ARE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES BORN AGAIN?
“You People Must Be Born Again.” – John 3:7 – Helping Christians Sow Seeds of the Gospel in the Hearts of Jehovah’s Witnesses
The Watchtower Society teaches Jehovah’s Witnesses that the New Covenant privileges of being “born again,” being “adopted” into God’s family, and receiving the promise of life in Heaven after death are reserved for a group of 144,000 people. 1. The Watchtower Society claims that this “Heavenly Class” (also called the “Anointed Class”) of Jehovah’s Witnesses started at the time of Christ and was filled up by the year 1935. 2. Thus, they assert that the “other sheep” of John 10:16 are the “great crowd” of Jehovah’s Witnesses who became Witnesses after the year 1935. It is claimed that members of this second group are destined to live in a “Paradise Earth” under the authority of Jehovah’s heavenly Kingdom. 3. This is the “gospel” that Jehovah’s Witnesses bring to your door.
The Bible never states that only 144,000 people will go to heaven, so Jehovah’s Witnesses attempt to support their belief by referencing the 144,000 people mentioned at Revelation 14:1-3 and 7:4. Although these Scriptures refer only to one group of people from the twelve tribes of Israel, Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that this is a symbolic reference to their followers, not literal Israel. 4. They then go on to claim that the “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9 5. who are “standing before the throne” of God are not literally before the throne in heaven, but are symbolically “before the throne” in an “approved condition” while upon the earth. 6.
As you confront their elaborate twisting of Biblical passages, talking to Jehovah’s Witnesses can be daunting, but a few questions along with the following verses can help Jehovah’s Witnesses face the inconsistencies of their ideas.
First, you can ask Jehovah’s Witnesses to explain what rule of Biblical interpretation they use to determine which parts of Revelation to take literally (i.e., the literal number of 144,000) and which parts to take symbolically. Then, share Revelation 7:15 and ask them to explain how they can believe that the “great crowd” will be stuck upon the earth if that group of people will be able to “serve” God daily “in His temple” which is in heaven (Rev. 14:17).
Next, share John 3:3 where Jesus states that unless a man is “born again” he cannot “see” God’s Kingdom. Ask the Jehovah’s Witness, “Are you born again? Will you be able to see Jehovah’s Kingdom come about?” When he says “no” follow-up with 1 John 5:1. It says, “Everyone believing that Jesus is the Christ has been born from God.” Ask the Jehovah’s Witness, “Does the phrase ‘everyone believing’ leave anyone out?”
Galatians 4:5-6 explains that Christ came in order “that we, in turn, might receive the adoption as sons. Now because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of His Son into our hears and it cries out: ‘Abba, Father.’” Ask the Jehovah’s Witness, “Have you been adopted as a child of God by receiving Christ’s Spirit into your life as described in this passage?” Most will answer “No.”
Next, show them Romans 8:14-16 that discusses the same subject (i.e., receiving the “spirit of adoption” and crying out “Abba, Father!”). In verses 1-7, show them the contrast between walking “in the flesh” and “walking in the Spirit”. You have now set the stage to prove that your Jehovah’s Witness friend, by his own admission, cannot please God.
Romans 8:8-9 says, “So those who are in harmony with the flesh cannot please God. However, you are in harmony, not with the flesh, but with the spirit, if God’s spirit truly dwells in you. But if anyone does not have Christ’s spirit, this one does not belong to him.”
THREE POINTS TO SUMMARIZE YOUR PRESENTATION:
1. A person must receive God’s Spirit by adoption in order to walk “in the spirit” and not according to “the flesh.”
2. Those who walk “in harmony with the flesh” (everyone who does not have God’s Spirit) “cannot please God.”
3. Anyone who does not have Christ’s spirit which he receives by being born again through adoption as a child of God (John 3:3, Gal. 4:5-6, Rom 8:1-9; 14-16) “this one does not belong to him.”
David Reed, a former Jehovah’s Witness elder and author of the book Jehovah’s Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse, said regarding these verses: “When a Witness finally grasps its meaning, it can have a devastating effect. I know that firsthand—because, when I finally encountered those verses after thirteen years in the Watchtower organization, they nearly knocked me off my feet. Within a short time I was confessing my need of the Savior and praying to receive Christ’s Spirit into my heart. And—Praise God!—he answered my prayer.” 7.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “BORN AGAIN”?
The “natural man” is born with a sinful nature (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12), and as a result of being spiritually dead, cannot understand spiritual concepts (1 Corinthians 2:14). “What has been born from the flesh is flesh, and what has been born from the Spirit is spirit. Do no marvel because I told you, ‘YOU people must be born again.’ ”—John 3:6-7. Mankind in this natural state “cannot please God” (Romans 8:8) and thus cannot “see” God’s Kingdom.
Being “born again” (John 3:5) is an act in which God “cleanses us from all sin” and “all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7, 9), regenerates us (Titus 3:5) as “new” creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), being “born” of “incorruptible” seed (1 Peter 1:23), and becoming “heirs” of eternal life (Titus 3:7). According to John 6:53, anyone who excludes himself from the New Covenant excludes himself from eternal life.
This act of being “born again” is open to “everyone” (1 John 5:1) who has placed his total trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ. When a person becomes “born again,” he is made alive spiritually to perceive and live by spiritual concepts (1 Corinthians 2:15). Praise God!
1. See Insight on the Scriptures, vol. 2, pp. 998-999
2. See The Watchtower, February 15, 1998, p. 20 and The Watchtower, January 15, 2000, p. 16. There are presently a few exceptions to this quota deadline as younger members allegedly took the place of older members who became unfaithful after 1935.
3. See The Watchtower, January 1, 1997, p. 10
4. See Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1989, The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, pp. 166-167
5. All Scripture quotations are from the Jehovah’s Witness New World Translation Bible.
6. See Reasoning from the Scriptures, p 167
7. Jehovah’s Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse, 1986, (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI 49506), p. 75