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How to Respond to the Jehovah’s Witness’ Publication “What Does the Bible Really Teach?” — Part Three

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What Does the Bible Really Teachby Wilbur Lingle

Chapter 3

What Is God’s Purpose For The Earth?

YOUR main purpose in going through Chapter 3 is to ask thought-provoking  questions about the building of the new earth, so it is best to skip over most of what is written there.

Usually most Jehovah’s Witnesses have not wrestled with any of the details of the process of getting from where we are in this present world to where the new earth becomes a paradise—as has been promised by the Watchtower Society in writing accompanied by many Disney Land-like pictures. 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, Revelation 2:7 and Revelation 22:2 teach that “paradise” and “heaven” are the same. The Society admits these verses teach “a heavenly paradise” but says the reference to “paradise” in Luke 23:43 refers to the later conditions on earth during the Millennium. It is obvious that at the beginning of the new earth conditions will not be paradise-like since the world system will have been completely destroyed at Armageddon. So paradise, according to the Watchtower Society, will not occur until after maybe six or seven hundred years of hard manual labor building it. This is what a Witness admitted to me once after I went through the questions I have presented below.

I am not endorsing the Watchtower Society’s teaching about the new earth. Rather, I am suggesting that you ask these questions to make the Witness think about the long process if what the Society teaches is true.

You might start by saying, “I am quite impressed by what is written about the beautiful new earth in Chapter 3. I’m interested in the mechanics of how this new world will come about, so I ask your patience in answering the many questions I have about this chapter. I imagine you had the same questions when you started studying with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, so these questions should be very easy for you to answer!”

But first I have a question about the verse found on the top of page 28 at the end of paragraph 2. Here we read, “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”—Psalm 37:29. (I used the following questions quite effectively once when my wife and I were witnessing to a J.W. couple. These questions are a very excellent means of presenting the true gospel as found in the blood of Jesus Christ.)

Question #1: This verse limits those who go on this new earth to “the righteous.”Who are the righteous and how does one become righteous? (To be “righteous”means to be cleansed from all sin.) (You are not going to receive a very clear answer. The Witness has only thought of the words “reside upon it” and not what the Bible says about getting on it.)

Question #2: Since you do not seem to be exactly sure how one becomes righteous, would it be okay if we looked at a few Bible verses to see if you agree with them? (While you are going through this presentation, the Witness might try to get you off the subject by wanting you to looking at other verses that do not pertain to the subject, but ask him or her to let you present your material first.) Romans 3:10. “Just as it is written: ‘There is not a righteous [man], not even one.’”

Question #3: Would you agree with this verse? (The real problem with Jehovah’s Witnesses is that they do not have a proper understanding of sin. They do not feel they are “bad” sinners, so they do not need a big Savior. I have had two Witnesses say to me, “If Jesus Christ is God, then the sacrifice was too great.” Just about everyone will say, “No one is perfect and we all make mistakes.” But this is different from admitting, “I am proud, self-centered, self-righteous, have anger, jealousy, wrath in my heart, and have told lies and cheated.”) Isaiah 64:6. “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags” (NKJV). We see from this verse that we are not able to produce a righteousness that would be pleasing to God by our own efforts.

Question #4: Would you agree with this?

Question #5: (Romans 3:21-30. Read the passage in their NWT and then ask the following questions.) Verse 22 says that this righteousness comes “through the faith in Jesus Christ.” What kind of faith do we need in Jesus Christ that makes us righteous? (We know that this faith is that Jesus Christ died and shed His blood for our personal sins and rose bodily from the grave.) Depending on how the conversation goes, you might ask:

Question #6: “What is the difference between the faith that Jehovah’s Witnesses have in Jesus Christ and the faith millions of Bible-believing Christians have? These all believe that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, that He lived a sinless life, that He died and shed His blood for the personal sins of mankind on the tree! (The Witness might leave you under the impression that he believes the same, but he does not. The Watchtower Society teaches that Christ died only for the sins we inherited in Adam. Our personal sins are something we must take care of. If he or she gives you a misleading answer you might need to ask him or her to explain their answer more in detail.)

Question #7: In verse 24 it announces that this righteousness is “a free gift.” Wouldn’t this mean that righteousness is something that we cannot earn or merit, but something that is given to us by God?

Question #8: In verses 24, 26 and 28 it speaks about our “being declared righteous,” which would refer to something that was done for us in the past. What does it mean to be “declared righteous” through faith in Jesus Christ?

Question #9: Again in verse 30 we note that this righteousness comes through “faith.” Would you say that the Watchtower Society teaches exactly what we have just read?

Question #10: (Other verses you can use on righteousness are: Rom 1:17, 4:6,9,11.22; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9; Titus 3:5; Heb. 11:7 and 2 Peter 1:1.)

Question #11: 1 John 2:29. “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him” (NKJV). We note from this verse that a person has to be “born of Him” or “born again” in order to be considered righteous by God. Would you consider yourself one who has been born again? (The Watchtower Society teaches that only those who are members of the 144,000, known as the “anointed,” are born again. There are very few of these who are living today. Therefore it is almost certain that the one you are talking to will not claim to be born again. Also, those who are “born again” are going to heaven and not going to live on the new earth like the Watchtower Society says Psalm 37:29 refers to. You can point out that there seems to be a very obvious contradiction in the teachings of the Watchtower Society. You will probably not see the Witness saved by going through these verses on righteousness, but you have planted a lot of good thought-provoking seeds of doubt.)

Question #12: Psalm 37:29 indicates that a person must be declared righteous in this life before they move into the next. Would you agree with this? (Don’t get into an argument. Move on to the next questions.)

• • •

A description of the new earth promised by the Watchtower Society is presented under the heading “A NEW WORLD IS AT HAND! on pages 33-36. Here are the many questions you can ask. As the responses will vary from person to person, the ones I give are only a possibility so you need to be prepared for different ones.

BACKGROUND. The Watchtower Society teaches that everyone on the earth will be destroyed during the battle of Armageddon except the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This means that over six billion people will die or be killed and the six million surviving Witnesses will have the job of getting the earth back in shape following the almost compete destruction at Armageddon.

This will obviously be a monumental task for those survivors. They will first need to dispose of the billions of bodies. Their books state that worms and birds will help with this task, but then the masses of worms and birds of carrion will need to be reduced to reasonable levels.

Once the cleansing has begun, the Witnesses must build houses, plant gardens, and do the hundreds of other things that need to be accomplished before the surviving Witnesses have any kind of decent living conditions; and then they must make adequate preparation for those who will be resurrected in the future. All this will have to be done by manual labor, since all machinery will have been destroyed in the battle of Armageddon. Their books declare that it might take one hundred years to get the earth ready for God to begin resurrecting a few of the dead.

(Until backed into a corner, the average Jehovah’s Witness will equivocate and attempt to hide what the Society actually teaches in this regard. To get him or her to admit these facts is like pulling eye-teeth. But be persistent. Often the answer you receive will be, “Jehovah is going to help us.” This is a “cop-out.” Witnesses claim everything they believe can be proven from the Bible. Have them give you chapter and verses, which they probably can’t do. Tell them if they can’t prove it from the Bible then you cannot accept what they say.)

Question #1: The book’s description of the new earth sounds very inviting, but I have a problem understanding how the earth and its inhabitants are transformed from the present evil condition into the beautiful, paradise-like conditions described and the picture on page 35 shows. Does something just go “poof” and this “new world order” suddenly appears?

Response: Well, it’s not exactly like that. You see, before the new world order comes forth, Armageddon must occur.

Question #2: When will Armageddon occur?

Response: It will occur very soon.

Question #3: What happens at Armageddon?

Response: (At this point they will be vague on purpose, but the Society does teach that just about all the buildings on the earth will be destroyed. Keep after them until you get some kind of a reasonable reply.)

Question #4: How is all this destruction going to occur?

Response: (Again you will probably receive a vague answer, but the Society’s books and magazines contain vivid pictures of massive earthquakes, the earth swallowing up people, large buildings crumbling, fires destroying cities, and floods causing people to drown and float down the rivers. They also declare that people will kill each other, and those who do not die in these ways will be killed by God’s angels. If you have my documentary packet, refer to the copies from the 1958 Watchtower publication From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained on pages 208-211.)

Question #5: Will every one living upon this earth be killed at this time?

Response: (Their answer might be vague on purpose, but the Society does teach that only Witnesses in good standing with the Society will survive Armageddon. They might say that there are others who are not Witnesses who will survive, but what they mean is there might be just a few people of the earth who have not yet heard the message of the Watchtower Society and so will survive. But since the Witnesses believe they have presented the Society’s message to almost everyone in the world, there would be very few in this category.)

Question #6: How will it be possible that only Jehovah’s Witnesses survive when everyone else will be killed?

Response: Jehovah in some miraculous way will protect us. (Some have said that they would just stay in their house while all this destruction is going on, but eventually they have to go out to start the clean-up work.)

Question #7: You mean that Jehovah’s Witnesses will live through this horrible disaster, witnessing these people being killed, and will have to listen to the blood curdling screams as people die in agonizing pain?

Response: I imagine that will be the case.

Question #8: After all this awful destruction, how is the “new world order” going to come about?

Response: (If they are honest with you, they will explain that the six million Jehovah’s Witnesses must completely rebuild this earth, so that it becomes a paradise resembling the pictures contained in its publications.)

Question #9: It seems to me that the first thing the surviving Jehovah’s Witnesses will have to do is to get rid of the six billion dead bodies lying all around! How is this going to be done, since dead bodies begin to decay and stink in just a day or so?

Response: Worms and birds are going to eat them up.
Question #10: Ugh. You mean the first thing the surviving J.W.’s must do is stand around and watch the worms and birds eat those dead bodies?

Response: I guess so.

Question #11: This doesn’t sound like it would be very enjoyable!

Response: We will endure for Jehovah’s sake.

Question #12: After the worms and birds have devoured all that flesh, you will still have to dispose of the skeletons, won’t you?

Response: Apparently so. (Watchtower publications state that for “seven prophetic months” the Witnesses will be burying the bones of the six billion who died at

Question #13: The Watchtower publications picture everyone as living in beautiful homes on the new earth, with enough land for family gardens. But first the destroyed buildings must be gotten rid of. How is this going to be done, since all powered machinery will have been destroyed? (When it comes to the describing of the destruction at Armageddon, the Witness will be very vague. But to help the Witness realize how vast the destruction will be, as depicted in the description and pictures in the various Watchtower publications, you can say, “In the pictures I have seen of the speculated new earth of the Watchtower Society, I have never seen any paved roads, apartment houses, row houses, business complexes,
skyscrapers, factories, etc., so I would imagine that all of these will be destroyed at Armageddon! This would mean that most of the buildings on this earth will be destroyed and all the paved roads will have to be torn up and disposed of!” Can you just imagine the vast amount of work it would be to tear up all the paved roads and then dispose of the concrete and asphalt!)

Response: I don’t really know.

Question #14: Apparently the survivors will have to dig deep holes manually and bury all the rubble. It this right?

Response: I don’t really know. (Note: They should know, if they have been a Jehovah’s Witness for any length of time, because on the back cover of the October 8, 1991, Awake magazine there is a picture of the destroyed earth and people with wheelbarrows, shovels and rakes cleaning up the debris.)

Question #15: How are they going to get a foot of topsoil back on the land where the buildings were torn down, since they will have no trucks and few passable roads?

Response: I don’t know.

Question #16: When Armageddon occurs, will all the people who go on to the new earth immediately have perfect health and be perfect in all their actions?

Response: (If they are truthful they will have to tell you that this is going to be a long process that takes hundreds of years.)

Question #17: To me, this creates a very great problem. There are many people living today that have to have medicine to stay alive. With the complete destruction at Armageddon, I don’t see how there could be any pharmaceutical companies in operation and there would be no drug stores to dispense the medicine! Since a person cannot store up prescription drugs for more than a few months, there would be no possible way to get medicine, thus many people will die on this new earth for the lack of medications. In writing, how has the Watchtower Society solved this very serious problem?

Response: (You are not going to get one. I have never read a single word in any Watchtower publication about this, so that is why I put in my question “in writing.” Ask them to show you some concrete plan by the Watchtower Society to solve this major problem. Once again I state, you are not going to receive a good answer but you have given them something to think about.)

Question #18: Since people will not be perfect immediately in their moral lives, then it is only reasonable to believe that there will be sin upon this new earth, at least at the beginning!

Response: (Probably none.)

Question #19: I want to understand exactly what the Watchtower Society teaches concerning the building of this new earth. To me, it sounds like a lot of hard work for hundreds and hundreds of years! Am I correct in surmising that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are building this new earth just for the surviving Jehovah’s Witnesses at Armageddon?

Response: No. Just about everyone who has ever lived will gradually be resurrected and given a fresh start on this new earth.

Question #20: Wow! How many people have the Watchtower Society estimated will be resurrected and get a fresh start on this new earth?

Response: Nearly all the people who have ever lived. (In the 1988 Watchtower publication INSIGHT on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, page 792 it states, “A very liberal estimate of the number of persons that have ever lived on earth is 20 billion.” I have heard other Witnesses estimate that it is 22 billion. Either figure, that is a lot of people.)

Question #21: You mean that God is going to resurrect most all the wicked people who have lived on this earth and then have the Jehovah’s Witnesses work hard for hundreds of years to provide beautiful new homes and surroundings for them to enjoy?

Response: That seems to be the case.

Question #22: How many Jehovah’s Witnesses are in the world today?

Response: A little over 6 million.

Question #23: How can the Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoy the new living conditions they worked hard for so many hundreds of years if they have to continue working to build homes and make all the other necessary preparations for the billions of people who will be resurrected?

Response: You need to understand that it will be a great joy to work for Jehovah!

Question #24: How can you say you are working for Jehovah when you are building houses and making preparations for billions of wicked people to be resurrected and enjoy the hard work of the “righteous” Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Response: (I am not sure of the answer you will receive.)

Question #25: How are people going to make a living on this new earth?

Response: (If they are familiar with the Watchtower teaching, they will say that people are going to be farmers and grow their own fruits and vegetables.)

Question #26: Would I be correct in presuming that before any of the billions of people could be resurrected that adequate housing with furniture, farm lands that are producing vegetables and fruit-bearing trees, etc., would have to be prepared?

Response: (It should be “Yes.” If they answer “No,” then ask them how they are going to live when they are first resurrected, as it could take years to build a house by themselves, and all are not carpenters, and there is the problem of where the building material will come from after the world is destroyed? and it also would take a long time to prepare fields and fruit trees so they would be productive!)

Question #27: It would seem to me utterly impossible for six million Jehovah’s Witnesses to survive the awful destruction of Armageddon, clear away the dead bodies and bones, then the debris, and after that to build sufficient housing for themselves, let alone six million people build houses, prepare fields and fruit trees for 20 to 22 billion other people! Would you explain to me how so few people could build sufficient houses for the billions of people who are to be resurrected? Could you show me from some Watchtower publication an actual step-by-step blueprint of how this will be done?

Response: (I am not sure what they will say but I am positive the Society has no blueprint.)

Question #28: Since this old system will be destroyed at Armageddon, there will be no lumber yards where you can buy lumber, cement, and other necessary building materials. This is something you will have to accomplish from scratch. In many places, trees are not available and will need to be transported long distances.b How will this material be obtained?

Response: (Probably: I don’t know.)

Question #29: These houses will need furniture and the people will need clothing. Where will you get these, since there will be no factories?

Response: I guess we must make all this.

Question #30: Who are going to teach these billions of resurrected people Yahweh’s rules and regulations for living on this new earth?

Response: This will be the privilege of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Question #31: You mean that in addition to building these billions of houses, preparing farm land and planting fruit trees, that you will have to spend a huge
amount of time teaching these resurrected people?

Response: I guess so.

Question #32: In other words, Witnesses will not only be busy rebuilding the earth, but will be very busy teaching! I don’t think they will have much free time!

Response: It looks that way.

Question #33: What happens to the people who do not respond to this educational process?

Response: I guess they will be annihilated.

Question #34: Then you will have death during this period of time?

Response: I guess so.

Question #35: I understand that you teach that there will be no funeral parlors or graveyards in the Millennium, so who is going to bury these people and where?

Response: I don’t know.

Question #36: Would I be right in saying that this new earth will be far from a perfect place because many people will have to keep digging up their yards to bury these dead bodies?

Response: (I don’t think you will get one.)

Question #37: Am I to believe that it will be a wonderful thing to survive Armageddon, get rid of all the dead bodies and bones, clean up all this awful destruction, and then work extremely hard to build a beautiful earth so that all the wicked people who have ever lived can be resurrected and enabled to enjoy what the Witnesses have worked so hard for?

Response: (If you get any kind of an answer, I think it will be a weak reply.)

Question #38: Am I correct in understanding that the Watchtower Society teaches that during the Millennium these 20 to 22 billion people who once lived on this
earth will be gradually be resurrected and given a fresh start on the new earth?

Response: That is correct.

Question #39: Will you please help me out me out? I read in Revelation 20:4 that there is one resurrection before the Millennium. Then in verse 5 it states, “The rest
of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.” In verses 11- 15 it tells what will happen to those who are resurrected after the Millennium. I never read anywhere in the Bible where it states clearly that people will be resurrected during the thousand year reign of Christ. Will you please show me from the Bible where this teaching comes from?

Response: (The only response I have heard to this question was taken from Ezekiel 47:1-5. Here we have water that is just a “trickle” in verse 2. In verse 3 it is up to the “ankles.” In verse 4 it is up to the “knees” and then the “hips.” In verse 5 it becomes “a torrent that could not be passed through.” By no stretch of the imagination could this mean that there will be a gradual resurrection during the Millennium. If the Witness does use this, you can point them to what the Bible clearly states in Revelation 20:5, “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.” Ask them if the Bible contradicts itself? The passage in Ezekiel is very vague and has nothing to do with a future resurrection but the one in Revelation 20:5 is very clear.)

Question #40: As I look at the picture on page 35 of this book I see vast rolling acres with not one single house in the foreground or in the background. We have six billion people in the world today and things are getting rather crowded. I do not see how it could be possible for 20 to 22 billion people to live on this world and
still have so much open space? How does the Watchtower Society solve this humongous problem?

Response: (Probably none, but hopefully you have made them think.)

(Lay aside for a moment the fact that the Bible does not speak of any resurrection
during the Millennium, the following questions can be very thought-provoking.
The first questions are to get the Witness to tell you what the Watchtower Society

Question #41: On what grounds will the billions of people be resurrected and given
the possibility of obtaining eternal life on the new earth?

Response: Christ died for the sins that we inherited in Adam so it is on this ground
that these people will be resurrected. (Witnesses do not believe that the death of
Christ has anything to do with our personal sins.)

Question #42: Then what happens to all the personal sins of these people who will
be resurrected and go onto the new earth?

Response: You see, when people die physically they pay for their own sins. Romans 6:7 states, “For he who has died has been acquitted from [his] sin.” Thus all these people have died and paid for their personal sins and will be given a fresh start on the new earth.

Question #43: (Remember, I stated before that the major problem with Jehovah’s Witness, along with other cults and religions, is that they do not have a Biblical view of sin. Thus this question is probably one of the most thought-provoking questions you will ask. I have spent six weeks asking the previous questions in this chapter for this one question.) When I previously asked when Armageddon would occur, you said that it was very close. Then when I asked who would survive you said “all the Jehovah’s Witnesses living at that time.” If it is actually true that one’s own personal sins are forgiven by the death of that person and the people who survive Armageddon never die physically, then when do these people pay the
wages for their sins?

Response: (I have never had a Jehovah’s Witness ever attempt to answer me. Only dead silence.)

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