What Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe?
What are the basic beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses? Here is a simple but comprehensive guide.
1. The 144,000.
Jehovah Witnesses believe only 144000 people go to heaven to rule with Jesus over the earth. Their belief is that everyone else who is faithful to Jehovah and his organization (the Jehovah's Witnesses), will live on a paradise earth
A Jehovah Witness can drink alcohol, wine, beer, etc., ... but they believe all things must be in moderation.
Apostates are former Jehovah's Witnesses who have left or been excommunicated. The organization uses the terms 'disfellowshipped' or 'disassociated' instead of 'excommunicated'.
Jehovah's Witnesses believe everyone who leaves the Watchtower society to join another religion is guilty of 'wrong doing'. Everyone who leaves is shunned. This 'keeps the organization clean'.
4. Agreement. JW's Must Agree With Everything The Watchtower Says.
JW's avoid independent thinking because they believe that questioning doctrines leads to apostasy and excommunication from their church.
JW's must be 'like-minded' and 'speak in agreement'. Unity of beliefs and agreeing with all Watchtower doctrines is required. It is not an option. If a JW has nagging doubts or disagrees, they must not talk with anyone about their beliefs, - even closest friends and family members.
Jehovah's Witnesses live in constant fear of armageddon because they are not certain they will survive. On this day, Jehovah will 'wipe out' all people on the planet just like he did during the flood in Noah's Day. Only a few of the most worthy people will make it through alive. Only Jehovah's Witnesses have any scriptural hope of surviving according to the Sept 1989 Watchtower
6. Attending Other Churches.
JW's are not allowed to attend other churches.
Jehovah's Witnesses do not baptize babies. However there is much encouragement and peer pressure for young children to dedicate their lives to Jehovah.
Their baptism vows identifies them as 'one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with God's spirit-directed organization'. See Baptism
A Jehovah Witness believes that the entire Bible is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching. They believe that the Bible cannot be understood without Watchtower publications.
9. Blood Transfusions.
Jehovah's Witnesses must not have a blood transfusion even if it might means death for them or a loved one. They say the Bible forbids eating blood and eating blood is the same as having a transfusion. They believe that a person who tries to save their life will lose it and those who lose their life because they were loyal to Jehovah God will gain everlasting life.
10. Channel of Communication.
A Jehovah Witness believes their organization is God's channel of communication to the world today. All other belief systems are thought to be false and dominated by Satan the Devil.
Jehovah Witnesses believe they are the only true Christians. While most Christians put Jesus first, the Jehovah's Witnesses worship Jehovah because they believe that Jesus came to do the will of his Father (Jehovah). Therefore a Jehovah Witness does not worship Jesus. They pray to God through Jesus and believe they should always put Jehovah first.
Jehovah's Witnesses call their churches 'Kingdom Halls'. These buildings are generally simple, clean, and functional. JW's are expected to attend five meetings per week. Every congregation is different. Typically though there are two meetings back to back on Sunday and two meetings back to back during a weekday. Then there's a 'book study' one night a week that could be held at the local Kingdom Hall or at someone's home.
A Jehovah Witness does not believe Jesus died on a cross. They believe he died on a torture stake. They believe that the cross is a pre-Christian and non-Christian symbol. Watchtower Mar 1, 2008, Article: 'Our Readers Ask.
Why Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Not Use the Cross in Worship?'
Thus JW's will not own a cross. They believe the cross is a symbol of false religion.
Jehovah's Witnesses are required to date other baptized Witnesses of Jehovah or not date at all. They are not to date persons outside of their faith.
Casual dating is not allowed. Jehovah's Witnesses who date are expected to be 'marriage minded'.
Jehovah's Witnesses believe the dead are 'conscious of nothing at all'. They don't believe people go to heaven or hell.
They believe that if someone dies at armageddon there is no hope of a resurrection. However if they die before armageddon they will be resurrected to life on a paradise earth after armageddon. They will be give a new body and all their memories will be given to this new person. A few Jehovah's Witnesses believe they will go to heaven to rule the earth with Jesus. These are part of the 144,000.
A Jehovah Witness believes that the Devil is a real angel who once served Jehovah and chose to rebel against him. The Devil, i.e. Satan, also persuaded other angels, i.e. demons, to rebel against God as well. Witnesses believe the Devil is testing God's people today to see if he can trick them into leaving God's organization (the Watchtower).
A disfellowshipped Jehovah Witness is someone who has been excommunicated from their religion. This can happen when someone breaks some of the rules, disagrees, or tests the organization's authority beyond reasonable limits. Sometimes Witnesses 'disassociate' themselves either by resigning, joining another religion, having a blood transfusion, etc. ... A disassociated Jehovah Witness is shunned and treated the same as a disfellowshipped Jehovah Witness.
18. Faithful and Discreet Slave.
The leaders of the organization believe they are God's faithful and discreet slave in these last days before armageddon. They believe they are God's channel of communication to the world today. Matthew 24:45-51 Disagreeing with 'the slave' is thought to be the same as disagreeing with God.
JW's are politically neutral. They cannot salute the flag, sing the national anthem, or say the pledge of allegiance.
- See Watchtower quotes and discussion. Flag
20. Friendship With Non Believers.
JW's are taught to be friendly and respectful towards non believers (except for JW's who leave their religion). The Watchtower teaches JW's not to have close friends outside the organization.
- See Watchtower quotes and discussion. Friends
21. Great Crowd.
The Great Crowd or 'other sheep' refers to people who will be resurrected to life on a paradise earth in God's kingdom. They believe that only a little flock or 144000 humans go to heaven. Thus the vast majority of JW's believe they are part of the Great Crowd with a 'earthly hope'.
Although looked down upon, a Jehovah Witness can own guns as long as they are not used for killing humans. i.e. they can use a gun for killing animals or target practice. However they will not take employment where there's a possibility that they might need to use a weapon to kill a human. For example if they need a gun as part of their duties, they can't be a police officer, security guard, ... etc.
A Jehovah Witness believes that only 144,000 anointed humans go to heaven to rule over the earth with Jesus Christ in God's kingdom. Everyone else has an 'earthly hope'. This means they believe one of two things will happen.
- They will survive armageddon and enter God's earthly kingdom without dying
- Or they will die before armageddon. If this happens they will be resurrected to life on a paradise earth after armageddon
A Jehovah Witness does not believe in hell or a place of eternal torment. They believe that hell refers to the common grave where the dead are conscious of nothing at all. They don't believe in hell because the Bible says the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23. Therefore we've paid the price for our sins.
Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate religious and political holidays. The also don't celebrate Christmas, birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and other days that are special to most of us.
The only holiday they celebrate is the yearly anniversary of Christ's death, i.e. the memorial celebration
26. Immorality and Sex.
JW's are required to live a saintly life and 'deaden' all sexual desires they may have outside of marriage. They cannot have sex before marriage. They avoid flirting, pornography, sexual fantasies, suggestive lyrics in music, 'moral uncleanness', porneia, fornication, 'sexual appetite', 'hurtful desires', 'covetousness', 'immoral fleshly desires', oral sex and anal sex, masturbation, ... etc.
27. Isolation From The World.
JW's must be 'separate from the world' because they believe the world belongs to Satan. The Watchtower Society is thought to be the only path to God.
28. Leaving The Watchtower Religion.
Leaving the Watchtower is thought to be the same as committing a 'gross sin'. Members who leave because their conscience will no longer allow them to be JW's, are shunned in the same way as immoral persons. Leaving the Watchtower is believed to be the same as 'leaving Jehovah'.
At this point in time, there is no honorable dignified way to resign without being labeled as an evil, wicked, or mentally diseased person. The Watchtower says it's 'God's command' that JW's must have no contact with members who leave, - even close family members such as parents, grandparents, children, etc. Members who leave are referred to as 'apostates'.
- Leaving the Watchtower
- Mentally Diseased Apostates
- Watchtower Shunning Policy (God's command to shun those who leave)
A Jehovah Witness believes that Jehovah is God's real name and they are his people or 'witnesses'. They believe that everyone should be witnesses of Jehovah because he is the only true God.
The Watchtower has criticized Christendom for taking the name Jehovah out of the Bible and substituting it with 'Lord'. However the historical record shows the name 'Jehovah' was invented by Christendom in the 13th century.
30. Jehovah Witness Rules.
In the early days of the Bible Students and later, the Jehovah's Witnesses, there were few rules. They had a direct relationship with God symbolized by baptism. However over the years, in an effort to bring their doctrines more in line with what the Bible says, they added many rules. Some must not be broken. Other rules are not as serious.
Some of the more serious rules and consequences for breaking them are to be found in the secret publication for Elders only. Other rules and things Jehovah's Witnesses can't do have been discussed in older Watchtower publications.
Jehovah's Witnesses believe Jesus is not God. He is God's son, the first born of all God's creation. Through Jesus all things were created. They believe Jesus came to do his Father's will.
Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe that Jesus should be worshipped.
Jehovah's Witnesses believe that only God's faithful and discreet slave (the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses) has a relationship with Jesus. In order to survive armageddon and inherit eternal life, all JW's must obey God's slave.
32. Little Flock.
Since the early history of Jehovah's Witnesses, it is believed that only a 'little flock' or 144000 humans are chosen by God to go to heaven. These 'anointed' ones' who go to heaven, believe they will rule over a paradise earth in God's Kingdom as long as they are faithful to God's slave, the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses.
33. Memorial Celebration Of Christ's Death
This is a very important annual meeting for JW's. The 2012 Yearbook of JW's says that in 2011 19,374,737 people attended the Memorial Celebration but only 11,824 JW's partook of the bread and wine emblems. This is because only a few JW's believe they go to heaven and have a direct relationship with God.
In the Watchtower religion, Elders and the Governing Body of JW's must be respected and obeyed.
A Jehovah Witness believes that their religion is chosen by God to be his organization. They are no part of the world, but chosen out of the world to witness about Jehovah God and his purpose for mankind. Because of this belief, they say they are a 'theocratic organization', meaning that it is run by God through his representatives.
Since 1925 the Witnesses have been taught there are only two organizations. God's organization, the Watchtower and Satan's organization, - everyone else.
36. Paradise Earth.
Most Jehovah's Witnesses believe they will live forever on a paradise earth. Only 144,000 will go to heaven to rule the earth with Jesus in God's kingdom.
37. Political Neutrality.
Witnesses are no part of this world and it's politics. They do not vote, take part in political celebrations, run for office, or get involved with anything that would identify them with one country over another. Jehovah's Witnesses believe all people around the world, regardless of race, are given an equal opportunity to worship Jehovah if they choose to do so. They will not go to war to defend their country because this would mean killing their brothers and sisters in other parts of the world.
Jehovah's Witnesses believe they are saved based on their 'works'. They believe that faith in Jesus is not enough. Faith without works is dead. Attending several meetings a week, teaching, preaching door to door, distributing religious literature, and being completely loyal to their religious leaders is required.
Unfortunately, Jehovah's Witnesses are never certain of salvation. They never know if they've done enough for Jehovah. What if they could have done a little more and didn't?
Satan the Devil is thought to be the ruler of this world. This why Jehovah's Witnesses believe armageddon is necessary. It is the only way Jehovah can rid the world of wickedness and his enemies. Only then is world peace possible.
After armageddon it is believed that Satan will be restrained by Jehovah. He will no longer be able to influence people to sin. In this way God can restore the earth to a paradise filled with perfect people.
40. Satan's Organization.
Satan's organization refers to all religions and people who are not members in good standing with the Watchtower organization.
JW's are not allowed to smoke. The Watchtower says, 'As early as 1942, when smoking was still viewed as fashionable, this journal helped its readers to see that using tobacco violates Bible principles and should be shunned.' [WT, April 1, 2007, Article: 'Answers That Work', Subtitle: 'Avoid Habits That Contaminate', par 1]
Communication with spirits and predicting the future is condemned in the Watchtower religion because it is thought that spirit messages come from Satan and demons. JW's believe the dead are conscious of nothing. Ironically though, the Watchtower says they are God's 'spirit-directed organization' and 'channel of communication'.
43. The Truth.
A Jehovah Witness believes they have 'the truth'. Everyone else, - outsiders, non believers, ... and former Jehovah's Witnesses are referred to as being 'out of the truth'. This compels a Jehovah Witness to accept all interpretations of Bible as truthful if it comes from their organization. There is no disagreement because no can disagree with the truth.
On the other hand, a Jehovah Witness will not seriously consider the beliefs of outsiders as truthful because a Jehovah Witness believes everyone outside their organization is 'out of the truth'. Critics say this is a form of mind control
44. Theocratic Government.
The Watchtower says they are a 'theocratic' organization. This means it is run by Jehovah God through His representatives, - the leaders of the WT.
45. Theocratic Lying.
Theocratic Warfare is a code word for withholding incriminating information from enemies outside the organization and those not entitled to know. They say that Bible characters and even Jesus withheld truthful information to protect God's interests. They believe that theocratic warfare is appropriate in certain situations. Here are some theocratic war quotes.
A Jehovah Witness does not believe in a Trinity. They believe that Jehovah is God, the Father of Jesus. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, is not God. And the holy spirit is God's active force.
Unity is one of the most important beliefs in the Jehovah Witness religion. The fact that millions of Jehovah's Witnesses believe in the same things, convinces Jehovah's Witnesses that they have 'the truth'.
Even though Jehovah's Witnesses can face judicial committees, disfellowshipping, and shunning if they challenge doctrines or disagree, they don't believe they are not being controlled or manipulated. They believe that everything they do and say is a personal choice based their relationship with Jehovah.
JW's cannot vote or engage in politics. Even inside their organization voting is not allowed. All Watchtower officials, Ministerial Servants, Elders, Overseers, ... Governing Body members, etc. ... are appointed.
Jehovah's Witnesses are conscientious objectors.
The Watchtower says yoga is not for Christians.
- Jesus came to cause divisions and break up families. Matthew 10
Wikipedia: Jehovah's Witnesses