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Monday, June 16, 2014

Jehovah's Witnesses and the Gregorian Calendar

Some have suggested that because the Watchtower Society has adopted the use of the Gregorian calendar which uses the names of pagan Roman gods, that they are not totally untouched by the influence of paganism.

However, this is purely specious reasoning used as an excuse to participate in customs which are truly pagan celebrations with all the trimmings.

The calendar currently used by the Watchtower Society is the Gregorian calendar. This calendar is named in honour of Pope Gregory XIII. Its months are named in honour of the pagan Roman kings/gods Augustus (August), and Julius (July) as well as having months named in honour of Roman and Greek gods and goddesses such as Janus (January), Mars (March), Maia (May), Juno (June), and a pagan ritual- "febura" (February).

And some of the days of the week are named for Norse gods (and others): Woden's Day; Thor's Day; Freya's Day - but it is obtuse to think that, although these names are involved, that we are honoring these pagan gods by using the common day and month designations for our society. We have no practical option but to use them.

But as for customs which are devoted to honoring these gods, we do have a choice and, according to Scripture, we should take advantage of that choice.

There are many things which originated, necessarily, under paganism. Pharmacies, Doctors, and who knows what all, but that doesn't make these necessary things a celebration of pagan gods. What is being spoken to by Jehovah's Witnesses is the participation of Christendom in paganistic customs and celebrations which were deliberately borrowed by the Church from pagan celebrations and ceremonies honoring their gods.

There simply is no honest comparison between using necessary information such as the universal use of pagan names for days, months, cities, personal names, etc. with the personal CHOICE to celebrate completely nonessential pagan celebrations.

The early Christians didn't see the need to use their own alternate names for (nor to avoid going to) cities and places which had pagan-related names, nor using the paganistic personal names of individuals. (See Luke and Paul's examples below.) There is a place for reasonable avoidance of actual customs and celebrations devoted to pagan gods and the everyday use of common words.

It is the use of pagan things associated with pagan worship that is at the heart of the issue. It would be wrong to incorporate anything used for pagan worship, into our worship or related activities. Holidays, for example, are "Holy Days" and are a part of "worship", by their very name. The mere reference to a day or month on a calendar is not.

Biblical Examples

The mere reference to a day or month on a calendar cannot possibly be equated to the making of unusual efforts to participate in customs with known pagan origins (like celebrating holidays).

For biblical examples, when Luke wrote in Acts mentioning the Areopagus ('Ares Hill' - Ares is the Greek god of war; 'Mars' is the Latin god of war), he didn't feel the need to change its already established name to something no one would recognize. Furthermore, Paul actually went to this place devoted to a pagan god and preached.

And Paul accepted the Areopagite, Dionysius (Greek name for 'god of wine') and had him join him - Acts 17:19-34. Luke and Paul certainly did not become participants in something associated with pagan origins.

The following article is taken from the 5/15/67 Watchtower, Questions from Readers:

"Why did the Jews use the name of the pagan god Tammuz as the name for one of their months?

"Tammuz was the name of a Babylonian deity. (Ezek. 8:14) And though the Bible does not apply the name in this way, postexilic works, such as the Jewish Talmud, use the name for the fourth Jewish lunar month of the sacred calendar, the tenth of the secular calendar. (Ezek. 1:1) So it would correspond to the latter part of June and the first part of July.

"The use of the pagan name Tammuz as applying to the fourth month of the sacred calendar may have been only a matter of convenience among the Jews. We should remember that they were then a subjugated people, obliged to deal with and report to the foreign powers dominating them. So it is understandable that they might utilize the names of the months employed by these foreign powers. Similarly, the Gregorian calendar used today has months named after the gods Janus, Mars and Juno, as well as for Julius and Augustus Caesar. Yet it continues to be used by Christians who are subject to the "superior authorities." - Rom. 13:1." (Emphasis mine.)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Do Jehovah's Witnesses Celebrate Father's Day?

Jehovah's Witnesses treat Father's Day as any other, and will love their Fathers just as much that day as any other day.

Jehovah's Witnesses base all of their beliefs, their standards for conduct, and organizational procedures on the Bible. Yes, the Bible does command children to honor, obey and respect their parents. (Eph. 6:1, 2) But nowhere does it advocate the commemoration of a special "Father’s Day".

True Christians follow Jesus Christ as their Exemplar and realize that to Jesus, every day was Father's Day. He did not set aside only one particular day out of the year to bring praise to his Father. He did so every day.

It is also worthy to note that the main purpose for the creation of Father's Day was to complement Mother's Day. Jehovah's Witnesses do not formally celebrate Mother's Day - mostly for the same reasons as stated for Father's Day above. But they also do not celebrate it because Jehovah's Witnesses avoid participating in any celebrations with non-Christian religious origins. Some may counter that by saying that Mother's Day does not have roots in ancient paganism and that it is presently considered a largely secular event. But the earliest Mother's Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the mother of the gods. The Bible makes it clear that if a holiday or custom is being deliberately participated in by a Christian, it must have absolutely no known pagan religion associations. (Exodus 20:3; Luke 4:8; 2 Cor. 6:17)  (See: Why Don't Jehovah's Witnesses Formally Celebrate Mother's Day?)

Also see:

Jehovah's Witnesses and Holidays - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)
(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Trinity And Pagan Influence

1. "The trinity was a major preoccupation of Egyptian theologians .... Three gods are combined and treated as a single being, addressed in the singular. In this way the spiritual force of Egyptian religion shows a direct link with Christian theology." Egyptian Religion.

2. "The Egyptians believed in a resurrection and future life, as well as in a state of rewards and punishments dependent on our conduct in this world. The judge of the dead was Osiris, who had been slain by Set, the representative of evil, and afterwards restored to life. His death was avenged by his son Horus, whom the Egyptians invoked as their "Redeemer." Osiris and Horus, along with Isis, formed a trinity, who were regarded as representing the sun-God under different forms." - Trinitarian scholar Dr. M.G. Easton; Easton's Bible Dictionary, Thomas Nelson Publ.

3. "This triad of Abydos [Horus, Isis, and Osiris] is apparently much older than even the earliest records .... These 3 main gods were skillfully incorporated into the Great Ennead or State religion of Egypt .... particularly during the first 5 [3110-2342 B.C.] or 6 dynasties when the worship of this triad was prominent." The Ancient Myths, A Mentor Book, Goodrich, p. 25, 1960.

4. Alexandria, Egypt, had even developed a trinity doctrine of its very own long before Christian times. It appears to have been a blend (not surprisingly) of Egyptian, Hindu, and Greek philosophy/mystery religions. 

"This fusing of one god with another is called theocrasia, and nowhere was it more vigorously going on than in Alexandria. Only two peoples resisted it in this period: The Jews, who already had their faith in the one God of heaven and earth, Jehovahand the Persians, who had a monotheistic sun worship [Mithras]. It was Ptolemy I [who died in 283 B. C.] who set up not only the Museum in Alexandria, but the Serapeum, devoted to the worship of a trinity of gods which represented the result of a process of theocrasia applied more particularly to the gods of Greece and Egypt [with a distinct Hindu flavor].

"This trinity consisted of the god Serapis (= Osiris + Apis), the goddess Isis (= Hathor, the cow-moon goddess), and the child-god Horus. In one way or another almost every god was identified with one or other of these three aspects of the one god, even the sun god Mithras of the Persians. and they were each otherTHEY WERE THREE, BUT THEY WERE ALSO ONE." - The Outline of History, Wells, vol. 1, p. 307, 1956 ed.

5. The book The Symbolism of Hindu Gods and Rituals admits, regarding the ancient Hindu trinity that was taught centuries before the first Christians:
"Siva is one of the gods of the Trinity. He is said to be the god of destruction. The other two gods are Brahma, the god of creation and Vishnu, the god of maintenance.... To indicate that these three processes are one and the same the three gods are combined in one form." - Published by A. Parthasarathy, Bombay. (As quoted in ti-E, p. 12.)

6. The Encyclopedia Americana tells of the fully developed "Hindu Trinity" existing "from about 300 B. C.," p. 197, v. 14, 1957. Brahmana writings, probably from 800 B. C. or before, frequently include the Vedic triad concept. Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th ed., v. 3, pp. 1014-1016, and 34, also see The Portable World Bible, The Viking Press, pp. 23, 25.

7. "Vishnu, Brahma, and Siva together form the trinity of the Hindu Religion. At one time these were distinct Hindu deities. Their rival claims for recognition were finally met by making them three forms of the one supreme god. This was, however, a creation of the priests and ecclesiastical students." Encyclopedia Americana, 1957 ed., v. 28, p. 134.
8. "There is a tendency in [pagan] religious history for the gods to be grouped in threes .... Even in Christianity, the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost reflects the underlying tendency. In India, the great Triad included Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu, the Preserver, and Shiva, the Destroyer. These represent the cycle of existence, just as the Babylonian triad of Anu, Enlil and Ea represent the materials of existence: air, water, earth." An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm, p. 794, 1945.

9. Not only did the ancient Babylonians have the major trinity of Anu, Enlil, and Ea, but they worshiped more than one trinity of gods. - Babylonian Life and History, Sir E. A. Wallis Budge, 1925 ed., pp. 146, 147.

10. "On the basis of  Pythagorean and gnostic theories, each number [in the Medieval Number Method] was assigned a root meaning and diversified representations.  Some root meanings were: 1 = UNITY OF GOD, ... 3 = TRINITY, extension of Godhead, ... 10 = extension of Unity, Perfect Completeness." - An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm, 1945, p. 755.

11. "... the doctrine of the Trinity was of gradual and comparatively late formation; that it had its origin in a source entirely foreign from that of the Jewish and Christian scriptures; that it grew up, and was ingrafted on Christianity, through the hands of the Platonizing Fathers."– p. 34, The Church of the First Three Centuries, Alvan Lamson, D.D. (see WT 15 Oct. 1978, p. 32.)

"All things are three, and thrice is all:  and let us use this number in the worship of the gods. For as the Pythagoreans say, everything and all things are bound by threes, for the end, the middle, and the beginning have this number in everything, and these compose the number of the trinity." - Aristotle, as quoted in Paganism in our Christianity, Arthur Weigall, p. 198, Putnam, NY.  (Weigall is quoting from On the Heavens, Bk I, ch. i., by Aristotle who died  322 B.C.)

So it appears that this "holy" number three used to "worship the gods" in unity came down from the extremely influential Pythagoras to the ancient Greek philosophy/mystery religions and even to Plato himself.

"NEO-PYTHAGOREANISM...appeared during the first century B. C. [the faithful Jews were still clinging to their faith in a single one-person God, Jehovah the Father] in Rome, whence it traveled to Alexandria (the sect's chief center) where it flourished until Neo-Platonism absorbed it in the 3rd century A. D."  - Encyclopedia Americana, p. 98, v. 20, 1982 ed.

12. Weigall relates many instances of the trinity concept in pre-Christian pagan religions and then states: "The early Christians, however, did not at first think of applying the idea to their own faith." And, "Jesus Christ never mentioned such a phenomenon, and nowhere in the New Testament does the word `trinity' appear. The idea was only adopted by the Church three hundred years after the death of our Lord; and the origin of the conception is entirely pagan." - The Paganism in our Christianity, pp. 197,198, Arthur Weigall.
13. "If Paganism was conquered by Christianity, it is equally true that Christianity was corrupted by paganism. The pure Deism of the first Christians (who differed from their fellow Jews only in the belief that Jesus was the promised Messiah) was changed by the Church at Rome, into the incomprehensible dogma of the trinity. Many of the pagan tenets, invented by the Egyptians and idealized by Plato, were retained as being worthy of belief." The History of Christianity, (Preface by Eckler).

14. "Christianity did not destroy Paganism; it adopted it .... From Egypt came the ideas of a divine trinity, …. the adoration of the Mother and Child…." – p. 595, The Story of Civilization: vol. 3, Simon & Schuster Inc., by noted author and historian Will Durant.

15. The Trinity "is a corruption borrowed from the heathen religions, and ingrafted on the Christian faith." - A Dictionary of Religious Knowledge

16. "When Newton was made a fellow of the College, along with an agreement to embrace the Anglican faith, the Trinity fellowship also required ordination within 8 years. During his studies Newton had come to believe that the central doctrine of the church, the Holy and Undivided Trinity was a pagan corruption imposed on Christianity in the fourth century by Athanasius." -Sir Isaac Newton And The Ocean of Truth; "Theology and the word of God"

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Are Jehovah's Witnesses Creationists?

Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Believe That the Earth Was Created in Six 24-hour Days Some 10,000 Years Ago?

A careful study of the Creation account in Genesis reveals no conflict with established scientific facts. For that reason, Jehovah’s Witnesses disagree with “Christian” Fundamentalists and many Young Earth Creationists. (Also see: The Bible’s Viewpoint - Does Science Contradict the Genesis Account? g 9/06 pp. 18-20; Watchtower Online Library)

The following is an excerpt from the g 9/06 p. 3 "Whom Should You Believe?":


Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the creation account as recorded in the Bible book of Genesis. However, Jehovah’s Witnesses are not what you might think of as creationists. Why not? First, many creationists believe that the universe and the earth and all life on it were created in six 24-hour days some 10,000 years ago. This, however, is not what the Bible teaches. Also, creationists have embraced many doctrines that lack support in the Bible. Jehovah’s Witnesses base their religious teachings solely on God’s Word.

Furthermore, in some lands the term “creationist” is synonymous with Fundamentalist groups that actively engage in politics. These groups attempt to pressure politicians, judges, and educators into adopting laws and teachings that conform to the creationists’ religious code.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are politically neutral. They respect the right of governments to make and enforce laws. (Romans 13:1-7) However, they take seriously Jesus’ statement that they are “no part of the world.” (John 17:14-16) In their public ministry, they offer people the chance to learn the benefits of living by God’s standards. But they do not violate their Christian neutrality by supporting the efforts of Fundamentalist groups that try to establish civil laws that would force others to adopt Bible standards.—John 18:36.

For more, see:

Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe in Creationism? (JW.ORG)

Did God create the earth in just six 24-hour days, as some creationists claim? (AWAKE! JANUARY 2014; JW.ORG)

Does Science Contradict the Genesis Account? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

The Creative 'Days' - How Long Was Each 'Day' and Were All 'Days' Uniform in Length? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

How Does the Bible Show That the Creative Days Were Longer Than 24 Hours Each? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Genesis - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)



Saturday, May 17, 2014

John 1:1c Primer - For Grammatical Rules That Supposedly "Prove" the Trinity

John 1:1 Primer

For Grammatical Rules That Supposedly "Prove" the Trinity

John 1:1c - English translation: "The Word was God [or 'a god']."
- NT Greek: Qeos nv o loyos
--------------"god was the word."

(The NT Greek above is an approximation of how the Greek letters actually look. For the rest of this study we will transliterate the Greek into English letters. In that way the above Greek would be written as "Theos en ho logos".) Here is another attempt to show the actual Greek: καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

The NT Greek word for "God" and "god" is theos. In the writings of the Gospel writers (including John) when an unmodified theos (the form used for subjects and predicate nouns) is accompanied by the article, "the" ( [pronounced ho] in Greek), and has no added phrases (e.g., "the god of this world"), then it always refers to the only true God. - See DEF study. 

But Jn 1:1c has an unmodified "theos" without the article. Therefore, even some trinitarian scholars are forced to admit that this passage may be literally translated as "the Word was a god"! This includes W. E. Vine (An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words); Dr. C. H. Dodd (director of the New English Bible project); Murray J. Harris (Jesus as God); Dr. Robert Young (Young's Analytical Concordance, Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible, etc.). Of course, being trinitarians, they often insist that the correct interpretation of such a literal translation must be, somehow, trinitarian.

The usual trinitarian interpretation for John 1:1c ("the Word was God") is based on the fact that an unmodified theos is used as a predicate noun (predicate nominative) without a definite article (anarthrous) and comes before the verb in the original New Testament (NT) Greek. When you find an anarthrous predicate noun in that position, some trinitarians will say, it is to be interpreted differently ("qualitative" or "definite": i.e., as though it actually had the definite article with it) from a predicate noun which normally comes after the verb. 

Although such a "reversed" word order is extremely rare in English, it is common in NT Greek because word order within a sentence has little significance in NT Greek! 

In fact, one of the first things a beginning student of NT Greek learns is that word order has very little, if any, significance as far as the meaning is concerned. For example, respected NT Greek authorities, Dr. Alfred Marshall and Prof. J. Gresham Machen tell us in their NT Greek primers that, unlike English, NT Greek does not use word order to convey meanings but instead uses the individual endings on each word (inflections).

"The English translation must be determined by observing the [Greek word] endings, not by observing the [word] order." - p. 27, New Testament Greek For Beginners, Machen, The Macmillan Co. (Cf., pp. 7, 22, New Testament Greek Primer, Marshall, Zondervan)

Professor Machen, in fact, when giving an example of a predicate nominative in NT Greek, placed the predicate nominative ("man") before the verb ("the apostle man is") and translated it "the apostle is a man."! - p. 50, Machen.

In Exercise 8 (p. 44) of the Rev. Dr. Alfred Marshall's New Testament Greek Primer, the noted trinitarian scholar asks us to translate phoneus esti into English. (Notice that the predicate noun [phoneus, 'murderer'] precedes the verb [esti, 'he is'].) The answer is given on p. 153 where Dr. Marshall translates it as "He is a murderer." - Zondervan Publishing House, 1962.

In Learn New Testament Greek by John H. Dobson we find on p. 64 two interesting Greek clauses and their translations by Dobson: the clauses are: (1) prophetes estin and (2) prophetes en. In both of these the predicate noun (prophetes) comes before the verb ('he is' and 'he was').

Here is how Dobson has translated these two clauses: "He is a prophet." And "He was a prophet." - Baker Book House, 1989.

And trinitarian NT Greek experts Dana and Mantey specifically give us an example of "a parallel to what we have in John 1:1"! Yes, these prominent trinitarian scholars have translated "market was the place" in the literal ancient Greek as "and the place was a market." They even described this example as a parallel to John 1:1! - p. 148, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, Macmillan Publ., 1957 printing. 

We also find trinitarian NT scholars B. M. Newman and Eugene A Nida using a similar example to describe the usage at John 1:1c - "John Smith is a teacher." - p. 9, A Translator's Handbook on The Gospel of John, United Bible Societies, 1980. (They want it to be understood in a trinitarian "Qualitative" manner, however.)

Dr. William Barclay, similarly, describes the usage at John 1:1c: "If I say 'John is the man', I identify John with some particular man; if I say 'John is man', omitting the definite article, I simply describe John as a man." - p. 205, Ever yours, C. L. Rawlins, ed., Labarum Publ., 1980. (Trinitarian Barclay, too, wishes it to be understood in a trinitarian "Qualitative" manner, somehow.)

However, if truth means anything to us, instead of rejecting the trinitarian-devised John 1:1 rules strictly on the basis of the wishful interpretations of these NT Greek authorities, it would be much fairer and more certain to examine all the usages of a predicate noun found before its verb in John's writings that are as close to the example of John 1:1 as we can find

Before we examine all of John's uses of the predicate noun before its verb, we may need to review some basic grammar: We are dealing exclusively with nouns as found in John 1:1c. That is, a word which is a person, place, or thing and which can be used with both an indefinite article ("a" or "an" - in English only. Greek has no indefinite article) and a definite article ("the") and which can be properly changed into a recognizably plural form (these are sometimes called "count nouns."): 

"WORD": "a word"/"the word"/"words;" - 

"GOD": "a god"/"the god"/"gods;" - 

"HOUSE": "a house"/"the house"/"houses;" etc. 

So we can see that words like "pretty," "holy," or "true" cannot normally be made plural ("trues") and do not use articles ("a pretty," "a true") and are, therefore, not nouns as found at John 1:1c and cannot be used as proper examples in an attempt to prove or disprove a rule for John 1:1c. 

Also, this noun, to be a proper example (equivalent to John 1:1c), must be without additional phrases joined to it: "a man of the world," "a house of bricks," etc. For a detailed examination of the improper examples, or exceptions) see the DEF and QUAL studies. 

To be most certain, we need such proper examples to have a subject (a noun which is "doing" the verb) coming after the verb and a predicate noun (a noun as described above which is the same thing as the subject) which has no article coming before the verb in the NT Greek exactly as found in John 1:1c.

To find such examples we need a Greek-English New Testament Interlinear Bible (available in any "Christian" book store or from any Jehovah's Witness). Then we search through all of John's writings to find all the predicate nouns which come before the verb (and meet the above requirements) in the NT Greek. Since we are concerned about John's use (or non-use) of grammatical rules in order to determine the intended meaning of John 1:1c, we must use only examples from John's writings as proper evidence. (For others see DEF and SEPTGOD studies.)

The easiest way to do this is to carefully read through all the full-English portion in an interlinear Bible and find all the verbs which could take a predicate noun ("is," "are," "am," "was," "were," "be," "become," "became"). Then determine if a noun (as described in our requirements above) comes after that verb in the English. If it does, and if it is "equal to" the subject, we have found a predicate noun, e.g., "the bird was an eagle." In English, then, the noun "bird" comes before and is "doing" the verb "was" and is therefore the subject. The noun "eagle," in English, comes after the verb "was" and is the same thing as the subject and is therefore a predicate noun (p.n.). 

Then, after finding a proper predicate noun (p.n.), we must look at the NT Greek text (which has the equivalent English word written above each Greek word) and see if the predicate noun we found in the English translation on the other page actually comes before the verb in the original Greek. If it comes before the verb and if it is anarthrous (that is, without the definite article, "the") and meets the other requirements above, then we may have found a proper example to compare with John 1:1c. 

In the following list if the p.n. has no article, it has "an." (anarthrous) written before it. "Art." means the article "the" is with it (articular). Improper examples have "prep.," "poss. pronoun" (possessive pronoun modifier), "abstract," "numeral," etc. written after them. 

"Prep." indicates that the p.n. has a phrase joined to it (prepositional). "Abstract #": the p.n. is abstract and/or an indeterminate amount (a 'non-count' noun - see DEF 14-15). "No subject" means the subject is clearly understood, but only by the verb form used. "Participle" means the subject is not present and is only imperfectly identified by a participle ("having," "sleeping," etc.).

All Verses by John Where the Predicate Noun Precedes Its Verb

an. Jn 1:1 (verse under study)
an. John 1:12 - prep.
an. Jn 1:14 - plural (amount)
art. Jn 1:21
an. Jn 1:49 (b) - prep.
an. Jn 2:9 - accusative, not p.n
an. Jn 3:6 (a) - plural (amount)
an. Jn 3:6 (b) - abstract #
an. Jn 3:29 - participle

-an. Jn 4:9 (a)
an. Jn 4:9 (b) (adj.?)

#an. Jn 4:19
an. Jn 4:24 - abstr. # - NO VERB
an. Jn 5:27 - prep.
art. Jn 6:51 (b) - prep.
an. Jn 6:63 - abstract

-an. Jn 6:70
an. Jn 8:31 - prep.
an. Jn 8:33 - prep.
an. Jn 8:34 - prep.
an. Jn 8:37 - prep.
an. Jn 8:39 - prep.
an. Jn 8:42 - prep.
an. Jn 8:44 (a) (?? no subj.??)
an. Jn 8:44 (b) - no subject

#an. Jn 8:48
an. Jn 8:54 (a) - abstract
an. Jn 8:54 (b) - prep.
an. Jn 9:5 - prep
an. Jn 9:8 (a) - no subject
an. Jn 9:17 - no subject

-an. Jn 9:24
an. Jn 9:25 - no subject
an. Jn 9:27 - prep.
an. Jn 9:28 (a) - prep.

-an. Jn 10:1
an. Jn 10:2 - prep.
an. Jn 10:8 - plural
an. Jn 10:13 - no subject
art. Jn 10:21 - prep.

-an. Jn 10:33
an. Jn 10:34 - plural
an. Jn 10:36 - prep.
an. Jn 11:49 - prep.
an. Jn 11:51 - prep.
an. Jn 12:6 - prep
an. Jn 12:36 - prep.
an. Jn 12:50 - abstract
an. Jn 13:35 - (poss. pronoun)
art. Jn 15:1 (b)
an. Jn 15:14 - prep.
an. Jn 17:17 - abstract
an. Jn 18:26 - prep.

-an. Jn 18:35

#an. Jn 18:37 (a)
?an. Jn 18:37 (b) - no subject (except in TR and 1991 Byzantine text)
an. Jn 19:21 -
art. Jn 20:15
art. Jn 21:7 (a)
art. Jn 21:7 (b)
an. 1 Jn 1:5 (b) - abstract #
an. 1 Jn 2:2 - prep.
an. 1 Jn 2:4 - participle
an. 1 Jn 3:2 - prep.
an. 1 Jn 3:15 - participle
an. 1 Jn 4:8 - abstract
an. 1 Jn 4:16 - abstract
an. 1 Jn 4:20 - no subject
an. 1 Jn 5:17 - abstract
art. 2 Jn :6 (b)
an. Rev. 1:20 (a) - prep.
an. Rev. 1:20 (b) - numeral
an. Rev. 2:9 - accusative, not p.n.
an. Rev. 3:9 - accusative, not p.n.
an. Rev. 13:18 - prep.
an. Rev. 14:4 - no subject/plural
an. Rev. 17:9 - numeral
an. Rev. 17:10 - numeral
an. Rev. 17:11 - numeral
an. Rev. 17:12 - numeral
an. Rev. 17:14 - prep.
an. Rev. 17:15 - plural
an. Rev. 18:7 - no subject
art. Rev. 19:8 - prep.
art. Rev. 19:9 - prep.
an. Rev. 19:10 (a) - prep.
art. Rev. 20:14 - numeral
an. Rev. 21:3 - prep.
an. Rev. 21:22 - prep.
art. Rev. 21:23 - prep. - NO VERB
an. Rev. 22:9 - prep.


90 total (excluding John 1:1c) 

The 3 (or 4 if we use the Received Text or the 1991 Byzantine text) closest examples to Jn 1:1c have the anarthrous predicate noun before the verb and the subject after the verb. These 3 proper examples are shown above with a numeral sign (#) before them. And they also exclude personal names, abstract nouns, numerals, prepositional constructions (prep.), "time/season" nouns, clauses in which the subject is missing [but clearly understood by the verb], clauses in which the subject is only uncertainly "represented" by a participle ["having," "stealing," "hating," etc.], plurals [especially plural/amount: 'blood,' 'wine,' 'flesh,' 'fat,' 'honey,' etc.]. These are proper exceptions to the rule. They must not be included among examples where the rule is being properly used.[1] 

Here, then, are all the most-proper examples (truly comparable to Jn 1:1c) from the writings of John (W and H text)[2]  for an honest examination of "Colwell's Rule" (or any related rules, including Harner's "qualitative" rule, concerning the simple, unmodified anarthrous predicate noun coming before the verb): 

H,W  1. John 4:19 - ("a prophet") - all Bible translations
H,W  2. John 8:48 - ("a Samaritan") - all translations
H,W  3. John 18:37 (a) - ("a king") - all
[H,W 4. John 18:37 (b) - ("a king") - from the Received Text (TR) and the 1991 Byzantine text]

H: Also found in Harner's list of "Colwell Constructions"
W: Also found in Wallace's list of "Colwell Constructions"

These are all indefinite nouns. All modern trinitarian Bible translations I have examined render them as indefinite!

If we wish to supply more examples, we must include some which are less perfect than these three (or four). The best we can do is to include all those constructions (Westcott and Hort text) which comply with the other qualifications above but which, unlike Jn 1:1c, have the subject noun before the verb also. Since trinitarian scholars themselves include such examples, they should not object if we also include all such examples. 

When we add those constructions to our list, we have: 

H.....1. John 4:9 (a) - indefinite ("a Jew") - all translations
H,W...2. John 4:19 - indefinite ("a prophet") - all
H,W...3. John 6:70[3] - indefinite ("a devil"/"a slanderer") - all
H,W...4. John 8:48 - indefinite ("a Samaritan") - all
H,W...5. John 9:24 - indefinite ("a sinner") - all
H,W...6. John 10:1[4] - indefinite ("a thief and a plunderer") - all
H,W...7. John 10:33 - indefinite ("a man") - all
H,W...8. John 18:35 - indefinite ("a Jew") - all
H,W...9. John 18:37 (a) - indefinite ("a king") - all
[H,W.10. John 18:37 (b)[5] - indefinite ("a king") - Received Text and 1991 Byzantine text]
These are all indefinite nouns (not definite[6], not "qualitative"). All trinitarian Bible translations I have examined render them as indefinite! We should have enough examples to satisfy the most critical (but honest) scholar now. (And I wouldn't strongly resist the use of the "no subject" examples above which clearly intend the subject as being a pronoun included with the verb, e.g., "[he] is," which would then bring our total of proper examples to nearly 20.)[7]

So when all the proper (those most closely equivalent to the actual usage found at John 1:1c) examples found in John's writings are examined in various trinitarian Bibles (KJV, NASB, RSV, NIV, etc.), we find they are always translated with indefinite concrete nouns such as "you are a prophet" (Jn 4:19) which perfectly corresponds with a rendering of John 1:1c as "The Word was a god"! 

Such a rendering is not only a grammatical probability (perhaps a certainty) as we have seen above, but it is not such a surprising concept as many modern members of Christendom might think. Other righteous persons and faithful angels have been called "gods" or "a god" by the inspired Bible writers - see the DEF (pp. 4-9); TRUE (f.n. #1); and BOWGOD studies. 

It is only in lands whose people are ignorant of the NT Greek language that trinitarians can convince them that the original NT Greek of Jn 1:1c means "the Word was God"! I have been told that in Greece itself the trinitarian churches carefully avoid using Jn 1:1c as evidence for the trinity doctrine or as proof of the "Deity" of Christ because the people there would scorn such an obvious misuse of their language. Even if this is incorrect, the most knowledgeable of the early Christian Greek-speaking scholars, Origen (died 254 A.D.), tells us that John 1:1c actually means "the Word was a god"! - See DEF f.n. #1.

We also find in very early Coptic language translations of John 1:1c that it is rendered “and the Word was a god.” -

In fact, even certain trinitarian scholars have correctly admitted that those very first readers for whom John wrote his Gospel were already aware of the 'Logos' concept even before John wrote to them. This was the concept of famed Jewish scholar and writer, Philo. In this best-known Jewish concept of the Logos of that time, the Word ("Logos") was "the Son of God" and "with God" and "a god" in his own right, but that he was certainly not God nor equal to the one true God! (See the QUAL and LOGOS studies.) 

The fact that John provided no further explanation of the Word proves that he intended the Logos concept that his readers already knew: "The Word was a god."!

And, of course, John himself recorded the following prayer by Jesus: "Father, .... This is eternal life: to know thee who ALONE art truly God..." - John 17:1, 3, NEB.



1. There are many rules (and their exceptions) found in all languages. For example, a well-known rule in the English language is that the pronoun “I” is used for subjects and the pronoun “me” is used for objects.

So, to use familiar examples with subject and direct object: “I saw the boy.” And “The boy saw me.”

But what about this?: “It was me.” Most of us use this kind of wording, but it is incorrect, because we are not familiar with an apparent exception. That is: when we are using a predicate noun after its verb, we must use subject pronouns. Since “was” in the sentence is a verb of “being” which makes the following pronoun ‘the same as’ the subject (actually, a predicate noun), a ‘subject’ pronoun must be used: It was I.”  


Most native-English speakers are aware of the differences in the singular past tense plural verb “was” (“I was,” “She was,” etc.) and the plural past tense verb “were” (“They were,” “We were,” etc.)

So what if an English grammar expert decided to further his religious or philosophical beliefs by writing the following in a journal or textbook:

“Whenever a singular noun or pronoun is used as the subject and is followed by a plural verb, it means that the subject is a multiple-person being [or something similar].”

Of course there are enough English grammar experts and textbooks available to us today to prove this is a purposely false ‘rule.’

But imagine if English were an old, poorly understood language and some future language expert were outlining its grammar and syntax for speakers of his language of the future. Not knowing the exceptions that we grew up with today, and wanting this to be true, many of these future people would believe this man’s ‘rule.’

This might even be convincing to a number of English-speaking people today who never learned (or ignored) the exception to the general rule of verb agreement: the subjunctive mood in English ("If I were king," "He wishes he were somewhere else."  Look up in an on-line search). But imagine how convincing it might be if this scholar were teaching future non-English speaking people who had no access to the common understanding of the English of today!

The rule of verb agreement is merely determined by a rule and its proper exceptions which have nothing to do with a “plural oneness.”

If you don’t know the exceptions, you don’t know the rule!

2. A correspondent asked me about the earliest manuscripts and also asked: "Do we know if the original writers understood, or used, the proper rules of composition?" My response:
It really doesn't matter. In the investigation of John 1:1c, for example, I am interested in the grammar, syntax and usage of John only. If the original writer did not fully understand the "rules," it does not matter since I am looking for parallel usages by him to see what he intended by them.

I am not talking about the 1000-year old (and even later) manuscripts (used for the Received Text), nor even manuscripts made 500 years after the originals. I am speaking of those made from about 50 years after the original and up to about 300 years after the original. And yes, even the 4th century manuscripts were still in the NT (Koine) Greek, as a comparison with the older papyri show.

Copies of the NT Greek (Koine) manuscripts were copied to follow the original. The copyists of the first three or four centuries, at least, were made by those who understood the language. And the copies thereafter, when copied with the care we should expect for such work, should have also retained the grammar and syntax of the original in most cases.

Origen, 185-254 A.D., not only had access to extremely early manuscripts (possibly even originals), but actually spoke the NT Greek language and even taught it professionally. 

He wrote a "Commentary on John" in which he quotes the Greek of John 1:1 (and more) just as we have it in all early manuscripts still existing today. And, moreover, he tells us in this same Commentary that the language of John 1:1 shows Jesus to be a god, not God (as the parallel constructions by John in a proper study also prove)!

And the John 1:1c parallel of "king are you" at John 18:37 is found in p66, p90 (150-200A.D.), and the earliest complete "letter uncial" manuscripts of the 4th and 5th centuries show the same.

If an error has been made in John 1:1c (or any of its parallels in John's writings), it is very strange that it hasn't shown up in any of these very early manuscripts! The evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the text we have of John's writings matching the original (at least in the places which parallel his usage at John 1:1c)! And that is all we need for an examination of this important scripture.

Not only did the earliest Christian writers, like Origen, not understand John 1:1c as intending that the Word was God, but even as late as 325 A.D. (when Constantine forced the beginning of the official 'trinity doctrine' on his subjects at the Council of Nicea), trinity-pusher Athanasius and fellow trinitarians did not use this scripture as evidence for Jesus being God.

3. John 6:70 - "out of you one devil is" - NT Greek text. - "... one of you is a devil" - RSV.

"One who sins belongs to the devil, like Cain (1 Jn 3:8, 12); or he is a devil himself, like Judas, the betrayer (Jn 6:70). .... Jesus' enemies are called children [and sons] of the devil, i.e. those who share his nature and behaviour (Jn 8:44) [Acts 13:10; 1 Jn 3:10]." - p. 472, Vol. 3, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 1986, Zondervan.

"#Joh 6:70 'One of you is a devil'. … diabolical, or under the influence of the evil one." - People's New Testament Notes.

So a man who is from [literally "out of," ek] the Devil (1 Jn 3:8), and is a 'son of the Devil' (Acts 13:10), and who is "with the Devil (whether physically or figuratively) may also be called "a devil" (Jn 6:70)! So Judas, for example, could be described in NT terms: "Judas was with ho diabolos [the Devil], and diabolos was Judas." And no matter how anyone wants to interpret it, it would be incredibly wrong to insist (as many trinitarians do about Jn 1:1c) that this meant Judas was literally, equally the Devil himself! Whether you translated it literally ("Judas was with the Devil, and Judas was a devil") or 'qualitatively' ("Judas was with the Devil, and Judas had the "nature" of the Devil"), it would mean essentially the same thing: Judas simply shared to some degree some (or one) of the qualities of the Devil, or is under the Devil's influence, but he is not equally the Devil with Satan himself! No reasonable person would accept this as evidence for some mysterious 'Satanity'! This is precisely the same as the use of 'god' (theos) at John 1:1c !!!

Also examine John 4:24 (no verb!) If word order and verb placement is really so important for understanding predicate nouns, how could John possibly leave the verb out in such a case?

4. "That one thief is and plunderer." The problem here is that Jesus uses 'thief' before the verb and 'plunderer' after the verb. Do we really think he intended us to understand the thief to be a 'qualitative' p.n. ('thiefish,' 'having all the qualities of thiefdom') and also "a plunderer"? "That one has all the qualities of thieves and is a plunderer"?

5. The ancient manscripts for the second use of 'king' in John 18:37 (18:37b) are without punctuation and could just as easily be understood to say "a king am I" in the NT Greek. In fact it seems that this is the correct understanding here to be more parallel with the first half of the verse. This would mean that it truly is a fourth proper example (or 10th in the second list of proper examples) as indicated in the Received Text (translated by the KJV, NKJV, MKJV, and others following the KJV traditions) and in the 1991 Byzantine text).

6. For those who believe that constructions like that of John 1:1c (where the predicate noun comes before its verb) mean the predicate noun has an understood definite article: why would there be any such constructions actually using the definite article (if it is really understood anyway)?

John 1:21 - definite article used
John 15:1(b) - definite article used
John 20:15 - definite article used
2 John :6 (b) - definite article used

7. Colwell and Harner use this type of construction in their JBL articles. And Daniel B. Wallace uses it also in his Grammar. Wallace and Harner, in fact, list these proper examples which I have listed in the Gospel of John: John 8:44b; 9:8, 17, 25; 10:13; 12:6. I have also listed 1 Jn 4:20 and Rev. 18:7 in this ‘understood subject’ category. Adding these Colwell/Harner/Wallace-approved constructions to our list of proper examples would leave us with:

1. John 4:9 (a) - indefinite (“a Jew”)

2. John 4:19 - indefinite (“a prophet”)

3. John 6:70 - indefinite (“a devil”/“a slanderer”)

4. John 8:48 - indefinite (“a Samaritan”)

5. John 9:24 - indefinite (“a sinner”) - all

6. John 10:1 - indefinite (“a thief and a robber”)

7. John 10:33 - indefinite (“a man”) -

8. John 18:35 - indefinite (“a Jew”) -

9. John 18:37 (a) - indefinite (“a king”) -

10. John 18:37 (b) - indefinite (“a king”) - in TR and 1991 Byzantine text

11. John 8:44(b) - (“a liar”)

12. John 9:8 - (“a beggar”)

13. John 9:17 - (“a prophet”)

14. John 9:25 - (“a sinner”)

15. John 10:13 - (“a hireling/hired man”)

16. John 12:6 - (“a thief”)

17. 1 John 4:20 - (“a liar”)

18. Revelation 18:7- (“a widow”)

For more concerning John 1:1, see:

John 1:1 - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses Category)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Why Don't Jehovah's Witnsses Formally Celebrate Mother's Day?

Jehovah's Witnesses treat Mother's Day as any other, and will love their mothers just as much that day as any other day.

Yes, the Bible does command children to honor, obey and respect their parents. (Eph. 6:1, 2) But nowhere does it advocate the commemoration of a special "Mother’s Day".

Jehovah's Witnesses avoid participating in any celebrations with non-Christian religious origins. Some may say Mother's Day does not have roots in ancient paganism and that it is presently considered a largely secular event. But the earliest Mother's Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the mother of the gods. On the origin of such observance, the Encyclopædia Britannica states:

“A festival derived from the custom of mother worship in ancient Greece. Formal mother worship, with ceremonies to Cybele, or Rhea, the Great Mother of the Gods, were performed on the Ides of March throughout Asia Minor.”—(1959), Vol. 15, p. 849.

Regarding the adoption of Mother’s Day in the United States, the New York Times of May 10, 1953, reported:

In spite of the popularity of Cybele, . . . and sporadic occasions honoring mothers during the Middle Ages, it was not until 1914 that the proper combination of sentimentality, idealistic promotion and hard business sense impelled the United States Congress to designate the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.”

And according to the Website "Mothers Day Central" (which appears to have an unbiased view of Mother's Day), it says:

"Only recently dubbed “Mother's Day,” the highly traditional practice of honoring of Motherhood is rooted in antiquity, and past rites typically had strong symbolic and spiritual overtones; societies tended to celebrate Goddesses and symbols rather than actual Mothers. In fact, the personal, human touch to Mother’s Day is a relatively new phenomenon. The maternal objects of adoration ranged from mythological female deities to the Christian Church itself. Only in the past few centuries did celebrations of Motherhood develop a decidedly human focus."

Further adding to this, the website Mother's Day 123 Holiday, under the heading "Mother's Day History", agrees by saying:

"Contrary to popular belief, Mother's Day was not conceived and fine-tuned in the boardroom of Hallmark. The earliest tributes to mothers date back to the annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to Rhea, the mother of many deities, and to the offerings ancient Romans made to their Great Mother of Gods, Cybele. Christians [?] celebrated this festival on the fourth Sunday in Lent in honor of Mary, mother of Christ. In England this holiday was expanded to include all mothers and was called Mothering Sunday."

So in view of the false religious background of Mother’s Day, is it not clear that Christians in the first century would not have commemorated these days? So, then, is it not right to shun such observances today and thus obey the Bible’s command to “quit touching the unclean thing”? (2 Cor. 6:17) If a holiday or custom is being deliberately participated in by a Christian, it must have absolutely no known pagan religion associations.

For more, see:

What is the origin of the practice of setting aside a day to honor mothers? (rs p. 176-p. 182; Watchtower Online Library)

Paganism - Links to Information (Search For Bible Truths)

Holidays - Links to Information (Search For Bible Truths)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Celebrate Baby Showers But Not Birthdays?

The reason that we celebrate showers is because from the earliest Bible times God’s people have rejoiced and “celebrated” the birth of their children, especially their firstborn. Similarly, God’s people have always given gifts. Even Jesus showed that childbirth was a blessed, happy event among God’s people (Lk 1:57, 58; 2:9-14; Jn 16:21).

Witnesses properly rejoice and give each other gifts when the occasion is appropriated and it does not include unscriptural, pagan customs or practices that go contrary to Christian principles. (While there may in some areas be false religious customs associated with the celebrations of the birth of a baby, Christians do not include these customs in their rejoicing.)

Just looking at the birth of Christ would tell you that it was OK for God’s people to rejoice and gather together in celebration of a birth (Luke 2). God Himself rejoiced when Jesus was born. The angels rejoiced and gathered together and even invited the shepherds to gather! Granted, this celebration was for more than just a child’s birth, but there are many other scriptural examples of parents and friends rejoicing at the birth of a child.

On the other hand, you will also note that there is not even one example in the Bible of God’s faithful servants who commemorated the “birthday” of anyone. Jehovah’s people celebrated other anniversaries but they did not memorialize the date of birth (Jn 10:22, 23).

Further, even the idea of elevating an individual just because he was born is contrary to Christian principles. Birthdays are rooted in selfish pride and all about “Me.” Jesus gave us a guiding principle of humility not self-exaltation (Mat. 23:12; Gal. 5:26).

While we might be able to avoid the egotistical aspect, a bigger principle is involved. It is a matter of practicing unadulterated True Worship as taught in the Scriptures. Celebrating birthdays was unheard of by God’s people for hundreds of years after Christ and only came about with the corruption of True Christianity by false teachers.

Just the slightest research would tell you that celebrating birthdays is not a practice for True Christianity:

"The celebration of birthdays has been borrowed from the practices of other nations, as no mention is made of this custom among Jews either in The Bible, Talmud, or writings of the later Sages. In fact, it was an ancient Egyptian custom."--Customs and Traditions of Israel

The World Book Encyclopedia states: “The early Christians did not celebrate [Jesus’] birth because they considered the celebration of anyone’s birth to be a pagan custom.”

“Early Christians did not celebrate the birth of Christ. Birthdays in themselves were associated with pagan practices; the Gospels say nothing about the actual date of Christ’s birth.”--The Making of the Modern Christmas, by Golby and Purdue

"The later Hebrews looked on the celebration of birthdays as a part of idolatrous worship, a view which would be abundantly confirmed by what they saw of the common observances associated with these days."--*The Imperial Bible-Dictionary

One periodical stated: "The various customs with which people today celebrate their birthdays have a long history. Their origins lie in the realm of magic and religion. The customs of offering congratulations, presenting gifts and celebrating - complete with lighted candles - in ancient times were meant to protect the birthday celebrant from the demons and to ensure his security for the coming year. . . . Down to the fourth century Christianity rejected the birthday celebration as a pagan custom."

"Birthday greetings and wishes for happiness are an intrinsic part of this holiday. . . . originally the idea was rooted in magic. The working of spells for good and evil is the chief usage of witchcraft. One is especially susceptible to such spells on his birthday, as one's personal spirits are about at the time. . . . Birthday greetings have power for good or ill because one is closer to the spirit world on this day....The keeping of birthday records was important in ancient times principally because a birth date was essential for the casting of a horoscope."--The Lore of Birthdays

Celebrating birthdays was adopted from superstition and false religion which corrupted true Christianity.

The Israelites also adopted a religious practice which they renamed as "a festival to Jehovah" and "sat down to eat and drink and to have a good time" (Ex.32:1-35). Even though the Israelites used this festival to worship the True God, God still viewed this as idolatry, and that is also true of customs today that are clearly derived from false religious practices (Lev.18:3; Deut.12:30, 31; Jer. 10:2; 1Cor.10:6- 11). True Christians will listen to what God's thinking and avoid any association with idolatrous, corruptive non-Christian practices in their pure worship of the True God.

We are told: "Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves, says Jehovah, and quit touching the unclean thing; and I will take you in."-2 Cor. 6:14-18, Isa.52:11; Gal.5:9)

The only birthday celebrations of Biblical record are of pagans and linked to instances of cruelty. Hence, the Scriptures clearly place birthday celebrations in a negative light, a fact that sincere Christians do not disregard.

Consequently, while it is entirely a private matter if Christians choose to take note of baby showers or wedding anniversaries, there are good reasons why mature Christians abstain from celebrating birthdays.

**As a side note, pointing to the “wise men” as a reason to celebrate birthdays requires us to be ignorant of the Scriptures. First, they were not “wise men” but “magi” or astrologers and thus were not worshipers of the True God. Second, they were not even around at the time of Christ’s birth and so their gifts were not for his “birthday.” Notice that he was in a “house” and is described as a “young child,” not as a newborn baby.—Mat 2:1-10.

SOURCE: This is an answer provided by BAR_ANERGES to a question at Yahoo Answers.

Additional Comments to BAR_ANERGES answer:

1.) Distinction between Baby Showers and Birthdays. Baby showers today are a way to celebrate the pending or recent birth of a child by presenting gifts to the parents at a party. It is not a celebration of the specific birthdate of the child by presenting gifts to the child itself.

2.) Baby showers are not of pagan origin. The origin of baby showers is unknown: Baby Shower History (Ezine @rticles)

Although something like baby showers were practiced by people in the past, it appears modern baby showers are not connected to ancient baby showers in any way.

So "baby showers" as we know them today are a modern invention, and cannot be of pagan origin. Besides, (and most importantly) the Bible describes God’s people as having rejoiced and “celebrated” the birth of their children whereas there are good reasons why mature Christians abstain from celebrating birthdays.

3.) The holding of baby showers is nowhere promoted in literature produced by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. It is not an official practice of Jehovah's Witnesses; it is at best a personal choice. We don't have to "stop" doing something we do not officially promote in the first place. "Jehovah's Witnesses" do not have baby showers, individuals do, if they so wish. And even then the emphasis is on helping the parents, not celebrating a birthday.

For more concerning Birthdays, see:

Jehovah's Witnesses and Birthdays - Why Don't They Celebrate? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

What Are Some Customs That Displease God? (w05 1/1 pp. 27-30; Watchtower Online Library)