Have you ever wondered how to engage your Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness friends, neighbors and relatives in meaningful conversations about the truth of God’s Word? Vigilant Minds is a local ministry led by RMCC’s very own Don McAreavy who is eager to equip believers with questions, and answers, meant to break down the barriers and effectively share the faith with those caught up in the Kingdom of the Cults.
In this post Don provides some insights on how to challenge Jehovah’s Witnesses regarding their understanding of Judas.
By way of context, the Jehovah’s Witness Online Library says:
“Those whom God sentences to Gehenna do not enter into life at all. Gehenna pictures the state of NONEXISTENCE, ANNIHILATION, and DESTRUCTION by the judgment of God. Let us remember Judas Iscariot.”
Know What They Believe
In building a bridge to have a conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness on this subject the first key is to understand the beliefs held by Jehovah’s Witnesses. For example, the Watchtower teaches:
(a) Jehovah created you as a soul (body + ‘life force’);
(b) You don’t have a soul – you are a soul;
(c) Your ‘life force’ (breath) returns to Jehovah’s memory at death;
(d) You rot and decay and are totally unconscious;
(e) You may be ‘recreated’ to prove yourself during the Millennium (second-chance salvation);
(f) If you gain Jehovah’s approval you will live on Paradise Earth;
(g) If you fail, then you are annihilated and forgotten forever.
Ask Good Questions
The second key in having a meaningful conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness on this subject is to refer to the Bible and ask leading, even penetrating questions in order to point out the truth of God’s Word.
Ask: What did Jesus say about Judas, referring to Matthew 26:24: “… but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”
Ask: Why did Jesus say it would be better if Judas was never born? If Judas is annihilated, he has nothing to lose, he evades torment, regret, pain and loss, as he does not exist.
Ask: Why was a woe pronounced, which in Jesus’ day was a denunciation expressing blame, an assigned judgment, a verdict including a just abandonment to vengeance and a pouring out of penalties. Woe meant much more than an empty statement of calamity or grief. In Matthew 23:13 Jesus assigns the Pharisees to the lake of fire when he says “for you neither go in yourselves” referring to the kingdom of heaven.
Referring to Acts 1:25 which says Judas transgressed “that he might go to his own place,” ask, is this the abode of Judas in the world of woe that he had prepared for himself?
Ask: Why did Jesus in John 17:12 refer to Judas as the “son of perdition?” Son meant ‘of the nature of’ and perdition meant ‘destruction or ruin.’ In other words, Judas will never fulfill the reason he was created in the first place. His story is one that epitomizes ruin.
Ask: Why does the Watchtower equate destroyed with annihilated? I can take a hammer to a clock, and it is destroyed and ruined – but it is not annihilated. It ceases to function in the way it was designed and created. This is the story of Judas and all those who do not love Jesus.
Pray, pray, pray
The third and final key is to pray for these ones, including praying that God’s Word will penetrate the darkness blinding their hearts and minds.
Written by Don McAreavy, Vigilant Minds
The team at Vigilant Minds reaches out to those leaving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Watchtower, to provide them with biblical truth, understanding, experience, friendship, social gatherings and discipleship. The ministry puts an emphasis on how to defend the Christian faith biblically while also comparing Christian doctrine with the beliefs of these respective religious organizations. For more information visit: vigilantminds.ca