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Thursday, June 28, 2012

John 8:58 - Did Jesus Really Say, "I AM"?

Many Bible versions render John 8:58 this way: "Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."

And Ex. 3:14 this way: "God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

(Because of this, Trinitarians often refer to this as 'proof' that Jesus is the Hebrew GOD of the Old Testament.)

But are the words "I am" supposed to be God's name? Even if it were so, would it make sense in John 8:58 for Jesus to say the equivalent of, "Most assuredly I say to you, before Abraham was...JEHOVAH?!?"

Looking at the context, the correct phrasing of this sentence should be "I was" instead of "I am" when used after the word "before." Also in verse 57, the question to which Jesus was replying had to do with age, not identity.

During the exchange with the Jews leading up to John 8:58, nowhere does Jesus claim to be God. And as we've already seen, the words "I am" at John 8:58 (including the blatant unwarranted use of capitalization) is not only inaccurate but nonsensical.

Several translations phrase John 8:58 the correct way by which Jesus was actually illustrating how long he has existed. One, for instance:

"Jesus answered, "The truth is, I EXISTED BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS EVEN BORN!" (NLT)

Besides that, numerous Trinitarian authorities even have to admit that "I am" in Ex. 3:14 is not even correct and should be rendered more like "I will Be" (the meaning of God's name rather than God's personal name itself...Jehovah):

Encyclopedia Britannica:

"The writer of Exodus 3:14-15 ... explains it [the meaning of God's name] by the phrase EHYEH asher EHYEH (Ex. iii., 14); this can be translated `I am that I am' or more exactly `I am wont to be that which I am wont to be' or `I will be that which I will be.'" - p. 995, 14th ed., v. 12.

For much more, see:

I AM (John 8:58 / Ex. 3:14) - Links to Information (Search For Bible Truths)

John 6:52-68: Why Did "Many" of Jesus' Disciples Stop Following Him? Is There a Lesson Here For Christians Today?

John 6:52-68: Why Did "Many" of Jesus' Disciples Stop Following Him? Is There a Lesson Here For Christians Today?

This instance is where Jesus wanted his listeners to understand that the eating of his flesh and drinking his blood would be done in a figurative way. He was emphasizing that all who receive everlasting life must exercise faith in the sacrifice that he is to make when he offers up his perfect human body and pours out his lifeblood. Yet, even many of his disciples made no attempt to understand his teaching and so objected by saying: “This speech is shocking; who can listen to it?”

After many of his disciples left and no longer wished to follow him, Jesus asked his 12 apostles: “You do not want to go also, do you?” What Peter said next is key and is something that Christians can learn from:

"Who shall we go to? You have the MESSAGE OF ETERNAL LIFE." - John 6:68 (The Jerusalem Bible)

Today, which organization provides the ESSENTIAL Scriptural teachings for true Christians such as:

--- Exactly who is God? (John 17:3 and 2 Thess. 1:7, 8, among others, show how essential such knowledge really is.)

--- Who, alone, is proclaiming God's Name as He says must be done in the last days? (Ezek. 39:6, 7; Jer. 17:19-21)

--- Who, alone, is actively preaching the kingdom in the entire world as Jesus said must be done in the very last days? (Matt. 24:14; 28:19). Not all the nearly 1 billion members of Christendom combined are as active in "all the nations" as is the Watchtower Society, and no other organization even begins to approach the Watchtower organization in publications which further that "Great Commission." And certainly none of Christendom's organizations are actively preaching the kingdom message at all.

-- Who alone has actually made a reality of the "one body ... one spirit ... one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all"? - Eph. 4:4-6. Who has really embodied a great crowd who sincerely strive for "complete lowliness of mind and mildness, with long-suffering ... earnestly endeavoring to observe the oneness of the spirit in the uniting bond of peace"? - Eph. 4:2,3.

This very solid unity or "oneness" which is so often criticized is, in itself, a necessity according to Scripture (and reason). It is also unique among all the organizations claiming to be Christian today.

Obviously there are other important Scriptural teachings which this organization lives by that other organizations either completely ignore or give only lip-service to. But when considering only these few essentials even, it becomes obvious that there is either only one organization today being guided by Jehovah's spirit or there is none.

Many who became Jehovah's Witnesses came to the same conclusion Peter came to in John 6:68 in spite of some doubts about the certainty of various other teachings and Scriptural interpretations by the Watchtower Society. Some of these teachings can seem quite important, but, EVEN IF wrong, these are not really the "messages of eternal life".

Shouldn't these Witnesses hope to follow the God-appointed leadership on earth which has "the message of eternal life" even if it tells them a few things they personally find difficult to accept or understand? Even if they believe they can prove it is probably wrong in certain of these secondary areas? After all, "Who else is there to go to?" Who else has the message of eternal life?

It's not worth being "right" and losing everlasting life for it. There must be priorities in all things. Being right in one area does not compensate for being wrong in a greater area. Who would choose an operation to remove a small non-harmful blemish which may be causing some slight irritation when there is a distinct possibility that the operation itself will lead to death?

Jehovah's servants are commanded to be "fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought." (1 Cor. 1:10; Php. 2:2; 1 Pet. 3:8) This means, of course, being united where the interests of pure worship are involved - the important things - not in minor matters that will be resolved as maturity is reached. (Rom. 14:2-6, 17) They are to be "of the same mind in the Lord." (Php. 4:2), not to be quarreling, but to "think in agreement." (2 Cor. 13:11)

For more, see:

Unity - Links to Information (Search For Bible Truths)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

John 6:64 - In What Sense Did Jesus Know "From the Beginning" Who Would Betray Him? Did Judas Not Have Free Will?

“From the beginning Jesus knew . . . who was the one that would betray him.” (John 6:64)

Jesus was obviously familiar with the Hebrew Scripture prophecies in Psalms 41:9 and Psalms 109:8 and so he knew that he would be betrayed by a close associate, though the Scriptures did not specifically name anyone. It could have even been any of his other disciples, (remember the 70 that was sent out at Luke 10:1) or even an unbelieving family member.

And when Jesus selected the men to be his Apostles, he didn't choose a "bad" one just to "fulfill" the prophesy. He spent a night in prayer, showing that he relied on his Father's direction. Since James says that God has nothing to do with 'evil', He would have guided his Son to pick faithful men. (James 1:13)

Even though God can use His foreknowledge, it is inconsistent with God’s qualities and past dealings to think that Judas had to fail, as if he were predestined. At the beginning of Judas' apostleship, Judas was faithful to God and to Jesus. So what Jesus may have meant that “from the beginning” of when Judas started to go bad, Jesus recognized it.

Note the Bible also describes the Devil as being sinful “from the beginning.” (1 John 3:8) But this does not mean from his creation as a faithful son of God, but from the start of his course of rebellion against God. Likewise in the case of Judas Iscariot, Jesus knew “from the beginning,” or at the outset of Judas’ wrongful course, that Judas was the one who would betray him.
(Also See: How Did One of God's Spirit Sons Become Satan the Devil, and What Was His Motive?; Search For Bible Truths)
For more, see:

Predestination / Destiny / Fate / Foreordination - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Does God foreordain our life course and ultimate destiny? What does the Bible say? (g 2/09 pp. 12-13; Watchtower Online Library)

Freedom of choice precludes predestination. ... Predestination is linked with the idea that God must have a detailed plan for the universe... (w05 1/15 pp. 4-7; Watchtower Online Library)

There is also the doctrine of predestination, which promotes the view that “the ultimate salvation or damnation of each human individual has... (w05 1/15 pp. 3-4; Watchtower Online Library)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe About Jesus' Body Being 'Dissolved' Before He Was Resurrected as a Spirit?

Original Q and A's

The term “dissolved” was last used of Christ’s dead body in the 1953 Watchtower (w53 9/1; 518). Today we do not use that term to explain how God disposed of Christ’s human body. There (does not appear to be) anything inaccurate in using the word since one of its definitions is “to separate into parts or elements; disintegrate. Its just that “dissolve” also has unwanted connotations such as a slower process.

Witnesses believe exactly what the Bible states and they can also draw valid conclusions from those clear statements.

First, every explicit Scripture says that Jesus was resurrected with an invisible "spirit" body and not a visible fleshly body (1 Tim. 6:16; Eph. 1:17,18; 1 Pt. 3:18; 1 Cor. 15:42-50; Acts 13:34; 2 Cor. 5:16; Lk. 17:20; Mt. 24:3-39; 25:31; Jn. 6:51; Heb. 2:7-9, Phil. 2:7-10).

"Even Christ died once for all time concerning sins ... he being put to death in the flesh, but being made alive in the spirit."

Heb. 1:3 says that Jesus is now "the exact representation of [God's] very being." God is a Spirit and has never been flesh.

Christ's own words specifically said: "The world will see me no more... (Jn. 14:19).

Now we are given several facts in God’s Word from which we can draw reasonable conclusions as to what happened to Christ’s human body.

1.) The Bible says of Christ: “... concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he forsaken in Hades nor did his flesh see corruption” (Acts 2:31; Ps. 16:10).

Death and corruption was the punishment for sinful humans and so was NOT appropriate for the perfect man Jesus. It Christ body was not allowed to see corruption or decompose like sinful humans then God must have disposed of it in some instantaneous manner. So it is only logical to conclude that God miraculously caused Jesus’ body to disappear without corruption by being disintegrated (dissolved) back into the elements from which all human bodies are made.

2.) Next, Jesus Christ gave his flesh as a ransom for us (Jn. 6:51). Having given us his flesh if he ever took it back again he would nullify his sacrifice. If Christ had kept his body then there was no ransom!

According to Heb. 10:5-10 Christ's physical body was "prepared" so that it could be "offered," once and for all time. So when it had been "offered" then it had served it's purposed. Then, just as the animal sacrifices under the Law were disposed of so likewise would the body of Jesus would be disposed of (Heb. 13:10,11).

3.) Additionally, Moses foreshadowed Christ. When Moses died God took his body away (Deut. 34:5,6). Similarly, God removed Jesus' body just as he had removed Moses' body. While Moses’ body returned to the dust by process of decay, Christ’s body could not see corruption.

We also can draw several other logical conclusions as to why God removed Christ’s body.

Removing the body also helped Jesus' disciples to understand that he had been raised from the dead. A body would hamper the belief of the disciples in the fact that Jesus had been resurrected.

The body could have made it difficult to prove that Jesus had been resurrected. Opposers of the Christians could point to the body of Jesus after he was resurrected and claim that as evidence against his resurrection.

God's disposing of the body would prevent it being used as an object of worship as is done by the apostate church with the supposed bones of "saints." Again, this was prefigured with Moses. Jude writes that the Devil desired to get the body of Moses to use it as an object of worship.

Therefore, the conclusion that God miraculously disposed of Christ’s dead human body by simply disintegrating it is a reasonable conclusion. It logically follows from the evidence found in God’s Word.

On the other hand, the teaching that Christ was raised with a physical body must break every major rule of exegesis and demand that we have an ignorance of Greek grammar, of word definitions, and of the context..

Further, such an idea must contradict EVERY explicit statement in the Bible regarding Christ's heavenly body.

The only way we could believe that the heavenly Christ has a body of flesh would be to rip figurative language out of context and twist it to agree with our personal theology.

"Corporeal visibility to men in the present life is a dream, altogether unsanctioned in the New Testament, and calculated from age to age to involve feeble believers in disappointment."— Glasgow; The Apocalypse, Translated and Expounded, p. 126. Edinburgh, 1872.

(Source: This is the chosen best answer given by Bar_Anerges to this question.)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Addressing the Trintarian Claim That MonoGENES ("Only-BEGOTTEN") Means "The Only One of a Class or Kind"

Some Trinitarians try to claim that the last half of the word monoGENES "only-BEGOTTEN" is not from ginomai ("to come into being" ['born']) but from genos ("kind"). Hence, they claim, the term refers to "the only one of a class or kind." Thus some trinitarian translations speak of Jesus as the "only Son" (see RSV, NEB, JB, AT quotes at beginning) rather than the "only-begotten Son" of God (John 1:14; 3:16, 18; 1 Jn 4:9) - KJV, ASV, NASB.

However, even if we accept the claim that genos is the correct source word for monogenes, we need to examine the claim of some trinitarians that genos does not include the meaning of "begotten"/"made." The Greek word genos has "offspring" and "birth" as some of its meanings even in the trinitarian NT Concordances (Young's Analytical Concordance of The Bible; Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible; and New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, p. 1640).

The very trinitarian W. E. Vine in his highly-regarded An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 805, ADMITS that genos is "(akin to ginomai, to become), [and] denotes an offspring."

Yes, even the trinitarian RSV and NEB (noted above as rendering monogenes as "only" in certain verses relating to Jesus - including Jn 1:18) were forced to use the proper meaning of "offspring" for genos itself at Rev. 22:16 - "I the root and offspring [genos] of David." Compare Acts 17:28, 29 - "'For we indeed are his offspring [genos].' Being then God's offspring [genos], we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, silver or stone..." - RSV.

According to certain trinitarians, then, the above Scriptures plainly state that Jesus must be one of the kind [genos] of David [or of the David kind]- Rev. 22:16, and Christians and non-Christian Athenians must be of the God kind [genos] - Acts 17:28, 29. This is obviously ridiculous and the proper meaning of "begotten" or "made/produced" cannot be avoided in these Scriptures. Christians (and the men of Athens whom Paul was speaking to) were made or created by God and are His genos ("offspring" or "begotten") in that sense.

Anything that is "begotten" or "born" (or a "son"), then, is something that at one time did not exist and then was brought into existence. (E.g., Adam, the creation of God was called the "SON of God" - Luke 3:38.) This does not refer simply to Jesus' earthly existence but also to his original heavenly existence as shown by 1 John 4:9 which refers to the time when Jesus was "in the beginning with God," even "before the world was." - (John 1:1, 2; 17:5, 24). At that time he was already "the only-begotten [monogenes] Son." - 1 John 4:9, NASB, ASV, KJV. Even the highly trinitarian NT Greek scholar, W. E. Vine, in his An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 813, admits that Jesus was the Father's "only-begotten Son" before he came to earth.

For much more, see:
Only-begotten god (OBGOD) (Examining the Trinity)

Only-Begotten (Monogenes) - Links to Information (Search For Bible Truths)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Luke 19:40 - What Did Jesus Mean By Saying, "The Stones Would Cry Out"?

Luke 19:40 - What Did Jesus Mean By Saying, "The Stones Would Cry Out"?

When the Pharisees objected to the crowds’ hailing Jesus as “the One coming as the King in" God’s name, he said: “I tell you, If these remained silent, the stones would cry out.” (Luke 19:38-40)

The commission to preach and make disciples given by Jesus Christ over nineteen centuries ago was to continue “until the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matt. 28:19, 20) Because the work is not man’s but God’s, individuals themselves may fail, but nothing will prevent God’s purpose from being carried out to reach people to the extent He desires before the destruction of the present system of things. God could, if necessary, cause the ‘stones to cry out.’ (Luke 19:40)

Likewise, if God’s people today were to fail in exposing the wickedness that exists in this world, ‘out of the wall a stone itself would cry out plaintively.’ (Habakkuk 2:11)

However, the stones will not have to cry out. Today, God’s people realize that God has asked his faithful servants to be His Witnesses and to tell others about Him:

"Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen;" (Isa. 43:10) - ASV

And at the time of this writing, this preaching activity is going on in at least 236 lands worldwide.

Monday, June 18, 2012

What Did Jesus Mean When He Said That Only God is Good? (Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19)

What Did Jesus Mean When He Said That Only God is Good? (Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19)

Jesus is not saying here that he isn't "good". The point Jesus was making here was that God is good in the absolute and consummate sense. Jesus recognized God as the ultimate standard of what is good. (Ps. 25:8; Zech. 9:17) Though Jesus Christ had this quality of moral excellence, he would not accept “Good” as a title. That is why he said to the one who addressed him as “Good Teacher”: “Why do you call me good? Nobody is good, except one, God.” (Mark 10:17, 18) So Jesus was saying that no one is as good as God is, not even Jesus himself. God is good in a way that separates him from Jesus.

Mark 10:18 (and similarly Luke 18:19) are just two of hundreds of Scriptures where Jesus clearly referred to himself as a distinct and separate person from God. The Bible repeatedly shows that Jesus is not God but is exactly as the Bible said he was - God's Son. (John 1:18; John 10:36)

Additional Reading:

Mark 10:17, 18—Why did Jesus correct a certain man for calling Him “Good Teacher”? (w08 2/15 p. 28-p. 30 par. 9; Watchtower Online Library)

Why did Jesus correct the man who addressed him with the words “Good Teacher”? (cl chap. 27 pp. 270-279; Watchtower Online Library)

SCRIPTURE INDEX (Watchtower Online Library)

The Bible’s Viewpoint - Was Jesus Really the Son of God? (g 3/06 pp. 12-13; Watchtower Online Library)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Is Matt 24:40-42 Really Evidence For the "Rapture"?

Matt 24:40-42 says:

"Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken along and the other be abandoned; two women will be grinding at the hand mill: one will be taken along and the other be abandoned. Keep on the watch, therefore, because YOU do not know on what day YOUR Lord is coming."

Some have taken this passage to support the Rapture which is the belief that faithful Christians will be bodily caught up from the Earth, suddenly taken out of the world, to be united with the Lord “in the air.” The word “rapture” is understood by some persons, but not by all, to be the meaning of 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

Concerning the expression “taken along"

"After Jesus had cited the examples of Noah and Lot to show the nature of his presence and revelation he then gave evidence to show that his manifestation must precede the execution of adverse judgment. He said: “Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken along and the other be abandoned; two women will be grinding at the hand-mill: one will be taken along and the other be abandoned. Keep on the watch, therefore, because you do not know on what day your Master is coming.” (Matt. 24:40-42; Luke 17:34, 35, NW)

"The word used here in the Greek for the expression “taken along” is also used when Joseph is said to have taken his wife home. It is also as when Jesus is said to have taken Peter, James and John along with him into the mount of transfiguration. Jesus used the word when he said: “I am coming again and will receive you home to myself, that where I am you also may be.” (John 14:3; Matt. 1:20, 24; 17:1, NW) Thus, those “taken along” receive a favorable standing with the Lord and are brought into a way of salvation. This corresponds to Noah’s being taken into the ark the day of the flood and to Lot’s being taken by the hand and led out of the city and therefore precedes the execution of judgment." - 6/15/54 Watchtower; Maintaining the Way of Favor, par. 3

Concerning the word "Abandon"

"To grasp the meaning of these words of Jesus we must know the setting of their utterance. In Matthew chapter 24 Jesus was discussing the composite sign that would indicate his second presence, and in Luke chapter 17 he was showing that this event would come suddenly and unexpectedly upon those not faithfully serving Jehovah, just as the flood of Noah’s day and the rain of fire and sulphur of Lot’s time caught unawares the opposers and scoffers and indifferent ones then living and they were abandoned to destruction." - 3/1/55 Watchtower; Questions From Readers

The Rapture - Not a Bible Teaching

The Rapture is the belief that faithful Christians will be BODILY caught up from the Earth, suddenly taken out of the world, to be united with the Lord “in the air.” The word “rapture” is understood by some persons, but not by all, to be the meaning of 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

The word "rapture" does not occur in the Bible and the belief that faithful Christians will be BODILY caught up from the Earth is not found in the Bible.

The book of Revelation shows that the total number of those with the hope of going to heaven is a relatively small and limited number: 144,000. Along with Christ, they would be kings and priests in heaven. (Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-4; 20:6) Included among them would be individuals who had been associated with the congregations in Thessalonica. (Acts 10:34, 35)

The Bible shows that those who will go to heaven (those of the 144,000) will do so only after they have died and not in bodily form. In writing to Christians in Corinth, Paul stated: “This I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom, neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Look! I tell you a sacred secret: We shall not all fall asleep in death, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, during the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised up incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:50-52) So upon dying in faithfulness during Christ’s presence, each one with the heavenly hope will instantaneously receive his heavenly reward. “In the twinkling of an eye,” he is resurrected as a spirit creature and “caught away” to meet Jesus and to serve as a co-ruler in the Kingdom of the heavens.

After referring to the 144,000 Christians with the heavenly hope and who had died, Paul added: “Afterward we the living who are surviving will, together with them, be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (Thessalonians 4:17) “The living” would be those alive during Christ’s presence. They would be “caught away” to meet the Lord Jesus. As in the case of faithful early Christians, death as a human is necessary for them to be united with Christ in heaven. (Rom. 8:17, 35-39)

The Bible shows that God's original purpose was for mankind to live on Earth (Gen. 2:17) and that the vast majority of mankind would have the prospect of being resurrected in the future to life in Paradise on Earth. (See Ps. 37:1; Ps. 115:16; Isa. 45:18; Matt. 5:5; Matt. 6:9, 10; 2 Pet. 3:13)

For more, see:

Rapture - Links to Information (SFBT)

Do All Good People Go to Heaven? (WBTS)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ouija Boards - Are They Harmful?

Most Ouija believers feel that the paranormal or supernatural is responsible for Ouija's action. However, it may be parsimoniously explained by unconscious movements of those controlling the pointer, a psychophysiological phenomenon known as the ideomotor effect.

But even though the scientific community has repeatedly debunked the Ouija board, it should be noted that the Bible plainly shows that demons do exist and even though today they are evidently restrained from materializing, they still have great power and influence over the minds and lives of people, even having the ability to enter into and possess humans and animals. The Bible also shows that they use inanimate things such as houses and charms. (Mt. 12:43-45) This can, of course include Ouija boards.
So is there any harm in using using Ouija boards? True Christians would look to see what the Bible may indicate on the matter. 1 Cor. 10:21 plainly states:

"You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons." RSV

God commanded his ancient people, the Israelites, to avoid all occult practices. "Everybody doing these things is something detestable to Jehovah," warns Deuteronomy 18:10-12. Christians were likewise warned that "those practicing spiritism" would meet destruction at God's hand. (Revelation 21:8)

So all who truly love God will stay away from books, movies, computer games and everything that is rooted in the occult or that promote occult practices and beliefs.

Even if one may dismiss the idea that demons are the source behind Ouija boards, the general association is that the paranormal or supernatural is responsible for Ouija's action. So even though consciences vary in sensitivity, depending on one’s religious background and spiritual maturity, the important thing is that one maintains a clean conscience before God and does not offend the consciences of others, including family members. “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of God,” says Romans 14:10, 12.

Also see:

Who Is Really Behind the Occult? (g 2/11 pp. 4-6; Watchtower Online Library)

Dabbling in the Occult—What's the Harm? (g02 1/22 pp. 25-27; Watchtower Online Library)

Spiritism - Links to Information (Search For Bible Truths)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What is the "Good News of the Kingdom"? Who is Preaching it? And What Does "For a Witness to all the Nations" Mean? (Mt. 24:14)

At Mt. 24:3, Jesus was approached by his disciples and was asked: "Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?" In response, Jesus did not provide a specific time, saying that “Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father." (Mt. 24:36) However, while the exact time of the coming end of this “system of things” has not been revealed to us, “the sign” that Jesus gave would let us know when we are in the time period known as “the last days.” (2 Timothy 3:1)

Telling us what will mark the last days, Jesus went on to say: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be great earthquakes, and in one place after another pestilences and food shortages; and there will be fearful sights and from heaven great signs.” (Luke 21:10, 11) Jesus also said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”(Matthew 24:14)

What is the "Good News of the Kingdom" Described at Matt. 24:14?

The Bible mentions that the entire theme of Jesus’ preaching was God’s Kingdom. For instance, Jesus said,

"I must declare the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this I was sent forth.” (Luke 4:43)

Most are familiar with the model prayer. In it, Jesus taught us to pray for God's Kingdom to come:

“Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your KINGDOM come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, ALSO UPON EARTH.” (Matthew 6:9-13) emphasis mine.

Daniel 2:44 says more about this kingdom:

“In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.”

After that, mankind will be under just one government, God’s Kingdom. The Bible says that that Kingdom will do God’s will and bring great blessings such as removing Satan and his demons. (Revelation 20:1-3) The Bible also mentions that faithful humans will no longer get sick and die. Instead, under Kingdom rule they will be able to live forever. (Revelation 22:1-3) The earth will be made into a paradise.
Also see:
God’s Kingdom - What Is It? When Will It Come? (bh chap. 8 pp. 76-85; Watchtower Online Library)
Kingdom - Links to Information (Search For Bible Truths)

Who is Preaching the Gospel of God's Kingdom Today?

Some religions have acknowledged the Christian obligation to preach in public places and from house to house Acts 5:42; Matt. 10:11-14; Luke 9:6), although this is often left to a limited group of missionaries or clergy to fulfill... not every member.

However, every member who is identified as one of JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES heeds Jesus' instructions when he told his followers to "make disciples of people of all the nations," and when Jesus himself set the example by "journeying from city to city and from village to village, preaching and declaring the good news of the kingdom of God." (Matthew 28:19, 20; Luke 8:1)
Also see:
Ways They Use to Share the Good News (jt pp. 19-21; Watchtower Online Library)
Their Worldwide Organization and Work (jt pp. 25-26; Watchtower Online Library)

Will the Good News Have to be Directly Preached to Every Man, Woman and Child on Earth Before "The End Will Come"?

Notice the wording at Mt. 24:14,

"...will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations..."

Jesus did not specifically say that every man, woman and child on earth will have the good news directly preached to in the last days. He said that the good news will be preached in all of the Earth for a witness to all of the nations. This means that every nation will have the good news preached in it to some extent.

Interestingly, as of the time of this writing, Jehovah's Witnesses are preaching this good news of the Kingdom in 236 lands worldwide.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Does Gen. 2:5,6 Indicate That it Never Rained Before the Flood?

"At an early point in the history of the preparation of the earth, "God had not made it rain upon the earth," but "a mist would go up from the earth and it watered the entire surface of the ground." The time referred to is evidently early on the third creative "day," before vegetation appeared. (Gen. 2:5, 6; 1:9-13) ) The first instance in the Biblical record when rain is specifically mentioned as falling is in the account of the Flood. Then “the floodgates of the heavens were opened,” and “the downpour upon the earth went on for forty days and forty nights.” - Gen. 7:11, 12; 8:2." - Insight on the Scriptures Vol. 2; "Rain"; par. 3.

Did Rainbows Exist Before the Flood?

"The first Biblical reference to a rainbow is in the account of the covenant God made with Noah and his offspring after the Flood survivors came out of the ark. (Ge 9:8-17; Isa 54:9, 10) This splendid sight of itself would have been reassuring and an indication of peace to Noah and his family.

"Many opinions have been offered as to whether this was the first time humans saw a rainbow. Some commentators have held that rainbows had been seen before and that God’s ‘giving’ the rainbow at this time was really a ‘giving’ of special meaning or significance to a previously existing phenomenon. Many of those holding this view believe that the Flood was only local or did not substantially change the atmosphere.

"Nevertheless, this is the first mention of a rainbow, and if a rainbow had been seen earlier, there would have been no real force in God’s making it an outstanding sign of his covenant. It would have been commonplace, and not a significant marker of a change, of something new.

"The Bible does not describe the degree of clarity of the atmosphere just prior to the Flood. But apparently atmospheric conditions were such that, until a change came about when “the floodgates of the heavens were opened” (Ge 7:11), no others before Noah and his family had seen a rainbow. Even today, atmospheric conditions affect whether a rainbow can be seen or not." - Insight on the Scriptures Vol. 2; "Rainbow"; pars. 3-6.

For more, see:

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

Friday, June 8, 2012

Matthew 5:44 - What Did Jesus Mean When He Said to "Love" and "Pray" For Your Enemies?

Matthew 5:44 - What Did Jesus Mean When He Said to "Love" and "Pray"  For Your Enemies?

Jesus said at Matt. 5:43, 44, 46:

“You heard that it was said: ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ However, I say to you: Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those persecuting you. For if you love those loving you, what reward do you have?”

Considering the context, the main point that Jesus was making here was for us to not to let our conduct be governed by the bad behavior of others. It is easy to love those who love you, but it is extremely difficult to love those who hate and persecute you. Jesus was making the point of not to hate just because others do. Or to get into the vicious cycle of rendering evil for evil. He was teaching us to not lower ourselves to the base standards of our enemies.

Paul said: “Return evil for evil to no one,” "But keep conquering the evil with the good.” (Rom. 12:17, 21)

For more concerning this Scripture, see these articles:

The Bible’s Viewpoint - Is It Possible to Love One’s Enemies?  (g 11/09 10-11; Watchtower Online Library)

Keep On Doing Good (w08 5/15 8; Watchtower Online Library)

Love Your Enemies (w01 1/1 17; Watchtower Online Library)

Breaking the Cycle of Hate (g01 8/8 8-10; Watchtower Online Library)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Did the Holy Spirit Descend LIKE a Dove or AS a Dove? (Luke 3:22; Mt. 3:16; Mark 1:10; John 1:32-34)

Notice how the New American Standard Bible renders Luke 3:22,

"And the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove."

"Bodily" is "Somatikos" which is defined in the NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon as: "corporeal; bodily; having a bodily form or nature; pertaining to the body."

So at the time of Jesus’ baptism a materialized bird, a dove, did indeed descend from the sky and rest upon Jesus. That something material was observed is apparent from the words of John the Baptist as recorded at John 1:32-34. “I viewed the spirit coming down as a dove out of heaven, and it remained upon him. Even I did not know him, but the very One who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘Whoever it is upon whom you see the spirit coming down and remaining, this is the one that baptizes in holy spirit.’ And I have seen it, and I have borne witness that this one is the Son of God.”

The purpose of this materialized dove coming down was to convince John the Baptist that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by means of his sense of sight. It therefore had to be just as real to his eyes as were the words, “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved,” to his sense of hearing, to his ears. (Matt. 3:17)

This representation of the Holy Spirit as a dove calls to mind the manifestation of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, as recorded at Acts 2:1-4. At that time it took the form of “tongues as if of fire” that became visible and rested upon each one of the 120 present in that upper room in Jerusalem. Of course, these were not burning flames, but “tongues as if of fire,” otherwise they would have burned the ones upon whom they rested. Yet they were something that was truly observable; just as were the flames that Moses saw at the thornbush at the time Jehovah God called and commissioned him to deliver his people from bondage. (Ex. 3:2)

What the Manifestations of the Holy Spirit Tell Us

The manifestations of the Holy Spirit are important in that they reveal the nature of the Holy Spirit. Notice that only once is the Holy Spirit manifested in the Bible as a living creature: a "dove" not a person. It is especially significant that the Holy Spirit is never shown in the form of a person since it is often described as a thing (e.g., being poured out or given out in portions; Numbers 11:17; Acts 2:17, 18, 33). (See: The Holy Spirit is an "it" that can be distributed into portions; Search For Bible Truths)

The way that the Bible uses the term "holy spirit" indicates that it is God's active force that He uses to accomplish a variety of His purposes. (Genesis 1:2; 2 Corinthians 4:7; Acts 2:1-4)

Many historians and Bible scholars (most of them trinitarians) freely admit this. For example: "On the whole, the New Testament, like the Old, speaks of the Spirit as a divine energy or power." - A Catholic Dictionary.

And An Encyclopedia of Religion agrees:

"In the New Testament there is no direct suggestion of the Trinity. The Spirit is conceived as an IMPERSONAL POWER by which God effects his will through Christ." - p. 344, Virgilius Ferm, 1945 ed.

For more, see:

Holy Spirit - Links to Information  (Search For Bible Truths)

God’s Active Force; Holy Spirit (Insight-2 pp. 1017-1027, Spirit; Watchtower Online Library)

The Bible’s Viewpoint - Is the Holy Spirit a Person? (g 7/06 pp. 14-15; Watchtower Online Library)

Monday, June 4, 2012

How Will the Lion "Eat Straw Like a Bull"? (Isaiah 11:7 and Isaiah 65:25)

At Isaiah 11:7-9, it reads:

"7 And the cow and the bear themselves will feed; together their young ones will lie down. And even the lion will eat straw just like the bull. 8 And the sucking child will certainly play upon the hole of the cobra; and upon the light aperture of a poisonous snake will a weaned child actually put his own hand. 9 They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah (God) as the waters are covering the very sea." NWT

So how will "the lion eat straw just like the bull"? The context of the above passage shows that there is more to this prophecy than merely foretelling a time when animals will live in harmony with humans. Notice the last part of verse 9 as to what causes the transformation: “The earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah (God).” The knowledge of God does not change animal behavior. But it can and does change people. So this prophecy foretells that those who may have had aggressive traits or animalistic tendencies would put them aside and develop a Christlike personality because of learning and applying what the Bible teaches.

So people who may at one time have been of a beastly, animalistic, vicious disposition will come to be at peace with more docile fellow humans and will not seek to do them harm or injury.

Related Articles:

The End of Evil Deeds Is Assured! (w10 9/1 pp. 5-9; Watchtower Online Library)

The Marvelous New World of God's Making (dg part 10 pp. 22-28; Watchtower Online Library)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Gen. 2:23,24 - Quotation Confusion

Some Bibles render Gen. 2:21-24 this way:

21 And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof: 22 and the rib, which Jehovah God had taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And the man said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. - ASV

Because no quotation marks were used, some have expressed confusion as to whether Adam finished talking at the end of verse 23 or verse 24. If Adam spoke these words to the end of verse 24, how could Adam know about leaving fathers and mothers when he had never witnessed children growing up with their parents?

The confusion can be eliminated by examining other translations for Gen. 2:23. Many Bible translations render Adam's quote as stopping before the sentence beginning with "Therefore". (Notice the NIV, CBJ, ESV, GW, GNT, HNV, NAS, NCV, NIRV, NKJV, NLT, NRS, RSV, etc.)

So the sentence: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” was not understood to have been uttered by Adam but was rather a continuation of the account by Moses, the writer of Genesis.