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Friday, May 31, 2013

Does Col. 1:19 Prove That Jesus is God? (Fullness)

Concerning Col. 1:19, even certain trinitarians admit that without the word "the", the fullness of God's own being is ambiguous here. Yet the NWT is not the only translation to do this. The very trinitarian KJV; JB; NJB; Douay; NAB (`70); MKJV (Green); Lattimore; and Webster's *ALSO* omit 'the' before 'fullness' in Col. 1:19.

Besides, when Paul says: “God saw good for all fullness to dwell in him” (Col 1:19), this means that all fullness dwells in Christ because it “pleased the Father” (KJ, Dy), because it was “by God’s own choice.” (NE) So the fullness of “divinity” that dwells in Christ is his as a result of a decision made by the Father. Further showing that having such “fullness” does not make Christ the same person as Almighty God is the fact that Paul later speaks of Christ as being “seated at the right hand of God.”—Col 3:1. -

Also, the trinitarian argument that Col. 1:19 proves that Jesus is God overlooks the common understanding of "fulness of ..." and "filled with ..." by those who used those common phrases in New Testament times. For example, the person who became "filled with Holy Spirit" (Eph. 5:18) was greatly influenced by that spirit, but he certainly did not become the Holy Spirit.

And having "the fulness" of someone or something could similarly mean being greatly influenced by that person or thing. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology says:

"Just as a person can be full of pain, joy, love, and virtue, he can also be said to be filled with God ..., i.e. possessed and inspired by God." - Vol. 1, p. 734.

Surely we wouldn't expect anyone who is "filled with" God or who receives the "fulness of" God to actually *be* God. Nor would we expect anyone who has the "fulness of" Christ to actually *be* Christ. In fact, it clearly shows that he is NOT the person with whom he is "filled"!

Also see related article:

Col. 2:9 - "Fulness of Deity" (Examining the Trinity) 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Windows and Kingdom Halls of Jehovah's Witnesses

Some opposers have claimed that all Kingdom Halls of Jehovah's Witnesses do not have windows and insinuate that this is a result of a deliberate design in order to hide nefarious activities. This could not be farther from the truth!

First, the claim that all Kingdom Halls of Jehovah's Witnesses do not have windows is simply not true. While it is true that some Kingdom Halls do not have windows because of cost and for the sake of security, many Kingdom Halls do have windows. Generally, a Kingdom Hall is built without windows in areas which tend toward hate crimes and vandalism against houses of worship.

Also consider: If Jehovah's Witnesses really had so many things to hide, then why do they continually attempt to invite interested persons to attend meetings conducted inside Kingdom Halls? Their book Jehovah's Witnesses—Proclaimers of God's Kingdom correctly notes: "Jehovah's Witnesses are in no sense a secret society. Their Bible-based beliefs are fully explained in publications that are available to anyone. Additionally, they put forth special effort to invite the public to attend meetings to see and hear for themselves what takes place." 

Jehovah's Witnesses invite all interested ones to attend meetings with them at their Kingdom Halls. Just contact your local Kingdom Hall for times.

From the Jehovah's Witnesses Official Media Web Site:

"Have you ever been curious about what goes on inside the houses of worship of Jehovah’s Witnesses?

"You don’t need to make a hole in the wall to find out about our services. All meetings are open to the public, and visitors are welcome.

"Usually a Kingdom Hall is a modest structure that has an auditorium with chairs for the audience, a speaker’s platform, a lectern, a library, and an area where members can request or pick up literature for Bible study.

"You won't see religious symbols such as crosses or images in a Kingdom Hall. Why not? We follow the Bible’s command: “Guard yourselves from idols.” So we don’t use religious images in our worship—1 John 5:21.

"We do not pass collection plates or practice tithing. For any who may wish to contribute, small donation boxes are set up near the rear of the auditorium.—2 Corinthians 9:7.

"We usually hold services two times a week, and most of the programs involve audience participation similar to a classroom discussion. Worship starts and ends with prayer, and services normally include singing. All services focus on reading and discussing the Bible and seeing how to apply it in one’s life. Those in attendance—even the very young—are encouraged to read the verses being discussed in their own copy of the Bible." (Read the Full Article.)

For more, see:

Kingdom Hall - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Generally Meet on Sundays?

Before addressing why the Public Meeting and Watchtower Studies are often held on Sundays, let's first address why Sunday came to be the principal day of worship for much of Christendom and then contrast this with Jehovah's Witnesses' pattern of worship. 

How did Sunday come to be the principal day of worship for much of Christendom?

Nowhere does the Bible say that Christian meetings were to be held on Sunday or any other particular day of the week. So, then, why do many professed Christians observe Sunday as a holy day? The custom of worshipping on Sunday arose after the Bible was completed and a variety of beliefs and traditions not based on the Bible had begun to appear:

“The retention of the old Pagan name of ‘Dies Solis,’ or ‘Sunday,’ for the weekly Christian festival, is, in great measure, owing to the union of Pagan and [so-called] Christian sentiment with which the first day of the week was recommended by Constantine [in an edict in 321 C.E.] to his subjects, Pagan and Christian alike, as the ‘venerable day of the Sun.’ . . . It was his mode of harmonizing the discordant religions of the Empire under one common institution.”—Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church (New York, 1871), A. P. Stanley, p. 291. - rs p. 345-p. 352

So Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Generally Meet on Sundays?

In all matters of worship, Jehovah’s Witnesses, like the first-century Christians, strive to follow the Bible rather than tradition. The entire pattern for true worship is laid out in detail in the Bible. (Romans 3:4; Colossians 2:8)

So what does the Bible tell us about how first-century Christians worshipped? They regularly met together to pray, read scriptures, listen to talks, and sing songs praising God. (Acts 12:12; Colossians 3:16) At such meetings, Christians received instruction, strengthened their faith, and gave mutual encouragement to one another.—Hebrews 10:24, 25.

Around the world, Jehovah’s Witnesses closely follow the pattern of worship practiced by Jesus’ early followers. Witnesses don't devote just one day, but enjoy a weekly program of Bible instruction. The days on which their meetings are held are determined by local circumstances, not by unscriptural traditions. We worship on Sunday in many countries mainly because it is the most convenient day in that most people have that day off from work.

Recommended Related Article:

The Bible’s Viewpoint: A Weekly Holy Day—Is It Required? (g 9/11 pp. 10-11; Watchtower Online Library)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe That They Are Earning Their Salvation as Some Opposers Claim?

Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe that salvation is by works or that it is something that they can “earn.” Here is what the Witnesses officially believe as quoted in their "Reasoning from the Scriptures" book:

"Eph. 2:8, 9, ... The entire provision for salvation is an expression of God's undeserved kindness. There is no way that a descendant of Adam can gain salvation on his own, no matter how noble his works are. Salvation is a gift from God given to those who put faith in the sin-atoning value of the sacrifice of his Son...A person does not earn salvation by his works. But anyone who has genuine faith will have works to go with it—works of obedience to the commands of God and Christ, works that demonstrate his faith and love."

So Jehovah's Witnesses do believe in salvation by grace or "undeserved kindness"--contrary to claims made by some critics.

There is no amount of works that any human can do to gain salvation. Salvation is a gift through faith. A person could be doing all the good works possible yet still not be saved since he did not have faith. Conversely a person could believe and have faith in Jesus, yet if he did not practice the actions or works of a Christian his faith alone would not save him. (cf. Eph. 2:8,10, Rev. 2:23)

Therefore, the “faith alone” teaching is not a biblical teaching. There is no true, saving faith without works! This is explicitly stated in James 2:14,22,24-26: You see that a man is to be declared righteous by works, and not by faith alone.” Any faith without works is “dead faith.”

Many scholars note that the Biblical concept of faith requires action:

"Faith understood merely as trust and confession is not able to save. Only through obedience . . . and conduct which fulfills the commandments of God does faith come to completion (Jas. 2:22)"--The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Zondervan, 1975), I.

"Our conclusion must be that ‘faith' in the vocabulary of Christians is not only belief and trust, but also faithfulness and loyalty. Put technically and linguistically, ‘faith' is both active and passive in sense. It is not only the inspiration of all religion but is also a moral excellence."--–Nigel Turner, Christian Words

There are a lot of things that Scripture says people must do or have in order to be saved. All these are necessary to bring us to salvation in Christ.

Baptism "saves you" (Mk 16:16; 1Pt 3:21).

A righteous life-style: Cannot practice sin (1Pt.2:24; 4:17-18; Heb 6:4-8; 10:26-29; Mt 28:19-20; Ac 26:20).

Knowledge: (Jn.17:3; 1Pet.2:2; Mt 28:19-20; 1Cor15:1,2)

Public declaration: (Rm.10:9,10).

Endurance: (Mt.24:13; Lu 13:23, 24;Phil.2:12 Cf. Mt 7:13, 14; 28:19-20).

Believing and teaching true doctrine: (2Thes.2:10; 1Tim.4:15-16; Cf. Joh 4:23)

All these are necessary to bring us to salvation in Christ.

Faith without knowledge is "blind faith" or gullibility.

Christ stated:"faith comes from hearing the message, and the message comes through preaching Christ" (Rm. 10:17 TEV).

This shows that knowledge is a prerequisite for faith. The context makes this very clear by giving us the steps which lead to salvation: 10:13 "or ‘Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?" (NLT)

So Christ listed the steps leading to salvation: 1. "Hearing" or gaining knowledge by being taught. 2. Believing because of what we now know. 3. Taking action to "call upon" the One we *KNOW* can save us. 4. Salvation.

So, more than a simple belief is required. Belief or faith in Jesus is based on knowledge of how to live a Christian life and then obedience to Christian requirements, not a simple calling Jesus our Lord (Mt.7:21-23; Heb.5:9; Phil 2:12; Jas 1:22, cf. Jn.17:3).

To be saved now and in the future we must have accurate knowledge and continue to act on it by showing faith in Christ and exercising that faith by Christian works/actions.

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

Thursday, May 2, 2013

How Could the Snake in the Garden of Eden Talk When Snakes Don't Have Vocal Cords?

Some have proposed that the serpent only communicated with Eve through body language or gestures. However, the account tells us that Eve participated in a conversation, and actually answered the question raised by the serpent. The Bible clearly tells us that the serpent actually spoke to Eve. (Gen. 3:1-6)

But in addition to the serpent speaking to Eve, the possibility has been suggested that the serpent also ate of the fruit itself and showed that nothing immediately happened to it when that action was taken. This action (if it happened) may have proved to have been more powerful than any spoken words.

There is nothing to suggest that the literal serpent had vocal cords. But in another similar example, when God's angel spoke to Balaam through a she-ass, the animal did not need a complex voice box similar to that of a human. (Numbers 22:26-31) The power for this action came from the spirit realm. Reasonably then, the voice of the serpent must have come from some invisible person, who was using this snake as a ventriloquist uses a dummy. Possibly this was in order so Eve would not suspect that the inquirer was really an unseen spirit person that was determined to mislead her into breaking God's command and thus sinning. The spirit creature behind the serpent that spoke to Eve is identified in the Bible as "the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan." (Revelation 12:9)

Also see:

Was Satan around at the time of Adam and Eve and was he responsible for the snake? (Search For Bible Truths)

Who was the Serpent in Genesis 3? (Jehovah's Witnesses United)

Satan the Devil - Links to Information (Search For Bible Truths)

Adam and Eve - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)