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Monday, February 27, 2012

Did the Sabbath End When Jesus Died?

True Christians do not celebrate any Sabbath, neither the first day nor the seventh.

As Christians, Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe we are bound by the Mosaic laws including the Decalogue because of the Scriptural evidence.

Nowhere in the writings of Jesus' inspired disciples do we find any requirement for Christians to keep a weekly Sabbath. True Christians abide by all laws mandated for Christians. These laws, such as against idolatry, fornication, etc., are clearly stated as binding on Christians in N.T. But, this is not true of the Sabbath law.

1. Col. 2:16 shows that the Sabbath was removed and is no longer binding. This verse employs a technical formula used to designate ALL the Sabbaths of Israel: Yearly festivals, Monthly, and Weekly. The clear chronological pattern is an all inclusive enumeration which includes the WEEKLY Sabbath (2 Chrn. 2:4; 31:3; Ezek. 45:17; Hos. 2:11). Gal. 4:9-11 is an unmistakable parallel.

"Festival refers chiefly to the annual festival like the Passover, Pentecost, etc. New moon describes the monthly festival and the following word `sabbath' refers to the weekly holy day." - Linguistic key to the Grk N.T.

Further, the Greek word "Sabbath" here is used 60 times in the NT and every time it denotes the weekly seventh day sabbath! Only by arbitrarily reinterpreting this word in accord with a theological bias can we exclude the 7th day Sabbath.

These two points REQUIRE the conclusion that the whole system of Sabbaths, including the 7th, was brought to its end with the rest of the Law by the sacrifice of Christ.

2. When the question of obedience to the "Law of Moses," including the Decalog was raised (Ac. 15:5), the Apostles stated only three as "necessary": Idolatry, fornication and blood." The Sabbath was not mentioned while other laws such as against idolatry and fornication are clearly stated as binding (Ac. 15:28, 29). The commands they mandated were only those laws observed before the Exodus. Nothing else was "necessary" from the Decalog.

3. Scripture is explicit that the Sabbath was not given before the Exodus (De. 5:3,15, Ps. 147:19,20, Gal. 3:19 cf. Neh. 9:9- 14). And it was only given to natural Israel (the Jews), no one else (Ex. 31:16-17). Genesis does not say it was a command for mankind, nor was it in the commands given to Adam and Eve. There is not even one mention in the Bible of anyone keeping the Sabbath before the Exodus. And Mk. 2:27 actually implies the Sabbath was not in existence at Creation.

4. The inspired Christian writings state that "Christ is the end of the Law" (Ro. 10:4), which results in Christians being "discharged from the law," (Ro. 7:6) just as a wife is "discharged" from her deceased husband. He specifically mentions one of the Ten commandments--coveting--as part of that discontinued "law." That means that just like a dead husband the Law has absolutely no authority (Ro. 7:2). See also Gal. 5:18; Eph. 2:13-15; Col. 2:13, 14.

5. The Bible directly states that the Ten Commandments "written on stones" were included in what came to an end! (2 Cor. 3:7-11). The Scripture shows that it was NOT just the "glory" which was done away with at 2 Cor 3:6-11, but the grammar of verse 11 shows that what was "done away with" was the Decalog.

This is made clear by a comparison of the phrases "THAT WHICH is done away with was with glory" and "THAT WHICH remains is in glory." The pronouns identify the subjects as the "ministration of condemnation" and the "ministration of righteousness." It is the subject which "passed away" not the adjective "glory"!!! Just as it is the subject which "remains" and not its glory.

The clear teaching of Scripture is that the whole Mosaic Law covenant, including the Decalogue, was done away with at the same time. The Scriptures do not say "only the ceremonial part was done away with."

Christians were not commanded to keep any certain day as "holy", but to keep every day as "holy to Jehovah." (Rm. 14:5-9). The Christian Sabbath is a spiritual one which is an entering "by faith" into God's seventh creative "day"of rest which has continued for millennia (Heb. 4:3,9,10). We put God's work first in our lives every day, not just one.

It is clear that EVERY argument by those supporting a Sabbath requirement for Christians is based on a faulty interpretation and selective use of Scriptures.

For example, Sabbatarians must separate the so-called "ceremonial laws" from the "moral laws." However, this idea can only be maintained by arbitrarily defining words such as "Sabbath," "law" and "commands" as it fits their theology. If it says we must obey "law" then it must mean the Decalogue, but if it says "law" is not binding it must only mean "ceremonial laws." This is theologically driven exegesis and a highly dishonest method of interpretation.

Source: This is the chosen Best Answer by Bar_Anerges to this question from Yahoo! Answers.

Also see: Sabbath - Links to Information

Friday, February 24, 2012

Contraception / Birth Control - Links to Information

Click on any of the following links to view:

BIRTH CONTROL - Links to Information (INDEX; Watchtower Online Library)

The Bible’s Viewpoint - Is Contraception Morally Wrong? (g 9/07 pp. 10-11; Watchtower Online Library)

Is It All Right for Christians to Use Contraceptives? (JW.ORG)

Since Sterilization Procedures Are Now Said to Be Reversible on Request, Might a Christian View Them as a Birth-Control Option? (THE WATCHTOWER (STUDY EDITION) 1999-06-15; JW.ORG)

Is it compatible with Bible principles for a Christian married couple to use birth control pills? (Search For Bible Truths; includes an excerpt from the 6/15/89 Watchtower 'Questions From Readers'.)

Rev. 3:14 - Does 'Arkhe' Mean "Beginning" or Does it Mean "Origin" or "Source"?

As the following will show, the Watchtower Society is correct when it says that when Jesus called himself "the beginning [Greek – arkhe/arche, arch] of the creation of God" - Rev. 3:14, KJV, ASV, RSV, NASB, NKJV, MLB, Douay, Byington, Rotherham, Lattimore, Lamsa, Phillips, Darby, Webster, etc. - he meant "the first thing created by God."

Some trinitarians, however, insist that the word arkhe (sometimes written in English as arche) here does not mean "beginning" but should be rendered "source" or "origin." (For an examination of the mistranslation for this word as "Ruler" here, see the Beginning, Wisdom, Firstborn study, starting with par. #4.)

So the real question is: Do the writers of the New Testament ever use arkhe to mean "source" or "origin"? And, more importantly, since John wrote Rev. 3:14, does John ever use arkhe to mean "source," "origin," or "ruler"?

The only NT word John has used when he intended the meaning of "beginning" is arkhe. (The only apparent exception to this is archomai (arkhomai) found at John 8:9 - see p. 139 in the New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. However, even trinitarian scholars admit that this verse is spurious, not written by John but added by a later copyist! - [Jn 9:32 should be more literally translated "from of old".])
To say that John meant "origin" or "source" when he used arkhe at Rev. 3:14 ignores two important facts:

(1) Nowhere else does John use arkhe as "source," "origin," or "beginner."[See footnote #4] In the 23 times it is found in the writings of John (in the text used by the King James translators), it is always understood in the sense of "beginning" and is always so translated in the KJV. (And every time arkhe is found in the writings of John - 21 times in the text used by the NASB - it is also always translated "beginning" in that most-respected trinitarian Bible.) Here are all the uses of arkhe by John according to Young's Analytical Concordance: John 1:1; 1:2; 2:11; 6:64; 8:25; 8:44; 15:27; 16:4; 1 John 1:1; 2:7 (twice in KJV); 2:13; 2:14; 2:24 (twice); 3:8; 3:11; 2 John 5, 6; Rev.1:8 (KJV); 3:14; 21:6; and 22:13. Notice that the ASV, RSV, etc. also translate these as "beginning" or "first" (in time).

John consistently used arkhe to mean only "beginning." Since it is John's writing we are concerned with at Rev. 3:14, this is of utmost importance.[See footnote #5]

(2) If John had really intended to use a word for "origin," "source," or "beginner," he could have easily done so. As we will see later, there would have been no reason to use a word that he consistently and frequently used to mean only "beginning."

The Expositor's Greek Testament (trinitarian, of course) tells us that to understand Rev. 3:14 as meaning that Jesus is "the active source" of creation, instead of the first created person, one must interpret arkhe "as in Greek philosophy and Jewish wisdom-literature, = aitia or origin."

Isn't it odd that the Greek word actually used for this philosophical concept is aitia which can honestly mean "cause" or "source"? If the word actually used is aitia, why must one interpret arkhe with a similar meaning? Why wouldn't John have simply used the word aitia if that's what he intended?

The trinitarian theologian Albert Barnes says concerning the NT Greek word arkhe:

"The word properly refers to the commencement of a thing, not its authorship, and denotes properly primacy in time, and primacy in rank, but not primacy in the sense of causing anything to exist.... the word is not, therefore, found in the sense of authorship, as denoting that one is the beginning of anything in the sense that he caused it to have an existence." - Barnes' Notes on the New Testament, p. 1569. [See footnote #6]

We also see the highly respected BDAG admits the same for the use of arkhe (or arche) in Rev. 3:14.[See footnote #7]

Although there are other words which (more appropriately than arkhe) may be properly translated "source," "cause," "origin," etc., there is one word which is most frequently so used throughout the Bible in the Hebrew and Greek scriptures. This word emphasizes the strong Biblical comparison between "creation" and "procreation." (E.g., "brought forth" at Ps. 90:2 is "begotten" in the original Hebrew and is paralleled here with "gave birth to the earth" - NASB.)

Only the Father is the Source of Creation

It is because of this common Bible metaphor that "father" was considered as synonymous (whether as "creator" or "procreator") with "source"! - See p. 190, Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Baker Book House, 1984.

The famous Biblical Hebrew authority, Gesenius, tells us that "Father" means:

"Of the author, or maker, of anything, specially of the creator.... And in this sense God is said to be `the father of men,' Is. 63:16; 64:8; [etc.]. All these ... come from the notion of origin." - p. 2, Gesenius' Lexicon.

Trinitarian Robert Young in his Young's Analytical Concordance, p. 331, also shows this meaning for the Hebrew word ab, " ! : "Father, ancestor, source, inventor."[See footnote #8]

God's people have used "Father" synonymously with "source" or "origin" for thousands of years. When they wanted to use a word that denotes absolute "source" they most often used "Father."[See footnote #9] Obviously the Son is not the "source of creation" - his Father is! (And what could be more appropriate than the Father's very first creation being called his "Firstborn Son"?)

So John's (and Jesus' and all Bible writers') repeated use of the term "Father" for God stresses over and over that Jesus' Father (and our Father) is the ultimate source who, because of his will (Rev. 4:11) and his spoken command (Ps. 33:6, 8, 9; Ps. 148:5) caused (originated) all things to be made through the obedient efforts of his Firstborn Son, Jesus.

So we can see that the Father alone is the source and his first creation (the only direct creation by Him), His only-begotten son, is the channel through whom he caused all the rest of creation to be. "His son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through [dia] whom he made the world." - Heb. 1:2. "All things came into being through [dia] him.... The world was made through [dia] him" - John 1:3,10.

Notice how the strongly trinitarian NT Greek experts, Dana and Mantey, explain this scripture:

"`All things were made through him.' Jn 1:3. Here God the Father is thought of as the original cause of creation, and the logos [Jesus] as the intermediate agent." - p. 162, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament.

"For us there is but one God, the Father [compare John 17:1, 3], from [ex or ek, literally: `out of'] whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through [dia] whom are all things, and we exist through [dia] him." - 1 Cor. 8:6. Concerning this very scripture even the highly trinitarian The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology has to admit:

"in 1 Cor. 8:6 the function of God the Father as the SOURCE of creation is distinguished from Christ's role as mediator of creation." - p. 1182, Vol. 3.

Also see The NIV Study Bible footnote for 1 Cor. 8:6:

"See Heb 2:10. God the Father is the ultimate Source of all creation (Ac 4:24)."
The Encyclopedia of Religion states:

"God the Father is source of all that is (pantokrator) and also the father of Jesus Christ" - 1987, Vol. 15, p. 54.

It should be obvious to all that, if the Father is the source of creation and Jesus is the intermediate agent, then Rev. 3:14 cannot be calling Jesus the "source" or "origin" of creation!

For more, see:
NWT - Rev. 3:14 (Defending the NWT)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Curiosity - Beneficial When Balanced

Concerning our spiritual advancement, 1 Tim. 4:15 encourages us to "Ponder over these things; be absorbed in them, that your advancement may be manifest to all [persons]."

Have you ever seen or read someone express slight irritation toward another person's questions and observations by saying that they are being a little simplistic? But really, shouldn't we truly appreciate those who desire to know more about any or all aspects of things wholesome and righteous? There exists a wide variety of interests in a wide variety of people. Some enjoy pondering different aspects of the Bible at different paces. As long as the curiosity and interest is there, certainly we can be pleased in the fact that those who sincerely ask these questions are making a sincere effort in our shared goal of continually trying to "find the very knowledge of God". (Prov. 2:5)

Curiosity can be very beneficial, but there also exists the need to (like everything else in life) balance it. A highly recommended article that explorers this subject further can be found in the 2/1/87 Watchtower; "Do You Have an Inquiring Mind?", a small excerpt of which can be found below:

"CURIOSITY is a "desire to know." A strong curiosity makes a person eager to learn, to find out about things. Jehovah implanted this eagerness in us, so that almost from the moment of birth we are driven to explore the world about us. Our very existence is a never-ending learning process. If we are to become mature, well-adjusted adults, we need to gratify our curiosity, our desire to find things out.

"This is especially true on a spiritual level. Our prospects for eternal life depend upon our learning about Jehovah God. (John 17:3) The Bible tells us that he wants us to inquire about him, to "grope for him and really find him." (Acts 17:23, 24, 27) If we suppress our curiosity or fail to allow it to develop, our advancement will be very slow. In fact, a lack of interest in spiritual things can be fatal.—Psalm 119:33, 34; Hosea 4:6.


The Need for Balance

"So, like many other things in life, our curiosity can be a blessing or a curse. Properly directed, it can uncover priceless gems of knowledge that bring joy and refreshment. A healthy curiosity about our Creator, his will, and his purposes can be profoundly satisfying and beneficial. An unbridled, morbid curiosity can lure us into a morass of speculation and human theories wherein genuine faith and godly devotion cannot survive. Hence, when your curiosity threatens to lead you into something questionable, "be on your guard that you may not be led away . . . and fall from your own steadfastness."—2 Peter 3:17."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Codex - Links to Information

Click on any of the following links to view:

CODEX - Links to Information (INDEX; Watchtower Online Library)

The Early Christian Codex (Pastor Russell)

Codex Sinaiticus
The Codex Sinaiticus Website (One of the oldest complete (or nearly complete) manuscripts of the NT)

Rescuing the Codex Sinaiticus (Pastor Russell)

Codex Alexandrinus
The fourth volume (NT and Clementine epistles) of the full-sized black and white facsimile of the manuscript, produced in 1879-83 by the British Library (The Center For The Study of NT Manuscripts; one of the oldest complete (or nearly complete) manuscripts of the NT.)

Codex Vaticanus
Images From the 1868 (pseudo-) Facsimile (The Center For The Study of NT Manuscripts; one of the oldest complete (or nearly complete) manuscripts of the NT.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

What Does the Hebrew Word 'Qanah' Mean at Prov. 8:22?

"Jehovah himself produced (qanah) me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago." (Prov. 8:22) NWT

The Hebrew word 'qanah', can mean either to "produce, aquire, create" or "possess". Context is key in finding out which one it means.

Many Bible commentators agree that the Son is referred to as wisdom personified here. (See: Does "Wisdom" at Prov. 8:22-30 refer to the Messiah, and does it say that he was created?; Search For Bible Truths) Bibles which are biased toward the Trinity do not want to render it as "Produce" or something similar because that would mean that Jesus has a beginning, and that would contradict the Trinity doctrine.
Yet because the context of Prov. 8:22-31 so overwhelmingly supports the translation of the word 'qanah' as "create" (See: Prov. 8:22-30 "Wisdom" and Christ; Examining the Trinity), even scores of trinitarian bibles have decided to render it as such. Notice how these trinitarian Bibles reluctantly render qanah at Prov. 8:22):

(1) "[Jehovah] created me at the beginning of his work" - RSV;

(2) "[Jehovah] created me" - NRSV;

(3) "[Jehovah] made me" - MLB;

(4) "Yahweh created me" - JB; "Yahweh created me" - NJB;

(5) "[Jehovah] created me" - NEB;

(6) "[Jehovah] created me" - REB;

(7) "I was the first thing made" - ETRV;

(8) "[Jehovah] created me as the first of his creations" - Lamsa;

(9) "[Jehovah] created me first of all" - GNB;

(10) "[Jehovah] formed me as the first of his works" - AT;

(11) "[Jehovah] formed me first of his creation" - Mo;

(12) "Jehovah framed me first" - Byington;

(13) "[Jehovah] created me" - The Reader's Digest Bible;

(14) "[Jehovah] brought me forth as the first of his works" - The NIV Study Bible. It also explains in a footnote for Prov. 8:22: "brought...forth. The Hebrew for this verb is also used in Ge 4:1; 14:19, 22 (`creator')." - Zondervan, 1985;

(15) "[Jehovah] made me the beginning of his ways for his works" - The Apostles Bible;

(16) "[Jehovah] made me as the start of his way, the first of his works in the past. - BBE;

(17) "Yahweh created me first, at the beginning of his works" - Christian Community Bible;

(18) "[Jehovah] made me as the beginning of his way, the first of his ancient works" - The Complete Jewish Bible;

(19) "[Jehovah] made me at the beginning of His creation, before His works of long ago" - The Holman Christian Standard Bible;

(20) "[Jehovah] created me as the first of his creations, before all of his works. - Peshitta - Lamsa Translation;

(21) "[Jehovah] sovereignly made me—the first, the basic— before he did anything else." - The Message;

(22) "[Jehovah] created me as the beginning of his works, before his deeds of long ago." - NET;

(23) "I, wisdom, was with [Jehovah] when he began his work, long before he made anything else. 23 I was created in the very beginning, even before the world began." - New Century Version;

(24) "[Jehovah] created me as the first of his works, before his acts of long ago." - New International Reader's Version;

(25) "[Jehovah] made me at the beginning of His work, before His first works long ago." - New Life Bible;

(26) "[Jehovah] formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else. - New Living Translation;

(27) "Jehovah created me in the beginning of his way, before his works of antiquity." - New Simplified Bible;

(28) "[Jehovah] created me as the head of His ways, to perform all of His works" - 2001 Translation.

For more on Prov. 8:22, see:

Wisdom (Prov. 8:22-31) Links to Information (Search For Bible Truths)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why Don't Jehovah's Witnesses Celebrate St. Valentine's Day?

Jehovah's Witnesses only celebrate the one event that Jesus commanded his followers. The memorial of his death (1 Cor. 11:23-26). They also celebrate other events which are referred to favorably in the Scriptures such as marriages, anniversaries, the birth of a baby, graduations and many other happy occasions.

But why don't Jehovah's Witnesses celebrate St. Valentine's Day? Because Jehovah's Witnesses take their worship very seriously and insist upon keeping their worship of God undefiled (James 1:27), there are two main reasons why Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate St. Valentine's Day:

1.) Pagan ceremonies honoring pagan gods are mixed in with St. Valentine's Day's origins.

2.) The Bible makes it clear that there is to be no veneration or adoration of Saints as intercessors with God. Our approach to the Father can only be through Jesus. (John 14:6, 14; 1 Tim. 2:5)

St. Valentine's Day - It's Pagan Associations

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.

Notice what the publication How It Started had to say about St. Valentine's Day on pages 46-47:

"Ancient Romans placed great stress upon holidays that fell about the middle of the shortest month of the year. Dedicated to the goddess Juno, who was the wife of Jupiter, these festivals stressed love, courtship, and marriage.

"That was appropriate since Juno, queen of heaven, was regarded as the special protector of women in `critical times of life.'....

"When Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire by edict of Emperor Constantine, religious leaders immediately started trying to do away with pagan festivals. Many of them had been observed for so many centuries that they resisted all frontal attacks, so there were many efforts to bring about change in a more subtle fashion. One of the most effective was a substitution of a Christian [?] observance for a pagan one, with special ceremonies held on or near the date of the long-established holiday.

"Since the martyrdom of St. Valentine was celebrated on February 14, it made sense to stress homage to the man who was said to have been stoned to death on that day in A. D. 269. For that reason the name of a man about whom no written records exist came to be attached to the day formerly dedicated to Juno."

And The World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 20, 1973 ed. on page 204 says this:

"Valentine's Day comes on the feast of two different Christian martyrs named Valentine. But the customs connected with the day ... probably came from an ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia which took place every February 15. The festival honored Juno, the Roman goddess of women and marriage, and Pan, the god of nature."

Some would say that it's wrong to pay such homage to dead men, whether "Saints" or not, but certainly it's incredibly wrong to mix in pagan ceremonies honoring pagan gods in the process.

"What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? .... `Therefore come out from them and be separate,' says the Lord. `Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you ...' says the Lord Almighty." - 2 Cor. 6:16, 17, NIVSB. [NIVSB f.n.: "agreement...between the temple of God and idols. There can be no reversion to or compromise with the idolatry they have forsaken for the gospel (cf. 1 Th. 1:9)."]

Additional Reading:
Jehovah's Witnesses and the Gregorian Calendar (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Can the Pagan Customs of Christmas Really Be MADE Acceptable to God? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Can a Pagan Holiday Be Made Christian? (Official Website of Jehovah's Witnesses)

Should We Venerate "Saints as Intercessors" With God?

Notice what Peter's response was to a certain situation in the account of Acts 10:25, 26, JB:

"As Peter reached the house Cornelius went out to meet him, knelt at his feet and prostrated himself. But Peter helped him up. `Stand up,' he said `I am only a man after all!'"

Peter did not approve of such adoration when he was personally present. He understood what Jesus clearly stated in John 14:6, 14 that our approach to the Father can be only through Jesus and that our requests are to be made in Jesus' name:

"Jesus said: `I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it.'" (JB)

1 Tim. 2:5: "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (NASB)

Note what Martin Luther wrote concerning the reverence of Roman Catholic Saints:

"The pity is that we are so blind that we do not leave the devil alone to play his tricks in his own way; rather, we support him and multiply them. I wish people would leave the saints in peace, and not mislead humble folk. What spirit was it that gave the pope authority to canonize saints? Who tells him whether they are holy or not? .... God is just in judging us with His wrath and in allowing the devil to lead us hither and thither, to institute pilgrimages, ... to set about canonizing saints and other foolish things." - p. 458, Martin Luther, Selections From His Writings, Dr. John Dillenberger, Anchor Books, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1961.

Additional Reading:
THE BIBLE’S VIEWPOINT - Is It Appropriate to Pray to “Saints”? (Official Website of Jehovah's Witnesses)

How Should We Pray? - "Teach Us How to Pray" (Official Website of Jehovah's Witnesses)