What Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe?
Number of Followers: 8,579, 909
Place of Origin: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Date of Origin: 1872 A.D.
Sacred Text: The Bible (New World Translation)
Founder: Charles Taze Russell
Charles Russell grew up as a mainline Christian, but became disenchanted with doctrines such as Hell, and the Trinity. At the age of 18, he began a Bible study, professing his own interpretation of the Bible, and in 1879 he began publishing his teachings. He started the Watchtower & Zion’s Tract Society in 1884. In 1931, Russell’s successor, Joseph Rutherford, changed the name of the group to Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The one true name of God is Jehovah.
Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the doctrine of the Trinity and maintain that Jesus was a created being and a lesser god. The Holy Spirit is an impersonal force of God, having no unique divinity itself.
While Jehovah’s Witnesses maintain that the Bible is authoritative, they use the New World Translation which is unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses. Initially released in 1950, the New World Translation is the only translation of the Bible authorized for use within the Jehovah’s Witness faith. Past members of the Watchtower Society have said the translation was done by a very small group of Jehovah’s Witness leadership and was primarily done by a man named Frederick Franz who by no means was an expert in original Biblical languages. While appearing as quite similar to most protestant translations of the Bible even an initial reading of some of the most important passages in all of scripture will find Christians curious about small and large differences they might notice. Most of the key differences found in the New World Translation resolved textual issues that had plagued the Watchtower Society as Christians routinely saw no justification in the scriptures for some distinctive Jehovah’s Witness beliefs.
- Salvation & Afterlife
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus did die for the sin of mankind, but they argue that he died on a stake and not a cross. Through this death, man is “ransomed” from his sin and can receive endless life into eternity. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that at death humans will go into a state of spiritual sleep.
At the end of time, there will be a resurrection of all people. The wicked will not be sent to Hell as a place of eternal punishment, but instead, be annihilated and pass out of existence. Of those who received salvation in Christ, and were faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses, only 144,000 will go to Heaven to reign with Christ. This is their interpretation of Revelation 7. The remaining faithful will live out eternity on a paradise Earth.