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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Numerology - Why is it so Appealing and Does it Really Work?

Numerology—in which special significance is attached to figures, their combinations, and numerical totals—has been a widespread practice in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Why the allure? According to one Web site, decoding the letters of the alphabet used in names—one popular aspect of numerology—“yields accurate information concerning personality, nature, qualities and shortcomings.” According to this source, studying our “date of birth uncovers our life path, with its joys and trials.”

Are these claims true? Or could there be hidden dangers in the metaphysical study of numbers?
DOES numerology stand up under the scrutiny of science and reason? Are numbers the means by which our destiny can be revealed? Should you build your future around numerological findings and predictions?

One objection that numerologists have been unable to overcome is that different cultures use different calendars. For example, what if someone lives where the Chinese calendar is used? Consider [a memorable date]—September 11, 2001. According to the Chinese calendar, that was the 24th day of the 7th month of the 18th year of the 78th cycle. The Julian calendar would express the same date as August 29, 2001. According to the Muslim calendar, it was 22 Jumada II 1422, while the Hebrew calendar had it as 23 Elul 5761. How could there be numerical significance to a date that is expressed in so many ways? Another factor: Languages often have unique spellings of names. For example, the letters contained in the English name John have a numerological value of 2, but the letters in the Spanish spelling of the same name—Juan—have a value of 1.

It is one thing to recognize that many aspects of the universe can be explained by mathematical formulas. These formulas can be tested and demonstrated. But it is quite another matter to claim that your name was preordained to coincide with your date of birth and to be linked with certain numbers so that you can ascertain your destiny.

The conclusion is clear: To believe that numerological interpretations are accurate, when they are based upon such widely variable factors as calendar and language, is to stretch the limits of credibility to an absurd degree.

“Time and Unforeseen Occurrence”

Some become interested in numerology because they desire to make their life predictable. However, the Bible makes it plain that the details of human life cannot be mapped out in advance. We read: “The swift do not have the race, nor the mighty ones the battle, nor do the wise also have the food, nor do the understanding ones also have the riches, nor do even those having knowledge have the favor; because time and unforeseen occurrence befall them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11) Yes, many events take place unexpectedly. Such chance happenings defy efforts to predict outcomes based on birth date or numerical value of a name.

Consider another example: In encouraging generosity, the Bible states: “Send out your bread upon the surface of the waters, for in the course of many days you will find it again. Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what calamity will occur on the earth.” (Ecclesiastes 11:1, 2) With few exceptions, calamities are things that people do not—indeed, cannot—know in advance. Hence, mathematics professor Underwood Dudley writes regarding numerologists: “They fail to give chance sufficient credit. Amazing things can happen at random.”

It is true that numerologists may make some predictions that come true. What accounts for this? In some instances, the outcome may be coincidental. Then, too, sometimes the language of numerologists is so ambiguous that it could apply to several outcomes. But there is something more serious to consider.

A Form of Divination?

The Bible does not mention numerology by name. But it does tell of Haman, an Amalekite who plotted the extermination of the Jews living in Persia during the fifth century B.C.E. The account says: “Haman ordered the lots to be cast (‘purim,’ they were called) to find out the right day and month to carry out his plot. The thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, was decided on.” —Esther 3:7, Today’s English Version.

In ancient times, casting lots was a legitimate way of settling a controversy. (Proverbs 18:18) But Haman cast lots to practice divination—something that the Bible condemns. Deuteronomy 18:10-12 states that God detests “anyone who employs divination, a practicer of magic or anyone who looks for omens or a sorcerer, or one who binds others with a spell or anyone who consults a spirit medium or a professional foreteller of events . . . Everybody doing these things is something detestable to Jehovah.”

The Bible links divination and uncanny power to spiritism. Wicked spirits can maneuver events to suit their purpose. Whether this is the case in a specific instance or not, one thing is certain: The practice of spiritism is condemned by God, and it can bring one under the control of wicked spirits.—1 Samuel 15:23; Ephesians 6:12.

Numerology is devoid of scientific basis, and it fares badly when examined under the light of reason. More important, because it is a form of divination, numerology conflicts with Bible teachings. In view of that, numerology is not a beneficial means of regulating your life or planning your future. - 9/8/02 Awake!

More Articles:

Theomatics - Does it Work? Does the Bible Have a Hidden Code? (Search For Bible Truths)

Does the Bible Have a Hidden Code? (Pastor Russel)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Is Colossians 1:15 really saying that Jesus Christ is the "FIRSTBORN of all creation"?


However, some trinitarians insist that the literal "firstborn of all creation" describing Jesus at Col. 1:15 really means "the pre-eminent one over all creation."

Prototokos ("first-born"), literally means "born first" - see Young's Analytical Concordance - or Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. The New Testament in the King James Version and most other trinitarian translations use this meaning throughout. Here are all the instances of prototokos in the NT: Matt. 1:25 (King James only); Luke 2:7; Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15; Col. 1:18; Heb. 1:5, 6; Heb. 11:28; Heb. 12:23; Rev. 1:5 (compare Col. 1:18). None of them clearly means "pre-eminent". Not only do all of these scriptures that use prototokos have either the certain or the most probable meaning of "first-born," but we rarely (if ever) see any Bible translate them as anything but "first-born" or its literal equivalent except at Col. 1:15-18 where the actual meaning would disprove a trinity concept! A few trinitarian translations force an improper interpretation for prototokos at this scripture only (e.g. NIV, NEB).
The use of the word prototokos in the Bible always means one who has come into existence first in time - before all the rest of his "brothers" - the beginning (arkhe) of his father's creative (or procreative) works. - see pp. 77-88 in Dr. Jason BeDuhn's Truth in Translation, University Press of America, 2003.
Yet some trinitarians, however, still insist that the Biblical use of the Greek prototokos can, sometimes, mean "pre-eminent" because they dare not admit the obvious, true, literal meaning of Col. 1:15.
For much more, see:

Col. 1:15 "Firstborn of all creation" (Examining the Trinity)
'Beginning,' 'Wisdom,' and 'Firstborn' - BWF (Examining the Trinity)

Why doesn't the Sahidic Coptic text see a "genitive of subordination" at Colossians 1:15? (Yahoo Answers)

Col. 1:15 in the NWT (In Defense of The New World Translation)

Wes Williams' Response to Dr. Keay on "Firstborn of all Creation." (Jehovah's Witnesses United)

Wes Williams and Rob Bowman discussion concerning Prwtotokos (Jehovah's Witnesses United)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Son of Man Reaps Like An Angel - Rev. 14:14-20

(Also see the Archangel Category.)

Rev. 14:14-20:
"I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one "like a son of man" with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.

"Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, "Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe." So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth and the earth was harvested.

"Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, "Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth's vine, because its grapes are ripe." The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the winepress of God's wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia [about 200 miles]." - Revelation 14:14-20, NIV.

Noted trinitarian scholar William Barclay writes in his The Revelation of John, Vol. 2 (Revised Ed.), "The Daily Study Bible Series" that there are "difficult things" in this passage.

"... there is the fact that the one like a son of man reaps and also an angel reaps. We may regard the one like the son of man, the risen and victorious Lord [Jesus], reaping the harvest of his own people, while the angel with the sharp sickle reaps the harvest of those destined for judgment."

Dr. Barclay didn't go on to explain another difficulty: Why the scripture about the son of man reaping is so difficult for many trinitarians. So the purpose of this post is to explain why this scripture is so difficult for trinitarians.

Notice these statements by respected trinitarian authorities which also confirm that it is Christ being spoken of in the passage in question:
Rev. 14:14: "Christ is come for reaping this time (Heb. 9:28) for the harvesting of earth (verses 15-17). - p. 414, Vol. 6, Word Pictures in the New Testament, A. T. Robertson (extreme trinitarian).

`Crown': "Hence in the Apoc. [Revelation] a crown is represented on the conquering Christ (Rev 6:2, 14:14)" - p. 530, Vol. 1, A Dictionary of the Bible (trinitarian), James Hastings, Hendrickson Publ., 1988 printing.

`Crown' (Stephanos in NT Greek) - "Stephanos is the crown of exaltation bestowed upon Christ (Rev 6:2; 14:; He:2 9)." - p. 763, Vol. 2, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (very trinitarian), Eerdmans Publ., 1984 printing.14

"The linguistic usage of Revelation 1:13 and 14:14 reveals affinities to Dan. 7:13. Both passages speak of `one like a son of man' as walking (`amidst the lampstands') or `sitting' on the clouds of heaven. Note too how Rev. differs from the Gospels in leaving out the article; this is apparently an imitation of the text of Dan. 7:13: the apocalyptic `Son of man' is the figure found already in Dan. 7:13, but now as a glorified ruler and judge." - The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (trinitarian), p. 633, Vol. 3, Zondervan Publ. (trinitarian), 1986.

Also examine Acts 1:9; Daniel 7:13,14; Acts 1:11; Mark 13:26, 27; and Rev. 1:7:

"[the resurrected Jesus] was lifted up, and a cloud removed him from their sight [`a cloud hid him from their sight' - GNB; `he disappeared into a cloud' - LB]" - NEB, Acts 1:9.

"[Daniel saw in a vision:] behold, with the clouds of heaven one like a Son of Man was coming, and he came up to the Ancient of Days [God] and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom." - NASB, Daniel 7:13, 14.

"`This Jesus, who has been taken away from you up to heaven [hidden in a cloud], will come in the same way as you have seen him go.'" - NEB, Acts 1:11.
"At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather [reap] his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens." - NIV, Mark 13:26, 27.

"Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him" - NASB, Rev. 1:7.

Notice how one scripture tells us that Jesus' followers will be `gathered by the sickle' (harvested) from the earth by Jesus the king who is still seated on the cloud (Rev. 14):

"So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth and the earth was harvested."

Does it say Jesus will actually physically return to earth? No. It clearly says he will still be seated in the clouds when he harvests his people from the earth. In the same way that the clouds hid him when he left (Acts 1:9), they could well be hiding him on his harvesting return ("in the same way as you have seen him go.")

Furthermore, Jesus doesn't even do it firsthand, but, instead, while "in clouds," actually sends his angels to earth to do it! (Mark 13:26, 27.) So, when it also speaks of Jesus being `seen,' we may decide that it really means we `see' in vision, or even `see' by means of our own understanding of what is happening. - see Insight, Vol. 2, p. 678, `Presence.'

After all, other righteous people described in the Bible as having `seen' God, did not physically see him, but, instead, actually saw a vision or even a representative (usually an angel) of God - See SF study paper. Job, for example merely heard Jehovah's voice coming from a windstorm (`whirlwind' - NRSV), but later he said ... "now my eyes have seen you." Job 38:1; 42:5, NIV. And the footnote for Job 42:5 in the New International Version Study Bible tells us:

"... now Job has seen God with the eyes of faith and spiritual understanding" - NIVSB, 1985 ed.

In line with this understanding is the rendering by many translators of Heb. 9:26. Here the inspired Bible writer tells us that Jesus has already "appeared once and for all" [hapax - see the NWT study paper]. - NEB, JB, NJB, GNB, Phillips; cf. RSV, NRSV, REB, NAB (1970 & 1991 revision). This would certainly seem to indicate that Jesus would not again physically appear to men.

But whether men actually, physically see him or not is not an important issue. Surely an honest misunderstanding of this would in no way threaten your standing with God.

An error in your understanding of who God is and, therefore, your worshiping God in truth (John 4:24), however, is a crucial issue which means everlasting life (John 17:3) or eternal destruction (2 Thess. 1:8, 9, NRSV).

- - - - - -

It is strange that so many respected trinitarian scholars admit that Christ is the `son of man' in Rev. 14:14. Of course the evidence overwhelms any other theory, but that doesn't stop many trinitarian "scholars" from constructing other poorly supported context-defying statements in other areas of the Bible.

Of course, they usually just ignore the great trinitarian difficulty of Rev. 14:14. And what is this great difficulty concerning Christ on the clouds in Rev. 14:14?

He is in all respects like an angel (Dan. 10:5; cf. Rev. 1:13; 14:15 - `another angel' besides that of 14:14 [Christ])." - The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (trinitarian), p. 633, Vol. 3, Zondervan Publ. (trinitarian), 1986.

Notice that the "son of man" on the clouds is given a command by "another angel" and he obeys that command. The command, of course, comes from God (the Father alone) through the angel. Both the "son of man" and the other angel are servants of God (the Father alone).

The wording " another angel" (although not certain, because of the description of other angels before the appearance of the "son of man") at least strongly indicates that the "son of man" here is an angel of God.

But we find absolutely no indication whatsoever in this account that the angel who orders Christ to harvest the earth is giving orders to God Himself! Can anyone believe that an angelic servant of God would speak this way to the Most High God Himself? Or that he would have to tell the omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing) Most High "God the Son" when and how to do anything?

Isn't it obvious that Jesus here is in the role of a reaping angel of the last days and performing a task similar to the other reaping angel? Would the Most High Only True God actually wait subserviently for a command from the Most High Only True God to be brought to him by an angelic servant of God and then obey like any other servant?

Isn't the great "difficulty" for trinitarians here the fact that this scripture is actually strong evidence that the resurrected Son (and installed heavenly King) is still not really God ?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Why Do Some Falsely Accuse Jehovah's Witnesses of Not Being Christians?

Many dictionaries define "Christian" as someone who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or who follows the religion based on his life and teachings.

Jehovah's Witnesses do believe in Jesus and follow his teachings. They believe that Jesus is extremely fact he is the second most important person in the universe next to God Himself. Jehovah's Witnesses teach that no salvation occurs without Christ, that accepting Christ's sacrifice is a requirement for true worship, that every prayer must acknowledge Christ, that Christ is the King of God's Kingdom, that Christ is the head of the Christian congregation, that Christ is immortal and above every creature, even that Christ was the 'master worker' in creating the universe.

So yes, by every genuine definition, Jehovah's Witnesses are Christians. Even disinterested theologians and secular dictionaries acknowledge that Jehovah's Witnesses are a Christian religion. In fact, Jehovah's Witnesses are a true restoration of first-century Christianity.

The reason that some falsely accuse Jehovah's Witnesses of not being Christians is because they use an artificial, trinity-specific definition of the term "Christian" which excludes anyone who does not believe that Jesus is God Himself, rather than the Son of God.

Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe that Jesus is God Himself. Rather, they believe just as the Bible describes Jesus - as the "Son *OF* God".

Nowhere in the Bible is it mentioned that Jesus ever claimed to be God. Rather, he specifically called the "Father...the only true God." (John 17:1-3; Also see John 20:17; 2 Corinthians 1:3 and 1 Corinthians 8:6)

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Jesus is God. Instead, the Bible repeatedly refers to Jesus as the "son of God". Because the Bible says that Jesus' "origin is from of old, from ancient days" (Micah 5:2), the Bible shows Jesus was created by God. Jesus is:

the "only-begotten Son" of God. (John 1:14; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9)

"the first-born of all creation". (Colossians 1:15)

"the beginning of God's creation". (Revelation 3:14)

The Bible shows that Jesus is subordinate to God: "The head of the Christ is God." (1 Corinthians 11:3) Jesus himself said: "The Father is greater than I." (John 14:28)

For much more, see:

Are Jehovah's Witnesses Christians? (JW.ORG)

Must You Believe in the Trinity to Be a Christian? (JW.ORG)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Why does the NWT at Col. 2:9 state that in Jesus "all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily," when other translations say, "dwells the fullness of Deity/Godhead?'"

The following is an excerpt from the Watchtower, August 1st, 1962, pages 479, 480:

"At Colossians 2:9 the word in the Greek that the New World Translation renders "divine quality" is theótes, and this is the only use of the word in the Christian Greek Scriptures. The same is true of a similar Greek word, theiótes, which appears only at Romans 1:20, and which the New World Translation there renders "Godship," as follows: "For his invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world's creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable."The way these two words have been rendered in the New World Translation has given rise to the charge that the New World Bible Translation Committee let their religious beliefs influence them. That charge is true, but they did not do so wrongly, or unduly. The meaning that is to be given to these two Greek words depends upon what the entire Bible has to say about Jehovah God and Jesus Christ.

"How so? In that there is basis for translating these words either as "Deity," "Divinity" or "Godhead" and so attributing personality to them, or as "Divine Nature," "divine quality," "Godship," and having them merely denote qualities. Thus those who believe in the trinity will attach personality to these words, whereas those who do not will render them as qualities in view of the way God and Christ are described in the Scriptures and so as to harmonize the words with the rest of God's Word. This emphasizes the fact that one simply cannot properly and accurately translate the Bible unless one clearly understands its teachings.

"That the New World Bible Translation Committee were perfectly right in rendering these words the way they did is apparent from what Greek authorities have to say about them. Thus Parkhurst's A Greek and English Lexicon (1845) defines theiótes as "Godhead" (page 261) and theótes as "Deity, godhead, divine nature" (page 264). Note the definition "divine nature" as well as "Godhead."

"Liddell and Scott's A Greek-English Lexicon, in its new ninth edition, completed in 1940 and reprinted in 1948, Volume I, defines the two terms in the light of ancient usages apart from the Scriptures. Theiótes it defines as "divine nature, divinity" (page 788). Theótes it defines in exactly the same way, as "divinity, divine nature," and then cites as an example Colossians 2:9. In this connection it shows that the similar Greek expression, dia theóteta, means "for religious reasons" (page 792).

"Thus the New World Translation is fully justified in rendering Colossians 2:9 to show that Christ has in him all the fullness, not of God himself, the Deity, the Godhead, but of the divine quality dwelling bodily, and this in behalf of the spiritual body of Christ, so that this body of Christ's followers is possessed of a fullness by means of him: "It is in [Christ] that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily. And so you [Christians] are possessed of a fullness by means of him, who is the head of all government and authority." - Col. 2:9, 10.

"It is also of interest to note that both Weymouth and An American Translation render the passage, "the fullness of God's nature."

"To get an objective view of the matter, in exploring questions such as these it is best to use the nonsectarian and nonreligious Hebrew-English and Greek-English dictionaries, instead of those that have been produced by some religious denomination."

The following is an excerpt from Insight on the Scriptures:

"Then, at Colossians 2:9 the apostle Paul says that in Christ "all the fullness of the divine quality [form of the·o´tes] dwells bodily." Here, again, some translations read "Godhead" or "deity," which Trinitarians interpret to mean that God personally dwells in Christ. (KJ, NE, RS, NAB) However, Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon defines the·o´tes in basically the same way it does thei·o´tes, as meaning "divinity, divine nature." (P. 792) The Syriac Peshitta and the Latin Vulgate render this word as "divinity." Thus, here too, there is a solid basis for rendering thei·o´tes as referring to quality, not personality.

A consideration of the context of Colossians 2:9 clearly shows that having "divinity," or "divine nature," does not make Christ the same as God the Almighty. In the preceding chapter, Paul says: "God saw good for all fullness to dwell in him." (Col 1:19) Thus, 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.

Considering the immediate context of Colossians 2:9, it is noted that in verse 8, Christians are warned against being misled by those who advocate philosophy and human tradition. They are also told that "carefully concealed in [Christ] are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge," and they are urged to "go on walking in union with him, rooted and being built up in him and being stabilized in the faith." (Col 2:3, 6, 7) In addition, verses 13 to 15 explain that they are made alive through faith, being released from the Law covenant. Paul's argument, therefore, is that Christians do not need the Law (which was removed by means of Christ) or human philosophy and tradition. They have all they need, a precious "fullness," in Christ. -Col 2:10-12." (Vol. 1, page 629)

For MUCH more, see:

Does Col. 2:9 prove that Jesus is God? (Search For Bible Truths)

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

"Theotes simply does not literally mean "godhead," and the use of "godhead" by the KJV translators was not intended as some would understand it today..." (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)

"The Fullness of the Divine Quality" in Colossians 2:9 (Bible Translation and Study)

Defending the New World Translation Index (Defending the New World Translation)

Col. 2:9; "Trinity" (rs p. 405-p. 426; Watchtower Online Library)

Col. 2:9 "Divine" (Insight-1 pp. 638-639; Watchtower Online Library)