The Teachings Of “Jehovah's Witnesses”
THE RANSOM FOR ALL?
The most incorrect teaching of the Jehovah's Witnesses is that Jesus gave Himself a ransom price only "for believing mankind," and that this "believing mankind" refers to their numbers only. In this they join the Calvinistic denominations of Great Babylon who say that only the elect are to be saved. They otherwise state this phrase as "for obedient men" or "obedient believing ones on earth," but not as a ransom for ALL, as the Bible does in 1 Tim. 2:5, 6; 4:10 and Heb. 2:9. Notice how the Apostle puts the matter: "we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe" (1 Tim. 4:10). A ransom here is a CORRESPONDING PRICE as per the Greek lutron anti. Therefore, these passages refer to Adam and all his posterity as being included in the ALL. In their Feb. 1, 1954, Watchtower, they try to make void the Word by adding three words to 1 Tim. 2:6, "who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all KINDS OF PEOPLE." Even those not expert in Greek can see from an Interlinear Text such as the Emphatic Diaglott or Berry's Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, that there are no corresponding words in the Greek for the words "kinds of people." Among many translations, we find these three added words only in a footnote in the J.W.'s own New World Translation.
In their blindness on this subject the J.W.'s fail to distinguish between universal salvation from Adamic condemnation for Adam and all his race for whom Christ died, and who therefore must all receive a resurrection from the ransom price paid for them, which is taught in the Scriptures, 1 Tim. 2:4; Rom. 5:18, and universal salvation unto eternal life, which is nowhere taught in the Scriptures. Therefore there is salvation and deliverance from the Adamic curse promised, even for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. They will be brought back from the sleep of Adamic death in the resurrection awakening of both the just and the unjust (Acts 24:15), for Jesus died for them also, seeing they were in Adam's loins when he sinned (Ezek. 16:48-50, 53-63). Contrary to this, the J.W.'s openly contradict the Word of God here and in Matt. 10:14, 15, where Jesus shows that it will be more tolerable or more endurable, for Sodom and Gomorrah in the Day of Judgment than for those who sin against greater light; for they speak of the "utter impossibility of a ransom for unbelievers or those willfully wicked, because Sodom and Gomorrah were irrevocably condemned and destroyed, beyond any possible recovery"!! Of course, if any sin willfully and it is persevered in after being saved from the Adamic condemnation and coming to a knowledge of the Truth, either in this Age or the next, the Scriptures hold out no hope of eternal life for them (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26, 31); but all will have one full and complete opportunity to gain everlasting life. The ransom is only "from the power of the grave" (Hosea 13:14), and the Scriptures nowhere teach "a ransom to everlasting life," as the Watchtower does (1954; p. 84).
To show further how the J.W.'s deny the ransom for ALL, and to give more relative Scripture testimony, we present here some questions and answers from our BIBLE STANDARD magazine:
QUESTION: Why do the Jehovah's Witnesses deny that Christ died for Adam and his entire race?
ANSWER: It is not because of their having any Scriptural basis for such a denial, for the Scriptures do not deny, but rather confirm Christ's ransom price as applicable for Adam and his entire race. They deny this Bible doctrine because it is denied by their "CHANNEL," their theological headquarters. They have become open to this denial as an outflow of a number of errors—that all the clergy and principals of the flock, and all who die in Armageddon go into the Second Death; their "OTHER SHEEP" generating the restitution class in the Millennium (first by resurrection and then by their further procreation), which would logically make it unnecessary for all of Adam's non-elect descendants to return from the tomb. This "NEW LIGHT" is in most striking opposition to the Ransom and grossly contradicts the three fundamental doctrines of salvation: (1) God's love and provision for everybody for salvation; (2) Jesus' death for everybody for salvation; and (3) the Spirit's work for everybody for salvation. Numerous Scriptures prove these three propositions. Let us briefly look at the main ones on each of these three points:
1. GOD PROVIDES SALVATION FOR ALL
For, God so loved the world as to give His only begotten Son to save it (John 3:16, 17). He commends His love to the race by giving Christ to die for the ungodly (Rom. 5:6-8). His love for the world makes Him determine to save all men from the Adamic sentence, and bring them to an exact knowledge of the Truth (1 Tim. 2:4). He therefore, is the Savior of all men from that sentence (1 Tim. 4:10). His love is the grace of God that "has appeared, bringing salvation for all men" (Tit. 2:11; the literal translation is within the quotation marks). His love for all by salvation has expressed itself in giving Christ to die for mankind, as we read in Tit. 3:4: "The kindness and love of God, our Savior, toward man appeared." Certainly these and numerous other passages teach that God loves all men for salvation and provides for it.
2. JESUS DIED FOR EVERYONE
Our Lord's death for the whole sinful race is most graphically and prophetically described in Isa. 53:4-12. He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world—Adam's sin, participated in by the entire race—since they die for his sin, it must be his sin that is taken away (John 1:29). Jesus said that if He were lifted up from the earth He would favorably influence all men to Himself (John 12:32, 33). As Adam's sin and disobedience brought sin and death to all men, so Christ's obedience and righteousness will bring cancellation of that sin and death, to enable all to gain the right to life (Rom. 5:18, 19). Jesus' ransom was laid down for all men, which makes Him the Mediator for all humans (1 Tim. 2:5, 6). He by God's love and grace tasted death for every man, and for this purpose had to be made Adam's corresponding price (Heb. 2:8, 9). He is the satisfaction to God's justice, not only for the Church's, but also for the world's sins (1 John 2:2). Justice condemned Adam and is later satisfied.
3. THE SPIRIT'S WORK FOR SALVATION
As a result of God's love that gave Christ to be a ransom for all men, and of Christ's death for all men, the Spirit's work for salvation will, in the Millennium, extend to all the non-elect of Adam's race without exception. Very many, indeed, are the Scriptures teaching this thought, of which we will cite a comparative few: The Christ, as the Seed of Abraham, in doing the Millennial Spirit's work, will bless for salvation purposes all the families, kindreds and nations of the earth (Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 22:18). At Christ's Millennial asking, God will give Him the nations and the ends of the earth [all mankind] as His inheritance and possession (Psa. 2:8). All the ends of the earth, all the kindreds of the nations and all that go down to the dust [all the Adamically dead] shall turn to, worship and bow down before the Lord (Psa. 22:27-29). God made all nations, and these will Millennially worship and glorify Him (Psa. 86:9). God will reveal His plan to all; and the whole world will see it (Psa. 98:2, 3). All nations will become parts of God's Kingdom (Isa. 2:2). Jesus as the true Light will teach the Truth to every human that comes into the world (John 1:9). So, these three points completely refute the Jehovah's Witnesses in their denial of the ransom price as applicable for Adam and his entire race.
QUESTION: Was the ransom price given for Adam? I am told that he was not deceived; that he was a willful sinner, and, therefore, the ransom was not given for him.
ANSWER: The Bible teaches that Jesus was an exact equivalent of Adam. Adam sinned willfully and the race died in him, according to 1 Tim. 2:14, compared with Rom. 5:12-14. Jesus died to overcome all the effects of Adam's willful sin; and Adam's willful sin made him and the race in his loins legally dead before Divine Justice. Therefore, the whole race became involved in Adam's willful sin; and God so regards it. Jesus died for this willful sin of Adam and his race. Adam's debt to Divine Justice was a perfect human body, life, right to life, and life-rights; and these are exactly what Jesus gave up in laying down the ransom. Since nobody else but Adam had these four perfect things, these four perfect things that Jesus gave up to be a corresponding price must have been given up FOR Adam.
Divine Justice requires an exact equivalent for a debt; and the only person, apart from Jesus, who had a perfect human body, life, right to life, and life-rights was Adam. Consequently, in giving the ransom, Adam was the only one for whom the equivalent price could be given directly by Jesus. As a matter of fact, if Adam was not to be redeemed, God could not have asked for a perfect human being to be a corresponding price; for Jesus is not an equivalent of the imperfect race, considered apart from Adam. Hence, there would not have been an equivalent price furnished for the fallen race, unless the fallen race is considered a part of Adam, as in his ability for procreation, redeemed in Adam; for one perfect human being is not the corresponding price for billions of imperfect human beings considered in themselves alone. If Adam is not in the equation, then each human being would have need of an individual Savior in order to be redeemed. It is only as these billions of imperfect human beings are considered as having been perfect, in the procreative ability of perfect Adam, that God could have required a perfect human being as the corresponding price, in whose potential creative ability was a perfect race. This, therefore, proves Adam was the direct subject of the ransom. The rest of the race was only indirectly involved in the ransom, because they were in Adam's power of procreation, and for them Jesus gave an unborn perfect race in His potential power to generate the race as a perfect man.
In Heb. 2:7, 9 Adam and Jesus are presented as the only two men crowned with glory and honor, being perfect in the image and likeness of God; and so it is that Jesus is shown to be an exact equivalent of Adam; and He as a result gave Himself to "taste death for every man." Adam was a member of the human race, and therefore was included in Jesus' ransom, for 1 Tim. 2:5, 6 tells us that Jesus died for "ALL," hence for every member of the human race. According to Heb. 2:7, 9, Adam was the only one crowned with glory and honor, for whom Jesus, as another crowned with human glory and honor could directly die. It will be noticed that v. 8 shows us that the rest of the human race are not crowned with glory and honor, which, therefore, means that Jesus was an equivalent of Adam and therefore, ransomed Adam and the race as it was in Adam's power of generation. The two passages above explained, directly involve the ransom as centered in Adam; and it is on the basis of Jesus having provided the ransom for Adam that Paul gives us the contrast between Adam's effects on the race and Jesus' effects on the race, in 1 Cor. 15:21, 22, and in Rom. 5:15-19.
Jesus' ability to undo the consequences of Adam's sin for the world, as these two passages show, is based on the fact that He, before Divine Justice, makes good for Adam's willful sin and the race's participation in it while in Adam's procreative power. Therefore, the ransom must involve Adam. If it did not, there would be no possibility of removing the effects of his sin before Divine Justice, as these effects involve the race. It should, therefore, be repeated that Jesus' sacrifice atones for Adam's willful sin and the share the race had in it; as it also atones for all of the effects that come from that willful sin upon Adam and Adam's race, the weaknesses and ignorance resulting therefrom.
It is, therefore, an insincere misteaching to say that our Lord's death is only for the cancellation of sins of weakness and ignorance. It is true that it does effect the cancellation of our sins of weakness and ignorance; but it also cancels the guilt of Adam's willful sin, as that guilt involved him and us; and, therefore, Jesus' ransom is to undo Adam's willfulness and the race's involvement in that sin. If Jesus' death does not atone for Adam's willful sin, because of its willfulness, then it does not atone for the race's share in that willful sin, the race being a part of Adam; hence we would not be redeemed from the sentence upon that willful sin as participants in it by virtue of our being in Adam's generative process when he sinned willfully; and so, however much our sins of weakness and ignorance would be atoned for by Jesus' death, we would have no deliverance from the original sentence upon Adam and his race for his willful sin. Hence this error makes salvation impossible. To deny that Jesus ransoms Adam is to directly deny the most fundamental part of the ransom—ITS BEING THE EXACT CORRESPONDING PRICE FOR ADAM.
PASTOR RUSSELL AT VARIANCE WITH THE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
QUESTION: If Adam has had a trial and failed, will he have another and if so, what for? Why should he be resurrected if he failed in the first trial?
ANSWER: From Pastor Russell in a 1909 Convention Question Meeting (What Pastor Russell Said, p. 6): The reason that he is to have a resurrection and another trial is because God willed it so, and that is the very best reason. Now, if you want to know why, we may do some guessing, perhaps, to our advantage.
I think the reason God willed it so is that in some respects Adam did not have a trial under the most favorable conditions that God could have arranged, although this trial was a just trial. He was fully equipped mentally, but a great temptation came to him, and because of the lack of experience he failed. What was the trial or temptation?
You remember that the Apostle tells us that Adam was not deceived; he knew what he was doing, that he was eating the forbidden fruit, violating God's command, and that it meant death. There was no ignorance about it. Why did he do it? I think the narrative bears out the thought that he did it because of sympathetic love. He had been without a wife, and while the various kinds of birds could twitter, and the other animals could make some commotion, such were not satisfactory to man; so after God gave him a wife, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, and he had enjoyed that sweet companionship, and he realized that he would lose her and that he would be alone again after she disobeyed, he said, I will eat with her and die with her. If she must go out in the unprepared earth and die, so will I. So, really this is a very noble feature of the first man's character, and the condition of his trial, you will see, made it a very severe trial. Now, then, I think it would be just like our Heavenly Father to say; Adam, at the time you did that, you did not know fully what I could or would do for you, and what you might have had at the time if you had been obedient. Now, Adam, I intend to redeem you and your entire race. You will have a demonstration of my love, and after you have learned of the height and depth and length and breadth of my love, I will expect you fully and perfectly to keep my law and live forever, but if you do not obey, then you will die the SECOND DEATH and will never have another opportunity for restitution.
We do not hold any animosity toward our Jehovah's Witness brethren; but wish for them each the greatest blessing they can presently receive. We do insist, despite their claim, that we do not hold to or believe the Bible to teach universal salvation for all any more than we believe Adam is lost. We are not "second chancers" except in the case of Adam; on which Jehovah Himself will place the second chance through His grace.
The J.W.'s teach many other errors, some of which are very serious. The few herein considered should be enough to convince the unbiased reader that the J.W.'s teach some thoughts very contrary to Scripture, reason and facts, and that they have built up a system of error and a false theology, by which they are captivated, and through which, by a sectarian appeal and the use of fear, they seek to captivate others. They still have some Biblically proven, irrefutable truths that they have inherited from the true teachers of the past, but they have entangled many errors that are contrary to the firm foundations laid for us in God's Holy Word, and therefore at times have somewhat thrown out the baby with the bathwater. We caution all against involvement in their sectarian errors.
We do not deny that the great time of trouble is now working in earth's society (Dan. 12:1, 4; Matt. 24:21), that Satan is being bound and his empire is in the process of being overthrown, that "a new heavens and a new earth" (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21), with Christ's reign of peace, is being ushered in, and that some will live through this great day of trouble into the New World without first sleeping in death, for "except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved" (Matt. 24:22). As the regular readers of our BIBLE STANDARD magazine well know, we firmly believe in God's Kingdom on earth, for which we have prayed and longed for, and it will in God's due time come, in which His will is to be done in earth as it is in heaven! We look forward to associating with the faithful brethren of the J.W.'s during the thousand years of the Millennial Kingdom. Praise be to God for such a prospect.
The Teachings of "Jehovah's Witnesses":
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