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Born Again

What Does it Mean?

A response by Les Sherlock to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Watchtower magazine
volume 130 no. 7
(ironically published 1st April 2009!)


This article, which appeared in the Watchtower magazine given to me in 2009, can be found here.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004.  Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream,, Illinois 60188.  All rights reserved.

Verses marked (W) are from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (the Watchtower version of the Bible), revised 1970.

The Watchtower version of the Bible can be read on-line here, but I do not recommend it unless you have a valid translation of the Bible with which to compare it, because while most of it is a fair translation, there are important differences here and there in the use of words and punctuation that significantly alter the meaning in order to make it line up with JW doctrine where a valid translation contradicts it. For example, it translates Luke 23:43 as “And he said to him: "Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise." An authentic translation is:

Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

By altering the punctuation, in this case moving the comma to the other side of the word ‘today’, the meaning is changed to fit Watchtower teaching. This is an important point: there is no punctuation in the Greek or Hebrew languages because they do not need it. The meaning of the sentences is determined by the spelling and positioning of the words. In English, while the spelling of words and their position affects the meaning, punctuation is also required in order to make it clear. So when a translator turns Greek or Hebrew into English, he uses the punctuation required in order for it to say the same in both languages.

This means the idea is not valid that because Greek does not have punctuation you can therefore change it in English. You can’t! The translator has used the punctuation needed to reflect what can be read in Greek, and if by changing the punctuation you are altering the meaning, you are taking it further away from the original, not bringing it closer.

In this study, my commentary is in black; quotes from the Bible are in red; quotes from other sources – mostly the Watchtower magazine – are in blue. Various translations of the Bible are used, including occasionally the Watchtower version, the latter denoted by (W). However, the slight variation in the translations makes little difference to most of the points being made.

Page 3: …a current dictionary defines a born-again individual as “a usually Christian person who has made a renewed or confirmed commitment of faith especially after an intense religious experience”… Would you be surprised to learn that the Bible does not agree with that definition?

I wouldn’t be surprised, because this is not what either the Bible or the Christian Church teaches. It is not merely a commitment of faith, but repentance (a change of mind resulting in a change of behaviour) and confession (to God, not man) of sin, asking for forgiveness on the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus, who paid the price to enable this to take place. The result is that the old person passes away and new person is born: a change from ‘death’ to ‘life’:

Ephesians 2:1 …it is you God has made alive, though you were dead in your trespasses and sins. (W)

Colossians 2:13 Furthermore, though you were dead in your trespasses and in the uncircumcised state of your flesh, [God] made you alive together with him. He kindly forgave us all our trespasses.  (W)

2 Corinthians 5:17 ...anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

So the old life has ended and a new life has begun – literally! This is why it is called ‘born again’: it is literally a new birth, a new life. The person’s physical body may remain the same, but the person’s spirit becomes radically different (more on this below) as the next scripture indicates:

Romans 8:16 For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children.

It is not merely a mental assent to something, or a resolution to be different, but a metamorphosis just as real and transforming as a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Contrary to Watchtower teaching, there is something within humans that continues to live on and is conscious after the death of the body:

2 Corinthians 5:1–2, 6–8 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God Himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing.

2 Corinthians 12:2–3  I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don't know—only God knows. Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body...

Philippians 1:21–24 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don't know which is better. I'm torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live

.Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you, Today you shall be with Me in Paradise.*

* As mentioned above, the Watchtower version of the Bible translates this verse:

And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise.”

Moving the comma to the other side of the word ‘today’ cannot be justified from the Greek text but alters the meaning to fit with JW teaching.

* The experience of Abraham, Lazarus and the rich man after their deaths.

** Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

*** 2 Corinthians 3:18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.

2 Cor 4:16 ...Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.

2 Peter 1:13–15 And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live. For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life, so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.

So Paul tells us there is something that can be away from the body and with the Lord, in the body or out of the body, which can depart from life in the flesh to be with Christ, which can leave ‘this tabernacle’ and depart; and Jesus said He would be with the thief in Paradise while His body was in the tomb. Also, in Luke 16:19–31*, Jesus taught that consciousness continues after death. While some may argue about the distinction between spirit and soul (that such a distinction exists is clear from Hebrews 4:12**), it is obvious from the above verses that this ‘non-physical’ part of man’s being continues to exist after physical death, and it is this element that is transformed at the new birth.

The subject is too large to go into here, but in short the spirit is the God-conscious part of man; the soul is the self-conscious part and the body is the world-conscious part. The spirit is transformed at the new birth; the soul is being changed in this life (2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:16***), and the body will be changed at the resurrection. The spirit communicates with God and functions via conscience, for example; the soul functions with the mind, emotions and will; and the body is the physical element, functioning with the five senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing and feeling, enabling us to interact with the physical world. The spirit is the spiritual part of man; the body is the physical part of man; the soul is the intermediary between spirit and body, bringing the spiritual into the physical realm (“your Kingdom come on the Earth as it is in Heaven”). A person ruled by their spirit is spiritual (if inhabited by God’s Spirit this will result in righteousness, if inhabited by evil spirit(s) it will result in sin); ruled by their soul is soulish (and driven by the mind or emotions); ruled by their physical desires is carnal (and driven by physical desires).

Question: what change has taken place in those people within the Jehovah’s Witnesses who do claim to be born again? If there is no part of us that continues to live after death, then the only thing that is capable of experiencing change is our physical bodies. So in what way do they change when the new birth takes place? Or do they claim the new birth is simply ‘turning over a new leaf’ or the fact that God has now designated that person to be a part of the special group of 144,000? If so, then all the scriptures telling us about the radical change that takes place when becoming born again are meaningless.

Although page three of the booklet tells us ‘born again’ only appears once * in the New Testament, in a footnote it does give the reference to 1 Peter 1:3, 23, which are two more verses saying the same thing:

* John 3:3, 7

1 Peter 1:3, 23  All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead...  For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.

Page 5: Since Jesus viewed the new birth as a matter of such great importance, Christians should make sure that they understand this subject accurately. For example, do you think that a Christian can choose to be born again?

The Watchtower belief system is radically different from what is taught in the Bible, as we shall see as we progress. Hence we find such strange questions as that in the above quote. The people Paul was writing to at Ephesus and Colossi in the quotes above were Christians. These are the people who he said were now alive who had previously been dead: i.e. they had experienced the new birth. The consistent teaching of the New Testament is that a Christian is a person who has been born again. If someone is born again, they are a Christian; if they are not born again, they are not a Christian. So the idea that a Christian can choose to be born again is completely wrong: if he is a Christian, he has been born again.

Page 5: A careful reading of Jesus’ words shows that Jesus did not teach that it is up to man to choose whether to experience the new birth or not.

This is self-evidently untrue, as will be seen in what follows. It is man who chooses whether to repent or not. It is man who chooses whether to be baptised or not. According to Peter in Acts chapter 2 (quoted later) everyone undertaking these two steps will receive the Holy Spirit. So in that sense the initiative comes from man. However, strictly speaking this is not the whole story since the first initiative came from God, who planned and accomplished the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus to make our salvation possible. Having initiated the process He is now waiting for us to respond to Him, and in everyone who does so He performs the miracle of new birth.

Page 6: …when Jesus said you must be “born again,” He was stating a fact, not giving a command.

It makes no difference whether He was stating a fact or giving a command. Either way the effect of His words is the same: it is vitally important that a person is born again; otherwise it is impossible either to see or enter the Kingdom of God. Therefore, clearly, it is both necessary and possible for us. Yet the Watchtower in its teaching tells the majority of its followers that they cannot be born again! Presumably they know better than Jesus…

If we keep the expression “from above” in mind, it is not hard to understand why an individual cannot cause his own new birth.

Untrue! It is God who gives us the new birth certainly – we cannot do it ourselves – but it is we who have to present ourselves to Him in order for it to happen. If we do not, it will not happen: if we do, then it will.

On page seven in the chapter “What is its Purpose?” we are told:

Thus, one needs to be born again in order to enter into God’s Kingdom, not in order to receive salvation.

Another statement that is untrue: as will be seen in this discussion, salvation is entering into God’s Kingdom. If a person is in God’s Kingdom he is saved: if he is not in God’s Kingdom he is not saved. If one reads the entire chapter of 1 Peter 1 it is clear that the new birth to which he refers in 1 Peter 1:3, 23 results in salvation. For example, immediately following verse three it is clear that…

1 Peter 1:3–5 …It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

Therefore the new birth, the entrance into God’s Kingdom and the reception of salvation are all different aspects of the same experience. The Watchtower disagrees, however:

Page 7: ‘But,’ some may say, ‘are not these two expressions – entering the Kingdom and receiving salvation – referring to the same reward? No, they are not.

I agree! They are not referring to the same reward because neither entering the Kingdom nor receiving salvation is a reward, but a free gift. There is nothing anyone can do to earn salvation; nothing anyone can do to earn entrance into the Kingdom:

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

However, there then appears a very deceptive paragraph, giving scripture quotations in support, which in fact do not say what is claimed. Quote:

Page 7: …Christ’s fellow rulers are individuals chosen “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” and will “rule as kings over the earth.” (Revelation 5:9, 10; 20:6) God’s Word further reveals that those who will rule as kings form a “little flock” of 144,000 individuals “who have been brought from the earth.” Luke 12:32; Revelation 14:1, 3.

So let’s look at those scriptures.

Revelation 5:8–10 …the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God's people. And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For You were slaughtered, and Your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And You have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.”

Translations vary regarding whether the song in this passage refers to the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders who were singing, or to others. Either could be the case, depending on whether the Greek word hemas * is translated ‘us’ or ‘them’ (either ‘redeemed us’ or ‘redeemed them’). According to Strong’s Greek dictionary, hemas is the Accusative plural of the Greek word ego – ‘I’ or ‘me’, making hemas ‘our’, ‘us’ or ‘we’. If this is the case, then the passage cannot refer to the 144,000. The Watchtower translation translates it ‘them’, but even if this were the case, there is nothing in the context to restrict it to the 144,000: it simply refers to people who were redeemed by Jesus’ blood out of every nation and there is no verse in the New Testament that limits the number of the redeemed to 144,000.

* Ἡμᾶς,  hēmas, hay-mas'

Accusative plural of G1473; us: - our, us, we. (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries)

However, if the Watchtower are saying that only the 144,000 are redeemed by the blood of Jesus, then the rest really are in trouble! The word redeemed has its roots in slavery, where if a slave could get enough money to buy his own freedom, he could ‘redeem’ himself. The Bible teaches that the whole of the human race is born into slavery to Satan as a result of Adam’s sin. Jesus, through His sacrificial death, made it possible for us to be redeemed, the price of which is His blood. The only way for anyone to come out of slavery to Satan and into freedom, is by being redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ. If a person is not so freed in this life, he will not be freed in the next either:

Revelation 22:11 Let the one who is doing harm continue to do harm; let the one who is vile continue to be vile; let the one who is righteous continue to live righteously; let the one who is holy continue to be holy."

So there is a stark choice: slavery to Satan (i.e. ruled by Satan in his kingdom) or freedom in Christ (i.e. living in God’s Kingdom and under His rule). There is no other alternative. The choice is ours to take now, in this life, which determines our destiny both in this life and the next: repent, be baptised and God will give the gift of the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of eternal life; or do not take that step and remain in slavery to Satan in this life and be cast out of God’s presence in the next. In Revelation 7:9 there is a company too large to number, with robes washed white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev 7:14), which could only refer to redemption through Jesus’ blood. So it is obvious the number of the redeemed is not limited to 144,000.

Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years.

There is nothing in the context of the chapter to restrict this verse to the 144,000. However notice that all those who take part in the first resurrection will rule with Christ. So no Jehovah’s Witnesses who have died will be resurrected until after Christ’s 1,000 year reign, unless they are part of the 144,000, according to their teaching.

Luke 12:32 "So don't be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

Who was Jesus talking to?

Luke 12:22 Then, turning to His disciples, Jesus said...

Peter asked if Jesus was referring just to them or to others in Luke 12:41, and in His reply (Luke 12:42–53) Jesus made it clear it was for everyone who continued to obey Him. So there is nothing in the context of this passage to claim that the ‘little flock’ to whom Jesus was speaking here was the 144,000 and no-one else.

Then I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him were 144,000 who had His name and His Father's name written on their foreheads...This great choir sang a wonderful new song in front of the throne of God and before the four living beings and the twenty-four elders. No one could learn this song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth (Revelation 14:1, 3).

The 144,000 are identified in Revelation 7:4–8 as Israelis. There can be no doubt about this, as the names of the tribes are specified. So, for example, those Israelis from the tribe of Reuben are such because they can trace their ancestry back to Reuben. If the 144,000 are not Israelis but Jehovah’s Witnesses, on what basis are 12,000 of them of the tribe of Reuben? They certainly can’t trace their ancestry back to Reuben.

Furthermore, it couldn’t possibly refer to Jehovah’s Witnesses who lived and died in the 19th and 20th centuries, because the 144,000 are living on the Earth just after the events of the four horsemen, the sun becoming black, the moon becoming like blood and terror in everyone on the Earth (Revelation 6:1–17). They were sealed for their protection before further judgements fell on the Earth, sea and trees (Revelation 7:3; 9:4).

The fact that many people claimed by the Watchtower to be a part of the 144,000 have now died is therefore evidence that they are not! While parts of the book of Revelation are not chronological, because there are different descriptions of different time periods, it cannot be claimed that the sealing of the 144,000 is not chronologically where I have described because they are all living on the Earth and sealed at the same time, between the opening of the 6th and 7th seals (Revelation 6:12 and 8:1 respectively).

Furthermore, according to this magazine:

Page 9: …the 3,000 converts were first baptised with water, and then they received the holy spirit.

So by Watchtower reckoning the converts on the day of Pentecost are included in the 144,000. But John’s revelation, which came toward the end of his life while exiled on Patmos, was of events to come in the future. By the time his revelation came some of the 3,000 had already died. Since the sealing of the 144,000 takes place while they are alive on the Earth – before the resurrection – these too are then obviously excluded!

Question: if Peter was on the Earth today, preached the same sermon as he did on the day of Pentecost, and 3,000 responded in repentance and baptism, would they too all be born again? If not, why not? What was so special about the 3,000 in Acts 2 that they should immediately be born again, while others responding in the same way today are not? They did nothing different from anything millions of people since that day have done.

In Revelation 14:1 the 144,000 are present with the Lamb and are virgins (Rev 14:4). (So no married people can be amongst them.) In Rev 14:12 we are told about saints on the Earth needing to endure, who are therefore different people from the 144,000 now with the Lamb. So there are saints in addition to the 144,000.

Revelation 20:4 Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their forehead or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

How many Jehovah’s Witnesses have been beheaded, refused to worship the beast or its image and refused its mark on their foreheads? The answer is none (because the mark of the beast, without which no-one can buy or sell [Revelation 13:17], has not yet been instituted: when it is, an angel will be seen warning mankind not to accept it [Rev 14:9–10], and that certainly has not happened yet). The people who have been martyred in this way will reign with Christ for 1000 years, but the Watchtower says only the 144,000 will do this. Clearly, Revelation 20:4 is contrary to Watchtower teaching!

Page 8: What then did Jesus mean when He stated that one must be born again to “enter the Kingdom of God?” He meant that one needs to be born again in order to become a ruler with Christ in heaven.

This is a clear case of twisting the meaning of scripture to fit an unscriptural idea. The fact that I entered the United Kingdom when I was born in England as a baby did not mean I became a ruler of the United Kingdom! Clearly I did not: I just became a subject. When Jesus said one must be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, He meant one must be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, which has nothing to do with whether one rules within it or not. What it does so clearly mean, however, is that until one is born again, one is outside of God’s Kingdom, and even unable to see it. Therefore if he is not born again a person is still in Satan’s kingdom and under his rule – there is no other option.

Page 11: Since the days of the Apostles, God has been choosing from among mankind a limited number of faithful Christians, adopting them as sons.

Untrue! Where is the scriptural basis for this claim? There is absolutely no limit on the number of people who can become God’s sons:

John 1:12 However, as many as did receive him, to them he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name… (W)

1 John 5:1–2 Everyone believing that Jesus is the Christ has been born from God… children of God… (W)

Those two scriptures alone are enough to destroy this Watchtower teaching; but they aren’t alone! During the course of writing this paper I have read right through the New Testament, and at the end of this discussion I have listed dozens of scriptures, all of which speak about salvation, redemption through Christ’s blood, being God’s children, etc., none of which make any reference to any limitation regarding the number of people to whom they apply. Nor do they give any distinction between people who are born again and so are God’s children, and others who are saved but not God’s children. In contrast, the Watchtower can only come up with a handful of scriptures in support of its teaching, all of which are clearly either taken out of context or interpreted in a way differently from that which was so obviously intended.

The Watchtower error came about historically because they originally said Jehovah’s Witnesses were the 144,000, but when it became apparent that there were going to be more J.W.s than this number, they had to find a way around it. They did this by misusing:

John 10:16 And I have other sheep which are not of this fold. Those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd. (W)

So the 144,000 became the sheep ‘of this fold’ by this new teaching and everyone else joining the Watchtower became the ‘other sheep’. However, this is quite obviously wrong even from the same verse, since Jesus says “…there shall be one flock…” Not two flocks – one flock. This can only mean one thing: the sheep from two different flocks are mingled together so they become one flock and thereafter their origin becomes unimportant and indistinguishable. According to Watchtower teaching there will always be two different flocks; according to Jesus there will only be one flock. And this one flock receives eternal life:

John 10:27–28 My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish...

It is obvious from New Testament teaching what Jesus was referring to. ‘This fold’ was the Israeli people to whom He was ministering. E.g. when the Canaanite woman came to Him asking Him to heal her demonised daughter:

Mat 15:24  But He answered and said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

And when He sent his disciples out:

Matthew 10:5–6 Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: "Don't go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but only to the people of Israel—God's lost sheep.

So His earthly ministry was primarily to Israel (although He did respond to requests from ‘foreigners’), but His commission to the disciples after His resurrection was to evangelise the entire world:

Mark 16:15–16 And then He told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.

These are the sheep ‘not of this fold’. (Note, there is no limit or restriction on the number of people to whom this applies in this verse. Nor is there any hint that at some future time after they have become Christians a minority of these will be born again while the majority will not.) However, Paul tells us about the uniting of these two flocks into one, this time using the analogy of the two, Israeli and Gentile, becoming one new man:

Ephesians 2:12–15 … In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to Him through the blood of Christ. For Christ Himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in His own body on the cross, He broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in Himself one new people from the two groups.

This theme is continued elsewhere:

Galatians 3:28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:11 In this new life, it doesn't matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and He lives in all of us.

However, Paul also says the Israeli nation will ultimately be restored back to God:

Romans 11:25–26 I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. And so all Israel will be saved. As the Scriptures say, “The One who rescues will come from Jerusalem, and He will turn Israel away from ungodliness.”

This, clearly, is where the 144,000 come from: when “the fullness of the people of the nations has come in” (Watchtower translation) the Israeli people will turn back to God, 144,000 of whom qualify to become the group mentioned in Revelation. There is no scriptural justification whatsoever for the Watchtower to claim that JWs are the 144,000, or that the 144,000 are the only ones who are born again, and the very few scriptures they can produce in support of the claim are quite clearly taken out of context and the true meaning distorted. So in Acts, there is just one flock:

Acts 20:28–29 "So guard yourselves and God's people. Feed and shepherd God's flock—His church, purchased with His own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders.  I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock.

On page nine we are told that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is one of two elements that constitute the new birth.

Page 9: …the new birth takes place by a twofold process. Note that Jesus first got baptised with water. Then He received that holy spirit. Similarly the early disciples had first been baptised in water (some by John the Baptiser), and then they received the holy spirit. (John 1:26–36)

However in Acts chapter two:

Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” (Acts 2:38–39)

There is no limitation of 144,000 there! The promise is to all that are far off – which can apply equally to being far off in time as well as distance. If it should be claimed that the limitation is that it only applies to those God calls to Him and God is only going to call 144,000, then:

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord isn't really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

Mark 16:15–16 And then He told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.

Notice there are only people who believe and are saved, and people who do not believe and are condemned: there is no third option. Over and over again, in scripture after scripture, the good news of salvation for as many as will receive it is repeated. The only limitation regarding the number of people who can receive everything God has for us is in the mind of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It certainly cannot be found in the Bible.

Note also that according to Acts 2:38–39 the acts of repentance and baptism will be followed by the gift of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t say ‘might be followed’, or ‘some of you shall receive’. Since the Watchtower says the gift of the Holy Spirit equals the new birth, and the Bible says this gift comes to all who repent and are baptised, their theory about the limitation to 144,000 is clearly wrong. Additionally, they claim that this gift must be given by God and is therefore solely His initiative; but He has promised He will give it to all those who take these two steps. So the idea that man has no part to play in this is also obviously wrong.

Page 9: First a person repents of his sins, turns away from a wrong course, dedicates his life to Jehovah to worship and serve Him, and makes his dedication public by water baptism. Then, if God chooses him to serve as a ruler in His Kingdom, he is anointed with holy spirit.

This is quite clearly unscriptural as we have seen: the promise of the Holy Spirit is to all who repent and are baptised, not just a select few. Furthermore Jesus said that all who believe will receive the Holy Spirit:

John 7:38–39 Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, 'Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'" (When He said "living water," He was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in Him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into His glory.)

Page 10: when used as a figure of speech, the word “birth” means “beginning”…

Who says it is a figure of speech? It may serve the Watchtower to claim this, because otherwise it would not fit in with their teaching, but there is no Biblical evidence to justify it. Certainly Nicodemus took it literally, and when he questioned Jesus over the point – “Can a man enter his mother’s womb a second time?” – Jesus, far from saying “I meant it as a figure of speech”, emphasised the fact that He meant it literally:

John 3:6–7 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don't be surprised when I say, 'You must be born again.'

The fact is that the Watchtower insists there is nothing more than the physical body in the makeup of a human, and clearly the physical body cannot be born a second time apart from the resurrection. So they are obliged to interpret Jesus’ words in this way. It is one more case of them bringing their own theories to the Bible and trying to make it support them. The tripartite nature of man is too large a subject to deal with in any kind of depth here (the brief review given earlier will have to do!), so one scripture will have to suffice:

1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.

So there are three elements that make up a person ‘wholly’, which therefore must all be different otherwise it is tautology. It is the spirit of man that is born again. The transformation of the physical body will take place at the resurrection.

In the chapter ‘What Does it Accomplish?’ (pages 10–11) the description of adoption by God is fair enough, except, of course, for the continued insistence that it only applies to the 144,000. So, for example, when Romans 8:15–16 (quoted earlier) tells us the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children, the booklet makes it clear that it does not apply to those outside of the 144,000. Indeed, this is the insidiousness of the teaching: the powerful promises of Romans 8, for example…

Romans 8:8–9 That's why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.

…are denied to everyone outside that limited number. (Note from that scripture that only when the Spirit of God dwells in us can we be pleasing to God. So the Watchtower believes most of their followers are not pleasing to God because His Spirit does not dwell in them!) By insisting there are two different types of people who receive salvation – a notion foreign to the teaching of scripture – it imposes a mindset on its followers that prevents them from applying the scriptures to themselves. Indeed, it is difficult to see what part of the New Testament is left to the vast majority of people seeking to serve the one true God, since in so many cases they are clearly applied by the Watchtower only to the 144,000 who they say are exclusively God’s children.

In the following chapter “Rulership for Some, Benefits for Many” we are told:

Page 11: God’s word also states that others besides those who are born again will receive everlasting salvation.

Page 12: …God purposed to save two groups of people – a comparatively small group of rulers living in heaven and a large group of subjects living on earth.

In support of this unscriptural idea we are given just two New Testament scriptures. Here is the first:

1 John 2:2 And He is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, yet not for ours [the small group] only, but also for the whole world’s [the large group]. (Words in brackets theirs) (W)

There is absolutely no justification for this interpretation of the verse. What John is so clearly saying is that the salvation they are enjoying is available to the whole world. There are so many scriptures proving this, it is an embarrassment of riches. For the moment we’ll look at one:

John 3:16 For God loved the world so much that He gave His only-begotten Son, on order that everyone exercising faith in Him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life. (W)

The second scripture given in support of the idea is:

Romans 8:19 For the eager expectation of the creation [the large group] is waiting for the revealing of the sons of God [the small group]. (Words in brackets theirs) (W)

Once again the context of the verse is ignored in order to distort its true meaning.

Romans 8:22 For we know that all creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together until now. (W)

Creation came into bondage as a result of Adam’s sin, with thorns appearing on vegetation, animals turning wild and fighting and consuming each other, and so on. So the whole of creation is groaning in the way verse 22 mentions. To narrow the meaning of the phrases ‘the creation’ in Romans 8:19, or ‘the whole world’ in 1 John 2:2, down only to the ‘large group’ of J.W.s who are not included in the 144,000 is obviously wrong.

The same error is made in the only other scripture they give, this time regarding Abraham’s promise:

Genesis 22:18 And by means of your Seed [the small group] all the nations of the earth [the large group] will certainly bless themselves. (Words in brackets theirs) (W)

As page 12 shows, Abraham’s seed in the New Testament is primarily Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:16); and secondarily through Him, all the sons of God are also Abraham’s seed (Galatians 3:26, 29). As we have already seen, this means everyone who has repented and been baptised (who has therefore received the Holy Spirit). It is nonsense to claim the phrase ‘all the nations of the earth’ refers just to the group of JWs who are not included in the 144,000. Quite obviously, the blessing of all the nations is that Abraham’s seed – Jesus – will be their means of salvation should they choose to accept it.

Furthermore, God’s promise to Abraham was that his seed would be so many it would be impossible to count them:

Genesis 15:5 Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, "Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That's how many descendants you will have!"

Gen 22:17 I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore...

Since it is obviously possible to count the 144,000, they cannot be what God is referring to here. However:

Revelation 7:9, 14 After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands... And I said to him, "Sir, you are the one who knows." Then he said to me, "These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white.

If there is any group in the book of Revelation that is likely to qualify to be Abraham’s seed, it is this one. They are from every nation, and God said that in Abraham’s seed all the nations of the world would be blessed; and they are too many to number, which is what God said Abraham’s seed would be. In contrast, the 144,000 are not too many to number, and are only from the nation of Israel. So on both counts the 144,000 do not qualify to be uniquely Abraham’s seed. They will certainly be included in the seed, but for God’s promise to Abraham to be true countless others have to be included as well.

Page 15: Jehovah…values human life and the potential that each individual has for repenting and learning to do what is right.

Precisely! That is why God is no respecter of persons:

Acts 10:34–35 Then Peter replied, "I see very clearly that God shows no favouritism. In every nation He accepts those who fear Him and do what is right.

Therefore He places no restriction on the number of people who can become His children. If He had set a restriction of 144,000 on the number of people who could become His children, then He would be respecting persons. To claim, as the Watchtower does, that only 144,000 people will qualify to reach this position is contrary to the teaching of the New Testament that salvation is not by works, but by grace. There is nothing anyone can do to achieve their own salvation: it is by grace through faith. Works follow certainly and they will be rewarded, but they are the result of the new birth, not the cause of it!

Furthermore there is no hint of the 144,000 anywhere in the New Testament outside of the book of Revelation, which was written a few decades after the birth of the Church. This means that all the references in the letters to the churches regarding them being sons of God would at that time be taken to apply to everyone in them because there is no teaching anywhere to suggest that only a minority of them were born again sons of God. E.g.

Galatians 3:26 You are all, in fact, sons of God, through your faith in Christ Jesus. (W)

So for example the Romans would understand that the many references to the Holy Spirit within believers were for all of them – not just a select few. This is in stark contrast to the ‘letters’ (Watchtower publications) to the Watchtower ‘churches’ in which they are told these promises do not apply to the vast majority of them! In the Bible, however, we are told that when the Gentiles believed, they were given the Holy Spirit:

Acts 15:7–8 …Peter stood and addressed them as follows: "Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. God knows people's hearts, and He confirmed that He accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us.

Jesus said, “You must be born again.” The Watchtower twists His words around in this magazine to say, “You cannot be born again” to the vast majority of its followers. Why did Jesus say to Nicodemus “You must be born again?” He makes it very clear: unless a person is born again he can neither see nor enter the Kingdom of God. What is the Kingdom of God? Well, what is the kingdom of the Queen of England? It is the territory over which she reigns. Likewise, the Kingdom of God is where God reigns. In this the Watchtower is in agreement, as can be seen later. In one sense God reigns everywhere, since as Creator He made it all and holds everything together by His power. However, the Bible says the world lies in the hand of the enemy:

1 John 5:19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.

Therefore the world has been hijacked by Satan and become the area of his reign: so we are born into the kingdom of the enemy. Therefore it is imperative that we leave that kingdom (i.e. the reign and power of Satan) and enter the Kingdom of God (i.e. the reign and power of God), and the only way we can enter the Kingdom of God according to Jesus in John 3 is by being born again. How is a person born again?

Ephesians 2:7–8  So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God.

It is not by ‘works’: there is nothing we can do to achieve it. Salvation comes by faith:

Romans 10:9–10 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

What are we being saved from?

Romans 5:9 …And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, He will certainly save us from God's condemnation.

Colossians 3:6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.

Who can be saved?

John 3:36 And anyone who believes in God's Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn't obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God's angry judgment."

Notice there is no ‘two-tier’ hierarchy of Christians in any of these verses! You are either saved or you are not. You are either in the Kingdom of God or the kingdom of Satan: the Kingdom of light or the kingdom of darkness. You are either a sheep or a goat (Matthew 25:32–46); wheat or weed (Matthew 13:24–30). There is no third kingdom and no neutral territory. Every person on the planet is either in God’s Kingdom or Satan’s kingdom: there is no alternative. Should the Watchtower wish to dispute this, I challenge them to produce one single scripture which clearly tells of an alternative to being a member of either of these two Kingdoms. The Bible says:

Ephesians 2:1–3 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God's anger, just like everyone else.

Eph 5:8 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!

When Paul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus, he was told his work would be to turn people from darkness and the authority of Satan to light and an inheritance from God:

Acts 26:15–18 ...'I am Jesus, the One you are persecuting. Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as My servant and witness. You are to tell the world what you have seen and what I will show you in the future. And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God's people, who are set apart by faith in Me.'

This is perhaps the most important point in the whole of this study. The Watchtower tells most of its followers that they are not in the Kingdom of God, because they are not born again. So what Kingdom are they in? There is only one other alternative: the kingdom of Satan! You either have life or you do not have life; you either have Jesus Christ or you do not have Jesus Christ:

1 John 5:11–12 And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God's Son does not have life.

You can know without any doubt that you have eternal life: if you don’t know, you probably don’t have it!

1 John 5:13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.

The Watchtower booklet says that God’s Kingdom is the area where God governs:

Page 7: A kingdom is a form of government. So, then, the expression “kingdom of God” means “government of God.”

Therefore those outside of God’s Kingdom are outside of His government. So by the Watchtower’s own reasoning the vast majority of their followers, who they say are not born again, are not in God’s Kingdom, not under His government. So they must still be in Satan’s kingdom; still in darkness, still under his government. There is no other alternative. We are either born again, or we are not. We are either children of God or children of Satan:

John 8:44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.

It is not for me to tell Watchtower supporters what to do; but for myself, if I discovered I was a member of an organisation that told me I was a member of Satan’s kingdom, under his government, and they could give me no means of leaving it, I would be out of there so fast my feet would not touch the ground!

While it is true there are rewards for serving God, the new birth and the resulting eternal life is not one of them! Throughout the New Testament we are told this is entirely God’s work, performed in those who turn in faith to Him. The rewards are for those who, having experienced salvation, then go on to serve God faithfully.

The awful thing is that in their teaching the Watchtower is preventing its followers from taking the step of faith (see Galatians 3:2–3) necessary for the new birth to take place, by telling them it does not apply to them. It tells them that the new birth is for the privileged 144,000, and the rest, as long as they work hard enough, can be ‘saved from the wrath to come’ but they will never be sons of God. By so doing, the Watchtower places itself in the category of 2 Corinthians 4:4:

2 Corinthians 4:4 …Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.


Is Jesus God?

In the chapter called ‘Is Jesus God?’ (pages 18-19) we have the Watchtower theory that the end of John 1:1 should be translated “the word was a god”. While it discusses Greek grammar, its conclusions are wrong. The only way the Greek language can express the phrase ‘the Word was God’ is theos eimi ho logos. The definite article ho (the) is missing from theos (God) in order to show it is the object, not the subject of the phrase. This magazine uses some commentators to try to prove their point. Here are some more:

Barnes: There is no evidence that John intended to use the word “God” in an inferior sense. It is not “the Word was a god,” or “the Word was ‘like God,’” but the Word “was God.” He had just used the word “God” as evidently applicable to Yahweh, the true God; and it is absurd to suppose that he would in the same verse, and without any indication that he was using the word in an inferior sense, employ it to denote a being altogether inferior to the true God.

Clarke: And the Word was God - Or, God was the Logos: therefore no subordinate being, no second to the Most High, but the supreme eternal Jehovah.

Darby: But, lest it may be thought that He was something which eternity implies but which the Holy Ghost comes to reveal, it is said that He "was God." In His existence eternal — in His nature divine — in His Person distinct, He might have been spoken of as an emanation in time, as though His personality were of time, although eternal in His nature: the Spirit therefore adds, "In the beginning he was with God." It is the revelation of the eternal Logos before all creation.

Gill: In the beginning was the word… That this is said not of the written word, but of the essential word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, is clear, from all that is said from hence, to John 1:14 as that this word was in the beginning, was with God, and is God;

Matthew Henry: The Word was with God, (1.) In respect of essence and substance; for the Word was God: a distinct person or substance, for he was with God; and yet the same in substance, for he was God, Hebrews 1:3.

Jamieson Fausett and Brown: was God — in substance and essence God; or was possessed of essential or proper divinity.

Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge: the Word was: John 10:30–33, John 20:28; Psalm 45:6; Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 40:9–11; Matthew 1:23; Romans 9:5; Philippians 2:6; 1 Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8–13; 2 Peter 1:1 *Gr: 1 John 5:7, 1 John 5:20

Vincent Word Studies: ¨In the Greek order, and God was the Word, which is followed by Anglo-Saxon, Wyc., and Tynd. But θεὸς, God, is the predicate and not the subject of the proposition. The subject must be the Word; for John is not trying to show who is God, but who is the Word. Notice that θεὸς is without the article, which could not have been omitted if he had meant to designate the word as God; because, in that event, θεὸς would have been ambiguous; perhaps a God. Moreover, if he had said God was the Word, he would have contradicted his previous statement by which he had distinguished (hypostatically) God from the word, and λόγος (Logos) would, further, have signified only an attribute of God. The predicate is emphatically placed in the proposition before the subject, because of the progress of the thought; this being the third and highest statement respecting the Word - the climax of the two preceding propositions. The word God, used attributively, maintains the personal distinction between God and the Word, but makes the unity of essence and nature to follow the distinction of person, and ascribes to the Word all the attributes of the divine essence. “There is something majestic in the way in which the description of the Logos, in the three brief but great propositions of John 1:1, is unfolded with increasing fullness” (Meyer).

The claim that John 1:1 should read ‘was a god’ is in direct conflict with Isaiah, which can only be in agreement with John if Jesus is included in the Hebrew word Elohim (God):

Isaiah 45:5  I am the LORD; there is no other God....

Is 45:18 For the LORD is God, and He created the heavens and earth and put everything in place... "I am the LORD," He says, "and there is no other.

Is 46:9 ... For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like Me.

So Isaiah 45:5 says there is no God beside the Lord (Jehovah). The Watchtower says there was a God beside Him! Isaiah 46:9 says there is none like Jehovah God, but the New Testament says of Jesus:

Hebrews 1:3 The Son radiates God's own glory and expresses the very character of God, and He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command...

Colossians 1:15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.

John 10:30 The Father and I are one."

John 14:9 ...Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father...

So Jesus is the image of God. This is a direct contradiction unless Jesus is included in the term ‘God’ in Isaiah 46.9. Furthermore, at the beginning of Revelation we are told of Jehovah:

See here for 100 truths about Jesus as found in the Bible.

Revelation 1:8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end," says the Lord God. "I am the One who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One."

(Note: ‘the Beginning and the End’ is omitted from the Watchtower translation, but it is in the Greek New Testament.) However, at the end of Revelation we are told of Jesus:

Revelation 22:13, 16 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." ...I, Jesus, have sent My angel to give you this message for the churches.

There cannot be two Alphas, two Omegas, two Beginnings and two Endings! But Revelation says these descriptions apply equally to Almighty God and to Jesus. Additionally, Philippians tells us that the form of Jesus before he came to earth as a baby was that of God:

Philippians 2:6–7  Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.

Furthermore we are told by the Apostle John (and note this is John’s comment, not merely the thoughts of Jesus’ enemies):

John 5:18 …For He not only broke the Sabbath, He called God His Father, thereby making Himself equal with God.

Jesus accepts worship in 13 verses: Matthew 2:2, 8, 11; 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 20:20; 28:9, 17; Mark 5:6; Luke 24:52; John 9:38; Hebrews 1:6. Yet He said worship should only be given to Almighty God: Matthew 4:10. The Watchtower get around this by translating the Greek word for worship (proskuneo *) as ‘obeisance’ when related to Jesus. However this is deceptive: the word appears 60 times in the New Testament and the context of every occasion proves that Strong’s definition (see on the right) is correct. Anyone reading the Greek New Testament would see that Jesus said only God should receive proskuneo (Matt 4:9–10; Luke 4:7–8) and yet He accepted proskuneo Himself.

The angel told John he should worship (proskuneo) God (Rev 22:8–9), confirming the teaching throughout the Bible that only God should receive worship. So the fact that Jesus was quite clearly worshipped is one more evidence for His deity.

Thomas said Jesus was his Lord and his God; but unlike the angel, Jesus did not rebuke him but rather said he believed only because of what he had seen:

John 20:28–29 "My Lord and my God!" Thomas exclaimed. Then Jesus told him, "You believe because you have seen Me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing Me."

* to fawn or crouch to, that is, (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore): - worship. (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek dictionaries.)

Perhaps one of the clearest verses in the New Testament is:

Romans 9:5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

This couldn’t be plainer. The Christ is the eternally blessed God.* Of course, those who deny this truth try to avoid the clarity of the sentence by adding punctuation to make the final phrase a kind of doxology, rather than a description of the Christ; but this is dishonest, as the grammar of the Greek text does not allow it. The reason for this is very simple: while in English, Greek and Hebrew the meaning of words is determined by the context and their position in a sentence, in English it is also determined by punctuation. There is no punctuation in the other two languages. Instead, the spelling of the words changes to clarify their meaning. So when a translator translates Greek into English, punctuation is used to reflect the original meaning that can be seen from the spelling of the words. Therefore altering the punctuation to make a sentence in English say something different to what the translator put is taking the meaning away from what was there originally. Most translators outside of the Watchtower agree on the punctuation of this verse.


* The truth of Jesus’ divinity can be seen in all of these verses when putting their teaching together:

Rom 10:12; Psa 45:6, Psa 103:19; Isa 9:6–7; Jer 23:5–6; Mic 5:2; John 1:1–3; John 10:30; Acts 20:28; Phil 2:6–11; Col 1:16; 1Tim 3:16; Heb 1:8–13; 1 John 5:20

The Trinity

On the subject of the Trinity, the Watchtower denigration of the Holy Spirit to ‘God’s active force’ is quite clearly unscriptural. In John’s Gospel He is referred to as ‘He’!

John 14:16–17 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn't looking for Him and doesn't recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you.

John 15:26 But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about Me.

The Watchtower version of the Bible translates ekeinos as ‘that one’ instead of ‘he’, but it amounts to the same thing.  ‘That one’ or ‘he’ can only refer to a person, not an impersonal force. Notice what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit:

John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.

Another Advocate (or Helper)! A man in a pub spills someone’s beer, so he says, “Sorry, I’ll get you another one.” So he goes to the bar and when he comes back brings a packet of crisps. Has he done what he said? No! What if he brings back a glass of Coke? Still no! ‘Another’ used in this context means one of the same kind. Jesus had been the disciples’ Helper up until this point; but now He says another Helper will be given to them: another of the same kind. Not an impersonal force, but a caring, thinking, feeling being. We see this in the scriptures. The Holy Spirit can be grieved and therefore has emotions:

Ephesians 4:30 And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live.

This is not true of a force. The Holy Spirit teaches:

Luke 12:12  for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said."

This is not true of a force. The Holy Spirit gives direction and makes decisions:

Acts 15:28 "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements:

This too is not true of a force. The Holy Spirit speaks, and therefore has thought and reasoning processes:

Hebrews 3:7 That is why the Holy Spirit says, "Today when you hear His voice...

In the activity of the Holy Spirit described in the New Testament, we are shown that He feels emotions, makes decisions, thinks, reasons, directs and speaks. In fact everything that makes a person a person is attributed to Him. So the Watchtower’s claim that the Holy Spirit is merely God’s active force and therefore without personality, is plainly wrong. Only the teaching of the Trinity can harmonise these scriptures (and many more). There is one God – Jehovah – who simultaneously expresses Himself in three different ways.


Salvation Available to All People

Finally, here are some scriptures demonstrating the universality of salvation and the new birth. Bear in mind all the books of the New Testament were initially intended for the people living in the first century and these scriptures were clearly meant to apply to all the hearers, not just a limited few who were part of the 144,000: no-one had heard anything about the 144,000 at the time all the books other than Revelation were written, with the possible exception of the epistles of John.* There is no hint anywhere in any of the scriptures below that the promises are not available to all who will accept them.

Matthew 1:21; 3:11; 5:6, 9–10, 12, 14, 19, 45; 6:20–21; 7:11, 21; 9:13; 10:32, 39; 11:28–30; 12:50; 13:23, 38, 43; 18:3–5, 11, 14; 19:29; 20:28; 24:13; 25:34, 46; 28:19–20

* And with John’s epistles, one is forced to ask why he did not make it clear that the references to sons of God only apply to 144,000 people, if this is the case. He gives no hint that there is any restriction to the number of the sons of God, and since he received the Revelation - the only book mentioning the 144,000 - surely he more than anyone else knew who they were. He would certainly have made it clear if the promises he wrote only applied to a limited number of people and not to all.

Mark 1:8; 3:35; 8:35; 9:23; 10:29–30; 11:25; 12:34; 16: 15–16

Luke 1:16–17, 79; 3:6, 16; 4:18; 5:32; 6:20, 23; 8:21; 9:23–24; 10:9, 11; 11:13; 12:8, 31–32; 13:29; 16:16; 18:16, 29–30; 19:10; 24:47

John 1:12, 29; 3:15–18, 36; 4:42; 5:24–25, 29; 6:27, 35, 37, 39–40, 44, 47, 51, 54–57; 7:37–39; 8:12, 32, 36; 10:10–11, 14–16, 27–28; 11:25–26; 12:25–26, 32, 46; 14:6, 12, 21, 23; 15:5, 7; 17:2–3, 11, 20–21

Acts 2:17–18, 21, 38–40, 47; 3:19, 26; 4:31; 5:14, 32; 6:7; 8:12, 17, 18, 36–37; 10:34–35, 43–48*

Acts 11:14–18, 21, 24; 13:39, 47–48; 14:1; 15:3, 7–9, 11; 16:31; 17:30, 31; 19:2, 5–6; 20:21, 28, 32; 21:20; 26:17–20, 23; 28:28

* Note: contrary to Watchtower teaching, the Holy Spirit was given before they were baptised!

Acts 11:14–18, 21, 24; 13:39, 47–48; 14:1; 15:3, 7–9, 11; 16:31; 17:30, 31; 19:2, 5–6; 20:21, 28, 32; 21:20; 26:17–20, 23; 28:28

Romans 1:16; 3:21–26; 5:15–19; 8:1; 8:9, 29; 9:25, 33; 10:4, 9, 11–13; 15:16; 16:26

1 Corinthians 1:2, 18*

1 Corinthians 2:14–15**

1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:9–11, 19–20; 9:20–22; 10:33;12:3, 12–14; 15:23–24***

2 Corinthians 1:22; 3:16–18; 4:3–4, 14, 15; 5:19; 13:5

* The only two groups are the lost and the saved

** The only two groups are the spiritual and the natural: the spiritual have received the Holy Spirit; the natural considers the things of the Holy Spirit to be foolishness

*** The only distinction is those who are Christ’s and those who are not.

Galatians 1:4; 2:9, 16; 3:7–9, 26; 4:5–7; 5:5, 17–25; 6:8, 10

Ephesians 1:1, 5–9, 13–14, 19; 2:1–13, 18–22; 3:6, 16–17; 4:13, 22–24, 30; 5:1, 8; 6:18

Philippians 2:12–13, 15

Colossians 1:12–14, 21–23, 27–28; 2:10–14; 3:1, 3–4, 9–10; 4:16

1 Thessalonians 1:4–10; 2:12, 16; 4:8, 13–17; 5:5, 8–10, 27

2 Thessalonians 1:5; 2:13–14; 3:16

1 Timothy 1:15; 2:4*

1 Timothy 2:6**

1 Timothy 4:10, 16

* God desires all men to be saved!

** Jesus – a ransom for all.

2 Timothy 1:7, 9, 14; 2:11–12, 25–26; 4:8

Titus 2:11; 3:4–7

Hebrews 1:14; 2:9–13, 15, 18; 3:6, 14; 4:2–3, 11, 14, 16; 5:9; 6:12, 18–20; 7:25; 9:12, 14–15, 24, 28; 10:10, 14–15, 19–23, 34, 36, 39; 11:6, 40; 12:1–2, 5, 22–23; 13:5

James 1:12, 18, 21; 2:5; 4:5–6, 8; 5:19–20

1 Peter 1:1–5*

1 Peter 1:7–10, 12–15, 18–19, 23; 2:2, 5–7, 9–10, 24–25; 3:18, 21; 4:17; 5:2, 10, 14

* Note v1: written to strangers throughout this region – not just a select few.

2 Peter 1:1, 3–4, 9–11, 19; 3:9, 13–14

1 John 1:7–9; 2:1–2, 12–14, 16–17, 20, 23, 24–25, 27, 29; 3:1–2, 10, 14, 23–24; 4:4, 6–8, 12–17; 5:1, 5, 11–13

2 John 1:9

Revelation 1:5–6; 2:7, 10, 11; 3:5, 12, 20; 5:9–10; 7:9–10, 14–17; 11:18; 12:9*

Revelation 12:10–11; 14:12; 20:4, 6; 21:3–4, 6–7, 27; 22:14, 17


* Satan deceives the whole world.


Is Jesus God?

The Trinity

Salvation Available to All People

Bible Options