God’s name is Jehovah and is understood to mean “He Causes to Become.” Jehovah is the almighty God, and he created everything. He has the power to do anything he decides to do.
In Hebrew, God’s name was written with four letters. In English, these are represented by YHWH or JHVH. God’s name appears in the original Hebrew text of the Bible nearly 7,000 times. People all over the world use different forms of the name Jehovah, pronouncing it in the way that is common in their language.
2 THE BIBLE IS “INSPIRED OF GOD”
The Author of the Bible is God, but he used men to write it. This is similar to a businessman telling his secretary to write a letter that contains his ideas. God used his holy spirit to guide the Bible writers to record his thoughts. God’s spirit guided them in various ways, sometimes causing them to see visions or have dreams that they would then write down.
These are teachings in the Bible that explain a basic truth. For example, the principle “bad associations spoil useful habits” teaches us that we are affected for good or for bad by the people with whom we associate. (1 Corinthians 15:33) And the principle “whatever a person is sowing, this he will also reap” teaches us that we cannot escape the results of our actions.—Galatians 6:7.
This is a message from God. It could be an explanation of God’s will, a moral teaching, a command, or a judgment. It can also be a message about something that will happen in the future. There are many prophecies in the Bible that have already come true.
5 PROPHECIES ABOUT THE MESSIAH
6 JEHOVAH’S PURPOSE FOR THE EARTH
Jehovah created the earth to be a paradise home for humans who love him. His purpose has not changed. Soon, God will remove wickedness and give his people everlasting life.
7 SATAN THE DEVIL
Satan is the angel who started the rebellion against God. He is called Satan, which means “Resister,” because he fights against Jehovah. He is also called Devil, which means “Slanderer.” This name was given to him because he tells lies about God and deceives people.
Jehovah created the angels long before he created the earth. They were created to live in heaven. There are more than a hundred million angels. (Daniel 7:10) They have names and different personalities, and loyal angels humbly refuse to be worshipped by humans. They have different ranks and are assigned a variety of work. Some of this work includes serving before Jehovah’s throne, delivering his messages, protecting and guiding his servants on earth, carrying out his judgments, and supporting the preaching work. (Psalm 34:7; Revelation 14:6; 22:8, 9) In the future, they will fight alongside Jesus in the war of Armageddon.—Revelation 16:14, 16; 19:14, 15.
Anything that we feel, think, or do that is against Jehovah or his will is sin. Because sin damages our relationship with God, he has given us laws and principles that help us to avoid intentional sin. In the beginning, Jehovah created everything perfect, but when Adam and Eve chose to disobey Jehovah, they sinned and were no longer perfect. They grew old and died, and because we inherited sin from Adam, we too grow old and die.
11 GOD’S KINGDOM
God’s Kingdom is a government that Jehovah has set up in heaven. Jesus Christ is ruling as its King. In the future, Jehovah will use the Kingdom to remove all wickedness. God’s Kingdom will rule over the earth.
12 JESUS CHRIST
God created Jesus before everything else. Jehovah sent Jesus to earth to die for all humans. After Jesus was killed, Jehovah resurrected him. Jesus is now ruling in heaven as King of God’s Kingdom.
13 THE PROPHECY OF THE 70 WEEKS
The Bible prophesied, or foretold, when the Messiah would appear. This would be at the end of a period of time called the 69 weeks, which began in the year 455 B.C.E. and ended in the year 29 C.E.
How do we know that it ended in 29 C.E.? The 69 weeks began in the year 455 B.C.E. when Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem and began to rebuild the city. (Daniel 9:25; Nehemiah 2:1, 5-8) Just as the word “dozen” makes us think of the number 12, so the word “week” reminds us of the number 7. The weeks in this prophecy are not weeks of seven days but are weeks of seven years, in line with the prophetic rule of “a day for a year.” (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6) This means that each week is seven years long and that the 69 weeks add up to 483 years (69 x 7). If we count 483 years from 455 B.C.E., it takes us to the year 29 C.E. This is exactly the year when Jesus was baptized and became the Messiah!—Luke 3:1, 2, 21, 22.
The same prophecy foretold another week, which is an extra seven years. During this time period, in the year 33 C.E., the Messiah would be killed, and beginning in the year 36 C.E., the good news of God’s Kingdom would be preached to all the nations and not just to the Jews.—Daniel 9:24-27.
14 THE FALSE TEACHING OF THE TRINITY
The Bible teaches that Jehovah God is the Creator and that he created Jesus before all other things. (Colossians 1:15, 16) Jesus is not Almighty God. He never claimed that he was equal to God. In fact, he said: “The Father is greater than I am.” (John 14:28; 1 Corinthians 15:28) But some religions teach the Trinity, that God is three persons in one: the Father, the Son, and the holy spirit. The word “Trinity” is not in the Bible. This is a false teaching.
The holy spirit is God’s active force, his invisible power in action that he uses to do his will. It is not a person. For example, early Christians “became filled with holy spirit,” and Jehovah said: “I will pour out some of my spirit on every sort of flesh.”—Acts 2:1-4, 17.
15 THE CROSS
When true Christians worship God, they do not use the cross. Why not?
The cross has been used in false religion for a long time. In ancient times it was used in nature worship and in pagan sex rites. During the first 300 years after Jesus’ death, Christians did not use the cross in their worship. Much later, Roman Emperor Constantine made the cross a symbol of Christianity. The symbol was used to try to make Christianity more popular. But the cross had nothing to do with Jesus Christ. The New Catholic Encyclopedia explains: “The cross is found in both pre-Christian and non-Christian cultures.”
Jesus did not die on a cross. The Greek words translated “cross” basically mean “an upright stake,” “a timber,” or “a tree.” The Companion Bible explains: “There is nothing in the Greek of the [New Testament] even to imply two pieces of timber.” Jesus died on an upright stake.
16 THE MEMORIAL
Jesus commanded his disciples to observe the Memorial of his death. They do this each year on Nisan 14, the same date that the Israelites celebrated the Passover. Bread and wine, which represent Jesus’ body and blood, are passed around to everyone at the Memorial. Those who will rule with Jesus in heaven eat the bread and drink the wine. Those who have the hope of living forever on earth respectfully attend the Memorial but do not eat the bread or drink the wine.
In the English edition of the New World Translation, the word “soul” is used to describe (1) a person, (2) an animal, or (3) the life of a person or an animal. Here are some examples:
A person. “In Noah’s day . . . a few people, that is, eight souls, were carried safely through the water.” (1 Peter 3:20) Here the word “souls” refers to people—Noah and his wife, their three sons, and the sons’ wives.
An animal. “God said: ‘Let the waters swarm with living creatures [“souls,” footnote], and let flying creatures fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.’ Then God said: ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures [“souls,” footnote] according to their kinds, domestic animals and creeping animals and wild animals of the earth according to their kinds.’ And it was so.”—Genesis 1:20, 24.
The life of a person or an animal. Jehovah told Moses: “All the men who were seeking to kill you [“seeking your soul,” footnote] are dead.” (Exodus 4:19) When Jesus was on earth, he said: “I am the fine shepherd; the fine shepherd surrenders his life [“soul,” footnote] in behalf of the sheep.”—John 10:11.
In addition, when a person does something with his “whole soul,” this means that he does it willingly and to the best of his ability. (Matthew 22:37; Deuteronomy 6:5) The word “soul” can also be used to describe the desire or appetite of a living creature. A dead person or a dead body can be referred to as a dead soul.—Numbers 6:6; Proverbs 23:2; Isaiah 56:11; Haggai 2:13.
The Hebrew and Greek words translated “spirit” in the English edition of the New World Translation can mean different things. Yet they always refer to something invisible to humans, such as the wind or the breath of humans and animals. These words may also refer to spirit persons and to the holy spirit, which is God’s active force. The Bible does not teach that a separate part of a person keeps on living after he dies.—Exodus 35:21; Psalm 104:29; Matthew 12:43; Luke 11:13.
Gehenna is the name of a valley near Jerusalem where garbage was burned and destroyed. There is no evidence that in Jesus’ time animals or humans were tortured or burned alive in this valley. So Gehenna does not symbolize an invisible place where people who have died are tortured and burned forever. When Jesus spoke of those who are thrown into Gehenna, he was talking about complete destruction.—Matthew 5:22; 10:28.
20 THE LORD’S PRAYER
This is the prayer Jesus gave when teaching his disciples how to pray. It is also called the Our Father prayer or the model prayer. For example, Jesus taught us to pray this way:
“Let your name be sanctified”
We pray for Jehovah to clear his name, or reputation, of all lies. This is so that everyone in heaven and on earth will honor and respect God’s name.
“Let your Kingdom come”
We pray for God’s government to destroy Satan’s wicked world, to rule over the earth, and to make the earth into a paradise.
“Let your will take place . . . on earth”
We pray for God’s purpose for the earth to be fulfilled so that obedient, perfect humans can live forever in Paradise, just as Jehovah wanted when humans were created.
21 THE RANSOM
Jehovah provided the ransom to save humans from sin and death. The ransom was the price needed to buy back the perfect human life that the first man, Adam, lost and to repair man’s damaged relationship with Jehovah. God sent Jesus to earth so that he could die for all sinners. Because of Jesus’ death, all humans have the opportunity to live forever and become perfect.
22 WHY IS THE YEAR 1914 SO IMPORTANT?
The prophecy: Jehovah gave King Nebuchadnezzar a prophetic dream about a large tree that was chopped down. In the dream, a band of iron and copper was put around the tree’s stump to stop it from growing for a period of “seven times.” After that, the tree would grow again.—Daniel 4:1, 10-16.
What the prophecy means for us: The tree represents God’s rulership. For many years, Jehovah used kings in Jerusalem to rule over the nation of Israel. (1 Chronicles 29:23) But those kings became unfaithful, and their rulership ended. Jerusalem was destroyed in the year 607 B.C.E. That was the start of the “seven times.” (2 Kings 25:1, 8-10; Ezekiel 21:25-27) When Jesus said, “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled,” he was talking about the “seven times.” (Luke 21:24) So the “seven times” did not end when Jesus was on earth. Jehovah promised to appoint a King at the end of the “seven times.” The rulership of this new King, Jesus, would bring great blessings for God’s people all over the earth, forever.—Luke 1:30-33.
The length of the “seven times”: The “seven times” lasted for 2,520 years. If we count 2,520 years from the year 607 B.C.E., we end up at the year 1914. That was when Jehovah made Jesus, the Messiah, King of God’s Kingdom in heaven.
How do we get the number 2,520? The Bible says that three and a half times equal 1,260 days. (Revelation 12:6, 14) So “seven times” is double that number, or 2,520 days. The 2,520 days are equal to 2,520 years because of the prophetic rule “a day for a year.”—Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6.
23 MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL
Michael is the Leader of God’s army of faithful angels. Revelation 12:7 says: “Michael and his angels battled with the dragon . . . and its angels.” The book of Revelation says that the Leader of God’s army is Jesus, so Michael is another name for Jesus.—Revelation 19:14-16.
24 THE LAST DAYS
This expression refers to the time period when major events would happen on earth just before God’s Kingdom destroys Satan’s world. Similar expressions, such as “the conclusion of the system of things” and “the presence of the Son of man,” are used in Bible prophecy to refer to the same time period. (Matthew 24:3, 27, 37) “The last days” started when God’s Kingdom began ruling in heaven in 1914 and will end when Satan’s world is destroyed at Armageddon.—2 Timothy 3:1; 2 Peter 3:3.
When God brings a person who has died back to life, it is called a resurrection. Nine resurrections are mentioned in the Bible. Elijah, Elisha, Jesus, Peter, and Paul all performed resurrections. These miracles were possible only because of God’s power. Jehovah promises to resurrect “both the righteous and the unrighteous” to life on earth. (Acts 24:15) The Bible also mentions a resurrection to heaven. This takes place when those who are chosen, or anointed, by God are resurrected to live in heaven with Jesus.—John 5:28, 29; 11:25; Philippians 3:11; Revelation 20:5, 6.
26 DEMONISM (SPIRITISM)
Demonism or spiritism is the bad practice of trying to communicate with spirits, either directly or through someone else, such as a witch doctor, a medium, or a psychic. People who practice spiritism do this because they believe the false teaching that spirits of humans survive death and become powerful ghosts. The demons also try to influence humans to disobey God. Astrology, divination, magic, witchcraft, superstitions, the occult, and the supernatural are also part of demonism. Many books, magazines, horoscopes, movies, posters, and even songs make the demons, magic, and the supernatural seem harmless or exciting. Many funeral customs, such as sacrifices for the dead, funeral celebrations, funeral anniversaries, widowhood rites, and some wake rituals, also include contact with the demons. People often use drugs when trying to use the power of the demons.—Galatians 5:20; Revelation 21:8.
27 JEHOVAH’S SOVEREIGNTY
Jehovah is Almighty God, and he created the whole universe. (Revelation 15:3) That is why he is the Owner of all things and has sovereignty, or complete authority, to rule over his creation. (Psalm 24:1; Isaiah 40:21-23; Revelation 4:11) He has made laws for everything that he has created. Jehovah also has the authority to appoint others to be rulers. We support God’s sovereignty when we love him and obey him.—1 Chronicles 29:11.
An abortion is done intentionally to cause the death of an unborn child. It is not an accident or the result of a natural reaction of the human body. From the time of conception, a child is not just another part of the mother’s body. The child is a separate person.
29 BLOOD TRANSFUSION
This is the medical procedure in which whole blood or one of its four main components is transferred into a person’s body from another person or from blood that has been stored. The four main components of blood are plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
In the Bible, the word for “discipline” is not just another word for punishment. When we are disciplined, we are instructed, educated, and corrected. Jehovah is never abusive or cruel to those he disciplines. (Proverbs 4:1, 2) Jehovah sets a beautiful example for parents. The discipline he gives is so effective that a person can actually come to love discipline. (Proverbs 12:1) Jehovah loves his people, and he trains them. He gives them instruction that corrects wrong ideas and that helps them to learn to think and act in a way that pleases him. For parents, discipline includes helping their children to understand the reasons why they should be obedient. It also means teaching them to love Jehovah, as well as to love his Word, the Bible, and to understand its principles.
They are invisible, wicked spirit creatures with superhuman powers. The demons are wicked angels. They became wicked when they made themselves enemies of God by disobeying him. (Genesis 6:2; Jude 6) They joined Satan’s rebellion against Jehovah.—Deuteronomy 32:17; Luke 8:30; Acts 16:16; James 2:19.