell (sheol, the grave), nor suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psa. 16:10). St. Peter (Acts 2:25-31) calls our attention to the fact that the Prophet David did see corruption, and hence that this statement was not in regard to himself but Jesus—that the soul of Jesus was not left in sheol (Greek, hades); and, additionally, the flesh of Jesus was not allowed to corrupt.

St. Peter was pointing out the fulfillment of this prophecy of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead on the third day, when he made use of our text, “David is not ascended into the heavens;… his sepulchre is with us unto this day.” St. Peter’s argument is that David was in his sepulchre and was still dead, but that his words were a prophetic reference to Jesus’ resurrection.

Many Christian people repeat every Sunday what is styled the Apostles’ Creed, which declares the crucifixion and death of Jesus and His descent into hell—into hades—and that “God raised Him from the dead on the third day.” All intelligent Christians understand that the hell to which Jesus went was not Purgatory nor a place of eternal suffering, but the grave, sheol, the tomb, the state of death. This is proved to be the Apostle’s thought by the words, “God raised Him from the dead, for it was not possible that He should be holden” of death.

DAVID WILL NOT GO TO HEAVEN

King David will not go to heaven, and he will not desire to go to heaven, for the same reason that a fish has no desire to perch upon the limb of a tree nor a bird to make its home under the water. As these animals have natures distinct and are adapted to the conditions which God has provided, so the nature of man, even when brought to human perfection, will enjoy and appreciate more the earthly blessings which God has provided for him than he would enjoy the heavenly blessings which God has provided for the Elect “little flock”—”the Church of the First-Borns” (Heb. 12:23). The reason for this is plain when we remember the Apostle’s words. He declares, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know (appreciate) them, for they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). Only those who have been begotten of the Holy Spirit are enabled to understand the deep things, the spiritual things of the Divine promise, and to rejoice therein as the Apostle explains (1 Cor. 2:9,10).

And even when thus Spirit-begotten and with their affections set on things above, the Lord’s consecrated “little flock” experience difficulty in keeping their affections of the Heavenly things and off of the earthly things, because the latter appeal to them continually through all of their earthly senses. They are therefore exhorted to “look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are unseen,” which “eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the great things which God has in reservation for those that love Him”—love Him more than they love houses or lands, parents or children, or self.

We can plainly see, then, that without this begetting of the Holy Spirit, which belongs, of course, to the servants and handmaidens of God during this Gospel Age, none are able to appreciate the things unseen. And hence the world of mankind in general, brought back to perfection—and all the way back, appreciating human perfection—will be willing not to sacrifice their earthly nature to obtain a heavenly, but will enjoy the earthly, under perfect conditions, in a Paradise restored (Isa. 35; Ezek. 37).

DAVID WAS A PROPHET

On a previous occasion we saw the teaching of the Scriptures to be that the first to be blessed by Messiah’s Kingdom will be the Ancient Worthies—Enoch, Abraham, Moses, David, and the Prophets—and that these will be made Princes in the earth. As one of these Princes, the Prophet David will have a very glorious station. His long career, his “ups and downs,” said the Pastor, show us the lights and shadows of the Prophet’s character more particularly, perhaps, than in the case of any other Bible character. And they show us a noble character, despite David’s human weaknesses and the frailties of his flesh, augmented in power by his kingly office and the misconceptions of kingly prerogatives which prevailed in his day.

The beautiful traits of the character of David on account of which he was declared to be, not a “new creature,” not a “son of God,” not an “heir of God and joint-heir with Messiah,” but “a man after God’s own heart”—these traits were his loyal obedience and his repentance of everything which in any degree was displeasing to God and interrupted the fellowship Divine.

God’s Spirit-begotten children may not, therefore, take the Prophet David or any of the Ancients as their pattern. Only Spirit-begotten ones can serve as examples to the Church. They should walk in the footsteps of Jesus, and may even take the Apostles and other faithful brethren for examples. The Apostle, however, suggests that the Church may look back with profit upon the Worthies of the past, to note their degree of faith in God and their obedience to that faith. St. Paul, however, explicitly reminds us that God has provided some better thing for us—the Church—that the Ancient Worthies, without us (members of the Messiah), cannot be made perfect (Heb. 11:38-40).

JOINT-HEIRSHIP WITH CHRIST THE BETTER THING RESERVED FOR CHRISTIANS

The “better thing” reserved “for us” who are called of Godduring this Gospel Age is the joint-heirship with Christ, Jehovah’s Only-Begotten Son and Heir of all things, the partaking with Him in all His future work for the blessing of God’s intelligent creation. Therefore it is, as the Apostle states, that the reward of the Ancient Worthies tarries until first the overcoming Gospel Church is exalted to the throne with Christ in the dawn of the New Dispensation, now so close at hand. As soon as the spiritual phase of the Kingdom is established in power the setting up of the human phase will begin. In humble recognition, therefore, of the Divine purpose and order in the superior exaltation of the Gospel Church, we repeat the Apostle’s statement that “they (those noble, loyal, righteous, faithful Ancient Worthies) without us shall not be made perfect.”

But as to whether we shall be numbered among the “us” depends upon our successful running of the race set before us. Surely, no less faithfulness and nobility of character can be expected of us than of those who ran for the earthly prize. And since all the blessings of God’s Plan—the exaltation of the Ancient Worthies, the liberation of the whole world from the bondage of sin and death and the final judgment of angels—await the manifestation of the spiritual sons of God, the Gospel Church, therefore the Apostle (chapter 12), in forceful metaphor, points us back to those Ancient worthies as a stimulus for faith and zeal, saying:—

“Therefore also we, being compassed about with so great a cloud of martyrs (Greek marturon—who so nobly witnessed for God and righteousness), let us (emulate them and) lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the (higher, heavenly) race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus, our Ransomer, is also our Forerunner and Pattern in this race. He ran successfully, and, in consequence, is even now at the right hand of the throne of God, whither we also may go to Him.

Jesus’ way to the crown was the way of the shameful cross, and He said, If any man love Me, let him take up his cross daily and follow Me; the servant is not above his Lord, etc. Persecution and shame and grief and loss are our portion in this present world, but exaltation and glory will follow in due time, if we faint not. Therefore we are urged to consider His example and teaching lest we be weary and faint in our minds under the trials of faith, patience and endurance of this “evil day.”

The ‘Evil Slave Class’

biblestudents2For Years it has been said that Bible Students are guilty of creature worship. That this “creature worship” led to the largest schism in Watchtower history, and separated the “Faithful Slave Class” from the “Evil Slave Class”. What is the creature they are charged with worshipping? None other then Charles Taze Russell, organizer of the International Bible Students Association and founder and first president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. And who are these accusers who make such a claim? None other then the very Society Russell founded, the Watch Tower and it’s current members the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Notice this statement found in the book; Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose

The insistence that Russell had been “that Servant” led many to regard Russell in what amounted actually to creature worship. They believed that all the truth God had seen fit to reveal to his people had been revealed to Russell, and now nothing more could be brought forth because “that servant” was dead.” [1959, pg 69]

As recent as 1988, in the book Revelation – It’s Grand Climax at Hand! The Watchtower makes this claim:

“The John class, however, emerged from the tumultuous days of the first world war with a love for Jehovah and for the truth that impelled them to serve him with flaming zeal. They resisted those who tried to introduce sectarianism through practically idolizing the first president of the Watch Tower Society, Charles T. Russell, following his death in 1916.” [p. 35, 36]

Who were “those” the “John class” tried to resist? And how did “those” try “to introduce sectarianism”? The answer lies in the book; God’s Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in 1973. It had this to say concerning the issue of idolizing C.T. Russell:

“This view was prominently featured in the book published in July of 1917 by the People’s Pulpit Association of Brooklyn, New York. This book was called “The Finished Mystery” and furnished a commentary of the Bible books of Revelation and Ezekiel and The Songs of Solomon. On its Publishers page the book was called the “Posthumous Works of Pastor Russell.” Such a book and religious attitude tended to establish a religious sect centered around a man” [pg 347]

Who or what was the People’s Pulpit Association? The answer again can be found in the pages of the book Qualified to Be Ministers published in 1967, by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. It had this to say about the Association:

“Such a corporation came into legal existence February 23, 1909, and was named People’s Pulpit Association. Thirty years later, in 1939, the name was changed to its present one, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc.” [pg. 309]

So, in essence, the Watchtower Society itself was to blame for promoting the idolizing of C.T. Russell, not a group of individuals. The Book The Finished Mystery was published by the Watchtower Society, it was sanctioned by then president J.F. Rutherford, and was the cause of much schism within the Bible Students Association, not because it was promoting Russell, but because it was filled with misquotes, half truths and perversion of thoughts.

Nowhere within the pages of C.T. Russell’s writings, is there a thought alluding to worshipping him. Never did he ever claim to be “That Faithful and Wise Servant” mentioned in Matthew 24:45-48. Yes … there were those in his day who believe he filled that office, members of the Association, some representatives of the Watch Tower Society, but Russell never made such a claim for himself. In fact his thought on the matter was:

“I have nothing to say about the subject. What I would say would not change matters any way. You have your right to your opinion and they have their right to theirs. [Convention Reports 1909, pg. 25]

Russell did teach “that servant” to be a class, representing the church as early as 1897 in the book, The Battle of Armageddon, but some years later, would change his mind and believed it to be an individual. Yet he never claimed to be that individual.

In fact, the thought of promoting Russell as “That Servant” and giving him prominence was J.F. Rutherford. In the 1916 Watchtower it stated:

Thousands of the readers of Pastor Russell’s writings believe that he filled the office of “that faithful and wise servant,” and that his great work was giving to the Household of Faith meat in due season. His modesty and humility precluded him from openly claiming this title, but he admitted as much in private conversation. [pg 357]

The only ones who admitted to these so-called private conversations were, Rutherford, VanAmburgh and MacMillan, the three individuals responsible for seizing control of the Watch Tower Society. Their motives behind such a promotion was to appease the close friends, colleagues and supporters of Russell. Rutherford vowed to continue the work Russell had started. But in promoting Russell, elevating him and his writings to that of equal par to the Scriptures, he created a monster. Many Bible Students parted company with the Society. Some actually believed and accepted this new idea. It was even taught through the pages of The Watch Tower that Russell was still directing the affairs of the Society from heaven.

Evidently Rutherford, decided to slay the monster he created, by cunningly denouncing all he had stated and written in The Watch Tower. Not only was Russell pushed to the background, but the Scriptures had been reinterpreted. Russell’s books were left to go out of print, with no new editions being published. His name if mentioned at all, was done only in passing, as “first President” of the Society. His writings were replaced by newer ones. This cause more schisms and departures by Bible Students who could not and would not accept the Society’s leadership, and autocratic rule.

For years afterwards, Bible Students and Jehovah’s Witnesses grew apart, animosity and hatred was promoted by the Society towards the independent Bible Student groups who rejected the Society as God’s Sole Channel of communication. The Society rewrote its history, omitting many important facts, and in the cases cited above distorted many events, to place them in a good light and branding Bible Students as evil opposers who would rather follow and worship a man, rather than their organization. The Society claiming to be “The Faithful and Wise Slave Class” denounced all independent Bible Students outside of the Society as “The Evil Slave Class”, The Watchtower of June 15, 1987, had this to say:

“By the summer of 1918 … At the time of the Society’s conventions that summer, some apostates turned away and formed their own opposing religious groups. Manifesting the traits of an “evil slave,” they were ‘winnowed’ like “chaff” to be separated from Jehovah’s faithful remnant. (Matthew 3:12; 24:48-51) The Memorial of Christ’s death was celebrated on Sunday, April 13, 1919, with 17,961 attending in many lands. As compared to a partial report for 1917, the Memorial attendance had dropped by more than 3,000, indicating the effects of sifting.”

It was not so much that Bible Students “opposed” the work of the Society, the issue was the Bible Students and the Society were no longer in harmony doctrinally, the 3,000 or so who “dropped” out by 1918, eventually grew in the coming years, by 1930 seventy-five percent of the original Bible Students had abandoned the Society.

For years, the Society shifted the blame on Professor Paul S.L. Johnson, a colleague of Russell, an ordained minister, born a Jew, who joined the Bible Students Association and became an important promoter of Bible Truths. He was the Society’s scapegoat for many years. Most of the attacks on Johnson came after his death in 1950, and continued until the 1980s, it was as the old saying goes “beating a dead horse”, as Johnson was not alive to defend himself.

The Society tried to silence the Bible Students, by holding on to the copyrights of such works as Studies in the Scriptures and the Watch Tower Reprints. As Bible Students, they relied on their Bibles and nothing more. When the copyrights ran out, Paul S. L. Johnson, decided to reprint the Studies in the Scriptures. He contacted Rutherford, as they at one time were like brothers. Rutherford’s reply came in the destruction of the original plates. It was a slow process, but Johnson in 1937, made the Volumes available to the brethren. In that same time period the Dawn Bible Students Association, also reproduced the volumes. And years later, The Watch Tower Reprints were made available to the brethren by way of the Chicago Bible Students Republishing committee [with the exception of the years 1917-1919.]

Through the years many Jehovah’s Witnesses, upon obtaining these writings, have come to know the Truth, not only in regards to the Watchtower but in regards to God’s Plans and purposes. In 1971 the Watchtower had this to say, about the Bible Students and their witness work:

“The modern-day history of Jehovah’s witnesses shows that attempts have been made by some, making up an “evil slave” class, to assume control over Jehovah’s work and his people. This was especially seen during the World War I period. Jehovah, however, has cleansed his organization, and made it wholly theocratic. The credit is due to him, not to man.” [pages 436-7 ]

This led the Watchtower to warn Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide, to read only those publications stamped with the insignia “Published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society”. Russell’s books were viewed as “old light” and many were tyold to not waste time reading errors. In some cases Russell’s writings were on a “blacklist” on books not to read. Yes it is true that many Kingdom Hall libraries have Russell’s books, but there are there as a result of donation from a deceased witness, or there simply as a ornament of sorts. There have been documented cases of Jehovah’s Witnesses being disfellowshiped simply because of their reading, studying and apllying what they read in Russell’s volumes. Notice this quotes from the Watchtower:

“Individually, careful watch has still to be kept. The records show that, in our congregations, some need to be warned, others put on probation, and others have to be disfellowshiped. Why? Because, while claiming to be in the truth, they do not practice the truth. This often starts in a small way, but, if persisted in, it leads away from the light into the darkness. [ibid]

What is this “truth” these Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to be “in”? it is the truth of the scriptures, the truths they learned in regards to God’s plans and purposes, the truths they learned from such works as “Studies in the Scriptures” written by the late Charles Taze Russell. Elders, Ministerial Servants, Pioneers, Bethelites and rank and file members of the Society, have been disfellowshiped because of their accepting these writings as containing truth.

The Society’s publications having a much larger circulation then all the Bible Student literature combined, tried a new tactic, everytime they mentioned the term “Bible Students” they always had in parenthesis “as Jehovah’s Witnesses were then known as”. Giving the reader the thought that Bible Students and Jehovah’s Witnesses are one and the same. When people came across the name or writings of Russell or Bible Students, they would automatically associate it with the Witnesses.

In recent years, with the advent of computers, and counter cult ministries, Witnesses were being made aware of the Bible Students, and the real issues being raised by the Watchtower Society. Some did their research, many returned to their roots, namely the Bible Students Association. Some were simply enlightened to their history as Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was not until the Society was forced to write a new history, still intent on perverting the truth, they nevertheless, did admit a distinction between Bible Students and Jehovah’s Witnesses:

“After the death of Brother Russell, some former associates refused to cooperate with the Watch Tower Society and the International Bible Students Association, even opposing the work of these societies. Such fragmented groups used a variety of names, some of them clinging to the designation Associated Bible Students.” [Jehovah’s Witnesses – Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, pg. 151]

This however does not state that the Bible Students still exist today, it merely referred to “fragmented” groups during the schism of 1917. However the fact that you are reading this … shows that you now know … that Bible Students and Jehovah’s Witnesses are two distinct groups, with distinct beliefs. It is not so much the importance that we stress the individuality of both groups, for we do recognize the Watchtower Society, and do recognize our Jehovah’s Witness friends. But the fact that we have been misrepresented, not by Christians in general, but by the very association we helped build.

It is very strange … that the Watchtower Society, forbids its members from associating with the “evil slave class”, namely the Bible Students, and have chastised those witnesses, who possess and read Russell’s writings, and at the same time, the Society has been in contact with various Bible Student groups, exchanging literature and purchasing one anthers books. This is has been verified by both correspondence to and from the Society from Bible Students, as well as eye-witness accounts of Bible Student literature sitting on not only Kingdom Hall libraries, but Watchtower libraries as well.

One would be apt to conclude this is a love/hate relationship on the part of the Watchtower Society. But we know the promises contained in Scriptures will not allow this relationship to continue. For one day, in God’s due time, all of mankind will learn the truth, and all will reside under His loving care.

Jehovah’s Witness Resignation Letter

penChristian greetings.

Below is the resignation letter I wrote to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, various congregations and individual Jehovah’s Witnesses on May 27, 1993

Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Brooklyn, New York

My Dear Brethren,

Grace and Peace be with you in His name.

It pains me greatly to have to write you this letter, but, I feel that I must in light of my present circumstances.  My life has changed for the better within the past year despite rumors to the contrary.   My sincere love for you impels me to tell you about it.  It is not a short story, but one I feel needs to be told.

As you well know, it has been over ten years that I have served Jehovah, our Great God, alongside you. I look back on the occasion of my baptism with no regrets.  I did what I believed was the right thing to do based on the knowledge that I had at the time.   I was willing to become an “apostate” to the faith that my parents raised me in.

My reasons for becoming one of Jehovah’s Witnesses was a result of taking in knowledge.  I thank God I never lost my thirst for knowledge.  As many who associated with me know, I have a great love for books.   I have one of the largest collections of Watchtower literature dating back to the 1800s.

Do you know why I made a hobby of collecting this literature?  It was because I wanted to know.  To know, after all, is the root of knowledge.  I also appreciated the heritage that this literature has recorded and represents.  I do not say any of this to boast, but to present my library as a testimony to the fact that I love knowledge.

My faith as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses made me want to share it with everyone.   Occasionally I would meet persons in the field ministry who would offer objections based on what opposers claimed about the organization.  I wanted to be able to refute these claims,  and what better way is there to do so but to examine them and look for the answers in an unbiased way?  The ‘Truth’ book which I studied before my baptism says on page 13, paragraph 5:

    “We need to examine, not only what we personally believe, but also what is taught by any religious organizations with which we may be associated. Are its teachings in full harmony with God’s Word, or are they based on the traditions of men?  If we are lovers of the truth, there is nothing to fear from such an examination.  It should be the sincere desire of every one of us to learn what God’s will is for us, and then do it. John 8:32.”

The “Awake!” magazine of October 22, 1973, says on page 6:

“If you were on trial in a court of law, would it be fair if only your opponent was allowed to present evidence?  No, you would surely want the court to hear your side of the matter …  Reasonable persons agree that the only fair method is to examine the evidence on both sides, both for and against a disputed theory.  That is how one arrives at the truth.”

Finally, the “Watchtower” of August 1, 1978, says on page 12:

“Over the years, representatives of different churches have published many books and brochures for the purpose of “exposing” Jehovah’s Witnesses as heretics … Naturally, we are not afraid of this kind of publicity, because we know that it serves to awaken the curiosity of many honest persons.”

Because of my own experience and having gained my new found faith as a result of impartial investigation, I quickly saw the wisdom in the above statements.  My curiosity was awakened because I am an honest person.  If the Watchtower was not afraid of honest investigation, why in the world should I be?

Some of what I read made my blood boil, because a few of the opposers spoke of Jehovah’s Witnesses as if they were evil, willing tools of the devil.  No amount of convincing could persuade me to believe such thoughts. I knew that I wasn’t like that and that the overwhelming majority of the Witnesses were not like that either.

My research did lead me to one conclusion, and that is that the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society is not all that they claimed to be.  Since 1919 onward, supposedly when the Lord came to inspect his “Church” and approved of the “Anointed Remnant,” the Society has made false predictions for Armageddon (1925, 1945, 1975, 1999, Prior to 1919, it was 1914, 1918 just to name a few).  They’ve twisted the Scriptures in support of doctrines that are not in harmony with God’s plans and purpose.  They’ve lied and have flip flopped their doctrines.  They’ve ruined lives, separated families, caused divisions, divorces and mental breakdowns.  All under the guise of “new light.”

Do you remember how the “Watchtower” illustrated its progress towards ultimate truth?  In the December 1, 1981 issue of the Watchtower magazine, on page 27 it states:

    “…it may have seemed to some as though that path has not always gone straight forward.  At times explanations given by Jehovah’s visible organization have shown adjustments, seemingly to previous points of view. But this has not actually been the case.  This might be compared to what is known in navigational circles as “tacking”.  By maneuvering the sails the sailors can cause a ship to go from right to left, back and forth, (zigzag?) but all the time making progress toward their destination…”

It most certainly has too have been the case!  How does that illustration hold through in the light of a more recent “Watchtower”, the August 1, 1992 issue?  On page 17, it reads this way:

   “Hence, to run ‘not certainly’ means that to every observer it should be very evident where the runner is heading.  The Anchor Bible renders it, ‘not on a zigzag course.’  If you saw a set of footprints that meanders up and down the beach, circles around now and then, and even goes backward at times, you would hardly think the person was running at all, let alone that he had any idea where he was heading.”

I could not agree more.  I do not think that the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society know where they are going and I am not going to risk my precious relationship with God and Christ by following them wherever it is they think their going.  I am not trying to be sarcastic, I’m just stating my feelings as plainly as I can.

What I have shared with you in this letter is merely the shallowest scratch on the surface of the huge number of problems I found with the form of worship I have pursued for over ten years.  There are many, many more and they are not petty complaints.  They are in fact enough to cause me to determine never to “…be confined again in a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

Some will wonder where I will go now for spiritual enlightenment without the organization.  The “Watchtower” of November 15, 1992 says on page 21:

   “We will be impelled to serve Jehovah loyally with his organization if we remember that there is nowhere else to go for life eternal.”

The apostle Peter is then quoted.   Please note that he asked Jesus not, “Lord, to where shall we go away to?”  but, “Lord, to whom shall we go away to?” I have gone to Jesus, there is nowhere else to go.

I thank Almighty God for loving me, for allowing His son to make his unique sacrifice on my behalf and for my wonderful wife.   I thank God for true friends who are “sticking closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)  I thank God that I am free.

I have tearfully debated this subject and I feel that in all honesty to you and myself the only remedy is to disassociate myself from the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society and Jehovah’s Witnesses at this time.  To remain would be to misrepresent your views and to have you misrepresent my views.  This action, therefore, is not to be understood as a withdrawal from the Church of Christ, whose “names are written in heaven,” but merely a withdrawal from our unauthorized human organization whose names are written on earth.  I will joyfully remember the many happy years we have spent together.

My brothers, I regret to have to say “good-bye”.  Perhaps we will meet again.  If we do, I’m sure that it will be in the Messianic Kingdom.

Faithfully, Yours in Christ,

Rolando Rodriguez

Do Bible Students Worship C.T. Russell?

photo-of-young-charles-taze-russellFor Years it has been said that Bible Students are guilty of creature worship. What is the creature they are charged with worshipping? None other then Charles Taze Russell, organizer of the International Bible Students Association and founder and first president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. And who are these accusers who make such a claim? None other then the very Society Russell founded, the Watch Tower and it’s current members the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Notice this statement found in the book; Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose:

The insistence that Russell had been “that Servant” led many to regard Russell in what amounted actually to creature worship. They believed that all the truth God had seen fit to reveal to his people had been revealed to Russell, and now nothing more could be brought forth because “that servant” was dead.” [1959, pg 69]

As recent as 1988, in the book Revelation – It’s Grand Climax at Hand! The Watchtower makes this claim:

“The John class, however, emerged from the tumultuous days of the first world war with a love for Jehovah and for the truth that impelled them to serve him with flaming zeal. They resisted those who tried to introduce sectarianism through practically idolizing the first president of the Watch Tower Society, Charles T. Russell, following his death in 1916.” [p. 35, 36]

Who were “those” the “John class” tried to resist? And how did “those” try “to introduce sectarianism”? The answer lies in the book; God’s Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in 1973. It had this to say concerning the issue of idolizing C.T. Russell:

“This view was prominently featured in the book published in July of 1917 by the People’s Pulpit Association of Brooklyn, New York. This book was called “The Finished Mystery” and furnished a commentary of the Bible books of Revelation and Ezekiel and The Songs of Solomon. On its Publishers page the book was called the “Posthumous Works of Pastor Russell.” Such a book and religious attitude tended to establish a religious sect centered around a man” [pg 347]

Who or what was the People’s Pulpit Association? The answer again can be found in the pages of the book Qualified to Be Ministers published in 1967, by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. It had this to say about the Association:

“Such a corporation came into legal existence February 23, 1909, and was named People’s Pulpit Association. Thirty years later, in 1939, the name was changed to its present one, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc.” [pg. 309]

So, in essence, the Watchtower Society itself was to blame for promoting the idolizing of C.T. Russell, not a group of individuals. The Book The Finished Mystery was published by the Watchtower Society, it was sanctioned by then president J.F. Rutherford, and was the cause of much schism within the Bible Students Association, not because it was promoting Russell, but because it was filled with misquotes, half truths and perversion of thoughts.

Nowhere within the pages of C.T. Russell’s writings, is there a thought alluding to worshipping him. Never did he ever claim to be “That Faithful and Wise Servant” mentioned in Matthew 24:45-48. Yes … there were those in his day who believe he filled that office, members of the Association, some representatives of the Watch Tower Society, but Russell never made such a claim for himself. In fact his thought on the matter was:

“I have nothing to say about the subject. What I would say would not change matters any way. You have your right to your opinion and they have their right to theirs. [Convention Reports 1909, pg. 25]

Russell did teach “that servant” to be a class, representing the church as early as 1897 in the book, The Battle of Armageddon, but some years later, would change his mind and believed it to be an individual. Yet he never claimed to be that individual.

In fact, the thought of promoting Russell as “That Servant” and giving him prominence was J.F. Rutherford. In the 1916 Watchtower it stated:

Thousands of the readers of Pastor Russell’s writings believe that he filled the office of “that faithful and wise servant,” and that his great work was giving to the Household of Faith meat in due season. His modesty and humility precluded him from openly claiming this title, but he admitted as much in private conversation. [pg 357]

The only ones who admitted to these so-called private conversations were, Rutherford, VamAmburgh and MacMillan, the three individuals responsible for seizing control of the Watch Tower Society. Their motives behind such a promotion was to appease the close friends, colleagues and supporters of Russell. Rutherford vowed to continue the work Russell had started. But in promoting Russell, elevating him and his writings to that of equal par to the Scriptures, he created a monster. Many Bible Students parted company with the Society. Some actually believed and accepted this new idea. It was even taught through the pages of The Watch Tower that Russell was still directing the affairs of the Society from heaven.

Evidently Rutherford, decided to slay the monster he created, by cunningly denouncing all he had stated and written in The Watch Tower. Not only was Russell pushed to the background, but the Scriptures had been reinterpreted. Russell’s books were left to go out of print, with no new editions being published. His name if mentioned at all, was done only in passing, as “first President” of the Society. His writings were replaced by newer ones. This cause more schisms and departures by Bible Students who could not and would not accept the Society’s leadership, and autonomous rule.

For years afterwards, Bible Students and Jehovah’s Witnesses grew apart, animosity and hatred was promoted by the Society towards the independent Bible Student groups who rejected the Society as God’s Sole Channel of communication. The Society rewrote its history, omitting many important facts, and in the cases cited above distorted many events, to place them in a good light and branding Bible Students as evil opposers who would rather follow and worship a man, rather than their organization.

For years, the Society shifted the blame on Professor Paul S.L. Johnson, a colleague of Russell, an ordained minister, born a Jew, who joined the Bible Students Association and became an important promoter of Bible Truths. He was the Society’s scapegoat for many years. Most of the attacks on Johnson came after his death in 1950, and continued until the 1980s, it was as the old saying goes “beating a dead horse”, as Johnson was not alive to defend himself.

The Society tried to silence the Bible Students, by holding on to the copyrights of such works as Studies in the Scriptures and the Watch Tower Reprints. As Bible Students, they relied on their Bibles and nothing more. When the copyrights ran out, Paul S.L. Johnson, decided to reprint the Studies in the Scriptures. He contacted Rutherford, as they at one time were like brothers. Rutherford’s reply came in the destruction of the original plates. It was a slow process, but Johnson in 1937, made the Volumes available to the brethren. In 1940, the Dawn Bible Students Association, also reproduced the volumes. And years later, the original Watch Towers were made available to the brethren by way of the Chicago Bible Students.

The Society’s publications having a much larger circulation then all the Bible Student literature combined, tried a new tactic, everytime they mentioned the term “Bible Students” they always had in parenthesis “as Jehovah’s Witnesses were then known as”. Giving the reader the thought that Bible Students and Jehovah’s Witnesses are one and the same. When people came across the name or writings of Russell or Bible Students, they would automatically associate it with the Witnesses.

In recent years, with the advent of computers, and counter cult ministries, Witnesses were being made aware of the Bible Students, and the real issues being raised by the Watchtower Society. Some did their research, many returned to their roots, namely the Bible Students Association. Some were simply enlightened to their history as Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was not until the Society was forced to write a new history, still intent on perverting the truth, they nevertheless, did admit a distinction between Bible Students and Jehovah’s Witnesses:

“After the death of Brother Russell, some former associates refused to cooperate with the Watch Tower Society and the International Bible Students Association, even opposing the work of these societies. Such fragmented groups used a variety of names, some of them clinging to the designation Associated Bible Students.” [Jehovah’s Witnesses – Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, pg. 151]

This however does not state that the Bible Students still exist today, it merely referred to “fragmented” groups during the schism of 1917. However the fact that you are reading this … shows that you now know … that Bible Students and Jehovah’s Witnesses are two distinct groups, with distinct beliefs. It is not so much the importance that we stress the individuality of both groups, for we do recognize the Watchtower Society, and do recognize our Jehovah’s Witness friends. But the fact that we have been misrepresented, not by Christians in general, but by the very association we helped build.

It is very strange … that the Watchtower Society, forbids its members from associating with the “evil slave class”, namely the Bible Students, and have chastised those witnesses, who possess and read Russell’s writings, and at the same time, the Society has been in contact with various Bible Student groups, exchanging literature and purchasing one anothers books. This has been verified by both correspondence to and from the Society from Bible Students, as well as eye-witness accounts of Bible Student literature sitting on not only Kingdom Hall libraries, but Watchtower libraries as well.

One would be apt to conclude this is a love/hate relationship on the part of the Watchtower Society. But we know the promises contained in Scriptures will not allow this relationship to continue. For one day, in God’s due time, all of mankind will learn the truth, and all will reside under His loving care.

The Forbidding of Marriage

wedding_ringsThe leaders of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society have often taken liberty with God’s Word, inserting themselves into the Scriptures, claiming that they are the literal fulfillment of certain Bible prophecies. While many have taken exception to their claims, we have found at least one verse in which they do fulfill.

The scripture can be found in 1 Timothy 4:1- 3, where it reads:

“However, the inspired utterance says definitely that in later periods of time some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to misleading inspired utterances and teachings of demons, by the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, marked in their conscience as with a branding iron; forbidding to marry, …

You may ask, how does this apply to the Watchtower Society? We find the answer within the Watchtowers history. During World War II, Jehovah’s Witnesses put almost twice as much effort into making converts as they do today. According to the November 1940 Informant, the average hours per month per Jehovah’s Witness was 15.9, today it is much less.  Why is that? Because they felt Armageddon was near.

Witnesses were told that the Bible warned against marriage at this time because it would hinder their witnessing work. Is there proof that the leadership of the Watchtower prohibited Jehovah’s Witnesses from marrying?

Let’s look at the booklet Face the Facts authored by Judge Rutherford in 1938. We read:

“Would it be scripturally proper for them to marry and rear children? No, is the answer, which is supported by the scriptures …. The scriptures fully support the conclusion that the filling of the earth is not due to begin before, but after Armageddon. … It will be far better to be unhampered and without burdens, that they may do the Lord’s will now, as the Lord commands, and also be without hindrance during Armageddon … Those Jonadabs* who now contemplate marriage, it would seem, would do better if they wait a few years, until the fiery storm of Armageddon.” [pages 46,46, 50] [* an early reference to the rank and file Jehovah’s Witnesses]

In that same year The Watchtower magazine had this to say:

“… mark the words of Jesus, which definitely seem to discourage the bearing of children immediately before or during Armageddon … it would therefore appear that there is no reasonable or scriptural injunction to bring children into the world immediately before Armageddon, where we now are.”  [The Watchtower, 1938, p. 324]

Rutherford’s last endeavor to warn against marriage and raising children was found in his last book Children, published in 1941.  in it he admonished the rank and file not to marry, and those already married not to have children.

“Should men and women, both of whom are Jonadabs or “other sheep” of the Lord, now marry before Armageddon and bring forth children? They may choose to do so, but the admonition or advice of the Scriptures appears to be against it.” [Children, page. 311]

The July 17th issue of Time Magazine had this to say in 1950:

“Some Witnesses believe the coming is so imminent that they put off marrying or having children until Armageddon.”

In the 1970s the Watchtower leadership were still warning their followers against raising children before Armageddon.

“Today there is a great crowd of people who are confident that a destruction of even greater magnitude is now imminent. The evidence is that Jesus’ prophecy will shortly have a major fulfillment, upon this entire system of things. This has been a major factor in influencing many couple to decide to not have children at this time. They have chosen to remain childless so that they would be less encumbered to carry out the instructions of Jesus Christ to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom earth wide before the end of this system comes.” [Awake!, November 8, 1974, p. 11]

Here again, we see the deceiving of sincere Jehovah’s Witnesses, causing them to trust in manmade rules, to the point of putting off marriage to please the leadership of the Watchtower Society. The Scriptures do not say to put off marriage before Armageddon. They do however warn us against those who would suggest it.

Trust in the Scriptures!

Questions and Answers About Bible Students

questions-answersWhat Are Bible Students?

Bible Students are Christians interested in the study of God’s Word for the promotion of true knowledge.

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Where are the Bible Students Located?

Bible Students can be found in all walks of life and in every land and country.

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What is the origin of the Bible Students?

The Bible Students Association was formed in the 1860s, in Alleghney, Pa. A group of Christians under the eldership of Pastor Charles Taze Russell, who helped form a Bible study group to unearth the hidden mysteries of the Word of God.

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Isn’t Charles Taze Russell the Founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses?

That is a misconception. Pastor Russell was the organizer of the International Bible Students Association. It was this loosely formed association that helped published the [Zion’s] Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence journal, and the [Zion’s] Watch Tower Society.

This Society was an organizer of Bible Student conventions and other activities, but it did not dictate any creeds or rules to the independent congregations.

After Pastor Russell’s death, The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society began to rise as a hierarchy over the once independent congregations. Many refused to surrender their Christian liberty and here started the work of separation. As early as 1917 this exodus from the Society began, and those who appreciated the wonderful harmony of the Bible as taught by Pastor Russell are today known as Associated Bible Students.

By 1930, the Society no longer resembled that of its former self. Many Bible Students abandoned the Society, and by 1931, the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” was adopted by the new leadership to differentiate between the Society’s Bible Students and those independent of the Society.

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What are the doctrinal differences between the two groups, if any?

There are some similarities between the two groups. Both believe in two salvations, an earthly and a heavenly. Both believe in the Kingdom of God as the means of bringing about true peace on earth. Both deny the existence of a place of fiery torment and deny the Trinity doctrine. Apart from these similarties, the two groups are world’s apart.

The following doctrines are an example as to how Bible Students still retain the basic teachings of Pastor Russell in contrast with “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” who do not.

BIBLE STUDENTS: Pastor Russell was led to believe in a future probation because millions have died and continue to die without hearing the Gospel. Of those that do hear, uncertainty and confusion exists in their minds because Christianity of today is burdened with contradictory beliefs and teachings.

JW’S: “Jehovah’s Witnesses” see no further probation for any of the present generation who do not subscribe to their teachings – which means that a large percentage of the world’s population is to perish eternally in Armageddon. In this respect their views are less generous than most established Churches. They not only see no hope for those who live today, who do not subscribe to their teachings, but they entertain no hope for a large percentage of the millions who have gone into the grave since the creation of man. For example, JW’S believe that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, etc. have perished eternally, with no hope for a resurrection.

BIBLE STUDENTS: Pastor Russell pointed to the Scriptures, such as Ezek.16:55, where it declares that these are all going to return to their “former estate.” And our Lord, in Matt. 10:15, confirms this thought when he said, “It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city”- (speaking of the Jews). Thus our Lord pointed forward to a day of judgment for those people who died centuries ago. And again it says, in Acts 17:31 that, “He hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness.”

JW’S: “Jehovah’s Witnesses” deny that Adam will ever have a resurrection, while the Scriptures plainly state that Jesus Christ tasted death “for every man.” Heb. 2:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.

BIBLE STUDENTS: Pastor Russell pointed to these scriptures and many others such as 1 Cor. 15:22 – “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Also Hosea 13:14 – “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be they plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.”

Pastor Russell taught, according to the Scriptures, that now is “the day of salvation” for those who are to be the Bride of Christ, the Little Flock; and that another day – a day of salvation is awaiting mankind in general, in the Millennial Age – “the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

One of the main teachings of Pastor Russell was that all would be enlightened with a knowledge of God’s Truth before they are placed on trial and judged for their final destiny. For the majority of mankind this would be when they are raised from the dead at the time of the general resurrection. Their final judgment would be based on their conduct while enlightened, not while in ignorance. This teaching separated Bible Students from all other religious groups. Now it separates them from “Jehovah’s Witnesses” as well. This view broke with the concept of salvation current in his day. At that time nearly all evangelists taught a literal hell of torment for those who did not accept Christ in this life. They felt hell-fire threats were necessary to restrain evil and, if need be, to bring salvation by fear. Many theologians have since broadened their concept of salvation beyond this life, but “Jehovah’s Witnesses” hold strongly to the position that those who reject their message are rejecting salvation.

Contrary to our Lord’s Word, every “Jehovah’s Witness” becomes a missionary of life or death, using the fear of eternal destruction or second death as their final appeal.

The Jewish People: Israel, and the Jewish people, present another major difference between Pastor Russell and the JW’s. After applying the Scripture, “Ye are my witnesses saith Jehovah” (Isa. 43:12) to themselves, “Jehovah’s Witnesses” declare that the Jewish people have no special role in the Divine Plan since the death of Jesus. On the contrary, Pastor Russell taught that the Jewish people and nation have a leading role in the Divine Plan for man, and accordingly during the year 1910 he spoke to vast Jewish audiences, comforting them according to the Scripture, Isa. 40:2 – “Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” He encouraged them not to join the various churches of today but to wait for the fulfillment of the many Old Testament promises that they would be blessed as a nation.

While they were yet a scattered and dispersed people, he said, upon the basis of these promises, that they would be regathered to Palestine and established as an independent nation. Time has proven this to be so. Although denied by “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” Bible Students today teach that the new state of Israel emerged in Divine Providence and is a precursor to the fulfillment of God’s promise to that nation that, – “Lo the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.” (Jer. 30:3)

And again, Jer.24:6, 7, says, – “I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them and not pull them down; and I will plant them and not pluck them up. And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.”

And a further promise in Jer. 31:27-34 was that, – “Like as I have watched over them to pluck up, and to destroy and to afflict; so will I watch over them to build and to plant, saith the Lord… and I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in that day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they break… but this shall be the covenant that I will make… I will put my Law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts… and they shall be my people… I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.”

From these facts it can be seen that Pastor Charles Taze Russell was neither in principle nor in spirit, the founder of “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

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How are Bible Students governed?

The Bible Students are autonomous. Meaning they are self-governing. The ecclesia [congregation] itself elects it’s own officers [i.e. elders, deacons, etc.] and committees [i.e. witness, comfort, convention] to help the class run as smoothly as possible. There are no paid clergy and no collections are taken during the meetings.

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How are the services organized?

The congregation itself determines what is to be studied, the elected elders [those spiritually mature-minded] conduct the meetings in an orderly fashion.

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How is the work financed?

The work is financed by voluntary contributions of it’s members. Bible Students for over one hundred years have prided themselves on the motto: SEATS FREE – NO COLLECTIONS.

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Where do Bible Students meet and have their services?

Unlike the more established churches, the Bible Students meet in individual homes and rented halls, depending on the size of the congregation. We do not own our own church buildings, as this affords us the opportunity to direct our monetary resources in spreading God’s Word.

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Do Bible Students preach/witness? And if so, how?

BIble Students, individually and congregationally, have the liberty to witness in whatever fashion is suitable to them. We realise that their are many different avenue to witness, thus what may suit one class or individual, may not suit another. Thus we leave it to each consecrated member and class to determine what best suits their environment. That said, let it be known that we take advantage of every avenue open to us, this would include going door to door, tracting in the neighborhood, public showings, advertisments in newspaper, magazines and billboards, county fairbooths, etc.

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What are public showings?

Publics showings are shown in rented halls. They can be in the form of a public discourse on a timely Bible topic, or they can be in the form of a movie or slide presentation.

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Do Bible Students publish any literature?

Yes. The Association as a whole and as individual congregations have published throughout the years volumeously. The six volumes of Studies in the Scriptures by the late Pastor Charles Taze Russell are still republished today. Along with many other older and current writings, reflecting over 100 years of service.

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Are there any Bible Student publishing houses?

Yes. There are quite a few throughout the United States and Europe. Some have come and gone in recent years. There are also individual congregations and Bible Students who published independent of each other. These publication however are used and distributed by the association worldwide, regardless of who publishes them.

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Are there any Bible Student Journals and Magazine in print?

Most congregations publish a monthly newsletter, distributed to those they come in contact with through their independent witness work. However there are several journals and newsletters published for the general public and the association.

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How many Bible Students are there?

Since Bible Students do not take roll-call, that is a difficult question to answer. Bible Students can be seen in all four corners of the earth, some are isolated, and others have abundant association.

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Since the congregations are autonomous, are all Bible Students in agreement, doctrinally? Just how closely are the Bible Students in harmony? Do you still hold to the doctrinal teachings as espoused by Charles Taze Russell?

To say that all Bible Students think alike would be to undermine the freedom in Christ we share. Most Bible Students accept the teachings of Scriptures as set forth in the Studies in the Scriptures as being doctrinally sound and supported by God’s Word. However since Pastor Russell never claimed infallibility, it is safe to say that some of his thoughts are opened to interpretation. However, these interpretations, do not take away from The Divine Plan of the Ages, as espoused by Pastor Russell.

It is safe to say there are those, individually and as publishing houses who have taken liberty with the Plan of Salvation as espoused by Pastor Russell.

About Bible Students ….

cross_crownHow are Bible Students governed? The Bible Students are autonomous. Meaning they are self-governing. The ecclesia [congregation] itself elects it’s own officers [i.e. elders, deacons, etc.] and committees [i.e. witness, comfort, convention] to help the class run as smoothly as possible. There are no paid clergy and no collections are taken during the meetings.

How are the services organized? The congregation itself determines what is to be studied, the elected elders [those spiritually mature-minded] conduct the meetings in an orderly fashion.

How is the work financed? The work is financed by voluntary contributions of its members. Bible Students for over one hundred years have prided themselves on the motto: SEATS FREE – NO COLLECTIONS.

Where do Bible Students meet and have their services? Unlike the more established churches, Bible Students meet in individual homes and rented halls, depending on the size of the congregation. We do not own our own church buildings, as this affords us the opportunity to direct our monetary resources in spreading God’s Word.

Do Bible Students preach/witness? And if so, how? Bible Students, individually and congregationally, have the liberty to witness in whatever fashion is suitable to them. We realise that their are many different avenues to witness, what may suit one class or individual, may not suit another. We leave it to each consecrated member and class to determine what best suits their environment. That said, let it be known that we take advantage of every avenue open to us, this would include going door to door, tracting in the neighborhood, public showings, advertisments in newspaper, magazines and billboards, county fairbooths, etc.

What are public showings? Publics showings are shown in rented halls. They can be in the form of a public discourse on a timely Bible topic, or they can be in the form of a movie or slide presentation.

Do Bible Students publish any literature? Yes. The Association as a whole and as individual congregations have published throughout the years volumeously. The six volumes of Studies in the Scriptures by the late Pastor Charles Taze Russell are still republished today. Along with many other older and current writings, reflecting over 100 years of service.

Are there any Bible Student publishing houses? Yes. There are quite a few throughout the United States and Europe. Some have come and gone in recent years. There are also individual congregations and Bible Students who published independent of each other. These publication however are used and distributed by the association worldwide, regardless of who publishes them.

Are there any Bible Student Journals and Magazine in print? Most congregations publish a monthly newsletter, distributed to those they come in contact with through their independent witness work. However there are several journals and newsletters published for the general public and the association.

How many Bible Students are there? Since Bible Students do not take roll-call, that is a difficult question to answer. Bible Students can be seen in all four corners of the earth, some are isolated, and others have abundant association.

Since the congregations are autonomous, are all Bible Students in agreement, doctrinally? Just how closely are the Bible Students in harmony? Do you still hold to the doctrinal teachings as espoused by Charles Taze Russell? To say that all Bible Students think alike would be to undermine the freedom in Christ we share. Most Bible Students accept the teachings as set forth in Pastor Russell’s Studies in the Scriptures as being doctrinally sound and supported by God’s Word. However since Pastor Russell never claimed infallibility, it is safe to say that some of his thoughts are opened to interpretation. However, these interpretations, do not take away from The Divine Plan of the Ages, as espoused by Pastor Russell.

It is safe to say there are those, individually and as publishing houses who have taken liberty with the Plan of Salvation as espoused by Pastor Russell.

What Bible Students Believe …

bible in handFirst Century Patterns The Bible Students are a small religious body who are following in the faith and character of the early Christian Church. We have been in existence for over 100 years. The Bible Students are located in many parts of the United States with many groups in the United Kingdom and Europe, Australia, New Zealand, North America, South East Asia and Africa. Like the first century Christians, we meet in homes, rented rooms and, in some cases, our own halls. Acts 1:13-14, 2:46-47, 18:7, 19:9, 28:30

We are a lay community patterned after first century Christianity. Each congregation is called an “ecclesia” (the New Testament word for Church). We have no paid clergy or church hierarchy. Members of each congregation are addressed as ‘Brother’ or ‘Sister’, and ALL are involved in organizing our activities. All members contribute their time and energy voluntarily in service to God. A strong common belief binds our brotherhood together. Rom 12:4-8; 1Cor 12:4-27; Gal 3:28

We accept the Bible [Old and New Testament] as our guide and believe it to be the inspired word of God.

Our Purpose

The purpose of the Bible Students Association and this website; is set for the defense of the only true foundation of the Christian’s hope now being so generally repudiated –

Redemption through the precious blood of “the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all.” 1 Peter 1:19; 1 Timothy 2:6.

Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones of the Word of God. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Peter 1:5-11

Its further mission is to – “Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which …has been hid in God,…to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God.” – “which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed.” Ephesians 3:5-10.

To “show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:4

To reach others of the household of faith. Heb. 11:1, 6; Gal. 1-3

To witness the love and plan of God to all who have a hearing ear. Isa. 61:1-3.

Free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into the fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken – according to the Divine wisdom granted unto us to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God.

A Brief History

The Bible Students had their humble beginning in the late 1860s. In 1868, a young businessman named Charles Taze Russell, who feared the Lord, began studying with a small band of Christians independent of the creeds of the Churches, they soon discovered that many of the doctrines that were popularly taught and believed were inconsistent with the Bible. Dissatisfied, Mr. Russell devoted himself to a careful independent study of the Scriptures. He made no claim to any vision or personal revelation.

The work of Mr. Russell attracted the support of others in America and Britain who were convinced of the truth of his conclusions. Together they formed the Bible Students Association. Since then, Bible Student communities have been established in many countries all over the world. [for a more fuller detailed account of Charles Taze Russell and the Bible Students, please visit the following Link: Soldiers of the Cross

What we believe

The Bible is God’s only revealed message to mankind, given to bring responsive individuals to the obedience of faith. The Bible is our only authority and we teach that it should be read prayerfully and with care at every opportunity. Acts 17:11; Rom 16:26; 2Tim 3:16-17; 2Pet 1:20-21

There is one Almighty God, the Father, of whom are all things. 1 Cor. 8:6; Psa. 83:18; 90:1, Ex. 3:14; 6:3; John 14:28

There is one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things. 1 Cor. 8:6; John 3:16; Col. 1:15-18

The Holy Spirit is the divine will, influence, or power of the Almighty Creator. Psa. 33:6-9; 1 Cor. 2:9, 10; Joel 2:28, 29; Luke 11:13

Because of disobedience, Adam was condemned to death – not eternal torment. Gen. 2:16, 17; Ezek. 18:4, 20; Rom. 6:23; 5:17

The seed of Abraham is in Christ, Head and body members, who sacrifice their earthly hopes in exchange for the heavenly hope of becoming heirs of God. Gen. 22:15-18; Gal. 3:16, 29; 4:28-31; Rom. 12:1; Psa. 50:5

The New Covenant, whose mediator between God and man is the Christ, will be sealed with the precious blood of the dear Redeemer after all of his merit has passed through the fully consecrated of the Gospel Age. The New Covenant will be inaugurated with those with faith in Israel, but in the course of time all others will have a full opportunity to become the earthly seed of Abraham. Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:7-12; Gen. 25:1; Acts 3:22; Heb. 9:22-26

The man Christ Jesus gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time. 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 2:9

Shortly after the spiritual phase of the kingdom is fully set up, the heavenly Father, by or through the elect Christ, will terminate the trouble, and then the earthly phase of the kingdom will begin at the time the ancient worthies are resurrected to become princes in all the earth. Zech. 14:3; Matt. 24:22; Heb. 11:35-40; Psa. 25:16

The soul (being) who refuses to accept and obey the better Mediator will be destroyed or devoured (not tormented). Fire is a forceful symbol of destruction – not preservation. Acts 3:23; Ezek. 18:4; Rev. 20:9

So what’s the Difference?

Often we are asked, “How are you different from other Christian groups”? Apart from our distinctive organization (with no clergy or hierarchy), some of our doctrines are quite different from most churches. For example:

The Trinity

We reject the doctrine of a ‘Trinity’. This doctrine developed 300 years after Jesus and His Apostles died as a result of disputes within the orthodox church. The Bible teaches that Jesus was the Son of God, nowhere does it speak of him being ‘God the Son’.

The Soul

We also reject the idea of an “immortal soul” that goes to heaven at death. The Bible teaches that the only hope for eternal life is through a resurrection when Jesus returns.

Baptism

We believe that baptism is an outward manifestation of ones consecration to the Lord, after they have been enlightened by His Holy Spirit. We believe that sprinkling of babies is not baptism.

The Lord’s Return

We believe that the Lord’s promised return is not physical to the eye, but spiritual, an invisible presence.

Our Way of Life

The Bible gives effective direction to our lives. We try to rely fully upon God and develop a faith which is active in prayer and good works. At the same time, however, we recognize that salvation is by grace.

With God’s help, we seek to please and obey him every day, striving to imitate Christ who faithfully obeyed his Father. We therefore endeavor to be enthusiastic in work, loyal in marriage, generous in giving, dedicated in preaching and happy in our God.

A widespread custom amongst Bible Students is to read the Bible every day using a reading plan which enables us to systematically read the Old and the New Testaments once, each year. Of course, many read much more widely than this.

We may also attend one or more evening Bible Study classes each weekday. Each Sunday, we attend two meetings. These meetings vary between ecclesias. There are “Bible Studies”, “Topical Studies”, “Testimony Meetings” and “Discourses.” Attendance at these meetings is the focus of our religious life.

There are also monthly conventions sponsored by various ecclesias and associations and an International Conventions held outside of the United States.

We also have Sunday Schools for young ones of various ages; During the summer, Bible Students sponsor Youth Camps for Bible Study and fellowship.

Some members travel overseas on mission work; others care for the elderly in our retirement centers. There are several monthly magazines to read.

The Bible Students are a close-knit community working in God’s service in whatever ways we can.

An Appeal to Jehovah’s Witnesses

watchtower_awakeIf sincerity and zeal alone determined what is Truth, then the “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” would have an argument almost second to none, in favor of its teaching. Its publishing organization has flooded the world with a succession of leaflets, pamphlets and books proclaiming its doctrines; its members are untiring in their proselytising zeal, supplementing these public appeals by voluntary donations and goodwill.
All this would be very commendable if the things preached were in accordance with Divine Truth, but if not, the words of the Master apply:
“If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness” (Matt. 6: 23). Something more than sincerity, and zeal, and proselytizing fervor is required in the things of God and that is a mind disciplined to seek and accept the truths of His Word. Paul shows, in 1 Corinthians 15:14 that it is possible to be found “false witnesses of God.” He spoke of some who had – “a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom. 10: 2).
These “compassed sea and land to make one prosleyte” only to lead him into greater error (Matt. 23:15). Unfortunately, as we shall show, the energy of “Jehovah’s Witnesses” has been harnessed to error, and not truth.
“Jehovah’s Witnesses” have never hesitated to hold up the failings of others for all the world to see, and to classify the world’s denominations as part of “Satan’s organization.” A group that so roughly handles the opinions and teachings of others must, itself, be prepared to have its own ideas ruthlessly examined. If they are firmly based upon the Rock of Truth, it has nothing to fear; but if not, its members are well advised to do what they of Berea are reported to have done when the Apostles preached to them the truth in Christ Jesus: “They searched the Scriptures, whether those things were so” (Acts 17: 11). To quote the Watchtower itself: “The Watchtower… invites careful and critical examination of its contents in the light of the Scriptures.” – Watchtower August 15, 1950 p. 263
Yet, sad to say, this very journal reveals that Jehovah’s Witnesses are exempt from such examination. That questioning their beliefs and practices is akin to treason, independent thinking, and a subtle design of the Devil. [See Watchtower “Exposing the Devil’s Subtle Designs” 01/15/83 p. 22] Why? Because many passages from the Bible are quoted therein, but many are either quoted out of context, or are misapplied in order to conform to their teachings. A faulty use of Scripture must result in instability of doctrine, and though Truth does not vary with time, it is significant that the doctrines of the “Watchtower” have been constantly revised. An example of this is found in the subject of the restoration of the Jews to Israel. C. T. Russell the founder and first president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, taught that the Jews must return in fulfilment of prophecy. His teaching was followed by J.F. Rutherford for some time, but later, changed his mind upon this subject, and today the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” repudiate the very ideas they then set forth before millions of people as truth! Meanwhile, the Jews have and still are returning to the land in fulfilment of prophecy, as the Bible from the very beginning maintained they must (Jer. 31: 10, Ezek. 36: 22-24; 37: 21-22). Yet this truth, now vindicated by events, is vigorously opposed by Jehovah’s Witnesses. We believe that if members of this organization were to carefully examine their teachings, without bias, in the light of Scripture, they would see the need to considerably amend many of their doctrines.
Among the tenets promulgated by the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” are some that are true, false, peculiar to them alone, and some that have been borrowed from other religious systems. They are most outspoken against Roman Catholicism, and yet they cling to some of the teaching of that system.
The reader will understand that it is impossible for us to thoroughly examine all the beliefs propagated by the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” through their various legal entities [e.g. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society] within the compass of this short article. We propose to comment upon a few of those peculiar to them, as our space permits, recognising that much more could be said upon those we touch upon, as well as other matters, if we had more space at our disposal.
We ask the reader to bear with us in this, and (particularly if they are a member of the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” to give the evidence we submit thier candid and unbiased consideration. We pray this site and its contents may be, not only an “eye-opener”, but a blessing, in revealing to you God Plan of the Ages. A Plan that will involve every man, women and child … a Plan that involves YOU!

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" – 1 Peter 3:15