Missionaries At My Door
For a home-spun religion whose origin is relatively recent, the Watchtower Society has done pretty well for itself. Beginning with one man shortly after the American Civil War, it currently numbers approximately 8.2 million followers spread out in approximately 118,000 congregations worldwide.
My first encounter with a Watchtower Society missionary (a.k.a. Jehovah's Witness) occurred in 1969. At the time I was young and inexperienced; and thus assumed that the hewer of wood, and hauler of water coming down my dad's driveway was a typical Christian.
But when I talked this over with an elder; he became alarmed; and urged me to read a little book titled "30 Years A Watchtower Slave" by William J. Schnell; whom the Society at one time demonized as an agent of Satan. I would not be surprised if it still does.
After getting my eyes opened by Mr. Schnell's book, I was afterwards steered towards another book titled "Kingdom Of The Cults" by Walter Martin. No doubt the Society demonizes Mr. Martin too.
Around late 1980, my wife and I attended a series of lectures sponsored by a local church titled "How To Witness To Jehovah's Witnesses". The speaker (call him Pete) was an ex Witness who had been in the Watchtower Society system for near three decades and was an area manager before terminating his association with the Society; so he knew the twists and turns of its doctrines pretty good.
Pete didn't train us to hammer the Society's missionaries in a discussion because even if you best them scripture for scripture, they will not give up on the Society. Their mind's unflinching premise is that the Society is right even when it appears to be totally wrong.
Later on, I read a book titled "Why I Left The Jehovah's Witnesses" by Ted Dencher. I also read and studied the Society's little brown book titled "Reasoning From The Scriptures".
From all that vetting, study, and training I quickly discovered that although the Watchtower Society uses many of traditional Christianity's standard terms and phrases, those terms and phrases mean something entirely different in the Witness mind than what you'd expect because the Society has re-defined the meanings of those terminologies.
So your first challenge in dealing with the Watchtower Society's doctrine is to scale the language barrier. That by itself is an Herculean task because you'll not only be up against a tangle of semantics, but also a steaming jungle of twisted scriptures, double speak, humanistic reasoning, rationalizing, and clever sophistry.
Stepping Off Into The Abyss
Raymond Victor Franz was a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses from October 20, 1971 until his removal on May 22, 1980, and served at the organization's world headquarters for fifteen years, from 1965 until 1980.
Mr. Franz resigned, and stated that the request for his resignation, and his subsequent dis-fellowshipping, resulted from allegations of apostasy.
Following his departure, Mr. Franz wrote two books relating his personal experiences with the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, and his views on Jehovah's Witness teachings.
One of his books is called "Crisis Of Conscience". It's a bit expensive in print form, but as of the date of this writing could be heard audibly for free on YouTube and/or as a free pdf download.
Mr. Franz's book is a helpful aid to people wondering if they made the right decision leaving the Society's fold. It's also helpful for people thinking about becoming a Jehovah's Witness but not too sure whether they'd be making a really big, life-changing mistake.
Missionaries At Your Door
Should you decide to go head to head with Watchtower Society missionaries, here's some useful tips passed on by Pete, the ex Jehovah's Witness mentioned above.
1• Do not let these people get personal with you. You must never ever assume they are your friends because first and foremost, these people are predatory recruiters. Their primary interest is in making you a life-long slave to the Watchtower Society.
2• Do not accept their literature. They will want to come back later and discuss it with you; thus taking control of the meeting.
3• Don't give them a chance to launch into their spiel, but immediately begin introducing your own questions; thus denying them control of the conversation.
4• Do not debate. You're not a salesman pushing a product, nor a recruiter, nor a candidate running for an elected office: you're not out to win anything— you're a herald; viz: a messenger; that's all. The goal is to show missionaries that the Society's isn't the only expert opinion out there. In other words: the Watchtower Society's interpretations aren't the only option; nor are theirs eo ipso the right interpretations just because the Governing Body says so.
5• Do not get embroiled in trivial issues like birthdays, Easter, Christmas, Christmas trees, blood transfusions, the design of the wooden device upon which Christ was crucified, saluting the flag, service in the military, and that sort of thing. There are much bigger fish to fry than those.
6• Force them to listen and pay attention to what you say even if you have to repeat yourself to do it, or clap your hands, snap your fingers, or raise your voice. Do not let them digress, change the subject, go off on a tangent, nor get distracted and/or turn their attention elsewhere while you're speaking. If they start digging through their bags, shuffling papers, or looking up a reference; call them on it because that is a very rude thing to do when people are speaking.
7• Do not permit them to interrupt you and/or talk out of turn. Politely, but firmly, insist that they remain silent until you are finished speaking.
8• Do not permit them to evade and/or circumvent difficult questions. They sometimes say that they will have to confer with someone more knowledgeable. When they do that, the meeting is over. Thank them politely for their time and then ask them to leave and come back when they have the information. Do not let them stay and start a new topic of their own.
9• DO NOT respond to ad hominems, which can be defined as a logical fallacy in which an argument is rebutted by attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.
It's very important to show them the Bible not in ways they've already seen, but
in ways they've never imagined.
The Watchtower Society will never accept that Jesus Christ is Yhvh incognito simply because the Society's undying premise is that it is impossible for someone to exist as a spirit being and a human being simultaneously.
According to the premise: Yhvh's spirit existence would have to be terminated before He could become a human existence; and I can easily guarantee that nobody is ever going to convince the Society otherwise unless they first prove that the Word of John 1:1-4 is impervious to death. In other words; in order to prove to the Society that it's possible for a spirit being to exist as a human being simultaneously, it is necessary to prove to the Society that the Word is an everlasting life; which is a kind of life that cannot die. Fortunately it's very easy to do because the apostle John did that part for us.
● 1John 1:1-2 . .That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have viewed attentively and our hands felt, concerning the word of life, (yes, the life was made manifest, and we have seen and are bearing witness and reporting to you the everlasting life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us,)
The Greek word for "everlasting" in that passage is aionios (ahee-o'-nee-os) which essentially means perpetual; viz: without interruption.
The Word's human existence as per John 1:14 was as a mortal life and thus easily slain on the cross; but seeing as how the Word's spirit existence as per 1John 1:1-2 is an everlasting life, then it's impossible for the Word's spirit existence to be slain at all, let alone on the cross.
According to the Bible; Adam arrived on the earth as an organic mortal, and that's it; nothing more. But the Word arrived on the earth as not only an organic mortal, but also as an everlasting spirit in whom is the power of life (John 1:4, John 5:26, 1Cor 15:45).
Seeing as how the Word is an everlasting life then it was, and it is, impossible for the Word to strip himself of his spirit existence seeing as how everlasting life is impervious to death.
Yhvh cannot interrupt His existence as God because Yhvh is an everlasting life (Gen 21:33, Rom 16:26). In the same manner, the Word cannot interrupt his existence as the Word because the Word is an everlasting life too. (John 5:26, 1John 1:1-2)
The Word may have temporarily divested himself of his glory when he came to the earth to live and die as a human being, but he did not, and could not, divest himself of his spirit existence because in order to do that, he would have to die; which is an impossibility for everlasting life. If that were not so, then it would be possible to assassinate Yhvh. In point of fact, it would even be possible for Yhvh to commit suicide.
Precisely how a non mortal being can exist simultaneously as a mortal being is one of mysteries of Christianity that have to be accepted on faith because the human mind is just too limited to get it.
NOTE: The human mind is produced by a 3-pound lump of flabby organic tissue, and not even all three of those flabby pounds are devoted to cognitive processes. On top of that, 60% of that tissue is fat; yet the Watchtower Society actually believes that it's fatty, flabby little organic mind is able to comprehend the complexities of somebody as supernatural as the Word while it cannot even comprehend something as natural as the infinity of space.
Were you to ask John Q and/or Jane Doe Watchtower Society missionary if they believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, I can assure you they would answer in the affirmative. However, what you may not know is that you and they would not be speaking the same language as the conversation would be talking about two very different processes that go by the same name. In other words: you would find yourself thrown off by semantic double speak.
The standard Christian understanding of Christ's resurrection is common throughout the gospels; viz: Jesus Christ's crucified body was restored to life as per John 2:19-22.
"Jesus said to them: Break down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Therefore the Jews said: This temple was built in forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days? But he was talking about the temple of his body. When, though, he was raised up from the dead, his disciples called to mind that he used to say this; and they believed the Scripture and the saying that Jesus said."
You see, if Jesus' crucified body had not been restored to life, that entire passage would be easily proven false. But according to the Watchtower Society's way of seeing things; Christ's crucified body didn't return to life at all; and here's why.
In Watchtower Society theology, an angel named Michael volunteered to come to the earth to die for humanity's sins. But in order to do so; he had to relinquish his angel existence to become a human existence seeing as how in Society theology it is impossible for someone to exist as a spirit being and a human being simultaneously. However, when Michael expired, he didn't go completely out of existence. Instead, his "life force" remained intact and was transferred to a human form.
"the transferal of the life of his firstborn Son from the spirit realm to earth. Only in this way could the child eventually born have retained identity as the same person who had resided in heaven as the Word." (Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971, p.920)
"He had to become a perfect man and yet not lose his continuity of life. His life-force was not to be extinguished but would be transferred to the ovum of the virgin girl, Mary." (Watchtower magazine, 2-15-82, p.7)
But Michael's existence as a human being was only temporary. When his human form passed away on the cross, the Society claims that God transferred Michael's life force back into his angel form thus restoring him to his former spirit existence; leaving the corpse of his human existence in a permanent state of decease.
NOTE: The Society teaches that death terminates existence; but apparently not entirely because the Society also believes that at death, an angel's life force was transferred to another form-- in Michael's case, from a spirit form to an organic form; in effect, preserving a portion of Michael's existence so it could be re-transferred later when God went about restoring Michael to his former existence.
It could be said that Jesus lives on in the body of an angel; but that wouldn't be true seeing as how Jesus' life force was Michael's to begin with.
The Society has to accept the obvious fact that Jesus Christ was never really fully human, rather, he was an amalgam of angel and human seeing as how it was the life force of an angel that kept Jesus' human body alive. In other words: the Society's Jesus wasn't an organic man in the normal sense, rather; he was an organic angel; because when you get right down to it; the nature of one's life force is what determines the nature of their existence. That's easily seen in the very first chapter of Genesis wherein all the various creatures were given a life force pertinent to the nature of their species; and if an angel's life force is transferable in order to retain the angel's identity in another form, then it has to be possible for a creature's life force to be transferable too.
Think about it: If God can preserve and transfer an angel's life force beyond death; then just how difficult could it possibly be for God to do something similar with a human's life force?
FYI: The Society maintains that Michael's crucified human form has to stay dead so he could be an angel again. But that's not the only reason the Society gives for keeping Michael's human remains perpetually deceased. An additional explanation is given on page 237 of the April 15, 1963 issue of the Watchtower magazine; where it's stated:
"If Jesus were to take his body of flesh, blood, and bones to heaven and enjoy them there, what would this mean? It would mean that there would be no resurrection of the dead for anybody. Why not? Because Jesus would be taking his sacrifice off God's altar."
There is a really, really big flaw in the Society's theology; and that's Michael's human remains. In order to confirm that his human form stayed dead, the Society is going to have produce it. A piece of evidence of that significance can't be allowed to just slip through a crack unnoticed as if it makes no difference.
● Acts 1:1-3 . .The first account, O Theophilus, I composed about all the things Jesus started both to do and to teach, until the day that he was taken up, after he had given commandment through holy spirit to the apostles whom he chose. To these also by many positive proofs he showed himself alive after he had suffered.
The Society's version of those "positive proofs" is interesting.
In order to show his friends that their savior was back from death, Michael is alleged to have materialized an artificial human body that was in all respects just as physical, and just as functional, as a natural human body; which we know from James Cameron's movie technology as an avatar.
1• The New Testament never even one time, on any occasion, nor under any circumstances, nor in any situation, either attests, alleges, alludes, or states that an angel named Michael appeared in Christ's human form cloaked in a materialized body.
2• The Society's Michael never once let on to his friends that he was an angel in disguise. He led them to believe that his avatar was the actual Jesus Christ they all knew prior to his crucifixion.
3• Passing one's self off in the guise of a dead man is the lowest form of identity theft imaginable. People do it all the time; and it's what I expect from human beings, but that is not the kind of behavior I have a right to expect from an arch angel.
4• A so-called materialized body is not a real person; it's an avatar.
5• Neither Paul, nor Peter, nor John, nor James, nor Jude, ever even one single time in any of their writings correlate Jesus Christ with Michael the angel: not once. You'd think that if Michael the angel was Jesus Christ, that those men would have said so because that would be a really big deal.
6• The Bible says that if Jesus' crucified body were still dead, then God would have no basis for letting people off.
● Rom 4:24-25 . .We believe on him who raised Jesus our Lord up from the dead. He was delivered up for the sake of our trespasses and was raised up for the sake of declaring us righteous.
● 1Cor 15:17 . . If Christ has not been raised up, your faith is useless; you are yet in your sins.
So then; it's not just Jesus' crucifixion alone that rescues people from the lake of brimstone depicted at Rev 20:11-15, but also his crucified body's recovery; but according to the Society, Jesus' human body did not recover; instead it was left dead so that Michael's angel body could be restored to life. If their theory is true, then Michael is the only angel known to undergo resurrection, and the title "Jesus or Lord" would actually be referring to Michael as our Lord. Ergo: it would actually be an angel to whom every knee shall bend in accordance with Php 2:10.
Q: Why make a big deal out of the nature of Christ's resurrection?
A: Were I the Devil, I would do my utmost best to disprove Jesus' bodily resurrection because his bodily crucifixion is only half enough to protect people from the wrath of God. Though his bodily crucifixion obtains forgiveness for people's sins, it does not gain people an acquittal; i.e. a verdict of innocence.
● Rom 4:25 . . He was delivered up for the sake of our trespasses, and was raised up for the sake of declaring us righteous.
The Greek word translated "righteous" is dikaiosis (dik-ah'-yo-sis) whjich means acquittal; i.e. innocence.
People merely forgiven still carry a load of guilt; viz: they have a criminal record. Christ's bodily resurrection deletes their record so that on the books, it's as though they've never done anything bad.
This clearing of one's guilt that I'm talking about is obtained via the kindness and generosity of God through belief in the resurrection of Christ's crucified body. If the Devil can succeed in convincing people that Jesus' crucified body is still dead or, even better yet, make them question whether the man even existed at all; then they will fail to obtain an acquittal, and consequently end up put to death in brimstone because records are to be reviewed when people stand to face justice at the Great White Throne event depicted at Rev 20:11-15.
POSTSCRIPT: Of all the doctrines invented by the Watchtower Society, I'd have to say that their resurrection fantasy is the most insidious because belief in Christ's bodily resurrection is one of the essential elements of the gospel that must be accepted if one is to have any hope at all of escaping the lake of brimstone.
● 1Cor 15:1-4 . . Now I make known to you, brothers, the good news which I declared to you, which you also received, in which you also stand, through which you are also being saved, with the speech with which I declared the good news to you, if you are holding it fast, unless, in fact, you became believers to no purpose.
. . . For I handed on to you, among the first things, that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, yes, that he has been raised up the third day according to the Scriptures.
Paul goes on to say that if Christ's crucified body did not revive, then his followers haven't a prayer of escaping the sum of all fears.
● 1Cor 15:17 . . If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
Christ And Jonah
● 1Cor 15:4 . . He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
One of the primo scriptures related to Christ's recovery is located in the Psalms.
● Ps 16:8-10 . . I have placed Jehovah in front of me constantly. Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be made to totter. Therefore my heart does rejoice, and my glory is inclined to be joyful. Also, my own flesh will reside in security. For you will not leave my soul in Sheol. You will not allow your loyal one to see the pit.
According to Acts 2:25-31, that passage in the 16th Psalm speaks of Christ; particularly that his flesh (his crucified body) was not left to putrefaction.
Jonah was in the belly of a fish for three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:17)
Q: Was Jonah alive in the fish?
A: Yes (Jonah 2:1).
Q: The whole time?
At some point in Jonah's nautical adventure he went to a place called sheol (Jonah 2:2) which he sited at the bottoms of the mountains. (Jonah 2:6)
The bottoms of the mountains aren't located in the tummies of fish, no; they're located down deep in the earth.
● Matt 12:40 . . For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.
Now when you think about it, Christ's remains weren't interred in the heart of the earth. In point of fact his remains weren't even buried in the earth's soil. They were laid to rest on the surface of the earth in a rock-hewn tomb. So then, in order for Christ to be down in the heart of the earth while up on the surface too— literally two places at once —he and his body had to part company and go separate ways.
Just before being cast ashore, Jonah prayed thus:
● Jonah 2:6 . .To the bottoms of the mountains I went down. As for the earth, its bars were upon me for time indefinite. But out of the pit you proceeded to bring up my life, O Jehovah my God.
The Hebrew word for "pit" in that verse is the very same word for "pit" in Ps 16:8-10; which Acts 2:25-31 verifies is speaking of putrefaction. In other words: Jonah 2:6 is the language of resurrection.
So then, just as Jonah's soul was not left at the bottoms of the mountains, Christ's soul was not left in the heart of the earth. And just as Jonah's body was not left to decompose in the fish, neither was Christ's left to decompose in the tomb. And just as Jonah came back from his grave within three days and nights as a human rather than a spirit, so Jesus came back from his grave within three days and nights as a human rather than a spirit. If none of this were so, then the story of Jonah's resurrection would be a pretty useless parallel to the story of Christ's resurrection.
The Faithful And Wise Steward
Outsiders sometimes want to know if the Watchtower Society believes itself the one and only source of spiritual truth and the sole avenue to God. The answer is an unqualified YES.
● Matt 24:45-47 . .Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. Truly I say to YOU, He will appoint him over all his belongings.
That passage is fundamental to the existence and structure of the Watchtower Society and is its foundation Scripture. From it extends the concept that in 1919 God chose the leaders of the Watchtower Society as His sole source of truth and henceforth justify why Jehovah's Witnesses need to submit unquestioningly to the Watchtower Governing Body, in order to have a relationship with God and for salvation.
"That faithful slave is the channel through which Jesus is feeding his true followers in this time of the end. It is vital that we recognize the faithful slave. Our spiritual health and our relationship with God depend on this channel." (Watchtower 2013 Jul 15 p.20)
"“The faithful and discreet slave” was appointed over Jesus’ domestics in 1919. That slave is the small, composite group of anointed brothers serving at world headquarters during Christ’s presence who are directly involved in preparing and dispensing spiritual food. When this group work together as the Governing Body, they act as “the faithful and discreet slave.”" (jw.org 10th Nov 2012)
"We need to obey the faithful and discreet slave to have Jehovah’s approval." (Watchtower 2011 Jul 15 p.24 Simplified English Edition)
"Since Jehovah God and Jesus Christ completely trust the faithful and discreet slave, should we not do the same?" (Watchtower 2009 Feb 15 p.27)
"[A mature christian] does not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding. Rather, he has complete confidence in the truth as it is revealed by Jehovah God through his Son, Jesus Christ, and "the faithful and discreet slave." (Watchtower 2001 Aug 1 p.14
)"... show respect for the “faithful and discreet slave” that He is using at the present time. Actually, your very life depends on following this course of action. Remember, too, it is only he that endures to the end that will be saved." (Watchtower 1964 Jul 15 p.435)
"To act consistently with our baptism for life and into the Greater Noah we must submit to and cooperate with that slave and its legal instrument, the Watchtower Society." (Watchtower 1959 Oct 1 p.583)
For many decades, the Slave included all "anointed" Witnesses, but from 2009 the Governing Body began making statements to increase its own authority. During the 2012 Annual Meeting, the Governing Body announced it had assumed the role of the Slave solely upon themselves.
NOTE: I've had WT missionaries tell me that The Watchtower magazine isn't an authority in matters of faith and practice. But the Jan 1, 1942 issue of the magazine, on page 5, speaks for itself as a trustworthy source of Watchtower Society theology by saying:
"Those who are convinced that The Watchtower is publishing the opinion or expression of a man should not waste time in looking at it at all. Those who believe that God uses he Watchtower as a means of communicating to his people, or of calling attention to his prophecies, should study The Watchtower."
In other words: the haulers of water and the hewers of wood, a.k.a. the rank and file, are not only expected to know what's in the Watchtower magazine, but they're also required to accept it as the God's truth.
The In Crowd
● Rom 8:9 . .You are in harmony, not with the flesh, but with the Spirit, if God’s spirit truly dwells in you.
That passage informs the Watchtower Society's elite class of 144,000 anointed Witnesses that they are in harmony with the Spirit; seeing as how it's alleged that the anointed class has God's sprit truly dwelling in them.
At the same time; it tells the non-anointed class of Witnesses that they are in harmony, not with the Spirit, but with the flesh; and that is not a good thing seeing as they that are in harmony with the flesh are Jehovah's adversaries; unwilling to either please Him or comply with His wishes. If John Q and Jane Doe non-anointed Witness don't know this; then all I can say is: they've got some catching up to do.
● Rom 8:8 . . So those who are in harmony with the flesh cannot please God.
● 1John 2:26-27 . .These things I write you about those who are trying to mislead you. And as for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to be teaching you; but, as the anointing from him is teaching you about all things, and is true and is no lie, and just as it has taught you, remain in union with him.
In a nutshell: the anointed class is able to remain in union with Christ on their own by means of the one-on-one spiritual guidance that the anointing provides them. Seeing as how the non-anointed class doesn't have access to either the anointing or the anointing's one-on-one spiritual guidance; they therefore are incapable of remaining in union with Christ on their own.
That, coupled with their resistance to God as per Rom 8:8, leaves John Q and Jane Doe non-anointed Witness in a defenseless spiritual condition; vz: they are susceptible to deception by means of clever sophistry, semantic double speak, and humanistic reasoning.
The In Crowd And The Mediator
Forty days after his recovery, Jesus ascended to heaven; where a whole new duty awaited him.
● Ps 110:1-4 . .The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is: Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet. Jehovah has sworn (and he will feel no regret) "You are a priest to time indefinite according to the manner of Melchizedek!"
Mel wasn't just another nondescript priest; he was a high priest (Heb 6:20); which is the position of a direct mediator between God and humanity. There's only one high priest at a time, and the man chosen isn't replaced until he's dead. That's not a problem with Jesus seeing as how according to Rom 6:9 he rose from the dead with immortality; so of course he'll never be replaced.
● 1Tim 2:5 . . For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus.
On page 1129 of the Watchtower publication Aid To Bible Understanding; a mediator is defined as one who interposes between two parties at variance to reconcile them: an intercessor.
Here's a question that someone wrote in to the Questions From Readers section of the April 01, 1976 issue of Watchtower magazine, asking:
"Is Jesus the mediator only for anointed Christians? (a.k.a. the 144,000)
The answer given in the magazine is YES.
The magazine's answer is corroborated on page 1130 of Aid To Bible Understanding where it says that the 144,000 are the only ones who have the mediator; a.k.a. Jesus Christ. (1John 2:1)
Intercession for non anointed Witnesses is accomplished on the coattails of the 144,000; viz: Jesus Christ is an indirect, second party mediator for the rank and file via their affiliation with the Watchtower Society.
It's sort of like buying insurance from Allstate. The company doesn't sell direct; its business is conducted through brokers. In essence, that's what the Society presumes itself: Jesus Christ's mediation brokerage.
So then; when a Jehovah's Witness either defects or is dis-fellowshipped, it breaks the pipeline to the mediator that he enjoyed within the Society's fold; and he right quick loses all contact with God; and finds himself in grave danger of the Tribulation.
Bottom line: According to Watchtower Society theology; it is impossible for non-anointed people to be on peaceful terms with God apart from affiliation with the Society's anointed class, a.k.a. the faithful and wise steward.
In other words: Christ's mediation as per 1Tim 2:5 is accomplished via a chain of communication that begins with Christ's association with the faithful and wise steward; and from thence to the rest of humanity. Removing the faithful and wise steward from the chain cuts humanity off from Christ; thus leaving them with no way to contact God.
Christ Up To Heaven
Q: 1Cor 15:50 clearly testifies that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Wouldn't that fact alone preclude the possibility of Christ's crucified body returning to life?
A: First, and foremost; it was essential that Christ's crucified body be returned to life or otherwise his prediction as per John 2:19-22, and the Scripture predictions as per Luke 24:44-46 would be easily proven false.
Secondly; according to Mark 14:25 and Luke 22:16-18, Jesus anticipates wining and dining upon ordinary foods and beverages in the kingdom of God, and according to Luke 24:36-43, spirit beings don't eat normal foods.
In addition, Jesus predicted that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; along with people from all over the globe, will dine in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 8:11)
However, in its natural condition, Christ's crucified body was unsuitable for life in a celestial environment. So then, what's to be done about that?
Some day all of Christ's believing followers will be physically resurrected and taken up to meet the Lord in the air (1Thes 4:13-17). On the way up, their natural bodies will undergo a sudden and miraculous transformation (1Cor 15:51-53). They'll become superhuman; viz: deathless and ageless.
I think it's pretty safe to assume that Christ's crucified body underwent a similar transformation while on the way up to heaven as per Acts 1:9 so that today his body is no longer a normal human body; but instead, a superhuman body to which all his believing followers' bodies will one day conform. (Php 4:20-21.
Q: If Jesus Christ's crucified corpse really did return to life; then how did he get it into a room without opening the door? (John 20:19)
A: Too many people expect Christianity to be a reasonable, scientific religion. It's not. Christianity is a supernatural religion; for example:
Christ walked on water, restored withered limbs, cured people born blind, healed serious diseases like leprosy, restored dead bodies to life, controlled the weather, multiplied fish and bread, turned water into wine, and levitated.
What's one more miracle, more or less? Walking through walls? Disappearing and reappearing? How hard could any of that really be for a man with the powers of God at his disposal?
It's curious how people can say they believe in miracles but yet cannot believe that God has sufficient control over the laws of nature to make a physical human body pass through solid objects.
Q: Well; if Jehovah has enough control over the laws of nature to pass a physical human body through closed and locked doors, then couldn't He pass Michael through the door as a spirit and then materialize him on the other side as a human in order to communicate with his friends?
A: That would be acceptable if only there were some record of it in the New Testament. But it is an irrefutable fact that the New Testament not even one time, on any occasion, nor under any circumstances, nor in any situation, either attests, alleges, alludes, or states that an angel named Michael appeared to Christ's friends disguised in a human avatar. That doctrine doesn't come from the New Testament. It's a humanistic fantasy.
OBJECTION: Angels in the Old Testament appeared to men in materialized bodies; for example the three men who visited Abraham in the 18th chapter of Genesis.
RESPONSE: It's commonly assumed that the two men identified as angels at the gate of Sodom were two of the three men who visited Abraham.
But even so; the Old Testament word for "angel" is mal'ak (mal-awk') which should never be taken to eo ipso indicate celestial beings. The word simply means a dispatched deputy; viz: a messenger; either human or celestial. For example:
● Gen 32:3-4 . . Then Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to Esau his brother to the land of Seir, the field of Edom, and he commanded them, saying: "yada, yada, yada"
The Hebrew word for the ordinary human messengers in that verse is mal'ak. Here's another example:
● Gen 32:6 . . In time the messengers returned to Jacob, saying: "yada, yada, yada".
Here's another example where mal'ak indicates ordinary human beings rather than celestial beings.
● Num 20:14 . . Subsequently Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom: "This is what your brother Israel has said: "yada, yada, yada."
● Gen 6:17 . . Only Rahab the prostitute may keep on living, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers whom we sent out.
And yet others:
● Mal 3:1 . . Look! I am sending my messenger, and he must clear up a way before me. And suddenly there will come to His temple the true Lord, whom you people are seeking, and the messenger of the covenant in whom you are delighting.
● Mal 2:7 . . For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.
There are dozens of examples in the Old Testament where the word mal'ak indicates ordinary human beings instead of celestial beings.
Bottom line: The 18th and 19th chapters of Genesis are useless for confirming beyond a shadow of sensible doubt that an angel named Michael appeared to Christ's friends cloaked in a human avatar.
Termination Of Existence
Q: Jesus said in Luke 13:3 that those who refuse to repent will perish. What do you think? Will those who refuse to repent perish or will they be sent to the fiery section of hell to experience eternal conscious torment?
A: The Greek word translated "perish" in Luke 13:3 is apollumi (ap-ol'-loo mee). It primarily means to destroy fully; which some construe to mean the termination of existence.
However, linguists have not only translated it perish and/or destroy, but other ways too.
For example in Matt 10:6, Matt 15:24, Luke 15:4, and Luke 15:9 it's translated "lost" as in lost sheep and lost money. In those instances, neither the sheep nor the money were removed from existence.
In Matt 5:29-30, it speaks of amputation.
In other instances, apollumi is translated to indicate death; for example Matt 2:13 where Herod sought to assassinate the baby Jesus, and Luke 13:33 and Luke 11:51 which speak of murder, and Matt 27:20 which speaks of Christ's crucifixion, and 1Cor 10:9 which tells of the people who succumbed to the venom of poisonous snakes.
Q: So do you think Luke 13:3 should be translated "No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise be lost." Does that really fit with the context?
A: I wouldn't go so far as to say that apollumi "should" be translated lost, but I would go so far as to say that when people are killed in manners such as those described in Luke 13:1-5, it's just as fair to say they were lost as it is to say they perished.
Death is commonly portrayed as loss. For example: in January of 2016, the then Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook reported that a US serviceman lost his life when he and some others came under fire In Afghanistan's Helmand province.
Closer to home: I lost my favorite nephew back in September of 2015 when he suddenly dropped to the floor dead of natural causes. But the loss of my nephew doesn't mean that he ceased to exist. It only means that his body was no longer strong enough to continue.
The Watchtower Society is way too narrow with apollumi. They desperately want it to mean the termination of existence; but it's easily shown that apollumi is broader than that.
For example: at Matt 10:28, Christ said that God is able to destroy both body and soul in hell fire. Yet we know from Isa 66:22-24 and Mark 9:47-48 that the destroyed bodies won't go out of existence but instead will be preserved as perpetual nourishment for a curious species of fire-proof worm.
Q: Traditional Christianity claims that people will burn in hell for eternity. But the human body is organic. How can it possibly survive in flame for any time at all let alone for eternity?
A: The resurrection of the dead depicted at Rev 20:11-15 is a bit of a mystery in that the chemistry of their bodies is not revealed. They won't be immortal, that much is for sure. But although their bodies won't be impervious to death, they will apparently will be made of a fire resistant material of some kind in order to provide perpetual nourishment for the curious species of fire proof worm depicted at Isa 66:22-24 and Mark 9:47-48.
Q: But what of the people? What's to become of them when their bodies are terminated in the brimstone and fed to the worms?
A: This too is a bit of a mystery. Christ testified at Matt 10:28 that not only people's bodies, but also their souls will be terminated in hell fire.
Well; according to the available data in the book of Genesis "soul" refers to fauna life as opposed to flora life whether the soul be bird, bug, man, or beast; viz: a soul is a creature, and there's quite a variety of them; each with it's own particular characteristics; viz: a human soul is a creature with human characteristics, as opposed to a salamander soul which is a creature with amphibian characteristics.
So then, when a soul is terminated, it loses its characteristics; ergo: when a human soul is terminated, it loses its humanness.
However; Matt 10:28 makes no mention of the fate of the breath of life given to human souls as per Gen 2:7.
I've seen plenty of evidence indicating that human bodies and souls can be terminated; but I have yet to see any evidence indicating that the breath of life can be terminated. That being the case, then I think it's reasonable to assume that after people's bodies and souls are terminated, they will continue to exist. In what condition they will exist, I don't know, but I'm guessing something other than human; perhaps something demonic, seeing as how according to Matt 25:41, hell fire was constructed especially for the Devil and his allies.
Jehovah's Witnesses shouldn't have any trouble with the possibility that what's been said here is true. Here's why.
In Watchtower Society theology, an angel named Michael volunteered to come to the earth to die for humanity's sins. But the Society insists it is impossible for someone to exist as a human being and a spirit being simultaneously. So then, in order for Michael to come to the earth as a human being, his existence as an angel had to be terminated.
However, according to the Society, Michael's life force (a.k.a. his breath of life) survived the termination; and was transferred to Mary's womb so Michael could be born as a human being. (Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971, p.920 and Watchtower magazine, 2-15-1982, p.7)
Thus, by utilizing its breath of life, God transitioned an angel from one form of life to an entirely different form of life. Well; if God can do that with an angel's breath of life, it shouldn't be all that difficult for Him do the same with a human's breath of life.
Jesus Christ's Parables
Fiction can be defined as stories about people, places, and events that, though untrue; are plausible; viz: realistic.
Fantasy can be defined as stories about people, places, and events that are not only untrue; but implausible; viz: unrealistic.
For example: a story about a wooden boy like Pinocchio is unrealistic; while a story about a boy with autism is realistic. The difference between Pinocchio and the autistic boy is that the one is compatible with normal reality; while the other is far removed from normal reality.
I have yet to read even one of Jesus Christ's parables that could not possibly be a real-life story. They're all actually quite believable-- banquets, stewards, weddings, farmers sowing seed, pearls, lost sheep, fish nets, women losing coins, sons leaving home, wineskins bursting, tares among the wheat, leavened bread, barren fig trees, the blind leading the blind, et al.
Now; if Christ had told one that alleged the moon was made of green cheese; we would have good reason to believe that at least that one was fantasy; but none of them are like that. No; there's nothing out of the ordinary in his parables. At best; Christ's parables might qualify as fiction; but never fantasy because none of them are so far removed from the normal round of human experience that they have no basis in reality whatsoever.
Luke 16:19-31 is commonly alleged to be a parable; which of course implies that the story is fiction; and some would even say fantasy. But the parable theory has a fatal flaw. Abraham is not a fictional character: he's a real-life man; the father of the Hebrew people, held in very high esteem by at least three of the world's prominent religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. And he's also the friend of God (Isa 41:8). I simply cannot believe that Jesus Christ-- a man famous among normal Christians for his honesty and integrity --would say something untrue about a famous real-life man; especially about one of his Father's buddies.
And on top of that, the story quotes Abraham a number of times. Well; if the story is fiction, then Jesus Christ is on record testifying that Abraham said things that he didn't really say; which is a clear violation of the commandment that prohibits bearing false witness.
There is something else to consider.
The story of the rich man and Lazarus didn't originate with Jesus Christ. No, it originated with his Father. In other words: Jesus Christ was micro-managed.
● John 3:34 . . He is sent by God. He speaks God's words
● John 8:26 . . He that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him.
● John 8:28 . . I do nothing on my own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught me.
● John 12:49 . . I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
● John 14:24 . .The word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's who sent me.
So, by alleging that Luke 16:19-31 is fiction/fantasy, the parable theory slanders God by insinuating that He's a person of marginal integrity who can't be trusted to tell the truth about people, not even about His own friends, which is ridiculous seeing as how Titus 1:2 and Heb 6:18 testify that God cannot lie.
God's impeccable character is what makes that narrative all the more terrifying. Unless somebody can prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Christ's Father is a tale-spinner; I pretty much have to assume the narrative was drawn from real-life; and if not drawn from real life, then at least based upon real life.
Spirit Body vs Spiritual Body
● 1Cor 15:44 . . It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one.
Watch as I misquote that passage because the difference, though subtle. Is significant.
"It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spirit body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spirit one."
No; it doesn't say spirit body but nevertheless that's what some people have decided it ought to say.
The Greek word translated "spiritual" is ambiguous. It doesn't necessarily refer to the characteristics of a body with the consistency of thin air. Below is a list of spiritual things that bear absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to the bodily chemistry of an angel or a demon.
Spiritual law (Rom 7:14)
Spiritual things (Rom 15:27)
Spiritual people (1Cor 2:15)
Spiritual nourishment (1Cor 10:3)
Spiritual water (1Cor 10:4)
Spiritual rock (1Cor 10:4)
Spiritual counselors (Gal 6:1)
Spiritual blessings (Eph 1:3)
Spiritual music (Eph 5:19)
Spiritual understanding (Col 1:9)
Spiritual housing (1Pet 2:5)
Spiritual sacrifices (1Pet 2:5)
I'm inclined to believe that the spiritual body spoken of at 1Cor 15:44 is in no way composed of a gaseous substance. Of what material it is composed I don't know; but I do know at least four things about it.
1• The spiritual body is patterned after Christ's glorified body.
● Phil 3:20-21 . .Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
2• The spiritual body is capable of dining upon ordinary foods.
● Luke 22:15-16 . . I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you: I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.
3• The spiritual body is capable of imbibing ordinary beverages.
● Matt 26:29 . . I tell you: I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom.
4• The spiritual body is capable of being seen by the naked eye.
● Acts 1:11 . . Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched him go into heaven.
● Rev 1:7 . . Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him
The Watchtower Society's theology is a based on a version called monolatrism, which basically alleges that all gods are actual deities; though not all deities are deemed worthy of worship. This is not quite the same as polytheism where numerous gods are all considered worthy of worship.
Monolatrism is distinguished from monotheism (asserts the existence of only one god) and distinguished from henotheism (a religious system in which the believer worships one god alone without denying that others may worship different gods of equal value)
While traditional Christianity recognizes but two categories of gods; the Watchtower Society's theologians took the liberty to create a third sandwiched between the true and the false called "mighty ones". The mighty-one category is a sort of neutral zone where qualifying personages exist as bona fide deities without violating the very first of the Ten Commandments. For example:
"I myself have said: You are gods" (Ps 82:6)
Humanity's creator gave them the status of gods right from the very beginning.
● Gen 1:26 . . And God went on to say: "Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let them have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and the domestic animals and all the earth and every moving animal that is moving upon the earth."
In other words: the gods referred to in Ps 82:6 are humans in positions of power in accordance with Gen 1:26; which everybody should know are only honorary deities rather than the genuine article; so in order to avoid stigmatizing humans as imitation gods, the Society classifies them as mighty ones.
This gets kind of humorous when we plug "mighty one" into various locations. For example:
"In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a mighty one." (John 1:1)
"No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten mighty one who is in the bosom position with the Father is the one that has explained him." (John 1:18)
The "mighty one" category was an invention of necessity. In other words: without it, the Society would be forced to classify the only-begotten (John 1:18) and the Word (John 1:1) as a false god seeing as how Deut 6:4, John 17:3, and 1Cor 8:4-6 testify that there is only one true god.
OBJECTION: Jesus verified the authenticity of of Ps 82:6 in a discussion recorded at John 10:34-36. If the word of God cannot be nullified, then those gods have to be real gods.
RESPONSE: They're real alright— real imitations, because according to Deut 6:4, John 17:3, and 1Cor 8:4-6 there is only one genuine god. If the gods of Ps 82 were genuine, then Deut 6:4, John 17:3, and 1Cor 8:4-6 would be invalidated.
In the beginning, humanity was given a status reflecting its creator's status. Later, humanity's status was downgraded.
● Gen 3:22 . . And Jehovah God went on to say: "Here the man has become like one of us in knowing good and bad."
Jehovah didn't say Adam became one of us; rather "like" one of us. In other words; humanity became its own god with its own sovereign thoughts about what constitutes right and wrong instead of channeling God's thoughts.
Take for example the US Supreme Court. Its justices are rarely unanimous because their thinking is subjective rather than objective. The justices don't render absolutes; rather, they render opinions, and in many cases those opinions are biased in line with the political thinking of the US President who appointed them.
one true god is not biased— bias is the way false gods exercise judgment. (Ps
The Living God(s)
● Jer 10:10 . . Jehovah is in truth God. He is the living god
The Hebrew word for "living" is chay (khah'-ee) which first appears in the Bible at Gen 1:20 where it speaks of aqua life and winged life. Then it appears at Gen 1:24 where it speaks of life on land. It appears again at Gen 2:7 where it speaks of human life.
Vegetation is never referred to as chay life. So I think we can limit the kind of life spoken of by chay as conscious life; viz: sentient.
Jehovah is called the living god something like fifteen times in the Old Testament, and fifteen more times in the New Testament.
I'm unaware of any other gods in the whole Bible identified as living gods; not even the gods of Psalm 82 to whom God said "You are gods".
Because of that; I think it safe to conclude that no other god is a living god. In other words: labeling Jehovah as the living god is a way of saying He is the only god that's actually divine; and all the rest are imitations; viz: fakes.
This has some serious ramifications because if the Word of John 1:1 and John 1:18 isn't the living god, then by default, he is not divine; he's a fake. But it is very easy to prove the Word is divine.
● Col 2:9 . . It is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily.
The Greek word for "divine quality" is theotes (theh-ot'-ace) which means: divinity
Seeing as how theotes is modified by the Greek definite article "ho" then what we're looking at here in Col 2:9 isn't nondescript divinity, but rather the divinity. In other words: we're looking at the fullness of the divinity of the living god.
Just about everybody on both sides of the aisle agrees that the Word is a god. However: the Word isn't just any god; no, the fullness of the divinity of the living god dwells in the Word; viz: the Word is a living god.
"In him was life" (John 1:4, Kingdom Interlinear)
"For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted also to the Son to have life in himself." (John 5:26, NWT)
When God granted the Son to have life in himself just as the Father has life in
Himself, things got a bit complicated; viz: unless Jehovah and the Word are one
and the same god; then there is now one too many living gods out there.
Yhvh And David's Superior
● Matt 22:41-46 . . Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question; saying: What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He? They said to Him: The son of David.
. . . He said to them: Then how does David in the Spirit call Him "Lord" saying: The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at My right hand until I put thine enemies beneath thy feet. If David then calls Him "Lord" how is He his son?
Jesus quoted Psalm 110:1, where there are two distinct Hebrew words for "lord". The first is yhvh, a name reserved exclusively for God. The second is 'adown, which is a very common title of respect for one's superiors in the Old Testament. Sarah revered her husband Abraham as 'adown (Gen 18:12) Rachel revered her dad Laban as 'adown (Gen 31:5) and Jacob revered his brother Esau as 'adown (Gen 33:8). So then; Psalm 110:1 can be translated like this:
"The utterance of Jehovah to my superior: Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet."
Well; let me tell you something: anybody who knew the Old Testament in Jesus' day knew good and well from Ps 89:27 that David has no superiors but God because no king that you might name is David's superior other than Yhvh: the king of all kings. Yet here on the pages of Jewish scripture is one of David's own grandchildren outranking him.
Now; here's something else that I'm 110% positive crossed the minds of Jesus' learned opposition. To their way of thinking, David's position as God's firstborn as per Ps 89:27 is irrevocable. Well; seeing as how there is no intermediate rank between the firstborn's position and the paterfamilias' position, that would mean that the superior about whom David spoke in Ps 110:1 is equal in power and rank to God; which is a blasphemous suggestion to say the least. (chuckle) Those poor know-it-all Pharisees were utterly baffled beyond words.
● Matt 22:46 . . And no one was able to answer him a word
Well; no surprise there. This was something not only strange to their Jewish way of thinking; but entirely new, yet there it was in black and white in their own scriptures; and they had somehow failed to catch its significance until Jesus drew their attention to it.
What the Watchtower Society seems unaware is that a human doesn't have to be God in order to hold the rank of God; no, the human only needs to be promoted to the rank of God; and as such then qualifies to not only sit upon God's throne as God; but also to use God's name as its own. According to Dan 7:13-17 and Php 2:8-11 this is exactly how it is that one of David's grandchildren outranks him.
But though the now-deified Jesus Christ is entitled to all the worship, service, and respect that the name of God deserves; he remains subordinate to a higher power.
● 1Cor 15:27-28 . . For God "subjected all things under his feet." But when he says that "all things have been subjected" it is evident that it is with the exception of the One who subjected all things to him. But when all things will have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone.
Joseph's experience is an interesting parallel to Christ's unique situation. Joseph began his sojourn in the land of Egypt as a nobody; and in time was falsely accused of a felony and sent to prison. From thence he was elevated to the rank of pharaoh. He wasn't the actual pharaoh, but his position was equal in power to the actual pharaoh and nobody in Egypt was higher in rank than him except the actual pharaoh.
● Gen 41:40-44 . .You will personally be over my house, and all my people will obey you implicitly. Only as to the throne shall I be greater than you. And Pharaoh added to Joseph: See, I do place you over all the land of Egypt. With that Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his own hand and put it upon Joseph's hand and clothed him with garments of fine linen and placed a necklace of gold about his neck.
. . . Moreover, he had him ride in the second chariot of honor that he had, so that they should call out ahead of him: Kneel! thus putting him over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh further said to Joseph: I am Pharaoh, but without your authorization no man may lift up his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.
Joseph's brothers fell in line.
● Gen 44:18 . . Judah now came near to him and said: I pray you, my master, please let your slave speak a word in the hearing of my master, and do not let your anger grow hot against your slave, because it is the same with you as with Pharaoh.
So it is with Christ: viz: when people deal with Jesus Christ; it's all the same as dealing with God; and they'll treat him as God too if they know what's good for them.
● Isa 45:23 . . I am God, and there is no one else. By my own self I have sworn— out of my own mouth in righteousness the word has gone forth, so that it will not return —that to me every knee will bend down, every tongue will swear
● Php 2:10 . . In the name of Jesus every knee should bend— of those in heaven, and those on earth, and those under the ground —and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Sovereign: to the glory of God the Father.
NOTE: Some Witnesses object to labeling Jesus "sovereign" claiming the ancient Greek word kurios only indicates a title of respect like Sir, Lord, Mister, or Master.
However; the kurios that the Watchtower Society renders "Lord" at Php 2:9-11 is the very same kurios that it renders "Jehovah" at Matt 1:20. Matt 1:22, and Matt 1:24, Matt 2:13, Matt 2:15 etc, etc, etc.
Kurios is a lot more than a mere title of common courtesy.
It also pertains to someone in actual authority, and if Php 2:9-11 is studied in
concert with Dan 7:13-14 and 1Pet 3:22, it's readily apparent that "sovereign"
is the appropriate title for Jesus Christ. But if the Watchtower Society and its
loyal-to-the-bone minions refuse to follow David's lead and practice obeisance to Jesus Christ as their
sovereign; leave them be because there is a day coming when even those under the
ground will all do so.
● Col 1:15 . . He is the firstborn of all creation
The Watchtower Society has appropriated that verse as evidence that God's son (Col 1:13) was the first thing that God ever created.
However, the New Testament Greek word for "firstborn" in that verse is prototokos, which never means created first; no, it always means born first. The correct Greek word for created first is protoktistos.
The average John Q and Jane Doe Watchtower Society missionary doesn't know the difference; and no doubt would care little for it anyway. To some of them; born first and created first are essentially one and the same. But are they the same? No. Birthing requires a parent while creating requires a craftsman. Birthing produces progeny while crafting produces projects. God's son wasn't a project; no, he's progeny. For example: Adam was a project while Adam's son Seth was progeny; viz; Adam was crafted from dust, while Seth was a multiple of his father.
However, though "firstborn" normally indicates the one born first; it doesn't eo ipso refer to birth order. It can also refer to hierarchal order too, and as such is sometimes bestowed upon a younger sibling; e.g. Jacob and Esau (Gen 25:23) Manasseh and Ephraim (Gen 48:13-14) and Reuben and Joseph. (Gen 49:3-4, 1Chr 5:1)
The rank of firstborn can also indicate a national position; for example when God sent Moses to confront Pharaoh, He instructed Moses to say:
"Israel is my son, my firstborn." (Ex 4:22)
There was a time when David held the rank of God's firstborn (Ps 89:20-27). However, David's supremacy was limited to the earth. The supremacy of God's son includes not only the earth; but the entire cosmos will all of its forms of life, matter, and energy.
● Col 1:17 . . He is before all things
The koiné Greek word translated "before" is pro (pro); a primary preposition meaning "fore", i.e. in front of, prior; for example: forefront; which Webster's defines as the most important part or position; viz: the foremost part or place; for example:
● Rev 3:14 . . And to the angel of the congregation in Laodicea write: These are the things that the Amen says, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation by God.
The koiné Greek word translated "beginning" is arche (ar-khay') which means, among other things, chief (in various applications of order, time, place, or rank). Arche also means a commencement; for example:
● John 1:3 . . All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.
In other words: Col 1:17 isn't saying that God's son came along before anything else, rather that he's preeminent, which Webster's defines as having paramount rank, dignity, or importance.
Below is the text of Col 1:16-17 quoted verbatim from the Watchtower Society's New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures © 1969.
"Because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist."
Note that the word "other" is in brackets. This alert readers that "other" is not in the Greek manuscript; viz: the Society's editors took the liberty to pencil it in; which gives the impression that God's son was His first creation; and thereafter, His son created everything else.
One day, a pair of Watchtower missionaries came to my door consisting of an experienced worker and a trainee. I immediately began subjecting the trainee to a line of questioning that homed in on the Society's rather dishonest habit of penciling in words that go to reinforcing it's line of thinking.
I had him read the Society's text of Col 1:16-17 and then pointed out that the word "other" is in brackets to alert him to the fact that "other" is not in the Greek manuscript. The experienced worker corroborated my statement.
I then proceeded to have the trainee read the passage sans "other". It comes out like this:
"By means of him all things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all things and by means of him all things were made to exist."
The trainee's eyes really lit up; and he actually grinned with delight to discover that Col 1:16-17 reveals something quite different than what he was led to believe.
Had I pressed the attack; I would have pointed out to the trainee that the Society is inconsistent with its use of the word "other" by failing to pencil it into John 1:3 in order to make it read like this:
"All [other] things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one [other] thing came into existence."
Now; as to tampering with Paul's letters, and forcing them to mean things they don't say in writing; this is what Peter has to say about that.
● 2Pet 3:15-16 . . Furthermore, consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul according to the wisdom given him also wrote you, speaking about these things as he does also in all his letters. In them, however, are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unsteady are twisting, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Untaught people are oftentimes self-taught; and were the Society's missionaries to check into ol' Charles T. Russell's rather ignoble past; they'd find that "self-taught" pretty much describes the origin of their theology.
The Only Begotten God
Q: One translation of John 1:18 says that Jesus is the only-begotten god; while another translation of John 1:18 says Jesus is the only-begotten son. Which translation is correct?
A: Either one will do because, paternally speaking, they're both saying the very same thing. But for clarity's sake; let's assume that "only-begotten god" is correct. What are the ramifications of that?
Well; according to John 17:3 it suggests that the only true god's offspring is the only true god; otherwise he'd be a false god; which is about as possible as my offspring being a false human. In other words; like always begets like. If the only true god were to reproduce, His offspring would be more of His own kind just as when I reproduce, my offspring is more of my own kind. Get my drift?
John 1:18 implies that when the only true god begot a son, He begot more of Himself; viz: He begot a god that's of the species the only true god. It's either that or the only true god begot a species of god not of His own kind; rather, a species of god of another kind; which would be like me begetting a species of human not of my own kind, but a species of human of an alien kind.
OBJECTION: At John 17:3, Jesus identifies his Father as the only true God, and himself as the one sent by the only true God. How can the one true God take command and rule the one true God?
RESPONSE: This is very easy to resolve; but first we should explain something.
God created only one Adam; viz: there is only one true Adam. Ergo: any, and all, of the one true Adam's progeny are the one true Adam too because Adam life is the only kind of human life that the one true Adam was capable of reproducing.
● Gen 5:3 . . Adam lived on for a hundred and thirty years. Then he became father to a son in his likeness, in his image, and called his name Seth.
In other words: Seth was, in all respects, just as much the one true Adam as his paternal father because the one true Adam didn't create his son, no; Seth came into being via reproduction rather than creation.
By the same token, if the one true god were to reproduce, He would produce more of Himself just as when Adam reproduced, he produced more of himself; viz: if the one true god were to reproduce He would produce a paternal extension of the one true god just as when Adam reproduced he produced a paternal extension of the one true Adam.
As of the date and time of this writing, the world population was approximately 7.35 billion people. Those people were not 7.35 billion true Adams. No, they were only one true Adam. If you can grasp how 7.35 billion of Adam's progeny are one true Adam, then you can grasp how God and His progeny are not two true gods; but one.
However; though God's son is a reproduction of the one true god, he is a son; and it's a widely-known biblical fact that sons are inferior in rank to their fathers. It's written into one of the Ten Commandments.
● Ex 20:12 . .Honor your father
The challenge for John Q and Jane Doe hewer of wood and hauler of water is to satisfy themselves, beyond a shadow of sensible doubt, that Jesus Christ is in no possible way the one true god's progeny; otherwise they are stuck with the inescapable conclusion that Jesus Christ is a paternal extension of the one true god.
I watched an educational series on NetFlix in September of 2014 called "The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries" hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson Ph.D. director of the Hayden Planetarium. Mr. Tyson said, in so many words; that in the study of Physics, one must sometimes abandon sense and accept discoveries as they are no matter how contrary to logic they may seem.
The NASA teams that sent Pioneers, Voyagers and Mariners out to explore the solar system came to the very same conclusion: they learned to abandon their logical expectations and instead expect the illogical; and they encountered plenty.
In the field of Christianity, as in the fields of Physics and planetary
exploration, faith accepts what's revealed to it rather than only what makes
sense to it. I readily admit that the only true god multiplying to produce
another of Himself makes no sense whatsoever. But just as science admits to many
unsolved mysteries; so does Christianity. And there's no shame in that. The
shame is in pretending to have complete understanding of a supernatural Being
that by its very nature defies reasoning and common sense
Jesus Christ's God
● John 20:17 . . Be on your way to my brothers and say to them; "I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God."
Q: If Jesus is God Almighty, as traditional Christianity insists, then how could he have a God? They're saying God worships God?
A: Christ's statement wasn't original. It echoes, to a degree, the traditional Christian version of a portion of Psalm 45, which reads like this:
"Your throne, O God, stands forever; Your royal scepter is a scepter for justice. You love justice and hate wrongdoing; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellow kings."
NOTE: The "fellow kings" in this instance refers to those of the Davidic dynasty.
That Psalm is very controversial, and some have tried to translate the Hebrew in such a way that God can't be seen anointing God. Here's the Watchtower Society's attempt.
"God is your throne to time indefinite, even forever; the scepter of your kingship is a scepter of uprightness. You have loved righteousness and you hate wickedness. That is why God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of exultation more than your partners"
Here's a Jewish attempt from Chabad.org
"Your throne, O judge, [will exist] forever and ever; the scepter of equity is the scepter of your kingdom. You loved righteousness and you hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, anointed you with oil of joy from among your peers."
Here's another Jewish attempt; this time from the Stone Tanach
"Your throne is from God, it is forever and ever, [for] the scepter of fairness is the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness an hate wickedness; therefore has God, your God, anointed you, with oil of joy from among your peers."
Can you read Hebrew or know someone who does? Without telling them where you got it, ask them to give you a literal translation of the words below:
Kis'aka 'elohim 'olam wa'ed
If your friend can be kept in the dark about the source of those words, they will have no trouble translating them like this: "Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever."
John 1:1-14 testifies that Jesus Christ is not only a divine being, but also a human being. Due to his rather unique characteristics; of course Christ worships God because human beings are subject to their creator.
This is very difficult for John Q and Jane Doe JW to accept because they have it drilled into their heads by the Watchtower Society that it is impossible for someone to exist as a spirit being and a physical being simultaneously. When people fail to parse Christ's human/divine characteristics, they invariably end up making some very serious mistakes about the nature of his association with God
Solomon vs Jesus Christ
Back in 2008 a financial crisis called the "housing bubble" collapsed and quite a few people lost their homes, and a whole lot more lost their jobs and their retirement packages.
There's a sneaky bubble in the Bible that I've labeled the "Ecclesiastes bubble". Large numbers of people are relying upon comments in Ecclesiastes as proof that human life does not exist beyond the grave. It's a bubble because they are unaware that Ecclesiastes isn't a doctrinal book. No, far from it. Ecclesiastes is an inspired sample of worldly philosophy.
Though a holy man wrote Ecclesiastes, and was no doubt divinely motivated to do so; he didn't record his observations from the perspective of an enlightened man who's privy to knowledge beyond the scope of empirical evidence and human experience; rather, he recorded his observations from the perspective of a man under the sun; viz: an intellectual thinking for himself whose perception of reality is moderated by what he can see going on around him in the physical universe rather than what he cannot see going on around him in the non-physical.
Ecclesiastes is popular with agnostics and atheists because it agrees, to a very large extent, with their own secular philosophies; viz: Solomon's observations are primarily an evaluation of life on earth as seen from the earth rather than an evaluation of life on earth as seen from heaven. In other words: he spoke of life from the perspective of empirical evidence and human experience.
Empirical evidence can be defined as: knowledge gained from observation; which is why you'll often read Ecclesiastes saying: "I have seen". Well; intellectuals can't see beyond death; so to them, death ends human existence because in the absence of empirical evidence for life beyond the grave, there is no logical basis for believing it's there— simple as that.
Solomon was a very wise man, and the brightest intellectual of his day. But Christ claimed that his wisdom is superior to Solomon's.
● Luke 11:31 . .The queen of the south will be raised up in the judgment with the men of this generation and will condemn them; because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, but, look! Something more than Solomon is here.
Solomon's understanding was limited, but Christ's is exceedingly vast.
● Col 2:3 . . In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Traditional Christianity casts its vote for Christ primarily because it believes that no man could possibly know more about the afterlife than he; and also because it is God's edict that people listen to His son.
● Matt 17:5 . . While Peter was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is My beloved son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to him.
No doubt Solomon was inspired to put his world view in writing; but Christ was more than inspired to say the things he spoke. The things he spoke came directly from God; so when he speaks of the afterlife, it pays to listen.
● John 3:34-35 . . For he is sent by God. He speaks God's words; for God's Spirit is upon him without measure or limit.
● John 8:26 . . He that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him.
● John 8:28 . . I speak these things as the Father taught me.
● John 12:49 . . I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
● John 14:24 . .The word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's who sent me.
In other words; people who take sides with Solomon's world view against Jesus Christ's heaven-sent message, have taken sides against God; and the repercussions of their choice are disastrous to say the least.
● John 3:18 . .Whoever believes in His son is not condemned, but whoever disbelieves stands condemned already
● John 3:36 . . He that disbelieves the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.
Q: What purpose did God have in mind for Solomon's worldly views? In what way is his personal philosophy of life useful for reproving, for setting things straight, and for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work? (2Tim 3:16-17)
A: Ecclesiastes is very valuable for discussing life sans the divine perspective; which Solomon concluded is both futile and meaningless. Humankind needs to believe in something more than itself just to make sense of why the cosmos— with all of its forms of life, matter, and energy —exists at all. Science keeps itself busy sleuthing "how" the cosmos came to be; but pretty much leaves the "why" to religion and philosophy.
People who disbelieve in the possibility of a hereafter tend to be darkened by a somewhat pessimistic opinion of life; for example:
Nobel Prize winner, author of several best-selling books, and recipient of at least a dozen honorary degrees; physicist Steven Weinberg (who views religion as an enemy of science), in his book "The First Three Minutes" wrote: The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it seems pointless. But if there is no solace in the fruits of our research, there is at least some consolation in the research itself . . . the effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things that lifts human life a little above the level of a farce and gives it some of the grace of tragedy.
Well of course Mr. Weinberg feels that way. How else could a thinking man feel when he believes in nothing beyond the natural world?
Cessation Of Cognition
The Watchtower Society uses the passage below to substantiate its doctrine that people go out of existence when they die.
● Ps 146:4 . . His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; In that day his thoughts do perish.
The Hebrew word for "thoughts" in that passage is 'eshtonah (esh-to naw') which means: thinking.
Unfortunately, Ps 146:4 is the only place in the entire Old Testament where 'eshtonah appears so we can't compare its uses in other contexts.
According to Webster's the word "thinking" is ambiguous with quite a variety of meanings to choose from; including, but not limited to: concerns, anticipations, conceptions, opinions, imaginations, visualizations, ideas, epiphanies, plans, schemes, fantasies, arguments, deliberations, and the like.
For example: consider all those people who perished in the World Trade Center, in the Japan and Indonesia tsunamis, and the Haiti earthquake. None of them woke that day planning on it being their last on earth. No, on the contrary; they had people to see, places to go, and things to do: but before the day ended; whatever was on their minds lost its importance— their priorities went right out the window and became no more significant than green cheese on the moon.
All their plans, their dreams, their schedules, their appointments, their schemes, their problems, their ambitions, their loves, and their aspirations went right down the tubes as they were suddenly confronted with a whole new reality to cope with.
So then, an alternative to the Watchtower Society's theology is that people don't go out of existence when they die. Their cognitive processes don't stop working; no, Ps 146:4 only means that whatever was on their minds while they were alive is now null and void.
Take for example Michael Jackson. While working on a new world tour, Jackson died in his sleep. As a result; his tour wrapped on the spot.
When my eldest nephew was paroled from prison, he quit drinking, and began going to college with the goal towards becoming a counselor. For 2½ years all went well. His parole officer was happy, and he was on track and getting good grades. My nephew's future looked assured. And then on the morning of Sept 25, 2015, he dropped dead to the floor of natural causes.
My nephew's passing was a terrible disappointment to everybody; but actually we all kind of expected it. He was grossly overweight, had high blood pressure and high cholesterol, rarely exercised, and smoked. But the point is; my nephew's dream ended just as abruptly as flipping a light switch. And all of our hopes for his success ended the same way
"His spirit goes out" refers to the breath of life as per Gen 2:7. It's entrance into a human body springs it to life (Jas 2:26). In other words: the breath of life isn't just a life force; no, the breath of life is quite sentient: it's the core of one's existence as a being.
How does the human brain, a 3-pound lump of flabby organic tissue, produce the phenomena of memory, consciousness, individuality, and self awareness? Why do humans have a sense of justice, of fair play, and a desire for revenge? Why do humans prefer to be right rather than wrong? Why be right and/or wrong at all? Why do humans want their lives to count for something? From whence do humans get their feelings of guilt? Why aren't humans amoral like the other creatures? Butterflies are free, why aren't we?
Those kinds of questions cannot be answered on a physical level. There is an element to human life that is above and beyond an organic explanation.
One of the strongest proofs that people continue to exist beyond the demise of their bodies is Jonah. While the prophet's corpse reposed in the tummy of a fish, Jonah went to a place that he described as the bottoms of the mountains. From thence he prayed for recovery; and was granted his request.
The Breath Of Life
Human existence is thought by some to be entirely organic. It's not. There's a non-organic element to human existence called the breath of life.
● Gen 2:7a . . And Yhvh God formed a man's body
Mankind's creator didn't give birth to humanity like women give birth to children, or baby chicks hatch from eggs; no, humans aren't God's biological progeny —humans are God's handiwork like the glass products manufactured by craftsmen in Murano; where they make things from scratch using mostly sand for their base material.
● Gen 2:7b . . from the dust of the ground
The Hebrew word for "dust" is a bit ambiguous. It essentially refers to powder, but can also be translated clay, earth, mud, mortar, ashes, and/or rubbish.
● Gen 2:7c . . and breathed into it the breath of life
The word for "breathed" is from naphach (naw-fakh') and means; among other things: to kindle; which Webster's defines as (1) to start (a fire) burning: light, (2) to stir up: arouse, (3) to bring into being: start, and (4) to animate.
Naphach is sort of like what Indy Car drivers do when they're given the order to start their engines.
The word for "breath" is neshamah (nesh-aw-maw') which means: a puff. Neshamah is a bit ambiguous and has been variously translated air, soul, spirit, blast, and inspiration.
What we're looking at here is a kind of artificial respiration, but not the regular kind because it doesn't do a bit of good pumping air into the lungs of a corpse. They won't come alive like that; it's been tried.
However, there's evidence in the Bible, starting in Genesis, indicating that it's possible to pump life into a corpse: in point of fact, into anything, even stones (Matt 3:9, Luke 19:40). But in order to do that, one first needs a source of life just as in regular artificial respiration one first needs a source of air.
"In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. This one was in the beginning with God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence. What has come into existence by means of him was life" (John 1:1-4)
That says pretty much the same thing as Gen 2:7, and then adds the fact that the Word himself is the source of life from which was drawn the life used to fire up the first human body.
● Gen 2:7c . . and man became a living soul.
The Hebrew word for "soul" is nephesh (neh'-fesh). Its first appearance is at Gen 1:20-21 in reference to aqua creatures and winged creatures; again at Gen 1:24 as terra creatures; viz: cattle, creepy crawlies, and wild beasts; and again in Gen 2:7 as the human creature.
In other words: Gen 2:7 is saying that humans are souls rather than saying they have souls. The same is true of aqua creatures, winged, creatures, and terra creatures. So "soul" distinguishes fauna life from flora life.
The breath of life makes it possible for fauna life to exist as individuals. Webster's defines an individual as existing as a distinct entity.
Individuality— which can be roughly defined as a sense of self; viz: a sense of personal identity —is one of science's unsolved mysteries.
Creatures within whom is the breath of life are perishable; but I have yet to encounter a passage in the Bible clearly stating that the breath of life is perishable. In point of fact, I think it is very easy to prove that the human creature's breath of life is not only a permanent feature of their existence; but also keeps them in existence.
For example: when Abraham, Lazarus, and the rich man of Luke 16:19-31 passed away, they all left their organic bodies behind, yet on the other side they are perceptive; fully conscious, and fully sentient.
I don't know for sure in what form they exist on the other side, but one thing I do know is that they have not ceased to exist as individuals, nor have they lost their identities— Abraham is still Abraham, Lazarus is still Lazarus, and the rich man is still the rich man; and that has to be because they retained their breath of life when they crossed over to the other side.
Q: Christ said human souls are perishable (Matt 10:28). Seeing as how soul, relative to people, determines their humanness, then what kind of creatures do they become without it?
A: That is a very, very disturbing question because it suggests the prospect that when people lose their humanness in the hell fire depicted at Rev 20:10-15, they will undergo a transition into something quite different than human; viz: something inhuman.
I'm guessing, just guessing mind you, that their humanness will be replaced with something demonic because according to Matt 25:41, hell fire was constructed especially for the Devil and his allies.
That's not an unreasonable guess; because if it was possible to transfer Michael the arch angel's breath of life into a human body, then I see no reason to doubt it's possible to transfer a human's breath of life into a demon body.
Worship Of Michael The Arch Angel
A common Greek word translated "worship" in the New Testament is proskuneo (pros-koo-neh'-o) which means, essentially, to kiss like a dog licking its master's hand. It also means to fawn or crouch to; viz: to prostate oneself in homage; i.e, to do reverence and/or to adore.
In other words; proskuneo is an ambiguous word with more than one meaning; and it's peppered all through the New Testament in a variety of applications; for example:
● Matt 21-2 . . After Jesus had been born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, look! astrologers from eastern parts came to Jerusalem, saying: Where is the one born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when we were in the east, and we have come to do him obeisance.
Webster's defines "obeisance" as 1) a movement of the body made in token of respect or submission; e.g. bow, and 2) acknowledgment of another's superiority or importance. Here it is again:
● Matt 2:11 . . And when they went into the house they saw the young child with Mary its mother, and, falling down, they did obeisance to it.
I think it's worthwhile noting that those men didn't fall down and do obeisance to the infant as a god; but as a king; which was an acceptable practice in the politics of that day and it typically had like zero religious significance. There's been exceptions of course, but by and large, potentates aren't usually revered as gods.
Below is an example of obeisance to a god.
● Matt 4:10 . . Then Jesus said to him: Go away, Satan! For it is written: It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to Him alone you must render sacred service.
NOTE: The word "Jehovah" is nowhere in the New Testament's Greek text. The Watchtower Society's translators penciled it in as a substitute for the actual word. In reality a translation with words penciled in like that is an interpretation rather than a translation.
The actual word is kurios (koo'-ree-os) which basically means superior and/or supreme in authority. The Hebrew equivalent is 'adown (aw-done') and/or the shortened 'adon (aw-done') which mean: sovereign: either human or divine.
'Adown, like kurios, is an ambiguous word often used as a courteous title of respect for elders and/or superiors; for example Sarah used the very same word of her husband at Gen 18:12, Rachel addressed her dad by it at Gen 31:5, and Jacob addressed his brother Esau by 'adown at Gen 33:8.
At this juncture; I should point out that according to Watchtower Society theology, "Jesus Christ" is another name for Michael the arch angel; and it's also another name for the Word of John 1:1, which means of course that according to John 1:1 and John 1:18, the Watchtower Society's Michael is a god. So then, putting two and two together; it's readily seen that obeisance to Jesus Christ = obeisance to Michael = obeisance to a god; and that has some pretty serious ramifications.
● Ex 20:2-5 . . I am Jehovah your God. You must not have any other gods against my face. You must not bow down to them nor be induced to serve them.
This is a bit of a catch-22 for the Watchtower Society's missionaries because according to Ex 20:2-5, it is a sin to do obeisance to any other god but Jehovah, while at the same time Php 2:9-11 requires it. In point of fact, as per Society-think; failure to bow down to the god Michael dishonors Jehovah. (Php 2:11)
The Physical Man
According to Jesus Christ's God-given message as per John 3:3-8, a physical man is defined as the product of natural human birth; viz: born of the flesh rather than born of the Spirit. This is far more serious than the typical non spirit-born Watchtower Society missionary is capable of realizing.
According to the apostle Paul's teachings at 1Cor 2:14, the physical man cannot relate to God, cannot perceive God's thoughts, nor can accept the things of the spirit of God because to the physical man, the things of the Spirit are absurd; and he cannot get to know them because they are examined spiritually as opposed to examined soulically.
The physical man therefore, is not in harmony with God, rather, according to Rom 8:5-9, the physical man is quite at enmity with God.
Bottom line: The Watchtower missionaries that come to your door are busy as bees thwarting Jehovah instead of assisting Him because they are physical rather than spiritual.
OBJECTION: One thing you fail to realize is that a person need not be spirit born to be spiritual. There are a large number of references to this throughout the Bible, including Moses, Joshua, David, and many others who were spiritual and about whom it is never said they underwent spirit birth.
RESPONSE: Well; quite obviously that ship has sailed and it's time to wake up and get your bearings. People today are not in the Old Testament era. They're in the New; and there's no going back; so everyone now is pretty much stuck with the God-given words spoken by Jesus Christ and the inspired teachings of the apostle Paul.
So then, even if John 3:3-8 and 1Cor 2:14 weren't applicable back in the Old Testament's day, they sure are now; and all the clever sophistry, semantic double speak, and humanistic reasoning and rationalizing in the world is not going invalidate those passages.
Now, we should address the Society's objection that "it is never said they underwent spirit birth".
The Watchtower Society's objection is called an argument from silence; which is essentially a kind of logic that concludes if something isn't clearly stated, then it's inferred from the silence that there was nothing to state.
However, I'm pretty sure it's safe to infer from the God-given words spoken by Jesus Christ, and from the apostle Paul's inspired teachings, that the Old Testament's luminaries were all spirit-born to a man regardless of the Bible not explicitly saying so.
Don't you see? The spirit birth about which Jesus Christ spoke was not a new thing. In point of fact, the rabbi Nicodemus was supposed to know all about it without Jesus having to explain it.
● John 3:10 . . Are you a teacher of Israel and yet do not know these things?
The Watchtower Society's missionaries have a decision to make: Did Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul know what they were talking about or not?
Now; let's suppose for a moment that the Watchtower Society's doctrines qualify as things of the spirit of God? Would that be good for the Society's missionaries? No; and that's because in order for Bible students to accept the things of the spirit of God, the students themselves have to be spirit-born. The reason? Because according to the apostle Paul's teachings at 1Cor 2:14, the physical man cannot accept the things of the spirit of God because to the physical man, the things of the Spirit are absurd; and he cannot get to know them because they are examined spiritually as opposed to examined soulically.
In other words: if the Society's doctrines were truly things of the spirit of God; then the Society's physical-man missionaries would pay no attention to them. Ironically; the very fact that the Society's born-of-the-flesh missionaries believe in the Society's doctrines proves that they are not things of the spirit of God.
● John 14:16-17 . . I will request the Father and he will give you another helper to be with you forever, the spirit of the truth, which the world cannot receive, because it neither beholds it nor knows it. You know it, because it remains with you and is in you.
● John 14:26 . .The helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in my name, that one will teach you all things and bring back to your minds all the things I told you.
John Q and Jane Doe Watchtower Society missionaries are taught to believe that God's spirit is alongside assisting them to identify, and to understand, the correct interpretations of the Bible. However, the Society's missionaries are also taught that only a special guild of 144,000 anointed Jehovah's Witnesses actually have the Spirit inside them rather than alongside and that is very serious. Here's why:
● Rom 8:9 . .You are in harmony, not with the flesh, but with the spirit, if God's spirit truly dwells in you.
Seeing as how God's spirit does not truly dwell in John Q and Jane Doe missionary, then they are, by default, in harmony with the flesh. That only makes things worse. Here's why:
● Rom 8:5-8 . . For those who are in accord with the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those in accord with the spirit on the things of the spirit. For the minding of the flesh means death, but the minding of the spirit means life and peace; because the minding of the flesh means enmity with God, for it is not under subjection to the law of God, nor, in fact, can it be. So those who are in harmony with the flesh cannot please God.
Bottom line: John Q and Jane Doe missionary displease God, and He displeases them; viz: it's mutual; yet they go door-to-door brazenly passing themselves off as God's friends and allies.
● 1John 2:26-27 . .These things I write you about those who are trying to mislead you. And as for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to be teaching you; but, as the anointing from him is teaching you about all things, and is true and is no lie, and just as it has taught you, remain in union with him.
The anointing provides people with some valuable advantages to which people who lack it of course have no access.
1• Protects people from deception
2• Enables people to grasp Jesus Christ's teachings the way he wants them grasped
3• Makes it possible for people to remain in union with him.
The point is: according to Watchtower Society theology, only 144,000 special Jehovah's Witnesses have the anointing. There aren't that many living Witnesses who have the anointing though because when anointed Witnesses die, their passing doesn't create vacancies; viz: 144,000 is the maximum.
What that means is: the vast majority of living Witnesses don't have the anointing. We're talking about some serious numbers here. Currently, there are approximately 8.2 million living Witnesses. Even if all 144,000 anointed Witnesses were alive today, that would leave 8,056,000 Witnesses roaming the earth in our day who 1) have no protection from deception, 2) are unable to grasp Jesus Christ's teachings the way he wants them grasped, and 3) are not in union with him.
Doubtless there are numbers of John Q and Jane Doe Witnesses who sincerely believe that their association with the Watchtower Society keeps them in union with Jesus Christ; but according to 1John 2:26-27, union with Jesus Christ isn't accomplished on the coattails of an organization; it's accomplished by means of the anointing.
Needless to say: when people are not in union with Jesus Christ; then they are not on his side. There is no neutral ground in this. They're either for Jesus Christ or they're against Jesus Christ.
● Matt 12:30 . . He that is not on my side is against me, and he that does not gather with me scatters.
It is really disturbing to think that there are a minimum of 8,056,000 Watchtower Society agents out there passing themselves off as Yhvh's servants when they are not even working in cooperation with His beloved son Jesus Christ.
You know who the worst kind of liar is? It's someone who pulls the wool over
their own eyes. In other words: Watchtower Society missionaries who sincerely
believe themselves in union with Jesus Christ without the anointing, are the
worst kind of liar because they literally have themselves fooled into believing
something that isn't true. Ironically, their own selves are actually "one of
those who are trying to mislead you".
Spirit Worship Versus Physical Worship
The Watchtower Society's NWT translates a portion of John 4:24 like this:
"God is a Spirit"
The Watchtower Society spelled "Spirit" upper case; but not all translators do. For example the NIV, the NAS, and the NASB spell "spirit" lower case.
Anyway, the NWT has Christ moving on to say:
"and those worshiping him must worship with spirit"
The Kingdom Interlinear doesn't translate the Greek word en as the English word "with" rather, as the word "in".
Seeing as how the Interlinear trumps the NWT; then we should plug "in" into Christ's statement, so that it looks like this:
"and those worshiping him must worship in spirit"
Either way though, its apparent that Christ was saying that his Father wants people to worship Him spirit-to-spirit; which is a bit problematic for Jehovah's Witnesses because according to Watchtower Society theology, humans are entirely physical. If it's true that humans lack a spirit component to their existence, then in their natural-born, totally organic condition, humans are incapable of worshipping God as He would like.
This is a crucial issue because according to Christ, spirit-to-spirit worship of God isn't optional; no, it's a must.
The answer to this dilemma is of course the living water about which Christ spoke with the Samaritan woman in the fourth chapter of John. That water equips people with a spirit component to their existence in which they can worship God as He would like.
● John 7:37-39 . . Now on the last day, the great day of the festival, Jesus was standing up and he cried out, saying: If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He that puts faith in me, just as the Scripture has said: "Out from his inmost part streams of living water will flow."
. . . However, he said this concerning the spirit which those who put
faith in him were about to receive; for as yet there was no spirit, because
Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Passport To The Kingdom
It's both tragic and ironic that the Watchtower Society's missionaries go worldwide advertising a kingdom that they themselves will not be allowed to enter. Here's why.
At John 3:3-12, Christ and a Jewish rabbi named Nicodemus discussed what Christ labeled "earthly things". The primary earthly thing discussed was the kingdom of God. The other earthly thing discussed was the spirit-birth requirement to enter it. In other words: the kingdom of God on earth, and the spirit-birth requirement to enter it, are joined at the hip.
Rank and file Watchtower Society missionaries (a.k.a. the earthly class) are
not spirit-born now, nor do they ever expect to be— not in this life, nor in
the next; yet they hope to enter the kingdom of God on earth. However, seeing as
how the spirit-birth requirement to enter it is a must rather than an option;
then they will not succeed.
Q: Why does the Watchtower Society refer to the Word in John 1:1 as a god in lower case rather than a god in upper case?
A: The Watchtower Society's doctrine is based upon an imaginary grammatical technicality.
The common Greek word for "god" is theós. When it's modified by the little Greek definite article "ho" the Society translates theós with an upper case G. But when the article is absent, they translate theós with a lower case g. In other words: in the Society's theological thinking; ho theós pertains to the one true God, while theós by itself pertains to nondescript gods; unless the context dictates otherwise.
However, according to Dr. Archibald T. Robertson's Grammar Of The Greek New Testament, page 767: in regards to nouns in the predicate; the article is not essential to speech.
In other words: when theόs is in the predicate, "ho" can be either used, or not used, without making any real difference. Bottom line? A translator's choice whether to capitalize either of the two theόs in John1:1 or not to capitalize them, is entirely arbitrary. So an alternate translation of John 1:1 could look like this:
"In the beginning, the Word was, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word."
But no matter whether the Word is an upper case god or a lower case god, he is still a god; which presents a bit of a problem for the Watchtower Society.
There are only two classifications of gods in the Bible: the true and the false. There is no middle ground. Now according to Deut 6:4, John 17:3 and 1Cor 8:5-6, there is only one true god; which means all other gods have to be false gods; which Webster's defines as not real or genuine; viz: imitations.
For example: back in the 1950s and 1960s, women's breast enhancements were known as falsies. In other words: the enhancements were breasts; just not real breasts; viz: not true; they were imitations.
So then, if the Word of John 1:1 is not the one true god, then he is, by default, another of the Bible's many falsies.
The Watchtower Society has resolved this dilemma for itself by inventing an intermediate category of gods sandwiched between the true and the false called "mighty ones".
By placing the Word in the mighty-one category, the Society's version of the Word can be an actual god without being either a true god or a false god. But of course it doesn't take a Th.D degree in English to see right off how that kind of thinking amounts to little more than clever sophistry combined with humanistic reasoning and semantic double speak.
Q: Well then; why don't they translate John 1:1 like this:
"In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a mighty one."
A: They can't translate it that way because in order to do so they would have to adulterate the Greek. So instead of translating theόs as a mighty one; they teach it that way. In other words: they spin it; which can be defined as twisting something around to favor a particular point of view.
● John 20:28 . . Thomas said to him: "My Lord and my God!"
"God" is from the Greek word theós
Many moons ago; I asked some Watchtower Society missionaries to explain to me why the Society translated theós with an upper case G in Thomas' statement seeing as how in Watchtower Society theology; only the supreme almighty god should be referred to with capital letters. Well; they were too inexperienced to explain and my question left them stumped.
The fact of the matter is: in John 20:28, theós is modified by the Greek definite article "ho". So by the Society's own rules; its translators had to use an upper case G because it is their practice that whenever theós is modified by the Greek definite article ho, then the upper case is required.
The apostle Thomas' words "My Lord and My God" wouldn't be so alarming had he not been possessive. In point of fact, the ©1969 Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures renders John 20:28 like this:
"The Lord of me, and the God of me"
In other words: the apostle Thomas didn't just declare that Jesus was God. No, the apostle Thomas clearly declared that Jesus was his God; which is very troubling.
The covenant that the apostle Thomas' people agreed upon in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy forbids them to possess more than one god.
"And God proceeded to speak all these words, saying: I am Jehovah your God, who have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slaves. You must not have any other gods against my face." (Ex 20:1-30
"against my face" is a combination of two Hebrew words that essentially refer to God's competitors. In other words: it is not Jehovah's wishes to have a market share of His people's affections; no, He'll settle for nothing less than 100%. (cf. Mark 12:28-30)
If the apostle Thomas was a covenant-trained Jew, then he was fully aware that possessing any other god but Jehovah as "the God of me" would incur the covenant's curse upon himself.
● Deut 27:26 . . Cursed is the one who will not put the words of this law in force by doing them.
The way I see it: JWs have two choices. Either the apostle Thomas knew what he was doing when he addressed Jesus as "the God of me" or he didn't know what he was doing.
Now, if the apostle Thomas actually knew what he was doing when he addressed Jesus as "the God of me" then JWs need to ask around and find out why it is that Jesus Christ was the apostle Thomas' God but he isn't the Watchtower Society's God.
Plus: I would really like to know how it is that the apostle Thomas and the Watchtower Society are poles apart in their opinions of Christ's divine status when Thomas actually associated with Christ and was one of his close personal friends.
If Jesus Christ was the apostle Thomas' God, then why isn't he the Society's God? I mean: if Thomas would speak to Jesus Christ and address him as "the God of me" then why can't the Society speak to Jesus Christ and address him the very same way? Isn't Jesus Christ their God too? If Jesus Christ was the apostle Thomas' God, then shouldn't Jesus Christ be everybody's God?
Now; according to John 20:24-31, the recovery of Christ's crucified body is one
of the signs given to encourage people to believe in him in order that they may
have life by means of his name. Seeing as how the Watchtower Society refuses to
agree with Thomas that Christ's crucified body recovered, and they also refuse
to address Jesus Christ as their God, then we are forced to conclude that the
Watchtower Society doesn't have the life that's obtained by means of his name.
Depending upon one's translation of choice; Jesus Christ is described in John 1:14, John 1:18, John 3:16, and John 3:18, as the only-begotten god and/or the only-begotten son of God. Either way, the koiné Greek word for "only begotten" is monogenes (mon-og-en-ace') which is a combination of two words.
The first is mono, which music buffs recognize as a single channel rather than two or four in surround sound stereo. Mono is very common; e.g. monogamy, monofilament, monotonous, mononucleotide, monochrome, monogram, monolith, monologue, monomial, et al.
The other word is genes; from whence we get the English word gene; which Webster's defines as a biological term indicating a part of a cell that controls or influences the appearance, growth, etc., of a living thing. In other words: monogenes refers to one biological gene set rather than many.
Monogenes always, and without exception, refers to a parent's sole biological child in the New Testament. If a parent has two or three biological children, none of them qualify as monogenes because in order to qualify as a monogenes child, the child has to be an only child. Obviously then, an adopted child can never be monogenes in the home because it wouldn't be the home's biological child. Examples of monogenes children are located at Luke 7:12, Luke 8:42, and Luke 9:38.
OBJECTION: I would submit that the monogenes is also used in the context of "one of a kind" viz: a child who is unequalled when compared to others. For example, it is found in Hebrew 11:17 of Isaac being Abraham's "only begotten son." But Isaac's older brother Ishmael was also Abraham's biological son.
RESPONSE: The objector's objection isn't a translation, rather, it's an interpretation.
To start with, three New Testament examples of monogenes are located at Luke 7:12, Luke 8:42, and Luke 9:38, and in all three examples it refers not to a special child, but to a parent's sole biological child.
Next I'll go to the Old Testament.
The common laws of Abraham's day (e.g. the Code of Hammurabi and the laws of Lipit-Ishtar) entitled Ishmael to the lion's share of Abraham's estate because he was Abraham's firstborn son. However, there was a clause in the laws stipulating that if a slave-owner emancipated his child's in-slavery biological mother; then the mother and the child would lose any and all claims to a paternal property settlement with the slave-owner.
The trick is: Abraham couldn't just send Hagar packing, nor sell her, for the clause to take effect; no, he had to emancipate her; which he did.
● Gen 21:14 . . So Abraham got up early in the morning and took bread and a skin water bottle and gave it to Hagar, setting it upon her shoulder, and the child, and then dismissed her.
The phrase "dismissed her" is from the Hebrew word shalach (shaw-lakh') which is a word used of divorce as well as for the emancipation of slaves. In other words: Hagar wasn't banished as is commonly assumed; no, she was set free; and it's very important to nail that down in our thinking because if Abraham had merely banished Hagar, then her son Ishmael would have retained his legal status as Abraham's eldest biological son.
Later, when Abraham was ordered to sacrifice Isaac; God referred to him as the patriarch's only son.
● Gen 22:2 . .Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.
● Gen 22:12 . . Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.
Technically, Ishmael retained his status as one of Abraham's biological sons (Gen 25:9) but not legally; no, his legal association with Abraham was dissolved when he emancipated Ishmael's mother; and I sincerely believe that is precisely how Gen 22:2, Gen 22:12, and Heb 11:17 ought to be understood.
But aside from all that: if the Word of John 1:14, John 1:18, John 3:16, and
John 3:18 is really and truly God's biological offspring (so to speak) then the
Watchtower Society has a serious problem with its Christology; because if God
were to reproduce He would give birth to God; viz: more of Himself; just was
when humans reproduce they give birth to humans; viz: more of themselves.
People Who Criticize Jehovah's Witnesses Are Unloving!
An allegation like that one is what's known as an ad hominem; which Webster's defines as an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made.
Ad hominems are typically emotional and reactive rather than rational and objective. And they're oftentimes red herrings; which Webster's defines as something unimportant that is used to stop people from noticing or thinking about something important.
I've encountered ad hominem behavior not only among Jehovah's Witnesses, but also among Rome's followers who perceive that any and all opposition to Rome's beliefs and practices is motivated by hatred for Catholics. That's just rabid fanaticism, through and through.
But anyway; the Watchtower Society is such a hypocrite. It flaps its lips about love; while in its heart longing for the day when every non Jehovah's Witness on earth is slain and they have the whole globe to themselves.
Let's say that 12/30/2015 is that day. Well; the world population to that date, as of 10:08 am EST, was estimated to be 7,295,550,588 people, while the world's number of Jehovah's Witnesses was estimated at 8,200,000; meaning that if the slaughter began on that date, something like 7,287,350,588 people would lose their lives in order to make the world a safer place for the Watchtower Society.
That's 7.287+ Billion people who would all be slain for the sake of Charles Taze Russell and Joseph Franklin Rutherford; in contrast to the mere 9 people who lost their lives because of Charles Manson.
To put that number of people in perspective; let's say that the average height
of the slain is three feet. Well, 7,287,350,588 people that height laid head to
toe would stretch out to 4,140,540 statute miles. Ergo: the slain would circle
the globe roughly 166 times; which is about equal to eight round trips to the
Moon at its average distance from Earth.
Humpty Dumpty Jesus Christ
● John 2:19-22 . . Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days. Therefore the Jews said: This temple was built in forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?
. . . But he was talking about the temple of his body. When, though, he was raised up from the dead, his disciples called to mind that he used to say this; and they believed the Scripture and the saying that Jesus said.
I should think that anybody with even a sixth grader's level of reading comprehension would easily see that Christ was speaking of a physical resurrection for himself rather than a spirit resurrection.
Watchtower Society missionaries have informed me that, instead of restoring Jesus Christ's crucified body to life, God dismantled it into a zillion teensy little microscopic pieces and scattered them to the four winds. However, even if the missionaries' affirmation was actually stated in the Bible record; Christ's remains wouldn't have remained in a microscopic condition for longer than three days or people would have good reason to believe he told a big whopper at John 2:19-22 --not just about that; but about other things he said too.
The Society's resurrection doctrine perpetuates a version of the lie that guards were bribed to say Christ's disciples stole his remains so that they could claim his corpse was restored to life; except the Society's version says it was Yhvh who stole Christ's remains instead of his disciples; insinuating that God is not only a fraud, but also a grave robber.
According to Heb 6:1-2, resurrection is an elementary subject; in other words: it's for beginners. Well; think about it. If the Watchtower Society's resurrection doctrine is faulty; just think how much more faulty its advanced doctrines must be.
Resurrecting The Living
When interpreting one of Paul's letters; it's always best to first determine who it's addressed to. His first letter to the Corinthians was addressed "to the congregation of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in union with Christ Jesus, called to be holy ones, together with all who everywhere are calling upon the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours" In other words: the letter wasn't sent to everybody at Corinth, so Paul's resurrection teachings don't pertain to just anybody who happens to be looking in.
The resurrection of holy people is a complex process because, for one thing; it appears they need not be deceased in order to undergo it.
● 1Cor 15:51-52 . . Look! I tell you a sacred secret: We shall not all fall asleep in death, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, during the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised up incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Some feel that 1Cor 15:51-52 is restricted to the Watchtower Society's 144,000 heaven-destined Witnesses. However, heaven isn't the topic of that passage. It's topic is transformation— a process that Paul and "all" the Corinthian believers shall undergo so they can inherit God's kingdom.
● 1Cor 15:51 . .We shall all be changed
In other words; not just Paul and the Corinthians shall be
changed, but all who everywhere are calling upon the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ, their Lord and ours. In my estimation, that's going to end up totaling a
whole lot more than just the Watchtower Society's
144,000 anointed members.
The Watchtower Society argues that the account of the metemorphe (transfiguration) found at Matt 17:1-9 showed Jesus' true angelic form, proving his ability to materialize a human form at will. Oh?
According to the Society's own doctrines, it is impossible to exist as a spirit being and a human being simultaneously. Now this is important because in order for Jesus to exist in human form, his angel form had to be terminated. So at the time of the transfiguration, Jesus' human form was his true form. In words: if anything, the transfiguration would not prove his ability to materialize himself as a human, but rather, as an angel.
Had Jesus Christ undergone a change of nature in the transfiguration scene, he would have also undergone a change of name, but at no time during the event was he ever referred to as Michael; instead, throughout the event continued to be referred to as Jesus; which is his human name.
During the event, a voice from heaven identified Jesus as "my beloved son". According to the first chapter of the letter to Hebrews, God has never taken an angel as either His son or His heir.
All three of the synoptic gospels report the transfiguration event as a preview of the future kingdom; which, according to Heb 2:5-8 will be ruled, managed, and supervised by human beings rather than by angel beings.
Ergo: in order for Jesus to rule the kingdom as a human being, his human body would have to be restored to life because a materialized human body is not human; it's an avatar.
This presents a knotty problem for the Society because according to its teachings, Jesus' body cannot be restored to life. It has to stay dead and cached away somewhere on the earth in order to remain an effective sacrifice for the sins of the world.
The Watchtower Society's rather curious claim is located on page 237 of the April 15, 1963 issue of the Watchtower magazine; which reads: "If Jesus were to take his body of flesh, blood, and bones to heaven and enjoy them there, what would this mean? It would mean that there would be no resurrection of the dead for anybody. Why not? Because Jesus would be taking his sacrifice off God's altar."
NOTE: All the first covenant's sacrifices were removed from the altar, none were allowed to remain, not even their ashes. And besides, "God's altar" wasn't the earth; it was the cross, from which Jesus' body was removed the very afternoon of his death.
The fact of the matter is that had Jesus morphed into an angel; the sacred text would say so; but it doesn't; indicating that the Society has gone and done something very common with cultists like Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, Herbert W. Armstrong, David Koresh, and Jim Jones: it has forced the Bible to mean things that it does not say in writing. According to 2Pet 3:15, people might just as well put a gun to their heads when they do that.
I'm a fan of a very bright woman named Marilyn vos Savant. She pens a weekly column in the Sunday paper's Parade Magazine. Her tested IQ is somewhere in the 200 range. Marilyn received a question that goes like this:
QUESTION: Our family has been arguing about this: If a person makes a statement, and another person challenges it; who has the burden of proof?
RESPONSE: Usually the person who makes an affirmative statement (defined as a statement that asserts a fact, makes an allegation, or favors an action; etc) has the burden of proof. America's justice system is an example. The prosecution (or the plaintiff, as the case may be) rather than the defense, must prove its case to the jury. Failure to prove it's case, requires that the defense be exonerated.
In other words: when the Society makes a claim like the one on page 237 of the April 15, 1963 issue of the Watchtower magazine; it has a moral obligation to substantiate it because it is not incumbent upon the Society's opponents to prove its claims are false; no, it is incumbent upon the Society to prove it's claims are true; and they should never be given a green light to do it by rationalizing, nor by humanistic reasoning, semantic double speak, and/or clever sophistry; no, they have to show it not only from scripture, but also in scripture. If their claim-- Jesus' crucified body has to remain deceased as a perpetual sacrifice --cannot be shown from scripture, and in scripture, then sensible jurisprudence demands their claim be thrown out of court as spurious fiction.
The fact of the matter is that had Jesus morphed into an angel; the sacred text
would say so; but it doesn't; indicating that the Society has gone and done
something very common with cultists like Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, Herbert
W. Armstrong, David Koresh, and Jim Jones: it has forced the Bible to mean
things that it does not say in writing. According to 2Pet 3:15, people might
just as well put a gun to their heads when they do that.
The Son's Throne
Psalm 45:6 is usually translated like this:
"Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever."
Chabad.org translates it like this:
"Your throne, O judge, [will exist] forever and ever"
Seeing as how the Hebrew word 'elohiym is a bit ambiguous, then either "God" or "judge" will do— at least in the Old Testament. But when we go over to the New Testament, we quickly discover that "God" is the better choice of words because the Greek word theόs isn't ambiguous. It always, and without exception, indicates a divine being rather than a judge or a magistrate.
Here's how Heb 1:8 is usually translated:
"Of the Son He says: Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever"
Here's how the Watchtower Society translates Heb 1:8
"With reference to the Son: God is your throne forever and ever"
I lay no claim to being a qualified linguist, nor even an armchair linguist; but I really have to question how the Society came up with "God is your throne".
A Watchtower Society missionary explained to me that "God is your throne" is a metaphor indicating that the Son's throne is established with the power of God rather than the power of men (John 18:36). Well; that worked for the missionary; but it still left me questioning how the Society came up with their English translation of Heb 1:8 because without some textual clarification, their translation relegates God to the rank and status of furniture upon which the Son parks his derriere.
REBUTTAL: The usual translations of Ps 45:6 and Heb 1:8 has one God speaking to another God. Does that make sense to you?
RESPONSE: That kind of reasoning has been a fatal flaw in the Society's theology ever since the days of Charles Taze Russell and Joseph F. Rutherford; viz: much of the Society's theology is based upon what makes sense to it rather than what the Bible reveals to it.
REBUTTAL: If you read it as "God is your throne" then it's sensible and consistent.
RESPONSE: Sensible to whom? The Watchtower Society and its army of missionaries? Consistent with what? The Society's theology? And just exactly who was it that certified the Watchtower Society's theology as infallible and speaking for God ex cathedra?
I once asked a missionary how he knew the Society's theology was correct. He
answered: They go by the Bible and everything they say makes sense. Well; a
large percentage of traditional Christianity goes by the Bible, and much of what
it says makes sense too. Bottom line is: the missionary didn't really know
whether the Society is correct: he was taking the Society's word that it knows
what it's talking about.
The Last Adam
Almighty God is an eternal life (Gen 21:33) which is a quality of life that's impervious to age, death, and putrefaction; ergo: Almighty God has never died, nor is it even possible for Almighty God to die.
In addition, according to John 5:26 and 1John 1:1-2, the Word of John 1:1 is an eternal life too; ergo: the Word is impervious to age, death, and putrefaction; ergo: the Word has never died, nor is it even possible for the Word to die.
Now, the fact that the Word is an eternal life precludes the possibility of the Word relinquishing his original existence in order to become a human existence. In other words: when the Word became flesh as per John 1:14, the Word did not, and could not, cease to exist as his original self; viz: the Word continued to exist as a spirit being simultaneously with his existence as a human being.
Q: Doesn't 1Cor 15:45 prove that the Word's existence as a spirit being was interrupted when he became flesh; and then when the Word rose from the dead he went back to his existence as a spirit being? "The first man Adam became a living soul; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit."
A: That verse is not speaking of the two men's endings; rather, their respective beginnings; viz: Adam was born a living soul and that's it; while Jesus was born not only a living soul; but also a living spirit.
The Watchtower Society insists that human life is entirely organic. Well; Christ obviously wasn't entirely organic. Within him was not just human life; but also the life of God.
● John 5:26 . . .Just as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted also to the Son to have life in himself.
● Col 2:9 . . It is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily.
NOTE: The Greek word for "divine quality" is theotes (theh-ot'-ace) which means: divinity
Seeing as how theotes is modified by the Greek definite article "ho" then what we're looking at here in Col 2:9 isn't nondescript divinity, but rather the divinity. In other words: we're looking at the fullness of the divinity of Almighty God.
The Last Adam's Descendants
● Rom 5:18-19 . . Just as through one transgression condemnation came upon all, so through one righteous act acquittal and life came to all. For just as through the disobedience of one person the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of one the many will be made righteous.
In other words: Adam's imperfection made his progeny imperfect. In contrast, Christ's perfection makes his progeny perfect.
Q: Christ has progeny?
A: Yes; in point of fact, Jesus' progeny was predicted something like 700 years before he was born.
● Isa 53:10 . . If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life
Q: What's the secret? How do people go about transferring from Adam's progeny to Christ's?
A: Well; I think it's reasonable to assume that they become Christ's progeny in a manner similar to the way they became Adam's— by birth.
Q: So; how would somebody initiate this birth?
A: Well; according to Jesus' discussion with Nicodemus in the third chapter of John; here's where the process begins:
● John 3:14-17 . . As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
The incident to which Christ referred is located at Num 21:5-9. Long story short: Yhvh's people became weary of eating manna all the time at every meal. But instead of courteously, and diplomatically, petitioning their divine benefactor for a different diet, they became hostile and confrontational; angrily demanding better accommodations.
In response to their insolence, and their ingratitude for His providence; Yhvh sent a swarm of deadly poisonous vipers among them; which began striking people; and every strike was 100% fatal, no exceptions.
After a number of people died, the rest came to their senses and begged Moses to intercede. In reply; The Lord instructed Moses to fashion an image of the vipers and hoist it up on a pole in plain view so that everyone dying from venom could look to the image for relief.
The key issue here is that the image was the only God-given remedy for the people's bites— not sacrifices and offerings, not tithing, not church attendance, not missionary work, not scapulars, not confession, not holy days of obligation, not the Sabbath, not the golden rule, not charity, not Bible study and/or Sunday school, not self denial, not vows of poverty, not the Ten Commandments, not one's religion of choice, no; not even prayers. The image was it; nothing else would suffice to save their lives.
In other words then: Christ's crucifixion is the one and only God-given doorway to a life as his progeny. Failure to accept that it's the only God- given doorway leaves the disbeliever stuck in Adam; and deprives him of the righteousness and the acquittal spoken of in Rom 5:18-19 because Adam's progeny is a condemned progeny.
● John 3:18 . .Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
Q: What does it mean to believe in the name of God's one and only Son?
A: In this case; the meaning is relative to Num 21:5-9.
The Greek word for "believe" in John 3:14-18 is pisteuo (pist-yoo'-o) which essentially has to do with reliance, and trust. In other words: people depending upon Christ's crucifixion to protect them from the second death depicted at Rev 20:11-15 are just as safe as the people who relied upon Moses' serpent to cure them of snakebite.
Spirits In Prison
● 1Pet 3:18-20 . .Why, even Christ died once for all time concerning sins, a righteous person for unrighteous ones, that he might lead you to God, he being put to death in the flesh, but being made alive in the spirit. (Note the language. He wasn't made alive as a spirit, but rather; in the spirit.)
. . . In this state also he went his way and preached to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient when the patience of God was waiting in Noah's days, while the ark was being constructed, in which a few people, that is, eight souls, were carried safely through the water.
One popular theory regarding the "spirits in prison" is that they were renegade angels that somehow mated with women to produce a curious species of hominids called Nephilim.
That theory seems to me the least tenable since Jesus Christ died to ransom his fellow men from the wrath of God rather than angels; so preaching to them would be a waste of time and resources. And anyway, according to Matt 25:41 the fate of fallen angels is set in concrete so preaching to them would be futile.
It's far more likely that the spirits in prison are the remains of antediluvians who drowned in the Flood. That being the case, then Christ would have preached to them not after they were dead, but while the ark was under construction; viz: the spirit state in which Christ preached to the people in Noah's day would have been the one identified below.
● Gen 6:3 . . After that Jehovah said: My spirit shall not act toward man indefinitely
Jehovah's spirit of course doesn't act towards men via close encounters of a third kind; but rather through holy men; e.g. Abel (Luke 11:50-51), Enoch (Jude 1:14), and Noah. (2Pet 2:5)
According to the word-for-word Greek version of 1Pet 1:11 in the Kingdom Interlinear, Christ's spirit state was active all through the Old Testament. In point of fact, in every major English translation of 1Pet 1:10-12, the spirit of Christ was active in all the prophets.
It seems very logical to me that Jehovah's spirit as per Gen 6:3, and Christ's spirit state as per 1Pet 3:18 are speaking of the same spirit. It's not too difficult to understand why the Watchtower Society would not want that to be true.
OBJECTION: Christ had not yet been put to death in the flesh back in Noah's day while the ark was under construction.
RESPONSE: Christ was existing in a spirit state way, way back in time prior to the creation of the cosmos with all of its forms of life, matter, and energy. He didn't have to die to get like that.
● John 1:1-3 . . In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. This one was in the beginning with God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.
I wonder sometimes if John and Jane Doe Jehovah's Witness have ever questioned why the Word of John 1:1-3 is called that name. Well; it's not too hard to figure out.
● John 1:18 . . No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom position with the Father is the one that has explained him.
● John 5:37 . . Also, the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time nor seen his figure.
The inaccessible behind the curtain has never communicated with humans directly: not once. Humans have been in touch with the inaccessible indirectly via the Word ever since the garden of Eden.
● Gen 3:8 . . Later they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden about the breezy part of the day, and the man and his wife went into hiding from the face of Jehovah God in between the trees of the garden.
The Hebrew word for "voice" is somewhat ambiguous. It can not only indicate a vocal sound, but lots of other kinds of noises too; e.g. horns, crackling, snapping, cackling, bleating, tweeting, roaring, whooshing, hissing, barking, thudding, whistling, and booming, et al. But if the sound they heard was vocal, then it wasn't the inaccessible Being's voice, it was the Word's
In a nutshell; the Word of John 1:1-3 not only speaks for the inaccessible behind the curtain, but also speaks as the inaccessible; so much so that oftentimes you can't tell them apart. Ancient rabbis, baffled by this mysterious voice whose name is apparently the same as his master's; call it Metatron in sacred Jewish literature.
Jesus Christ and David are biologically related (Luke 1:32, Rom 1:3). Based upon all the history written about David and his progeny in the Old Testament; I think we can be reasonably sure that Jesus Christ would have both failed and sinned had he been born only of man rather than of both God and man.
The Watchtower Society is of the opinion that Christ didn't sin because he "chose" not to sin. But that's what they say; it's not what the Bible says. The fact of the matter is, Christ's divine heritage made it impossible for him to sin.
● 1John 3:9 . . Everyone who has been born from God does not carry on sin, because His [reproductive] seed remains in such one, and he cannot practice sin, because he has been born from God.
That translation makes it look as though one born of God sins now and then but not all the time; viz: doesn't make a habit of sin. But the text on the Greek side of the Kingdom Interlinear says that one born of God is not able to sin.
● Col 2:9 . . It is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily.
What we're looking at isn't nondescript divine quality; but rather at "the" divine quality; viz: we're looking at the quality of God's divinity; which I think pretty safe to assume is impeccable. I seriously doubt even the Devil himself could fail and/or sin were he brimming with not just a percentage; but with all the quality of God's divinity.
Q: If it was impossible for Christ to sin; then what practical purpose did his temptation serve?
A: Temptations are not always lures to evil but also serve as evaluations: like as when Abraham was tasked to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham's obedience proves that he was a man of faith; and the Bible's comment that Abraham was God's friend was vindicated.
It's very common for poorly-trained Bible students to assume Matt 4:1 implies that God's son has some weaknesses that the Devil can exploit if Christ doesn't keep his guard up. But the temptation wasn't a test of his resolve since according to 1John 3:9 it was, and it still is, impossible for Christ to sin. In other words; entrapment is futile since there is nothing in him that finds sin appealing. So why the outback temptation?
Well; that was for our benefit. Manufacturers routinely proof-test products to assure potential customers that their products are up to the task for which they're designed; plus Christ was vindicated where he says "I always do the things pleasing to Him" (John 8:29)
Point being: if Christ had to resist the Devil with will power, then he'd be just as flawed as the rest of us and we'd have good reason to believe that the Devil would eventually catch him in a moment of weakness. No doubt the Devil hoped that after forty days in the outback without food that Christ would be worn down to the point where he would no longer care whether he sinned or not. But it made no difference. Christ was still just as impervious to sin after forty days in the outback as he was during the first 30 years of his life in Nazareth because Christ's innocence doesn't depend upon his resolve; but rather, upon his genetics so to speak; viz: upon God's [reproductive] seed.
While we're on the subject: what is the one thing God cannot do? Well; the Witness' conditioned response is that God cannot lie (Heb 6:18). But a better response than that is God cannot sin. In point of fact: it is just as impossible for God to sin as it is for His progeny to sin. I mean; think about it. If God's progeny is unable to sin due to the intrinsically sinless nature of God's reproductive seed; then it goes without saying that the source of that seed would be unable to sin too.
● Jas 1:13 . . For with evil things God cannot be tried.
● Heb 5:7-9 . . In the days of his flesh Christ offered up supplications and also petitions to the One who was able to save him out of death, with strong outcries and tears, and he was favorably heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered; and after he had been made perfect he became responsible for everlasting salvation to all those obeying him
The "perfection" Jesus Christ obtained by means of his suffering is directly related to his priesthood rather than his personal conduct.
● Heb 5:10 . . Because he has been specifically called by God a high priest according to the manner of Melchizedek.
In order for a priest to be effective, he has to be capable of pity.
● Heb 5:1-3 . . For every high priest taken from among men is appointed in behalf of men over the things pertaining to God, that he may offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal moderately with the ignorant and erring ones since he also is surrounded with his own weakness, and on its account he is obliged to make offerings for sins as much for himself as for the people.
Jesus Christ of course could do no wrong of his own; but he was put through the wringer so he'd have a taste of what us mere mortals face every day of our lives.
● Heb 4:15 . . For we have as high priest, not one who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tested in all respects like ourselves, but without sin.
Hence, the purpose of the suffering that the Son endured was for a far different purpose than the chastisement which the Father's lesser sons are put through at Heb 12:5-11 since according to 1John 3:9 and Col 2:9 it was, and it still is, impossible for God's son to ever be unholy, or unrighteous, or disobedient. In other words; the Son didn't learn to be obedient; rather, he experienced what it's like to obey God as a human being. For Jesus obedience is second nature because according to John 1:1-14, the Son is a god; but the rest of us are mere mortals. Obedience isn't a piece of cake for the rest of us; it's an effort.
It's one thing to empathize and say you feel your fellow man's pain; but in order to truly sympathize with his pain; you've got to go through it yourself. It's exactly that which makes Jesus the perfect choice for high priesthood in heaven because the things he suffered made him a "merciful" high priest; in other words: sensitive—an high priest that's truly one of us instead of a disconnected jurist from another world.
During America's dust bowl era in the 1930's, the Federal
Farm Security Administration sent out an educated young lady named Sonora Babb
to counsel migrant farm workers out west. Nobody
trusted her until they found out she grew up in the so-called No Man's Land of
the southern great plains. Sonora wasn't just another indifferent stuffed-shirt
bureaucrat. She was one of them and it made all the
difference in the quality of her rapport with migrant farm workers.
The Man In Heaven
Watchtower Society theologians allege that Jesus Christ would have no use for a human body in the celestial sphere. However; according to their own theology, the sum total of human existence is the human body; viz: no human body = no human existence. So then, according to their own theology, Jesus Christ has to have a human body just to exist at all as a human being; and I maintain that he has to be a human being in order to officiate as a priest after the manner of Melchizedek because that priesthood has never been bestowed upon an angel.
● Ps 110:4 . . Jehovah has sworn (and he will feel no regret): You are a priest to time indefinite according to the manner of Melchizedek
Melchizedek's only appearance in the Bible occurs at Gen 14:18-20. The letter to Hebrews in the New Testament utilizes him as a "type" of Christ's celestial priesthood.
The author of the letter to Hebrews was reluctant to discuss Melchizedek's office, and how Christ's current high priest position relates to it, because the recipients of the letter were so spiritually immature, and so disinterested in Bible study, that he feared his comments would result in a ping. In other words: a discussion of Melchizedek and how he relates to Jesus Christ isn't everybody's cup of tea so I won't bother going into detail.
However; at least one of the salient features of Mel's priesthood should be readily obvious to everybody regardless of their spiritual acumen: Mel was a human being; just as all of God's high priests have always been human beings— no exceptions. In point of fact, the letter to Hebrews clearly states that high priests are taken from among men (Heb 5:1). So that becomes the #1 qualification for a Melchizedekian priest right out of the box.
Mel's jurisdiction was on the earth. But that was before Israel's covenanted law established Aaron's priesthood. So when that happened; Mel's post was temporarily suspended; and in point of fact, if Christ were on earth, he would not be a priest because this is Aaron's domain.
However, though Mel's post was moved to heaven's temple, there were no changes made to the nature of the person who holds the office. In other words; a priest according to the manner of Melchizedek is a human being no matter where he is. And since Ps 110:4 made Jesus Christ a priest to time indefinite, then he will remain a human being to time indefinite; and in order to be a human being, the Society says he has to have a human body because in their theology; human existence is entirely physical.
● 1Tim 2:5 . . For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus.
The words for "men" and "man" in that verse are derived from anthropos (anth'-ro-pos) —a common koiné Greek word for human beings in the New Testament; which is why that passage doesn't say there is one mediator between God and men, an angel, Christ Michael. No it doesn't say an angel, Christ Michael; no, it says a man, Christ Jesus; who everyone knows to be a human being rather than an angel by the same name.
A search of the entire New Testament for the angel Michael turns up but two references: Jude 1:9 and Rev 12:7. That angel is nowhere in the gospels, nowhere in Acts, and nowhere in the epistles other than Jude. If that angel is so all-fired important; then why is it so marginalized? Even the Society itself is a bit perplexed as to why the name of an angel so highly revered in their theology is nigh unto absent in the New Testament.
The Society claims that the names Jesus and Michael are interchangeable; but that's the most ridiculous case of apples and oranges on record; not to mention a very serious case of identity fraud. Even if an angel had once existed as a human being named Jesus; it no longer does. Now it exists as an angel being named Michael. The two names aren't interchangeable because the one name denotes a human being and the other name denotes a spirit being. Go ahead; search the New Testament and see how much luck you have finding somebody's name hyphenated like this: Jesus-Michael Christ. You won't because the Society's theology is an utter fantasy.
what a wicked web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive.
— Sir Walter Scott —
That poem rings so true. Once Charles T. Russell and/or Joseph F. Rutherford declared that Michael, the angel, and Jesus Christ the human are the same person; they were faced with the Herculean task of forcing the Bible to agree; and that was quite a challenge; which was accomplished by means of clever amalgams of fiction, sophistry, half-truths, semantic double-speak, and humanistic reasoning whose end result is a language barrier very difficult to surmount when discussing Christ with the Society's door-to-door missionaries.
WATCHTOWER CLAIM: It is impossible for Jesus Christ to be in heaven as a human being in the presence of God because 1Tim 6:16 says that the king of all kings dwells in an unapproachable light, whom not one of men has seen or can see.
RESPONSE: We should look at more of that section of Paul's letter.
"In the sight of God, who preserves all things alive, and of Christ Jesus, who as a witness made the fine public declaration before Pontius Pilate, I give you orders that you observe the commandment in a spotless and irreprehensible way until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ. This manifestation the happy and only Potentate will show in its own appointed times, he the King of those who rule as kings and Lord of those who rule as lords, the one alone having immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom not one of men has seen or can see. To him be honor and might everlasting. Amen." (1Tim 6:13-16)
The Greek word for "unapproachable" also means inaccessible; which right there attests that humanity needs a mediator between itself and the light to provide them at least an indirect access.
According to Rev 17:14, the one labeled "the King of those who rule as kings and Lord of those who rule as lords" is the one known as the Lamb; whom, according to John 1:29, John 1:36 is Jesus Christ.
Anyway; to the point: apparently the Watchtower Society has overlooked the fact that Jesus Christ is not only a human being, but also a divine spirit being; viz: a god (John 1:1 and John 1:18). Were Christ only human, he would be barred access to the inaccessible light.
It's known for a fact that Christ— as a man rather than an angel —has access to the inaccessible light.
● 1Tim 2:5 . . For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men; a man: Christ Jesus.
The word for "men" and "man" in that verse is anthropos (anth'-ro-pos) —a common koiné Greek word for human beings in the New Testament; which is why that passage doesn't say there is one mediator between God and men; an angel: Christ Michael. No, it doesn't say Christ Michael; it says Christ Jesus; who everyone knows to be a human being rather than a species of angel by the same name.
Numerous passages in the New Testament state that Christ the anthropos not only has access to the inaccessible light, but is seated next to it.
Q: But with reference to which one of the angels has he ever said: Sit at my right hand, until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet? (Heb 1:13)
Sex In The City
During one of his debates with the Sadducees; Christ referenced the Old Testament.
● Matt 22:29 . . Jesus said to them: you are mistaken, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.
The Sadducees didn't believe in the standard meaning of resurrection; which can be roughly defined as a power of God that brings organic human remains back to life again; a power that the Old Testament clearly predicts.
● Dan 12:2 . . And there will be many of those asleep in the ground of dust who will wake up, these to indefinitely lasting life and those to reproaches and to indefinitely lasting abhorrence.
"those asleep in the ground of dust" are organic human remains.
● Gen 3:19 . . In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.
The Watchtower Society— just as the Sadducees of old —denies the validity of a physical resurrection even though the prophet Daniel predicted it; and ironically the Society bases its belief on one of Christ's own statements:
● Matt 22:30 . . For in the resurrection neither do men marry nor are women given in marriage, but are as angels in heaven.
It's easy for one's mind to construe "as angels" to imply existing with a spirit body instead of a solid body; but that's missing the point; which is: angels don't marry and/or raise families.
According to Christ's statement; in the resurrection people will retain their gender; viz: men will still be identifiable as men, and women will still be identifiable as women; viz: they will still be human beings; which is thoroughly agreeable with Dan 12:2; and actually with Isa 26:19 and Heb 2:5-8 too. In order for human beings to become spirit beings, men and women would have to undergo not only a change of nature; but also a change of gender— in point of fact a change to no gender at all because angels aren't designed to multiply.
Prior to his statement Christ was challenged on a question about multiple spouses in reference to the law of Deut 25:5-6. And his answer was only to point out that sex and marriage won't be an option in the next life. When he said that people will be as angels, he only meant they will remain infertile and unattached; which of course suggests the absence of libido too.
Q: How can a corpse be returned to life that's been obliterated by an atom bomb, or eaten and digested by beasts, or cremated, or rotted away due to lack of embalming?
A: Not everyone sleeping in the dust as per Dan 12:2 is doing so as a corpse. In time, left to nature, everyone's body decomposes enough to disappear altogether, bones and all. But regardless of how someone's body is disposed, destroyed and/or disintegrated; it can be rebuilt from scratch just as easily as Adam's body was built from scratch in the beginning.
Q: What if the atoms that composed one persons' body went into making another person's body after the first one's demise? How will God raise their bodies to life seeing as how they shared the very same atoms?
A: That's kinda cute; but only reveals one's ignorance of the universality of the elements on the periodic table. For example; the periodic elements that nature utilized to construct my body are the very same elements that nature utilizes to construct every kind of organic life on earth: all the flora and all the fauna.
So if my body needed, say, a carbon atom, it could utilize a carbon atom from a Sequoia cactus and it would work just fine in my body without the slightest need for adjustment because every carbon atom is a precise duplicate of every other carbon atom; viz: all carbon atoms are just one kind of carbon atom. So it isn't necessary for God to locate all my original carbon atoms in order to reconstruct my original body; He just needs carbon atoms.
Ironically the Society insists that Michael the arch angel was reconstructed from God's memory of Michael's previous existence. Does the Society seriously expect people to believe that God's power to reconstruct a life from memory is limited to angels?
Q: When an angel dies, what happens to its corpse?
A: That's actually a very important question because the Society claims that in order for Michael the arch angel to become an h.sapiens, he had to die because in their belief system it is impossible for someone to exist as a spirit being and a human being simultaneously.
NOTE: an interesting aspect of Israel's covenanted law is that its marital rules and regulations are limited to this life.
● Rom 7:1-3 . . Can it be that you do not know, brothers, (for I am speaking to those who know law) that the Law is master over a man as long as he lives? For instance, a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is alive; but if her husband dies, she is discharged from the law of her husband. So, then, while her husband is living, she would be styled an adulteress if she became another man's. But if her husband dies, she is free from his law, so that she is not an adulteress if she becomes another man's.
So the Sadducees' challenge was deprived of any, and all, legal significance by
the simple fact that all of the particulars spoken of in Matt 22:23-28 will have
died at least once by the time they're resurrected, thus dissolving any marital
obligations to which they bound themselves prior to their demise.
Vicarious Substitutionary Sacrifices
God is not in the habit of sweeping sins under the rug.
● Ex 34:6-7 . . Yhvh, Yhvh God: compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness and truth; who keeps loving kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished
● Nahum 1:3 . . Yhvh is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked
Looking at those two scriptures one cannot help but scratch their head and wonder how it's possible that God forgives the guilty, and yet at the same time does not acquit the guilty. Well; the answer to that is quite simple: forgiveness and acquittal are two very different things in the Old Testament.
In other words; though God forgives the guilty, He never clears the guilty; viz: forgiveness in the Old Testament is merely a reprieve; which Webster's defines as: to delay the punishment of someone; such as a prisoner who is sentenced to death. In point of fact, Yom Kippur, though a day of cleansing, is also a day for the Jews to remember that their sins are still on the books, hanging over their heads like a sword of Damocles.
But God has devised a procedure for rescuing the Jews from their rather precarious position.
● Isa 53:5-6 . . He was pierced through for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon him, and by his scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Yhvh has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him.
Christ's crucifixion is commonly referred to as a vicarious substitutionary sacrifice. But that's a misnomer because the Bible does not allow for substitutions. The soul that sins; it shall die in its own place rather than another soul in its place because that would not be justice; in point of fact, that would be a miscarriage of justice. No; people themselves have to die for their sins in order to satisfy the law of sin and death which reads like this:
● Ezek 18:20 . .The one who sins shall die.
● Rom 6:23 . . For the wages sin pays is death,
So; in order for Christ's crucifixion to protect people from a second physical death in the lake of brimstone depicted at Rev 20:10-15, it has to be, in some way, accounted as their own crucifixion as well as his; and God has invented an ingenious way for them to do that very thing by means of a baptism that involves neither clergy nor H2O.
● 1Cor 12:12-13 . . For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Seeing as how this particular baptism is supernatural rather than physical, then of course it's to be expected to make no sense whatsoever. However, in a nutshell; what this particular baptism does is make people participants in Christ's crucifixion instead of merely observers.
● Rom 6:3 . . Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
● Rom 6:6 . . Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him
● Gal 2:20 . . I am crucified with Christ
● Col 3:3 . . For you died when Christ died
The Watchtower Society agrees that Holy Spirit baptism did occur back in the day, but that it was only temporary. The Society insists that it ceased early-on so that now the one baptism spoken of in Eph 4:5 is the ritual of water baptism. Well; that is very tragic to say the least because it means that every one of the Jehovah's Witnesses alive today is on a road to termination in the lake of brimstone because they are merely observers of Christ's crucifixion instead of participants.
Death On The Hoof
Death is one of the aspects of human experience about which the Watchtower Society's door-to-door haulers of water and hewers of wood know very little and that's because they are mentally locked into the Society's premise that human death entails but one thing, and one thing only: non existence.
● John 6:53 . . Jesus said to them: Most truly I say to you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves.
Regardless of how any one particular denomination chooses to interpret Jesus' statement; one thing about it stands out-- there are people all around us, in the malls, in the supermarkets, in the football stadiums, in the sports arenas, at kiddies' soccer games, on the freeway, at the dentist, at the movies, the bank, in the White House, in Congress, in State assemblies, on internet forums, on Twitter, on Facebook, and next door neighbors et al; who are dead on the hoof: viz: dead while they live: and they don't know it because death on the hoof doesn't show up in photographs, or digital images, or on X-rays, or CatScans, or any other kind of physical exam.
I once heard of a preacher's sermon titled: Millions Now Living Will Be Dead By The Turn Of The Century. Another preacher came along behind him and preached: Millions Now Living Are Already Dead. Ironically; both were correct because there's more to death than the demise of one's organic existence.
● John 5:25 . . Most truly I say to you: The hour is coming, and it is now, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who have given heed will live.
"The hour is coming, and it is now " indicates that God not only intends to resurrect the organic portion of people's existence in the future, but that He is currently resurrecting the non organic portion of people's existence before they actually pass away.
Q: Does God's current resurrection activity have anything to do with the birth that Jesus spoke of in John 3:3-8?
A: It does; and seeing as how John Q and Jane Doe missionary do not believe themselves qualified for that birth, nor do they expect to ever be qualified; then we are pretty much forced to conclude that the rank and file are all dead on the hoof; which means of course that they are neither listening to Jesus' teachings nor believing in God
John 5:24. . Most truly I say to you: He that hears my word, and believes Him
that sent me, has everlasting life; and he does not come into judgment but has
passed over from death to life
The Elite 144,000
So-called Replacement Theology is just another name for identity theft. Take for example the Watchtower Society's interpretation of Rev 14:1-3 wherein is listed a specific number of Hebrews taken from every tribe of the sons of Israel.
The Society alleges that those aren't biological sons of Israel; but rather "spiritual" sons— referring of course to the Society's elite cadre of 144,000 Witnesses who have supposedly undergone a spirit birth as per Christ's instruction at John 3:3-8; and the anointing as per 1John 2:26-27.
The Society's allegation is premised upon its observation that there never was a tribe of Joseph; when in reality Joseph is listed as both a son and a tribe at Gen 49:2-28, and as a tribe at Ezek 48:31-34. So that portion of the Society's reasoning is clearly a false premise.
The Society's allegation is also premised upon its observation that Ephraim and Dan are missing from the list of tribes at Rev 7:4-8. However, what the Society's theologians have somehow overlooked in the Old Testament is that it doesn't matter whose names are chosen to represent the twelve tribes of Israel just so long as there are twelve names. Are there twelve in Rev 7:4- 8? Yes. Well then that's good enough. I realize that makes no sense but then the Lord's apostles were still referred to as "the twelve" even with Judas out of the picture. So that premise in the Society's reasoning is spurious too.
The Society's allegation is also premised upon its reasoning that Levi isn't a valid tribe based upon the fact that the Levites are exempt from warfare. However, Levi is clearly listed as both a son and a tribe along with Joseph at Gen 49:2-28. Levi is also listed as a tribe at Ezek 48:31-34; which is a good many years after Num 1:1-54. So that premise is bogus too.
The Watchtower Society not wanting the 144,000 to be biological Hebrews is one
thing; but I would just like to know from whence Charles T. Russell's and Joseph
F. Rutherford's followers got the idea that their people constitute the 144,000. That's
a pretty serious claim. How do they validate it? I don't know; but I can just
about guarantee that their explanation is an outlandish stretch of the
imagination consisting of humanistic reasoning, rationalizing, clever sophistry,
and semantic double-speak.
Arbeit Macht Frei
Roughly translated into English, Arbeit Macht Frei means: Work Makes Free
That slogan was placed above the entrance to several Nazi camps like Auschwitz and Dachau; but of course the only freedom that work obtained for inmates was death; either by disease, starvation, or execution.
At the Buchenwald camp the slogan Jedem das Seine was used; which means, literally: "to each his own" but idiomatically it means: Everyone gets what he deserves. But again, their just deserts were typically the same as those of Dachau and Auschwitz.
Bear with me because I do have a point to make with those grim reminders.
● Rom 2:6-11 . . And he will render to each one according to his works: everlasting life to those who are seeking glory and honor and incorruptibleness by endurance in work that is good; however, for those who are contentious and who disobey the truth but obey unrighteousness there will be wrath and anger, tribulation and distress, upon the soul of every man who works what is injurious, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory and honor and peace for everyone who works what is good, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.
● Php 2:12 . . Consequently, my beloved ones, in the way that you have always obeyed, not during my presence only, but now much more readily during my absence, keep working out your own salvation with fear and trembling
If those were the only teachings in the Bible related to escaping the wrath of God; I think I could safely say, without hesitation, and without reservation: everyone is lost— just as hopelessly lost as the poor misfortunate at Dachau, Auschwitz, and Buchenwald because just as they could never work enough to satisfy the Nazis; so nobody can ever work enough to satisfy God; let alone enough to satisfy the Watchtower Society.
● Luke 17:7-10 . .Who of you is there that has a slave plowing or minding the flock who will say to him when he gets in from the field: Come here at once and recline at the table. Rather, will he not say to him: Get something ready for me to have my evening meal, and put on an apron and minister to me until I am through eating and drinking, and afterward you can eat and drink. He will not feel gratitude to the slave because he did the things assigned, will he? So you, also, when you have done all the things assigned to you, say: We are good-for-nothing slaves. What we have done is what we ought to have done.
● Rom 3:12 . . All men have deflected, all of them together have become worthless
● John 1:14 . . So the Word became flesh and resided among us, and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten son from a father; and he was full of undeserved kindness and truth.
The ancient Greek word from which "undeserved kindness" is derived is charitos; which itself is derived from charis.
"undeserved kindness" isn't a translation of the word charis; it's actually the Watchtower Society's own opinion of what they think that word ought to mean. It's literal meaning is graciousness.
John Q and Jane Doe Witness are being deprived of viewing some very pleasant aspects of the only-begotten son's personality by interpreting charis to mean undeserved kindness because graciousness says some wonderful things about not only the flesh that the Word became; but also about the father from whom the Word came.
To begin with; Webster's defines "graciousness" as; kind, courteous, inclined to good will, generous, charitable, merciful, altruistic, compassionate, thoughtful, cordial, affable, genial, sociable, cheerful, warm, sensitive, considerate, and tactful.
"Cordial" stresses warmth and heartiness
"Affable" implies easy approachability and readiness to respond pleasantly to conversation or requests or proposals
"Genial" stresses cheerfulness and even joviality
"Sociable" suggests a genuine liking for the companionship of others
"Generous" is characterized by a noble or forbearing spirit; viz: magnanimous, kindly, and liberal in giving
"Charitable" means full of love for, and goodwill toward, others; viz: benevolent, tolerant, and lenient.
"Altruistic" means unselfish regard for, or devotion to, the welfare of others; viz: a desire to be of service to others for no other reason than it just feels good to do so.
"Tactful" indicates a keen sense of what to do, or say, in order to maintain good relations with others in order to resolve and/or avoid unnecessary conflict.
Here's a couple of passages from the NWT where the Society's translation committee had the decency to let charis speak for itself instead of butting in to tell people what they think it ought to mean.
"Keep on teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, praises to God, spiritual songs with graciousness" (Col 3:16)
"Let your utterance be always with graciousness." (Col 4:6)
Ghost Riders In The Sky
● 1Thss 4:16-17 . .The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel's voice and with God's trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first.
The only angel in the entire New Testament specifically known as "the" archangel is a celestial being who goes by the name of Michael in Jude 9.
"But when Michael the archangel had a difference with the Devil and was disputing about Moses’ body, he did not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms, but said: May Jehovah rebuke you."
However; according to the Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, the archangel mentioned in 1Thss 4:16-17 isn't modified by the Greek definite article "ho" which I suspect is why the Society's English text says it's "an" archangel, which means the voice could easily be that of one of any number of high ranking angels rather than a specific angel superior to all.
A specific Greek word for "Jehovah" is nowhere to be found in the entire New Testament. The Society took the liberty of penciling it into Jude 9. The actual Greek word that they rendered Jehovah is kurios which is normally a nondescript indicator of superiority, either real or courteous; e.g. lord and/or sir. Seeing as how kurios in Jude 9 isn't modified by the definite Greek definite article "ho" then capitalization of "lord" in that verse is entirely arbitrary.
Thus Jude 9, as it is in the NWT, isn't a translation; rather, it's an interpretation; viz: the Society forced the passage say what they think it ought to say instead of leaving the text alone and letting the language and grammar of the passage speak for itself.
Anyway; "the Lord himself" is construed by the Watchtower Society to be Michael the archangel due to the statement "with an archangel's voice", which the Society insists is the Lord's voice.
Now, the thing that's curious is that the Society translated kurios as Jehovah in Jude 9 but not in 1Thes 4:16-17 in spite of the fact that kurios in 1Thes 4:16-17 is modified by the Greek definite article "ho". In other words: of the two passages, the word "Jehovah" has more right to be in 1Thes 4:16-17 than it does in Jude 9.
But you see; had the Society translated kurios as "Jehovah" in 1Thes 4:16-17, then the archangel would come across as God; which, to the Society, is unthinkable.
But that aside: is the "Lord" of 1Thes 4:16-17 really Michael the archangel of Jude 9? No; what we're looking at in 1Thes 4:16-17 is a chain of command; a concept with which I am very familiar after serving three years in the US Army. The top brass never communicates its wishes directly to the men; but indirectly through lower ranking officers.
According to Matt 24:30-31, the Son of Man shall dispatch angels to round up his elect from every corner of the globe. In other words: the commanding voice of 1Thes 4:16 is Christ's as he issues an executive order for his angels to move out and begin rounding up his elect. The voice of the archangel will be that of a high ranking celestial being, unknown by name, as he goes up and down the ranks directing his officers to get their regiments into action. I can just picture it. When Christ issues the order, things will get pretty noisy up there in the atmosphere as units of angels are mobilized to begin carrying out their mission.
NOTE: The title "Son of Man" in Matt 24:30-31 alerts us to the fact that the commander in chief of the entire operation will be an h.sapiens rather than a spirit being.
Here's the usual translation of Luke 23:43. Note the location of its punctuation.
"I tell you the truth; today you will be with me in paradise."
An inconvenient problem associated with the Greek manuscripts is their lack of punctuation. What this means is; any, and all, punctuation you see in English translations was placed in the text arbitrarily. In other words; translators don't really know for sure if and/or where punctuation is supposed to go so they take an educated guess; which means that Luke 23:43 could be translated like this:
"And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.”
Seeing as how it's easily proven by Ps 16:8-10, Matt 12:40, John 20:17, and Acts 2:25:31 that Christ went down instead of up when he died; then the placement of punctuation in that version is far more likely to be correct than the usual placement; which of course suggests that the malefactor who was crucified alongside Jesus could expect to be in paradise with Jesus sometime in the future rather than the very day of their demise.
Well; as it turns out, paradise is structured somewhat like the Pacific Crest Trail (a.k.a. PCT) which traverses the north/south length of three states-- California, Oregon, and Washington. No matter which of the three states you might encounter trekkers at any given moment-- whether south in Campo San Diego, or crossing the Bridge Of The Gods in Cascade Locks Oregon, or Snoqualmie Pass Washington --they're all on the very same PCT.
Paradise is sort of like that. There's a section underground (Matt 12:40, Luke 16:19-31) another in a celestial region that Paul labeled the third heaven (2Cor 12:2-4) and yet another section located up in God's neck of the woods. (Rev 2:7)
Among The Seven Shameful Abominations
● Prv 6:16-19 . .There are six things that Jehovah does hate; yes, seven are things detestable to His soul: #2 a false tongue, and #6 a false witness that launches forth lies,
Seeing as how the Watchtower Society, as an institution, is basically a liar; then no Jehovah's Witnesses will survive the Great White Throne event depicted at Rev 20:11-15.
● Rev 21:8 . . All liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
There are currently an estimated 8,200,000 Witnesses on a road to that lake, and that's only counting the current noses. The grand total ever since the days of Charles Taze Russell and Joseph Franklin Rutherford must be pretty significant by now.
Webster's defines apostasy as renunciation of a religious faith and/or abandonment of a previous loyalty; viz: defection, which is defined as conscious abandonment of allegiance or duty (as to a person, cause, or doctrine).
Apostasy is not always a bad thing. For example:
● 1Thes 1:4-10 . . For we know, brothers loved by God, his choosing of you, because the good news we preach did not turn up among you with speech alone but also with power and with holy spirit and strong conviction, just as you know what sort of men we became to you for your sakes; and you became imitators of us and of the Lord, seeing that you accepted the word under much tribulation with joy of holy spirit, so that you came to be an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.
. . .The fact is, not only has the word of Jehovah sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith toward God has spread abroad, so that we do not need to say anything. For they themselves keep reporting about the way we first entered in among you and how you turned to God from your idols to slave for a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from the heavens, whom he raised up from the dead, namely, Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath which is coming.
Another example of the ideal kind of apostasy is my own.
I was baptized an infant into the Roman Catholic Church in 1944 and subsequently attended its catechism till I completed First Holy Communion and Confirmation. In 1968, for reasons of faith and practice, I renounced Rome. I simply could not, in all good conscience, remain affiliated with a denomination that I no longer believed in; so I defected.
Jehovah's Witnesses with honest reservations in their hearts about the trustworthiness of the Watchtower Society have got to leave it— they have to. Staying would not only be a sin against their conscience, but also against their own better judgment.
The Kingdom Of The Cults
by Walter Martin
Why I Left Jehovah's Witnesses
by Ted Dencher
30 Years A WatchTower Slave
by William J. Schnell
Crisis Of Conscience
by Raymond Victor Franz
Standing On The Promises