“Most widely read magazine in the world”?

It’s The Watchtower, “a flimsy, pamphlet-like” monthly, published by the Jehovah Witnesses (a pseudo-Christian cult). Here’s part of what Joel Meares writes in The New York Review of Magazines today.

Every month, nearly 40 million copies of The Watchtower are printed in more than 180 languages and sent to 236 countries. There are no subscriptions and you won’t find it on newsstands, but it’s still hard to miss. … The Watchtower is the most widely distributed magazine in the world, with a circulation of more than 25 million. Last year, the world’s 7.3 million-strong Jehovah’s Witnesses spent 1.5 billion hours knocking on doors and “street Witnessing” — stopping folks in parks and on streets — to preach the “good news” with a copy of The Watchtower. Its closest competitors are AARP The Magazine (circulation 24.3 million) and Better Homes and Gardens (7.6 million).

With such garbage getting regularly pumped into our world, what do you think real (biblical) Christians ought to be doing? Should those who know and love the truth (and love our neighbor as ourself) be doing more?! Have WE no good, gospel-literature to put in the hands of neighbors and seekers??

Lord, stir Your people to spread the real Word of the one true gospel!
pdb

16 thoughts on ““Most widely read magazine in the world”?

  1. I didn’t realize that the circulation of The Watchtower was that large. The primary reason (I think) that JWs are so zealous for “evangelism” is because their “redemption” depends partly upon it.

    To some JWs, they are just going through the motions. We had one poor elderly woman stop by our house, give us a copy of The Watchtower, mumble something about the terrible situation the world is in and how we should read this publication. Then say “goodbye and have a nice day”. The whole pitch took 30 seconds.

    No doubt, we should be compelled by our love for Christ to make Him known among the nations and preach the gospel to every creature. May the Lord enlarge our hearts to love and reach the lost for His sake. Let’s outdo the cults with our zeal and holy ambition, and with right and biblical motives.

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    1. Hey Chad, you said it yourself, she was an elderly lady, perhaps that’s all she could manage to do in her condition. You didn’t mantion trying to engage her in any form of uplifting spiritual conversation. God says that he appreciates even the little the elderly do and he doesn’t forget what they did in their younger days. Do you recall the woman who gave two coins of little value? Perhaps you should pray and meditate on it !

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      1. Hey Zen,

        The age of the woman was a descriptive detail, I was not making any derogatory comments about an elderly person. I think my comments are clear on that front. The point of my remarks was to highlight the scripted, or “canned” presentation, which appeared to me to be done as a duty to check off the list.

        I would have gladly engaged her in spiritual conversation, however, she handed me the material and went on her way. I didn’t have a chance to speak to her.

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  2. While it may be true that not all Jehovah’s Witnesses who participate in the field ministry are skilled teachers of God’s word by engaging individuals in conversations and discussions, they are all motivated to participate out of love for God and neighbor. We are all trained through the Theocratic Ministry School and Service Meeting the art of teaching. Some may be more timid than others but the zeal for God is real.

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    1. Hi Donna, Thanks for reading and commenting. Zeal for God is a powerful motivator for doing many things, but zeal (or even sincere motivation) does not make an activity pleasing to God. The Bible tells us that zeal which pleases God must be according to the truth of His Word (as Saul of Tarsus found out). The doctrine of the Jehovah Witnesses does not conform to the truth of the NT about Jesus (which clearly teaches the Trinity, and that Jesus is Jehovah). The Watchtower spreads falsehoods and keeps people from the truth about Jesus. I urge you to turn from JW’s false teachings, and seek the truth. Please let me know if you’d like to exchange some emails (directly) or talk on the telephone. pdb

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      1. Dave can you please direct me to any place in the scriptures that say that Jesus is Jehovah (God) so I can read it for myself ?
        At John 10:36 it says “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
        And at Hebrews 9:24 it says “For Christ is not entered into the holy place made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.
        These certainly don’t support Jesus being God while on earth or after he ascended into heaven so I need to be shown what scriptures you say show Jesus to BE God.

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  3. Dear Mr. Bissett,

    It was nice of you to reply to my post. I was really just sharing my observations of the motivation behind the reasons we go out into the ministry. Your comments seem so polarizing to me. There seems to be no room for discussion in such a blanket statement as “Watchtower spreads falsehoods and keeps people from the truth about Jesus”. I don’t get it, everything I’ve learned from witnesses can be substantiated from the scriptures and is supported by history. For instance you mentioned the Trinity, which I have personally not seen taught in the Bible anywhere. I’ve never even seen the word Trinity in the Bible.

    Jesus was of Jewish decent and we all know the Jews believed in only one God. Jesus is quoted at Mark 12: 29 saying “Hear, O Israel; Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.” What is also true is that Christianity has digressed from the concept of the Oneness of God, into a vague and mysterious doctrine that was formulated during the fourth century. This doctrine of the Trinity which states that God is the union of three divine persons is not what the Bible teaches and is the “false teachings” you speak of.

    With all due respect sir, I wonder how much history you examined before you came to your conclusions? Because if what you say is true then the Bible contradicts itself. Now that is a frightening concept.

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  4. “Jesus was of Jewish decent and we all know the Jews believed in only one God. Jesus is quoted at Mark 12: 29 saying “Hear, O Israel; Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.”

    All the more astounding when Jesus asserts in John 10:30, “I and the Father are One.”

    Just because the *word* Trinity isn’t in the Bible, doesn’t mean that it isn’t a biblical concept or that it isn’t revealed in Scripture, Mt 28:19.

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  5. Chad, perhaps you should study the scriptures with someone who knows what the Bible really teaches.
    You mention John 10:30 and strain out the gnay and gulp down the camel. You have no clue as to the sense of that verse. At John 17:22 Jesus in praying to his father says “Also, I have given them the glory that you have given me, in order that they may be one just as we are one. If we utalize your sense of his words we would have to conclude that Jesus wanted to incorporate the apostles (of whom he was referring to) into your trinity by making them all “one” just as he and the father are one (by your definition) No my friend when Jesus says that they are one he means that they are of one mind, one purpose, one faith, one worship of the only true God. At John 17:3 Jesus says “3 This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ”. Did you notice Jesus calling his Father “the only true God”. At John 14:28 Jesus again clearly states that “the Father is greater than I am” and at Acts 10:38 it states that “God anointed him with holy spirit and power” and finishes by saying that “God was with him” not that he WAS God. Let me ask you Chad, just when DID Jesus become God ? After he got back to heaven? Notice at Hebrews 9:24 it says that Christ entered into heaven to appear before the person of God for us. If you would like to do some really great investigating into what the Bible really teaches, feel free to contact me at zenkolodnicki@yahoo.com I’d love to spend some quality time researching the scriptures with you by phone or email.
    Respectfully, Zen

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    1. Zen,

      Your response gives me little confidence that I should find such an instructor in you, and I should say (sadly) not untypical from JWs that I have interacted with in the past.

      John 17:22 has a different context than John 10:30. In John 17:22 Christ is praying for his people and those who will believe because of their word. He is praying for their unity, and that they will dwell “in him”, i.e. abide in him. In John 10 Jesus is addressing his relationship with the Father. The Jews who heard him at the time clearly understood what he meant as in Jn 10:31 they picked up stones again to stone him, and their reply to Jesus for doing this was “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

      Jesus calling the Father “the one true God” certainly doesn’t disprove the Trinity. How would you expect Jesus, incarnate in the flesh, to address the Father? Jesus saying that “the Father is greater than I am” is in reference to Jesus’ relationship to Him in his humiliation (i.e. incarnation, his “humanity”)

      Jesus never “became” God, he always was the second Person of the Godhead. And he did enter into heaven as resurrected Savior to stand before the Father as the intercessor and advocate of his people.

      However, with the JW hermenuetic for interpreting the Scriptures (not to mention a “translation” produced to justify JW doctrine), any research we could do together would be quite unfruitful. I appreciate your concern though, and I trust you have sincere motives.

      May the Lord show you mercy as you endeavor to know Him.

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      1. Chad, I never said I was an instructor, just a humble student of Gods word.
        Chad, you wrote “John 17:22 has a different context than John 10:30. In John 17:22 Christ is praying for his people and those who will believe because of their word. He is praying for their unity, and that they will dwell “in him”, i.e. abide in him.

        I have no problem with that Chad, it just shows that because he said they should be “one” doesn’t mean that they are one in the same. Another example is a man & woman become “one flesh” Mt 19:6 …….”They are no more twain, but one flesh.” Common sense tells you it doesn’t mean that they are one in the same flesh. But notice the other example cited:
        John 10:29,30 “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Fathers hand. I and my Father are one”.

        Here again Jesus is stating that he is one, just like no one can take them from his Fathers hand, neither can anyone take them from his.

        Chad, this is where we dissagree, I say that the entire verse means what it says and you don’t believe the first half where Jesus states “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all. For some reason you say that Jesus is co-equal in some sort of trinity of God. And you, just like all those Jews Jesus was talking to seem to say that his words mean something else, namely, that he is God. That’s why he answered them with a question in verse 34 & 35, to get them to think deeply and reason on the written word and finally in verse 36 plainly tells them the real reason they want to kill him, because he said “I am the Son of God”. Of coarse not many, even today believe what Jesus said, they rather believe what the Jews said in verse 33. Oh yes, the truth is in fact veiled as it says at 2Cor 4:3&4 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of the Christ, who is the image of God, might shine unto them.

        Chad, you further wrote ” Jesus calling the Father “the one true God” certainly doesn’t disprove the Trinity. How would you expect Jesus, incarnate in the flesh, to address the Father? Jesus saying that “the Father is greater than I am” is in reference to Jesus’ relationship to Him in his humiliation (i.e. incarnation, his “humanity”)

        At John 17:3 Jesus plainly states….”And this is life eternal, that they might know THEE” (not us or you and the holy spirit as in a trinity) the only true God”, Then he adds “and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent”. Notice the word “thee” it is singular as in “you” not more than one and if it’s a trinity, why isn’t it in a tense that includes the third part? Yes we can read about the pre-human Jesus by reading wonderful scriptures like proverbs 8, and I like verse 22,23 & 24 where Jesus states, ” The LORD posessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth;……….
        Yes, in his own words he “was set up from the beginning”…We know God never had a beginning.
        Also the wonderful scripture at the end of Rev3:14 where Jesus says……”These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God”.
        Being the first thing created by God, it makes possible the words at 1Cor 8:6 “But to us there is but one God, the Father” (not a trinity of Gods), “of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by them”.
        Also Col1:15 “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.
        I look forward to hearing from you, respectfully, Zen

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  6. Zen,
    I’m happy to point you to proof for the divinity of Jesus, that He is indeed Jehovah, one with the Father and the Spirit (a trinity).

    One great text (which includes the understanding of its original jewish hearers) is found at the end of John 8. In verse 58 – “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” What did He mean by that? read on, verse 59, “So they picked up stones to throw at him…” Those who heard this declaration by Jesus understood it not simply as ‘unity of purpose with God’ but as a claim of divinity, unity with God! Wrongly they saw this as blasphemy and sought to stone Jesus. Rightly, we see Jesus as the Son of God, and ought to worship Him.

    Further on in John 10, we read further claims of divinity — such as Jesus giving men eternal life, and, again claiming oneness with the Father! [28] I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. [29] My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. [30] I and the Father are one.”

    I think we could find dozens of similar texts in the New Testament which must be seen as presenting Jesus as Jehovah — such as Jesus’ claiming to forgive sins, which only GOD can do, or, Jesus accepting direct worship from doubting-no-more-Thomas!

    I hope the Spirit of Truth leads you to see and savor Jesus as Lord.

    pdb

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    1. Thank you so much for replying Dave.

      I’ll try to look up each scripture you refrence in the order you answered
      1- One great text (which includes the understanding of its original jewish hearers) is found at the end of John 8. In verse 58 – “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” What did He mean by that?

      The answer lies here at Col 1:15 “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature”

      2 – You wrote ” Those who heard this declaration by Jesus understood it not simply as ‘unity of purpose with God’ but as a claim of divinity, unity with God! Wrongly they saw this as blasphemy and sought to stone Jesus.

      Yes but they knew that he didn’t say that he was Almighty God but the Son of God as it says at Mat 27:43 “He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said I am the Son of God”.

      At 1Cor 8:6, we are told “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

      You see Dave, if Jesus and God were one in the same then none of these scriptures would make any sense, and 1Cor 15:24 – 28 where it says at verse 27 that God “hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manafest that He is excepted which did put all things under him” and verse 28 simply states “But when all things will have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will also subject himself to God who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone”.

      3 – Again you wrote ” Rightly, we see Jesus as the Son of God, and ought to worship Him”.
      Yet at Jn 5:41 Jesus says that he doesn’t accept “glory from men” and rightly so because at Isa 42:8 God says …..”my glory I will not give to another.
      At Jn 17:3 Jesus prayed ……”thee” the “only true God” and Jesus Christ, who thou hast sent.

      Again Dave in John 1:18 he states plainly “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

      4 – You wrote “I think we could find dozens of similar texts in the New Testament which must be seen as presenting Jesus as Jehovah — such as Jesus’ claiming to forgive sins, which only GOD can do,

      Yet the Bible says at Mt 28:18 “ALL power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” Are you saying that it doesn’t include the forgiving of sins ?
      Acts 5:31 says “Him hath God exhaulted with his right hand to be a Prince and Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, AND forgiveness of sins”. You see, this shows that God included the “authority” to forgive sins. That’s why Jesus was able to say at Mark 2:10 and Luke 5:24 that he had “power” to forgive sins.

      5 – Again, you wrote “Jesus accepting direct worship from doubting-no-more-Thomas”!
      Are you referencing John 20:28 where Thomas says “My Lord and my God” ?
      That’s not surprising since it was prophesied centuries earlier when God had Isaiah write at Isa 9:6 that he would be called “mighty God”, notice it didn’t say “Almighty God” but anyway if you continue down a couple of verses to John 20:31 wher it explains “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ. The Son of God”;…………..Did you notice it didn’t say that it was written so that people would think or know that he was God

      Dave, I love the scripture at John 20:17 where Jesus says ………” I ascend to my Father, and your Father, and to MY GOD, and your God”.

      And another one at Rev 3:12 where Jesus again mentions his God, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of MY GOD and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of MY GOD, and the name of the city of MY GOD, which is new Jerusalem , which cometh down out of heaven from MY GOD: and I will write upon him my new name”.

      No Dave, I don’t see how the scriptures say anything but Jesus being God’s Son, his anointed one.
      One last scripture if you don’t mind please. It’s found at 1 John 5:10 “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God, hath made him a liar; because he believeth NOT the record that God gave of his Son.

      Yes Dave the witness that God himself gave not only at the Jordan but also on the mountain that ‘This is my beloved Son” not this is me incarnate. 2 Peter 1:16 – 18 sums it up perfectly.

      I look forwar with an open and glad heart to correspond again, please.
      Respectfully, Zen

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  7. Its great to hear that there are people that seek to speak what is truth and without twisting anything the bible says. It takes humble hearts to listen and accept what the bible really says and not rely on our own reasoning or understanding.

    Proverbs 3:5, 6
    Jeremiah 10:23
    1 John 5:3

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  8. Zen,

    A humble student of God’s Word usually doesn’t say:

    “perhaps you should study the scriptures with someone who knows what the Bible *really* teaches.”

    or

    “You have no clue as to the sense of that verse.”

    Do those statements strike you as humble?

    Be that as it may, I don’t have much time to reply. So I will be brief.

    You said:

    “I have no problem with that Chad, it just shows that because he said they should be “one” doesn’t mean that they are one in the same.”

    This is just the problem that JWs have with understanding the Trinity. Scripture doesn’t teach that God the Father and God the Son are “one in the same”. They are distinct Persons. I should also point out that no one can fully understand the Trinity. God cannot be put into a box so that He can be fully grasped by our intellect.

    You said:

    “Chad, this is where we dissagree, I say that the entire verse means what it says and you don’t believe the first half where Jesus states “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all.”

    Jesus is pointing to the greatness of God in the context of the verses cited. He is associating himself with the Father so that it will dawn on his disciples just who the Christ is. Do you expect that everytime Jesus references God he is going to make some kind of Trinitarian qualification and make sure he includes himself?

    You said:

    “For some reason you say that Jesus is co-equal in some sort of trinity of God.”

    I say it because it is taught in Scripture, and not in this place only.

    Have you ever asked yourself why it is that God calls upon all the heavens and earth to worship Him AND the lamb? Why would He do that? Do you worship Jesus? Is he less than God? Then you make yourself an idol worshipper.

    You said:

    “That’s why he answered them with a question in verse 34 & 35, to get them to think deeply and reason on the written word and finally in verse 36 plainly tells them the real reason they want to kill him, because he said “I am the Son of God”. Of coarse not many, even today believe what Jesus said, they rather believe what the Jews said in verse 33.”

    The Jews understood what Jesus was saying, why don’t you? My son is a male, I am a male. Is my son any less a male than I am? The Jews knew what Jesus was saying when he asserted that he is the Son of God.

    You said:

    “Oh yes, the truth is in fact veiled as it says at 2Cor 4:3&4 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of the Christ, who is the image of God, might shine unto them.”

    This text is not addressing the deity of Christ, it’s addressing the failure of the lost to comprehend and believe the gospel. Zen, what is the gospel?

    You said:

    “Notice the word “thee” it is singular as in “you” not more than one and if it’s a trinity, why isn’t it in a tense that includes the third part?”

    For reasons I addressed above.

    You said:

    “Being the first thing created by God, it makes possible the words at 1Cor 8:6 “But to us there is but one God, the Father” (not a trinity of Gods), “of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by them”.”

    Jesus was begotten, not created. Please explain how, in your interpretation of 1 Cor. 8:6, by Jesus Christ “are all things”?

    You said:

    “Also Col1:15 “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.”

    He is the exact representation of the invisible God, how in your understanding of this verse, can this be and yet he is less than God? Why do you understand “firstborn” as referring to sequential order? Could it be pointing to something greater than you imagined?

    Best,

    CMG

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  9. Friends one and all,

    I have let the exchanges here in the comments section go a few rounds, but will close the comments after this final word.

    The teachings of modern day “Jehovah Witnesses” are not in accord with what the Bible teaches about the full divinity of Jesus Christ. All true strands of Christianity acknowledge this. Explanations have been offered for the points raised, but too often replies by Zen in this case seem to race past the context to other verses (proof-texting). Case in point my offer of John 8 was not discussed. The reason for the attempted stoning of Jesus is most clear; I urge you to hear what Jesus said, and bow before Him as Lord and God — as did Thomas.

    There are reasonable answers readily available for those seeking the truth about the identity of Jesus, and His full equality with God the Father.

    pdb

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