One day in 2011, two Jehovah’s Witnesses showed up at my door to preach. I decided to listen and engage them afterwards. We read Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 which says in part: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed unto judgment including every hidden things, whether it is good or bad.”
I later took over the discussion and pointed out to them that the Bible text we read refutes their belief about judgement day – as a period of education during which those who didn’t have the chance before death would become JWs. Instead, the Bible says God will judge both good and bad actions. It’s not an “instruction program.” Both JWs became silent.
They didn’t expect to be taken off their scripts from that angle. Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to “base their beliefs solely on the Bible,” but in the real sense of it, they are based solely on Watchtower Society’s teachings. Without this “Society,” no JW would adhere to their aberrant doctrines.
A prime example is their teaching about Judgement Day (italics mine):
“Judgement Day will be a period of a thousand years during which humans will … regain what Adam and Eve lost … [It] will be not only a time of instruction from God, but also a time for those alive to apply what they learn and enjoy the blessings that result.” (Awake! Jan. 2010, 10-11)
“Judgement Day will give billions of people their first opportunity to learn about God’s will and to conform to it. This means that a large-scale educational work will take place” (What Does the Bible Really Teach? 2005, 215).
“It will be a time of education for them. ‘Scrolls’ containing instruction from God will be opened, and they will need to follow these in making their minds over in harmony with God’s will. They will be ‘judged individually according to their deeds’; that is, the deeds they do after being resurrected and after learning the contents of the ‘scrolls’” (The Truth that leads to Eternal Life, 1968, 110-111).
Here is what Revelation 20:11-15 says:
“I saw a large, white throne and the one who was sitting on it. The earth and the sky fled from his presence, but no place was found for them. I saw the dead, both important and unimportant people, standing in front of the throne. Books were opened, including the Book of Life. The dead were judged on the basis of what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead. Death and hell gave up their dead. People were judged based on what they had done. Death and hell were thrown into the fiery lake. (The fiery lake is the second death.) Those whose names were not found in the Book of Life were thrown into the fiery lake.”
This passage alone shatters the lies JWs are taught. In their New World bible, Rev. 20:13 is rendered “… and death and the grave gave up the dead in them.” This is a deliberate mistranslation aimed at safeguarding their annihilation belief.
The Greek word there is hades which according to Greek scholar W. E. Vine, “never denotes the grave, nor is it the permanent region of the lost; in point of time it is, for suchm intermediate between decease and the doom of Gehenna” (An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, 1940, “Hades”).
Augustus H. Strong stated that “the future punishment of the wicked is not annihilation … the wicked enter at death upon a state of conscious suffering which the resurrection and judgement only augument and render permanent.” (Systematic Theology, 1907, 1036)
Let’s examine the specific arguments in their “Bible study” book, What Does the Bible Really Teach? (pp 213-215):
Jehovah God is the ultimate Judge of mankind. However, he delegates the actual work of judging … This appointed Judge is the resurrected Jesus Christ
This line contradicts what the Watchtower Society said decades before: “All humankind on earth will stand as perfect creatures before the throne of the Supreme Judge, Jehovah God.” (The Truth, 1968, 112)
Who is the Judge sitting on the throne? Is it Jesus or Jehovah God? The Bible Teach book says on p. 219: “Jesus himself is the archangel Michael.” Why would God delegate the work of judging all mankind to an archangel? Where in the Bible do we find an archangel sitting on a throne as a Judge over humanity?
Daniel 7:22 says “until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High…” Who is this Ancient of Days? Michael the archangel? Not according to the Bible. These rather prove the Deity of Christ. JWs have to choose; either Jesus is one with God the Father as the Judge, or He is Michael the archangel. Both can’t be true.
The book of revelation shows that Judgment Day begins after the war of Armageddon, when Satan’s system on earth will be destroyed.
What the book of Revelation really shows is that there are two judgements after Armageddon. First, the judgement of the martyrs killed during the Great Tribulation “because of their testimony for Jesus” and for not worshipping the Antichrist or receiving his mark. They will come to life and reign with Christ for 1000 years (Rev. 20:4-5).
Second, the Great white throne judgement, which will take place “When the thousand years are over” after Satan release to deceive and gather the nations – Gog and Magog – against God’s people. “And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown [at Armageddon]. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Rev. 20:7-10)
There is a continuity between verses 1 to 15 of the 20th chapter of Revelation, but the Watchtower cuts it up and grafts its own theories onto it.
After Armageddon, Satan and his demons will be imprisoned in an abyss for a thousand years. During that time, the 144,000 heavenly joint heirs will be judges and will rule “as kings with the Christ for a thousand years.” (Revelation 14:1-3; 20:1-4, Romans 8:17) Judgement Day is not some hurried event lasting a mere 24 hours. It lasts a thousand years”
This is where the tower craft falls apart. The “joint heirs” of Romans 8:17 refers to ALL of God’s children, not an elite “anointed class.” The 144,000 Jews of Revelation 14 are neither the “judges” nor the tribulation martyrs of Revelation 20. The Watchtower deceitfully picks up unrelated groups of people from different verses and lumps them together as the same. Dr Ed Hindson explains:
“John forsees the tribulation martyrs ruling with Christ in the millenial kingdom. He also sees “thrones” and those seated on them to whom judgement was given. The scene is similar to the one by Daniel (7:9-10,22). While it is possible that these are the thrones of the twenty-four elders, they are not specified as such (see Rev. 4:4; 5:8-10;7:13;11:15). Since Jesus promised the twelve apostles they would sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (see Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:30), it seems likely that would be in view here during the earthly kingdom” (Earth’s Final Hour, Evangel Publications, 1999, 156).
It’s not surprising that the Watchtower couldn’t find any Bible text they could wrench from its context to support their claim that the final Judgement would last for 1000 years. This nonsense is a product of their wild imaginations.
During that thousand year period, Jesus Christ will “judge the living and the dead” (2 Timothy 4:1) “The living” will be the “great crowd” that survives Armageddon. (Revelation 7:9-17) The apostle John also saw “the dead…standing before the throne” of judgment
Here we go again. How could the “great crowd” in chapter 7 be the same as those who survived Armageddon which took place later in chapter 19? Jesus’ judgement of “the living and the dead” indicates the two main categories of judgements:
1. The judgement seat of Christ – testing and rewarding the good works of Christians – they are “the living” because they have received eternal life (1 Cor. 3:12-15, Mt. 25:14-30, 2Cor 5:10, Eph. 2:2)
2. The white throne judgement – judgment of the unsaved dead for their sins. They are “the dead” because they will all be eternally consigned to the lake of fire (1 Thess. 4:16, Rev. 20:11-12) The first will take place in heaven whereas the second on earth after 1000 years when the “earth and the sky” will dissolve (2 Pet. 3:7).
According to the apostle John’s vision, “scrolls were opened”… Are these scrolls the record of people’s past deeds? No… The Bible says: “He who has died has been aquitted from his sin.” (Romans 6:7) Those resurrected thus come to life with a clean slate, so to speak. The scrolls must therefore represent God’s further requirements”
These scrolls are records of the deeds of all men and they are only for the purpose of condmenation (Isaiah 65:6 and Daniel 7:10). Notice how the Book of Life, which settles the eternal destiny of all men, was glibly omitted by the Watchtower writer (Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8).
The whole of Romans 6 speaks of symbolic death to the power of sin, not physical death. JW leaders are experts taking a word here, another there and a different one from a different place in the Bible to build their rafts in the air. God’s judgement is likened to “the wrath of God.” His sentence on Lucifer, fallen angels and the world in Noah’s time weren’t “educational” neither will the final judgement (Rom. 1:18; 2 Pet. 2:4; Gen. 6).
By the end of Judgement Day, surviving humans will have “come to life” fully as perfect humans (Revelation 20:5)
The proof text refers to Tribulation martyrs who “come to life” 1000 years before the final judgement, so how could it refer to “the end of Judgment Day?” And how could Satan “be released from his imprisonment and allowed to try to mislead mankind one more time” (ibid) when he had already been eternally consigned to the lake of fire before this final judgement in vs. 10?
Only those who rely on the uninspired Watchtower writings can be so fooled. If the Watchtower Society can be so flat-out wrong and sly on an otherwise clear topic as this, how can its teachings about God, Jesus or salvation be reliable? This is why truth is found in inspired Scripture, not in uninspired Watchtower writings.