In this article we’re going to examine the Watchtower’s teaching on how does Jesus save? If you missed the previous post Breaking Through To Jehovah’s Witnesses (Salvation) feel free to read it.
The Bible’s answer
Jesus saved faithful humans when he gave his life as a ransom sacrifice. (Matthew 20:28) Thus, the Bible calls Jesus the “Savior of the world.” (1 John 4:14) It also states: “There is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.”—Acts 4:12.The Watchtower — Bible Questions Answered
The Watchtower uses such terminology as ‘ransom sacrifice’ in reference to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ at Calvary. Talking with Jehovah’s Witnesses or other cults can sometimes be a bit confusing. They will use similar vocabulary with different meanings.
Packaged in the words ‘ransom sacrifice’ the Jehovah Witnesses say Adam was created as a perfect man but because he sinned in the garden he lost the perfect life for all humans. Sounds straight forward right? They then say Jesus was Jehovah God’s ‘first created creature’ as Michael the archangel. Then ‘Jehovah transferred Jesus from heaven to earth, and Jesus was born as a perfect human, without sin’. Meanwhile Michael the archangel ceased to exist while Jesus was on the earth. When Jesus went back to heaven Jesus ceased to be and Michael the archangel was recreated in heaven.
The Watchtower would insinuate this by inserting their own meaning into the text. Just as a side note Jehovah Witnesses have their own manipulated bible called the New World Translation, this bible (using the term loosely) was created in order to fit their doctrine. It’s a false bible just so you’re aware. Back to the point is Jesus a created creature or God Himself? We’ll let the Bible answer this for us.
1. The book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus Christ created the worlds.
2. The book of Colossians also tells us that all things were made by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:16-17 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
3. The Gospel of John tells us nothing was made without Jesus Christ.
Jesus ‘tasted death for everyone’ who exercises faith in him. (Hebrews 2:9; John 3:16) Thereafter, “God raised him up from the dead,” and Jesus returned to heaven as a spirit creature. (Acts 3:15) There, Jesus is able “to save completely those who are approaching God through him, because he is always alive to plead for them.”—Hebrews 7:25.The Watchtower — Bible Questions Answered
Groups such as the Watchtower place an emphasis on works by taking John 3:16 adding the word ‘exercises’ give the notion of working for salvation. If you visit the Watchtower’s Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures someone at the organization goofed. They didn’t realise their kingdom interlinear doesn’t agree with their New World Translation if you compare them.
You’ll also notice in the above quote that they claim Jesus ‘returned to heaven as a spirit creature’. In the book of Luke chapter 24 we have the account when Jesus Christ showed Himself to the disciples after His resurrection.
1. The Lord Jesus Christ appears to His disciples and they were afraid and thought Jesus was a spirit.
Luke 24:36-37 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
2. The Lord then corrects them showing His disciples He is not a spirit. How does He do this? By showing them His hands and feet which bore the prints of the nails proving it was the same body which hung on the cross. They also physically touch Him and Jesus said He has flesh and bones. A spirit doesn’t have flesh and bones.
Luke 24:38-39 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
Clearly the Watchtower made the same mistake the disciples made in thinking Jesus was a ‘spirit creature’.
Why do we need Jesus to plead for us?
We are all sinners. (Romans 3:23) Sin puts a barrier between us and God, and it leads to death. (Romans 6:23) But Jesus serves as “an advocate” for those who exercise faith in his ransom sacrifice. (1 John 2:1, footnote) He pleads in their behalf, asking God to hear their prayers and grant forgiveness of their sins on the basis of Jesus’ sacrificial death. (Matthew 1:21; Romans 8:34) God acts on such pleas made by Jesus because they are in harmony with His will. God sent Jesus to the earth “for the world to be saved through him.”—John 3:17.The Watchtower — Bible Questions Answered
It’s interesting that the Watchtower would claim Jesus Christ serves as ‘an advocate’ for those who ‘exercise faith’ in His sacrifice. While this sounds nice and it is true that Jesus is the advocate for all believers, that’s what the Bible teaches.
In Watchtower theology it’s just not that simple. You see they teach that Jesus is the mediator only for ‘anointed Christians’ who number 144,000. The Greek word for advocate is paráklētos
παράκλητος paráklētos, par-ak’-lay-tos; an intercessor, consoler:—advocate, comforter.
The Biblical usage for advocate is as follows.
A. one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate.
B. one who pleads another’s cause with one, an intercessor.
i. of Christ in his exaltation at God’s right hand, pleading with God the Father for the pardon of our sins
C. in the widest sense, a helper, succourer, aider, assistant.
ii. of the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), to lead them to a deeper knowledge of the gospel truth, and give them divine strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom.
This is very similar to what a mediator does, here’s the Biblical definition for mediator.
μεσίτης mesítēs, mes-ee’-tace; from G3319; a go-between, i.e. (simply) an internunciator, or (by implication) a reconciler (intercessor):—mediator.
I. one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or form a compact, or for ratifying a covenant.
II. a medium of communication, arbitrator.
Both of these roles are fulfilled by Christ as our mediator and advocate. Unfortunately most Jehovah Witnesses are not part of the New Covenant according to Watchtower theology therefore this leaves them without a mediator / advocate. Here’s a few quotes from the Watchtower concerning this teaching.
In what sense does Paul use the term “mediator” when referring to Jesus at 1 Timothy 2: 5, 6? In this text, Paul uses the Greek word m esi’tes for “mediator,” which term has a legal significance, so he is not using this word in the broad sense common in many languages. Hence, Paul is not saying that Jesus is Mediator between God and all mankind. Rather, he is referring to Christ as legal Mediator of the new covenant, which laid the basis for Christ’s anointed followers to share with him in his heavenly Kingdom. (2 Corinthians 5:1, 5; Ephesians 1:13, 14; Hebrews 8: 7-13)—8/15, pages 30, 31. (Watchtower, December 15, 1989, p. 30)Watchtower, December 15, 1989, p. 30
“He mediates the new covenant between God and those taken into the new covenant, the congregation of spiritual Israel. The total number of those who are finally and permanently sealed is revealed in Revelation 7:4-8 as 144,000.” Insight on the Scriptures, Volume 2 p.362 MediatorInsight on the Scriptures, Volume 2 p.362 Mediator
The society robs the Jehovah Witness of all the promises given by God because the general Jehovah’s Witness has no clue Jesus is not their mediator. And because they don’t have a the Lord Jesus as mediator being an advocate for them they don’t have salvation.
Lastly, the Jehovah Witnesses believe you must perform works in order to be in a ‘good standing’ when you see ‘exercise faith’ this is what it means. This means they believe by going good deeds they are proving to Jehovah they are worthy of being saved or savable. This teaching is contrary to what God’s word says.
Galatians 3:1-3 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Is belief in Jesus all that we need to be saved?
No. Although we must believe in Jesus to gain salvation, more is required. (Acts 16:30, 31) The Bible says: “Just as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26) To be saved, we must:The Watchtower — Bible Questions Answered
There you go, the Watchtower teaches believing in Jesus Christ is not sufficient that ‘more is required’. They cite James 2:26 as a proof text but the Watchtower entirely misses the meaning of the verse. The apostle James is not contradicting Paul (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
James is telling us that true faith produces genuine works but those works have no baring on our salvation. Works are the by product of real faith not a means of acquiring salvation.
James 2:21-24 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
“The point you need to convey to Jehovah’s Witnesses is that genuine Christian faith does produce righteous works, but the works have nothing to do with saving us or with making us righteous.daenglund.com
Explain to the Witnesses that James’ comments also address the fact that although God can see the faith that is in our hearts without seeing works as proof—as he did with Abraham in Genesis 15—human beings cannot.
Although we are justified by faith alone before God, we are justified before men through works that they can see. That is, the only way people can see that someone has actually had an inner transformation by God based on his faith is by that person’s changed attitudes and behavior. (James 2:18)
Jehovah’s Witnesses think that their works prove that they are “exercising faith” and are therefore “in the truth.” Don’t accuse them of anything, but do point out that when we think about works, we need to be cautious in our evaluation. People who have not experienced an inner transformation by God can, through self-effort, produce religious works that appear righteous to us and to others, but those works will be rejected by God because merely human-generated righteousness is like filthy rags in his sight. (Isaiah 64:6).” — David Englund
Jehovah Witnesses must understand that we are not against them personally, our heart goes out to those who are trapped in the Watchtower and afraid to leave because they will lose their families, jobs, friends etc. We understand it’s giving up a lot. But the Lord Jesus said:
Your soul is on the line, our desire and more importantly God’s desire is that you come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour. In doing so by trusting in Him for the forgiveness of your sins you can have the free gift of eternal life. You can know right now presently that you have eternal life.
God bless and hope you’ll trust in Christ Jesus alone for salvation.
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