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Questions about Jehovah’s Witnesses

By Gary F. Zeolla


In the following e-mail exchange, the e-mailer's comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.

>Hi. Thanks for your site. I've been trying to "help" some JW's for nearly a year now, & tend to end up with more problems than answers. They say Jesus BECAME Messiah when he was "anointed" by "holy spirit" at baptism.<

Nowhere does the Bible state this. Jesus was the One who would save His people from their sins from His conception (Matt 1:21).

> Jesus always refers to "the Father" and is "the mediator"--he cannot talk or mediate himself, so these seem to refer to another entity.<

That is the whole point of the doctrine of the Trinity: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct Persons.

> I've read Trinity info from Watchman Fellowship, but I agree with JW's that God shouldn't be so confusing!<

What you, I, or anyone else thinks God "should" be like is irrelevant. What is relevant is what He has revealed about Himself in the Bible. And, as the many Scriptures studies and articles on my site demonstrate, what He reveals is that in some way He is "one" and in a different way He is "three." That is the reason for the doctrine of the Trinity.

> What is your view of hell?<

See my Scripture studies and articles on the subject listed on the following page: Eternity.

> Why do mainstream churches not send workers out to save souls more vigorously?<

Most mainstream churches are liberal. As such, they do not believe that Jesus is the only way to be saved. Hence they do not have the incentive for evangelism. However, most evangelical churches of whatever denomination, or of no denomination at all, are involved in evangelism in one way or another.

> --why am I not out there??? <

Only you can answer that. Perhaps you need to get on your knees before God for a while and ask Him.

> Bless you!

God bless you too!

>Hello again, Gary--Blessings!<

Hello again and blessings to you!

>I appreciate the hard work & research you put into your writings!<

Thank you.

>Please pray for the "Bethel" here in Pyongtaek, South Korea, which houses over 200 Witnesses, and prints & distributes several million copies of Awake & Watchtower magazines per year, in Korean and English. They have several HUNDRED small congregations throughout the country, too. The Society just dedicated the new expansion of the housing & publishing facility in Japan, and brought in delegates from all over the world (it also handles tons of Russian material).<

Sounds like a difficult situation.

>Are there bona fide Christian publications that "compare" with theirs and are useful for sharing? For many years, I have subscribed to Creation magazine from Answers in Genesis, and always give them away--but millions of Witnesses are giving away millions more of their works, which are really good, except for a questionable line or two here & there: how can we combat it?<

There are many apologetics/ counter cult ministries around that are doing just that: trying to combat groups like the JWs. there are also many other Christians ministries that are involved in evangelism in general. See my Recommended Internet Sites page for links to the Web sites of many such groups.

Now, how many of these have hardcopy ministries, as in publishing materials for distribution, I am not sure. I used to publish a hardcopy newsletter but had to discontinue it for personal reasons. But there are still many doing so. See also my Recommended Newsletters and Magazines page for such publications which are still available.

>I enjoyed a trip to the largest church in the world, Yoido Full Gospel Fellowship in Seoul, and was encouraged to be among 12,000 in the sanctuary at one of 7 regular Sunday services; their active membership is 763,000! Please pray for their daily newspaper, which can impact many lives.

Blessings to you!
By God's grace & for His glory

>Hello, my name is Shirley Adams and myself and a few of our church members have been questioning the use of the word "Cross". In the Bible the word cross is translated from stauros which comes from the root "sta" that is "to stand."

Looking at the root meanings of words is a very unreliable way of determining the meaning of the word. In many cases, it is simply irrelevant, or even quite misleading.

> As far as the word itself is concerned, there is no indication of any cross piece whatsoever.<

Every lexicon that I use gives the meaning of "cross."

> Also Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament words has shed the same light on this question.<

I am aware of Vine's comments in this regard. However, Vines dictionary is a rather unreliable lexical source. I never use it in my work on the ALT.

> We would greatly appreciate your outlook on this matter. We want to make sure that we do our best to search out words we are unsure of, so we bring our father no shame. We understand the need for the translations but with them also comes the chance of mistranslations. If you could help shed some light on this for us we would be grateful.

A servant of Christ.

Since the shape of the cross is not described in the Bible one cannot be dogmatic one way or the other as to its shape. However, the post-apostolic Church is clear in that it was not simply an upright "stake." See for instance, my article Justin Martyr: Would he be a Jehovah's Witness? In it, I quote Justin as comparing the shape of the cross to items that are "cross-like" in shape, such as a standing human being with his arms extended out to the side.

Moreover, there is archeological evidence that the cross was in the traditional shape. The skeleton of a crucified man was found. He still had a spike going through both of his feet. As for his arms, the spikes were clearly put in-between the bones in his wrist. There is wear on his bones from the spike scrapping against the upper bone (the "radius" - on the side of the thumb). This would be consistent with him being nailed to a cross with his arms outstretched. If his arms had been overhead, then the wear would have been on the lower arm-bone, on the side of the "pinky" finger (from the book Ancient Evidence for the Life of Jesus, now titled The Verdict of History, by Gary Habermas, pp.153-155).

Furthermore, if his arms had been overhead, most likely, his hands would have been crossed just like the feet, with ONE nail going through both wrists. However, Thomas clearly says there was more than one nail used in nailing Jesus' hands to the cross:

[John 20:25] The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."

Note: "in His hands the print of the nails" - that's nails, plural.

Summing up, all the available evidence shows the cross was in the traditional shape, and there is no reliable evidence to the contrary.

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