Jehovah’s witnesses, also known for their door-to-door evangelizing work, have been around since the 19th century. It was around that time that the Seventh-day Adventist started.
The Bible study group based in Pennsylvania began analyzing, comparing, and dissecting Biblical scripture only to arrive at conclusions not taught by the majority of mainstream Christian religions. This zealous group decided to spread their scriptural findings and what they have gathered to the whole of US but now they are not only spreading to the US but also the world and they are now in 239 countries of the world and they have publications and information available in over 600 languages.
DID YOU KNOW,
* They Do Not Use The Cross
Why Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t wear the cross or use it in their worship isn’t because they don’t like the shape, the symbol of the cross is actually completely against their beliefs.
They believe that the origin of the cross is tied with the worship of Egyptian, Babylonian, Norse, and other gods, not to mention it being regarded as a historical symbol of the male genitalia and the coupling of the reproductive organs by some authorities.
Jehovah’s Witnesses also claim that Jesus Christ did not die on a cross but rather on a simple upright torture stake with no crossing beams.
Looking into earlier manuscripts, they have argued that some words usually rendered as “cross” in most modern translations, instead originally carried the meaning noted above. Some scholars and Bible translators agree with this view, and it has since then been a hotly debated topic. Jehovah’s Witnesses thus discourage the use of the cross in worship.
- They Pronounce The Name Of God As ‘Jehovah
Some Bible translations have removed the name of God, many translators deemed it inappropriate for God to be called by a personal name.
Jehovah’s Witnesses both pronounce it and prefer using the New World Translation which restores the divine name more than 7,000 times.
In ancient Hebrew manuscripts, the personal name of God (still seen in certain translations such as the original King James Version in Psalm 83:18) was originally written with four Hebrew consonants called the Tetragrammaton.
While many did not translate it or use it because they felt that such was not showing proper reverence for the holiness of the name or because we do not know exactly how that name was originally pronounced, Jehovah’s Witnesses argue that scriptures like John 17:6 and 26 along with Joel 2:32 highlight the importance of God’s name and the fact that it was used by faithful Jews and even Christ himself.
Jehovah’s Witnesses also argue that not knowing the original pronunciation of God’s name should not stop people from using it, just as our not knowing the exact pronunciation of Jesus’s Hebrew name has not stopped modern Christians from using it.
* They Don’t Celebrate Festive season or Holidays.
I was surprised as well as so many others are to learn that Jehovah’s Witnesses, who come under the grouping of Christian religions, reject holidays that Christians celebrate, Easter Birthday and Christmas included.
Why? The main argument of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is that majority of these holidays, have pagan origins, or roots that are not Bible-based or based in Christian teachings.
They base their organization around the structure and doctrines of the first-century Christian congregation, a group that also rejected many similar customs. The early Christians did not celebrate Jesus’s birth because they considered the celebration of anyone’s birth to be a pagan custom.
Various scholars and authors have also connected the Christmas tree, gift giving, putting up Christmas lights, and the use of mistletoe to be Roman festivals and Druid practices.
It is also recognized that the date of Christ’s birth is not known. December 25 actually correlates to a celebration of the infant god of light by the Cult of Mithras. Such holidays as Easter, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween also reveal similar origins.
The Witnesses claim that practices and customs that are directly disapproved by God. Even though it has been over hundreds of years since these practice originated and mixed in with popular holidays and celebrations, Jehovah’s Witnesses feel that these would displease the God of the Bible.
- They Refuse To Go To War Or Bear Arms In Conflict
When it comes to war, Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to bear arms or engage in war or conflict of any kind even when refusing means imprisonment or execution. Claiming to be a continuation of a first-century Christian congregation, they cite the ancient faith’s refusal to participate in war as one reason for their own refusal.
They also cite their obedience to God and Jesus Christ’s command when Jesus asked Peter to return his weapon to its place.
They have faced resentment and ostracism from political parties around the world. Countries such as Armenia, Turkey, and Eritrea in recent times have convicted, fined, imprisoned, and even tortured members for their conscientious objection. As of mid-2013, one country—South Korea—held 93 percent of imprisoned Jehovah’s Witnesses.
In addition to this
- They were Targets Of Adolf Hitler And Nazis
While most are acquainted with the infamous dictator’s persecution of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and other minorities, many are not familiar with his imprisonment, torture, and execution of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Started in 1933 and ended in 1945.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses faced persecution due to their different ideology in regards to government and war.
Thus, they refused to fight in World War I and refused to support the National Socialism party in Germany.
Because of this, Jehovah’s Witness schoolchildren were humiliated, beaten, or expelled for their refusal to sing political songs and do the notorious salute.
Their work benefits eradicated, and about 10,000 were sent to concentration camps and prisons where they could be identified by the purple triangle they were forced to wear on their uniforms.
It is estimated that up to 5,000 perished.Unlike other persecuted groups, it is of note that the Witnesses were the only group that were offered the chance to renounce their beliefs and be set free a choice that great majority declined.
According to a commanding officer in Auschwitz, SS Chief Heinrich Himmler often used the faith of Jehovah’s Witnesses as a model for his own troops, and because of this and other intense opposition carried on by different countries and parties, the religious group has been called perhaps the most persecuted religion of the 20th-century.
- Members Are Active In Many Lands
Though we usually see them walking in pairs around the neighborhood or we have a believing co-worker, friend or schoolmate, few know how international the religion has become in recent years.
Active Jehovah’s Witnesses can currently be found in a claimed 239 lands around the globe.Known for their order and keeping accurate records, they keep close tabs on their progress as an organization.
Their official website keeps statistics on their position, growth and regularly updates them. Currently, there are almost eight million active members worldwide in over 110,000 congregations.
Jehovah’s Witnesses also take their preaching very seriously. With a goal of reaching as many people as possible with their message, their website has publications and information available on the spot in nearly 700 languages.
Included in this figure are many sign languages from around the world as well as the languages of aboriginal tribes from the Amazon and North America.
- They Believe The Faithful Are Rewarded With A Paradise On Earth.
Unlike the majority of Christian religions and even religions like Islam that believe in the prospect of going to heaven for the righteous, Jehovah’s Witnesses stand in stark contrast. They do believe that a certain select group will receive a heavenly reward, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that God will cleanse the Earth of wickedness in the near future.
They refer to this time as the re-creation, the paradise, or the new system of things.To support this belief, they refer to the model prayer recorded in Matthew, where Christ prayed for God to carry out His will for Earth as He wills for heaven.
According to their interpretation of the Bible, His will for the Earth includes a resurrection of the dead (based on Acts 24:15 and John 5:28–29), harmony between animals and humans (based on Isaiah 11:6–9), an absence of crime or war (based on Psalm 37:10–11, 29 and Isaiah 2:4), and a removal of all illnesses, the aging process, and death (based on Isaiah 35:5–6 and Revelation 21:3–4) among other things.
- Clergy Are Not Paid And They Do Not Collect Tithing.
Have you ever wondered how Jehovah’s Witnesses print all their literature and organize their work without collecting tithe, they do that by voluntary contributions.
The Witnesses do not practice tithing and do not take offerings at meetings in their places of worship also called kingdom halls.
They are funded by the donations given by members if, when, and however they want to contribute. These finances are then distributed to local headquarters called branch offices that can be found in many countries.
These branch offices apportion the money to causes like the construction of kingdom halls, aid in areas affected by natural disasters, support for missionaries, and the publication and distribution of religious literature.
Within the organization, no money is given in compensation for the door-to-door work. There are also no salaried clergy members.
- They Believe These Are The Last Days
Jehovah’s Witnesses take modern events and conditions as signs of the endtime. To prove this, the Witnesses highlight Bible prophecies that they feel are being fulfilled increasingly in the last 100 years.
One account is recorded in Matthew 24, when Christ predicted future events that would precede the end; He pointed to an increase in wars, food shortages, diseases, and earthquakes which would all intensify during the same time frame.
They also point to the Apostle Paul’s description of the last days in 2 Timothy 3:1–5, a time when people’s traits would be characterized by a lack of self-control, fierceness, love of pleasure, selfishness, and a turning away from religion and spirituality by the majority.