Thursday, July 5, 2018

A Brief Consideration of the Bibliology & Theology of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society

by Michael R. Burgos Jr., PhD

§ I. Introduction
The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (WB&TS) is one of the more prominent theological cults in the United States. It's Kingdom Halls and literature are seemingly ubiquitous in most cities. For this reason, I have provided a brief consideration of two important doctrinal issues to assist you in your evangelism to Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs).

§ II. Bibliology

To begin with, the WB&TS’s New World Translation (NWT) is an erroneous and biased “translation,” which divulges the doctrinal pre-commitments of the Society. The text of the NWT’s New Testament is primarily based upon Westcott & Hort’s New Testament in the Original Greek (1881). However, the NWT contains significant alterations to the text, and this undeniably for theological reasons. The WB&TS claims that their New Testament is the combination of a hodge-podge of sources, many of which are completely irrelevant to the determining to the actual Greek New Testament. In conventional translations such as the KJV, NASB, or ESV, scholars evaluate and weigh ancient Greek manuscripts, engaging in the art and science of textual criticism. While there are stated rules for textual criticism (called “canons”), it appears as though the “New World Translation Committee” made up their own rules. For example, while there exists no New Testament manuscript which contains the Hebrew tetragrammaton (i.e., the divine name Yahweh in the Old Testament), the WB&TS has included what they identify as twenty-three 14-20th century “Hebrew Versions.”[1] Any textual critical methodology which supposes the veracity of 14-20th century Hebrew manuscripts over and against every single ancient Greek manuscript New Testament manuscript is preposterous! The WB&TS has taken to defending this view by claiming nothing short of a monumental conspiracy theory:
Those copying the [i.e., ancient NT] manuscripts either replaced the Tetragrammaton with Kyʹri·os, the Greek word for “Lord,” or they copied from manuscripts where this had already been done.[2]
The WB&TS further claims that the removal of Jehovah from the New Testament “evidently took place in the centuries following the death of Jesus and his apostles”[3] by “so-called Christians…who replaced the Tetragrammaton by kyrios in the Septuagint.”[4] This however, is non-sensical and grossly inaccurate. Because there are manuscripts of the Septuagint which translate the tetragrammaton YHWH as Kurios (i.e., Lord), and these before the New era Testament, the WB&TS has anachronistically argued that “so-called Christians” corrupted the text. The grand difficulty here, aside from the amazing anachronism, is that postexilic Jews had developed a well-documented tradition[5] of substituting the Hebrew term Adonai (“Lord”) for the tetragrammaton, and the Septuagint simply follows that tradition by translating Jehovah (i.e., Yahweh) and Adonai as Kurios (“Lord”). While there are a handful of Septuagint manuscripts which buck this norm by either including the four consonants YHWH, or using some other Greek substitute, the vast majority of Septuagint manuscripts translate the tetragrammaton Kurios, just as the New Testament does every time.

To put the WB&TS theory into perspective, this would mean that the original reading of the New Testament in at least 237 places was lost and that we now must rely upon rely upon versional translations from the “14th-20th centuries” to restore the original text. Such a view thoroughly erodes any reason for believing in the authenticity and veracity of the New Testament. Moreover, it is incredible to assert that every genuine New Testament manuscript that had disappeared without some much as even one copy or church father quotation surviving. Currently, there are about 5,800 extant ancient Greek New Testament manuscripts in existence. Not one of these manuscripts attest to the WB&TS’s claims. Moreover, the WB&TS plainly contradicts itself when it argues for the veracity of Scriptures:

No striking or fundamental variation is shown either in the Old or New Testament. There are no important omissions or additions of passages, and no variations which affect vital facts or doctrines.[6]
Not only are there thousands of manuscripts to compare but discoveries of older Bible manuscripts during the past few decades take the Greek text back as far as about the year 125 C.E., just a couple of decades short of the death of the apostle John about 100 C.E. These manuscript evidences provide strong assurance that we now have a dependable Greek text in refined form.[7]
There are other places within the NWT which unambiguously reject the reading of any New Testament manuscript whatsoever. For instance, Colossians 1:16-20 states,
Because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All other things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all other things, and by means of him all other things were made to exist, and he is the head of the body, the congregation. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might become the one who is first in all things; because God was pleased to have all fullness to dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all other things by making peace through the blood he shed on the torture stake, whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens. (Col 1:16-20, NWT)
Four times within this passage, the unidentified NWT "translation committed" has inserted the word “other” so as to diminish Paul’s teaching that the Son of God as Creator of all things. Even the WB&TS’s own Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures shows that the term “other” is not present within the actual Greek text (See image below).

The NWT renders the Greek term stauros, “torture stake.” The WB&TS have defended this translation saying,
The rendering of the Greek word stau·rosʹ, meaning an upright stake or pole, such as the one on which Jesus was executed. There is no evidence that the Greek word meant a cross, such as the pagans used as a religious symbol for many centuries before Christ. “Torture stake” conveys the full intent of the original word, since the word stau·rosʹ is also used to indicate the torture, suffering, and shame that Jesus’ followers would face.[8]
These claims are simply untrue. The standard lexicon of New Testament Greek notes that while stauros may refer to a stake or pole, “a cross-piece was often attached to its upper part, so that it was shaped like a T or thus: †.”[9] From the Roman era onward, stauros referred generally to a pole or stake with a patibulum (a cross piece) upon which a victim was suspended by nailing.[10] Moreover, ancient drawings of crucifixion, such as the one found in Puteoli, Italy, and other archeological findings show the common presence of a patibulum.[11]

The biblical evidence does not support the claims of the WB&TS. Thomas said, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25). Thomas believed that there were two nails (Grk. helon), which is more consistent with the use of a cross. Matthew 27:37 describes a sign being placed over Jesus’ head which read, “King of the Jews.” If, as the WB&TS contends, Jesus was nailed to a stake with his arms stretched over his head, the sign would have been placed over his hands.

Interestingly, until October of 1931, the WB&TS taught that Jesus died upon a cross. That belief, as well as many others including prayer to and worship of Jesus Christ,[12] has been abrogated. The WB&TS teaches that it, as Jehovah’s only organization, can receive “more light” (i.e., a corrected understanding) which renders the previous incorrect understanding obsolete. JW’s are obliged to change course whenever the WB&TS receives more light. Such was the case for their teaching on the cross, as well as many more important issues. The most infamous of these is WB&TS’s claims regarding the year 1914. The WB&TS taught that Jesus would arrive in 1914 and that the end of the world and establishment of Jehovah’s kingdom would commence. When that didn’t occur, the WB&TS stretched their claim to the end of 1915:

In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished near the end of A.D. 1915. Then the prayer of the Church, ever since her Lord took his departure—"Thy Kingdom come”—will be answered; and under that wise and just administration, the whole earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord--with knowledge, and righteousness, and peace…and the will of God shall be done “on earth, as it is done in heaven.”[13]
The failure of this prophecy resulted in the WB&TS abrogating that teaching, replacing it with a spiritualized version which taught that “Jesus Christ began to rule as king of God’s heavenly government in 1914,” and that the “Gentile times” had come to an end.[14] Jesus, said the WB&TS, had come invisibly to mark the beginning of the last days. This they said, would happen during the lives of those within a particular generation of people:
It must be conceded, then, by all that the first important question for our determination is, When does this world end? If we can definitely fix this period, then it is an easy matter to determine when the divine promises with reference to life everlasting will be opened to the world in general. We therefore propose to prove in this argument that the social order of things, the second world, legally ended in 1914, and since that time has been and is passing away; that the new order of things is coming in to take its place; that within a definite period of time the old order will be completely eradicated and the new order in full sway; and that these things shall take place within the time of the present generation and that therefore there are millions of people now living on earth who will see them take place, to whom everlasting life will be offered and who, if they accept it upon the terms offered and obey those terms, will never die.[15]
Eventually, the WB&TS taught that “before the 1914 generation completely dies out, God’s judgment must be executed,”[16] and that anyone even alive in 1914 constituted that “generation.”[17] At this point, 104 years since 1914, the Watchtower no longer defines "generation" in terms of time, and has in fact, changed the 1914 doctrine such that “generation” now refers to something altogether different:
Although we cannot measure the exact length of “this generation,” we do well to keep in mind several things about the word “generation:” It usually refers to people of varying ages whose lives overlap during a particular time period; it is not excessively long; and it has an end. (Ex. 1:6) How, then, are we to understand Jesus’ words about “this generation”? He evidently meant that the lives of the anointed who were on hand when the sign began to become evident in 1914 would overlap with the lives of other anointed ones who would see the start of the great tribulation. That generation had a beginning, and it surely will have an end. The fulfillment of the various features of the sign clearly indicates that the tribulation must be near. By maintaining your sense of urgency and keeping on the watch, you show that you are keeping up with advancing light and following the leadings of holy spirit.[18]
From the WB&TS’s practice of doctrinal abrogation, we can observe that JW’s do not actually adhere to a biblical eschatology or a logical means of interpreting the Bible. Rather, the WB&TS’s practice of abrogation demonstrates plain disregard for the Holy Bible and an autocratic rule by the “Governing Body.”
§ III. Theology

The WB&TS teaches a conflation of Arianism and theological liberalism. They deny essentially every main tenet of the Christian faith, replacing it with a more reasonable form of religion that places a high value on a bizzare set of eschatological claims. The most bizarre of these claims is the aforementioned 1914 doctrine, “the time of the end of the Gentiles.”[19] JW’s make a distinction between the biblical terms “coming and presence,” and claim that Jesus is spiritually present right now and has been since 1914.[20] On the WB&TS’s view, Jesus is the first and only creation of Jehovah, and he is the created of all other things. In his preincarnate and post-resurrection state, the WB&TS teaches that Jesus Michael the archangel, “the spirit Son of God.”[21] According to the WB&TS,

Jesus himself taught that was the unique Son of God…the foretold Messiah…that he had a prehumen existence in heaven…that he would be put to death and then would be raised to life on the third day and would thereafter return to the heavens.[22]
While the Bible does characterize the Son of God as the Angel of the LORD, it does not identify him with Michael. The Old Testament repeatedly identifies the Angel of the LORD/Son of God as Jehovah himself. For instance, Jacob prayed to the Angel and identified him as God (Gen 48:15-16) and the Angel claimed to have brought up the people of Israel out of Egypt (Jud 2:1). The Scripture identifies the Angel of Jehovah as Jehovah, and yet, it distinguishes him from God the Father at the same time. Genesis 19:24 is the quintessential example: “Then the Jehovah rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Jehovah out of heaven.”[23] Similarly, the New Testament identifies Jesus in the same way (1 Cor 10:9; Jude v. 5). The Son of God is never identified as a creation of Jehovah, and is instead identified as the Creator of all things. 1 Corinthians 8:6 states,
Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
Paul used the phrase ta panta (“all things”) to describe both the creative power of the Father and the Son—the Father created every created thing through his Son.[24]

Perhaps the most powerful text that refutes the WB&TS’s view of Christ is that of the prologue of Hebrews. Not only is the Son characterized has “the exact imprint” of the Father’s nature, he is also identified as the Creator of all things by God the Father. Hebrews 1:2; 1:10-12. In vv. 10-12 Psalm 102:25-27 is attributed to the Son of God. The implication is that Jesus is the same Jehovah who “laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning.” Psalm 102:26-27/Hebrews 1:11-12 also attributes the divine attribute of immutability to Jesus.

JW’s deny that Jesus had a literal physical resurrection. They claim that “Humans with flesh-and-blood bodies cannot live in heaven,” and “God removed Jesus' body” from the tomb.[25] Of his post-resurrection appearances, the WB&TS claims Jesus had “materialized” and is a “spirit creature.”[26] Despite these claims, the New Testament teaches that Jesus had a physical resurrection. Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19), and John notes that Jesus was referring to “the temple of his body” (v. 21). Paul described the post-resurrection Jesus saying, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col 2:9). Paul used the present active verb katoikeō (“dwells”) to describe Christ’s current bodily existence. The Scripture doesn’t say “God removed Jesus’ body” from the tomb, but that the absence of his body in the tomb was proof that “he is risen” (Matt 28:6).

Further, JW’s claim Jesus is “a god” who is to be distinguished from Jehovah, or God Almighty. The NWT renders the third clause of John 1:1 in an otherwise unattested manner: “the Word was a god.” While this translation has been well documented to be indefensible,[27] I will reiterate the main reasons here. The Greek clause states, kai theos ēn ho logos. Even though “God” (i.e., theos) precedes “the Word” (i.e., ho logos) in the Greek text, translators render the phrase “and the Word was with God” because “the Word” has the article (“the”) and is in the normative case (i.e., the basic equivalent of the English subjective case). John placed the anarthrous (i.e., without the article) theos in the front of the clause giving it emphasis so as to indicate the nature of the Word. That is, John is saying that the Word is exactly what God is. The WB&TS incorrectly assumes that the absence of the article means that the theos must be rendered indefinitely (i.e., “a god”). That assumption is completely incorrect, as the existence of the article does not affect the meaning of the term. For example, within the prologue of John’s gospel (vv. 1-18) there are four other places where theos is anarthrous and rendered definitely (vv. 12-13, 18).

JW’s have a substantial misunderstanding on what “the Word was God” actually means. Several WB&TS sources misunderstand the Trinity to be modalism. One source claims that the grammatically erroneous “the Word was a god” “proves that two persons are spoken of as being with each other, and not two persons as being one and the same God.”[28] Despite this claim, trinitarians have never believed, nor does the correct rendering of John 1:1 imply that Jesus is his Father, or that there are not two persons under discussion. Evidently, the WB&TS believes that the Trinity teaches a confusion of the Father and Son (i.e., God and God the Word).

The doctrine of the Trinity is characterized variously by the WB&TS. One source states, “The doctrine, in brief, is that there are three gods in one : ‘God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost,’ all three equal in power, substance and eternity.”[29] Yet another comes closer to describing trinitarian orthodoxy:

There are three divine Persons (the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost), each said to be eternal, each said to be almighty, none greater or less than another, each said to be God, and yet together being but one God.[30]
Simply put, the WB&TS teaches the Trinity “is not a Bible teaching.” “The word ‘Trinity’ does not appear in the Bible.”[31] This kind of argumentation, in addition to the consistent characterization trinitarianism as modalism, and the claim that the doctrine of the Trinity was a takeover from pagan myths, constitutes the WB&TS interaction with trinitarian orthodoxy. There’s also the ever-present citation of either theologically liberal or secular authorities denying the biblical nature of the Trinity. A full on treatment of the biblical nature of the Trinity is beyond the boundaries of this work.[32] However, I will provide a brief three point summarization of the texts which clearly teach the doctrine:
1. There is only one God. (Deut 4:25; 6:4; Isa 43:10)
2. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are God, co-equal in divine attributes.
(John 1:1-3; 1:18; 1 Cor 8:6; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor 3:7)
3. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are eternally distinct. (Gen 1:3; 1:26; Matt 3:16; 28:19; John 5:17; Rom 8:27; 2 Cor 13:14; Phil 2:6-9)
The WB&TS denies the personhood of the Holy Spirit, claiming that the Spirit is a personified force.[33] The NWT routinely mistranslates the New Testament in an effort to obfuscate the personhood of the Spirit. For example, consider the NWT’s translation of 2 Corinthians 13:14:
The undeserved kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the sharing in the holy spirit be with all of you.
Not only is the phrase “the sharing in the holy spirit” terrible English (How can sharing a force be with you?), it is also a complete mistranslation. The Greek states koinōnia tou Hagiou Pneumatos. The noun koinōnia is defined as “Close association involving mutual interests and sharing, association, communion, fellowship, close relationship.”[34] The translation “sharing in the holy spirit” mistranslates koinonia, turning it into a verb (i.e., a participle). The NWT also ignores the fact that the noun refers to a close relationship wherein sharing occurs, and not “sharing” itself. This is why the vast majority of modern translations render koinōnia “fellowship” at 2 Corinthians 13:14. While koinōnia can refer to “sharing” or “participation” as in Romans 15:26 or 1 Corinthians 10:16,[35] it clearly doesn’t at 2 Corinthians 13:14 since this koinōnia belongs to the Holy Spirit (i.e., “the fellowship of the Holy Spirit”). The NWT mistranslates the genitive tou Hagiou Pneumatos, rendering it as if it were dative (i.e., tō Hagiō Pneumati).

It is clear that Paul is referring to three persons, by identifying the Son, Father, and Holy Spirit with a different noun (i.e., grace, love, and fellowship) in conjunction with an articular genitival phrase (i.e., “of Lord Jesus Christ…of God…of the Holy Spirit”).[36] That the NWT’s translation is theologically motivated is seen in the other places where koinōnia occurs and is translated correctly as “fellowship”[37] or “associating together.”[38]

The biblical evidence for the personhood of the Holy Spirit is overwhelming. The Spirit is characterized in a manner that is only consistent with personhood. Consider this brief summary of the work of the Spirit: The Holy Spirit dwelt over the “face of the waters” at the creation event (Gen 1:2), abides or dwells in mankind (Gen 6:3; Rom 8:9), “came upon” or “rushed upon” men (Num 24:2; Judges 3:10; 14:6; 1 Sam 19:20), “clothed” men (Judges 6:24; 1 Chron 12:18), stirred up men (Judges 13:25), departed from men (1 Sam 16:14), spoke by men (2 Sam 23:2; cf. 2 Peter 1:21), carried or moved men (1 Kings 18:12; Eze 3:12; Acts 8:39), is said to have caught and cast a man upon a mountain (2 Kings 2:16), instructs (Neh 9:20), warns (Neh 9:30), creates (Job 33:4), is omnipresent (Ps 139:7), leads (Ps 143:10; Matt 4:1), rests upon men (Is 11:2), gathered birds (Is 34:16), is grieved (Is 63:10; Eph 4:30); gives rest (Is 63:14), speaks to men (Eze 2:2; Matt 10:20; Mark 13:11; Acts 1:16; 4:25; 8:29), cast out demons (Matt12:28), drove Jesus out into the wilderness (Mark 1:12), reveals things to men (Luke 2:26), descended upon Jesus (Luke 3:22), anointed Jesus (Is 61:1-2; Luke 4:18), teaches (Luke 12:12; John 14:26),gives life (John 6:63), guides (John 16:13), commands (Acts 1:2), testifies (John 15:26; Acts 5:32; Rom 8:16), fell upon God’s people (Acts 10:44; 11:15), forbids (Acts 16:6), constrains (Acts 20:22), makes elders (Acts 20:28), pours God’s love in our hearts (Rom 5:5), intercedes to God on behalf of God’s people (Rom 8:26-27), loves (Rom 15:30), searches all (1 Cor 2:10), comprehends God’s thoughts (1 Cor 2:11), gives gifts (1 Cor 12:9), empowers Christians (1 Cor 12:11), sanctifies (2 Cor 3:18; 2 Thess 2:13), has desires (Gal 5:17), builds the church (Eph 2:22), helps (Phil 1:19), vindicated Jesus (1 Tim 3:16), renews (Titus 3:5), indicates (Heb 9:8), preaches (1 Pet 1:12), and inspired Scripture (2 Pet 1:21).

Jesus’ statement in John 14:16-17 provides an excellent portrayal of the personhood of the Spirit:

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
The phrase “another helper” (allon paraklēton) indicates that the Spirit is a helper akin to Jesus Christ. This Helper teaches, can be seen and known, and he proceeded from the Father in the name of Jesus (John 15:26).  

§ IV. Parting Comments

At its core, Jehovah’s Witnesses understand the Scriptures in a man-centered rationalistic manner, elevating their own reason over and above the clear teaching of Scripture. Van Baalen notes,

The fundamental error of Russellism, which continues to be promulgated by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, is its stark rationalism. Schnell may exaggerate when he says that the Witnesses appeal to only 61/2 percent of Scripture; it is nevertheless true that they, in spite of their repeated appeal to the Scriptures as the inspired message from God, place their reason above the Bible, and reject whatever is found in Scripture contrary to the human reason. This fault is fundamental, and lies at the root of all their denials.[39]
The WB&TS’s God is completely different than that of the Holy Bible. JW’s worship a god who they insist isn’t omnipresent: “The true God is not omnipresent, for he is spoken of as having a location.”[40] When JW’s say “God is a spirit,” what they mean is that God has a “spiritual body,” that is analogous to a physical human body (i.e., it is finite and contained in one location). Thus, when interacting with JWs, be certain to invite them to reconsider the Bible's clear teaching on these fundamental issues.

[1] All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial, (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, 309. Evidently, Metzger, the eminent textual scholar, apparently had good reason to question the claimed 14th-15th date of these Hebrew versions. He dates them all to the “16th century and succeeding centuries.” See Metzger, Bruce M. 1953. “The Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jesus Christ,” Theology Today, 10.1, 67.
[2] “The Divine Name in the Christian Greek Scriptures,” Jehovah’s Witnesses, Accessed 06/29/2018.
[3] Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, 1988), 10.
[4] Ibid., 10-11. The WB&TS has appealed to the existence ancient papyri manuscripts of the Septuagint as the basis for their assertions. These witnesses, they say, prove that the writers of the NT would have simply carried over the tetragrammaton. Besides the difficulties with this view mentioned above, the WB&TS’s appeal to a handful of Septuagint papyri ignore the many other Septuagint manuscripts which either omit the tetragrammaton altogether leaving a blank space, or simply transliterate the consonants YHWH, substitute with a variety of Greek constructions. Thus, the appeal of the WB&TS is special pleading at best.
[5] E.g., Skehan, Patrick W., 1980. “The Divine Name at Qumran, in the Masada Scroll, and in the Septuagint," Bulletin for the International Organization for Septuaginal and Cognate Studies, N. 13, 14-44.
[6] A quotation of F. Kenyon affirmed in Reasoning From the Scriptures, (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1985), 64.
[7] All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial, 309.
[8] “Glossary: Torture Stake,” Jehovah’s Witnesses, Accessed 06/29/2018.
[9] Bauer, W. F. W, Danker, W. F., Arndt, and F. W. Gingrich., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature [BDAG], 3rd Ed. (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2000), 941.
[10] See Samuelsson, Gunnar. Crucifixion in Antiquity, 2nd Ed., (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013), 289-308; Hengel, Martin. Crucifixion: In the Ancient World and the Folly of the Message of the Cross, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977), 25; Witherington III, Ben. The Gospel of Mark: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001) 395-396.
[11] Longenecker, Bruce W. The Crosses of Pompeii: Jesus Devotion in a Vesuvian Town, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2016), 63-74.
[12] Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, 667, 1212. cf. 10/15/1945. The Watchtower: Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom, 313.
[13] The Time is at Hand, Series II, (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, 2009), 99.
[14] You Can Live Forever, 141
[15] Rutherford, J. F. Millions Now Living Will Never Die, (Brooklyn: International Bible Students Association, 1920) 12. As for the question, “Scripturally, how long is a generation?,” the WB&TS answered “about 33 years” or so. 09/01/1952. “Questions from Readers,” The Watchtower: Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom, 542.
[16] 05/01/1985. “Is God Delaying His Judgment?,” The Watchtower: Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom, 4.
[17] 10/15/1980. “Questions from Readers,” The Watchtower: Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom, 31.
[18] 04/15/2010. “Holy Spirit’s Role in the Outworking of Jehovah’s Purpose,” The Watchtower: Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom, 10-11.
[19] Then is Finished the Mystery of God, (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1969), 30; You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, ), 142-149.
[20] Reasoning From the Scriptures, (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, 1985), 340-341.
[21]ibid., 218..
[22]ibid., 210.
[23]cf. Isa 13:19; Jer 50:40; Amos 4:11.
[24]cf. John 1:3.
[25]ibid., 217, Forever in Paradise Earth, 144.
[26]ibid., 173.
[27]For an excellent and comprehensive consideration of John 1:1 and the NWT, see Bowman Jr., Robert M. The Jehovah's Witnesses, Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of John, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989), 25-63.
[28] Let God be True, Rev. Ed. (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, 1952), 106. Should You Believe the Trinity? (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, 1989), 27.
[29] Let God be True, 100.
[30] Reasoning, 405.
[31] 10/01/1968. “Who is God,” The Watchtower: Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom, 581.
[32] See the forthcoming Burgos Jr., Michael R. Ed., Our God is Triune: Essays in Biblical Theology, (Torrington: Church Militant Pub., 2018). See also Bowman Jr., Robert M. Why You Should Believe in the Trinity: An Answer to Jehovah’s Witnesses, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989); and White, James R. The Forgotten Trinity: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith, (Bloomington: Bethany House Pub., 1998).
[33] Reasoning, 406-407. See also 07/15/1957. “The Holy Spirit—Third Person of Trinity or God’s Active Force?,” The Watchtower: Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom, 428-435.
[34] BDAG, 552. Thayer similarly defines koinonia, “Fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse…” Thayer, Joseph M. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2015), 352.
[35] BDAG, 553, no. 4.
[36] This construction falls within the purview of grammatical rule known as Sharp’s rule # 6, and thus proves the personhood of the Spirit. Each articlular genitival phrase is joined by the copula and thus describes a different person. See Sharp, Granville. Remarks on the uses of the Definite Article in the Greek Text of the New Testament; Containing Many New Proofs of the Divinity of Christ from Passages which are Wrongly Translated in the Common English Version, 3rd Ed., (London: Vernor & Hood, 1803), 14.
[37] E.g., 1 Cor 1:9; 2 Cor 6:14; Gal 2:9; Phil 1:5; 2:1; 1 John 1:3; 1:6-7.
[38] Acts 2:42.
[39] Van Baalen, J. K. The Chaos of Cults: A Study in Present-Day Isms, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962), 267.
[40] Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 1, (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible & Tract Soceity, 1988), 969.