|Jehovah's Witnesses -
officially known as 'The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society'
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Jehovah's Witnesses teach that all who die without Christ will have a second chance. They will have the gospel preached to them and only then if they do not wish to accept the invitation, they will be annihilated. As proof they use 1st Peter 4:18-20 which says..
"For Christ also sufferred once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by Whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsufferring waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water"
Scripture is clear about the boundaries of this one-of event i.e. spirits in prison who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsufferring waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared,
Scripture proclaims loud and clear the simple truth
"After death - then the judgment" Hebrews 9:27
"Them that sleep in the dust shall wake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt" Daniel 12:2
(This last verse rules out the theology of eternal annihilation)
|Is hell a
Jehovah's Witnesses teach that God is too loving to ever consider sending anyone - even the devil - to a place of eternal torment. Therefore they teach annihilation - if the offer of salvation is refused after physical death (see above). Indeed much of the church has adopted this thinking. Are they right? What does Jesus teach us?
Jesus taught on the subject of hell as well as heaven. So hell is a reality. But is it a 'living hell'? Jesus' most graphic depiction of the reality of the 'living hell' was given in Luke chapter 16 starting at verse 19.."There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich mans table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abrahams bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us. Then he said, I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my fathers house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.
Jehovah's Witnesses teach that the word Jesus used often when He talked about hell was 'Gehenna' referring to the dumping ground outside the walls of Jerusalem. Here carcasses and rotting food etc were dumped. The point that Jesus was making was not the pile of dead carcasses but the continual fire ("for I am tormented in this flame" .see above) that the authorities maintained in Gehenna to deal with the disposed rubbish outside the City walls.
In referring to hell He spoke of the 'fire that will never be quenched' Mark 9:43
When Jesus spoke of hell it was always an active place. A place where there would be 'wailing and gnashing of teeth' Matthew 22:13
In Revelation 20:10 when describing hell, scripture describes a real place of daily, everlasting, torment.
The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever...
The chapter ends (verse 15) with this clear warning..
And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Yes, hell is real. That is why Jesus came.
Jehovah's Witnesses have a 'picture of God' which they like, and adjust, or ignore key scriptures to make God fit their picture. In seeing God as a Person too loving to even countenance a living hell for anyone, even the devil, they seek to make God in their image. (i.e. "If I was God I would not do that, and God is kinder than I am, therefore God would not do it)
The Old Testament shows clearly how God treated His own people on so many occasions.
Two quick examples0ne from the Old Testament..
Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. Leviticus 10:1One from the New Testament...
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles feet. But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? "While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God." Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him. Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?" She said, "Yes, for so much." Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out." Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things. Acts 5:1-11
In our human mercy I do not believe that we would not have done these things - but God most certainly did.
The truth is that God is who He describes Himself as in scripture. "I am who I am" (not what you want Me to be!) His ways are beyond our feeble earthly understanding.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
God has spoken. There is a heaven. There is a hell. Jesus taught of a living heaven. And He taught of a living hell. The choice is ours.
He did not come to condemn us - because we were in a state of condemnation already - He came to save us. Let Him.