A major publication of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Organization is "You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth." Published in 1982, this book covers many of the major doctrines that are endorsed by the Watchtower and taught to Jehovah Witnesses the world over.
Filled with very compelling artwork and written in Jr. High level language, it is very easy to understand and conveys its message in simplicity. Mass produced and given away for free, the faithful member used this book as their main text in bible studies for over a decade. Most Jehovah Witnesses that are over the age of 20 are very familiar with this book.
Any professing Christian knows that the Bible, and the Bible only, is to be their rule of thumb in evaluation any doctrine as it relates to God, the condition of humankind, and the plan of salvation. When a book that claims to be coming from a Christian perspective violates the Biblical Scripture, the Scriptures are to take precedence and the erroneous doctrines, corrected, denounced or eliminated.
Christian Theology 101 – Salvation is found by faith in Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12)
Ephesians 2:8,9 -- "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast"
Faith is the evidence before God. Works are the evidence before people.
1 John 5:13 – "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life."
Salvation is to be appropriated and received now. If we wait until after were are dead to find out if we are going to be in the Kingdom, we've waited too long. We need to be born into it now (2 Cor 6:2).
"You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth" is a beautiful title. The supposition is accurate and real, but the steps described in the book to attaining the result are absolutely un-biblical. They make a crooked a path the Lord would have straight.
As people and free moral agents, we have the right to believe whatever we want. However it becomes problematic when we claim to have the truth and it can be easily shown otherwise that we do not.
Contrary to the opinion of some, the bible is not a hard to understand. Sure, with 66 books there may be disagreement over some minor points. However, the mode and method of salvation, which is a major doctrine, should not be one of those points.
I've heard some say that "the only thing Christians can agree on is how to spell Jesus." Well that's a joke. The vast majority of orthodox Christians who actually believe the bible is the Word of God and is inspired by the Holy Spirit agree on the most important tenants of the faith.
Rather than do an exhaustive critique of this book, I will bring specific attention to Chapter 30.
Chapter 30 -- "What You Must Do to Live Forever"
Not once in this chapter is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the blood of Jesus Christ, or the resurrection of Jesus Christ even mentioned. What is mentioned is that individuals must perform a series of works and specifically be a member of the Watchtower Organization before they even have an opportunity to gain everlasting life. That, my friends, is a biblical travesty.
Can any Jehovah Witness who may be reading this explain to me how, in a supposed Christian publication, there can be an entire chapter on salvation that can exclude those things and honestly claim to be teaching God's Word?
Works in association with membership in the Watchtower Society are lifted up in this book as the lynch pins to achieving the POSSIBILITY of salvation. It's the carrot on the stick. Salvation is found in proving oneself to God and staying close to the Watchtower. Having a personal relationship with Jehovah through the Word of God and being sealed by the Holy Spirit is not taught here at all here.
Forget the fact that Jesus calls people unto Himself and not an organization. Forget the fact that Jesus promises to receive and forgive ALL who come to Him. Forget the fact that Jesus says that ALL who come to Him can receive eternal life NOW. None of that is taught in this book.
It works in this publication that way because as far as the Watchtower Society's leadership is concerned, those pieces don't ultimately matter. What matters is one's blind obedience to them, not a personal dedication and consecration of oneself to Jehovah God through Jesus Christ. According to the book one cannot have a personal relationship with God. It must be done through the Watchtower. Period.
Anyone who has read "You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth" , I challenge you to show us where any of these vital pieces are expounded on and in clearly taught within its covers. After all, this is supposed to be a primer. Issues as important as those should not be left out, should they?
Again, this publication treats salvation as a reward and not a gift. Salvation is held up as something that is to be attained and received as payment for a job well done and not as n eternal benefit that we can never merit through our actions or earn on our own good deeds.
Obedience to US (and us only) equals salvation.
Organizations whose leaders employ that tactic do it for one reason and one reason only –to control the masses of followers. By never knowing where they ultimately stand with Jehovah God, members live at the beck and call of the leadership and are held under subjection to the governing authority. Ultimately the organization becomes God. That is how cults are born.
I come from a background of being suspicious of all organized religion. Reason being, many leaders in organized religion have a knack of wanting to control or Lord it over the congregants (Mark 10:42-45). That's exactly why I choose to follow Christ and not be religious.
Throughout the bible, specifically the New Testament, salvation is taught as something that can never be merited or earned.
-- "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31)
-- "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to ALL who believe." (Romans 3:22)
-- "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law." (Romans 3:28)
-- "To the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness." (Romans 4:5)
There is a confidence and assurance that all believers should have now, in this lifetime. Just as the Israelites had peace when the blood was applied during the Passover, and just as Noah was assured of deliverance when the door to the ark closed. We should have the same confidence if we have the blood of Christ on our accounts.
All Christians should rest in the assurance of their salvation through the work of the Cross and the ability of God to keep them. We are born into the family through faith in our Savior without anything else at all. He saves us and in gratitude we live our lives for Him. Period.
John 10:28 – "I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand."
2 Timothy 1:12 -- For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.
Here are two key truths about salvation and faith that all Christians agree on:
-- Faith in Jesus Christ is essential to be saved and justified. See Ephesians 2:8–9.
-- True faith has a backbone. The Book of James makes it absolutely clear that a declaration of faith by itself is meaningless if it isn't backed up by action (James 2:14–26).
As my buddy RSG says, "if you're gonna talk the talk, you've gotta walk the walk." Therefore, if someone is truly a Christian, his or her life is going to be characterized by a growing love and faith over their life, and they will live in accordance with that faith. However, this is a consequence of faith, not a condition.
According to this publication, one cannot get to God but through them. A point which flies in the face of Jesus claiming to be the Way, the Truth, not an organization. (John 5:24; 6:37; 14:6; 1 John 5:13 to name only a few)
There are some nice pieces on family and accurate information on the deplorable and sin-ridden state of the world. But these good and honest points are overshadowed by the major erroneous doctrines, revisionist history, and the overall anti-Christian bias that runs rampant thought its pages. "You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth" has no real biblical merit at all.
If you study your bible and then study and dissect this book, its best use will be to get the truth of God's Word to the Society members on your doorstep.
Thank you for reading,
G.O.S.P.E.L. by Needhimhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=end...
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What authority Jehovah's Witnesses give to the Biblehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9f8yytjV...
Organization or Person? Quick Question For Jehovah's Witnesseshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSiY-Kcof...
God is Love - Marvin Gaye