Answering Jehovah's Witness about Heaven

Today I had a conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness that came to my house. She had come once before and both of our conversations have been intriguing. I want to be able to defend my faith well and at the same time listen to where she is coming from so that I know her perspective and can work off of this.

Today we were talking about heaven and she told me that she has never come across a verse in scripture that says that Jesus came to die so that we would enter heaven. She said that while some will enter heaven most will find their salvation on the earth.

I have looked up some verses that I do think could lead in the right direction in defense of the Catholic position but also wanted to get others’ insights on this.

Is there a place in scripture that explicitly states that Jesus died so that we could enter heaven?

What I am finding in searching on my own are more so bits and pieces that I think can be put together to make a good argument but I wondered if I were missing anything more clear.

Also, in regard to the 144,000 people that Jehovah’s Witnesses claim will go to heaven (Revelation 7:4-9) my bible says that this is the number of tribes of Israel squared multiplied by 1,000. This is to symbolize the new Israel and to include people of every race, nation, and tongue.
I have heard this before but is there anywhere in scripture that talks about this further? I have a feeling that my bible commentary won’t be proof enough.

Thank you for your thoughts!

Here’s one…1Thes 5:9-10

9For God did not destine us for wrath, but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live together with him.

Also, in regard to the 144,000 people that Jehovah’s Witnesses claim will go to heaven (Revelation 7:4-9) my bible says that this is the number of tribes of Israel squared multiplied by 1,000. This is to symbolize the new Israel and to include people of every race, nation, and tongue.
I have heard this before but is there anywhere in scripture that talks about this further? I have a feeling that my bible commentary won’t be proof enough.

See #5 toward the bottom of this page…
catholic.com/tracts/more-stumpers-for-the-jehovahs-witnesses

Here’s a tip, read Scripture and learn apologetics all you can, but stay away from Jehovah’s Witnesses. Above all, do not engage them when they visit your home. These ones who come to you are not interested in dialogue and will not be converted to your point of view. They are highly skilled and trained on how to refute arguments and they have a laundry list of talking points for all kinds of faiths especially Catholicism. You will not find a fruitful discussion here as your visitors repeatedly attempt to convince and convert you. They are not Christians, they are a highly organized and controlled cult who deny the divinity of Christ.

I would suggest that you spend your time finding a Catholic Bible study; I recommend the Great Adventure by Jeff Cavins, and learn your own faith instead of hearing about heresy.

I’m not really sure about my theory, but the JW paid me a visit last year. My mother unwittingly didn’t realize they were JW and I found them in my living room. Of course, I try to be as friendly to most people, so I went along with their mission.

It turns out they were former Catholics, so I knew I’d be able to make statements they could relate to. My first question was the obvious.

Why did you leave the Faith, and the One True Church Founded by Christ? (had to add that part :thumbsup:)

Answer: “Mass was boring. I could not relate to the priests’ homily”

I knew immediately that the JW sent me their lightweights, not their heavyhitters.
From there we continued with the Holy Eucharist, I asked them what that meant to them when they were Catholics. They did not know what ‘transubstantiation’ meant, what the priests role was during the Holy sacrifice. Who and what is the Body of Christ? In a short time it felt like an RCIA class in my living room.

Then we moved on to their new faith. My next questions would keep them on the defensive the entire time.
Question: Why are you inviting me to an Easter celebration at Kingdom Hall?
What did Easter mean to you when you were Catholic?
What does Easter mean to you now as JW?
Is Jesus God or Man?
What does Hebrews tell us about Jesus?
Explain John 1:1 to me, Charles Russels prophecies

It was a mother and son, former Catholics. I tried to speak to them with a tone a parent would speak to a child. Humiliating them and lecturing to them would feel great for the first few minutes, but what’s the point? Better to show them what they left behind and let them know the door never closed on them. Faith and understanding your faith will call your conscience. You never stop becoming a Catholic if you understand it’s truths and teachings.

When they left my home, I told them I admired them. Her son was polite, humble. I looked at them as Catholics and more with sadness. I hoped and prayed that my tone wasn’t too harsh, and I just planted seeds of doubts in their minds. I should have invited them for another discussion, and I’m confident over time I’d reach them. I never saw them again. And ever since, the JW go past my home, even when I’m outside doing the lawn and say hello to them, they never engage me. I’d say brush up a little on the Catechism and the really key doctrines and disciplines of our faith, be able to defend it, but keep them on the defensive. For them explaining the Trinity will be extremely difficult without their NWT bible.

My theory is I’m on their ‘do not knock’ list, but that’s just my theory. I’m on the Kooky Katholic blacklist, but beware the Watchtower is always watching.

PS: If 2 clean cut young men wearing bike helmets, clean white shirts, dress pants and sneakers, they’re not JW They’re 2 moral people who are trying to be rulers of their own planets. Explaining the Faith to them will be the same, probably even easier.

I am in a Catholic bible study here at the Newman Center affiliated with the college I attend. I enjoy it very much and love learning about my Catholic faith. I admit that since the first meeting with this woman I have been a bit uneasy about her returning because I know that I will not always know what to say right away. However, I do know whether or not the points she brings up align with Catholic teaching. Sometimes I don’t know the exact scripture versus to defend these points at the time but that’s where this research comes into play.

For example, today when she addressed this topic regarding heaven she asked where in the bible it mentioned what I was telling her. I told her that I did not know exactly but that I would find out. I know that I won’t always know the answer right away but I’m sure willing to find out, increase my knowledge of the faith, and engage in dialogue with those of different beliefs. Even if conversion does not come about for her through our conversations at least they may bring up points for her to question in her own mind.

If nothing else I hope to give witness to the truth of our Catholic faith in an open and joyful manner.

I mentioned to a priest that there are times that I can not find the bible verses to defend my faith with JW,s and he told me that we are not a people of the Bible. When you think about this, it is true. We were Catholics long before the Bible was put together as we know it now. We follow the Traditions of the apostles and the early church long before we had the Bible.

The JW’s will tell you that they are the true prophet of God and He choose them to speak for Him on earth. So from the death of Jesus until about the middle of the 1800’s ,according to the JW’s there was no truth to be had on earth.

You need to be careful when they spew out Bible verses, they cherry pick the few words that work for their sect. If you read the entire chapter including their “proof” text you will probably find that the meaning is entirely different from what they are claiming.

As stated above, they are well versed and trained in how and what to say to “prospects”. It is just my opinion but I think they are especially trained in the things that make them “different” from Christians. They depend on Catholics not being educated enough in their Catholic religion to give them much of a debate and sadly much of the time they are right. Then it is not easy to explain the mystery of the Trinity or the Real Presence.

As far as the 144,000 go they believe that this is the number of Witness that will be in Heaven ruling with Jesus. The rest will be living on Paradise earth. I think they live mostly in the book of Revelations and they think that they have it all figured out. A little arrogant of them I think.

Good Luck if you see them again.

Talking about the Kooky Katholic Blacklist. I am definitely on it as a matter of fact they cross the road when they come to my place. Not because I have been rude or anything of that nature just the opposite, they know I am trying to convert them. The two times I was able to get them in the house, I sat them down in my library, which is wall to wall religion and theology, got them a lemonade and politely said “Now where would you like to start”?
After a short and polite conversation mainly about the weather they asked if they could come back next week, I said I would love to see them please do. Next week one of them came with an elderly gentleman, I went through the same routine, things went downhill for them when teaching me about a particular doctrine of theirs I was able to produce older watch tower literature that did not match or even contradicted what they were saying. They excused themselves and left when I was able to produce teachings from the Church fathers written some 1600 years ago that is still taught in the CC today.
They have never been back, and I suspect never will, I know I may have missed a chance to convert them to the true faith however I protected my family and home from their errors.
You will never see a JW move more quickly in the reverse direction than when they encounter someone who can display even a pedestrian understanding of the subject matter. As St Peter warned us. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, and watch: because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about, seeking whom he may devour: Ignorance and Vulnerability is the preferred meal of this particular lion.

I guess I should have mentioned in my 1st post, even though I gave you a scripture verse, that as a Catholic, we do not need to show from the bible where something is mentioned. This is their, and protestants, paradigm to have to back up everything with scripture. Even though it can be backed up do not fall into the belief that everything MUST be backed up by scripture. After all, Christianity went many years without a codified bible as we have it today.

Peace!!!

Good Post:
I was at the Pub ( Bar ) one night with a Catholic friend of mine from Ireland and some how when talking to a group religion came up, and when some one said “That’s not in the Bible” I was most impressed when my Irish friend reduced the group to a stunned silence when he said in a thick Irish accent " So? What’s the Bible when compared to the Church"
I must admit, it shocked me a bit however no one knew how to really go about forming a rebuttal to this comment. Later he said to me that when we dialogue with protestants 9 times out of 10 we are forced to argue on heir terms, this is like playing an away game every week, and usually we do a pretty good job. however they are not so sure footed when we get them onto our terms or if you like play with a home ground advantage.
The point he was making is that the Church not the Bible is the Pillar and Bulwark of the Truth.

jehovahs witnesses and alot of protestant sects are much like us convinced their faith is the correct one but if you enjoy engaging people in a battle of wits learn your bible well and study apologetics I have sent many a door knocker running since when they ask me why I am catholic I simply say because it fills my soul with great joy in Our Lord most will agree that no matter your denomination if you have that then your on the right path. And make sure to mention to the Jehovahs witnesses denying heaven this John 14:2-3 we read, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” clearly talking about heaven and will clearly leave them stuttering:thumbsup:

:thumbsup: and yet even this is in the bible.

JW they do not belive in the holy trinity and when they get baptized they do not get baptized with the holy spirit but with just mer water

That would be one of the main points of a Catholic response. Before Jesus left and ascended into heaven, he did leave something and initially it was not the Bible. He left a Church. A Church which took an oral and written account of his life and teachings, our Sacred Tradition.

The JW is much easier to defend against, because it’s on the fringes of Christianity. With other denominations, it’s history and Tradition, particularly history of the Bible, they’ll have problems explaining.

You won’t just learn more about your Catholic faith, but also what other religions believe, their history, which you’d be surprised they either ignore, or know nothing about.I suppose in most cases they don’t want to go down that path, because many of these denominations have very questionable beginnings. They made many wild claims and prophetic writings they can’t just retract because it’s on the record. Of course we have some of our own history to explain, so you should prob brush up a little on that, couldn’t hurt.

Your Kooky Katholic JW Blacklist t-shirt and cap has already been mailed in your defence of our Mother Church. Seriously, ya know, it probably shouldn’t just be vindication and winning debates with these people, many of them are well meaning. The teachings though I believe are just so harmful, souls are at stake and it’s not due to a good Catholic rejecting Church teachings, but just very poor catechisis, which I blame myself, not those who were teaching me.
If you don’t get through to the JW, you can still share your faith with others who they may try to persuade, relatives, friends, just anyone you know in dire situations needing spirituality in their life. We have the luxury of being able to have good rational answers, CAF, CA - Radio, books, if we don’t know the answer, someone will, and usually our answer will be consistent and compliant with Church teaching.

I had this friend I saw reading a book from an unnamed Christian denomination, I know he was born Catholic, and I know his knowledge of the faith is no broader than a pinhead, I told him I’d discuss anything that he’s confused about Catholicism. I’m no theologian by any stretch, but I can answer the essentials, and certainly explain to him what other religions do not have that the Church does have.

I mentioned this in another thread. The availability of info today, especially on the Web is a blessing for Catholics. There are many more sources that can be tapped, lies, myths and distortions about the Church can be verified and debunked today unlike in years past. At the same time, our non- Catholic friends are put in awkward defensive positions, they usually are never put in because we can easily find out what they believe, and quite frankly, they usually don’t do a good job of defending, explaining, in plain simple terms their faith and beliefs.

John 3:16 says that Jesus came so that whoever believes in him might have eternal life. But is this eternal life supposed to be apart from him? Not in his presence? Nope. In John 14 Jesus tells us exactly what this eternal life will be.

In my Father’s house there are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, ** that where I am you may be also. ** (Jn 14:2-3)

Jesus wants us to be with Him! And this isn’t for a select few. You should point your friend to the verses immediately following the mention of the 144,000. Those are described in Ch 7 verses 1-8, but in verse nine and following the bible says this:

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude ***which no one could count *** from every nation, from all tribes and people’s and tongues, standing before the throne and the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, saying “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” (Rev 7:9-12)

This is describing Heaven, since they are worshipping the Throne and the Lamb, and the angels are there. Yet the Bible says there is such a great multitude in heaven that no one can count it. You can count 144,000 (obviously because they just did) So clearly heaven isn’t just for a select few, but for all those who “have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev 7:14)

The above scriptural quote from Revelation is excellent in showing that there are myriads in Heaven, not just 144,000.

'After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count from every nation, from all tribes and people’s and tongues, standing before the throne and the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, saying “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” (Rev 7:9-12)

This is describing Heaven, since they are worshipping the Throne and the Lamb, and the angels are there. Yet the Bible says there is such a great multitude in heaven that no one can count it. You can count 144,000 (obviously because they just did) So clearly heaven isn’t just for a select few, but for all those who “have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev 7:14)’

The Jehovah’s witness I spoke told me that they would only receive communion once a year, and that only those elders of the church who ‘feel’ that they are one of the 144,000 are allowed to receive communion.

I haven’t done the math, but it seems to me that if all the church elders of every Jehovah Witness church was added up since the church began, wouldn’t that in itself add up to way more than 144,000?

I also tried to give this Jehovah Witness woman a book called ‘One God or Three’, which explains the Divinity of Christ from mostly Old Testament scripture, and she refused to take it. So after 4 meetings with her, I came to the conclusion that she did not want to listen to me. She left my home and I haven’t seen her since.

(Their main assertion that Jehovah is God’s proper name, is wrong to begin with)

Yes, very true!

I thought it would be helpful though to be able to reference verses from scripture to her. Given that the topic at hand is heaven I was pretty confident that there would be verses to do this, I just was not sure where they were.

Thank you for your help!

Thank you everyone for all of the helpful responses!

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