Watchtower teaches that Jehovah’s Witnesses alone will survive Armageddon, because only they worship Jehovah, with such comments appearing regularly in published literature.
“Only Jehovah’s Witnesses, those of the anointed remnant and the “great crowd,” as a united organization under the protection of the Supreme Organizer, have any Scriptural hope of surviving the impending end of this doomed system dominated by Satan the Devil.” Watchtower 1989 Sep 1 p.19
“In fact, with God’s day of judgment so near today, all the world should ‘keep silent before the Sovereign Lord Jehovah’ and hear what he says through the “little flock” of Jesus’ anointed followers and their companions, his “other sheep.” (Luke 12:32; John 10:16) Annihilation awaits all who will not listen and who thereby set themselves against rule by God’s Kingdom.” Watchtower 2001 Feb 15 p.14
As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I always struggled with this concept, since the only reason I was a Witness was due to being “lucky” enough to have been raised one from infancy. Some Witnesses will say that there will be those that survive Armageddon that are not Jehovah’s Witnesses, because Jehovah judges hearts, or that they never heard the Kingdom message, but this is not what the Watchtower teaches. It claims Armageddon is like the flood of Genesis, where salvation depended on being on Noah’s Ark, represented today by the Watchtower organization.
“Do not conclude that there are different roads, or ways, that you can follow to gain life in God’s new system. There is only one. There was just one ark that survived the Flood, not a number of boats. And there will be only one organization- God’s visible organization – that will survive the fast-approaching “great tribulation.” It is simply not true that all religions lead to the same goal … You must be part of Jehovah’s organization, doing God’s will, in order to receive his blessing of everlasting life.” You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth p.255
Watchtower teaches that the survivors of Armageddon will only amount to millions, with billions put to death.
“The War of Armageddon results in the saving of millions of lives.” Watchtower 2012 Feb p.7
“There are billions of people who do not know Jehovah. Many of them in ignorance practice things that God’s Word shows to be wicked. If they persist in this course, they will be among those who perish during the great tribulation.” Watchtower 1993 Oct 1 p.19
Even children will be killed if they are not born into Jehovah’s Witness families.
“It also reveals that in times past when God destroyed the wicked he likewise destroyed their little ones.” Reasoning from the Scriptures p.48
Many that stop being Jehovah’s Witnesses, and do not believe it is the truth, continue to be plagued with a fear of dying at Armageddon. This is due to being indoctrinated as children that Armageddon is a literal event that is soon to occur, and forced to study horrifically inappropriate images in Watchtower’s children’s books that are the source of nightmares and fear that can remain for life.
Image Source: Watchtower publication “Learn From the Great Teacher” cover and p.243
It is shocking way to control people, and important to fully comprehend that you have no reason to fear or believe Armageddon is a literal event.
Development of Watchtower Salvation Doctrine
The word Armageddon appears only once in the Bible at Revelation 16:16, described as a war at Megiddo, an ancient city in Israel. There is nothing to indicate a twenty-first century supernatural war where God kills all but Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Watchtower originally taught that Armageddon started in 1874 as a period of social upheaval, expected to end in 1914. (See Zion’s Watch Tower 1892 Jan 15 p.23) Now it is a global war of destruction sometime in the future. The great variance Watchtower has been able to apply to this Scripture removes all credence from their current interpretation.
Would a God of love devote billions of people to a violent and everlasting death? That is not the God Russell believed in when founding Watchtower. Russell left the Presbyterians because he could not believe in the injustice of a God willing to destroy the majority of humankind.
“We reasoned that, if Christ’s coming was to end probation and bring irrevocable ruin upon ninety-nine in a hundred of mankind, then it could scarcely be considered desirable, neither could we pray with a proper spirit, “Come, Lord Jesus, Come quickly!”” SUPPLEMENT TO Zion’s Watch Tower, And “Herald of Christ’s Presence.” 1879 July 1
“Russell wrote: “We felt greatly grieved at the error of Second Adventists, who were expecting Christ in the flesh, and teaching that the world and all in it except Second Adventists would be burned up.”” Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom (1986) p.45
Under Russell, Watchtower taught “future probation,” where the masses of humanity would be educated by Christ in the 1000-year reign, before receiving judgment. It was during the leadership of Rutherford that the current genocidal doctrine evolved, with the teachings of ‘irrevocable ruin’ and ‘judgement periods’ introduced. The religion Russell founded now claims not just “ninety nine of a hundred will be destroyed,” but 99.9 out of 100 will die at Armageddon, since there is only one Jehovah’s Witness for every 1,000 people on earth.
Is This Doctrine Fair?
Jesus was born in the Middle East, where Christianity was founded. Watchtower on the other hand is an American religion, founded in America, headquartered in America, with a predominantly white male Governing Body. Even depictions of Armageddon are American, as identified by the soldier’s American camouflage and M16 assault rifles.
Image source: Watchtower 2019 Oct cover
There are 12 classical world religions and over 34,000 Christian sects. (David B. Barrett, et al., “World Christian Encyclopedia : A Comparative Survey of Churches and Religions in the Modern World,” Oxford University Press, (2001).) The religion a person belongs to is overwhelmingly connected to the situation of one’s birth.
“What religion a man shall have is a historical accident, quite as much as what language he shall speak.” George Santayana ‘Life of Reason’ – Volume ‘Reason in Religion’ p.5
Is the teenage Jehovah’s Witness in the United States of America more deserving of salvation than a Baptist missionary in Indonesia, or a Nepalese monk, isolated from the world and Bible. If you are a Watchtower follower, imagine Jehovah’s Witnesses are not the true religion. Would it be fair that God is going to destroy you for being part of the wrong religion?
Amber Scorah was sent to China to engage in Watchtower’s Missionary service. She highlights how unsound it is to think people of other cultures are worthy of destruction.
“Sooner or later, in our study sessions, my students and I would get to the section in the book with the chapter on Armageddon—with its two-page centerfold illustration of fire falling from the sky and people dying, reeling into the gaping earth. As I began to explain these things, in a new tongue, in a new place, I started to hear what I was saying, for the first time: “So because you were born here, and I was born into my world, God’s going to kill you and your family and friends and associates, but not me. Because you were educated differently, in a different culture, and therefore have a different explanation for life, for spirituality, for goodness, for meaning, you will die, and I will live. This is because I was taught, week in, week out, from the time I was five, that this all made perfect sense. And you were not.” (Open book to Armageddon centerfold.) I started to feel embarrassed.” see believermag.com (Feb 2013)
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not practice “the truth,” easily proven by Watchtower’s constant doctrinal changes over its short 140 year history. The Bible shows God indicated whom he was using through powerful signs, such as speaking directly to Abraham and provided powerful miracles through Moses. First century Christians witnessed God personally speaking in approval of his son and watched Jesus heal the sick and raise the dead. The apostles and other Christians continued to display such powerful works. Jehovah’s Witnesses have never produced a powerful sign of any kind to assist identify God’s approval.
Another problem with saying salvation is dependant on being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is that the Watchtower is not accessible to a large portion of the world. Much of the world does not even have access to the Bible. Over half the world is not Christian, and by and large the chance of being a Jehovah’s Witnesses is dependant on living in a country that was conquered or converted by Christianity over the last 2,000 years. The 2011 Publisher report lists countries where Witnesses are banned under the category “30 Other Lands”. Highlighted in red, these make up 16% of the earth’s land surface, and account for 1.9 billion people, or 27% of the earth’s population. Despite the size of this group, there were only 24,483 Jehovah’s Witness publishers across these countries combined, which is less than 1 in every 77,000 people.
Courtesy of www.jwsurvey.org
South Park episode “Orientation day in Hell” is poignant for any religion claiming its members alone deserve salvation.
At what point is it feasible for a religion to say only their followers deserve salvation? Was it crazy that the 11 followers of Mrs. Marian Keech’s flying UFO cult, the Seekers, believed aliens would destroy all but themselves? How about the Watchtower indicating that God will save 7 million people and destroy over 7 billion? Would it even be logical to believe that a religion such as Catholicism, with 1 billion members, is the only acceptable one, if it means God would be required to destroy 6 billion people? To believe God would only find people of a single religion acceptable, regardless of size, is unfair.
On September 11th 2001, people watched in horror as the twin towers in New York collapsed, killing several thousand people over a disagreement of religious ideologies. Yet this is inconsequential when compared to the destruction Jehovah is expected to mete upon humankind, billions of which have never seen a Bible. If the senseless death of a few thousand people offends any sense of justice, how much more so should the global slaughter described by Watchtower and eagerly awaited by Jehovah’s Witnesses? Such a teaching is from leaders willing to prey on the gullibility of naive followers content to accept they alone deserve salvation.
There is no basis to Watchtower’s teaching that Armageddon is a global war, or that it is about to occur. If you have any fear, please take time to research Watchtower’s history and doctrine, in order to fully understand that Jehovah’s Witnesses are just one of many modern day sects that are not “the truth.”