Jehovah’s Witnesses have serious problems with their doctrines concerning being born again. They say that only 144,000 good Jehovah’s Witnesses are born again. The others aren’t born again, and they will not go to heaven, but to paradise on earth. The thing about that is we were all born dead in our sin (Ephesians 2:1, 5) and we must be born again to come to life. If Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t born again, they are still dead in their sins, and they will go to neither heaven nor paradise on earth. I wrote a tract about this, and you can take a look at it here: A Choice For Life.
After making this concept into a Youtube video, and talking about it on this blog, a JW finally responded to it, and we’ve been having an e-mail conversation. It turns out to be a very deep subject. On the surface it’s a pretty convincing argument against their doctrine, but as you dig deeper it becomes even more convincing. I’m grateful this guy is taking the time to write to me; he’s the only one who has even attempted to respond.
His main objections are:
- Old Testament people weren’t born again, but weren’t dead in their sin, so we have the same hope as them.
- Matthew 11:11 says John the Baptist isn’t going to heaven.
- The verses talking about passing from death to life (such as Ephesians 2:1, 5) aren’t talking about being born again. Therefore, JWs can have life without being born again.
Were Old Testament People Born Again?
This is an interesting topic, and I would say they were not born again during their lives. When they died, they went to Abraham’s Bosom to await the Messiah and being born again. We know they are born again today, and in heaven. We know they are in heaven, because Matthew 8:11 says Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are in the kingdom of heaven. Luke 13:28 says those three and all of the prophets are in the kingdom of God. Since they are in heaven, they must be born again (John 3:3). Those two verses (Matthew 8:11 and Luke 13:28) seem very valuable in doing away with their whole concept of 144,000 people in heaven.
John the Baptist and Matthew 11:11
What does Jesus mean when he says whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11)? This verse doesn’t say anywhere that when John the Baptist dies he’s not going to heaven or Abraham’s bosom. It just means that those of us who proclaim the New Covenant are better off than those who proclaimed the Old Covenant (Hebrews 7:22-24).
Is passing from death to life the same as being born again?
What does born again mean other than being reborn because we were born dead in our sins? If passing from death to life makes the 144,000 born again, why doesn’t it make everyone else born again? If Jehovah’s Witnesses want to claim to be alive without being born again, I think it goes against the meaning of the analogy of being born again, and it doesn’t matter anyway, because Ephesians 2:6 says, that anyone who has passed from death to life is going to heaven (and must therefore be born again).
So while they’ve managed to muddy the waters on another straightforward concept, there is no way out of the tangled web they’ve woven for themselves. By their own admission they aren’t born again. Only God can convince them that they are dead in their sins and headed for hell.
For a fantastic opportunity to witness to Jehovah’s Witnesses, check out their 2008 convention schedule. One of the reasons they think they are in the true church is because they think they are the only ones who are out witnessing. You can help refute that idea for possibly hundreds of them by showing up at a convention and passing out tracts.