The Watchtower Society teaches that since Jehovah’s Witnesses alone have God’s backing and are the only ones that worship the true God, shortly they alone will survive Armageddon.
“Only Jehovah’s Witnesses, those of the anointed remnant and the “great crowd,” as a united organization under the protection of the Supreme Organizer, have any Scriptural hope of surviving the impending end of this doomed system dominated by Satan the Devil.” Watchtower 1989 Sep 1 p.19
“Similarly, Jehovah is using only one organization today to accomplish his will. To receive everlasting life in the earthly Paradise we must identify that organization and serve God as part of it.” Watchtower 1983 Feb 15 p.12
“Is it presumptuous of Jehovah’s Witnesses to point out that they alone have God’s backing? Actually, no more so than when the Israelites in Egypt claimed to have God’s backing in spite of the Egyptians’ belief, or when the first-century Christians claimed to have God’s backing to the exclusion of Jewish religionists.” Watchtower 2001 Jun 1 p.16
“During the final period of the ancient world that perished in the Flood, Noah was a faithful preacher of righteousness. (2 Peter 2:5) In these last days of the present system of things, Jehovahs people are making known Gods righteous standards and are declaring good news about the possibility of surviving into the new world. (2 Peter 3:9-13) Just as Noah and his God-fearing family were preserved in the ark, survival of individuals today depends on their faith and their loyal association with the earthly part of Jehovahs universal organization.” Watchtower 2006 May 15 p.22 “Are You Prepared for Survival?”
The Watchtower goes as far as to state that there are billions in line for destruction.
“There are billions of people who do not know Jehovah. Many of them in ignorance practice things that God’s Word shows to be wicked. If they persist in this course, they will be among those who perish during the great tribulation.” Watchtower 1993 Oct 1 p.19
The billions slaughtered at Armageddon loose any hope of a resurrection; theirs is said to be an everlasting destruction.
“Yes, the destruction of the gross sinners in those cities was eternal, as will be the destruction of the wicked at the end of the present system of things.” Watchtower 1990 Apr 15 p.20
Rarely does the Watchtower make such audacious statements; rather the destruction of non-witnesses is conveyed (with unwavering regularity) by means of a number of more subtle concepts. The quotes that follow identify the preposterous claim that following the Bible is not enough for salvation – neither are belief in Jesus Ransom and a moral life. Only submission to Jehovah’s Watchtower Organization results in life.
Note that some individual Witnesses internally do not believe salvation is the exclusive domain of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Others salve their conscience and sense of justice by saying that many will flock to God’s Organization just before the end. The following quotes will show that the Watchtower does not support such ideas but plainly teaches only its followers will be saved.
This article is divided into the following sections:
Association with Jehovah’s Organization
Association with Jehovah’s organization – the Watchtower Society – is presented as essential for salvation.
“But Jehovahs servants already belong to the only organization that will survive the end of this wicked system of things.” Watchtower 2007 Dec 15 p.14
“But if we were to draw away from Jehovahs organization, there would be no place else to go for salvation and true joy.” Watchtower 1993 Sep 15 p.22
“But Jehovah God has also provided his visible organization, his faithful and discreet slave, made up of spirit-anointed ones, to help Christians in all nations to understand and apply properly the Bible in their lives. Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do.” Watchtower 1981 Nov 15 p.27
“They must appreciate that identifying themselves with Jehovahs organization is essential to their salvation.” Kingdom Ministry 1990 Nov p.1
To be considered part of that Organization requires reporting as an active publisher for the Watchtower Society.
“As this spiritual warfare advanced, those serving with Jehovah’s organization were refreshed by continuing flashes of Bible understanding, and their numbers grew until, in 1938, as many as 50,769 reported Kingdom service during an international testimony period.” Watchtower 1984 Jan 1 p.11
“Those who will form the nucleus of the “new earth”, a new earthly society of rightly disposed people, are being gathered during these last days. They are already nearly seven million strong, in at least 235 lands and in some 100,000 congregations. ” Watchtower 2007 Aug 15 p.26
It is considered that children share in the sins of their parents, so babies will die at Armageddon if their parents are considered unworthy of salvation.
“… in times past when God destroyed the wicked he likewise destroyed their little ones.” Reasoning from the Scriptures pp.47-48
“Parents are commanded to instruct their children in God’s way, and if in these last days parents refuse to heed the divine instruction and warning they bring destruction upon themselves and their small children at Armageddon. (Deut. 6:6, 7; Eph. 6:4) According to justice God can leave such children dead, for, as Ezekiel showed, all die in their iniquity.” Watchtower 1950 Nov 15 p.463
“By all the evidences this system of things is hastening to its final confrontation with the God of justice at Armageddon… Parents will be held accountable for their children, and children will suffer for the failure of their parents.” Watchtower 1968 Feb 1 pp.83-84
Association with 144,000
A similar claim is that salvation comes from association with the “little flock”, also said to represent “the remnant of the 144,000” or “the Anointed”.
“In fact, with God’s day of judgment so near today, all the world should ‘keep silent before the Sovereign Lord Jehovah’ and hear what he says through the “little flock” of Jesus’ anointed followers and their companions, his “other sheep.” (Luke 12:32; John 10:16) Annihilation awaits all who will not listen and who thereby set themselves against rule by God’s Kingdom.” Watchtower 2001 Feb 15 p. 14
Those in Babylon will be Destroyed
Anyone that is part of any another religion, referred to as Babylon the Great, will not survive but “share in her plagues”. The narrow door excludes Christendom as well as the other major religious tenants.
“without question the execution of divine judgment upon apostate Christendom and the rest of Satan’s world is imminent.” Watchtower 1984 Oct 1 p.11
“The narrow door to salvation stands open to all. But the “many” do not like to struggle to enter. … This means casting aside the traditions and practices of worldly religions, including those of Christendom.” Watchtower 1986 Jan 15 p.12
Goats will be destroyed
“The Devil is not on Jesus’ side, and so the goatlike people who do nothing helpful to the reigning King Jesus Christ are against him and are on the Devil’s side. There is no neutral side in the time of Christ’s presence or parousia. They are cursed, just as Satan the Devil and his demon angels are. Hence, they deserve an everlasting future like that of the Devil and his angels.” God’s Kingdom of a Thousand Years has Approached p.286
Noah’s Ark Represents Organization
Noah’s salvation in the ark represents baptism as part of Jehovah’s organization.
“Do not conclude that there are different roads, or ways, that you can follow to gain life in God’s new system. There is only one. There was just one ark that survived the Flood, not a number of boats. And there will be only one organization- God’s visible organization – that will survive the fast-approaching “great tribulation.” You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth p.255
“This “one baptism” applies to all who become true Christians. At baptism they become Christian Witnesses of Jehovah, God’s ordained ministers.-Ephesians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 6:3, 4 Such baptism has great saving value in the eyes of God. For instance, after mentioning Noah’s constructing of the ark, in which he and his family were preserved through the Flood, the apostle Peter wrote: “That which corresponds to this is also now saving you, namely, baptism, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the request made to God for a good conscience,) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”” (1 Peter 3:21) Worship the only true God pp.115-116
Word Jehovah Required
Using the word Jehovah is essential for salvation.
“Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will get away safe; … (Joel 2:32) Jehovah’s Witnesses are truly grateful to know Jehovah’s name, and they have complete trust that he will save them when they call on him.” Watchtower 1998 May 1 p.19
This may appear logical when reading New World Translation Scriptural citations, but on becoming aware that the word Jehovah never appeared in the New Testament and has been falsely added into the New World Translation this reasoning can be seen to be false.
Armageddon is described as a horrifying event. Billions of carcasses will be strewn across the ground, left by God for the beasts and birds to gorge upon.
“… the majority of mankind will be destroyed at Armageddon; and (5) only a small minority of mankind will find favour with God and survive the “war of the great day of God the Almighty.”” From Kurukshetra to Armageddon – and Your Survival pp.17-19
“Why should not blood run deep and far with over two billion [the world population in 1955] dead?…. With the members of this generation that will not pass away before Armageddon breaks out numbering now two billion five hundred million and with only the remnant and a larger group of “other sheep” inside the Greater Noah’s “ark” surviving, the death toll of the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” will be appallingly all-surpassing, too many for the Armageddon survivors to bury. Come on, birds and beasts! Have your fill then from the human corpses in retribution for the wanton slaughter of animal and birdlife of which the human race has been guilty!” sr 1955 pp. 340-342
“Yes, today, with Armageddon staring us in the face, we must keep in mind the sobering thought that millions, even billions, of lives may shortly come to a swift and decisive end, putting their onetime owners beyond the reach of any expression of love on our part.” Watchtower 1965 Apr 1 p. 212
“What this means to us today is that those now living in this time of judgment and who fail for one reason or another to take a stand for Jehovah, and are therefore slain by him at the battle of Armageddon, will not be retained in his memory for a resurrection. That this group will include the majority of humans now living on earth …” Watchtower 1951 Jul 15 p.446
Would a loving God be planning to devote billions of people to a violent and everlasting death? A God that is willing to slaughter 6 billion people is certainly not the God Russell described when starting the Bible Students.
|“We reasoned that, if Christ’s coming was to end probation and bring irrevocable ruin upon ninety nine of a hundred of mankind, then it could scarcely be considered desirable, neither could we pray with a proper spirit, “Come, Lord Jesus, Come quickly.”” SUPPLEMENT TO ZION’S WATCH TOWER AND HERALD OF CHRIST’S PRESENCE Jun 1879||“As for humans upon earth, on the side of Jehovah will be all those fully dedicated to him and who are faithfully following Jesus Christ; compared with earth’s billions these are indeed few…. On Satan’s side will be all the rest of mankind, more than 99.9 percent… Armageddon will be the worst thing ever to hit this earth in the history of man.” Watchtower 1958 Oct 15 pp.614-615|
Russell left the Presbyterians because he could not believe in the injustice of a God willing to destroy the majority of humankind. Similarly, Russell could neither accept the salvation of only Adventists.
“Russell wrote: “We felt greatly grieved at the error of Second Adventists, who were expecting Christ in the flesh, and teaching that the world and all in it except Second Adventists would be burned up.”” Proclaimers p.45
Under Russell, the Watchtower used to teach that irrespective of religion, most people would survive Armageddon. His understanding on ‘future probation’ was that the masses of humanity would survive Armageddon and be educated on earth by Christ in the 1000-year reign, before receiving judgment. The resurrection was for all who have died, Adam included. Yet the religion he founded now claims even more than “ninety nine of a hundred will be destroyed.” Globally there is only one Witness for every 1,000 people on earth. Therefore, on current statistics the Watchtower teaching is not that 99 out of 100 will be ruined, but rather Jehovah will eternally destroy 99.9 out of 100.
It was during the leadership of Rutherford that the teachings of ‘irrevocable ruin’ and ‘judgement periods’ were introduced, concepts Russell tried to avoid. In the Watchtower 1923 pp.310-311, it was shown that clergy would not be saved. In 1930, pp.275-281 Rutherford introduced that people who disagreed with him, apostates, would be in line for everlasting destruction. The Watchtower 1939 p.170 claimed those from prior judgement periods, such as Sodom and Gomorrah would not be in line for a resurrection; neither would Adam and Eve, Solomon or the Scribes and Pharisees.
Later leaders have not attempted to soften the hard-line stance of Rutherford. In 1986, any Witness that disagrees aloud that God will destroy millions, (or more accurately billions) was classed an opposer.
“Some opposers [are] entertaining ideas that God is so merciful that he surely will not cause the death of so many millions of people during the “great tribulation.” Watchtower 1986 Mar 15 p.18
The Watchtower feels necessary to clarify that many would not flock to the organization with the start of the Great Tribulation.
“Any person who wants to survive into God’s righteous new order urgently needs to come into a right relationship with Jehovah and His earthly organization now.
Why is there such an urgency about coming to Jehovah’s true worship now? Could not a sincere person wait until he actually sees Jehovah’s executional judgments beginning, and then quickly come over to His side? While that might sound appealing to some, would there then be enough time to build the right relationship with Jehovah? The evidence from the Scriptures answers, No.” Watchtower 1981 Nov 15 pp.16-17
“The Watchtower of August 15, 1996, said: “In the final part of the tribulation, ‘flesh’ that has fled to Jehovah’s side will be saved.” Is that suggesting that after the first phase of the great tribulation, many new ones will come over to God’s side? That was not the point being made. As to whether any new ones may be able to learn the truth and come over to God’s side after the great tribulation begins, note Jesus’ words recorded at Matthew 24:29-31. After the outbreak of the tribulation, the sign of the Son of man will appear. Jesus said that all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves and lament. He did not say anything about people waking up to the situation, repenting, taking God’s side, and becoming true disciples. Similarly, in the parable of the sheep and the goats, the Son of man appears and judicially separates people on the basis of what they had done or not done in the past. Jesus said nothing about people who long displayed goatlike attributes suddenly turning around and becoming like sheep. He comes to judge on the basis of what people had already proved to be.-Matthew 25:31-46.” Watchtower 1997 Feb 15 p.29
Notice in the following two articles the way a Witness is to deal with the question “Do Jehovah’s witnesses believe that only they will be saved?” Stating that only Jehovah’s Witnesses will be saved is to be avoided. It is recommended to say NO; even though the explanation given shows the answer is yes. After reading the whole paragraph, it is clear what is meant.
“Do they believe that they are the only ones who will be saved? No. Millions that have lived in centuries past and who were not Jehovah’s Witnesses will come back in a resurrection and have an opportunity for life. Many now living may yet take a stand for truth and righteousness before the “great tribulation,” and they will gain salvation.” Jehovah’s Witnesses, Who are they? What do they believe? (2002) p.29
“Do Jehovah’s witnesses believe that only they will be saved? Jehovah’s witnesses believe that many will be saved who are not now Jehovah’s witnesses. But with regard to the coming “great tribulation,” and being saved through that conflict, the Bible shows that people must now turn to God and take their stand on his side if they wish protection from Him. Jesus said: “Just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. . . . they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be.” (Matt. 24:21, 37-39) Noah and his family, however, were saved through the Flood, because they served Jehovah God. All the others were destroyed. Jesus said that is what will happen at the coming “great tribulation,” and this Jehovah’s witnesses believe.” Watchtower 1970 Apr 15 p.247
“What religion a man shall have is a historical accident, quite as much as what language he shall speak.”George Santayana
There are 12 classical world religions and over 34,000 Christian sects . Most of these say that salvation requires following their particular God. The extremist sects say that belonging to their particular sect is a requirement for salvation. Many countries are predominantly just one classic religions, and many people have little choice in their religion, or even opportunity to learn of other beliefs. Even in countries with more diversity, and opportunity to change religions, indoctrination since childhood means it is difficult for people to consider other points of view.
If you have been raised from birth as a Jehovah’s Witness, imagine if the Watchtower Society is not the true religion. Do you think it fair God is going to destroy you for being born into the wrong religion? As the Watchtower discourages active examination of other beliefs, is it fair you will miss out on everlasting life for not finding the correct one?
Is the Witness that grows up in America listening to immoral ‘pop’ music more righteous than the Baptist missionary in Indonesia? Should the Nepalese monk, isolated from the world and Bible be destroyed for living the life of abstinence that he truly believed and was indoctrinated to understand was the way to achieve oneness with God?
When a religion teaches absolute truth, it makes sense anyone not believing this truth is worshipping falsehood. Anyone not worshipping Jehovah is worshipping Satan, and so deserves destruction. If truth is easy to understand and God attracts his sheep, there is no excuse not to follow it. The flaw in this reasoning is that no Organization teaches absolute truth. Jehovah’s Witnesses certainly do not teach it. In its short 130 year history the Watchtower Society has changed its teachings so substantially that they have no right to claim a unique ability to understand truth. It is illogical to state God gave Russell the many wrong teachings that the Watchtower later had to reject.
In Bible times, God indicated whom he was using through powerful signs. He spoke directly to Abraham and provided powerful miracles through Moses. First century Christians witnessed God personally speaking in approval of his son and watched Jesus heal the sick and raise the dead. The apostles and other Christians continued to display such powerful works. Jehovah’s Witnesses have never produced a powerful sign of any kind to assist identify their Organization as approved today.
The problem with saying salvation is dependant on belonging to a single, small organization is reality proves that the Watchtower is not accessible to a large portion of the world. Much of the world does not even have access to the Bible.
Over half the world is not Christian, and by and large the chance of being a Jehovah’s Witnesses is dependant on living in a country that was conquered or converted by Christianity over the last 2,000 years.
Being a Witness is predominantly contingent on where one is born and billions of people will never hear of the name Jehovah or Jesus. Living within the following countries – Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, Thailand and Turkey are around 3 billion people, nearly half the global population. Yet the 2006 Watchtower Service Report showed that combined these have less than 40,000 Witnesses, not even 1 for every 70,000 people. These countries represent many religious (Muslim, Atheist, Buddhist and Hindu) and ethnic (African, Indian, Asian and European) backgrounds, showing that no particular group is genetically disposed to be “goat-like”. In Pakistan and Bangladesh virtually all will be destroyed, the ratio of Witnesses to ‘worldly people’ is less than 1:1,000,000. In 2006, there was not a single Witness in Afghanistan. Is it fair for people who have never even heard of Jehovah to be destroyed at Armageddon?
Even in Christian countries, it is illogical for God to destroy people for understanding the Bible in a manner that differs to that described by the Watchtower. A person reading the Bible without the aid of a Watchtower will never arrive at current Watchtower truth.
“Where did we learn Bible truth in the first place? Would we know the way of the truth if it had not been for guidance from the organization? Really, can we get along without the direction of God’s organization?” No, we cannot!” Watchtower 1983 Jan 15 p.27
At what point does it sound insane for a religion to say that only their followers deserve salvation? Does it sound crazy (or conceited) that the 11 followers of Mrs. Marian Keech’s flying UFO cult believed that aliens would destroy all but themselves? How about the Watchtower indicating that God will save 6 million people and destroy 6.5 million?
Would it even be logical to believe that a religion with 1 billion members is the only acceptable one, if it means God would be required to destroy 5 billion people?
To believe God would only find people of a single religion acceptable, regardless of size, does not seem fair.
Only a small percentage of people convert to other religions and there is no single destination for converters. Their choice is the one they stumble upon at just the right moment in time, a matter of time and unforeseen circumstance. An ARIS survey shows that 84% of American adults retain the one religion for life. Of the 16% that leave, the largest group leave all religion. “Some groups such as Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses appear to attract a large number of converts (in-switchers), but also nearly as large a number of apostates (out-switchers).” The 1,200,000,000 hours of preaching by Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2004 resulted in only 200,000 baptisms, of which half were likely teenagers raised within that religion. Changing a person from the religion of their upbringing is no easy task.
On September 11th 2001, people watched in horror as the twin towers in New York collapsed, killing several thousand people over a disagreement of religious ideologies. Yet this is inconsequential when compared to the destruction Jehovah is expected to mete upon humankind, billions of which have never seen a Bible. If the senseless death of a few thousand people offends a person’s sense of justice, how much more so should the global slaughter described by the Watchtower Society and eagerly awaited by Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Paradoxically, Armageddon will result in the eternal destruction of billions of evildoers that do not worship Jehovah, yet lead to the resurrection of billons of evildoers that did not worship Jehovah. The majority of both groups have never even heard of Jehovah, so what exactly is the difference between the two, what makes one group less deserving of life than the other? There is no overwhelming difference, other than an organization’s attempt to grow its own membership.
With illogical conceit, members of many religions believe they alone belong to the only true faith. Do these members believe that, endowed with luck they stumbled upon – or were born into – the Truth? Do they possess a more intelligent or perceptive mind? Is their heart condition so superior to all others that God and his angels directed them to the only true religion? The root of such reasoning lies with the pride of religious leaders that prey on the gullibility of naïve followers; followers who are content to accept that there are many routes to salvation if so told, but just as willing to believe that they alone deserve salvation.
Barrett lists 19 major world religions, subdivided into 270 large religious groups. He has currently identified 34,000 separate groups amongst Christianity alone. He notes what he terms as “distinct religions” have risen from 1,000 in 1900 to 10,500 today, with the likelihood to increase to 15,000 in a quarter-century.