You have probably have had Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking at your door at some point. But do you know what they believe? There is a lot that can be said about the Jehovah‘s Witnesses, but here are seven things that you should know.
- The Jehovah’s Witnesses were founded by Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916) in the 1870s. It was a general time of religious upheaval and rampant predictions about the end of the world.
- The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jehovah is the proper name for God. It is a version of what scholars call the tetragrammaton and is more precisely YHWH. This name for God does not appear in the New Testament.
- The Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the trinity and believe Jesus to be a created being. In this, they have much in common with the Arian heresy that was very influential in the early church and was the reason for the Council of Nicaea (325 AD).
- The Jehovah’s Witnesses identify Jesus with the Archangel Michael. They get this from 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
- The Jehovah’s Witnesses use a Bible translation called the New World Translation. It translates the Bible in a way more consistently with Jehovah’s Witnesses theology.
- The Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that Jesus was crucified on a cross. This is partially out of concern for what they see as Christian idolatry of the cross. It is also based on a literal translation of the Greek stauros, which is stake rather than a cross. However, historical evidence suggests that the Romans used multiple shapes for crucifixion including a stake and a traditional cross.
- The Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that only 144,000 people will be saved. Rather the 144,000 are chosen to spend eternity in heaven, while the rest of the faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses will live on a renewed earth.
These are just some of the things that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe. If you want to learn more, consider picking up my book, The Watchtower and the Word.