When a Jehovah's Witness Knocks on Your Door...
by George Battey
I have a confession to make: When a "Witness" knocks on my door I get very nervous. These "Witnesses" are trained weekly on certain subjects, especially on passages of prophecy. I fear I will not be able to adequately defend the truth before these Watchtower teachers. To avoid discussing prophetic passages which I am weak on, I usually try to steer the study into some subject which they are unfamiliar with, like the plan of salvation, or the items of worship. I really believe this has been a mistake to some degree. I am persuaded the only hope we have of converting witnesses is to place doubts in their minds on the major doctrines which they feel so confident about. If I could actually convince a Witness that baptism was essential, or that the New Testament teaches a weekly communion, what have I gained? He still does not believe in the deity of Jesus. If we could just get them to doubt one major point of their doctrine they may begin to think within themselves: "If I have been wrong on this major issue, which the Watchtower is so confident about, maybe I am wrong on other issues like the deity of Jesus. Maybe the Watch-tower Society is just as wrong as other manmade religions." With this kind of thinking conversion would be possible for a Witness.
Recently a Witness came by my house and we studied for three weeks. This Witness was so anxious to study with me he even agreed to lay aside the New World Translation and study with me out of the King James Version. The second study we had went so well I decided to use it as a standard approach anytime I have an opportunity to study with a Witness. Below is a basic dialogue which can be used effectively in a home study. The following conversation is the essence of my study with "Jim." I hope you can benefit from these notes and use them the next time a Witness knocks on your door.
George: "Jim, I would like you to explain to me why the Witnesses believe only 144,000 are going to heaven, but the rest of Gods saved people will live eternally on earth."
Jim: "Read Revelation 7:48."
George: (I read Revelation 7:4-8, but I also included verse 9. After reading I asked this:) "Tell me now, which tribe of Israel was brother Rutherford from?"
Jim: "Oh he was not from a literal tribe of Israel."
George: "You mean these are not literal tribes, but the 144,000 is a literal number?"
George: "What are these tribes mentioned here if they are not literal?"
Jim: "They are referring to spiritual Israel."
George: "I thought all of Gods children were spiritual Israel according to Romans 2:28-29."
Jim: "No, only the 144,000 are."
George: "Then what does that make you?"
Jim: "I am not part of the 144,000."
George: "If the 144,000 are spiritual Israel, and you are not a part of spiritual Israel, would that make you a spiritual Gentile?"
Jim: "I never thought of it like that before, but I guess it would mean that."
George: "Well, if the 144,000 are spiritual Israel, and the rest of you guys are spiritual Gentiles, what does that make the rest of mankind who are lost?"
Jim: "They are just lost; they are not anything."
George: "Now what will happen to you spiritual Gentiles?"
Jim: "We will inherit the earth."
George: "What passage teaches that?"
Jim: "Psalm 37:10-11"
George: (I read the passage.) "Now let me ask you this, Was brother Rutherford a meek man?"
Jim: "Of course he was meek, or he would not have studied his Bible."
George: "Well, Psalm 37:11 says the meek will inherit the earth. Will brother Rutherford inherit the earth?"
Jim: "No, he is part of the 144,000."
George: "What scriptures teach that meek people in spiritual Israel go to heaven, but meek spiritual Gentiles stay on earth?"
Jim: "Revelation 14:3 says the 144,000 were redeemed FROM the earth, but the rest of the saved (the great multitude of Revelation 7:9) are BEFORE the throne. BEFORE the throne indicates the earth which is Gods footstool before His throne (Matthew 5:35)."
George: "According to Revelation 14:3 the 144,000 are also BEFORE the throne. Further more, the great multitude of Revelation 7:9 are "in Gods temple" (7:15) where "they shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat" (7:16). If the sun is not shining on them, they must not be living on earth.
"You know what I think Jesus meant when He said the meek would inherit the earth? It seems in Matthew 5:1-12 Jesus is speaking about spiritual things: spiritual poverty, spiritual mourning, spiritual hungering and thirsting. It would seem that 'inheriting the earth was also spiritual rather than literal. As we look around and see worldly people we say, 'They are possessed by money. But Gods people will possess the riches of earth. Gods people are not 'possessed by money; they 'possess money. As Obadiah 17 says, 'The house of Jacob shall posses their possessions. And so it seems that Jesus taught that Gods people will place physical possessions second to spiritual things; they will possess the earth rather than be possessed by the earth. Have you ever thought of it like that?"
Jim: "No, I never heard that before."
George: "Well, I would like you think that over, and when you come back next week maybe you will have found the passage that says only some meek people will inherit the earth literally, but other meek people (the 144,000) will not."
With this study ended, I felt several things were accomplished: (1) I placed the true meaning of Matthew 5:5 before Jim, (2) He discovered he did not know as much about the 144,000 as he thought he did, and (3) Hopefully a seed of doubt has been placed in his mind which may open up an opportunity for me to study with him about Jesus. I pray that in time Jim, and others like him, will not only doubt the truthfulness of the Watchtower Society, but will eventually "come out from among them" into the "kingdom of Gods dear Son" (2 Cor 6:17; CoI 1:13).