COG and Jehovah’s Witnesses Doctrinal Similarities



Although the COGs rarely own church buildings and the Jehovah’s Witnesses normally do, there are many amazing doctrinal similarities between the two groups.

Both the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the COG believe that there was an apostasy in the early church. Both the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the COG believe that what now passes for mainstream Christianity is not truly Christian, but a combination of various non-biblical religions that attempt to appear to be Christian.

Here are several beliefs that are similar to how the COGs would teach (though the two groups do not explain some of the details the same):

…Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the earth will remain forever and that all people, living and dead, who will fit in with Jehovah’s purpose for a beautified, inhabited earth may live on it forever… The Bible tells us: “The wages sin pays is death.” “The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.” “The soul that is sinning—it itself will die.” (Romans 6:23; Ecclesiastes 9:5; Ezekiel 18:4, 20) Then how can they live again to share in the earthly blessings? Only through the ransom sacrifice of Christ Jesus, for he said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life.” “All those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.”—John 5:28, 29; 11:25; Matthew 20:28. How will this come about? It is explained in “the good news of the kingdom,” which Jesus started to proclaim while on earth. (Matthew 4:17-23) (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Who Are They? What Do They Believe? Published in 2000. Copyright © 2006 Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved. Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Web Site 07/09/07)

The following official beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witnesses are essentially the same as COG teachings, although they do not understand all of the statements below the same (note: articles on those same subjects that I have written on are shown parenthetically after the JW belief):

Beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Bible is God’s Word and is truth… (The Bible: Fact or Fiction?)
Bible is more reliable than tradition… (Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings)
Christ is God’s Son and is inferior to Him… (Jesus…)
Christ died on a stake, not a cross… (What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?)
Christ’s one sacrifice was sufficient… (Which Laws Are Done Away? Which Remain?)
We are now in the ‘time of the end’ … (Did The Early Church Millenarianism?)
Kingdom under Christ will rule earth in righteousness and peace… (Did The Early Church Millenarianism?)
Kingdom will bring ideal living conditions to earth… (The Gospel of the Kingdom of God)
Wicked will be eternally destroyed… (Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis)
People God approves will receive everlasting life…(Universal Salvation?)
Hope for dead is resurrection… (What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrection?)
New covenant is made with spiritual Israel … (Which Laws Are Done Away? Which Remain?)
Christ’s congregation is built upon himself… (Was Peter the Rock Who Alone Received the Keys of the Kingdom?)
Images should not be used in worship … (What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?)
Spiritism must be shunned … (Close Encounters of a ‘Spirit’ Kind)
Satan is invisible ruler of world… (Europa, the Beast, and Revelation)
Obey human laws that do not conflict with God’s laws … (Military Service: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?)
Bible’s laws on morals must be obeyed… (Which Laws Are Done Away? Which Remain?)
Man did not evolve but was created … (Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God’s Existence Logical?)
Christ set example that must be followed in serving God … (What Did Jesus Teach About the Ten Commandments?)

(JW Source: Jehovah’s Witnesses—Who Are They? What Do They Believe? Published in 2000. Copyright © 2006 Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved. Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Web Site 07/09/07)

There were other beliefs above, such as baptism by immersion that the COGs agree with, that were omitted because the way they were worded at the official JW website was not how the COG would word them.

Regarding crosses, perhaps it should be mentioned that while we in the COGs generally understand that the word translated as “cross” normally means tree or stake, that it is possible that a cross was used for Jesus’ crucifixion. However we, like the JWs, are opposed to in any way revering crosses and we in the COG have been so opposed throughout history (please see the article (The Pergamos Church Era).

Both the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the COG believe that the true church would be a “little flock”. Both the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the COG believe that the true church would suffer persecutions throughout its history.

Both the Jehovah’s Witnesses and COG claim to get their doctrines from the Bible. Both are opposed the Christian observance of non-Christian, repackaged pagan holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Christmas. Both groups believe that Passover is to be observed once per year (though they observe it one day apart from each other).

Both the Jehovah’s Witnesses and COG reject the pagan concept of the immortality of the soul.

Both groups avoid worldly politics. The Jehovah’s Witnesses prefer neutrality to worldly matters. Those in COGs, such as LCG, do not serve on juries or nor vote in governmental elections (please see the article Should a Christian Vote?).

Like the early church (please see the article Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?) both groups are non-trinitarian. Here are some valid comments from the Jehovah’s Witnesses against the trinity:

The Father’s superiority over the Son, as well as the fact that the Father is a separate person, is highlighted also in the prayers of Jesus, such as the one before his execution: “Father, if you wish, remove this cup [that is, an ignominious death] from me. Nevertheless, let, not my will, but yours take place.” (Luke 22:42) If God and Jesus are “one in essence,” as the Trinity doctrine says, how could Jesus’ will, or wish, seem different from that of his Father?—Hebrews 5:7, 8; 9:24. (WHO IS “the Only True God”? Awake! April 22, 2005).

Jesus taught his disciples to pray: “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” Our heavenly Father, whose name is Jehovah, is described in the Bible as being superior to his Son. For example, Jehovah is “from everlasting to everlasting.” But the Bible says that Jesus is “the firstborn of every creature.” That Jehovah is greater than Jesus, Jesus himself taught when he said: “My Father is greater than I.” (Matthew 6:9; Psalm 90:1, 2; Colossians 1:15; John 14:28, King James Version) Yet, the Trinity doctrine holds that the Father and the Son are “equally God.” The Father’s superiority over the Son, as well as the fact that the Father is a separate person, is highlighted also in the prayers of Jesus…

The Trinity is not a teaching of Jesus or of the early Christians. (Is Jesus Christ God? 070707).

But although the above is true, it only proves that the Son is under the authority of the Father–which is also the binitarian COG position, it does not prove unitarianism (which is the position of the Jehovah’s Witnesses).

The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ teachings on the Holy Spirit are similar to those of the COG:

  1. The Holy Spirit is a force, Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, pp. 406-407. (Cited at
  2.   The Holy Spirit is God’s impersonal active force, The Watchtower, June 1, 1952, p. 24. (Cited at

Notice, for comparison, the Living Church of God teaches:

THE HOLY SPIRIT God is Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the very essence, the mind, life and power of God. It is not a Being. The Spirit is inherent in the Father and the Son, and emanates from Them throughout the entire universe (1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 139:7; Jeremiah 23:24)” (Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs. LCG, 2004).

Most in mainstream churches have never studied what the early Christian church taught about the Holy Spirit and do not realize that the current trinity doctrine was not accepted by their predecessors until 381 A.D. Documentation is included in the articles Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? and Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?

Although both groups believe that God created everything, both groups believe that the universe is billions of years old (Your will Be Done on Earth, p. 43. Cited at The COG teaches that there was a major amount of time, perhaps billions of years between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 (Armstrong HW. Mystery of the Ages. pp. 74-75).

Partially because of their teachings against the pagan concept of the trinity, both groups tend to be classified as “cults” by those who accept mainstream Christianity. Members of both groups are used to be mistreated in many ways by those of mainstream Roman Catholic and Protestant churches.

Both groups realize that the name of God in the Old Testament is not “LORD” as nearly all Protestant translators have rendered it. However, instead of “LORD” Jehovah’s Witnesses prefer to use the term Jehovah (which is a remotely possible, but not likely pronunciation of the Hebrew– Yawveh is probably closer to the original), while those in the COGs tend to translate the Hebrew word into its original meaning, like Eternal or Self-Existing.

Both groups believe that this current world is essentially Satan’s world, that the Bible teaches about the resurrection, and that there will be a “Thousand Year Reign of Jesus Christ” (Pay Attention. p. 290).

Both groups oppose military participation. Notice what the Watch Tower website correctly states:

Early Christians understood their obligation to be “no part of this world.” Hence, whenever civil uprisings or military conflicts occurred, Christians remained neutral. They pursued peace with everyone.—John 14:26; 18:36; Matthew 6:9, 10; Acts 2:1-4; Romans 12:17-21 (United by LOVE OF GOD. Official Website of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. 07/08/07).

More details, including the position of those who professed Christ in early centuries, is included in the article Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?

Both the Jehovah’s Witnesses and COGs have church services that last approximately two hours (though the Jehovah’s Witnesses do it on Sunday, while the COGs does it on Saturday–both groups have other meetings/services as well).

Both groups believe that God is only calling a relatively few now, but that ultimately, all will be called and most will be saved. Even though this is a biblical concept (for documentation, please see Universal Salvation? There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis), it has been condemned by Protestant leaders (please also see Hope of Salvation: How the COGs differ from most Protestants).

Of course, there are many doctrinal  (e.g. the Jehovah’s Witnesses are unitarian, the COGs binitarian), historical (the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not teach much about history between the 2nd and 18th centuries, while the COGs do) and prophetic differences (e.g. the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the USA and Britain are the “King of the South” while the COGs teach that they are the descendants of Joseph, son of Israel–this was also discussed in an earlier post, Britain & USA: King of the South?).

An article highlighting more on the two groups would be Similarities and Differences Between the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Churches of God.

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