There are many exceptions where Witnesses deviate from historical
They do not believe in the Trinity. Instead, they follow a strict monotheism, in which:
Jehovah is the Supreme Being,
Jesus is the son of God, the first created being, who is
separate from Jehovah. Christ is believed to have originally existed
in a pre-human state as the Archangel Michael. He later took human form as a man like any
other person, except that he was sinless at birth and remained so through
life. After his execution, Christ was resurrected as an invisible, non-material, glorious
spirit creature. He was enthroned by Jehovah as King and ruler over all
creation, and "given all authority in heaven and on earth."
The Holy Ghost is not a separate entity, but is an energy or force
-- the method by which God interacts
with the world.
The Heavenly Kingdom took effect in 1914 with the invisible enthronement of
Christ as King. It is currently occupied by a little flock or Anointed Class
of about 144,000 people who were selected by God after Christ's ascension into heaven at
Pentecost (33 CE) and during subsequent centuries. Some 8,500 are still
living on earth; this number is declining due to deaths among the group.
They reject the traditional symbol of Christianity, the cross,
because it is of
pre-Christian, pagan origin.
They accept an alternative translation of the Greek word "stauros,"
rendering it as
"torture stake." They believe that Jesus was executed by
being nailed to a single upright wooden
stake with no cross beam. This was a fairly common practice of the Roman army at
the time of Jesus' execution.
Christ's Second Coming has actually happened. It was not a physical return to earth. It was an invisible event in
1914 in which Satan and Christ engaged in a heavenly battle. Afterwards, Christ began to
the rule the Heavenly Kingdom as King of Kings. Satan was expelled to Earth. World War I
was a visible sign of Satan's ousting from Heaven and earthly imprisonment.
This event marked the beginning of the woes that would accompany
the "last days of this system of things."
In the very near future, the battle of Har-Magedon (Armageddon) will begin. Jesus, under
Jehovah's divine rage, will execute vengeance upon most non-Witnesses and
of those other religious traditions which ignore the Bible or follow interpretations of the Bible
that do not agree with the Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs. The Witnesses refer to those religions as
"Babylon the Great,"
"world empire of false religion" (Revelation 17). After much suffering, massive
human genocide, and many upheavals, the world will be purified. The Earth will
be returned to a peaceful, cleansed state ruled by Jesus Christ and
populated by a "great crowd" who accept his rule and God's
sovereignty. "God's Kingdom," a
theocracy, will be established on earth and operate for 1,000 years. This is known as the millennium
or the "New System" of things. The "other sheep"
(those who survive Armageddon), will live in peace in the newly created
paradise. At this point "there will be a resurrection of both the
righteous and the unrighteous." (Acts 24:15). The faithful will be
granted eternal life. Others will be given a second chance to accept
God's rule. Jehovah's Witnesses' beliefs on this near universal
resurrection are often misunderstood or misrepresented by critics of the
After the 1,000 years of God's Kingdom, Satan and his demons will be
released for a short time. They, and their human followers, will then be
Humans do not have an immortal soul that continues on after death.
When they die, they cease to exist. With the exception of those who:
Have sinned against the Holy Spirit, and
God has judged to receive eternal death,
all others are resurrected. God creates a new body for the resurrected one,
similar to their former body, which for most had long since decomposed. The
new body is mentally and physically healthy, with the original personality and
memories intact. They will be judged according to their deeds.
They totally deny the existence of the traditional Christian view of Hellas a place of punishment and torture . Satan
is regarded as having created the concept of Hellfire in order to turn people against God.
They believe that hell is the "common grave of mankind" where people
go when they die. They are not conscious there. Unbelievers simply cease to
exist at death; they are annihilated.
The requirements for salvation are somewhat similar to those found in
other conservative Protestant groups. It requires "taking in
knowledge" of God and Jesus Christ (John 17:3), repentance of sins,
acceptance of the sacrificial atonement of
Jesus, and conforming, as much as humanly possible, to the teachings of
the Christ as stated in the Bible. Good works are an expected evidence
of the member's prior salvation but are not the source of salvation.
Witnesses regard God's name, in the English language, as "Jehovah." Most Christian theologians
believe that "Yahweh" is a closer approximation to the original Hebrew
A brief comparison of Jehovah's Witnesses to historical Christian beliefs: