I will guess and say you are a JW. you’re always welcome here. I respect that JWs know what they believe and live it without apology,nor compromise. They also take the gospel message seriously and try to help people find god. I don’t criticize someone who is trully doing their best to live for god and spreading the gospel message.confusion[/quote]
So here is where I get confused… You brought up all the wolves, pagan like beliefs brought about by the Greek… But then you tell a J.W. that you understand their positions. But, J.W.'s do this thing where they say they only go by what the bible states, yet they go by the King James Bible, which isn’t original at all. I would be more understanding of J.W.'s positions if they went by ancient gospels that aren’t necessarily used by the Bible, as well as gospels from the bible to have a true understanding of the faith, and it’s history like they claim to have… They seem to be somewhat gnostic in their practice, not voting or taking part in war… Even against the Nazi’s.
What I don’t understand is, what is the real rigid original Christian Doctrine anyways? It’s my understanding/ hunch as is a lot of much smarter people than myself that the Bible, and the Abrahemic God is just an accumulation of all of the omni properties from other Gods, and there are bits and pieces of other Gods stories that make up the story of Christs properties.
You find things like virgin birth, making water into wine, rising from the dead all things that have been done before Christ that were facets of other Gods abilities, and even extremely similar storylines…
So, again… Where, and what are the actual original works of Christianity? We know there are some old Hebrew works.
I think the most important thing to avoid, while being Christian is picking and choosing what to follow, and arguing ways from the bible when it’s beneficial, and ignoring aspects of the bible again, when it’s beneficial. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who claim to be Christian that are like this.[/quote]
Interesting points. You’re right, the King James Bible isn’t original. Not only that, the King James Bible is one of the worst Bible translations available today. The main reasons is because the translation isn’t accurate and the way we talk today is different from the way people talked back then. Meaning that it’s not in modern English so some words in the King James are no longer used and some words used in it have different meanings today. For example, according to the book Truth in Translation(an excellent book for getting a better understanding of the different translations), the word “prevent” meant “come” not “hinder.” “Let” meant “prevent” now it means “allow.” “Suffer” meant “allow,” now it’s used for experiencing pain. There’s literally dozens of words like this in the King James Bible. Fortunately, we stopped using the King James Bible way back in the 1950s. We use the New World Translation and according to the book Truth in Translation(written by James David DeBuhn an associate professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University and is not a Jehovah’s Witness), the New World Translation is the most accurate of all the major translations of the Bible. Not only is the New World Translation a very accurate translation but it’s been revised so that it won’t have the problem I described with the King James translation. It was revised in 1984 and most recently in 2013.
We do use other ancient manuscripts to help our understanding. For example, the writings of first century Jewish historian Josephus is often referred to especially with regard to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. That’s because at Luke 19:41-44; 21:20, 21, Jesus told his disciples exactly what would happen when Rome came to destroy Jerusalem. In 33 C.E. Jesus told them that a literal wooden fence would be built around the city so that no one could escape and that the temple would be so thoroughly destroyed that not a stone would be left upon a stone. Two days later he told his disciples that when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies they should know that the city’s destruction was near. When his disciples saw this they were to immediately begin to prepare to flee the city. If they did not leave, they would be caught in the city when the fence was built and would be unable to escape and be killed with the Jews. Josephus reported on what happened and it happened exactly as Jesus prophesied. After the Jewish revolt in 66 C.E., general Cestius Gallus attacked the city and surrounded it. For some unknown reason he withdrew from the city. According to Josephus and other reports, the faithful Christians (who were already expecting the end of the Jewish system of things based on the signs Jesus told them to look for at Luke 21) who were in the city remembered what Jesus said 33 years early and immediately fled to a neutral city in the mountains name Pella. Four years later, in 70 C.E., general Titus had his soldiers build a 4.5 mile fence in just three days that surrounded the city. After 5 months, Rome completely destroyed the city and the temple. Over a million people which included unfaithful Christians who didn’t heed Jesus’ warning and the Jews who had no clue about the prophecy Jesus told his disciples, were killed and tens of thousands were taken into slavery. Josephus recorded this and his writings can be found in the book entitled Jewish War and Roman historian Eusebius Pamphilus wrote a book entitled Ecclesiastical History which mentions the Christians actions once the Roman army withdrew in 66 C.E. We use these writings and other to help us get a better understanding of the time period of the Bible and to strengthen our faith in Bible prophecies such as the one I just explained. However, none of these secular writing are inspired by God like the Bible is. We believe that of all of the ancient writings, the Bible stands alone as being the only holy book and when any secular book contradicts the Bible, we believe the Bible.
Regarding the Nazis…JWs were the first and initially the only religious group to openly oppose Hitler and the Nazis(there were individuals within Catholic and Protestant religions that opposed Hitler but they were the minority. The majority of Catholic and Protestant religions not only accepted them but embraced them). Because of that they were among the first to be put into concentration camps. Over 10,000 were put into camps and hundreds died.
Regarding the works of Christianity…the Hebrew scriptures are just as important as the Christian-Greek scriptures but there is very little regarding Christianity in the Hebrew scriptures. The Hebrew scriptures shows how the seed or offspring mentioned at Genesis 3:15, that would undo the effects of the rebellion in the Garden of Eden, would be produced from Abraham’s offspring. And how this seed, Jesus, would rule as king over a kingdom that will remove the current kingdoms or governments and rule forever(Daniel 2:44; 7:13, 14; Isaiah 9:6,7; chapter 11). The original first century Christians are the original Christians. The only way to find the original works of Christianity is to read the Christian-Greek scriptures. Jesus told his disciples to seek first the kingdom and once the Christian congregation was formed that’s what they did. They understood that it was through God’s kingdom that God’s original purpose which is perfect humans who would live forever in paradise on earth would be fulfilled. We model ourselves after the first century Christians and put our hope in God’s kingdom to remove the current wickedness we see today.
So, by first century Christians which ones to you mean?
If that is what you believe in, then it seems like there are several ways to just be as a Christian. One of the ways is to be like a converted Jew… Who would probably be going by the Law of the Torah up until Christ says otherwise. There were non jews who converted too… I think this is an interesting way to practice as it would put you in the shoes of Christ and other Jews at the time… You would have to be very familiar with the Torah and your understanding of Christ would be a bit different given what messianic expectation was/ meant to the community of Jews at the time. The Messiah was supposed to be a man, like David who would lead the Jews back to Israel.
Another way to worship would be as someone who was other than Jewish, but given that J.W.'s are so into legit history, that might be another good place to venture…
Also, a good thing to do in general would be for your group to hold your leadership accountable for getting things wrong, like predicting raptures and the sort of culture of shunning. Does your Church still believe the end of the world will come in 2033?
The first century Christians would include both converted Jews and non-Jews who were under the guidance of the apostles. We model ourselves after the first-century Christians as a whole. We wouldn’t model ourselves after converted Jews. They initially had the most difficulty adjusting to being a Christian. They wanted to hold on to the Mosaic Law even though Jesus death was the end of the Law (Romans 7:6,10:4; Colossians 2:13,14).
We are very familiar with the Hebrew scripture as a whole not just the Torah. According the the Bible, the Hebrew scriptures are equally as important as the Christian-Greek scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15,16). Sadly, most Christian religions refer to the Hebrew scriptures as the Old Testament which makes it seem as though the books from Genesis to Malachi are invalid and not to be used. This is one of the biggest mistakes one can make if someone wants to truly understand God’s purposes and the Bible as a whole. For example, Isaiah 11 prophesies about a righteous king who won’t judge by appearance or things heard and under his rule the earth will turn into a paradise where even dangerous animals will be friendly to each other and humans. Or at Isaiah 45:18, Psalms 115:16, Psalms 104:5 where it states that God made the earth to be inhabited by humans and that it will never be destroyed. Or Psalms 37:11,29 where it states that the meek will inherit the earth forever. If Christian religions used the Hebrew scriptures more in their worship and helped their members understand that it’s just as important as the Christian-Greek scriptures then religious people may have a better understanding of what salvation is in the Bible as a whole. With the knowledge from the Hebrew scriptures, it will make scriptures such as Matthew 5:3,5 where Jesus gives two paths: verse 3 - the Kingdom of the Heavens; verse 5 - inheriting the earth (which is a quote from Psalms 37 which shows that it’s still valid) more understandable. Without the knowledge from the Hebrew scriptures it is very difficult to understand that the promise of paradise being restored which is mentioned all throughout the Hebrew scriptures is still a valid hope and that heaven is reserved for what Luke 12:32 calls a little flock who go to heaven for a very specific reason (Daniel 7:27,Luke 22:28-30, Revelation 5:9,10, 20:6) which is ruling with Jesus in a heavenly kingdom. People make the mistake of thinking that the “old covenant” mentioned at 2 Corinthians 3:14 is referring to the Hebrew scriptures as a whole (most likely due to the mistranslation in the King James Bible using the word “testament” instead of covenant in the same verse) when it is only referring to the Mosaic Law and the covenant or agreement God had with the Israelites.
The ones taking the lead don’t predict the rapture. The rapture is not Biblical and is not mentioned in the Bible. However, based on Matthew 24, 25, Revelation 6:1-8,12:7-12, Luke 21:24, Daniel 4 and Ezekiel 21:25-27 we know when the last days or the conclusion of the system of things started. We don’t know how long it will be and when it will end (according to the Bible the end will be when Armageddon takes place). Back in the late 1800’s when we were called Bible students and understood and openly acknowledged that we didn’t have all the answers, based on the prophecy at Luke 21:24, Daniel 4 and Ezekiel 21:25-27 we thought that Armageddon would occur in early 20th century. A huge event did occur that had never occurred before and basically changed the world but Armageddon did not happen. It took the Bible students several years to understand what actually did happen. Based on Matthew 24 and Mark 13 which list specific signs that would become more visible during the last days and Revelation 6:1-8 which shows that after the rider on the white horse (Jesus) is given a crown (becomes king) three riders that symbolize some of the signs listed at Matthew 24 and Mark 13 would follow him becoming king. The second rider at Revelation 6:4 symbolizes war and is given a “great sword” which means the weapons used would be on a scale unlike previous war in history. 1914, world war 1 was a new type of war that involved more than half of the nations and due to the “great” weapons used, killed more people than any other war before it. The verse says the same rider “will take peace from the earth.” Ever since WWI, war and the threat of war has been the most visible thing that disrupts and takes peace away from the earth. The third rider at Revelation 6:6 symbolizes food shortages. Due to the war from 1914-1918 food shortages started to take place all over the world. Finally, at Revelaton 6:8 the fourth rider represents plague which is disease. Right after WWI in 1918 the Spanish Flu hit and became a global pandemic that killed between 20 - 50 million people worldwide in only a year and a half. Before 1914 there had never been a global pandemic that killed that many people in such a short amount of time. Due to all of the scriptural and physical evidence we’re confident that three things took place. 1)In 1914 Jesus became king in heaven (symbolized by the rider on the white horse who is given a crown) and 2) based on Revelation 12:7-12, Satan got kicked out of heaven, thrown down to earth and due to what verse 12 says him “having great anger” immediately caused the signs symbolized as the three horsemen - war, food shortages and disease which occurred in succession and 3) the last days or conclusion of the system of things started. Ever since 1914, mainly due to progress of technology in the 20th century which has enabled information to travel faster, the signs of war, food shortages, disease along with the other signs Jesus said in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 combined with a very detailed prophecy that pointed to the year 1914 give us complete confidence that we are deep in the last days.
Also, we’re not the group who believe the end will come in 2033. Ever since the Bible students got 1914 wrong we don’t give dates regarding when Armageddon will come.
Regarding shunning people. We do disfellowship unrepentant sinners. Meaning if someone commits an act like adultery, refuses to stop and doesn’t show remorse then according to the Bible they have to be removed from being a member of the congregation. The disfellowshipped person is still allowed to come to our meetings and if they stop the practice that got them disfellowshipped they can have their status as a member of the congregation reinstated. Disfellowshipping keeps the congregation spiritually clean, it’s a Bible commandment and it shows God that as a religious group weare staying spiritually clean. 1 Corinthians 5:1-6:20 makes it clear that if a member of the congregation who unrepentantly performs acts mentioned in this passage then they are to be removed from the congregation. The strongest take away point is in 5:6 where it states that “a little leaven ferments the whole batch of dough.” Leaven represents sin (which is why the bread Jesus used that represented his body was unleavened bread because his body was sinless)so that passage is saying that a little sin affects the whole congregation. So if a religious group openly and knowingly allows members to practice the kind of sins mentioned at 1 Corinthians:5:1-6:20 then they are spiritually unclean and God rejects their worship. When a friend\family member gets disfellowshipped and they don’t live in the household we try our best not to talk to that person unless there’s an emergency situation (death in family, sickness). This is probably one of the toughest things the family or friend of a disfellowshipped person has to go through. Especially if it’s your kid. But, just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. Jesus made it clear at Matthew 10:37 that whoever has greater affection for his family is not worthy of being a follower of him. Ignoring clear Bible direction regarding associating with a member of the congregation even if it’s a family member, who is practicing the type of sin mentioned at 1 Corinthians 5:1-6:20 shows Jesus and God that you have greater affection for your family member then you do Jesus. Instead of ignoring God’s requirements we have the hope that the disfellowshipped person will repent stop the gross sin and be reinstated which is what often times happens.[/quote]
The last bit about shunning is kinda disturbing (to me at least). I don’t at all agree with shunning your own family, or child over an interpretation, but at least you are consistent. After all, God did ask Abraham to kill his son Isaac. Still, there is a morality that is beyond that for me which tells me not to turn my back on my family when they are weak.
In concept this makes your Church your authority, over your own family, which I guess is really what the intent is in the Bible that perhaps I’ve completely overlooked. I don’t think it’s good at all. :S But to each their own so long as there is no malice, or endeavor to undermine the autonomy of others… That’s at least how I roll.
I actually find the quality of keeping the hand out there for those who need it most, in their neediest of times to be a very honorable thing to do that, to me is a Christian value. So, maybe they contradict? Just my take… :)[/quote]
Yeah, disfellowshipping is a tough one and honestly, not every JW whose been in a situation where a family member outside their household is difellowshipped and has not talked to them. I personally have known JWs who’ve had a really difficult time not talking to disfellowshipped family members who live outside their home and they would occasionally talk to them thinking they could help them. As JW’s we all understand how difficult it is when other JW’s are in that situation and we don’t look for perfection. Honestly, I don’t know how I’d handle it if one of my kids were disfellowshipped when they got older. I’d try my best not to talk to them if they no longer lived under my roof based on clear Bible direction but I couldn’t say I wouldn’t talk to them occasionally. But just because it’s hard do you think we shouldn’t follow it? Or just because it’s hard do you think that we as a religious organization shouldn’t give direction to our members based on clear Bible instruction? 1 Corinthians 5:1-6:20 is clear - members of a group who are worshiping God should be removed from that group if they unrepentantly practice the acts listed it this passage. If you get a chance, look at these other scriptures that basically say the same thing (Romans 16:17, 2 John 10, Titus 3:10, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13) Look at it from God’s and Jesus’ perspective. At Matthew 13 Jesus prophesied with the wheat and the weeds illustration that during the conclusion of the system of things Jesus would separate the weeds from the wheat and put them into two groups. Also, at Matthew 25:31-33 it says that Jesus will sit down on his throne with the nations gathered before him and he will separate the sheep from the goats and again put them into two groups. The Bible likens God’s faithful people to sheep because sheep listen and are willing to follow directions from their shepherd. With all of the thousands of groups offering their worship to God who do you think God and Jesus would consider a sheep and wheat - a group who is willing to follow clear Bible direction despite the difficulty and personal pain it may cause them or groups that don’t follow clear Bible direction because they may feel it’s not practical or too difficult? The answers obvious.
As a religious group we see clear Bible direction and based only on the clear Bible direction are instructions given to the congregation that have to be followed in order to be a member of the congregation. It’s then up to the individual as to whether he or she will follow it. In regards to disfellowshipping, it’s possible a JW may regularly talk to a disfellowshipped family member and no one else know about it. At that point it’s a matter between that individual and God. We don’t have JW detectives that spy on people to see if other JW’s are abiding by Bible based direction. Each JW knows that they can be considered a goat and lose their life if they ignore clear Bible direction.
No JW feels that our religion or church meaning the people providing us with direction from the Bible is our authority and they don’t want to be looked to as an authority. We feel that the Bible is our authority, Jesus is our leader and God has the ultimate authority. All of our beliefs are based on clear Biblical instruction or clear Bible principles. Direction given that’s not clearly in the Bible is usually left up to a matter of conscience. For example, the Bible does not specifically mention extreme sports such as skydiving. But there are scriptures in the Bible that mention life as being precious in the eyes of God. For example, the Mosaic Law required that individuals take steps to protect the lives of others by making sure their property or animals weren’t a danger to others (Deuteronomy 22:8, Exodus 21:28, 29). These laws showed that God has a high regard for the preservation and protection of life. There are also examples in the Bible where David and Jesus refused to take part in unnecessary risk that could endanger their lives (1 Chronicles 11:17-19, Matthew 4:5-7). Using these examples from the Bible, JW’s get direction that it might not be a good idea to take unnecessary risk that could put our lives in danger especially something as unnecessary as sports. When we’re given this type of direction we’re never told we can’t. The direction is presented with Bible examples and is given to us as something to consider. So when we hear this type of counsel where reasonable direction is given based on Bible examples and principles but nothing specific from the Bible regarding the subject(of course extreme sports didn’t exist in Bible times), it becomes a matter of conscience and if a JW did decide to do extreme sports such as skydiving they would still be able to be a member of the congregation. In these situations some JW’s will choose not to do it based on the direction given and others may say “well I’m jumping with an experienced skydiver, we have a backup chute, I have a helmet on and it’s actually pretty rare for people to die in skydiving accidents so I feel safe” based on that reasoning they decide to do it. If the people who provides us with spiritual direction were trying to be our authority they would use “can’t” instead of leaving it as something to consider and if we looked to them as our authority we would take that type of direction as gospel instead of realizing that it’s a personal conscience decision. To be clear, we are told we can’t practice acts in 1 Corinthians 5:1-6:20 and be a JW but things that aren’t specifically mentioned in the Bible and when there aren’t any Bible principles that can be applied to a subject or thing then we’re not told we can’t. We receive counsel to consider and it’s left to the individuals conscience as to do or not to do.
Regarding your comment about it being up to interpretation that unfortunately is the number one reason why people don’t have an accurate understanding of the Bible. The Bible can only be interpreted one way. For example, the direction to not commit adultery has no other meaning except that you should only have sex with your wife. Drunkards not inheriting God’s Kingdom can only mean that if someone makes it a habit of getting drunk, when Armageddon comes if he or she is a practicing drunk, he’ll lose his life. People confuse translation with interpretation. Books can be translated from one language to another by two different translators using different words\sentence structure to convey the same thought and if you were to read both translations you would get the same meaning. Interpretation is different. Something that’s not obvious or clear needs interpretation. Regarding the Bible, there are very few things in it that needs to be interpreted. Unfulfilled Bible prophecy, some of Jesus’ illustrations and symbolism are three things that need to be interpreted. For example, at Revelation 12:7-12 John sees a future vision where Satan is kicked out of heaven and thrown down to the earth. Verse 12 says “Woe to the earth and to the sea for the devil has come down to you having great anger knowing he as a short period of time.” The word “sea” is not obvious because it can’t mean a physical body of water. The only way to interpret what “sea” means is to let scripture interpret scripture meaning look to other parts of the Bible to see how the word “sea” is used. In the Bible the term sea is used for wicked people (Isaiah 57:20, Jude 13) and persons lacking faith (James 1:6) so when verse 12 is read with what “sea” could mean then the verse makes more sense.
The problem with people being told the Bible is left up to interpretation is that it causes people to read obvious, clear verses and because it would make what they believe false, to be dismissed as having another meaning. No one would say that the scripture to not commit adultery has to be interpreted because it’s clear it has only one meaning. Then why would anyone say a scripture like 1 Corinthians 11:3 which clearly talks about the headship arrangement between husband, wife, Jesus and God and clearly says the head of Jesus is God look at the verse and be unsure of what it means? It’s because since it would disprove the trinity they’ve been taught to just pass it off as being left up to interpretation when that verse is as obvious as “don’t commit adultery.” If the Bible were left up to interpretation then God wouldn’t be able to hold anyone accountable because they could just say I interpreted different from you.
Thank you for your patience and the detail in your posts, and your classiness!
Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it.