Part 7 -
New Birth, Hell, Life after death, Salvation
We come now to our final session regarding Jehovah Witnesses, and we will be comparing and contrasting their beliefs with what The Bible teaches in regards to Life after death, New Birth and Salvation. We have covered a lot of ground in the first six lessons but now we come to the finale.
- Is there life after death?
- Is there a hell?
- Is there really a heaven?
- How many go to heaven?
- Is it only 144000 as Jehovah witnesses teach that will enter heaven?
- Does every person need to be born again to have everlasting life?
Yes a lot of questions so what are the answers. We shall listen to the Jehovah Witnesses and also see what The Bible says about these important matters.
1. New Birth
John 3:3; "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God" Jehovah witnesses say "It is only Christ and his 144000 body members who are born again, that is spirit-begotten with the hope of heaven! Revelation chapter 14 does speak of 144 000 around the throne in heaven (future picture) and Jehovah Witnesses say they alone are the born again believers and all are Jehovah Witnesses of a special kind. They are those who have lived ultra clean lives and have never strayed. They alone are born again. They earn salvation through their being pure and undefiled. They qualify for heaven but all other Jehovah Witnesses will inherit the new earth because they belong to the Jehovah Witness Movement and are active in door to door visitation.
This teaching directly conflicts with what the Bible teaches. "There is none righteous no not one, for all have sinned and fall short of God's glory. Romans 3:23" The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life." SALVATION IS A GIFT FOR ANY AND ALL WHO WILL COME TO GOD THROUGH REPENTANCE AND FAITH. THEY WILL BE SAVED AND ENJOY ETERNAL LIFE WITH GOD IN HEAVEN.
There is absolutely no distinction in the Bible between born again believers and non born again believers. Note this. "All who believe are born again unto a lively hope." 1 Peter1: Even more importantly we read in Romans 8:9; ""If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ he does not belong to Him."
So what is the essential thing in salvation? 1 John 5:1; "Whoever BELIEVES that Jesus is the Christ is BORN OF GOD." Born again can be translated "Born from above" or "Born of God" It is something of an inward nature that changes a person completely from an unbeliever to a lover of Jesus Christ who is Saviour Lord and King. He or she becomes a brand new person.
How big is Heaven? Only big enough for 144,000! How many believers will enter heaven? In Revelation 7:1-6 there is reference to 144,000 all Jews. If you take the figure 144,000 literally then you have to take the twelve tribes mentioned there each comprising of 12,000 Jews. Then look further (Revelation 7:9ff) and you will notice there are such a great number of others (Gentiles?) who come from every nation on the face of this earth. All are found worshipping the Lamb of God, who is Jesus Christ. He saved them, He delivered them and He brought them safe home to Heaven to enjoy Him for eternity. John 3:3; "Unless a man is born again he cannot either see or enter into the kingdom of God." That is BORN SPIRITUALLY BY THE POWER OF THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. This great event takes place in every person who believes. You cannot tell a person they will be safe in the coming Kingdom by becoming a Jehovah Witness and being a dedicated door to door worker.
They say . "It is unscriptural, unreasonable contrary to God's love, repugnant to justice" ('Let God be true' page 9) At death Jehovah Witnesses teach that a person goes into non-existence and will be annihilated if they are not a Jehovah Witness.
What does the Bible say about Hell? Jesus Himself taught the doctrine of hell. (Mark 9:42-49;) Note verse 43 "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off, it is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go to Hell where the fire never goes out." Twice more Jesus uses the word 'Gehenna' for hell. Helll is a place that goes on for ever. To refuse Jesus Christ as your Saviour when you have opportunity to receive Him into your heart and life is the worst sin of all. (Matthew 25:46;) speaks of eternal; punishment and eternal life in the same context. Eternal punishment lasts as long as eternal life. Note Jesus words concerning unbelievers ad hypocrites "And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous (declared righteous through Jesus perfect life and sacrifice) into eternal life."
3. Life After Death
May I encourage you to look up in your Bible the following references to see what God has to say about life after death. (Luke 20: 37,38:) "He is not God of the dead but of the living" Also in (Luke 16) in the parable of The rich man and Lazarus there is further proof of life after death, even of conscious agony while Lazarus is enjoying the comforts of Heaven. Moses and Elijah spoke with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration long after they had departed this world.(Luke 9:30) Paul speaks of dying as gain in Philippians 1:21-24;
Christ's death is the only ground of our salvation."Now He (Jesus) has appeared to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself..Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people. (Hebrews 9:26;) "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised for our justification. Salvation cannot be earned as a reward! "He saved us not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy." (Titus 3:5; Romans 6:23; 2 Timothy 1:9)! Salvation is by faith alone and only by the grace of God! "He who believes has eternal life. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith alone apart from the works of the law." (John 3:16; John 6:37; John 20:21; Romans 3:28;)
My purpose throughout these studies is only to declare what God says about these important and urgent matters. Many have been heading in the wrong direction and needed to change direction. That is what repentance is all about. A changing of ones mind affecting a change in direction. (Matthew 11:28-30;)
May God have spoken through His spoken Word, the gospel is a life changing event and if you are open to listen to God and follow Him , not a person or an organisation but simply come to the Scriptures and have God speak to you directly from His Holy Word. His living active Word. May God take the scales from eyes and impart spiritual life to you the listener and reader and impart the work of His Holy Spirit in you and as a result may you know refreshing times from the Presence of the Lord beginning in your life today. May the living Jesus Christ become a living reality to you from now on.
** Disclaimer: The author of this article, Jim Allis, is a guest podcaster and Partakers may or may not agree with his opinions and writings, either in their entirety or part thereof.