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Jehovah`s Witness and the end times

Jehovah`s Witness - end times

Expert: Derrick Holland - 7/6/2003

what do jehovah witnesses believe will happen in the end times.  thanks,
Peter Costas

Get the answer below
Hello Peter.  Thank you for the question.

The JWs beliefs concerning the end times change periodically, but I will try to describe to you the basic framework of their belief system.

First of all, it should be stated that Jehovah's Witnesses do NOT believe that Jesus Christ will return again to the earth, as the Bible teaches.  Instead, they teach and believe that Jesus already returned INVISIBLY in the year 1914, and has been ruling over the earth ever since that year.

Until recently, JWs also taught that the generation of 1914 would be the final generation in this system, before the Battle of Armageddon.

In the religion's early days, it was predicted that Armageddon would be completed by the year 1914, and God's new order would be here.  Of course, this failed to transpire.  The teaching was later adjusted to say that 1914 marked the year of Christ's "return", and that the years following 1914 would be the last generation.

This "generation" was originally applied to those who were at least 15 years old in 1914, or born no later than 1899.  It was stated emphatically that this "generation" would not include those who were still babies in 1914.  As time elapsed, it was necessary to change the teaching, to allow for a little more time.  It was then said that the final "generation" could possibly include those who were 10 years old.  Then, as more time elapsed with nothing happening, the Watchtower decided that perhaps the "generation" could include babies after all.

Well, the teaching about the "generation of 1914" has been dropped altogether, since it has lost all credibility with the youngest of the "generation" now being 89 years old!  This year is now simply regarded as the year of Christ's "invisible return".  In other words, all of the VISIBLE aspects of their predictions have been dropped due to their failure, and only the INVISIBLE (and unprovable) aspect has been retained.

Now, to sum up your question.....

JWs do not believe in salvation through faith in Christ ALONE, as Bible-believeing Christians do.  Instead, they believe in a "works-oriented" salvation.  More will be said about that later.

JWs believe that, sometime in the near future, God will destroy all wickedness, all false religion (churches other than themselves), Satan, demons, and only Jehovah's Witnesses and those who accept their message will survive Armageddon into God's New World Order.  In JW language, this new order is usually referred to as the "new system".  Then, Christ will set up His millenial reign, and faithful JWs will still be on trial until then.  If they remain faithful through this final test, then hopefully, they will be rewarded with eternal life on a restored paradise earth, which brings us to another peculiar teaching of this religion....

JWs believe that heaven will not be the home of most Christians, but only for a limited number....144,000.  They believe this remnant of 144,000 consists of the early Christians, all the way down until the year 1935, when the door to the "heavenly hope" was shut.  After the year 1935, they believe that God began calling Christians to an "earthly hope", meaning that they will not go to heaven, but instead will live on a restored paradise earth.  As far as I know, this is the only religion on earth that teaches 2 separate hopes for Christians, and 2 different destinies.

Suffice it to say, because of the works-oriented salvation of the Watchtower Society, there is not a JW on earth who can say for a 100% fact that he/she knows that they are saved.  They must keep working, and obeying the dictates of the Watchtower in order to be saved.

What does the Watchtower teach is necessary for eternal life?  According to their book, "YOU CAN LIVE FOREVER IN PARADISE ON EARTH", a number of things are needed....

1.  Take in knowledge (pg. 127-128)

Simply put, this means a Bible study.  They believe it is necessary to "take in knowledge" of the teachings of the Bible.  Oh, did I mentione that this "bible study" has to be with Jehovah's Witnesses?  In other words, personal Bible study is not enough.

2.  Righteous conduct (pg. 129-132)

In reading this fascinating section of "requirements", we find that we must abstain from polygamy, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, which I am in full agreement with, because the Bible forbids these practices also.  But we are told by the book that it is o.k. to drink alcohol, provided we don't get drunk.  We are then told that we must be honest, and shouldn't committ murder.

There is a catch here, also, however.  Since many non-JW Christians also have high standards against these things, then there must be even more required to save us than simply living moral lives.  Otherwise, non-JWs would be saved too.

3.  Loyalty to God's Government

In short, this means we are required to go out door-to-door and spread the "good news" of the Watchtower, in order to show our loyalty to "God's Government".

Make no mistake about it....When a JW comes to your door to talk with you, he/she believes this is what God requires of them in order to gain eternal life.  I am not saying that they do not care about you, because I am sure many of them are caring and compassionate people.  But the threat of eternal destruction is a motivator as well.

I know this is alot more detail than you asked for, but I simply want you to understand the whole picture of being a member of this religion.  Yes, they do believe in eternal life, but none of them can know for sure that they have it, until the very end when they have endured and passed all the tests.  I feel this is tragic, because the Bible offers full assurance of salvation through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

JWs believe that the "end" is coming soon.  In fact, they have a very embarrassing history of predicting dates for the end to come.  For the time being, it seems that they have given up setting a specific date, but JWs are still motivated by the believe that the "end is near".  Of course, I too believe the time of Christ's return is near, but again, JWs do not believe that Jesus is coming back.

JWs do not believe in a literal 7-year period of tribulation that is coming to the earth, after the removal of Christ's church to Heaven, which I believe is a definite Bible teaching.  Nor do they believe that God is going to restore Israel to Himself during this tribulation, as He promised, but instead, they believe that God has transferred His promises originally made to Israel, to them.  In fact, they believe they are "spiritual Israel".

Finally, when all is said and done....after Armageddon, after the Millenial reign of Christ, and after Satan is loosed to tempt the faithful once more, JWs believe that God will restore the earth to a Garden-of-Eden-like state, where man will populate the earth, and live on it forever.  The 144,000 will be rulers over this earthly paradise from their position in Heaven.

I hope this has helped answer your question.  I realize the answer was somewhat lengthy and scattered, but if you have any quesions about specifics, or any thing that I said, please do not hesitate to ask.  Take care, and have a great day!




             Jehovah`s Witness and the end times


Jesus taught his followers that there would be a coming "great tribulation" such as never occurred before nor will ever occur again, that will come upon the entire inhabited earth. After the end of this system, the Bible promises that the earth will be a paradise. For Jehovah's Witnesses, the words of Jesus always have come to mind, "When you see these things start to occur, lift your heads up for your deliverance is getting near." Luke 21:28. So rather than look upon the end of this system, or "the end of the world" negatively, or as a doomsday prophecy, Jehovah's Witnesses look forward to "the end of the world," because this means the begnning of the promised "new world"! Who wouldn't look forward to that! Matthew 24:3-44.

                                                                                              Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - Viktor Vasnetsov 1887
                                                                                                              Based on Revelation (Apocalypse) 6:1-8
This is part of the sign that Jesus gave. The various parts of this sign can be found in three  chapters of the Bible:
* Matthew 24
* Mark 13
* Luke 21
* 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (Paul's writings)
* Revelation 6:1-8 paints a similar picture with the four horsemen of the Apocalypse

What would mark the time of the end, according to Jesus:
* Significant wars and reports of wars 
* Food shortages
* Earthquakes in one place after another
* Men faint out of fear out of the things coming upon the earth
* Pestilence
* Love of the greater number cooling off
* Persons characterized by betraying one another
* Persecution of Christians
* Good news of the Kingdom being preached in all the inhabited earth
Jesus said, "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."
Jehovah's Witnesses have always been anxious for the end of this system to come and God's new world to commence. At times, they have been overanxious as were the Apostles of Jesus, and felt that the end of this system was closer than it really was. They have had to learn to patiently wait on the fulfilling of prophecies in the Bible rather than trying to discern the fulfillment of Bible time prophecies, which are evident in te Bible. See Daniel Chapter 12 for a number of examples of time prophecies in the Bible.
However, what Jesus said, Jehovah's Witnesses take very seriously at Matthew 24:21-44.
"For then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.  In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short.
  “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send forth his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity.
“Now learn from the fig tree as an illustration this point: Just as soon as its young branch grows tender and it puts forth leaves, YOU know that summer is near. Likewise also YOU, when YOU see all these things, know that he is near at the doors. Truly I say to YOU that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.

"Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father.  For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. 38 For as they were in those days before the flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken along and the other be abandoned;  two women will be grinding at the hand mill: one will be taken along and the other be abandoned.  Keep on the watch, therefore, because YOU do not know on what day YOUR Lord is coming.

“But know one thing, that if the householder had known in what watch the thief was coming, he would have kept awake and not allowed his house to be broken into.  On this account YOU too prove yourselves ready, because at an hour that YOU do not think to be it, the Son of man is coming."
Even though Jehovah's Witnesses have jumped the gun a few times, they have endeavored for both themselves and for other people, to help all to "keep on the watch" as Jesus warned. It is like a sprinter waiting for the gun of the final sprint, who might jump out of the sprinter's box too early, but the sprinter was  right there in the race, and ready to run, that is how Jehovah's Witnesses have been. They are alert to the fulfillment of the time of the end and the countdown to the last days and the final day.
For further consideration of the idea of the expectation of the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecies concerning the time of the end, failed expectations and predictions of various churches, an in depth analysis is given at this page by Hall Flemings, 1991: The Churches, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Question of Unfulfilled Prophetic Expectations.

The Apostles were in expectation as to God's Kingdom, which was something yet thousands of years in the future. They asked Jesus this question:
     So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?"      He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." Acts 1:7,8
Jehovah's Witnesses are not among those who, like many in the days of the Apostles, and the days of Noah, ridicule the divine prophecies of the Bible,
      "For YOU know this first, that in the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires 4 and saying: “Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep [in death], all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning.”  2 Peter 4:3,4 New World Translation
     "For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the )whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. "Behold,  am coming like a thief Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame." And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon." Revelation 16:14-16  New American Standard Bible
Jehovah's Witnesses take the prophecies of the Bible very seriously, as coming from God himself.
2 Timothy 3:16,17 Persons that spend their time creating websites to ridicule Jehovah's Witnesses, do better to spend their time teaching persons who don't know about Jesus, what the Bible says.