Wednesday, August 13, 2008

This Good News of The Kingdom

Jehovah's Witnesses like to brag that, unlike all other religions, they are the only people preaching the truth about "this good news of the kingdom" on earth. They claim that their most important purpose in life and as Jehovah's Witnesses is to preach that good news.
They use their favorite verses in Matthew 24:14 and Revelation 21:3,4 to describe what that "good news of the kingdom" means. Of course, they neglect to also inform their prospective converts that their "good news" also involves the violent slaughter of 99.99% of the people on earth. But that's a different story.
Another favorite claim of theirs is that they strictly follow the Bible as their guide, and that Jesus set the example of preaching the "good news of the kingdom" and that they follow that example.
Jesus didn't say much about what the "kingdom" was. If he did, there wouldn't be so much disagreement among Bible students as to what it is or was or will be.
However, the writer of 1 Corinthians tells us: "Now I make known to you, brothers, the good news which I declared to you, which you also received, in which you also stand, through which you are also being saved, with the speech with which I declared the good news to you, if you are holding it fast, unless, in fact, you became believers to no purpose. For I handed on to you, among the first things, which which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, yes, that he has been raised up the third day, according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve." 1 Cor 15:1-4
So there you have it, from one of Christ's own apostles: the "good news" is that 1) Christ died for man's sins, 2) He was buried, and 3)He was resurrected and appeared to his disciples. In short, Christ saved the world, and He is doing just fine these days.
However, according to the Watchtower itself, the "good news of the KINGDOM" was not preached until after 1918! "...It is true that the gospel of the kingdom of God and of his Christ was not preached until after 1918 A.D." (Dec 1, 1928 WT, 364)
In 1935 the WTS stated this: "God's remnant on earth, that is to say, Jehovah's witnesses, received from the hand of God's angel the message of the kingdom gospel, which they must preach." - Nov 1, 1935 WT, 331
In 1967 the Watchtower stated this: "Ever since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 something of very present importance has been added to the 'good news' of God that Jesus Christ used to preach...this announcement was sounded forth, to be added to the good news was sounded forth, to be added to the good news as stated in Revelation 12:9-12." - Dec 15, 1967 WT, 753. (By the way, Revelation 12:9-12 has NOTHING TO DO with supporting that claim. Read it if you don't believe me.)
This article goes on to state that the "good news of God's kingdom" could NOT have been preached before 1914, and that, "this, then, must be the good news that Jesus Christ in his prophecy said had to be preached first in all the nations (Mark 13:10)".
In 1988 the WTS stated this: "In 'the last days' the good news of the Kingdom involves more than it did when Jesus was on earth...that the Kingdom is established in the heavens." - Jan 1, 1988 WT, 21
"Nevertheless, one thing stands out as THE most important event of our time, and beside it all other things pale into insignifance." - Jan 1, 1988 WT, 10.
Including the gospel of Jesus. How arrogant!
So, it is obvious. The Jehovah's Witnesses' gospel of the "good news of the kingdom" is NOT the gospel of Christ and his early followers. Not only that, but the Jehovah's Witnesses gospel is MORE IMPORTANT for people living today than the gospel of Jesus and his apostles. Can it get any more arrogant and blasphemous than that, folks? One has to ask why Jesus who obviously spoke to his apostles about his "kingdom" would let them be in the dark that the good news of the kingdom THEY preached is not the REAL good news of the kingdom that dubs claim is that Christ would be enthroned with full power in 1914, albeit invisibly?
What does the Bible have to say about that?
"However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to you as good news something beyond what we declard to you as good news, let him be accursed. As we have said above, I also now say again, Whoever it is that is declaring to you as good news something beyond what you accepted, let him be accursed. " - Galations 1:8,9
The writer of Galations (presumably Paul) considered this matter so important that he stated it TWICE. Yet the Watchtower brags that they are doing that very thing in the face of its clear condemnation in scripture.
The Watchtower cannot even get their "most important message" right without clearly scoffing at what is written in the Bible.

92 comments:

JoePublish said...

Very sobering thoughts, if you trust the Bible as the last word on the subject.

kimmy jo said...

Life is very wonderful outside the congregation of JW's, outside the grip of the watchtower society! It really is.

There is no grand organization or congregation on this earth that has exclusive rights to God. Your "works" or your "kingdom message" do not matter when it comes to spirituality and prayer.
Check out Dr. Larry Dossey, his book Healing Words, published in 1993 presents evidence and data proving the healing power of prayer REGARDLESS of religious affiliation.

Outside the organization of JW's your prayers will be heard! and you don't have to jump threw all the hoops. It's about whats in your heart not the watchtower in your hand.

My point is that the Watchtower is just another world empire of false religion. They are probably the worst just because they have brought such shame and disgust to God's name, JEHOVAH, by perverting his word with this "kingdom message", and all the strings attached. This "message" of theirs has enslaved alot of people but then that is what false religion does, enslave.

JoePublish said...

Kimmy Jo, I can see that you have insight that others need to acquire. I think it is awful how this organization has behaved. Rarely an apology when they botched prophesies that have turned people's lives upside down (i.e. selling their homes and life insurance in preparation for Armeggedon in 1975) . I feel so sorry for JW's that haven't realized what is going on. The Internet sites that expose the GB/WTS provide the rank and file JW with the ability to investigate them from the comfort of their own home. Most JW's are not stupid people. In time, they will realize that this organization does not have an exclusive arrangement with Jehovah, nor a lock on the truth. It's just another one of those religions that believes "it" has "the truth". I know that I'm preaching to the choir, but many many people (including JW's) are reading this and maybe they will garnish the courage to investigate on the Internet their own religion. Start by typing Jehovah's Witnesses in any search engine. Then look at the critical sites (without your WT glasses on and your defenses up) and you will be shocked at what is out there. So many JW's have been shocked to learn the things you never hear from the GB. And there are some serious situations indeed (i.e. www.silentlambs.org). You would have to have a cold heart or place yourself in denial NOT to be affected www.silentlambs.org. Can you imagine that elders were told to call the police (when a member admitted to molesting a child) from a phone-booth and only provide the name of the pedophile and nothing else! This made it impossible to prosecute the criminal. How is this showing love of neighbor while allowing a pedophile to go loose??? My goodness... the WTS is going to be in serious trouble when it's members put two and two together. They will soon realize that the new light doctrine is the nonsense that it truly is.

Ronde said...

Are you 5 years old?

You can't write in paragraphs and you like to color.

But you said "However, according to the Watchtower itself, the "good news of the KINGDOM" was not preached until after 1918! "."

That is true. The good news was not preached prior to 1919. That is because Matt 24:14 says that in the last days the good news of the kingdom will be preached. If that was something that was to be continually preached, what purpose did Jesus have in saying that?

Ronde said...

Kimmy Jo said :"Life is very wonderful outside the congregation of JW's"

How would you know since you have not been in the congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses?

Matthew said...

Geez, still around Ronde? You never bring substance to your arguments, so why don't you just slither away. I'm sure you have a meeting to go to or a door to knock on.

Ronde said...

Matthew:

Does being a troll come easy or do you have to work at it?

Matthew said...

Well, unfortunately taking on worthless JW's like yourself and bringing the true light on the Jehovah's Witness cult isn't easy. Combating cult mind control never is and unfortunately people like you aren't willing to awake.

Anonymous said...

This "article" is nonsensical gibberish, an attempt to cloud the real issues.

BTW, if what you say is true, please provide another option that will lead us to a happy, fulfilled life with a secure hope for the future, where we can associate with people who try to conduct themselves (within the limits of imperfection) as real followers of Christ Jesus, where no matter where we go in the earth we can easily find like-minded people. Since you seem to have all the answers, how about addressing this request? Nothing vague, now. I need specifics about where to go to get everything listed above. Nothing less will do.

Matthew said...

Dear Anonymous,

Your current sense of a secure future is a delusion. A mythological dream.

If like minded means controlling, manipulative, blinded, obedient to regular erroneous men, arrogant and a false sense of superiority then you will only find that within the Jehovah's Witness organization. An organization that will allow a mother or father to turn their backs and discard their own child like they are trash just because they don't believe in the man-made organization.

If you think wanting to live in that type of group then go for it. But, how many people's lives will you destroy along the way?

Come back to reality and you will find a bright beautiful future.

frank said...

I wonder if you guys know what you are talking about, it might be because you want to believe what you want to believe.
no need to answer Jesus said this good news of the kingdom will be preached, what else is there to say?

since Jesus is the king of the kingdom and it is because of his sacrifice the kingdom is possible, talking about the kingdom is also talking about Jesus. what else is there to say?

do you know what Jesus used to preach when he was on earth?
did the disciples also preached about God's kingdom?
what Religious group in the last days preach about God's kingdom in all the earth?

no need to answer, it will be a waste of time, all of you. yak, yak, yak, yak.

I just want to say goodbye.
keep yak, yak, yak
while you are yakee yak Jehovah witnesses are helping people all over the world with their preaching work to serve the TRUE GOD JEHOVAH, YES JEHOVAH, YES JEHOVAH, JEHOVAH THE ONLY TRUE GOD AND THE ONLY ALMIGHTY.

think you know better than the Governing Body of the witnesses?

take the young people book volume 2 and read that might change your mind. no other organization on earth gives this time of counsels to the young people today to help them succeed in life.

think you know better,
take the new book keep yourself in God's love and read.

think you know better, think again
take what does the bible really teach and learn.

think again, think again
the only wisdom you have is to yak yakee yak on this website.

take your bible and go help sincere people apply God's word in their life.

think your life is better now because you left Jehovah organization think again, think again.

you might open your eyes and stop yakee yak and do something worthwile.

by the way even if you answer I will not see it
I will not come here again to do like you yakee yak
I have better things to do with my time,
keep yakee yak and enjoy it for a while, yakee yak, yakee yak

Matthew said...

You are absolutely right Frank. The JW's are teaching the young people of the organization on how to succeed in life! They are teaching them that the organization is a LIE and that they have been fed nothing but garbage their first 2 decades of life and in order for them to TRULY succeed then they need to leave the organization! Thank you for that! I LOVE the fact that the young ones are leaving in droves!! You can sit in your conventions and preach about how terrible the world and an education is but the young ones do NOT buy it! Awesome!

Oh, and anyone with half a brain knows more than the governing body.

Maybe you should take the bible and truly read it for yourself. Don't use the study guides. Open your own mind my friend.

yakity yak - Matt

Nathan said...

Hey governing body letters. Well this one is typical for this blog. And it shows what I meant. Your article only represents your own opinion and in this case it is really far away from reality. What you are doing is, that you only quote parts of articles and scriptures which seem to support your own ideas. But the Bible has to tell us a lot more. I sat down for 5 minutes (sic!) and had enough Bible texts to refute your entire article. Here is what I found:

Well first of all, it is perfectly true that JWs are the only religion that preaches "this good news of the kingdom" in a scale that is recognized by the world. In fact it is the preaching of the kingdom that is special. A lot of religions teach about God (almost none of them use the name of God, no matter if it is Jehovah, Jaweh, etc.), Jesus and other things. But the kingdom of God is mentioned nowhere. Go and ask any Catholic what he is praying in the Lord’s Prayer. You won’t get an answer regarding the kingdom, although it is in the first sentence!

JWs do not neglect to inform people that a lot of people are going to die in Armageddon. Since you say that you were a JWs for decades you know that. JWs are famous for being doomsday preachers. This doesn’t sound like they are hiding this fact. Moreover, for example in the Revelation book, which was studied recently, JWs were told that they should be encouraged again “to proclaim the year of goodwill on the part of Jehovah and the day of vengeance on the part of our God” (chapter 44, paragraph 18). Further, the official teaching is not that only JWs will survive Armageddon. Sop your first point has been proven wrong.

To your next point. Well Jesus was in fact talking very often about the kingdom! So when one wants to follow Jesus, one should also talk about the kingdom. Jesus also spoke about what the kingdom was You want evidence for it? Here we go.

Let us start with the beginning of Jesus ministry: “Now after John was put under arrest Jesus went into Galilee, preaching the good news of God and saying: “The appointed time has been fulfilled, and the KINGDOM OF GOD has drawn near. Be repentant, YOU people, and have faith in the good news.” (Mark 1:14,15; emphasis added)

What did Jesus say why he came to earth? “But he said to them: ‘Also to other cities I must declare the GOOD NEWS of the KINGDOM OF GOD, because for this I was sent forth.’” (Luke 4:43; emphasis added)

And did he do so? “Shortly afterwards he went journeying from city to city and from village to village, preaching and declaring the GOOD NEWS of the KINGDOM OF GOD. And the twelve were with him (Luke 8:1; emphasis added; see also Matthew 9:35)
What did he command his followers to pray for? “YOU must pray, then, this way: “‘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. Give us today our bread for this day; and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the wicked one.’ (Matthew 6:9-13) Jesus mentioned the kingdom the name of God and his will right in the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer, which indicates that these really are the most important! Jesus surely never was sloppy when preaching. He definitely chose his words carefully. So the order of things in the Lord’s Prayer can be taken as indicator of importance!
Did Jesus reveal details about the kingdom? Yes he did: „But on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them and said: “The kingdom of God is not coming with striking observableness, neither will people be saying, ‘See here!’ or, ‘There!’ For, look! the kingdom of God is in YOUR midst.” (Luke 17:20, 21) So he told them that he would be king of the kingdom. His apostles did also know that. Two of them even wanted to get the best places next to Jesus in that kingdom.

Did Jesus also reveal where this kingdom should be? Yes he did: Jesus answered: “My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.” Therefore Pilate said to him: “Well, then, are you a king?” Jesus answered: “You yourself are saying that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone that is on the side of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:36, 37)

What did he command his followers to do? “And 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; emphasis added)

The list of Bible texts about the kingdom of God is much longer than this in gact.

You are right about what Paul said in 1. Corinthians. He was declaring the good news about Jesus, which is of course closely related to the kingdom of God. Why? Because Jesus is king in this kingdom. So if Jesus had never been resurrected there wouldn’t be a kingdom of god. This is very simple, straight forward logic. But Paul also wrote about the kingdom of god. Take Romans 14 for example: “For the kingdom of God does not mean eating and drinking, but [means] righteousness and peace and joy with holy spirit.” (Romans 14:17; in fact the following verses are interesting as well).

Or take Colossians 1:13-23. I will only quote 2 verses here, because this is quite lengthy but go read the whole account. “He delivered us from the authority of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love,… Of this [good news] I Paul became a minister.“

What about the rest of the Bible? Does it say anything about the kingdom of god? Acts 8:12 is very interesting! It shows that the “good news” is made up of several parts: “But when they believed Philip, who was declaring the GOOD NEWS of the KINGDOM OF GOD AND OF THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, they proceeded to be baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8:12; emphasis added). So here we see that what Paul wrote in 1. Corinthians and all the accounts about the kingdom of god are two sides of the same story!

Or consider Daniel 2:44: “’And 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;’”. The Jews in the days of Jesus were perfectly acquainted with texts like this. The concept of a kingdom of god was nothing new to them.

So if we sum it up: You are wron with your second major point too. The Jehovah's Witnesses' gospel of the "good news of the kingdom" IS in fact the gospel of Christ and his early followers. Plus the fulfilment of some prophecies that were not fulfilled in Jesus’ days. But not only JWs think that the gospel is made up of the salvation of Jesus AND the kingdom of god. In Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words it is said that in the Greek scriptures the gospel means the good news of the kingdom of god and of the salvation through Christ (although it is not stated what the kingdom of god exactly is).

So your whole article shows no substance. It is really shallow and shows that you did not even try to give a balanced view and you did obviously not open your Bible when you wrote it. Nevertheless you are blaming JWs for things you should blame yourself for. This is what I mean when I tell you that you are fooling people.

You see joepublish? What I ask from you is what you command others to do. Read with an open mind!

kimmy jo said...

ronde,
For your information:
I was a baptized JW for 17 years, loyal, faithful and blindly following along.
I left 8 years ago, not bitterly, not resentful, but with eyes open and running shoes on.
I have a wonderful life and I am blessed with peace that was not present while in the org.

Ronde said...

Kimmy Jo

"ronde,
For your information:
I was a baptized JW for 17 years, loyal, faithful and blindly
following along."

Well, I am almost to 22 years. As to loyal and faithful, those are vague words as to how you and I use them. But I don't and never blindly followed along. I always had my eyes opened. Infact, the day before I was baptized, I read a Randall Watters book.


"I left 8 years ago, not bitterly, not resentful, but with eyes open and running shoes on."

Why?? And it was uninformed as you did not talk to someone who knew anything, such as myself. So your leaving means that you left under uninformed circumstances.
For example, if you felt that the Watchtower is so important, you were misinformed.

And that is so typical of ones like yourself and everyone who leaves. They leave for the wrong reason. (There is never a right reason)

"I have a wonderful life and I am blessed with peace that was not present while in the org."

You don't have a wonderful life if you fell that 8 years later you have to write lies about a religion you know nothing about.

kimmy jo said...

ronde,
I used my God given thinking/reasoning ability and prayed ALOT. I encountered and shared conversation with many "informed" ones. I did not "worship the watchtower however, it was respectfully appreciated for direction and interpretation of the scriptures and as a learning tool. I am informed, believe me.
I did not share my observations or experiences with you nor did I give you a specific reason for leaving so PLEASE do not imply I am uninformed and left for the wrong reasons.
If you use the same criteria the JW's use to judge other religions to judge the JW's, they fail miserably by their own standards as the true religion.
DO NOT PLACE JUDGMENT ON ME, THAT IS SPECIFICALY FOR GOD AND HIS SON, JESUS.

kimmy jo said...

oh ronde,
I do not lie about what I know as fact, there is nothing for me to gain by lying. I know very well the religion(JW's) I speak of.

And I am happy for you that you read that Randall Walters book the day before your baptism, but I don't know what that means??

Yes, I do have a blessed, rich(with love)wonderful life. Are you jealous?

kevin said...

The basic problem, as I see it, is that the JW's don't believe the Scripture regarding Jehovah's Kingdom program; instead, they allegorize it away in favor of their Watchtower-centric "kingdom."

When Jesus arrived on the scene in the first century, He didn't have to add much regarding the logistics of the Kingdom; these were all laid out by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Daniel, Micah, etc. As Nathan said, the Jews were already fully expecting the Kingdom as laid out by these prophets. The Jews in Jesus' day had it right. The Kingdom was going to be a literal government on earth, with their Messiah as the King. The Abrahamic and Davidic covenants were to be fulfilled, literally, including the land and Kingdom promises to Israel. The Jews were not mistaken in their expectations. Their basic problem was that as a nation, at His first advent, they failed to recognize their King; in fact, they crucified Him, thinking He was an impostor.

One problem with the Witnesses is that they simply don't believe the OT prophets. Instead of taking the yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecies as written, at face value, they allegorize them, and substitute their own Watchtower organization for Israel. This is completely unwarranted, and is greatly dishonoring to Jehovah God. God meant what He said, and what He said, He said very plainly and clearly. Israel is Israel, not the Watchtower.

The unambiguously prophesied messianic Kingdom, with the Jewish Messiah ruling from Jerusalem over Israel, and in turn over the entire world, was put on hold due to Israel's unbelief (Rom chapters 9 through 11). Now, we are living in the "times of the gentiles," the "church" age, in which Paul's gospel at 1 Cor 15 is the main message to be preached (Gal 1:6-9).

At the end of the "times of the gentiles," the Kingdom will again be restored to Israel (Luke 21:24, Acts 1:6,7). Just before this happens, during the Tribulation, Matt 24:14 will be fulfilled to the letter. The good news of the Kingdom WILL be preached as a witness to all the nations, just before their "times" come to an abrupt end (Dan 2:44).

The Witnesses are preaching a counterfeit "Christian" gospel, and a distorted, allegorized "kingdom" message. Their kingdom message is premature. Matt 24:14 WILL be fulfilled to the letter, but the time for this message to be preached hasn't arrived yet. We are still living in the church age, and Paul's gospel (1 Cor 15) is still the primary gospel to be preached now.

If the number 144,000 in Rev 7 and 14 is literal, then so is Israel literal. These passages refer to events that will be occurring during the Tribulation, and again, the Witnesses' wresting these verses from their Tribulation context is premature. Their allegorized interpretation of them is unwarranted. The door is still open for millions more people to believe upon Christ in the true, Biblical sense, be born again, be wholly justified by the blood of the new covenant, and become members of Christ's body, who will reign with Him in His coming Kingdom.

Where will we find the truth? In the Person of Jesus Christ. Who on earth today has the truth? Whoever has the real Jesus (John 14:6). I believe you'll find millions of genuinely Spirit-begotten sons and daughters of God among the many thousands of conservative, Bible-believing evangelical churches around the world.

Do all genuine Christians fully grasp all the eschatological details of the coming Kingdom? No. But neither do they need to. Their salvation is not dependent on it. And, quite likely, they'll be removed from the earth (temporarily) before the Tribulation even begins (1 Thes 4:15-17). But, they'll be back to reign with their Lord during the 1,000 years (Rev 20:6).

It's all there in the Bible: the Kingdom, Israel, the 144,000, the necessity of being born again in order to either see or enter the Kingdom (John 3:3-5), Christ's visible return ("every eye will see Him"), the lake of fire, etc. Our job as Christians is to BELIEVE the Scripture, not to allegorize it away.

Jesus did not return invisibly in 1914. That "gospel" is utter nonsense, and the promulgating of that teaching by Jehovah's Witnesses is a great reproach to Jehovah's name. Please, Jehovah's Witnesses, come to your senses. Figure out where we are in the scheme of Jehovah's Kingdom program (in the church age), and find your place in it (in the church).

Jehovah's Kingdom program will progress like clockwork, exactly as prophesied by the OT prophets, and Jesus, Peter, Paul and John, etc. Let's all be very careful that we're BELIEVING the Scripture as written, and not allegorizing it away as Jehovah's Witnesses do.

So, who is fulfilling Matt 24:14 today? No one. It's not time yet. Jesus didn't command Christians to fulfill it; he simply prophesied that the event would take place before the end comes. And, it will. And, when it does, we can be certain that it will be the CORRECT Kingdom message, not any "Michael the archangel has been ruling invisibly since 1914" nonsense.

frank said...

Matthew don't put words in my mouth

young witnesses who love this world will not stay in the organization you might be one of them.
You are so stubborn you cannot see the wisdom from above.
nO wonder Jesus said: Matthew 15:26

In answer he said: “It is not right to take the bread of the children and throw it to little dogs.”
for you "big dogs" go figure

Anonymous said...

Joepublish, Kimmy
you have no idea about what you are talking about.

are you sure you are not the ones who have been brainwashed?

Matthew said...

Welcome back Frank! I didn't put words in your mouth. Maybe it is YOU who is stubborn?

Some people get so involved in the cult that they have lost sight of true reality. You live in a delusion. Maybe it a safe haven for you. Or maybe it is the only option because you will lose all of your friends and family if you leave.

What a terrible feeling to know that you will lose all your friends and family if you left the organization. Pretty pathetic actually. How many people have you shunned (destroyed)?

Why would you want to dedicate yourself to such an erroneous man-made organization.

They are not the "truth". Some day you will see. :) Hopefully sooner than later so you can get some joy out of the only guarantee, which is life right here and now.

kimmy jo said...

"Anonymous said...
Joepublish, Kimmy
you have no idea about what you are talking about.

are you sure you are not the ones who have been brainwashed"


AnonymousE,
I am glad to not be part of the group that you and ronde belong to. I bet Joepublish would feel the same as I.

Nathan said...

hey governingbodyletters! I consider your silence on my posting as quiet agreement. So would you please remove the article "This Good News of The Kingdom" or tell me why you don't think the my answer crushed it. Thank you.

kimmy jo said...

hey nathan, kevin did a pretty good job answering you.

Nathan said...

hey kimmy jo. first, kevin is not governingbodyletters. second, kevin just brought in some kind of third opinion. third, since his opinion is completely different, he didn't touch my points. he just presented some weird idea, that the kingdom of god will be on earth in a direct way, having its throne in Jerusalem.

Ronde said...

Kevin:

"The JW's are teaching the young people of the organization on how to succeed in life!"

Yes, those that follow the teachings of the Bible do succeed. Those that don't, don't.


" They are teaching them that the organization is a LIE and that they have been fed nothing but garbage their first 2 decades of life and in order for them to TRULY succeed then they need to leave the organization!"

Well, since all you can say is gibberish, you have learned nothing. Why don't you say something with meat.


"Thank you for that! I LOVE the fact that the young ones are leaving in droves!! You can sit in your conventions and preach about how terrible the world and an education is but the young ones do NOT buy it! Awesome!"

And they do drugs, go broke and hang with the hood.

Matthew said...

Ronde, just like the typical JW and taking stuff out of context.

"And they do drugs, go broke and hang with the hood."

This again is very typical. JW's like to paint a picture of what happens to people when they leave the organization. The fact of the matter, I can GUARANTEE that they do a million times better than if they were still in the organization.

But, you like to create a sense of fear. Something that is driven into them from early on in your JW's life. I am sorry that you have to experience this and sad that you have to instill fears in others that you "love" in order for them to stay in the organization.

I am also sorry that you are afraid to be on your own without your crutch, which is the JW organization. You will be better than fine if you decide to leave. In fact, you will be liberated! You have no idea what it will be like for you to feel FREE!

Will some ex-JW's turn to drugs and alcohol? Absolutely. Sadly, the pressures that the family and "friends" put on them for leaving the organization is to much to handle. You would be amazed at how damaging it feels for your own parents and family to shun you. So, some will turn to something that will compensate for this loss and that is alcohol and/or drugs.

Alcohol use is already pretty rampant within the organization. As is mental disorders. Shoot, look at the JW Elder that blew himself up and the Kingdom Hall up a few weeks back.

The Watchtower organization is pure evil and will stop at nothing to destroy people in God's name.

Hopefully you will get to feel what it is like to be free in the near future!

kevin said...

Hi Nathan,

My "weird idea" is straight out of the mouths of the prophets. What do you think David (in the Psalms), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah and Micah, meant by the term "Israel" when they prophesied regarding the millennial kingdom? (Truthfully, I doubt that at my prompting, you'll read these prophets for yourself, so, at the next Watchtower study, please look up the OT "Kingdom" prophecies, as they're quoted in the WT, and see what the prophets' original words were. You'll see that they ALL refer to Christ's reign over ISRAEL as a re-gathered nation, and in turn, over all the nations of the earth.) Would "kevin's weird idea" have been weird to these prophets? Of course not. Rather, the Watchtower's idea of applying all these future promises given to the nation Israel to the Watchtower Society would have been extraordinarily weird to them.

I suggest that if the plain sense of Scripture makes good sense, seek no other sense, lest you wind up with nonsense.

I'd ask that you read these prophets for yourselves, and tell us what they SAID. Then, once we see that you clearly understand what they SAID, you can explain to us why they didn't mean what they said.

Your labeling the plain sense of scripture as a "weird idea" is evidence that you're more of a Watchtower reader than you are a Bible reader. Don't let the Watchtower fool you. Jehovah God, through the prophets, meant what He said, whether you choose to believe it or not.

A "faithful and discreet slave" interpreter is only needed for those who refuse to believe the Bible as written. The Bible really is not that hard to understand if you're willing to believe what it says. If you're unwilling, well, then, you have to choose from among the many allegorizers out there. All of them, though, will give you hundreds, or thousands of reasons why the Bible doesn't really mean what it plainly says regarding the Kingdom, Israel, Christ's return, etc.

As an alternative to the F&DS, I suggest the grammatical-historical hermeneutic, or in plain english, the plain sense of Scripture. Again, may I suggest that you read the Bible for yourself, and find out what pictures it paints in plain, unambiguous language. I hold that THAT will be the correct "interpretation" of the Scripture, in the vast majority of cases. Jehovah didn't mean to trick us; He meant for us to understand these things, and He had the prophets prophesy accordingly, in plain, unambiguous language.

An uneducated truck driver will read the Bible and "get" its true meaning. Jehovah's Witnesses, on the other hand, refuse to believe the Scripture as written, and choose instead to rely on their F&DS to spoon feed them reasons why Israel is really the Watchtower Society, why "every eye will see him" really means that Christ's return will be invisible, etc. etc. Enough of that deadly, God-dishonoring nonsense!

Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.

Got to go; leaving on a trip tomorrow...

Ronde said...

Kimmy Jo said"
"DO NOT PLACE JUDGMENT ON ME, THAT IS SPECIFICALY FOR GOD AND HIS SON, JESUS."

But you don't believe in God and his son. You left the congregation that Jesus oversees. Sorry.

Ronde said...

Kevin said:
"The basic problem, as I see it, is that the JW's don't believe the Scripture regarding Jehovah's Kingdom program; instead, they allegorize it away in favor of their Watchtower-centric "kingdom.""

That is a stupid statement.

What makes is stupid is that you put the Watchtower in everything.

"The Kingdom was going to be a literal government on earth, with their Messiah as the King."

That is not correct. The kingdom is to be in heaven, ruling over the earth. Heavenly Jerusalem.

Thus you need to use the whole Bible.

"One problem with the Witnesses is that they simply don't believe the OT prophets. Instead of taking the yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecies as written, at face value, they allegorize them, and substitute their own Watchtower organization for Israel."

On the contrary we believe the Hebrew scriptures very much.

We don't substitute anything. We see them as kingdom prophesies.

"At the end of the "times of the gentiles," the Kingdom will again be restored to Israel "

Not literal Israel as that means nothing. No one knows who is Israel. That is why it is with spiritual Israel.

You need to learn what the bible says and what JWs believe before you comment. You make yourself look stupid.

Ronde said...

Those that leave the congregation get a bad spirit. That is why they can not carry on a civilized conversation.

Ronde said...

Nathan said:
"hey governingbodyletters! I consider your silence on my posting as quiet agreement. So would you please remove the article "This Good News of The Kingdom" or tell me why you don't think the my answer crushed it. Thank you. "

Nathan, None of them are interested in the truth or responding. They can't because their script does not account for it.

They are just mean spirited without hope.

kimmy jo said...

ronde you said:
"But you don't believe in God and his son. You left the congregation that Jesus oversees. Sorry."

I do believe in Jehovah God and his son Jesus! Jesus absolutely does not oversee your group!!!! What a joke......Jesus is not a liar.

kevin said...

Rhonde,

You say, "We don't substitute anything..." then, "Not literal Israel...it is with spiritual Israel."

Two opposite things can't be true. It's either one or the other.

My contention is that your substitution of "spiritual Israel" for Israel in unfulfilled OT prophecy is without warrant.

Got to run...

Kevin

Governing Body Letters said...

It does not matter how much preaching Jehovah's Witnesses do, what they preach is not what the early Christians preached. Jehovah's Witnesses have perverted the word of God and have added to the sacred message. Thus, they are condemned by God. This article does not cloud the real issue. The real issue is that Jehovah's Witnesses preach a different gospel than the one that Christians were taught to preach in the Bible. Do not be deceived. The Bible warns us not to add or detract from the word of God. The Watchtower organization adds to the gospel message and even says that their message is more important than Jesus' message. No one should add to the Word of God for any reason, no one.

Governing Body Letters said...

The apostles taught that in order to be saved one must believe in Jesus and his sacrifice. The Watchtower teaches than in order to be saved you must attend all of its meetings, spend a certain amount of hours in field service, don't take blood transfusions, and a whole, long list of rules, rules and more rules. Salvation to the Watchtower is not by grace it is by works. They have perverted the Word of God, which is pure and full of love. They are the apostates and are condemned by Jehovah.

Ronde said...

Kimmy Jo

"I do believe in Jehovah God and his son Jesus! Jesus absolutely does not oversee your group!!!! What a joke......Jesus is not a liar."

In Revelation Jesus told John to write to congregations.
Paul wrote to congregations.

Thus congregations is essential to true worship. Why do you go against that?

Ronde said...

Kevin:

"
My contention is that your substitution of "spiritual Israel" for Israel in unfulfilled OT prophecy is without warrant."

We are not substituting anything. Anyone that believes that literal Israel means anything is denying that Jesus was the Christ. When Christ died, the old covenant died and the new was established with spiritual Israel.

That is quite elementary.

Ronde said...

GBLetters said;

"what they preach is not what the early Christians preached"

Is it supposed to be?

They did not have the kingdom established when they preached. It is established now when we preach.

"Jehovah's Witnesses have perverted the word of God and have added to the sacred message."

A childish generalization.

"Thus, they are condemned by God."

Whoa....

"Watchtower organization"

What does this mean?


FYI, we are not adding to the word of God, we are preaching the fulfilled message of God.

Ronde said...

GBLetters said :"
The apostles taught that in order to be saved one must believe in Jesus and his sacrifice."

And you know this how?

" The Watchtower teaches than in order to be saved you must attend all of its meetings,"

Well, what meetings does the Watchtower have other than it's annual meeting?


" spend a certain amount of hours in field service,

Nothing to do with salvation.

" don't take blood transfusions, and a whole, long list of rules, rules and more rules."

Where does one find this list of rules?


" Salvation to the Watchtower is not by grace it is by works. They have perverted the Word of God, which is pure and full of love. They are the apostates and are condemned by Jehovah. "


Well, in the end we will be saved but you will not be.

Nathan said...

Hey kevin. Unfortunately there are two major errors in your argumentation. The first is, that you only use the Old Testament for your point. Why do you think that the New Testament was written? Well to give people more insight and to make the prophecies of the Bible complete. Your second error is, that you said that the old prophets were only talking about Israel on earth. That is simply not true, as we will see shortly.

Actually it should be enough what Jesus told Pilate: “My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.” Therefore Pilate said to him: “Well, then, are you a king?” Jesus answered: “You yourself are saying that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone that is on the side of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:36, 37). When the kingdom of Jesus is not part of the world it cannot be Israel on earth. QED.

How does Paul call the “new” Israel? “For neither is circumcision anything nor is uncircumcision, but a new creation [is something]. And all those who will walk orderly by this rule of conduct, upon them be peace and mercy, even upon the Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:15, 16). Obviously the citizens of the Israel of God don’t have to be Jews. Further, where should this Israel of God be? Again it is Paul who tells us, where those “who will walk orderly by this rule of conduct” belong: “As for us, our citizenship exists in the heavens, from which place also we are eagerly waiting for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). So this Israel will not be on earth, but in heaven.

What have OT prophets to say to this? “And I shall certainly sow her like seed for me in the earth, and I will show mercy to her who was not shown mercy, and I will say to those not my people: “You are my people”; and they, for their part, will say: “[You are] my God.”’”” (Hosea 2:23). How do we know that the sentence of God that he will call those who are not his people will be called his people, can be applied here? Again, the NT tells us: “If, now, God, although having the will to demonstrate his wrath and to make his power known, tolerated with much long-suffering vessels of wrath made fit for destruction, in order that he might make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory, namely, us, whom he called not only from among Jews but also from among nations, [what of it]? It is as he says also in Hosea: “Those not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved ‘beloved’” (Romans 9:22-25; go and compare with Isaiah 10:21, 22 and Romans 9:27). The clear evidence that not only Jews will belong to this Israel of God.

Revelation too is talking about a new Jerusalem. So if we sum up: There will be a new Jerusalem. The Jerusalem that is in Israel is the same old city. Noting new! Where will those who belong to this Jerusalem or Israel live? Paul said in heaven! Interestingly he used the term “citizenship”! And finally not only Jews belong to this Israel, but also other people, so it would definitely not make sense to establish the throne of Jesus in Jerusalem. And don’t forget what Jesus said about his kingdom himself.

Not so easy reading the Bible, isn’t it Kevin?

Nathan said...

Governing Body Letters said
It does not matter how much preaching Jehovah's Witnesses do, what they preach is not what the early Christians preached. Jehovah's Witnesses have perverted the word of God and have added to the sacred message. Thus, they are condemned by God. This article does not cloud the real issue. The real issue is that Jehovah's Witnesses preach a different gospel than the one that Christians were taught to preach in the Bible. Do not be deceived. The Bible warns us not to add or detract from the word of God. The Watchtower organization adds to the gospel message and even says that their message is more important than Jesus' message. No one should add to the Word of God for any reason, no one.

--------------------------------

This does not even touch one of my arguments. This is just repetition, but now being in the light of your wrong arguments. So this is really interesting


Governing Body Letters said
The apostles taught that in order to be saved one must believe in Jesus and his sacrifice. The Watchtower teaches than in order to be saved you must attend all of its meetings, spend a certain amount of hours in field service, don't take blood transfusions, and a whole, long list of rules, rules and more rules. Salvation to the Watchtower is not by grace it is by works. They have perverted the Word of God, which is pure and full of love. They are the apostates and are condemned by Jehovah.

---------------------------------

This touches the points I mentioned only a little on the surface. If this really was the reason for your article you would have written it different. Why don’t you admit that your reasoning was just wrong?

Nevertheless I will also answer you on this. True, this is what the apostles said, believing in Jesus and his sacrifice. But what does that mean? Is it enough to say: “oh I believe in Jesus” and then you go and kill your brother? Do you really believe the God can be fooled? What did James tell us? Go and read James 2:14-26. I will only quote two verses here: “Of what benefit is it, my brothers, if a certain one says he has faith but he does not have works? That faith cannot save him, can it?... Indeed, as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (James 2:14 and 26). So we clearly see that believing in Jesus means that works must be included. Now we could discussed what kind of works James was talking about. But the Bible is full of it. This should be up of a different thread. But if one teaches today the faith alone is not enough, he is pretty right!

Now let’s get a little specific. Please provide evidence that JWs teach that in order to be saved one “must attend all… meetings”! Quotations out of the literature will be accepted. Maybe you present something that was written at least after 1990.

Please provide evidence that JWs teach that in order to be saved one must “spend a certain amount of hours in field service”! Please also provide how many hours this certain amount is! Quotations out of the literature will be accepted. Maybe you present something that was written at least after 1990. This question is not simply about preaching about God, but about a certain amount of time!

Please provide evidence that JWs teach that in order to be saved one must not “take blood transfusions”. Quotations out of the literature will be accepted. Maybe you present something that was written at least after 1990. This question is not about the law of abstaining from blood (Acts 2:25), but about that nobody who took a blood transfusion will be saved.

I think you will have pretty hard time providing evidence for what you said!

kevin said...

Ronde,

Yes, you are "substituting anything." You are saying that in hundreds of OT prophecies, "Israel" doesn't really mean "Israel"; it means "spiritual Israel". You're adding the word and concept "spiritual," which does not occur in the original texts. The prophets prophesied regarding "Israel"; you say they were prophesying regarding "spiritual Israel", an entirely different concept from what the prophets meant by "Israel."

Yes, Jesus fulfilled the old (Mosaic) covenant. However, this fulfillment does not do away with the nation Israel. The old covenant failed because no one could keep it. So, God made a new covenant WITH THE SAME NATION ISRAEL:

Jer 31: 31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH, 32 not like the covenant which I made with THEIR FOREFATHERS in the day I took THEM by the hand to BRING THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them, “declares the LORD. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Jeremiah prophesied that Jehovah would make the new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; the SAME houses of Israel and Judah that the old covenant was made with! The same Israel and Judah that He brought out of the land of Egypt. The same Israel and Judah that broke the old covenant. How could this text have been any more clear? Your "spiritual Israel" was never under the old covenant, was not brought out of Egypt, and never broke the old covenant. The fulfillment of this prophecy with Israel as a nation is yet future, although we, as Christians, find this new covenant graciously being applied to us, even before it has its primary fulfillment in the nation Israel.

Nathan,

Using only the OT to make my point, should I choose to do so, is not an "error." The OT is just as accurate true as the NT; I think you'll agree with me on that. But, if you prefer the NT, there's plenty there, as well...

Luke 1:32: the Lord God will give Him [Jesus] the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever

Luke 21: 24: Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles UNTIL the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

Matt. 23:37   “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38 “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39 “For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me UNTIL you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord !’”

Acts 1:6   And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;

The disciples asked Jesus this question after Jesus had just spent 40 days with them, speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God:

Acts 1:3: To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.

From your view, you must conclude that for the apostles to ask the question that they did, either Jesus was a lousy teacher, or the apostles were really stupid. which was it? Or, is there another alternative that I'm missing?

My point is that from the OT prophets, and the accounts written in the synoptic gospels (Matt, Mark, Luke), and the 40 days that Jesus spent after His resurrection, speaking to them about the Kingdom of God, the apostles had an excellent understanding of what the Kingdom would look like when it came. The only important thing they didn't know was the TIME element, and it is ONLY THIS that they asked Jesus about. And this is the ONLY thing Jesus responded to, by saying that it wasn't for them to know the TIME. In your view, why did Jesus blow the last opportunity that he had to correct the apostles on their messianic Jewish concept of the Kingdom? He didn't hesitate to correct the apostles severely in the past when they had erroneous ideas; why His silence now, if their understanding was so far off base?

Again, Rev 7 and 14 speak specifically of a literal number 144,000 being sealed from the literal tribes of Israel. (And yes, Dan is omitted, but Ephraim and Menasseh are still literal sons of Joseph.)

Romans 9 through 11 makes for very interesting reading along these lines. In summary, Israel has not been cast off forever, but has been blinded for a time, until the full number of Gentiles have come in...

Rom. 11:25:   For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel UNTIL the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” 27 “And this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” 28 From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

"My kingdom is not from this source." The source of the Roman empire was the earth. The source of Christ's kingdom is heaven. Jesus and His bride will return from heaven to rule the earth.

"When the kingdom of Jesus is not part of the world it cannot be Israel on earth." I think you're confusing your verses here. Jesus said that His followers were "no part of the world" (John 15:19). The Kingdom is not the subject of this verse. (Or, it you had another verse in mind, please let me know.)

"How does Paul call the 'new' Israel?" I'm not familiar with a "new Israel". Chapter and verse, please?

Gal 6:12: Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

The Israel of God is composed of Israelites that belong to God, "spiritual" Israel, if you will, in contrast with "fleshly" Israel and "spiritual" Gentiles. There is no reference in this passage to any allegorical "spiritual Israel" comprised of both Jews and Gentiles. You therefore have no basis for applying verse 16 in your effort to nullify the literal fulfillment of literally HUNDREDS of yet unfulfilled prophecies given to the nation Israel. (By the way, a hundred or so of these OT prophecies have already been fulfilled, LITERALLY, during Christ's first coming. For instance, Jesus was born of a literal virgin, in literal Bethlehem. If these hundred or so already-fulfilled prophecies regarding Jesus were fulfilled literally, isn't that a pretty good hermeneutical clue for us, when interpreting those yet to be fulfilled?)

It's odd that you quote Phil 3:20:

“As for us, our citizenship exists in the heavens, from which place also we are eagerly waiting for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20)."

Yes, Christians' citizenship is in the heavens, and yes, we await Jesus "FROM HEAVEN." From heaven, to where? To heaven? No, Jesus will be in heaven UNTIL the time of restoration of all things:

Acts 3:21: whom heaven must receive UNTIL the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

He's coming back to earth, Nathan. Again, read the OT prophets, and please don't allegorize or "spiritualize" away what they said.

Yes, the church (the Bride of Christ, Christ's body) is made up of both Jews and Gentiles. We have no disagreement on that. In what way, though, does this negate the national promises given to Israel?

Yes, there are two Jerusalems: one on earth in Israel, and the "new Jerusalem" in heaven. And yes, the new Jerusalem is in heaven, UNTIL it descends out of heaven to earth (Rev 21:2, 10). This new Jerusalem descends out of heaven AFTER Christ's 1,000-year reign. In the interim, the "old" Jerusalem is still here on earth, and will be throughout the millennium.

OK, now I'm very late getting to bed, and I've got a busy day ahead of me, and a VERY busy week coming up. So, I may not be able to answer for a few days. (Doing a trade show, 8a to 6p every day, then business meetings/dinners in the evenings; won't have any free time to speak of until I return home next Monday.)

Nathan said...

Hey Kevin. Well the OT is as accurate as the NT, but I don’t agree with you that you can use the one without the other when discussing such a big issue. Only if you consider both you get the whole picture. So the question is not whether I prefer the NT, but what both testaments have to say on the matter under discussion.

ad Luke 1:32: of course Jesus will rule over the house of Jacob, since he was/is the legal heir of the throne of David. But this does not say anything about the actual kingdom! Through other verses we see that Jesus’ kingdom is in fact much bigger than just Judah! Further, this text says nothing about the location of the kingdom.

ad Luke 21:24: True, Jesus was talking about Jerusalem here. But when these things took place, Jerusalem and Judah had already lost their position as Holy nation! Moreover Jesus was talking here about the physical destruction of Jerusalem. This has nothing to do with the kingdom of God! And the text does not say anything about what should happen to Jerusalem afterwards! Is this just the opinion of JWs? No, this is generally acknowledged. Take for example the Commentary of F. C. Cook. He states in direct Link to this text, that the phrase “the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” serves to distinguish between the destruction of Jerusalem and the Last Days.

ad Matthew 23:37-39: Well now let me quote what you said yourself to me (although your use was not justified): “I think you're confusing your verses here. … The Kingdom is not the subject of this verse.” These verses are talking about Jerusalem and that it would be desolated. It is interesting to consider the context. Jesus was here talking a lot ABOUT the Pharisees, but he was talking TO the crowds and his disciples (see Matthew 23:1 which is the start of this account). What he said in verse 39 is a quotation of Psalms 118:26. Jesus used it here to show that he is the Messiah, which was the thing Psalms was actually pointing to. Of course his disciples would say this again, when Jesus would return as was prophesied. But this says absolutely nothing about where his kingdom should be!

ad Acts 1:6 and your reasoning: Well since you don’t share my point of view, you obviously don’t know what conclusions can be drawn from it. Of course Jesus was the most excellent teacher. But he often taught things in a way that people did not understand it! A lot of times, his disciples asked him, after the crowds went away, what he was meaning. So they did not understand a lot of things! Does that mean that they were stupid? Not at all. Jesus taught how he taught on purpose! Take Peter for example. What he said to Jesus clearly shows that the apostles did not believe that Jesus would really die the way he did. “From that time forward Jesus Christ commenced showing his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the older men and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised up. At this Peter took him aside and commenced rebuking him, saying: “Be kind to yourself, Lord; you will not have this [destiny] at all.” But, turning his back, he said to Peter: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you think, not God’s thoughts, but those of men.” (Matthew 16:21-23). The apostles had three and a half year with Jesus but didn’t even grasp these elementary things! And you conclude that they would know everything about the kingdom and that even before Holy Spirit was poured out on them?

But interestingly, although they did not know a lot of details, and misunderstood several things, it was Jesus himself who said something remarkable about their understanding of the kingdom: “So the disciples came up and said to him: “Why is it you speak to them by the use of illustrations?” In reply he said: “To YOU it is granted to understand the sacred secrets of the kingdom of the heavens, but to those people it is not granted.” (Matthew 13:10-11). What sacred secret did they understand? The sacred secret of the kingdom of the HEAVENS!

So although it don’t seems to be a valid conclusion, that they knew everything about the kingdom after those 40 days, there was one thing they knew even before Jesus died: The kingdom would be in heaven (true they did not know that from the first day they spent with Jesus, but obviously when he made the statement!

You put it like Jesus wanted to make sure that the apostles knew everything before he left. In fact they did not understand a lot of things then. Even when the Holy Spirit was poured out on them later, they did not get everything right in the beginning.

ad Revelation 7 and 14: Why do you think that the 144,000 are being sealed from the literal tribes of Israel? First of all, did you ever think about why the tribes in Revelation differ from the typical counting? There must be a reason for that!

In this context it is interesting that it is you, who speaks about Romans 9. Read for example Romans 9:6-8: “However, it is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all who [spring] from Israel are really “Israel.” 7 Neither because they are Abraham’s seed are they all children, but: “What will be called ‘your seed’ will be through Isaac.” 8 That is, the children in the flesh are not really the children of God, but the children by the promise are counted as the seed.“ (Romans 9:6-8). Paul states clearly that not all people from Israel will be the “real Israel”! And not the children in the flesh are the children, but only the children by the promise are counted as the seed! So literal Israel does just not matter when it comes to the kingdom!

By the way, here we can put in what Paul said in his letter to the Hebrews, which makes it pretty clear. Let us first look up Hebrews 10:11: “For he (Abraham) was awaiting the city having real foundations, the builder and maker of which [city] is God.” What was Abraham awaiting? The city having REAL foundations. The BUILDER of the city is God. The MAKER of the city is God! So it can’t be a man made city! But it gets even more interesting. Let us also consider the verses 13-16 (only verse 16 quoted here): “But now they are reaching out for a better [place], that is, one belonging to heaven. Hence God is not ashamed of them, to be called upon as their God, for he has made a city ready for them.” A place in heaven, a city! This is pretty clear language here! The New Jerusalem, the domicile of the kingdom of God Jesus was preaching.

Galatians makes it even clearer. Paul shows, that it does not matter if one is a Jew or not: “YOU are all, in fact, sons of God through YOUR faith in Christ Jesus. For all of YOU who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female; for YOU are all one [person] in union with Christ Jesus. Moreover, if YOU belong to Christ, YOU are really Abraham’s seed, heirs with reference to a promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29). Again this is straight forward!

ad Romans 11: In Romans 11 Paul compares Israel to an olive. He shows beyond any doubt that most of the Jews were cut of this tree and that people from the nations were put into the tree as new branches. This again shows that it does not matter if you are a literal Jew. Thus there is no reason to think that the kingdom of God will be in literal Jerusalem.

Romans 11:25 says nothing, but that the fullness of Gentiles must come in. This again shows that it is not important if you are a Jew or not! So your reasoning about Revelation 7 and 14 can not be applied.

Jesus did not only say that his kingdom is not from this source! Now we end up where you did not read my posting properly! I did not confuse my verses! I did not quote the text where Jesus said that his followers should not be part of the world. The verse I had in mind was entirely quoted in my last posting, the source of the quotation included. But I will quote it again here for you:

“My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.” Therefore Pilate said to him: “Well, then, are you a king?” Jesus answered: “You yourself are saying that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone that is on the side of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:36, 37).

It seems a little strange that you quoted my sentence “When the kingdom of Jesus is not part of the world it cannot be Israel on earth”, but you didn’t find the text quotation, since it was in the same paragraph. But never mind. This text alone should be enough of a proof! Jesus uses plain language and shows that his kingdom is no part of the world! So it is NOT in literal Israel!

We get it from Revelation that there will be a “New Jerusalem”. This alone is interesting. If the old, literal Israel was enough, we wouldn’t nee any “New Israel”. But again, I already quoted the text in which Paul uses another name for the “New Jerusalem”! All you had to do was to read! Here it is again: “For neither is circumcision anything nor is uncircumcision, but a new creation [is something]. And all those who will walk orderly by this rule of conduct, upon them be peace and mercy, even upon the Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:15, 16). In the Israel of God people don’t have to be literal Jews!

The reference to a spiritual Israel you get from the context of the Bible. Go back and read what Paul said in Hebrews (I already quoted this above). He spoke about this new city in heaven!

In fact you don’t have any basis to say that the Israel of God is composed of Israelites, since Paul says clearly that one does not have to be a literal Jew to belong to this Israel. But after your paragraph about the Israel of God I was not so sure anymore what you are talking about. In your first posting it appeared that you only believe in the kingdom of God on earth. In your last posting you say that there will be “something” on earth AND “something” in heaven. My only point is that the kingdom of God has its seat in heaven and that the kings of this kingdom are no humans. I never said that people on earth will not see what this kingdom does.

It’s odd that I quoted Philippians 3:20? Why should that be odd? Let’s read it again: “As for us, our citizenship exists in the heavens, from which place also we are eagerly waiting for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20)."

The citizenship of anointed Christians belongs to heaven. So they will live in heaven! In a city, because that is what the word citizenship means! Which city? The New Jerusalem! Persons living in heaven can’t be humans, because humans can’t go to heaven. So they will stay in heaven and won’t be humans. So what kind of earthly kingdom do you mean?

Again, I never said that Jesus won’t have a second presence here on earth. But this does not say anything about the seat of the kingdom. If you link all those passages of the Bible together it becomes so clear that the kingdom will be in heaven and that there is Christ’s second presence.

Moreover, when you speak of Acts 3:21: There it is only spoken about the restoration of all things, not the restoration of literal Israel as the seat of the kingdom. The rest of the verse has only to do with Chrit’s presence not with the seat of the kingdom.

I want to point it out once more Kevin. Nobody says that Jesus won’t be coming again. JWs don’t say that. But it is so clear that the kingdom of God belongs to heaven! Further Jesus’ presence won’t be as a human! When he was resurrected and appeared to his disciples he was no human! He was a spirit creature who used a body as vehicle. Nothing else. He will never become a human again! But no one said that Jesus won’t turn his attention to the earth.

Nevertheless, this has nothing to do with literal Israel. And literal Israel has nothing to do with the kingdom of God! If you still don’t understand that, here are some more scriptural proofs:

“From that time on Jesus commenced preaching and saying: “Repent, YOU people, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.”” (Matthew 4:17)

“The Lord will deliver me from every wicked work and will save [me] for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (2. Timothy 4:18). Paul knew that he would go to heaven and that the kingdom would be in heaven!

“This is why I say to YOU, The kingdom of God will be taken from YOU and be given to a nation producing its fruits.“ (Matthew 21:43). This clearly shows that the kingdom was taken away from Israel. So why should it serve as interims kingdom during the millennium?
„While they were listening to these things he spoke in addition an illustration, because he was near Jerusalem and they were imagining that the kingdom of God was going to display itself instantly. 12 Therefore he said: “A certain man of noble birth traveled to a distant land to secure kingly power for himself and to return. 13 Calling ten slaves of his he gave them ten mi´nas and told them, ‘Do business till I come.’ 14 But his citizens hated him and sent out a body of ambassadors after him, to say, ‘We do not want this [man] to become king over us.’15 “Eventually when he got back after having secured the kingly power, he commanded to be called to him these slaves to whom he had given the silver money, in order to ascertain what they had gained by business activity. 16 Then the first one presented himself, saying, ‘Lord, your mi´na gained ten mi´nas.’ 17 So he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because in a very small matter you have proved yourself faithful, hold authority over ten cities.’ 18 Now the second came, saying, ‘Your mi´na, Lord, made five mi´nas.’ 19 He said to this one also, ‘You, too, be in charge of five cities.’ 20 But a different one came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mi´na, that I kept laid away in a cloth. 21 You see, I was in fear of you, because you are a harsh man; you take up what you did not deposit and you reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I judge you, wicked slave. You knew, did you, that I am a harsh man, taking up what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Hence why is it you did not put my silver money in a bank? Then on my arrival I would have collected it with interest.’ 24 “With that he said to those standing by, ‘Take the mi´na from him and give it to him that has the ten mi´nas.’ 25 But they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten mi´nas!’— 26 ‘I say to YOU, To everyone that has, more will be given; but from the one that does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 27 Moreover, these enemies of mine that did not want me to become king over them BRING here and slaughter them before me.’”” (Luke 19:11-27). This shows what happened to the nation of Israel.
Kevin I am not really sure if you know exactly what you believe about the kingdom (because your last paragraphs don’t fit the rest of your postings), but the truth is that God’s kingdom is in heaven and that the nation of Israel lost its special privileges. This has been proved beyond a doubt.

kevin said...

Hi Nathan,

Your exegesis (or eisegesis, really) is quite sloppy, and sounds like just parroted Watchtower stuff. For further study, may I recommend works by Alva McClain, John Walvoord, George Peters, Dwight Pentecost and Norm Geisler. I'd recommend starting with Alva McClain's "The Greatness of the Kingdom." (Of course, the Bible is all that any of us really need, but you've got a lot of stuff that needs to be un-learned, before you can accept the raw truth from Scripture, and these authors would be of great help to you regarding the doctrine of the Kingdom.)

You're so far off base on so many basic Christian doctrines, you may want to start with Dr. Geisler's Systematic Theology. For instance, Jesus is both fully God and fully man; you believe neither. This forum is too small to effectively debate all these intertwined issues.

As someone once commented of me 26 years ago, "he is so lost in that thing"; I now see the same with you. I will be praying that God will open your eyes to see that His word means what it says, as written, and that you may find saving faith in Jesus. He's really all that you need, my friend, and your soul will not rest until you find peace in Him.

Nathan said...

Thinking that you have the truth, and thus believing that God needs to open the eyes of those who don't share your opinion. Well but I can't see the basis for this.

True this forum might not be the nest place for detailed discussion, but I answered every single point of your post, so at least it is possible.

Maybe you shouldn't be that fast calling my exegesis sloppy. If you read your own postings again and see my answers, anyone here can see which ones contained profound knowledge.

You state your mere assertion that "Jesus is both fully God and fully man" as a fact. There is no reason for that. It seems that you don't want to answer on my reasoning regarding the kingdom. Well that is just fine, because the readers can judge for themselves. But maybe you want to proof (noit just assert) why Jesus is fully man and God. Have fun, because with the Bible alone, this will be impossible.

Through the years I got used to people who use phrases like "years ago I was as blid as you are now", "you don't understand the major points" (but they themselves don't provide any evidence for their viewpoint), and many similar statements. All tsuch statements have something in common. They are a little arrogant and don't have any substance.

Tom Rook said...

I am happy to see Jehovah's Witnesses fighting back with reason, logic and scripture in the open arena of ideas.

Too long the apostates have had a much louder voice. MUCH louder.

Anybody that thinks these combats of words are fellowship with evil are looking at their navel from the inside.

You do not fight a war with the army you want ... you fight a war with army you have ... and unfortunately, and thankfully, ... we have to recruit from kind, gentle people that have very large, clumsy carbon footprints.

And led by spiritual men, guided by God in spiritual matters ONLY, that for two generations have discouraged intelligence and education.

I think...I know, that battle in this forum will help Jehovah' people immensely, as many of the accusations, and comments made here are true ... and many are not.

When everybody is speaking in agreement ... it indicates NO ONE is really thinking.

The Society used to have an open forum arena it did battle in...Radio Station WBBR, Staten Island. There was a bethelite that gave an account in the Awake that it was his job to keep the antenna tower painted.

This radio station broadcast to the good, the evil, the smart, the ignorant, the servants of God, and the apostates.

If it was right and proper for the Society to broadcast to apostate, it is right and proper for us to do battle in this arena.

Some battles we will lose because of newness in the truth, and inexperience, but fighting real and determined enemies will harden us for the next battle.

Jehovah's Witnesses have the Truth about God, Neutrality, Blood and a host of other issues... but if you do not fight evil...you LOSE BY DEFAULT.

Combat in open arena is NOT fellowship!!

Tom.Rook@Technik-SA.US

Nathan said...

hey tom rook!

said very well!

kevin said...

OK, Nathan, the trade show is done (I'll be traveling home tomorrow), and I have a little time this afternoon to respond to your comments.

[Later... I just pasted my comments, and had to enter a bunch of carriage returns manually; I may have missed a few places that still need carriage returns; if so, please forgive the formatting! I've got to run...]

"Hey Kevin. Well the OT is as accurate as the NT, but I don’t agree with you that you can use the one without the other when discussing such a big issue. Only if you consider both you get the whole picture. So the question is not whether I prefer the NT, but what both testaments have to say on the matter under discussion."

Agreed. I'm not advocating using just one or the other.

"ad Luke 1:32: of course Jesus will rule over the house of Jacob, since he was/is the legal heir of the throne of David. But this does not say anything about the actual kingdom! Through
other verses we see that Jesus’ kingdom is in fact much bigger than just Judah! Further, this text says nothing about the location of the kingdom."

Agreed, the Kingdom is much bigger than just Judah. But, my point is that Judah means Judah, not "spiritual Judah." Jesus is the rightful heir to the throne of David; the rightful ruler of the literal nation Israel. True, or not?

"ad Luke 21:24: True, Jesus was talking about Jerusalem here. But when these things took place, Jerusalem and Judah had already lost their position as Holy nation! Moreover Jesus was talking here about the physical destruction of Jerusalem. This has nothing to do with the kingdom of God! And the text does not say anything about what should happen to Jerusalem afterwards! Is this just the opinion of JWs? No, this is generally acknowledged. Take for example the Commentary of F. C. Cook. He states in direct Link to this text, that the phrase “the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” serves to distinguish between the destruction of Jerusalem and the Last Days."

My point is that national Israel's blindness is temporary (Rom chapters 9 to 11). In Luke 21:24, to whom was Jesus speaking, to literal Jerusalem, or a "spiritual Jerusalem"? He gave absolutely no indication that "you," meaning literal Jerusalem, really meant any allegorized "spiritual Jerusalem." As urged in my previous comments, please think carefully about the word UNTIL, and its application. No indication is given that there would be a permanent transfer of the Kingdom from Israel to some "spiritual Israel." Natural, national, repentant and restored Israel is always in view. Of course, this does not fit with WT eschatology, but the WT is wrong.

Ancient Israel was a theocracy. Now, there is no theocracy; we're in the "times of the Gentiles." When the "times of the Gentiles" are fulfilled, literal Jerusalem will no longer be trampled by the Gentiles, and the theocracy will be restored to Israel. If you read all the pertinent passages without Watchtower glasses on, this scenario is obvious.



"ad Matthew 23:37-39: Well now let me quote what you said yourself to me (although your use was not justified): “I think you're confusing your verses here. … The Kingdom is not the subject of this verse.” These verses are talking about Jerusalem and that it would be desolated. It is interesting to consider the context. Jesus was here talking a lot ABOUT the Pharisees, but he was talking TO the crowds and his disciples (see Matthew 23:1 which is the start of this account). What he said in verse 39 is a quotation of Psalms 118:26. Jesus used it here to show that he is the Messiah, which was the thing Psalms was actually pointing to. Of course his disciples would say this again, when Jesus would return as was prophesied. But this says absolutely nothing about where his kingdom should be!"

Sure it does. Jesus said in verse 39: "You [Jerusalem] shall not see Me UNTIL [there's that word again] you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." Jerusalem will see her King when she is ready to bless Jesus, her Messiah.

"ad Acts 1:6 and your reasoning: Well since you don’t share my point of view, you obviously don’t know what conclusions can be drawn from it. Of course Jesus was the most excellent teacher. But he often taught things in a way that people did not understand it! A lot of times, his disciples asked him, after the crowds went away, what he was meaning. So they did not understand a lot of things! Does that mean that they were stupid? Not at all. Jesus taught how he taught on purpose! Take Peter for example. What he said to Jesus clearly shows that the apostles did not believe that Jesus would really die the way he did. “From that time forward Jesus Christ commenced showing his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the older men and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised up. At this Peter took him aside and commenced rebuking him, saying: “Be kind to yourself, Lord; you will not have this [destiny] at all.” But, turning his back, he said to Peter: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you think, not God’s thoughts, but those of men.” (Matthew 16:21-23). The apostles had three and a half year with Jesus but didn’t even grasp these elementary things! And you conclude that they would know everything about the kingdom and that even before Holy Spirit was poured out on them?"

I think you're forgetting that although He spoke in parables to the multitudes, but He explained everything plainly to His disciples in private:

Matt. 13:11 And He answered and said to them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.

Mark 4:34 and He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples. 

"But interestingly, although they did not know a lot of details, and misunderstood several things, it was Jesus himself who said something remarkable about their understanding of the kingdom: “So the disciples came up and said to him: “Why is it you speak to them by the use of illustrations?” In reply he said: “To YOU it is granted to understand the sacred secrets of the kingdom of the heavens, but to those people it is not granted.” (Matthew 13:10-11). What sacred secret did they understand? The sacred secret of the kingdom of the HEAVENS!"

I thought you just said they did NOT understand Jesus' teaching about the kingdom? OK, so if they DID understand the "kingdom of the HEAVENS," why did they ask Him if He were restoring the kingdom to Israel in Acts 1:6? You seem to be as confused as you say the apostles were. My contention is that even if you are confused, the apostles were not. Their question, regarding the timing of Jesus' restoration of the Kingdom to the nation Israel, was a valid one, and Jesus answered it in a way that fits my understanding of the kingdom, rather than yours.

"So although it don’t seems to be a valid conclusion, that they knew everything about the kingdom after those 40 days, there was one thing they knew even before Jesus died: The kingdom would be in heaven (true they did not know that from the first day they spent with Jesus, but obviously when he made the statement!"

Yes, the Kingdom is both in heaven and on earth:

Eph. 1:10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fulness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. In Him

The New Jerusalem is in heaven; the old Jerusalem is on earth. Both are integral to the Kingdom.

"You put it like Jesus wanted to make sure that the apostles knew everything before he left. In fact they did not understand a lot of things then. Even when the Holy Spirit was poured out on them later, they did not get everything right in the beginning."

Regarding the church (the congregation), there was much that had not yet been revealed. But regarding the Kingdom, there was plenty that had already been revealed; so much so, that the apostles had a very clear view of what that would entail for their nation. (And Jesus taught absolutely nothing that would turn "Israel" into some kind of "spiritual Israel.")



"ad Revelation 7 and 14: Why do you think that the 144,000 are being sealed from the literal tribes of Israel? First of all, did you ever think about why the tribes in Revelation differ from the typical counting? There must be a reason for that!"

The question is why the sons of Joseph replaced the tribe of Dan in Rev 7 and 14; you can find detailed discussions on this through some Google searches. My point is that Ephraim and Menasseh are still tribes of LITERAL Israel. There is no mention of any "spiritual Ephriam and Menasseh" in the Bible, just as there is no mention of any "spiritual Israel." The entire "spiritual Israel" thing is a figment of the WT's imagination. (See my previous posts regarding the identity of the "real", spiritual Israelites, who were spiritual people, but not part of any allegorical "spiritual Israel.")

"In this context it is interesting that it is you, who speaks about Romans 9. Read for example Romans 9:6-8: “However, it is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all who [spring] from Israel are really “Israel.” 7 Neither because they are Abraham’s seed are they all children, but: “What will be called ‘your seed’ will be through Isaac.” 8 That is, the children in the flesh are not really the children of God, but the children by the promise are counted as the seed.“ (Romans 9:6-8). Paul states clearly that not all people from Israel will be the “real Israel”! And not the children in the flesh are the children, but only the children by the promise are counted as the seed! So literal Israel does just not matter when it comes to the kingdom!"

Right, not all people from Israel will be the "real Israel." Israel will be severely chastised and purified during the Tribulation, and a repentant remnant will then be ready to welcome their Messiah. Most of Israel at present is not of the faith of Abraham, and will not survive the chastising. But yes, Israel DOES matter when it comes to the Kingdom! They (literal Israel) were the theocracy in ancient times, and they will be again. (Literally hundreds of verses could be cited here in support of this idea.) The only way anyone can say that Israel does not matter when it comes to the kingdom, is if they allegorize away the promises given to Israel as a nation. I know this sounds bizarre from your point of view, but I also had your point of view at one time, and have since come to appreciate that the plain sense of Scripture makes good sense, not only regarding the Kingdom, but on every major point of doctrine.

A side note, while we're on this subject: I've come to believe that the WT is correct on all its doctrine that is based on the plain sense of Scripture (the lion lying down with the lamb during Christ's 1,0000-year reign, etc.) and incorrect on all its doctrine that is based on an allegorical (and in my opinion, an unbelieving) sense of Scripture (the bodily resurrection of Christ, the literal return of Christ, the identity of the 144,000, torment in the lake of fire, etc.). We have a choice to make: We can either believe the Bible as written, or we can believe people that say that it should not be believed as written. The former, I believe, leads to saving faith in Christ; the latter, I believe, leads to eternal condemnation and separation from the God who said what He meant, and meant what He said in the inspired Scripture.



"By the way, here we can put in what Paul said in his letter to the Hebrews, which makes it pretty clear. Let us first look up Hebrews 10:11: “For he (Abraham) was awaiting the city having real foundations, the builder and maker of which [city] is God.” What was Abraham awaiting? The city having REAL foundations. The BUILDER of the city is God. The MAKER of the city is God! So it can’t be a man made city! But it gets even more interesting. Let us also consider the verses 13-16 (only verse 16 quoted here): “But now they are reaching out for a better [place], that is, one belonging to heaven. Hence God is not ashamed of them, to be called upon as their God, for he has made a city ready for them.” A place in heaven, a city! This is pretty clear language here! The New Jerusalem, the domicile of the kingdom of God Jesus was preaching.

Agreed. The New Jerusalem, in heaven, is not man-made. (By the way, this passage teaches that the OT "worthies" will inhabit this heavenly city. They will not be relegated only to earthly life, as the WT teaches.)



"Galatians makes it even clearer. Paul shows, that it does not matter if one is a Jew or not: “YOU are all, in fact, sons of God through YOUR faith in Christ Jesus. For all of YOU who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female; for YOU are all one [person] in union with Christ Jesus. Moreover, if YOU belong to Christ, YOU are really Abraham’s seed, heirs with reference to a promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29). Again this is straight forward!"

Yes here Paul is discussing the "church" (the congregation), in which there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile. But his does not in any way negate the special promises given to Israel as a nation in the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants, and in the OT prophecies of David, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Malachi, etc. Jehovah's Kingdom program encompasses both the nation of Israel and the church (the congregation), without confusing the two.



"ad Romans 11: In Romans 11 Paul compares Israel to an olive. He shows beyond any doubt that most of the Jews were cut of this tree and that people from the nations were put into the tree as new branches. This again shows that it does not matter if you are a literal Jew. Thus there is no reason to think that the kingdom of God will be in literal Jerusalem."

Yes, we Gentiles in the church have been grafted into the natural olive tree, via the new covenant with Israel (Jer 31), which has graciously been applied to both Jews and Gentiles in the church during this dispensation. But we must not become arrogant (Rom 11:18):

Rom. 11:25   For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to [literal, national] Israel UNTIL [there's that word again] the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and thus all Israel [as a nation] will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from [literal] Zion, He will remove ungodliness from [literal] Jacob.” 27 “And this is My covenant with them [the nation Israel], When I take away their sins.” 28 From the standpoint of the gospel they [Nathan, who does Paul mean by "they"?] are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they [same group; literal, national Israel] are beloved for the sake of the fathers; 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. [Including all the promises including land promises and throne promises given to the LITERAL nation Israel]


"Romans 11:25 says nothing, but that the fullness of Gentiles must come in. This again shows that it is not important if you are a Jew or not! So your reasoning about Revelation 7 and 14 can not be applied."

As far as being part of the church goes, you're right. It matters not whether you're a Jew or a Gentile. But AFTER the fulness of the Gentiles comes in, and the church age or dispensation has come to a close, and the times of the Gentiles have come to an end, then what? THAT is the question of the day. Again, my contention is that there is no reason to place the events of Rev 7 and 14, which occur during the Tribulation, within the church (or congregation) age or dispensation.



"Jesus did not only say that his kingdom is not from this source! Now we end up where you did not read my posting properly! I did not confuse my verses! I did not quote the text where Jesus said that his followers should not be part of the world. The verse I had in mind was entirely quoted in my last posting, the source of the quotation included. But I will quote it again here for you: 

“My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.” Therefore Pilate said to him: “Well, then, are you a king?” Jesus answered: “You yourself are saying that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone that is on the side of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:36, 37).

Yes, OK, thank you for this clarification. But again, my point stands. The source of Jesus' Kingdom is heavenly, as is the stone in Daniel 2 that is cut out "without hands," yet crushes all the earthly kingdoms when Jesus returns. Jesus is from above; not from the earth.



"It seems a little strange that you quoted my sentence “When the kingdom of Jesus is not part of the world it cannot be Israel on earth”, but you didn’t find the text quotation, since it was in the same paragraph. But never mind. This text alone should be enough of a proof! Jesus uses plain language and shows that his kingdom is no part of the world! So it is NOT in literal Israel!"

Jesus' kingdom was not in literal Israel in the first century, because the Jews rejected their King! Scripture is plain, though, that they, as a future, severely disciplined and repentant nation, will not make the same mistake next time around.



"We get it from Revelation that there will be a “New Jerusalem”. This alone is interesting. If the old, literal Israel was enough, we wouldn’t nee any “New Israel”. But again, I already quoted the text in which Paul uses another name for the “New Jerusalem”! All you had to do was to read! Here it is again: “For neither is circumcision anything nor is uncircumcision, but a new creation [is something]. And all those who will walk orderly by this rule of conduct, upon them be peace and mercy, even upon the Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:15, 16). In the Israel of God people don’t have to be literal Jews!"

Many (most?) translations use "and" rather than "even." Again, in the Christian church, there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile. But this does NOT negate the difference between literal Israel and literal Gentile nations during the Tribulation and during the coming Kingdom age (Christ's 1,000-year reign). My contention, again, is that you're mistaken, and that indeed, the "Israel of God" IS comprised of literal, but "saved" or "spiritual", but literal, Jews. You cannot take this one, easily disputed passage, and from it, extrapolate that ALL the national and throne promises given to the nation Israel have been nullified forever. Let the hundreds of OT prophecies, and those dozen or so NT verses that we've considered in this discussion, speak for themselves; they're not unambiguous! Then, let this one disputable passage find its proper places within this clearly-delineated framework.



"The reference to a spiritual Israel you get from the context of the Bible. Go back and read what Paul said in Hebrews (I already quoted this above). He spoke about this new city in heaven!"

What "spiritual Israel"? Your "spiritual Israel" is a figment of your and the WT's imagination. The church, or the congregation, is not "spiritual Israel." NOWHERE in Scripture is the church, or the congregation, spoken of as "Israel" or "spiritual Israel." NOWHERE.



"In fact you don’t have any basis to say that the Israel of God is composed of Israelites, since Paul says clearly that one does not have to be a literal Jew to belong to this Israel. But after your paragraph about the Israel of God I was not so sure anymore what you are talking about. In your first posting it appeared that you only believe in the kingdom of God on earth. In your last posting you say that there will be “something” on earth AND “something” in heaven. My only point is that the kingdom of God has its seat in heaven and that the kings of this kingdom are no humans. I never said that people on earth will not see what this kingdom does. "

No, Paul does not say "clearly that one does not have to be a literal Jew" to belong to the "Israel of God." The church or the congregation is NOT the "Israel of God." Nowhere in Scripture are these two groups confused. The WT has confused the two, but this confusion is completely unwarranted.

And, the King of the coming Kingdom will be human, as is our current mediator between men and God: the MAN, Christ Jesus (1 Ti 2:5).



"It’s odd that I quoted Philippians 3:20? Why should that be odd? Let’s read it again: “As for us, our citizenship exists in the heavens, from which place also we are eagerly waiting for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20)."

"The citizenship of anointed Christians belongs to heaven. So they will live in heaven! In a city, because that is what the word citizenship means! Which city? The New Jerusalem! Persons living in heaven can’t be humans, because humans can’t go to heaven. So they will stay in heaven and won’t be humans. So what kind of earthly kingdom do you mean?"

I said it's odd that you would quote this verse, because it plainly states that the church awaits a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, FROM heaven. Again, I ask you, if He's coming FROM heaven, where is He coming TO? To heaven? That doesn't make any sense. He's coming FROM heaven TO earth.

And, yes, Christians in heaven ARE human. In fact, at the resurrection, their bodies will be raised, just as Jesus' body was raised;

John 2:9 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews therefore said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His BODY. 22 When therefore He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken.

That's what resurrection means: The raising up of something that has died, namely the body. In Scripture, resurrection ALWAYS means bodily resurrection. But, a detailed discussion of what resurrection is will have to wait for another time, as it's really outside the scope of this thread.



"Again, I never said that Jesus won’t have a second presence here on earth. But this does not say anything about the seat of the kingdom. If you link all those passages of the Bible together it becomes so clear that the kingdom will be in heaven and that there is Christ’s second presence. "

No, Jesus has been "present" in heaven since His ascension nearly 2,000 years ago. He is literally "present" there now. He was literally "present" here prior to His ascension, and He will be "present" here again, the same way (literally and bodily) when He returns. Every eye will literally see Him (Rev 1:7). It won't be some secretive return, like he's hiding in some inner room somewhere (Matt 24:26; the false prophets would be teaching that!); but would be as the (visible) lightning:

Matt. 24:27 “For just as the lightning comes from the east, and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.

Luke 17:24 “For just as the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day.

Again, don't "spiritualize" these passages away. Scripture is plain, but JW's refuse to believe it, to their peril.



"Moreover, when you speak of Acts 3:21: There it is only spoken about the restoration of all things, not the restoration of literal Israel as the seat of the kingdom. The rest of the verse has only to do with Chrit’s presence not with the seat of the kingdom."

OK, let's look at the verse again:

Acts 3:21 whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

What do you think Peter's hearers on that day, all Jews or proselytes, thought he meant? They expected the Messiah to come from heaven, and be king over literal Israel. Do you agree that that's what Peter's hearers would have thought? If so, why didn't Peter clarify his statement, giving the WT's allegorized explanation of what this was REALLY all about? Again, my contention is that the apostles, and Peter's hearers, the Jews, were NOT wrong in their expectations. And here, in fact, Peter is offering the kingdom to Israel once again:

Acts 3:19 “Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20 and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21 whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

But alas, again, the nation said, "no thank you." Therefore, we enter into this current period of time, "the church age," which was not heretofore foreseen by the OT prophets:

Eph 3: 4 the mystery of Christ, 5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; 6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel

By the way, this passage supports my position, that the Christian church (the congregation) is not "spiritual Israel." The church age was not foreseen by the OT prophets (so as to enable a genuine offer of the Kingdom to Israel at Christ's first coming), but the Kingdom age WAS. Therefore, again, the church (the congregation) is NOT Israel.


"I want to point it out once more Kevin. Nobody says that Jesus won’t be coming again. JWs don’t say that. But it is so clear that the kingdom of God belongs to heaven! Further Jesus’ presence won’t be as a human! When he was resurrected and appeared to his disciples he was no human! He was a spirit creature who used a body as vehicle. Nothing else. He will never become a human again! But no one said that Jesus won’t turn his attention to the earth."

Yes, JW's do say that Jesus will not be coming again, literally or visibly. This "invisible presence" idea is nonsense. Jesus has been invisibly present with His followers for 20 centuries; where two or three are gathered in His name, there He is in our midst. The Bible knows nothing of an "invisible" messiah-King. Jesus will be visible, and literally King of the earth.

And again, you are mistaken; Jesus IS fully human, as mentioned briefly above. But, an adequate discussion of this topic will have to wait for another, more appropriate thread.



"Nevertheless, this has nothing to do with literal Israel. And literal Israel has nothing to do with the kingdom of God! If you still don’t understand that, here are some more scriptural proofs::

“From that time on Jesus commenced preaching and saying: “Repent, YOU people, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.”” (Matthew 4:17)"

Yes, the Kingdom was near; the King was in their midst.



“The Lord will deliver me from every wicked work and will save [me] for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (2. Timothy 4:18). Paul knew that he would go to heaven and that the kingdom would be in heaven!"

Again, the Kingdom is not exclusively heavenly or earthly; it encompasses both spheres (Col 1:20).



“This is why I say to YOU, The kingdom of God will be taken from YOU and be given to a nation producing its fruits.“ (Matthew 21:43). This clearly shows that the kingdom was taken away from Israel. So why should it serve as interims kingdom during the millennium?"

Yes, the Kingdom was taken from that generation of literal Israel. I suggest that the Kingdom will be given to another, severely chastised, repentant and cleansed generation of that same nation, as clearly prophesied by the OT prophets, etc. Jesus didn't say "another" nation, or an "allegorical" nation, and it is clear from the OT prophets that the cleansed nation of Israel will indeed produce fruits befitting of Christ's Kingdom.

"While they were listening to these things he spoke in addition an illustration, because he was near Jerusalem and they were imagining that the kingdom of God was going to display itself instantly. 12 Therefore he said: “A certain man of noble birth traveled to a distant land to secure kingly power for himself and to return. 13 Calling ten slaves of his he gave them ten mi´nas and told them, ‘Do business till I come.’ 14 But his citizens hated him and sent out a body of ambassadors after him, to say, ‘We do not want this [man] to become king over us.’15 “Eventually when he got back after having secured the kingly power, he commanded to be called to him these slaves to whom he had given the silver money, in order to ascertain what they had gained by business activity. 16 Then the first one presented himself, saying, ‘Lord, your mi´na gained ten mi´nas.’ 17 So he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because in a very small matter you have proved yourself faithful, hold authority over ten cities.’ 18 Now the second came, saying, ‘Your mi´na, Lord, made five mi´nas.’ 19 He said to this one also, ‘You, too, be in charge of five cities.’ 20 But a different one came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mi´na, that I kept laid away in a cloth. 21 You see, I was in fear of you, because you are a harsh man; you take up what you did not deposit and you reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I judge you, wicked slave. You knew, did you, that I am a harsh man, taking up what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Hence why is it you did not put my silver money in a bank? Then on my arrival I would have collected it with interest.’ 24 “With that he said to those standing by, ‘Take the mi´na from him and give it to him that has the ten mi´nas.’ 25 But they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten mi´nas!’— 26 ‘I say to YOU, To everyone that has, more will be given; but from the one that does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 27 Moreover, these enemies of mine that did not want me to become king over them BRING here and slaughter them before me.’”” (Luke 19:11-27). This shows what happened to the nation of Israel."

Yes, verse 11 is very interesting, isn't it? It shows us clearly what the Jews' expectation was as Jesus was nearing Jerusalem; "they were imagining that the kingdom of God was going to display itself instantly." Again, my contention is that this was a valid expectation on their part. But, most of the Jews, and particularly the leaders of the nation, did not want Jesus to be king over them. Jews that didn't want Jesus to be king over them were slaughtered in 70 c.e., and many, both Jews and Gentiles, will have a similar fate when Jesus comes back the second time. But, how does this imply that Israel has lost its place in the Kingdom forever? In the parable I see individuals being slaughtered, but I don't see Israel's national promises for land and throne being taken away. Many, and probably most of Israel will be slaughtered before Christ sets His feet down again on the Mount of Olives (Zech 4:4, Acts 1:11,12 see quotations below), but this doesn't do away with Israel as a nation.

Zech. 14:4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem

Acts 1:9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them; 11 and they also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

Acts 1:12   Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet


"Kevin I am not really sure if you know exactly what you believe about the kingdom (because your last paragraphs don’t fit the rest of your postings), but the truth is that God’s kingdom is in heaven and that the nation of Israel lost its special privileges. This has been proved beyond a doubt."

No, I am quite clear about what I believe regarding the Kingdom, and I hope I was able to articulate it intelligibly above. Yes, God's kingdom is in heaven, but it will have a tangible earthly element, as well. And yes, Israel lost its special privileges, but not permanently; it only lost them UNTIL the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. I hope the word UNTIL will ring in your mind until you get the sense of what it means.

And, regarding your next post, Nathan...

"Maybe you shouldn't be that fast calling my exegesis sloppy. If you read your own postings again and see my answers, anyone here can see which ones contained profound knowledge."

I'm sorry, I should have refrained from what you have evidently construed as a personal attack. Please forgive me. I've spent the last 20 years or so reading Chafer, Walvoord, McClain, Ryrie, Geisler and Peters, all scholars who are extremely precise in their eschatological exegesis, and in comparison, both your and my expositions of Scripture posted here are very limited in scope and thoroughness. Personally, I think this kind of discussion is profitable for both of us, and anyone else who might read it, and if we can resist the temptation toward personal attacks, we'll all benefit thereby. Really, I think we have a golden opportunity here, one that I personally have been hoping and praying for for many years: That Jehovah's Witnesses and evangelical Christians (and others) might somehow, sometime, have an open, congenial, and thorough dialog on these things. There is much to be gained all both sides, as we all come to understand each others' positions and the reasons for them better, by friendly, respectful, yet honest discussion.


"You state your mere assertion that "Jesus is both fully God and fully man" as a fact. There is no reason for that. It seems that you don't want to answer on my reasoning regarding the kingdom. Well that is just fine, because the readers can judge for themselves. But maybe you want to proof (noit just assert) why Jesus is fully man and God. Have fun, because with the Bible alone, this will be impossible."

Yes, impossible in your mind, and impossible in my mind 24 years ago. But, while still a Witness back in 1984, I compiled 250 Bible verses on the deity of Christ alone, both yea and nay, and I was forced, through my own personal study, to acquiesce that if all these verses were true, then Jesus in fact had to be full deity, together with the Father (and with the Holy Spirit, by the way). Obviously, I'm not about to quote and exegete all 250 verses here; maybe we'll have time to get into that sometime in the future.



"Through the years I got used to people who use phrases like "years ago I was as blid as you are now", "you don't understand the major points" (but they themselves don't provide any evidence for their viewpoint), and many similar statements. All tsuch statements have something in common. They are a little arrogant and don't have any substance.

I'm sorry if I came across as arrogant by my statement; I was just stating how things had transpired over the years for me, and expressing hope that you might eventually find yourself on a similar path. I'm sorry if I was condescending in my attitude; it is wrong for me to be that way (1 Pet 3:15).

My contention still stands. Jehovah's Witnesses are not fulfilling Matt 24:14. Their "kingdom" preaching is premature, and they have the wrong kingdom message. Matt 24:14 will be fulfilled during the Tribulation, by those (possibly the 144,000 Jews of Rev 7 and 14) who will correctly preach regarding the imminent literal return of Jesus to earth, whereupon He'll be setting up His Kingdom over the entire earth, from literal Jerusalem in literal Israel. In the meantime, we're still living in the church age or dispensation, in which the gospel to be preached is the same one preached by Paul (1 Cor 15:1-4), namely the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Like Paul, it is proper for Christians now to "know nothing but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" 1 Cor 2:2). This is nonsense to JW's but to those who are now being saved, it is the power of God:

Rom. 1:16   For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

1Cor. 1:18   For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Nathan said...

Hey Kevin, well that was a quite lengthy one. I am not going to quote everything again, because we would end up in too long postings and in a mess. But I will respond to your points chronologically.

Ok we yielded that the kingdom is much bigger than just Judah. Perfect. True, Jesus is the rightful heir of the throne of David. But now be must be more precise! Jesus is the rightful ruler of God’s chosen people! The Israelites were God’s chosen people, but are no more today! So Jesus is the rightful ruler over the new chosen people. “This is why I say to YOU, The kingdom of God will be taken from YOU and be given to a nation producing its fruits.“ (Matthew 21:43).

In Luke 21:24 Jesus was speaking to his disciples. We read in Luke 20:45: “Then, while all the people were listening he said to the disciples:...”. While the people where listening, the verse states explicitly that Jesus was talking to his disciples! So he explained that to those who would be joint heirs with him! The word “you” is not used in this text. Only the word “they” is used, referring to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Further, Jerusalem never was the kingdom of God! It just represented the kingdom of God! This was an arrangement God introduced because of the hardheartedness of the Israelites. The verse says that Jerusalem will be trampled by the nations; it does not say that the kingdom will be taken away until “the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”. This is something different.

The last time when Jerusalem had been ruled by a king of the line of David, had been when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem. From that time on there has never been a king again. So it is not only now that there is no theocracy in Israel. It stared long before. And there won’t ever be a king again.

ad Mat. 23:39: As far as the Greek is concerned it is not legitimate to substitute the word “Jerusalem” for the Greek word translated with “you”. When Jesus was speaking of Jerusalem in the verses before he used a Greek word translated with “her”. In verse 39 Jesus was meaning his disciples when he said “you”. As I already mentioned he was talking to his disciples, which can be seen from Mat. 23:1. And of course, his disciples would say this again, when Jesus would return as was prophesied. The question never was if Jesus would return. The question was how he would return.

ad Acts 1:6 and Mat. 13:11: I was not forgetting that Jesus explained things to his disciples privately. In fact it was me who quoted Mat 13:10-11 where this is said. Unfortunately you are scrambling my words. I only said that there were a lot of occasions where the disciples did not understand what Jesus had said. I stated that, because you asked me if the disciples were dumb or Jesus was a bad teacher. And I answered that neither was the case, but that Jesus taught like he taught on purpose.

I said that there were “several things” they did not understand, I never said that they did not understand anything. Be careful when reading what I said! You put it like there is either the possibility of not understanding anything about the kingdom, or understanding everything about it. That is just not true, and I was pointing to that, when I said that the disciples did not understand “several things” but understood SOME! Then I quoted Mat. 13:11 where Jesus speaks about the sacred secret of the kingdom of the heavens! Interestingly he never spoke about the kingdom of the earth, but only about the kingdom of the heavens. And one of the things his disciples did understand was that the kingdom of God would be in the heavens, although they had the wrong expectation that Jesus would be an earthly king in Jerusalem while he was on earth.

So I really am not confused. What seems to be confused is how you read my postings. To make my point clearer: The apostles obviously had in mind that Jesus would restore the kingdom to Jerusalem during he was living on earth. Take Luke 19:11: “While they were listening to these things he spoke in addition an illustration, because he was near Jerusalem and they were imagining that the kingdom of God was going to display itself instantly.” So this is what they thought. Was that wrong? Yes it was! Regardless what you believe personally, we will agree on the fact that Jesus did not restore the kingdom at that time. (This alone proves that the disciples did not understand everything about the kingdom.) Did that change over time? No! How do we know? From what they said after Jesus death when they met Jesus but did not realize that it was Jesus: “But we were hoping that this [man] was the one destined to deliver Israel; yes, and besides all these things, this makes the third day since these things occurred.” (Luke 24:21) What did Jesus answer to them? “So he said to them: “O senseless ones and slow in heart to believe on all the things the prophets spoke!” (Luke 24:25) This shows that they did not understand everything and that they still had the wrong idea that Jesus would restore the kingdom to Israel. Jesus called them “senseless ones” because of that. So all the things Jesus said regarding the “kingdom of the heavens” (never speaking about the kingdom of the earth) rather fit my understanding than yours.

The one thing we can agree on is that the seat of the kingdom is in heaven (thus it is always called kingdom of the heavens!) but we will see the impacts here on earth. Maybe will have the opportunity to see the representatives sometimes here on earth. I never said anything against that! But the seat of the kingdom will be here on earth. And the throne of the kingdom won’t be in earthly Jerusalem! It won’t be integral to the kingdom. This is what I stated and that still holds.

True, regarding congregational matters (such as circumcision) much had not been revealed shortly after Jesus’ death. But also other things that where in direct connection to the kingdom, had not been revealed. If everything regarding the hope of the anointed, their resurrection and the kingdom had been clear, there wouldn’t have been any need for Paul to write his letters. His letters were by far more than just a summery of Jesus’ teachings. He explained a lot TO the congregations (not ABOUT the congregations) that they did not understand before!

ad Revelation 7: well there is detailed discussion about it, but there is no solution to this question. Ephraim and Menasseh were literal sons of Joseph, that is true, but says nothing abut the text. I don’t interpret the text because I just want to. But we have to link it with the rest of the Bible. And we are shown very clearly that those going to heaven won’t all be Jews! They are from all nations. How do we know? Let us for example consider Romans: “For he is not a Jew who is one on the outside, nor is circumcision that which is on the outside upon the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one on the inside, and [his] circumcision is that of the heart by spirit, and not by a written code. The praise of that one comes, not from men, but from God.” (Romans 2:28, 29) And also: “However, it is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all who [spring] from Israel are really “Israel.” Neither because they are Abraham’s seed are they all children, but: “What will be called ‘your seed’ will be through Isaac.” That is, the children in the flesh are not really the children of God, but the children by the promise are counted as the seed. For the word of promise was as follows: “At this time I will come and Sarah will have a son.”” (Romans 9:6-9) So those who are anointed and go to heaven don’t have to be Jews.

True the Bible does not speak of “spiritual Israel”, but the term fits. The scriptures say: “For neither is circumcision anything nor is uncircumcision, but a new creation [is something]. And all those who will walk orderly by this rule of conduct, upon them be peace and mercy, even upon the Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:15, 16) So those going to heaven will be in the Israel of God. Where is that Israel of God? Let’s turn to Galatians chapter 4: “But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.” (Galatians 4:26) Where above? Above in heaven. So God’s chosen people, the Israel of God, will live in Jerusalem above in heaven. And since the chosen one don’t have to be Jews as seen above, I don’t believe that Revelation 7 is to betaken literal.

Thus I end up again with the statement that “literal Israel does just not matter when it comes to the kingdom”, as far as the seat of the kingdom is concerned!

We should believe the Bible as it is written, meaning we should believe that everything that is stated in the Bible is true. But we cannot conclude that every word of the Bible is to be taken literal. Of course there can be different opinions on which text has to interpreted how, but obviously we can’t take every account as it would be literal!

Hebrews 10:11, 13-16, as quoted in my last post shows that the New Jerusalem is not man made, but it also shows that this New Jerusalem will be the seat of God’s kingdom. Like the literal Jerusalem was representing God’s kingdom in ancient times, the New Jerusalem represents God’s kingdom today. It would just not make sense for the New AND the literal Jerusalem representing God’s kingdom.

ad Galatians 3:26-29: Well we have seen many other scriptures like this, where the Bible tells us that it does not matter if one is a Jew or not. You try to apply this to the congregation alone, but there is no basis for that! It definitely has to do with being anointed to rule with Jesus in heaven. I would have quoted the next scripture before, when I mentioned Galatians 4, but now it fits even better. “But just as then the one born in the manner of flesh began persecuting the one born in the manner of spirit, so also now. Nevertheless, what does the Scripture say? “Drive out the servant girl and her son, for by no means shall the son of the servant girl be an heir with the son of the free woman.” Wherefore, brothers, we are children, not of a servant girl, but of the free woman.” (Galatians 4:26-31) The anointed ones will be born again “in the manner of spirit”. Born again in the meaning as Jesus used it in John 3:3: “Unless anyone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” So Galatians as well as other scriptures refer to the kingdom of God not to the congregation alone!

ad Romans 11: As I said, it shows that going to heaven has nothing to do with being a Jew or not. Another reason why I view Revelation 7 as I view it.

ad Romans 11:25: Well don’t forget what Paul said in the same letter, but two chapters before. I Romans 9:6, as already quoted he said: “For not all who [spring] from Israel are really “Israel.”” And also what he said in verses 27-29: “Moreover, Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Although the number of the sons of Israel may be as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved. For Jehovah will make an accounting on the earth, concluding it and cutting it short.” Also, just as Isaiah had said aforetime: “Unless Jehovah of armies had left a seed to us, we should have become just like Sodom, and we should have been made just like Gomorrah.””.

So all about Israel you put in parenthesis here, just not holds. Paul said in the same letter just a few pages ago, that he was not speaking about literal Israel. Even more so if we consider what he said about the olive tree. Nevertheless among those belonging to God’s choice there will also be literal Jews. Remember that the calling started among Jews. But as shown through the olive tree, not the Jews as a nation are chosen, but some as individuals! Nothing more is said here.

After the times of the gentiles the New Jerusalem rules, with Jesus being king. In heaven! That’s it.

ad John 18:36, 37: I never doubted that Jesus comes again, crushing all earthly kingdoms. That was not, what I was saying by quoting that scripture. I quoted it, because it makes clear that the kingdom of Jesus is “no part of the world”! Literal Jerusalem is part of the world, isn’t it? Since Jesus said that his kingdom is no part of the world, literal Jerusalem cannot belong to the kingdom. It is as easy as that! But we agree here on one thing. You said “Jesus is from above; not from the earth.” Well that’s just fine with me.

It is not about the first century! As you always say, the scripture is plain. Jesus did not say that his kingdom was temporarily no part of the world. He was not saying that the kingdom was temporarily not in Jerusalem. He simply said: “My kingdom is no part of this world”. If I might ask you to take that as plainly as it is written, then we have a clear answer. And that has nothing to do with the first century alone!


ad Galatians 6:15, 16: Well as you said, it is you contention, that the Israel of God is comprised of literal Jews. It is not a fact. On the contrary, we have seen above that you are mistaken. Not only according to the congregation, but also according to the rulership it does not matter if one is a Jew or not. These two verses were and are not considered isolated but within the complete picture of the kingdom of God. So no extrapolation is needed here.

You call the verses we considered here “not unambiguous” and in the same sentence you say that they speak for themselves. Well I am not so sure if that makes sense.

Again, it does not matter that the term spiritual Israel is not mentioned in the scriptures. Also I never said that it was. I just said, that the term fits, since the “Israel of God” or the “New Jerusalem”, or the “Jerusalem above” will be in heaven. In this sense it is of course spiritual.

You mix up the congregation and the ones being God’s chosen ones who will rule with Jesus. Paul (and others) indeed says that it does not matter if you are a Jew or not! Not only for the congregation, but as far as being chosen by God is concerned. Wee have seen that a lot of times now, through many scriptures. If you don’t like that, well that is bad luck. But please accept the truth.

No the king of the kingdom is not a human. This is impossible! The kingdom of God is in heaven! No human can go to heaven. It is not possible! Jesus said: ““Unless anyone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”” (John 3:3) Born again as human? Does that make sense? Not at all!

But the scripture has more to say on that. We will come back again to this also below, when I respond to your last paragraphs. Again it is Paul who says it very, very clear! In 1. Corinthians 15:35-53 it is stated in plain words. Although this is lengthy, it is so important that I will quote it: “Nevertheless, someone will say: “How are the dead to be raised up? Yes, with what sort of body are they coming?” 36 You unreasonable person! What you sow is not made alive unless first it dies; 37 and as for what you sow, you sow, not the body that will develop, but a bare grain, it may be, of wheat or any one of the rest; 38 but God gives it a body just as it has pleased him, and to each of the seeds its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same flesh, but there is one of mankind, and there is another flesh of cattle, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. 40 And there are heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies; but the glory of the heavenly bodies is one sort, and that of the earthly bodies is a different sort. 41 The glory of the sun is one sort, and the glory of the moon is another, and the glory of the stars is another; in fact, star differs from star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised up in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised up in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised up in power. 44 It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one. 45 It is even so written: “The first man Adam became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 Nevertheless, the first is, not that which is spiritual, but that which is physical, afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is out of the earth and made of dust; the second man is out of heaven. 48 As the one made of dust [is], so those made of dust [are] also; and as the heavenly one [is], so those who are heavenly [are] also. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the one made of dust, we shall bear also the image of the heavenly one. 50 However, this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom, neither does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Look! I tell YOU a sacred secret: We shall not all fall asleep [in death], but we shall all be changed, 52 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. 53 For this which is corruptible must put on incorruption, and this which is mortal must put on immortality.“
That really speaks for itself. So I will only take out verse 50: “However, this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom”. You will agree that Jesus inherited God’s kingdom. But you also said that he IS human. Humans consist of blood and flesh, which cannot inherit God’s kingdom. You plainly contradict the Bible here.
ad Philippians 3:20: Again, I never said that Christ will not be coming again. The question is why he comes again. Of course, to crush the kingdoms and judge all humans. But this has nothing to do with the seat of the kingdom in heaven, or with literal Jerusalem. The scriptures show once more where the chosen ones will belong to: to heaven. In a city! That can be taken from the word citizenship! Jerusalem above or the New Jerusalem! However you want to call it.

And then again you contradict the scriptures. You said: “And, yes, Christians in heaven ARE human. In fact, at the resurrection, their bodies will be raised, just as Jesus' body was raised”. Well when we can trust Paul, then it is you who is very mistaken. Have you never read the account in 1. Corinthians. It is so plain and clear language. It says straight forward that those in heaven cannot be humans!

So it is simply not true that in Scripture resurrection only means a bodily resurrection (i.e. resurrection as human).

I guess you misunderstood me on the presence of Jesus. Of course he has been present in heaven since his ascension (although not as human). Of course he is present there now. Yes he was present there before he came to earth. But not as human, but as spirit creature. Another argument for his being a spirit now. When Jesus came back from earth to heaven, of course his old bodily condition was restored (i.e. a spirit body). And as I said, yes he will have another presence here on earth. But not as human. He also was no human when his disciples saw him after his resurrection. He just used a body. But then he ascended to heave. And as we have seen, this is not possible for a human!

I personally don’t have any problem with the possibility that Jesus will be seen when he comes to judge people. But this does not mean that he will come as human, nor does it mean he will stay in literal Jerusalem.

ad Acts 3:21: As I said the verse is speaking about Christ’s presence, it does not say that Jesus will restore the kingdom to literal Israel. The restoration of all things is far more then the restoration of literal Israel. Jesus will restore the Paradise o earth that humans had in the beginning.

Ad Ephesians 3: Verse 6 makes it clear. It shows what was revealed. That Gentiles will be fellow partakers of the promise in union with Christ Jesus. Meaning that they will also be part of the New Jerusalem. So this scripture does support my position, rather than yours.

No JWs don’t say that Jesus will not come again! That is not true! Why do you believe that? Yes Jesus will also be king over the earth. Yes literal king, but no not human king. And yes he will be king over the earth, but not in literal Jerusalem.

And again you are badly mistaken. Jesus is not “fully human” as you say. 1. Corinthians 15 proves that this is not possible!

ad Mat 4:17: Yes the king was in their midst as the parallel account says. But I quoted the text to show you that Jesus spoke about the kingdom of the heavens. As he always did! Never about the kingdom on earth!

The same says 2. Timothy 4:18! It also says that the chosen ones will go to heaven!

You suggest wrongly! Jesus did not say the kingdom will be given back to you after you have been chastised. He said, it will be taken away from you. He did not say it will come back to them. And he said that it will be given to a nation producing its fruit. The Bible makes clear that the New Jerusalem will produce the fruit of the kingdom!

ad Luke 19:11-27. Yes you are right, verse 11 shows what expectations the Jews had. But those expectations were wrong. And that is the reason why Jesus presented his illustration. How does verse 12 start? “Therefore…”, meaning because Jesus knew about there wrong expectations, he narrated the illustration. He made t clear in the end: “Moreover, these enemies of mine that did not want me to become king over them BRING here and slaughter them before me.” If you didn’t understand the meaning of the parable, then please read it again and think about it. Link it to the rest of passages discussed.


Thanks for your apology. I am not angry, just wanted to tell you. But I think it is not equitable to compare what I wrote in half an hour from my mind to a book. Of course some formulations would need refinement before publishing and the whole stuff would have to be more structured. But this is a discussion forum, nothing more, so don’t expect too much from the formal side. But still the arguments are quite profound I think.

I definitely share your opinion that such a discussion is profitable for all.

Regarding your trinity theorem: I did not want to say that it is only impossible in my mind. I wanted to say that it is impossible from the viewpoint of the Scriptures! We have seen that already for your assertion that Jesus is a human now. The same is true for the trinity theorem.

I answered to GBL on this thread to show that he was terribly mistaken. I think I accomplished that. Through your response I had even more possibility to show that. After all this my contention holds, that JWs preach the kingdom of God in the way it is.

Thank you very much Kevin for taking so much time discussing with me. It really is great fun and an opportunity to refine and re-examine the own position!

kevin said...

Hi Nathan,

Thank you for your thoughtful, detailed response.

I was traveling all day yesterday, and am trying to get work stuff organized today after a week away, so thanks for your patience as it may take a couple of days for me to put together a detailed response to your latest post.

But I skimmed your post, and have just a couple of preliminary thoughts:

I think you misunderstood my position on whether Gentiles will be ruling with Christ in the Kingdom. My position is that the church (the congregation) is made up of both Jews and Gentiles, and as Christ's bride, the church (made up of both Jews and Gentiles) will be ruling with Christ.

I think you have a fatally flawed understanding of what it means to be "born again." And, this flawed understanding contributes to one of the greatest tragedies that I see with Jehovah's Witnesses: their belief that spiritual regeneration is unnecessary for them. To apply this to the "Kingdom" theme of this thread, it is tragic in my mind that Jehovah's Witnesses preach "the kingdom," but refuse to accept God's gift of new life in Christ, by which ONLY will they find entrance into the Kingdom (John 3:3-5). In my mind, this is a tragic situation of monumental proportions, and is what motivates me to contribute to this discussion.

Right, flesh and blood do not go to heaven. The same body that dies will be CHANGED (1 Cor 15:51-52) when it is resurrected and glorified. This is a very large topic in itself, and probably neither of our cases can be made well in just a couple of sentences.

And no, Christ's deity cannot be dismissed just from what you and I have typed over the past week (I've offered no reasons for my position on this thus far, as well as I can remember); if given the time, I would some day like to exegete the 250 verses that convinced me that if all of Scripture is true, that Jesus has to be more than an angel, a created being. (Just as a side note, to one who believes that Jesus is full deity, His ransom sacrifice takes on infinite value; this is one of the reasons why evangelical Christians are so consumed personally with Jesus and His work.)

I would also like to paste into this thread the few dozen or so verses from the OT and NT that, taken at face value, indicate to me that Israel still has an integral place in Jehovah's Kingdom program.

kevin said...

What the heck, here they are. I compiled these verses 24 years ago, while still an active Witness, and in my mind, I still can't deny their import, without going off into unbelief. After 24 more years of studies in eschatology, the plain sense of Scripture has not changed, of course, and still speaks to me today the same as it did back then.

One suggestion: If you can, please suspend judgment for a few minutes, as you read these verses. Don't worry about interpreting them; just focus on what you think a typical Bible reader would say that the writers meant by these verses. That way, I think you'll get an accurate picture of what I believe on this subject, and why, and you'll at least be enabled to be more empathetic toward my position (you'll understand more clearly just what I believe, and why, and will thereby be better-equipped to refute my position). THEN, we'll continue our discussion on whether we should take these verses as plainly written, or not.

And, forgive me if I in any way present myself arrogantly about "my" position on this. To arrive at "my" position in 1984, all I did was read the Bible and take Scripture at its face value. I can't take credit for any great intellectual prowess on my part or inspiration from God on this. (Although truthfully, I do believe that God may have played a part in showing me that the plain sense of Scripture presents a coherent, harmonious picture, although a different one from the one that I learned from Jehovah's Witnesses, of the Kingdom.) Also, as I learned later, "my" position is held by millions of conservative Christians; it is not a unique, "kevin's idea" sort of thing, except for the way that I came to believe it (by relatively unaided personal Bible study). As I learned later, in theological circles, this eschatological view is known as premillennialism, or dispensationalism, and is held by many (and in my opinion, of course, the best) scholars in Biblical eschatology.

OLD TESTAMENT

(With Scriptures like these, is it any wonder that the Jews, including Jesus' disciples, had the Israel-centric view of the Kingdom that they did? Can we blame them?)

Gen 3:15-And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel. [cp. Gen 37:9,10, Rev 12:1,5]

Gen 13:14-15-And the Lord [Jehovah] said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever."

Gen 17:7-8-"And I [Jehovah] will establish My covenant between Me and you [Abram] and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. And I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."

2 Sam 7:16-"And your [David's] house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever."

Ps 2:6-"But as for Me, I have installed My king upon Zion, My holy mountain."

Is 2:1-4-The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. Now it will come about that in the last days, the mountain of the house of the Lord [Jehovah] will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord [Jehovah], to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways, and that we may walk in His paths." For the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord [Jehovah] from Jerusalem. And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war.

Is 11:9,11-12-They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord [Jehovah] as the waters cover the sea...Then it will happen on that day that the Lord [Jehovah] will again recover the second time with His hand the remnant of His people, who will remain, from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And He will lift up a standard for the nations, and will assemble the banished ones of Israel, and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. [cp. Matt 24:31, Rev 7:1-8]

Is 25:6-10-And the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; a banquet of aged wine. And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, even the veil which is stretched over all nations. He will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord [Jehovah] God will wipe tears away from all faces, and He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; for the the Lord [Jehovah] has spoken. And it will be said in that day, "Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the Lord [Jehovah] for whom we have waited; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation." For the hand of the Lord [Jehovah] will rest on this mountain.

Is 27:6-In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout; and they will fill the whole world with fruit.

Is 33:20,24-Look upon Zion, the city of our appointed feasts; your eyes shall see Jerusalem an undisturbed habitation, a tent which shall not be folded, its stakes shall never be pulled up nor any of its cords be torn apart. And no resident will say, "I am sick"; the people who dwell there will be forgiven [their] iniquity.

Is 35:5-10-Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah. And the scorched land will become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, its resting place, grass [becomes] reeds and rushes. And a highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, but it [will] be for him who walks [that] way, and fools will not wander on it. No lion will be there, nor will any vicious beast go up on it; these will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk [there]. And the ransomed of the Lord [Jehovah] will return, and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Is 45:17-Israel has been saved by the Lord [Jehovah] with an everlasting salvation; you will not be put to shame or humiliated to all eternity.

Is 52:1-Awake, awake, clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion; clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city. For the uncircumcised and the unclean will no more come into you.

Is 65:17-21,24-"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem [for] rejoicing, and her people [for] gladness. I will also rejoice in Jerusalem, and be glad in My people; and there will no longer be heard in her the voice of weeping and the sound of crying. No longer will there be [in it] an infant [who lives but a few] days, or an old man who does not live out his days; for the youth will die at the age of one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred shall be [thought] accursed. And they shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall also plant vineyards and eat their fruit...The wolf and the lamb shall graze together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain," says the Lord [Jehovah].

Is 66:20,22-"Then they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a grain offering to the Lord [Jehovah], on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules, and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem," says the Lord [Jehovah], "just as the sons of Israel bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord [Jehovah]...For just as the new heavens and the new earth which I make will endure before Me," declares the Lord [Jehovah], "so your offspring and your name will endure."

Jer 3:17,18-At that time they shall call Jerusalem "The Throne of the Lord [Jehovah]," and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord [Jehovah]; nor shall they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart. In those days the house of Judah will walk with the house of Israel, and they will come together from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers as an inheritance.

Jer 23:3-8-"Then I Myself shall gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and shall bring them back to their pasture; and they will be fruitful and multiply. I shall also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing," declares the Lord [Jehovah]. "Behold, [the] days are coming," declares the Lord [Jehovah], "When I shall raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, 'The Lord [Jehovah] our righteousness.' Therefore behold, [the] days are coming," declares the Lord [Jehovah], "when they will no longer say, 'As the Lord [Jehovah] lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,' but 'As the Lord [Jehovah] lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from [the] north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.' Then they will live on their own soil."

Jer 33:14-16-"Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord [Jehovah], "when I will fulfill the good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth. In those days Judah shall be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell in safety; and this is [the name] by which she shall be called: the Lord [Jehovah] is our righteousness."

Ez 16:60-"Nevertheless, I [Jehovah] will remember My covenant with you [Israel] in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you."

Ez 21:25-27-"And you, O slain, wicked one, the prince of Israel, whose day has come, in the time of the punishment of the end," thus says the Lord [Jehovah] God, "Remove the turban, and take off the crown; this will be no more the same. Exalt that which is low, and abase that which is high. A ruin, a ruin, a ruin, I shall make it. This also will be no more, until He comes whose right it is; and I shall give it to [Him]."

Ez 37:25-And they shall live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons, and their sons' sons, forever; and David My servant shall be their prince forever.

Hos 3:5-Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord [Jehovah] their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness in the last days.

Joel 2:32-And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord [Jehovah] will be delivered; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.

Joel 3:20-But Judah will be inhabited forever, and Jerusalem for all generations.

Amos 9:14-15-"Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, and they will rebuild the ruined cities and live [in them], they will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, and make gardens and eat their fruit. I will also plant them on their land, and they will not again be rooted out from their land which I have given them," says the Lord [Jehovah] your God.

Ob 15,17-For the day of the Lord [Jehovah] draws near on all the nations...on Mount Zion there will be those who escape, and it will be holy. And the house of Jacob will possess their possessions.

Mic 4:1-4,7-"And it will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of the Lord [Jehovah] will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, and the peoples will stream to it. And many nations will come and say, "Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths." For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the Lord [Jehovah] from Jerusalem. And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war. And each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make [them] afraid, for the mouth of the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts has spoken...I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcasts a strong nation, and the Lord [Jehovah] will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on and forever."

Zeph 3:8,9,14-17-"My decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out on them My indignation, all My burning anger; for all the earth will be devoured by the fire of My zeal. For then I will give to the peoples purified lips, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord [Jehovah], to serve Him shoulder to shoulder...Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion! Shout [in triumph], O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all [your] heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord [Jehovah] has taken away [His] judgments against you, He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord [Jehovah], is in your midst; you will fear disaster no more. In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: 'Do not be afraid, O Zion; do not let your hands fall limp. The Lord [Jehovah] your God is in your midst'"

Hag 2:6-7,9-For thus says the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts, "Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. And I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations; and I will fill this house with glory," says the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts..."The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former," says the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts, "and in this place I shall give peace," declares the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts.

Zech 2:10-12-"Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst," declares the Lord [Jehovah]. "And many nations will join themselves to the Lord [Jehovah] in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts has sent Me to you. And the Lord [Jehovah] will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem."

Zech 8:20-23-Thus says the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts, "[It will] yet [be] that peoples will come, even the inhabitants of many cities. And the inhabitants of one will go to another saying, 'Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lord [Jehovah], and to seek the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts; I will also go.' So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord [Jehovah]." Thus says the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts, "In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."

Zech 12:9-10-"And it will come about in that day that I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born."

Zech 14:3-4,16-17-Then the Lord [Jehovah] will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east...Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts, there will be no rain on them.

Zech 14:4-His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives

Acts 1:9,11-12-And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight..."This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet...

NEW TESTAMENT

(Did the Kingdom change form in the New Testament? Again, I say no! Yes, the church, composed of Jew and Gentile, was not foreseen in the OT, but none of the NT writers changed the Kingdom's Israel into a "spiritual Israel." So, again I say, neither should we!)

Matt 5:35-"or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King"

Matt 10:23-"you shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes."

Matt 19:28-"you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

Matt 23:38-39-"Behold, your house [Jerusalem, vs. 37] is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me UNTIL you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'"

Luke 1:32-33-"And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end."

Luke 13:34-35-"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem...How often I wanted to gather your children together...and you would not have it! Behold, your house is left to you, and I say to you, you shall not see Me UNTIL the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'"

Luke 21:24-"Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles UNTIL the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

Acts 1:6-7-"Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them: "It is not for you to know the TIMES or DATES the Father has set by his own authority..."

Acts 3:19-21-"Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until [the] period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time."

Rom 11:25-29-For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins." From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Rev 7:4-144,000 sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel

Rev 12:1,5-And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the SUN, and the MOON under her feet, and on her head a crown of TWELVE STARS...And she gave birth to a son, a male [child], who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron...

Gen 37:9-10-Now he [Joseph] had another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, "Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the SUN and the MOON and ELEVEN STARS were bowing down to me." And he related it to his father [Israel] and to his brothers [the 11 other tribes]; and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and YOUR MOTHER and YOUR BROTHERS actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?"

Rev 14:1-standing on Mt. Zion...144,000

Rev 20:9-And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. [cp. Is 52:1]

kevin said...

By the way, due in part to the length of my previous post, some, especially active Jehovah's Witnesses, may be tempted to skim it, as it deeply challenges their concept of the Kingdom. But if you have just simply skimmed it, and are now tempted post a shallow, or judgmental response or personal attack, I ask you to please STOP, back up, and read carefully EVERY ONE of the verses that I quoted. You have nothing to fear; these are Jehovah's inspired words, and are infinitely more important than any personal comments that you or I could make here. Then, after you've let these verses sink down into your belly, and you get the full import of their plain, unembellished meaning, please let me know your thoughts. Undoubtedly, this subject is of immense importance to most of the readers of this thread, and should be handled with utmost reverence. I will do my best to likewise honor your thoughts and opinions.

Nathan said...

Hey Kevin,

Unfortunately I saw that you didn’t ouch my points, thus our discussion is interrupted here. I personally regret that, because there are a lot of important points in my last posting.

Regarding your last posting: Well I always try to read the Scriptures without “pre judgement”. But I do one thing. I try to link what I read to everything I already know from the Bible. Then I think about how I understood a certain verse. If that fits the rest of the Bible, it’s just fine. If how I understood it, does not fit the rest of the Bible I start to think again. A kind of coherence theory.

ad Gen 3:15: That does not to be commented. Does not serve your argumentation.

ad Gen 13:14-15: Regarding the possession of the land: The Hebrew word which is translated with “forever” in your translation: It can also mean “long duration” or “perpetual”. There are several texts concerning the covenant which use the same word, but where it cannot mean “forever” literally. I will come to some of those later in my answer.

But please go on and read verse 16 too: “And I will constitute your seed like the dust particles of the earth, so that, if a man could be able to count the dust particles of the earth, then your seed could be numbered.” Are you going to take that as literal? Surely not. However referring to Abrahams seed I already mentioned Romans 9:6-9: “For not all who [spring] from Israel are really “Israel.” Neither because they are Abraham’s seed are they all children, but: “What will be called ‘your seed’ will be through Isaac.” That is, the children in the flesh are not really the children of God, but the children by the promise are counted as the seed.” This shows how God views Abrahams seed today. The same applies for Gen 17:7. 8.

ad 2. Sam 7:16: True, the kingdom of David endures forever. Christ was the heir of the throne of David. His HEAVENLY kingdom will be there forever.

ad Ps. 2:6: I’ll come back to Zion and similar expressions a little later.

Nearly one third of your quotations from the OT is out of Isaiah. I have no problem with that, but Isaiah is generally acknowledged to be highly symbolic and jumping between different times. For example Jesus was quoting a lot from Isaiah for the time he lived in, although many verses applied to Israel in the time Isaiah lived and also to the “last days”. So it is not so easy to take out verses from Isaiah if you already have an idea how you WANT to apply them. There is a big risk of bias in it.

The problem with all those texts of Isaiah and later prophets is, that we can’t take literal (i.e. applying to the literal Nation of Israel) what they say regarding the covenant or its impacts. Why is that? Well as I already stated, today we cannot read the OT without regarding the NT too. We won’t get the real sense of the words. True, there was the law covenant with Israel, and true they were God’s holy nation. They had the possibility to remain the holy Nation forever, but they spoilt it! Jehovah himself said the following: “And now if YOU will strictly obey my voice and will indeed keep my covenant, then YOU will certainly become my special property out of all [other] peoples, because the whole earth belongs to me. And YOU yourselves will become to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you are to say to the sons of Israel.” (Exodus 19:5, 6) Does that sound familiar? Of course it does.

He also said: “And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever.” (Exodus 19:9) This is only interesting because the same Hebrew word is used as in Genesis 13. But since Moses died, it could not mean literally that they should believe in Moses.

But back to the covenant. Did the Jews behave like they had promised? What about those very familiar words In Exodus 19:5 and 6? Was there ever the possibility that God would not keep the covenant with Israel? Yes there was. Look for example at Exodus 32:9, 10: “And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it [is] a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.” So we see that Jehovah not only had the right to abandon the covenant because the Jews had broken it, he also wanted to do so! It was Moses then who achieved that Jehovah did not do it then.

But did it happen any time later, that God really abandoned the covenant with the Jews? Well without knowing the NT, we would not know that the Jews rejected Jesus their king and thus lost their covenant regarding Israel with Jehovah! However this is most important to know!
It was Jeremiah who first foretold a new covenant: “Look! There are days coming,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “and I will conclude with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant; not one like the covenant that I concluded with their forefathers in the day of my taking hold of their hand to bring them forth out of the land of Egypt, ‘which covenant of mine they themselves broke, although I myself had husbandly ownership of them,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.” “For this is the covenant that I shall conclude with the house of Israel after those days,” is the utterance of Jehovah. “I will put my law within them, and in their heart I shall write it. And I will become their God, and they themselves will become my people.” (Jeremiah 31:31-33) This clearly said that there would be a new covenant that would be different from the first! But would that one again be applied to literal Israel (like you would say)? No! How do we know?
Now we finally have to consult the NT. Jesus was the next who referred to that new covenant: “Also, the cup in the same way after they had the evening meal, he saying: “This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in YOUR behalf.”” (Luke 22:20). But what is this new covenant and which parties would join it? Paul quotes the words from Jeremiah 31 in Hebrews 8. Did he apply them to literal Israel? No he didn’t! In the very same Book, Paul also quotes what God said to Israel in Exodus. They were not allowed to touch Mount Zion; not even animals, because everyone touching it would die. But after that quotation Paul says something remarkable. He shows that this new covenant, which contrasts the old one (that’s why he quoted Exodus), was not with literal Israel on literal Mount Zion, but with a new Jerusalem on e heavenly Mount Zion. Let’s look at Hebrews 12:22-24: “But YOU have approached a Mount Zion and a city of [the] living God, heavenly Jerusalem, and myriads of angels, in general assembly, and the congregation of the firstborn who have been enrolled in the heavens, and God the Judge of all, and the spiritual lives of righteous ones who have been made perfect, and Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and the blood of sprinkling, which speaks in a better way than Abel’s [blood].”

So Paul makes it really clear. All those old promises regarding literal Israel were abandoned because they broke the covenant! But Jehovah installed a new covenant! With whom? Paul said “heavenly Jerusalem” (didn’t you always say that there is no spiritual Jerusalem?). He also mentions Mount Zion together with heavenly Jerusalem. If this Jerusalem is in heaven, as the account says, likewise Mount Zion will be too!

So we yield, that if we look at the NT everything becomes much clearer. True, there was the covenant with literal Israel. True, they were a holy Nation. True, that could have lasted forever. But Israel broke the covenant with Jehovah! So he was free to give his promises to whom he wanted. He chose to create a “heavenly Jerusalem”. And to keep his promises for this Jerusalem and the “Israel of God”. Since there also is a heavenly Mount Zion, even every single account regarding the promises for Israel or in connection with Mount Zion you quoted, remains perfectly true! However, Jerusalem is replaced by “heavenly Jerusalem”, Israel through the “Israel of God” and Mount Zion by the heavenly Mount Zion (consider this when talking about Psalms 2:6)!

(Btw Hebrews 12 also speaks about the difference between human life and heavenly life, thus again proving that Jesus is no human being!)

For further understanding it would be good to read Hebrews 7 to 9 completely. Especially in chapter 8 Paul shows how the old covenant is replaced with the new one! For example take verse 13 from chapter 8: “In his saying “a new [covenant]” he has made the former one obsolete. Now that which is made obsolete and growing old is near to vanishing away.” This clearly shows that the old covenant of the OT is no longer valid, but only the new covenant! But literal Israel is not part of this new covenant as Paul told us in chapter 12!

Since you don’t seem to know who will belong to this “heavenly Jerusalem” I will consider that too. “Moreover, if YOU belong to Christ, YOU are really Abraham’s seed, heirs with reference to a promise.” (Galatians 3:29). So who is really Abraham’s seed? Literal Israel? No! Paul says, those belonging to Christ! And they are “heirs with reference to a promise”. This phrase reoccurs in the Bible. Why are those belonging to the Christ the real seed of Abraham? Paul explains: “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. It says, not: “And to seeds,” as in the case of many such, but as in the case of one: “And to your seed,” who is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16). So the singular of the seed promise matters as Paul said! So Jesus is the real seed of Abraham, thus all belonging to him are seeds too! Who belongs now to Christ? “YOU are all, in fact, sons of God through YOUR faith in Christ Jesus. For all of YOU who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female; for YOU are all one [person] in union with Christ Jesus. Moreover, if YOU belong to Christ, YOU are really Abraham’s seed, heirs with reference to a promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29). Here the circle closes! And here we see clearly that your assertion that those texts that say that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile only have to do with congregation, are wrong! It definitely has to do with the calling from Jehovah, as I already mentioned several times!

So we see that indeed the covenants changed and also the parties who joined the covenants! The kingdom of God did not change, but it definitely changed who the kingdom represents!

With the exception of Revelation 12 and 20, I already commented on every account you quoted from the NT. My point regarding them still stand, still you didn’t say anything against my arguments!

If you link the evidence I presented in this posting with all the evidence presented in my last postings, the picture really is so clear! If you still can’t share my opinion I ask you to refute my logical arguments regarding the covenants and how that changes the text passages you quoted. And please also refute my arguments regarding all the NT scriptures that show what the kingdom of God really is like. Furthermore I ask you to respond on my proofs that your assertion that Jesus is a human now is wrong.

I know it is not so easy to understand all of this, but if you realize one most important thing, the clouds clear up. You have to see the whole picture. Only looking at one half of it won’t lead you to the truth! Even Peter knew that it was sometimes hard to understand all Paul said: “Furthermore, consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul according to the wisdom given him also wrote YOU, speaking about these things as he does also in all [his] letters. In them, however, are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unsteady are twisting, as [they do] also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2. Peter 3:15, 16). So we have to be careful when reading! But Peter said even more. We must not twist what Paul said! But if we would say that all promises would apply to literal Israel we would just do that.

Please think carefully about the texts I quoted and when reading think about the fact that they all were inspired by Jehovah for the reason of understanding his intention. Adjustments had to be made to some promises of the OT, and that is why Paul and others commented on that! If everything had remained the same, there wouldn’t have been any need to explain it uder a new light!

Nathan said...

hey kevin,

I forgot to mention, that I won't be around from this Saturday until Monday in one week. This time I will be on a trip. Looking forward to your answer.

kevin said...

Hi Nathan,

Yeah, it's getting a little tricky answering all of each others' points in this one column, as we keep branching out into more and more topics. And, it has been simply from lack of time on my part (took the family camping this long weekend, etc.) that I haven't thus far answered all of your points in detail. I still hope to do that before too long.

In case I don't get a chance soon to answer you point by point on your latest post, let me sum up my basic argument by saying that you're mistaken to a large degree because you confuse the various covenants that Jehovah made with Israel:

The Mosaic (or Law) covenant was a CONDITIONAL covenant that had to do with Israel's being blessed as a nation in their promised land, and was, yes, broken by Israel, and was therefore replaced by the new covenant (also made with the nation Israel, Jer 31).

The Abrahamic covenant was UNCONDITIONAL, and had to do with the land promises, that the nation that would come out of Abraham's bosom would possess this land forever.

The Davidic covenant was also UNCONDITIONAL, and had do do with someone sitting on David's throne forever; that, in essence, David's kingdom, through his lineage, would have no end.

Your primary mistake in your latest post was to assume that because Israel broke the Mosaic covenant, that the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants are now null and void, as well. My point is that the nation Israel still has at least three remaining covenants with Jehovah, which have not been rescinded: The new covenant (which replaced the Mosaic covenant), and the unconditional Abrahamic and Davidic covenants.

So, my challenge to you is to demonstrate not that the Mosaic covenant was broken and done away with (I agree wholeheartedly that it was), but that the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants have been done away with. And again, I suggest that there's no need to allegorize away ANY of these covenants in an effort to force them into an Israel-less eschatology.

Kevin said...

Nathan,

OK...

I think you're reading WAY too much into the disciples' mistaken idea that the kingdom of God was going to display itself immediately. I suggest that the only thing they were mistaken on was the TIME element. Everything else they understood correctly from the OT verses that I quoted above. Why, in your view, did Jesus NEVER correct them of this erroneous view that Israel would someday inherit the kingdom? This is such a basic concept, surely Jesus would have said something about it, as He corrected His disciples on many other erroneous ideas that they had.

"But the seat of the kingdom will be here on earth. And the throne of the kingdom won’t be in earthly Jerusalem! It won’t be integral to the kingdom."

Sorry, but again, I refuse to allegorize away the plain texts (listed above) that say otherwise.

Again, Nathan, you spent much time and effort refuting the idea that only Jews go to heaven. But as I said before, I don't believe that. The ekklesia (church, or congregation) is made up of both Jews and Gentiles, and will rule with Christ in heaven.

"True the Bible does not speak of “spiritual Israel”

Thank you.

"but the term fits. The scriptures say: “For neither is circumcision anything nor is uncircumcision, but a new creation [is something]. And all those who will walk orderly by this rule of conduct, upon them be peace and mercy, even upon the Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:15, 16) So those going to heaven will be in the Israel of God. Where is that Israel of God? Let’s turn to Galatians chapter 4: “But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.” (Galatians 4:26) Where above? Above in heaven. So God’s chosen people, the Israel of God, will live in Jerusalem above in heaven. And since the chosen one don’t have to be Jews as seen above, I don’t believe that Revelation 7 is to betaken literal."

We've been through this already. Yes, the ekklesia will be in heaven, as is the New Jerusalem. And, the word "even," which is probably more correctly translated "and," is extremely flimsy material upon which to build an entire "the ekklesia replaces Israel" theology.

"Thus I end up again with the statement that “literal Israel does just not matter when it comes to the kingdom”, as far as the seat of the kingdom is concerned!"

Only if you allegorize away hundreds of Bible verses, which I am not willing to do.

"We should believe the Bible as it is written, meaning we should believe that everything that is stated in the Bible is true. But we cannot conclude that every word of the Bible is to be taken literal. Of course there can be different opinions on which text has to interpreted how, but obviously we can’t take every account as it would be literal!"

I've never said that every verse in the Bible should be taken literally. There are many plain examples of allegory, simile, hyperbole, parables, figures of speech, etc., in Scripture, and we are wise to be on the alert for these. My point is simply that you're allegorizing way more than is warranted; the vast majority of OT prophecy is not allegory. Again, of those hundred or so verses that Jesus fulfilled at His first coming, He fulfilled literally (born of a virgin, in Bethlehem, rode into Jerusalem on a Donkey, etc.). These passages are interwoven with many passages that have yet to be fulfilled, at Jesus' second coming. Again, I see no warrant for changing the basic mode of interpretation for these "second coming" verses.

"It would just not make sense for the New AND the literal Jerusalem representing God’s kingdom."

Maybe not in your mind, but I don't go by what makes sense to you, but by what the Scripture says. If the Scripture has place for earthly Jerusalem and a heavenly Jerusalem, a good theology makes room for both.

For that matter, in my mind, that's where Russell went wrong 100 years ago or so. The idea of eternal punishment wasn't "reasonable" to him, so he allegorized away all the verses that spoke plainly of it. God's thoughts are higher than our thoughts; we should be extremely cautious when rejecting the plain sense of Scripture because it's not "reasonable" to us. God's word will stand, regardless of our faulty reasoning on it.

Again, you harp again and again that the heavenly rulers (the "anointed ones") are made up of both Jews and Gentiles. Again, Nathan, no argument there!

"ad Romans 11:25: Well don’t forget what Paul said in the same letter, but two chapters before. I Romans 9:6, as already quoted he said: “For not all who [spring] from Israel are really “Israel.”” And also what he said in verses 27-29: “Moreover, Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Although the number of the sons of Israel may be as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved. For Jehovah will make an accounting on the earth, concluding it and cutting it short.” Also, just as Isaiah had said aforetime: “Unless Jehovah of armies had left a seed to us, we should have become just like Sodom, and we should have been made just like Gomorrah.””.

Again, we've already been over this a few times. Israel's chastised, regathered, repentant remnant is "spiritual." Carnal Israelites will not survive into the Kingdom.

"After the times of the gentiles the New Jerusalem rules, with Jesus being king. In heaven! That’s it."

Nope, sorry. The same Jerusalem that is being trampled by the Gentiles now, will only be trampled so long as the "times of the Gentiles" last. I do understand your point, Nathan, but again, I suggest that it's unfounded, and that the plain sense of Scripture makes good, coherent sense.

"ad John 18:36, 37: I never doubted that Jesus comes again, crushing all earthly kingdoms. That was not, what I was saying by quoting that scripture. I quoted it, because it makes clear that the kingdom of Jesus is “no part of the world”! Literal Jerusalem is part of the world, isn’t it? Since Jesus said that his kingdom is no part of the world, literal Jerusalem cannot belong to the kingdom."

Just for the sake of conjecture, Nathan, what do you suppose would have happened if Israel HAD accepted Jesus as their messiah and king at His first presence? All those OT passages that I quoted would have been fulfilled literally, would they not have been? That's exactly what I'm suggesting; Israel was given a bona fide offer of the Kingdom. Since they rejected the offer, the Kingdom-via-Israel program has been put on hold, UNTIL the times of the Gentiles have been fulfilled. Then, these OT promises will be fulfilled to the very letter. (By the way, if you read the verses that I quoted above carefully, you'll see that they're amazingly detailed, regarding Israel being regathered from among the nations to which they'd been scattered, etc. My suggestion is that Jehovah, through the prophets, was far more precise and detailed in His foretelling of future events than the WT makes Him out to be.)

"You call the verses we considered here “not unambiguous” and in the same sentence you say that they speak for themselves. Well I am not so sure if that makes sense."

Thanks for catching me on that; I meant to say "not ambiguous."

"Again, it does not matter that the term spiritual Israel is not mentioned in the scriptures. Also I never said that it was. I just said, that the term fits, since the “Israel of God” or the “New Jerusalem”, or the “Jerusalem above” will be in heaven. In this sense it is of course spiritual."

No, I say that you're mashing verses together that don't belong together. There is a literal Israel and Jerusalem, and there is a heavenly Jerusalem. Both have their places in the Kingdom; nowhere does Scripture say that one excludes the other. It's "and," not "or."

"You mix up the congregation and the ones being God’s chosen ones who will rule with Jesus. Paul (and others) indeed says that it does not matter if you are a Jew or not! Not only for the congregation, but as far as being chosen by God is concerned. Wee have seen that a lot of times now, through many scriptures. If you don’t like that, well that is bad luck. But please accept the truth."

I'm not mixing up anything. The ekklesia, the church, the congregation, the bride of Christ, the body of Christ, made up of both Jews and Gentiles, will reign and minister with Christ during the millennium. I don't think you disagree with this; if you do, let me know, and we can discuss a few dozen verses along these lines. In contrast, however, NEVER are the 144,000 of Revelation 7 and 14 spoken of being kings, priests, or the bride of Christ. It is the ekklesia that rules with Christ, not the 144,000 Jews who are sealed during the Tribulation.

"No the king of the kingdom is not a human. This is impossible! The kingdom of God is in heaven! No human can go to heaven. It is not possible! Jesus said: ““Unless anyone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”” (John 3:3) Born again as human? Does that make sense? Not at all!"

Nathan, you grossly misunderstand the Biblical doctrines of resurrection and regeneration.

Regarding bodily resurrection:

(Like the "Israel" verses above, the following verses were taken from the personal study that I did in 1984, which led me out of the JW organization and into saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.)

Jesus' body was resurrected:

Matt 12:40-"for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

Mark 16:6-"He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid him."

Luke 24:3-they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus

Luke 24:39-"touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have"

John 2:19,21-Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days"...But the temple he had spoken of was his body [Gr. spoke about the shrine of the body of him].

John 20:27-Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing." [If Jesus was not here actually presenting His resurrected body to His disciples, He would be "proving" His resurrection by trickery.]

Acts 2:27-"because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay [Gr. corruption; quote from Ps. 16:10]"

Acts 13:34-37-The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words: "I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David." So it is stated elsewhere: "You will not let your Holy One see decay." For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and he decayed [Gr. saw corruption]. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay [Gr. did not see corruption].

Col 2:9-For in Him [Jesus] all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form

1 Ti 2:5-For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

Christians' bodies will be resurrected:

Rom 8:11-And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Rom 8:23-We...groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

Phil 3:20-21-For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state [Gr. Christ, who will change the body of the humiliation of us] into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

But yes, these resurrected bodies will be CHANGED:

John 20:26-Jesus came, the doors having been shut

1 Cor 15:44-it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body

1 Cor 15:52-we shall be changed

1 Cor 15:53-For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.

And, regarding being born again, this is something that occurs in a Chistian's life NOW, when he is born spiritually...

Here's what it means to be "born again":

Jer 31:33-34-"I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying 'Know the Lord [Jehovah]," for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the Lord [Jehovah], "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

Ez. 36:25-27-I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Tit 3:5-He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.

1 Pet 1:23-for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable [Gr. corruptible] but imperishable [Gr. incorruptible]...

And, contrary to the WT's disastrous teaching, this experience is open to (and mandatory for) ALL Christians:

John 1:12-13-But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, [even] to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Acts 2:38-39-And Peter [said] to them, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself."

Rom 8:8-those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Rom 8:9-But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. [vs. 15-"Abba! Father!"]

1 John 5:1-Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God...

1 John 5:12-He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

In fact, for the WT to talk about "putting on the new personality" without being "born again" is grossly unscriptural:

2 Cor 5:17-Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Eph 4:24-25-and put on the new self [Gr. new man], which in the likeness of God has been CREATED in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.

Col 3:9-11-you laid aside the old self with its [evil] practices, and have put on the new self [Gr. new man] who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who CREATED him...Christ is all, and in all.

And Nathan, I submit that unless you become "born again," you will neither see nor enter the Kingdom:

John 3:3-"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

John 3:5-"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

John 3:7-"Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'"

"ad Acts 3:21: As I said the verse is speaking about Christ’s presence, it does not say that Jesus will restore the kingdom to literal Israel. The restoration of all things is far more then the restoration of literal Israel. Jesus will restore the Paradise o earth that humans had in the beginning."

I've never limited "the restoration of all things" to literal Israel. Yes, the entire earth will be restored and rejuvenated; I take these "new order" verses literally, as you do.

"And again you are badly mistaken. Jesus is not “fully human” as you say. 1. Corinthians 15 proves that this is not possible!"

No, but of course, I would say that it's you that are mistaken. 1 Cor 15 does not at all prove that Jesus is not fully human. It simply proves that the resurrection body is "changed" at the resurrection. A "spiritual" body is animated by the Spirit, but this doesn't necessitate the annihilation of the physical body.

"You suggest wrongly! Jesus did not say the kingdom will be given back to you after you have been chastised. He said, it will be taken away from you. He did not say it will come back to them.

No, please read my "Israel restored" verses above again. In those verses, it is stated very plainly that Israel would be chastised and regathered in the last days.

"ad Luke 19:11-27. Yes you are right, verse 11 shows what expectations the Jews had. "But those expectations were wrong. And that is the reason why Jesus presented his illustration. How does verse 12 start? “Therefore…”, meaning because Jesus knew about there wrong expectations, he narrated the illustration. He made t clear in the end: “Moreover, these enemies of mine that did not want me to become king over them BRING here and slaughter them before me.” If you didn’t understand the meaning of the parable, then please read it again and think about it. Link it to the rest of passages discussed."

No, these "enemies" were not slaughtered because they had a wrong understanding of the literalness of Israel's place in the Kingdom; they were slaughtered because they refused Jesus as their King.

"Thanks for your apology. I am not angry, just wanted to tell you. But I think it is not equitable to compare what I wrote in half an hour from my mind to a book. Of course some formulations would need refinement before publishing and the whole stuff would have to be more structured. But this is a discussion forum, nothing more, so don’t expect too much from the formal side. But still the arguments are quite profound I think."

I disagree with the profundity of your arguments. I learned all these same arguments from Jehovah's Witnesses over a period of 7 years, back in the late 1970's and early 1980's. Rather, I am continually astounded with the profundity of Scripture as written; how it presents a coherent, albeit different view from that of JW's, of the Kingdom. Again, I cannot emphasize this enough: The plain sense of Scripture paints a picture that is different from the one painted by the WT. It is no less "profound" than the WT picture.

"I definitely share your opinion that such a discussion is profitable for all."

Yes, very much agreed, Nathan.

"Regarding your trinity theorem: I did not want to say that it is only impossible in my mind. I wanted to say that it is impossible from the viewpoint of the Scriptures! We have seen that already for your assertion that Jesus is a human now. The same is true for the trinity theorem."

In time, I hope we'll be able to get into this. But alas, this subject would be just as long and detailed as this one; I'd prefer to do it justice in another place, if time permits.

"I answered to GBL on this thread to show that he was terribly mistaken. I think I accomplished that. Through your response I had even more possibility to show that. After all this my contention holds, that JWs preach the kingdom of God in the way it is."

No, I think GBL is correct in his assertion that JW's have the wrong kingdom message, and are not fulfilling Matt 24:14. I don't know much detail regarding his view of the Kingdom, so I cannot speak about my level of agreement with him on this particular topic.

"Thank you very much Kevin for taking so much time discussing with me. It really is great fun and an opportunity to refine and re-examine the own position!"

And thank you, too, Nathan. I really appreciate this opportunity to shake this topic out with you.

kevin said...

...and, regarding your latest message, Nathan...

"Unfortunately I saw that you didn’t ouch my points, thus our discussion is interrupted here. I personally regret that, because there are a lot of important points in my last posting."

Done; see above message.

"Regarding your last posting: Well I always try to read the Scriptures without “pre judgement”. But I do one thing. I try to link what I read to everything I already know from the Bible. Then I think about how I understood a certain verse. If that fits the rest of the Bible, it’s just fine. If how I understood it, does not fit the rest of the Bible I start to think again. A kind of coherence theory."

No problem with that. All Scripture is inspired of God and is beneficial. A correct theology must incorporate ALL of Scripture. You and I are agreed on that.

"But please go on and read verse 16 too: “And I will constitute your seed like the dust particles of the earth, so that, if a man could be able to count the dust particles of the earth, then your seed could be numbered.” Are you going to take that as literal? Surely not. However referring to Abrahams seed I already mentioned Romans 9:6-9: “For not all who [spring] from Israel are really “Israel.” Neither because they are Abraham’s seed are they all children, but: “What will be called ‘your seed’ will be through Isaac.” That is, the children in the flesh are not really the children of God, but the children by the promise are counted as the seed.” This shows how God views Abrahams seed today. The same applies for Gen 17:7. 8."

No, the "like the dust particles of the earth" is probably hyperbole. (But who knows, if Israel is restored and blessed, and the "new earth" encompasses more than our present earth? Still, I think this is most likely hyperbole, so you and I agree on this.)

"ad 2. Sam 7:16: True, the kingdom of David endures forever. Christ was the heir of the throne of David. His HEAVENLY kingdom will be there forever."

Read the Davidic promises again, more carefully this time. The specifics are there for a reason.

"Nearly one third of your quotations from the OT is out of Isaiah. I have no problem with that, but Isaiah is generally acknowledged to be highly symbolic and jumping between different times. For example Jesus was quoting a lot from Isaiah for the time he lived in, although many verses applied to Israel in the time Isaiah lived and also to the “last days”. So it is not so easy to take out verses from Isaiah if you already have an idea how you WANT to apply them. There is a big risk of bias in it."

So, in particular, what verses from Isaiah did Jesus allegorize? I think your contention is just plain wrong. Jesus did not allegorize Isaiah. He read from Isaiah, and applied it literally to Himself, but where did He allegorize it?

You go on at length about how the (conditional) Mosaic (Law) covenant was done away with and superseded by the new covenant. I'm in 100% agreement with you on that. Again, though, I challenge you to show me where the (unconditional) Abrahamic and Davidic covenants have ever been nullified or superseded.

"So Paul makes it really clear. All those old promises regarding literal Israel were abandoned because they broke the covenant! But Jehovah installed a new covenant! With whom? Paul said “heavenly Jerusalem” (didn’t you always say that there is no spiritual Jerusalem?). He also mentions Mount Zion together with heavenly Jerusalem. If this Jerusalem is in heaven, as the account says, likewise Mount Zion will be too!"

No, NONE of the promises in the Abrahamic or Davidic covenants, or in the Prophets, were "abandoned." In fact, Paul said the gifts and the calling of God, in particular in relation to the nation Israel, "are irrevocable." Rom 11:29 Is there a heavenly Mount Zion, as well as the heavenly Jerusalem? Perhaps, but again, this doesn't automatically delete earthly Mount Zion from the foretold Kingdom program.

And no, the new covenant (Jer 31) was made, not with "heavenly Jerusalem" (I challenge you to prove your contention on this), but with LITERAL Israel, the SAME Israel that broke the Mosaic (Law) covenant!

(Btw Hebrews 12 also speaks about the difference between human life and heavenly life, thus again proving that Jesus is no human being!)

You're making a false dichotomy here. You're assuming that human life cannot exist in heaven, but Hebrews 12 doesn't say that. I invite you to please clarify your point from Heb 12.

"If you link the evidence I presented in this posting with all the evidence presented in my last postings, the picture really is so clear!"

Yes, your position is clear, but it's wrong. The WT position is not hard to understand; I believe I understand it quite well, in fact. I'm just saying that historic, conservative, evangelical theology is also clear, but that it's not only clear, but correct. Ditto with dispensational eschatology. Because of its insistence on the grammatical-historical hermeneutic, I think it is a far superior eschatological system than the allegorized one promoted by JW's. And in the end, I believe that God's word will stand as written, and will be proven astoundingly precise and true, despite man's unbelief and seeming need to allegorize it away.

"I know it is not so easy to understand all of this, but if you realize one most important thing, the clouds clear up. You have to see the whole picture. Only looking at one half of it won’t lead you to the truth! Even Peter knew that it was sometimes hard to understand all Paul said: “Furthermore, consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul according to the wisdom given him also wrote YOU, speaking about these things as he does also in all [his] letters. In them, however, are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unsteady are twisting, as [they do] also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2. Peter 3:15, 16). So we have to be careful when reading! But Peter said even more. We must not twist what Paul said! But if we would say that all promises would apply to literal Israel we would just do that."

Amen. Although I've said that an uneducated truck driver can read the Bible and "get" it's true meaning, I also am learning that it really takes a lifetime of dedicated Bible study to comprehend the overarching Kingdom program in all its magnificent details. (Although I got the main gist of it through a 5-month intensive personal study back in 1984.)

"Please think carefully about the texts I quoted and when reading think about the fact that they all were inspired by Jehovah for the reason of understanding His intention. Adjustments had to be made to some promises of the OT, and that is why Paul and others commented on that! If everything had remained the same, there wouldn’t have been any need to explain it under a new light!"

No, again I contend that no "adjustments" or "new light" were needed to the OT. Their very clear and specific promises to Israel still stand, as written. True, the ekklesia was a heretofore unseen aspect of the Kingdom program, and it was necessary for clarification to be made on the details of THIS newly-revealed body in the NT. But this was in ADDITION to the plain promises given to Israel, not IN PLACE of the promises given to Israel.

Nathan, if I could make one suggestion to you, it would be this. Take some time and read the entire Bible alone, without the "help" of WT publications. Take note of the plain sense of Scripture, and what picture it paints regarding the future of the nation Israel, as well as on all other basic Bible doctrines. This is what I did, and ended up with the conclusion that the Bible IS able to stand on its own, and to speak for itself, in plain, unambiguous language. You may not be ready yet to BELIEVE the Scripture as written, but please consider what the Scripture SAYS as plainly written. Then, in time, I pray that Jehovah will open your eyes to the fact that He wrote EXACTLY what He meant, and meant EXACTLY what He wrote, and that it's OK for you to believe it as written. There's still room for you in the heavenly Kingdom, Nathan, and I'd sure like to see you there. And, along those lines, may I suggest that the ransom sacrifice of the theanthropic (both God and man) One is of infinite value, and is fully sufficient to take care of all your sins, past, present, and future, and to justify you completely before Jehovah God, once you believe upon Christ in the true, Biblical sense of "believing." This, I contend, is the true gospel, and is the power of God to all who believe, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Rom 1:16

Nathan said...

That will take me some time to answer kevin!

Regarding your first posting (after my last one): I don’t see any reason why I should be mistaken, regarding the various covenants! I never mixed them up! Please read carefully and you will see that!

In fact it is you who seems to confuse the covenants. You spoke about the “various covenants that Jehovah made with Israel”. And then you list them as “The Mosaic (or Law) covenant”, “The Abrahamic covenant” and “The Davidic covenant”. First of all, and also very important, those are not all covenants with Israel! The Abrahamic covenant was contracted in a time long before something like a nation Israel existed, and it was contracted with Abraham personally! Thus it is by no means a covenant with Israel! Further, please read what I said regarding the covenant with Abraham and his seed in my last posting. I never said that the Abrahamic covenant was nullified! The opposite is true.

Regarding the Davidic covenant: This was a covenant contracted with David personally! It was not a covenant with Israel as nation! And again, I answered also on that and showed how this covenant, which in fact is a promise (because it was unconditional as you said correctly), is kept by Jehovah, although the kingdom was taken away from literal Israel. But since Jesus is king of heavenly Jerusalem (and that was the promise), everything is just fine.

The only thing that was nullified, and I pointed that out, was the Mosaic covenant and thus all promised in connection with that covenant were nullified from the viewpoint of righteousness. But Jehovah lovingly transferred his promise to heavenly Jerusalem.

Your assumption that the new covenant has anything to do with literal Israel has no scriptural basis as can be seen from my previous postings, so I won’t comment on that here again.

So your challenge is met with these statements from my part. No need to “allegorize away” anything. Just plain Scripture used in this regard.


Regarding your second posting:

I don’t read anything into the disciples’ mistaken idea that the kingdom of God was going to display itself immediately. You said: “Yes, verse 11 is very interesting, isn't it? It shows us clearly what the Jews' expectation was as Jesus was nearing Jerusalem; "they were imagining that the kingdom of God was going to display itself instantly." Again, my contention is that this was a valid expectation on their part.” I showed that your contention was wrong nothing more. That is why Jesus presented the illustration. I cannot share your suggestion that they were mistaken only on the time element. The illustration Jesus used shows that literal Israel would no prevail as chosen nation. And may this time I ask you a question? Why do you think that so many pages of the NT were used to explain to the first Christians that only heavenly Jerusalem was important for them? Why did Paul have to write so many letters explaining the facts, if all those Jews and Christians were not mistaken about several points regarding the kingdom?

Well I can’t change your opinion, if you don’t want to. That is clear. But is does not change the facts, Kevin. The seat of the kingdom won’t be on earth. The throne of the kingdom won’t be in literal Jerusalem, which is not integral to the kingdom. Yes the kingdom will rule also over the earth, but it won’t be seated on earth. I did not allegorize away any texts to come to this conclusion. I only showed why the Mosaic covenant does not exist anymore and what consequences that has. Nothing more. If you can show that I did something else, you are invited to prove it.

You said: ”My contention, again, is that you're mistaken, and that indeed, the "Israel of God" IS comprised of literal, but "saved" or "spiritual", but literal, Jews.” This is why I refuted the idea that only Jews go to heaven. Since the “Israel of God” is in heaven, your comment emphasised the impression that it is your opinion that only Jews go to heaven. If you only wanted to say that the “Israel of God” is not in heaven, please say it plainly.

I have no problem with stating that “spiritual Israel” is not mentioned as phrase in the Bible. But as far as I remember, I never said that it was. I did not build the concept of heavenly Jerusalem replacing literal Jerusalem on just one word. I built it on a lot of material that was stated in full length above. The verses regarding the “Israel of God” were included only to show that there is a big difference between literal Israel and heavenly.

Still my contention holds: “literal Israel does just not matter when it comes to the kingdom”, as far as the seat of the kingdom is concerned!”. I did not allegorize away any text. Again, I just showed the consequences of the broken Mosaic covenant. You can’t go on using promises to a nation that were conditional, when the nation stopped to fulfil its part of the covenant. This was the fact I showed. No allegories neede.

I did not say that we can’t take every single verse as literal. I said that we can’t take every ACCOUNT as it would be literal! And I think this holds. So if you say that the Bible is simple and plain, I refute to accept that, because it is wrong. So for given accounts we have to decide which are to be taken literal and which are not. I don’t believe that I allegorize away anything that is not already allegorized through the writers of the NT. I always presented lots of Scriptures to back that point.

You don’t have to go by what makes sense to me. But you definitely should go by what is objective logical! You said you go by what the Scripture says. Perfect! I presented evidence for my statement "It would just not make sense for the New AND the literal Jerusalem representing God’s kingdom." Scriptural evidence: Hebrews 10:11, 13-16.

It is not a question of personal reasoning. It is a question of, well we could call it mathematical logic. I think this is universal. The whole creation shows that this principle holds as well as the Scripture does. So if we use the Bible and don’t read single verses but take into account the complete picture, it is possible to draw objective and right conclusions. Of course humans can be wrong, but this is no reason to discuss away the method of logical concluding.

I did not only discuss the Jews and Gentiles fact, but also showed that the texts I quoted do not only refer to the congregation but also to the kingdom of God.

Your statement “Israel's chastised, regathered, repentant remnant is "spiritual." Carnal Israelites will not survive into the Kingdom.” Is mere assumption and is not backed with Bible texts. It is said nowhere in the Bible that literal Israel will repent. Try to find a scripture that does say such straight forward. I know there is none. Romans 11:25 as well as the other texts quoted above Romans show that!

Sorry I don’t find any evidence for your assumption that literal Israel will play a role in God’s plans again. So when reading all the scriptures I quoted we still end up with what I said: "After the times of the gentiles the New Jerusalem rules, with Jesus being king. In heaven! That’s it."

Your next paragraph is very important! Yes all those verse of the OT would have been fulfilled for literal Israel, if they had not rejected the covenant with God. But the situation is that they rejected. But there is no justification for your suggestion that the “Kingdom-via-Israel program” has only been put on hold! The NT clearly says something completely different. Literal Israel was replaced with heavenly Jerusalem. Why would we need a “new Jerusalem” if the old was still good enough. Further, I can’t imagine that Jehovah will voluntarily hold a covenant with a nation that killed his only begotten son. When we read what Jesus said about the fate of Judas who betrayed him, what do you think Jehovah will do with those who killed Jesus? And the Bible makes clear that Israel as a nation was rejected afterwards and that only individuals could repent and be still in God’s favour. This is proved through dozens of NT texts. If you don’t accept that I don’t have any further possibility to convince you. But I believe that I mus obey the Bible more than you.

I neither see need nor evidence that literal Jerusalem plays a role in the kingdom parallel to heavenly Jerusalem. And of course the verses I used belong together! If you don’t believe that, please prove it in detail.

I don’t have a problem with the bride of Christ. Yes it will be made up of Jews and Gentiles. No discussion on that. I think it is not a bad idea to identify the 144.000 with the bride of Christ. I don’t believe that those will be literal Jews. There is no basis for that. It is not possible to take the verse literal in the sense that those will be literal Jews, because when the verse was written, Israel was already rejected and the New Jerusalem took its place.

If you don’t think that those 144.000 are going to be priests, kings or the bride of Christ, what do you think are they sealed for? And why is the term “sealed” used in other NT books for the kings and priests?

I think you guessed it Kevin. I believe that it is you who is grossly misunderstanding what the Bible has to tell us about resurrection.

ad “Jesus' body was resurrected”:

ad Matt 12:40: What is your point regarding this text? It has nothing to do with the kind of resurrection. Jesus was comparing the time spans and also the work Jonah and he were assigned to do.

ad Mark 16:6, Luke 24:3: Do you want to say that since Jesus’ body disappeared, he must have used the same body after his resurrection? That is your private conclusion then, and it is not very plausible. I’ll show why not in detail later.

"No the king of the kingdom is not a human. This is impossible! The kingdom of God is in heaven! No human can go to heaven. It is not possible! Jesus said: ““Unless anyone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”” (John 3:3) Born again as human? Does that make sense? Not at all!"

ad Luke 24:39: You really think that this proves anything? That is a very shallow analysis of this text. You always say that we should not allegorize away anything. But I keep telling you that you have to consider the context and the rest of the Bible too and see if your interpretation fits. While I will say something more on other Bible texts that proof my point, I will consider here only the context. What is said in verse 37? “But because they were terrified, and had become frightened, they were imagining they beheld a spirit.“ (Luke 24:37). This is the same saying as we use today if someone was terrified. Further why do you think that Jesus had to show them the wounds of his hand? I am sure that you would recognize your brother, if you had not seen him for a few days and suddenly he stands in front of you. And you would definitely recognize his face (!), you wouldn’t care for his hands if he looked the same way. But obviously the disciples did not recognize Jesus. The Bible does not say that they didn’t recognize him because they were afraid, but they just did not recognize him. This is shown in John 21:4: “However, just as it was getting to be morning, Jesus stood on the beach, but the disciples did not, of course, discern that it was Jesus.” Why shouldn’t they recognize him as Jesus if he had the same human body? Did Mary recognize Jesus when she was standing next to his grave? No: “After saying these things, she turned back and viewed Jesus standing, but she did not discern it was Jesus.” (John 20:14). On these and other occasions the disciples never recognized Jesus because of his appearance but because of his behaviour! So what conclusion do you draw regarding his body?

Well your point here just does not hold. I know it would be much easier to take every account literal without considering the context and other statements of the Bible the might contradict the literal meaning of a single verse, but easy does not mean right!

As I side, Paul discussed detailed why God did not leave Jesus’ “soul in Ha´des”. And he quoted what David said: “neither will you allow your loyal one to see corruption.” (Acts 2). I know you quoted that below, but you did not understand the application of it.

ad John 2:19,21: Yes he spoke about his body. So what? Again we have to consider more than these 2 verses alone. What was Jesus supposed to do with his body? Luke 22:19 says the following: “Also, he took a loaf, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them, saying: “This means my body which is to be given in YOUR behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”“. So his body should be given in behalf of his disciples! It was used as a ransom: “By the said “will” we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time.” (Hebrews 10:10). Also Hebrews 9:24-28 proves this. So you have to decide. If Jesus used his body as a ransom, he cannot use it anymore, because it does no longer belong to him! Or you believe that he still uses it, but then obviously there was no ransom. I prefer to believe the first!

ad John 20:27: More or less the same as I said regarding Luke 24:39 is valid here. I only want to add that Jesus used as you would call it “tricks” on several occasions. Think of his command to fish on the other side of the boat.

ad Acts 13:34-37: True it shows that Jesus’ body will never decay. It does not say that he has a physical body now!

ad Col 2:9: Well you should look this up in your Greek dictionary. If I may, I will quote what Strong’s encyclopaedia has to say to the word translated with “bodily form”: “bodily, corporally, of the exalted spiritual body, visible only to the inhabitants of heaven”. So this scripture rather proves my position rather than yours. As I said it is not always easy to consider single verses carefully! (You really believed that this text was a proof for your position for nearly 25 years now, without ever looking up the Greek?)
ad 1.Ti 2:5: Go on and read verse 6 too: “who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all—[this is] what is to be witnessed to at its own particular times.” Paul emphasised that Jesus was a mere human when he was on earth to show that his ransom was “corresponding”!

ad “Christians' bodies will be resurrected”:

ad Romans 8:11: Paul did not say here that the Spirit of God will resurrect a human body to heavenly life. Again, I urge you to read the context! Read from verse 1 on. It becomes clear what Paul was talking about. He used the word “flesh” as metaphor as well as the word “Spirit” as metaphor. He tried to show where the difference is between doing what the body wants and doing what the Spirit wants. He showed that following the fleshly desires yields death and that following the Spirit and keeping the Lords means life. Interestingly you also quoted verse 23! From this alone it should be clear what Paul meant: “Not only that, but we ourselves also who have the firstfruits, namely, the spirit, yes, we ourselves groan within ourselves, while we are earnestly waiting for adoption as sons, the release from our bodies by ransom.” Or consider what Paul said in 7:24: “Miserable man that I am! Who will rescue me from the body undergoing this death?” So Paul was waiting to be freed from his human body, as can be seen from the 2 prior verses.

ad Phil 3:20-21: Well this proves my point, not yours! It clearly shows that those in heaven need a different body as humans have!

All texts you quote after you say that resurrected bodies will be changed proof my point! For example 1. Cor 15:44: “it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body”. This is so clear! Why do you allegorize anything here? If a spiritual body is raised, as the text plainly says, why do you insist that Jesus and those in heaven are still humans? Humans only have a physical body! Now Paul said that a spiritual one is raised, thus they are no humans anymore. Yes they have the same persons but they are no humans! I don’t understand your concept. You say, well they are still human, but with changed bodies. But this does not make sense. Paul states straight forward that they lose their natural body and receive a spiritual body. Nothing more to say!

Your whole contention regarding humans in heaven is wrong!

Please reconsider all scriptures I quoted in my last but one posting to see what the resurrection and heavenly bodies really mean! And also consider these:

Exodus 33:20: “And he added: “You are not able to see my face, because no man may see me and yet live.”” If Jesus and his disciples in heaven were humans, they couldn’t see God. But the Bible clearly says that Jesus sits next to Jehovah!

1. Peter 3:18: “Why, even Christ died once for all time concerning sins, a righteous [person] for unrighteous ones, that he might lead YOU to God, he being put to death in the flesh, but being made alive in the spirit.” Jesus was put to death in flesh, but made alive in the spirit, so he is no longer a human.

I agree that all people who “have the Christ” will be saved. Btw, nothing else is said by JW. But only God knows what it really means to have the Christ. Jesus himself said that no everybody saying Lord, Lord will be saved. More is involved. Humans cannot decide who will be saved. JW also to not teach that all JW will be saved! They know that only Jehovah and Jesus judge people.

Regarding the “being born” again issue. I only quoted John 3:3 in this regard. Again, please read the context and see what Jesus was talking about.

I quote your last paragraph on that topic: “No, but of course, I would say that it's you that are mistaken. 1 Cor 15 does not at all prove that Jesus is not fully human. It simply proves that the resurrection body is "changed" at the resurrection. A "spiritual" body is animated by the Spirit, but this doesn't necessitate the annihilation of the physical body.”

Of course does 1. Cor 15 proof that you are mistaken. It shows beyond any doubt that no human will go to heaven. What you call a “change” means a whole new spiritual body! How do you think one will remain human but will be changed to a heavenly spirit body? Read verse 50: “However, this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom, neither does corruption inherit incorruption.“ This and all other verses from 35-53 are plain language! What consists of flesh and blood? The human body! Can it inherit the kingdom? No! So no human will go to heaven. If you resist to accept the plain language of the Bible here, you choose to believe your own wishes and you stop following the Bible!

What I said regarding the kingdom remains valid. I examined the text you quoted and commented on it. I showed that JESUS just said that the kingdom will be taken away from them. He did not say that it will come back some time!

ad Luke 19:11-27: I never said that the enemies were slaughtered because they had a wrong understanding! Of course they were slaughtered because they rejected Jesus! And that is the main point! The nation of Israel rejected Jesus! He said that plainly in the illustration. They are the citizens: “But his citizens hated him and sent out a body of ambassadors after him, to say, ‘We do not want this [man] to become king over us.’” (verse 11). Jesus said his citizens. He did not say some citizens or some individuals! He spoke of them as a whole! So all his enemies, the nation Israel, was to be slaughtered! Again (and again) please be careful when reading the scripture and also when reading what I said and what I did not say! Of course Luke 19 proves my point! Israel was rejected as God’s chosen people!

Unfortunately, the picture of the Scripture that YOU (not the Bible itself in fact) present is very incoherent! As I said you have to link all texts together and look if the whole picture does not contradict itself. Your assumptions regarding literal Israel and humans in heaven contradict the Bible very much as we have seen.

As far as the profundity of my arguments is concerned: Well I let the Bible pretty much speak for itself and presented you a lot of scriptural evidence. If you don’t call that profound that is up to you. But if my reasoning was so wrong, why didn’t you present any valid counter arguments. All your arguments were proven wrong! I know that you won’t agree with me on that, but I think that objective observers of the debate will! Even if your main assumptions were right, you did not provide logical rationale for it.

ad trinity: definitely agreed, to discuss that some time later!

You said: “No problem with that. All Scripture is inspired of God and is beneficial. A correct theology must incorporate ALL of Scripture. You and I are agreed on that.” So you know that it is important! So you cannot just simply try to use a few text in a sense you like them, which then contradict other verses!

Well you did only answer on the “dust particles”. But there was much more in my paragraph, showing that quoting the text for your position is not valid. See Romans 9:6-9 for that (as already mentioned in my last posting).

ad 2. Sam 7:16: I answered on the Davidic covenant above.

What I said about Isaiah was that he jumped around between different times! And he did! So taking out single verses is not so easy! Well Jesus quoted for example Isaiah 29:13 and applied it to the Pharisees as if Isaiah had specifically prophesied against the Pharisees although the verse was prophesied against ancient Israel. Just for example.

Abrahamic and Davidic covenant were touched by me above. I never said that those were nullified!

I was just talking about the promises regarding the nation Israel with reference to the Mosaic covenant! What the Abrahamic covenant meant was touched in my last post and also a few paragraphs above.

Regarding Romans 11:29 I suggest the translation: “For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.” This corresponds to the Strong’s encyclopaedia for Greek. What I said regarding heavenly Mount Zion and heavenly Jerusalem still holds. It is just logical. Not just in my sense but in the sense that it is mathematically correct.

I proved that is was made with heavenly Jerusalem. I will do it again, after you proved that is was made with literal Israel. Show that the new covenant was contracted with literal Israel!

My point from Hebrews 12 is quite clear when you consider what I said about human and heavenly bodies and when you consider 1. Corinthians 15, as quoted by me. No flesh and blood, so no human can inherit the kingdom! Together then with Hebrews 12 my point becomes clear. If you still have problems with it, let me know.

I believe that my position is not only clear but that it is correct as well. You do a comparison between to eschatological systems that to not exist in reality. JW do not allegorize everything and do never use grammatical-historical hermeneutic. But you do like this would be the case. However it is not. But for so many reasons one cannot take every single account in the Bible literal! Because if one does so, contrary to what you say, the picture would not be coherent!

Well Paul and other writers of the NT did not only comment on the congregation. Thus my point is valid: “. Adjustments had to be made to some promises of the OT, and that is why Paul and others commented on that! If everything had remained the same, there wouldn’t have been any need to explain it under a new light!”

Kevin, people who were once JW always use the same phrasing, regardless if they know the person they are talking to. In contrast to you who were a JW before studying the scripture in detail, I came across another way. First I had to find reasons why there should be a God. I spent many hours on this and came to the conclusion that God must be something I would call a statistical necessity! After that I tried to find out if we can find out something about God. Again, after a lot of search I ended up with the Bible as only book that was written by God. After that I saw that JW are those who live up to what the Bible says on a level that is far beyond all other religions. I also got to know that their teachings, though not always right, are closer to the truth than those of others. This was my way. So I think that I pretty much know what I do and believe.

Unfortunately in your first posting you did not much rationale answering on my arguments, you just said “NO”. This is why in my first part of the posting you find mostly only “NO”s to your “NO”s.

But thanks again for your time!

kevin said...

Nathan,

How many times do I have to quote Jeremiah 31? This "new covenant" was made with the same people who broke the "old covenant," the nation of Israel. Read the chapter! When did your "spiritual Israel" ever break the old covenant? Again, please read Jeremiah 31, and it should be very, very obvious with whom the "new covenant" was to be made. If you won't read the chapter, I can't make you read it, and if you just refuse to believe it, well, I can't make you believe it, either.

Truthfully, this discussion has branched off into so many topics that it would take quite a few books of arguments on both our parts, to do justice to the subjects that we've touched lightly on here. God willing, I might just put together such a systematic theology over the next decade or so; perhaps it could be helpful for Jehovah's Witnesses who might be interested in giving conservative, historical Christian theology another look.

In the meantime, though, your last response was so full of your own know-it-all bluster, that, truthfully, I'm losing interest in the present debate. Sure, I could put another hundred hours into a response that MIGHT give you the TINIEST bit of respect for historical, orthodox Christian theology. But I have to ask myself, would that be the best use of my time? Would that effort produce much fruit? I think probably not.

But, I know, Nathan, that some seeds have been planted in your heart, and in due time, as others also plant and water, perhaps God will cause some of these seeds to grow.

If you're (or if anyone else reading this is) genuinely interested in this subject of the Kingdom, may I suggest that you read Alva J. McClain's "The Greatness of the Kingdom." You can get it through Amazon. In that book, Dr. McClain outlines the dispensational position on the Kingdom with extraordinary clarity and skill. He'll answer your objections to "my ideas" a hundred times over. Indeed, if you read that book, and still remain a JW, please let me know somehow, as I would be astounded!

But, over the years, I've been astounded many, many times. How can JW's remain JW's, in the face of so much objective evidence that the Watchtower Society is not God's organization? Even more than a head issue, I've come to believe that it's more of a heart issue. If your personal security is in the Watchtower system, and if you don't want to become insecure, then no amount of logical argumentation is going to loose you from your moorings. This was the situation with the Pharisees in Jesus' day. Jesus did all that He could, but the Pharisees rejected HIM, preferring to remain in their familiar, comfortable and well hammered-out system, rather than coming to Him.

John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life."

What I am ultimately asking of you, Nathan, (and by extension, all Jehovah's Witnesses) is that you, in due time, transfer your faith, love, loyalty and passion from the Watchtower organization and its theology and systems, to the person of Jesus Christ. I know that this is undoubtedly asking too much of you at this point, but I know that you will keep this idea in mind for the rest of your life, and that someday you just might be prepared to act upon it.

My security used to be in the Watchtower system, but it's not anymore. I found a better way. A way of truth and life, in relationship with the Jesus of the Bible. In my heart I am secure today, not because I'm able to argue eschatology with you, but because I KNOW that I belong to Jesus. Jesus knows His sheep, and His sheep know Him. I cannot prove this to you; all I can do is witness and testify to you. Nathan, there IS a better way for you. I've been on both sides, and this one is infinitely better!

Of course, as these "last days" play out, we'll all be able to look back in hindsight, and see who was right, and who was wrong. But the main thing for me, looking back, will not be a smug "I was right; God really did restore the nation Israel as part of His Kingdom program," but rather, a humble, yet inexpressibly profound, "Thank God that I found Jesus, and that I belong to Him."

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Nathan said...

Kevin,

To be honest a I was a little disappointed because of your response.

I know Jeremiah 31 very well. But the way you apply it does not consider the NT at all. It is your choice to do so, but you may understand that my choice is to consider also the NT. It may be your choice to ignore all the evidence I presented and stick to your literal fulfilment idea, but you may understand that my choice is to accept the evidence of the NT.

Well Kevin it is not my “spiritual Israel”, it is the “Israel of God”, the “Jerusalem above”, the “New Jerusalem” and the “heavenly Jerusalem” of the Bible. And this Israel and Jerusalem did not have to break the old covenant to be part of the new. This point of you is illogical. The literal Israel broke the covenant and lost all its privileges! They had no right for a new covenant. And Jehovah chose to make a new covenant with the New Jerusalem! Because the New Jerusalem is faithful (contrary to the old Jerusalem)! I believe that this is really evident from the Bible. If you refuse to believe it, I can’t change that. But it is sad.

You are right, there are several semi-topics by now and it takes time to touch them all. Nevertheless I took the time and answered all your arguments every single time. My last response was not fuller of as you call it “know-it-all bluster” than your postings were. In fact I just presented the evidence out of the Bible. I did not present any argument that was not backed through the Bible. If you call that my “own know-it-all bluster”, that is your choice, but it is neither polite nor is it true!

Well I have respect for historical Christian theology. I never said I don’t have! I never behaved like I don’t have. But I have the utmost respect for the Word of God. If you want to consider the word of man higher than the word of God that is your choice, but surely not mine! I personally believe that this discussion is very fruitful, because of the readers of the debate. Maybe you won’t change my mind, and I believe that I definitely can’t change your mind, but the readers of this thread can judge for themselves. Since they are not personally involved they can judge much more objectively than we two can. They will know who of us presented true evidence for his position.

Maybe I can return a statement to you that was written to me by a guy I once had a discussion with: “But, I know,” Kevin, “that some seeds have been planted in your heart, and in due time, as others also plant and water, perhaps God will cause some of these seeds to grow.”

Well in fact the only thing that convinces me is logical argumentation. Such things as personal security in some kind of system might be relevant to you or others, but I don’t believe in such. I believe in an objective truth, and I will always try to follow it, no matter where it leads me. So far I have not come across “objective evidence that the Watchtower Society is not God's organization”, but maybe you can enlighten me on that issue.

I would ask you not to make very shallow comments about my faith in Jesus. You don’t know anything about my faith in Jesus. I don’t know about your faith in Jesus too. So I don’t criticise it! I don’t believe that you understood what the kingdom really is, but that would not lead me to the conclusion that you don’t have faith in Jesus.

People like you always believe that JWs love the Watchtower Society and not Jesus himself, but this is nonsense, and I would expect a little more than that from people who once were JWs. Unfortunately they fail to see that we try to follow our Lord as good as we can. The Watchtower Society serves as an aid in doing so, but it does by no means replace the personal faith in Jesus. You should know that!

What I don’t like very much is your pathetic statement: “I know that this is undoubtedly asking too much of you at this point, but I know that you will keep this idea in mind for the rest of your life, and that someday you just might be prepared to act upon it.” I believe in Jesus our Lord and thus I don’t need to keep your advice in mind. No one who is really interested in other people would put this advice in the words you did.

Off course Jesus knows his sheep, and off course this can be proved with the Bible. In fact that is very easy! Kevin, I have been on both sides too, I have seen the difference, so I know what I am talking about.

You are right, after the end of these last days we will see who was right. I personally believe that I won’t think about this discussion anymore. But even if, I would not have to tell you that I was right, because your own experience seeing that the nation of Israel is not included in the kingdom will be much more impressive than my words could ever be!

Finally, I want to state again, that your reply was disappointing. I used quite some time to present all the evidence to you and now the question remains if you just did not answer anymore because you recognized that my bible-based arguments were right. If so I am happy for you, but a little sad that you didn’t admit it. But never mind, maybe some time from now you will have a discussion about the kingdom with someone else. And maybe that person will then be able to show you the truth and make you believe.

Good luck to you Kevin!

Nathan said...
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Nathan said...
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kevin said...

Nathan,

Thank you, and yes, I have very much enjoyed our discussion.

However, no, if I must be clear, you have not said a single thing that sways me from my opinion that you do not have the truth regarding the Kingdom. I had a good grasp of WT eschatology when I left them in 1984, and I can't think of anything that you wrote that was any more persuasive than what I studied with the JW's before 1984.

And, it is frustrating for me to have to repeat myself over and over, when you ignore my arguments, or when you don't "get" what I'm trying to say. Maybe that's mostly my fault, for not presenting my positions clearly enough?

My basic point is that I felt that this discussion was becoming evidently fruitless, as neither of us were conceding anything to the opposing viewpoint; no minds were being changed. We both have other reasons, probably 100 times more reasons than were outlined in this blog, for believing what we do.

All I really wanted to do in this discussion was to point out that there is another, and in my opinion, incomparably better, eschatological system out there, namely dispensationalism, as an alternative to WT eschatology; that it is a superior system because it adheres much more closely to the plain meaning of Scripture than does the WT system. Plus, it has undoubtedly received many, many times the hours of painstaking exegesis over the past 100 years, by objective scholars as has the WT system by its own cloistered company men.

All I wanted to do is demonstrate that there is an alternative; that the JW's don't have a monopoly on "the Kingdom." And that they are not necessarily fulfilling Matt 24:14. If someone wants to investigate this further, there's enough information here to get them going.

In the meantime, I will continue spending my time providing for my family, raising my three kids, and ministering to people who really need and want help, like the guy this morning who called me from TX, who knows the WT is wrong, but doesn't know what to do because his wife and his wife's family are JW's. He's about to lose all his friends, his marriage and the custody of his kids, thanks to the WT's shunning policy.

"This good news of the kingdom?" I don't think so.

And, I'm sorry that you found my heart-felt concern for your relationship with God to be fake, or disingenuous. I simply wrote the way I felt toward you, whom I believe is lost in a pseudo-Christian cult, with honesty and compassion. And I assumed what I did regarding your relationship with Jesus because, #1, you're still a JW, and I know what the JW/Jesus relationship is like, and #2, because I saw nothing in your postings to indicate to me that you are indeed a genuine, born-again, regenerated son of God. Personally, I believe that you are lost, and still need basic, saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course I may be wrong about this, but my conclusion comes from everything that I've studied and experienced over he last 30 years. I'm not going to smile and pat you on the back, Nathan, and tell you that I think all is well with your soul, if I believe otherwise, just as you, a caring human being, would not do for me. This would not be loving behavior.

Take care, Nathan. Jesus is the answer. Read the Bible, not the Watchtower.

Nathan said...

Ok Kevin it seems we are on par, because your arguments did not convince me either. Since I refuted them all it is no wonder that they did not convince me.

Well frustration really is on my part too, because I had to repeat myself at least as often. And I also had the impression that you didn’t always get what I was saying. But I am pretty sure in fact that I understood all your arguments. Really, I “got” what you wanted to say!

I believe you are right; we both will be able to present a lot of other reasons for our viewpoint. And I believe you are right if we could not convince each other by now, we probably won’t be able to do so in the future. However this could be limited to the Kingdom topic. We slightly touched other topics. Maybe we can come to a conclusion on them

I know what you wanted to point out. Dispensationalism is common among conservative Protestants. But there are several different views as well. JWs are not the only ones having a different view. Roman Catholicism and Covenant Theology contrast this view. I don’t belive that more hours have put in the Dispensational Theology than in Catholic and Covenant Theology together. True, JWs still have a different view on many details, but all those theologies have a different view on the relationship between Israel and the Christian Church than Dispensational Theology.

But you also know what I wanted to point out: That JWs have a pretty good picture of the kingdom and that it is not so difficult to see the flaws in the arguments you pasted in from dispensationalism authors.

I never said that there is no alternate viewpoint on the Kingdom and I never said that JWs have a monopoly on the Kingdom. But what I believe is that JWs fulfil Matt 24:14. And in fact no other religion can claim to at least try to fulfil it on such a large scale.

If your friend is losing any relationship with friends or family, it is the fault of his family and friends. It is just not true that his wife should stop to love him and live together with him if he leaves JWs. It is not true that his children should stop to love and shouldn’t be obedient anymore.

I agree that patting on the back is not what we should do, if we believe that the other one is not save. But we didn’t. We presented arguments free to take for the other one. It is your free choice as it is mine. I personally believe that no honest hearted man will be lost and killed at the end of the last days. But we will see.

Again I wish you good luck Kevin. Reading the Bible and reading the WT is both ok I think. But as I told you I have my point of view from Bible study and not from the WT. But I could give you an advice too. Read the Bible and don’t believe in those man made Theologies that are opposed by as many authors of different Theologies.

kevin said...

Hi Nathan,

Hey, it's good to hear that you're familiar with covenant theology, as well. Of course, most of the books that I've read on dispensational theology have been written in response to the most common competing theology: covenant theology. But being a former JW, of course, I personally related the arguments to JW theology.

Two thoughts:

First, I came upon this "dispensational" view through independent Bible reading, before reading any dispensational books. Same with every other major Christian doctrine. Before I even knew that there was such a thing, I discovered the historical-grammatical hermeneutic on my own, namely that in the vast majority of cases, the plain sense of Scripture makes good sense. Reading the dispensational authors later confirmed what I discovered, though, and of course, gave me a thousand new ideas in support what I had discovered independently.

Second, protestant covenant theologians are generally correct, I believe, on all major Bible doctrines with the exception of eschatology. They (covenant theologians) interpret Scripture literally as it applies to major doctrines such as the deity of Christ, the personality of the Holy Spirit, the bodily resurrection of Christ, how one becomes saved, the nature of Hades, Gehenna, and the lake of fire, etc. I think, in general, they only slip up in their eschatology, when they start allegorizing, as they do by replacing Israel with the church (as the JW's replace Israel with "spiritual Israel").

Similarly, I believe Jehovah's Witnesses are correct in as far as they take the Scripture as plainly as possible, i.e., that the Kingdom is a literal government that will soon be ruling earth for 1,000 years, with the lion lying down the lamb, etc. But then, they go way off base by allegorizing some of the most basic teachings of Scripture: that "every eye will see Him" when Jesus returns, and we could name a few hundred other things along these lines, on nearly every major point of doctrine.

So, I believe the (protestant) covenant theologians do have their soteriological heads on straight, because they believe the Scripture literally as it relates to the nature of God, Jesus and salvation. So, I consider them to be my Christian brothers and sisters, born again, believing upon the correct Jesus, etc., even though I disagree with them on eschatology.

JW's, as I see them, though, are in a much worse position, because they allegorize not only eschatological passages, but theological (proper) and soteriological ones, as well. And this makes their "faith" toxic and ineffective, unbiblical, and not able to save them.

A correct view of eschatology won't save anyone, and an incorrect one won't condemn anyone. But, my hope is that some Witnesses, who base their entire lives on the Watchtower's allegorized eschatology, would see that there's a better, less allegorical system of eschatology available. And from there, they may begin to see that they really can take the vast majority of Scripture at face value when evaluating the truths of Scripture in all other areas of theology, as well.

Anyway, that's my two cents for the day.

Hey, I wished you lived near me (northern CA), Nathan, and that you would be bold enough to talk with me, face to face. We could sit down and spend many very interesting hours together, I'm sure. I'd sure like to do that. But here, the JW's that come to my door get scared off really easily when they realize that I know more about them than I should, and answer affirmatively to their inevitable question about whether I've ever been a JW. What a shame. I think we all could benefit from more of this kind of dialog between JW's and conservative Christians.

Nathan said...

Hi Kevin,

Off course you know that my classification of the Theologies would be different from yours. But we already discussed that.

What I feel to be important is to write a few lines commenting your sentence: “And this makes their "faith" toxic and ineffective, unbiblical, and not able to save them.” I really don’t believe that the faith of JWs is ineffective and I definitely believe that it is not toxic. But what is far more important than that, is that I need to reject your assertion that their faith won’t be able to save them. I personally believe that most JWs teachings are very much closer to the truth than you think. But the main point is that I don’t belive that understanding everything right is what saves you!

Granted there is a real plain system of eschatology. But that doesn’t make it better per definition. I don’t believe that taking everything literal works and I don’t believe that it would serve the right understanding of Scripture, but we already had this too.

Yes it would be nice if I lived near you, because I would enjoy talking to you personally! Unfortunately I live thousand of kilometres away. Yeah, some will be scared off, I believe that is right. But well, I wouldn’t. Maybe when I make my way to CA some time, I can reach you.

Nice weekend,
Nathan

kevin said...

Hi Nathan,

My point is that the teachings of JW's make it impossible for the JW to believe and trust in Jesus in the Biblical sense, and they are therefore toxic. Anything that keeps a person away from personal trust in the Biblical Jesus is toxic and ineffective.

You and I obviously have very different opinions on the value of JW theology. You believe that it is very close to the true meaning of Scripture; I believe that it is a rebellion against true, orthodox Christianity.

It's good that you don't believe that understanding everything right is what saves you. I'm in 100% agreement with you on that. What saves someone is knowing God, and the One whom He has sent, Jesus Christ:

John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent."

If you think adhering to the the grammatical-historical hermeneutic means "taking everything literal," then you misunderstand the grammatical-historical hermeneutic. We covered this briefly in our discussion, so I'm surprised that you would still have this misunderstanding.

Yes, I'd very much enjoy talking with you in person. God willing, maybe that will happen one day.

Kevin

Voice of Reason said...

Kevin said:
"My point is that the teachings of JW's make it impossible for the JW to believe and trust in Jesus in the Biblical sense, and they are therefore toxic. "

Kevin, you don't even know what the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses are. I suggest you start learning.

kevin said...

No, you are mistaken, VoR. I was quite a good student of the WT's materials during my 7-year involvement with them. Then, for the past 24 years, I've continued to study their teachings. As a result, I believe I have quite an adequate grasp of WT doctrine.

However, if I have misstated some WT teaching, I am by all means open to correction.

Nathan said...

Hey Kevin,

yes I know what you wanted to say. I just expressed that I think different on that.

I believe that JWs paint a quite clear picture of the Bibical Jesus. In fact a far better one than people who read a trinity into the Bible, who read into it that Jesus is a human now etc.

As far as the term "orthodox Christianity" is used today, I would say you are right: "it is a rebellion against" it. And there are good reasons for it.

I don't think that adhering to the grammatical-historical hermeneutic means taking everything literal. I just write that paragraph, because I took from your statements that you are too locked into that idea too much. It is not so easy to always decide what is to be taken literal. But what I wanted to say is, that you want to do it far too often.

Nathan

Voice of Reason said...

Kevin said:
"No, you are mistaken, VoR. I was quite a good student of the WT's materials during my 7-year involvement with them. "

Why were you a student of the WT's materials when you were one of Jehovah's Witnesses? There is much more to being Witnesses of Jehovah than the literature printed by the WTS.


"Then, for the past 24 years, I've continued to study their teachings. As a result, I believe I have quite an adequate grasp of WT doctrine."

So what? But you don't have a grasp on what it means to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses.

"However, if I have misstated some WT teaching, I am by all means open to correction. "

Well, I would not know what WT teachings are but I know what Jehovah's Witnesses teaching. I can't speak for the Watchtower because I am not its representative, but I can speak for Jehovah's Witnesses because I am one.

kevin said...

Nathan,

Yes, JW's paint a very clear picture of who they think Jesus is; no argument there. My argument is that this clear picture is wrong.

I didn't read a trinity into the Bible. In my personal Bible study, I couldn't deny that Scripture teaches that the Son is full deity, and that the Holy Spirit is a Person. I don't know how to reconcile these ideas with the fact that the Father is God, other than to posit that God is triune. Honestly, I didn't force anything on the Scriptures. After compiling 800 verses on 50 fundamental doctrines, the historic Christian view presented itself to me as correct on every single doctrine. It was purely an inductive study; I wasn't trying to impose anything on Scripture one way or another. (By the way, this is the kind of study that the WT doesn't want its people to do, for reasons that are obvious to me now.)

Yes, this is where we disagree. You believe that I take Scripture literally far too often, and I believe that you don't take it literally nearly often enough. In the end, I believe you will be shocked to discover how "plain" the correct interpretation of Scripture really is.

Ultimately, I believe that Jehovah's Witnesses will be judged for their unbelief.

VoR,

I don't know why you've inserted yourself into this thread. I think that Nathan and other level-headed Witnesses would probably agree with me that you're not helping your cause here.

Nathan said...

Hi Kevin,

Again I believe that this kind of statement is dangerous: "Ultimately, I believe that Jehovah's Witnesses will be judged for their unbelief."

Well we could again discuss this, but I am not sure if the result would change. Of course one has to read trinity into the Bible. The Bible simply does not support that idea. Even many Bible scholars of religions that believe in trinity admit, that trinity is not a Bibical teaching.

What I really believe is that if you take an account literal, although it contradicts othzer accounts, then this can't be right. Unfortunately this is what most people fail to recognize. It is important to harmonize the whole Bible not just single passages.

Well but we already know that we don't agree on this really.

Voice of Reason said...

Kevin :"I didn't read a trinity into the Bible. In my personal Bible study, I couldn't deny that Scripture teaches that the Son is full deity, and that the Holy Spirit is a Person. I don't know how to reconcile these ideas with the fact that the Father is God, other than to posit that God is triune."

All of that study does not help because who Jesus is and who Jehovah is, is simple. Jehovah is the almighty God and Jesus as high priest/sacrifice means that they can not be the same. The atonement would be meaningless if Jesus were God.


"After compiling 800 verses on 50 fundamental doctrines"

That is the problem. The doctrines are not about verses, it is about reality.

kevin said...

Nathan,

I don't quite understand why you think my statement that I believe that JW's will be judged for their unbelief is dangerous. Of course, in similar fashion, JW's believe that I will judged adversely by Jehovah for my rejecting the teachings of JW's. These are eternal matters, and of course it's eternally dangerous for either of us to believe the wrong thing.

(However, you're in a more precarious position if you're wrong, than I am if I'm wrong. If I'm wrong, I'll go to sleep forever. If you're wrong, you face a conscious eternity separated from God.)

Specifically, I believe that Jehovah's Witnesses will be judged adversely because they have not believed on Christ in the way that Scripture says we must.

Along those lines... I find it hard to believe that Jehovah's Witnesses read the New Testament much at all. Because, if and when they do, 99% of what they read "doesn't apply to them" (the "other sheep"). They therefore never enter into the kind of personal faith and trust in Jesus that is taught in the New Testament. This, in my opinion, is a tragic state of affairs.

Your dismissing the deity of Christ so easily tells me that you've never done a serious, independent study on the topic, or you've never met a trinitarian who really knew his stuff. If you had, you would at least have some respect for the opposing position.

"Even many Bible scholars of religions that believe in trinity admit, that trinity is not a Biblical teaching." This is crazy. If trinitarians didn't believe trinitarianism was a Biblical teaching, they wouldn't believe it. Maybe you can give me some examples of trinitarians who don't believe the teaching is Biblical? I don't know of any.

"If you take an account literal, although it contradicts other accounts, then this can't be right."

I agree wholeheartedly. The Bible does not contradict itself. A correct theology must be 100% harmonious, encompassing all of Scripture. I am in complete agreement with you on that. But, literality in interpretation does not cause conflict; quite the opposite. It's only when you start allegorizing Scripture, twisting it to make it "say" the opposite of what it really says (regarding Christ's deity, the visibility of Christ's return, the torment in the lake of fire, etc.), that you get into trouble along these lines.

Again, I'm leaving the trinity for another time, as it's such an immense subject.

Nathan said...

Hey Kevin,
I will tell you why I think it is dangerous. You say that JWs will be judged for their unbelief. First of all, it is not true that they are unbelievers! They just have different beliefs. Secondly, I don’t believe that honest people believing in God will be judged in a way that they lose every possibility to live or to be close to God. JWs also don’t teach that!
A conscious eternity separated from God? I don’t think that my position is more precarious. I believe in a loving God. So he won’t separate honest people believing in him for eternity from him. That just doesn’t make sense.
I believe that JWs strongly believe in the Christ of the Bible. In fact they honor him in a very superior way. They do not degrade his glory by saying he is a human now. They don’t make him equal as God, because he himself told us that he never tried to be equal to God.
Of course JWs read the NT. It is pointless and simply wrong to assert something different. They especially read the gospels! Therefore they have very strong trust and faith in Jesus. They believe in him as our savior who through is sacrifice made it possible for us to be made clean in the eyes of our heavenly father. I won’t accept anyone denying that JWs don’t trust in Jesus. That is almost ridiculous.

I only said that one has to read trinity into the Bible and that the Bible doesn’t support that idea. So what? I did never say that I have no respect for the opposing position. Your assertion is plainly wrong. I just don’t believe it! I said nothing more. Further, my statement does not let you draw any conclusion on whether I have done a serious, independent study on that topic or not. Nobody could tell that from what I said. But still you do. So your assertion in this regard is meaningless and I really regret you wrote it.
Again, I state that the Bible does not support the idea of trinity!
I agree with you. It is crazy that people do it. But well, the world is crazy. And so it happens that many people believe in a trinity although the Bible does not teach it. Further, I said that scholars of religions that believe in trinity admit that, strictly, it is not a Biblical teaching. I did not say Trinitarians! You said that. However, many people believe things that can’t be found in the Bible. And a lot of Christian religions have teachings that are not taken from the Bible. Still they believe them. So your argument, that they wouldn’t believe it if it is not in the Bible, does not hold.
For example The Catholic encyclopedia says: “In Scripture there is as yet no single term by which the Three Divine Persons are denoted together. The word trias (of which the Latin trinitas is a translation) is first found in Theophilus of Antioch about A.D. 180. He speaks of "the Trinity of God [the Father], His Word and His Wisdom (To Autolycus II.15). The term may, of course, have been in use before his time. Afterwards it appears in its Latin form of trinitas in Tertullian (On Pudicity 21). In the next century the word is in general use. It is found in many passages of Origen ("In Ps. xvii", 15). The first creed in which it appears is that of Origen's pupil, Gregory Thaumaturgus.”

I believe the opposite. Always literality in interpretation causes problems (e.g. Christ’s deity, Christ being a human now, etc.)

kevin said...

Hi Nathan,

"I don't believe that honest people believing in God will be judged in a way that they lose every possibility to live or to be close to God."

The problem is, Nathan, by saying this, you're relying more on human sentimentality than you are on what Scripture says:

James 2:19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

1John 5:12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

2Cor. 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you — unless indeed you fail the test?

Gal. 1:8 But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.

Heb. 9:27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,

Personally, I'd like to give everyone more than just this lifetime to find God, but alas, I don't have the power to do this, and I can't find any evidence in Scripture that this is possible.

Also, please consider this. If God is indeed triune, and you are teaching people that the triune God of historic Christianity is Satanic, then are you not blaspheming, calling the true God Satan or demonic? And, if the true God will be quarantining unrepentant sinners in "the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth" forever, where they are tormented (not tortured) day and night forever (Rev 20:10), I'm concerned that you and Jehovah's Witnesses are all set up to hate and blaspheme Him forever. I don't want to see you in this situation.

OK, if you read the Bible, Nathan, then how do you feel, personally, when reading, say, Paul's letters? Do his letters resonate with you; is your faith and hope the same as Paul's was? If not, again, I suggest that you're on the wrong path. There is only "one faith," the same one that Paul had (Eph 4:5).

As a Witness, I read through the NT several times. And the more I read it, the more uncomfortable I became with my JW faith. Something was out of whack. I suggest that if you do the same (maybe you already have?), you will have the same experience.

We'll leave the "little flock," "other sheep," 144,000 subjects for another time. But just let me suggest to you that the WT's teaching that there are two classes of Christians for this present age is entirely unwarranted. And if this is true, and ALL true Christians today have been born again (born spiritually; anyone who has not been born spiritually is spiritually dead! Eph 2:1), then where do you and all the other "other sheep" stand in your relationship with Jehovah? (Please don't buy the idea that the "anointed remnant's" holiness trickles down to you somehow by your associating with them! First of all, they're not that holy, and second of all, this idea of holiness-by-association is contrary to Scripture.)

Nathan, it's not my desire nor my job to judge or condemn you. It is Jesus' words that will judge all of us on the last day (John 12:47). But I am concerned for you, and I am voicing my concerns, and the reasons for my concerns.

My sincere, overall and best suggestion for you, again, is to simply read the Bible, especially the NT. Read it through several times. If you find no conflict there with what you believe as a JW, so be it. But if you do find conflicts, as I did and many others have, don't ignore them. God speaks to us through His written word (Heb 4:12).

I know it seems impossible to you now that you could be on the wrong path (or, maybe you already have some doubts, but still feel that you have to put up a front of impenetrability for fear of making the Organization look bad; been there, done that). As a JW, I felt the same way. I blew "born agains" off the doorstep with my Bible-quoting skills. But since then, I've been greatly, greatly humbled. I was wrong. My understanding of the Bible was faulty, and my faith was misplaced.

Let me testify that independent Bible reading does NOT cause one to "go off into darkness." (What an insult that idea is to the God who inspired all of Scripture, 2 Ti 3:16, and who personally leads us into all truth, John 16:13.) It causes one to continually reassess what he believes, make adjustments if necessary, and in my case, take a bold stand to serve God rather than man (Acts 5:29), trust Jesus in an entirely new, intimate, and powerful way (John 6:35), and KNOW that he has found eternal life in Him:

John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, HAS [present tense] eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

1John 5:13   These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you HAVE [present tense] eternal life.

This is the experience that I want for you, Nathan (or anyone else reading this). The truth will set you free! John 8:32

OK, back to your latest post...

"he [Jesus] himself told us that he never tried to be equal to God."

Where?

Also, I'm confused by your sentence,

"I said that scholars of religions that believe in trinity admit that, strictly, it is not a Biblical teaching. I did not say Trinitarians!"

If someone believes in the trinity, he is a trinitarian. Maybe you are saying that non-trinitarian scholars say that the trinity is not a Biblical teaching? But that can't be what you meant, because, by definition, of course non-trinitarians don't believe in the trinity. Anyway, I'm interested in knowing what you were saying here, and would appreciate your clarification.

(I'm still biting my tongue on the trinity discussion.)

kevin said...

Back to the Kingdom...

While laying in bed tonight, I was mulling over our discussion on the Kingdom, Nathan, and feeling a little frustrated that I haven't seemed to get my main point across to you too well. Then, looking at things from a little bit different angle, I saw something that I think is worth getting up and writing down here, so let me give it a shot...

In your (JW) view, the NT supersedes the OT, and interprets and explains the OT, particularly regarding OT prophecy given to Israel. In effect, it CHANGES the subject of OT prophecy from the literal nation Israel to the "spiritual" nation, "spiritual Israel," the church, the Christian congregation.

In my (dispensational) view, the NT doesn't CHANGE anything; it simply adds additional details of Jehovah's Kingdom program that were previously not revealed. It doesn't change the subject of OT prophecy from the literal nation Israel to "spiritual Israel;" rather, it only adds more details regarding the structure and logistics of the Kingdom:

1. That there would be an interregnum, a gap, a span of time between Messiah's entering Jerusalem on a donkey (Zech 9:9) and His coming with a rod of iron to dash the nations to pieces (Daniel chapter 2 and chapter 7, etc.).

2. That during this interregnum, God would form a new group of people, the church (the Christian congregation), who would be Messiah's bride, and who would return with Him and reign with Him during the millennium.

3. This new group, the church (the Christian congregation) would be a heavenly group, whose home would be the heavenly Mount Zion, the New Jerusalem in heaven.

My basic point is that none of these new revelations contradict, nor CHANGE the promises given to Israel in the OT one iota; they only ADD to them.

And that's the basic difference between your eschatology and mine. In yours, the NT CHANGES the meaning of OT prophecy, and in mine, it does not.

Putting all other detailed arguments aside for a moment, wouldn't you expect an eschatology that does NOT change the plain sense and meaning of Scripture to be superior to one that DOES?

My contention is that this business of CHANGING the very clear, plain meaning of OT prophecy is entirely unwarranted. The NT does not CHANGE OT prophecy; it only ADDS details to it.

The WT is comfortable with changing OT prophecy to make it fit its own self-aggrandizing eschatology, just as it is comfortable in changing its own doctrines as "new light flashes up."

But I am not comfortable with this (Rev 22:18) . I believe God said and meant exactly what He said and meant in both the OT and NT, and has never had to correct Himself with "new light." In progressive revelation, He adds details to His Kingdom program, but He never contradicts nor changes the meaning of previously-given revelation.

Anyway, that's the main point that I wanted to get across tonight. Do you understand what I'm saying, Nathan, even if you don't agree with it? If so, then I'll feel that my getting out of bed tonight and getting an hour or so less sleep was worth it.

There are many corollaries to this idea, and many of these corollaries explain (to me, anyway) why I am so passionate about wanting Jehovah's Witnesses to understand these things. One of these is:

Liberal "Christians" allegorize not only OT prophecy, but OT history, as well. They say that the Adam and Eve story is a fable, as is the Biblical account of the Flood, etc. But, to their credit, JW's don't do this. They take these accounts as LITERAL history. So, in my mind, in a way, the JW's are half-way there to accepting Scripture in its entirety, as written. They take all of OT history as literal, but inconsistently, they take much of OT prophecy as figurative. And again, we have the added hermeneutical clue that OT prophecy should be understood literally, in that every single one of the 100 or so OT prophecies regarding Jesus' first coming were fulfilled literally: born of a virgin, a descendant of David, in Bethlehem; He entered Jerusalem on a donkey, He was pierced for our transgressions, etc. If this is true regarding OT prophecy pertaining to His first coming, then why not for OT prophecy pertaining to His second coming?

And, I am encouraged that JW's interpret many of the OT's Kingdom prophecies literally, i.e., that the Kingdom of God is a literal government that will rule literal nations, that during the millennium the lion will lie down with the lamb, that man will learn war no more, etc.

You just need to go one more step, Nathan, and realize that every bit of OT prophecy should be interpreted this same way. Again, I contend that Bible prophecy, including OT prophecy, is far more precise and detailed than the WT will allow you to believe; down to the very particles of letters:

Matt. 5:18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.

Luke 16:17 “But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.

Jer 23:3-8-"Then I Myself shall gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and shall bring them back to their pasture; and they will be fruitful and multiply. I shall also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing," declares the Lord [Jehovah]. "Behold, [the] days are coming," declares the Lord [Jehovah], "When I shall raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, 'The Lord [Jehovah] our righteousness.' Therefore behold, [the] days are coming," declares the Lord [Jehovah], "when they will no longer say, 'As the Lord [Jehovah] lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,' but 'As the Lord [Jehovah] lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from [the] north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.' Then they will live on their own soil."

Luke 1:30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.”

Matt. 23:37   “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38 “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39 “For I say to you, from now on **YOU** shall not see Me until **YOU** say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord !’”

Nathan said...

Hey Kevin,

No I am by no means relying on human sentimentality. Also, I never said that everyone will be saved. I only said that God will judge and that I don’t believe that honest hearted people will be done away with. Who really is honest hearted? Well that will be judged by God.

ad James 2:19: True, but the point is, that the demons were and are acting against God on purpose. That is something different.

ad John 3:3, 5: You remember our different view of the kingdom and being born again?

ad 1 John 5:12: True, but I believe that honest hearted people are able to receive the Son if God wants them too. I just don’t believe that for example all those Chinese people who have never heard about the Christ will be done away with. The parallel text from John 3:36 leaves this possibility open.

ad 2 Cor. 13:5: Yes it is a question of intellectual honesty to test the own faith. But again, this cannot be applied to people who have never seen a Bible. They can’t be in the faith, because they don’t even know the faith.

ad Gal 1:8: Who did Paul address? He said “we” (meaning one of the anointed congregation members) or “an angel from heaven”. So both parties knew the truth about the gospels and speak contrary to it on purpose. Of course such should be accursed.

ad Heb 9:27: Yes a lot of people will die once for all time, but God judges who will belong to this group.

I don’t want to engage into a battle of Bible texts in this regard. I agree that Jesus’ sacrifice won’t be applied to many people, but I also know that God is a loving God as can be seen from John 3:16 or 2 Peter 3:9.

Well, if God is indeed not triune and you are teaching people that the oneness of God which is really historic, is Satanic, then are you not blaspheming, calling the true God Satan or demonic? (Btw. I am only saying that the teaching of trinity is unbiblical, nothing more!)

I totally agree that the faith of the Apostles is a fine example for us today. I personally believe that we all do very well when we try to imitate their faith and when we try to build up an as strong faith. No problem with that.

You suggested wrong. I did not have the same experience as you had.

If there would not be 2 different groups, I would not see any problem for my faith. I have the same faith in God and Jesus, if I am anointed or if I belong to a different group.

Yes Jesus will judge all of us, I definitely agree on that. I am also concerned for you, otherwise I would not spend the time talking to you.

I never was the kind of person who ignores conflicts or illogical reasoning. But I simply came to different conclusions as you did (at least at the topics we touched so far).

There is always the possibility to be barking up the wrong tree. Everybody should be aware of this. And surely I am. But as long as I don’t here arguments against my point of view that convince me, I will not change it.

Personal Bible study is what I also recommend most. I have done a pretty fair amount of independent Bible reading and I know where I am standing. Reassessing ones beliefs and making adjustments is also a question of intellectual honesty. No problem with that.

Jesus showed at several occasions that he was not God:

John 14:28: “…the Father is greater than I am.” A clear, straight forward statement. If you take this literal, it directly shows what I said. Jesus is not equal to God.

Mark 10:18: “Jesus said to him: “Why do you call me good? Nobody is good, except one, God.”” If Jesus said that he should not be called good, because only God is good he clearly showed that he is not the same as God.

John 6:38: “I have come down from heaven to do, not my will, but the will of him that sent me.” So his will is less important than the will of God. Luke 22:42 says something quite similar.

Mark 13:32: “Concerning that day or the hour nobody knows, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but the Father.” Jesus knows less than the father, so he can’t be equal.

Mark 15:34: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” So Jesus was not equal to God.

So now I am already in a trinity discussion, which was not my intention. But since you asked where Jesus said what I wrote, this is a short excerpt of what my answer would look like.

Yes someone who believes in trinity is a Trinitarian. But not every scholar of a religion believing in trinity has to strictly believe in it. And not every such scholar has to say it is a Bible teaching if he does not share that opinion.

Regarding the kingdom:

No I don’t think that the NT supersedes the OT! I just believe that in the NT we see that adjustments that had to be made because the Jews killed Jesus. God made adjustments when Adam sinned and so he did when the Jews did.

I always understood your points Kevin, so please don’t let that rob you any sleep. I just don’t share your view.

The rest of this discussion we already had.

Have a good one.

Kevin said...

Hi Nathan,

Good to still have you on board here. :)

You may not believe that honest-hearted people will be done away with, but again, I think you're appealing more to sentimentality than you are to Scripture. According to Scripture, there is NONE righteous, not even one; NONE who searches for God (Rom 3:10). As I read Scripture, the wrath of God abides on all of rebellious, unsaved humanity (John 3:36). Admittedly, this is a sticky issue, and personally, I hope God is more liberal in applying Christ's redemptive work than Scripture seems to indicate at face value, but I'm not willing to bet on it.

"ad 2 Cor. 13:5: Yes it is a question of intellectual honesty to test the own faith. But again, this cannot be applied to people who have never seen a Bible. They can’t be in the faith, because they don’t even know the faith."

My point was that if Christ is not in you, you're not in the faith. Paul asked his readers to "test themselves" along this line. If Christ was not in them, they failed the test. My point is that if Christ is not in you, you've failed the test, as well. This is a spiritual thing. When a genuine Christian tests himself, he finds a witness within himself that says, "Yes, indeed, Jesus is in me!" (This is not demonism, by the way, and it's a shame that JW's are scared away from this promise of Scripture, John 14:17.)

Also, again according to Romans 1:19, that which is known about God is evident to everyone, via creation and conscience. Everyone knows intuitively that he's a sinner; his conscience tells him that. And, every sinner deserves adverse judgment and punishment.

"ad Heb 9:27: Yes a lot of people will die once for all time, but God judges who will belong to this group."

You're twisting this verse. It says men die once, then are judged; not that "a lot of people will die once for all time." Besides, the only ones who will die only once are the saved (Rev 2:11); the lost undergo the "second death." (Rev 21:8)

No, I've never said that monism was demonic (although I suppose it could be); if I were to say something on this I'd say that denial of Christ's deity is most often due to ignorance, or something along those lines. So, please don't put words in my mouth. The WT, however, has plainly stated that the Trinity doctrine is Satanic, a doctrine of demons.

"I totally agree that the faith of the Apostles is a fine example for us today. I personally believe that we all do very well when we try to imitate their faith and when we try to build up an as strong faith. No problem with that."

I don't mean to be personally offensive, Nathan, but from this statement, I can see that you don't have the same faith that the apostles had. You don't appear to me to read the Scriptures and say, spontaneously from your heart, "God has given me this same faith and hope that He gave Peter and John and Paul." To me, this is along the same lines as "No one can say that Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit." (1 Cor 12:3) But, of course, the reason I'm here is that I want you and other Witnesses to eventually discover that there is a real, genuine spiritual experience that is open to you and them, whereupon they'll KNOW that they believe the way the Bible says they should; they'll KNOW that they belong to Jesus (1 John 5:13). This is a gift from God (Eph 1:8-9), to be received by faith.

OK, apparently neither of us is resisting getting into the trinity debate. Your arguments against the Scriptural teaching that "the word was God" are elementary enough, that OK, I'll reciprocate for a few minutes...

"Jesus showed at several occasions that he was not God:"

I maintain that no, He did not. Ever.

"John 14:28: “…the Father is greater than I am.” A clear, straight forward statement. If you take this literal, it directly shows what I said. Jesus is not equal to God."

Phil 2 teaches that Jesus "emptied" Himself when He became a man. Speaking as a man, indeed the non-emptied Father was greater than Jesus was.

"Mark 10:18: “Jesus said to him: “Why do you call me good? Nobody is good, except one, God.”” If Jesus said that he should not be called good, because only God is good he clearly showed that he is not the same as God."

Jesus asked a question; he did not make a statement in which "he clearly showed that he is not the same as God." Jesus neither denied that He was God nor that He was good. He was probing the guy who called Him "good teacher." He was asking him why he asked the question, not answering that the questioner had misread Jesus.

"John 6:38: “I have come down from heaven to do, not my will, but the will of him that sent me.” So his will is less important than the will of God. Luke 22:42 says something quite similar."

There is headship in the Godhead, as there is headship in marriage. A wife, who is subject to her husband, is not thereby rendered non-human.

"Mark 13:32: “Concerning that day or the hour nobody knows, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but the Father.” Jesus knows less than the father, so he can’t be equal."

Again, Phil 2. Jesus was speaking as a man, after He had emptied Himself of certain prerogatives.

"Mark 15:34: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” So Jesus was not equal to God."

Again, was Jesus here speaking as God or as man (as orthodoxy teaches that Jesus was and is both)? I say that he was speaking as a man, hanging on the cross and dying.

This can be a simple subject (if you just believe John 1:1 as most commonly translated, as most Christians do), or it can be a tremendously complex subject, as it was for me when I did my study; 250 verses in my study were dedicated to this topic of Christ's deity alone. (If you'd like a link to my study, let me know; it's on line.)

Just a little bit of conjecture here, but I think it may have some merit: It is human nature for us to believe what we want to believe. If we want to believe that all the churches are wrong, and that we have "superior knowledge," then we may want to believe what JW's believe. Conversely, if we're hopelessly lost sinners, tired of trying to justify ourselves before God by our own works, then a full-deity Jesus, who's able to take care of 100% of our sins, past, present, and future, is more appealing. But, that's another subject for another day: the sufficiency of Christ's redemption.


"No I don’t think that the NT supersedes the OT! I just believe that in the NT we see that adjustments that had to be made because the Jews killed Jesus. God made adjustments when Adam sinned and so he did when the Jews did."

No, I think you're dead wrong on this, Nathan. The NT did not make any "adjustments" to the OT "because the Jews killed Jesus." Jehovah knew, when He had Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the others prophesy, that the Jews were going to kill Jesus. If Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel needed "adjustments" to their prophecies, then they were false prophets. You are familiar with many OT prophecies that have already been fulfilled. How many of them needed "adjustments?" NONE! Same with those that are yet to be fulfilled.

Your parallel with Adam and Eve is not justified. We're talking about prophecies "needing adjustments." By bringing in God's revised plan for Adam and Eve, you're making a category mistake. My point still stands: The Hebrew prophets NEVER needed, nor will they ever need, "adjustments" to their prophecies.

A little tidbit of Kingdom insight here: The main thing the Hebrew prophets "left out" of their prophecies was the time gap between the first and second comings of the Messiah. This was necessary, in order for Jesus to make a genuine offer of the Kingdom to Israel at His first coming. If the OT prophets had included the time gap in their prophecies, then the first-century Jews would have known that the establishment of the Kingdom was not really imminent. But, in His wisdom, Jehovah didn't clue the OT prophets in on this time gap, which again, allowed Jesus to make a GENUINE offer of the Kingdom to Israel at His first coming.

Another Kingdom tidbit: When you read the OT Kingdom prophecies, often the prophecies regarding Jesus' first and second comings are compacted together, because the time gap is ignored. Now, as I mentioned before, 100 or so of these prophecies have had at least partial fulfillment at Jesus' first coming, and again, these prophecies were all fulfilled LITERALLY. Now, especially since the OT prophets ignored the time gap, and in a sense mashed Jesus' first- and second-coming prophecies together, who are we to say that the second-coming (and restoration of Israel) prophecies are not to be taken literally? Are we to dissect the OT prophets' prophecies, and take the already-fulfilled ones literally, and the yet-to-be-fulfilled ones figuratively? Again, I see no justification for butchering plainly-inspired and plainly-understood OT prophecy like this.

Rom. 11:33   Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

Nathan said...

Hey Kevin,
As I already said, Jehovah is a God of love, and he does not want anyone to die. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us: “Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with YOU because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.” And yes there is none righteous. But that does not matter. As Paul told us a few verses later in Romans 3: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and it is as a free gift that they are being declared righteous by his undeserved kindness through the release by the ransom [paid] by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23, 24). None of us, not me, not you, not anybody else deserves God’s forgiveness. Nobody has a legal right on it. It is all undeserved kindness, and a free gift. And according to 2 Peter, God will give this gift to as many people as possible.

I know what your point was. I just added that it is possible only for Christians to test their faith, because others don’t even know about such a test. Therefore for them it can’t be the ultimate condition to be saved.

We should be a little careful of finding witness within ourselves. Btw., JWs don’t believe that John 14:17 is in connection with demonism! But still, a lot of people “think” that they find witness within themselves but they don’t have the Christ. This can’t be the only indicator. We will be judged according to our deeds, as the Bible tells us. And we can very easily see if we have the Christ, when we look at our works AND our faith.

I am not at all twisting Hebrews 9:27, you just have to read carefully. Take for example what Jesus said in John 8:51: “Most truly I say to YOU, If anyone observes my word, he will never see death at all.” So what I was saying just was that you can’t take from this verse that all people will have to die at least once. All people who will live at the end of this system will be judged by God. And he will decide who will be allowed to live on and who not. But Hebrews is in agreement with this, because it only says that since Adam it is inherent for humans to die. And they will have their judgment afterwards, meaning that God will decide whether they deserve a resurrection or not. Besides this, I don’t share your opinion that all bad people will have to die twice. I believe that a lot of bad people just die once and that they die the second death immediately.

I only put the words in your mouth that you put in mine! I wrote you the same sentence back as you wrote to me, with the one exception that I substituted trinity and monism. I only consider the trinity to be a wrong teaching. And since every wrong teaching does not come from God…

Your judgment of others is rather strange. Paul urged the brothers of the first century to follow his faith and his course of life. Still they all knew that they loved Jesus and had faith in him. The same is true for me as well as for many other JWs. The only difference between you and me here is, that I believe that you have faith in Jesus, although I think you understanding of the Bible is wrong to fair degree. You don’t believe that I have faith in Jesus because you don’t share the same faith. That is sad.

Well I was not really starting the trinity debate, I was just giving you the scriptures you asked for, where Jesus said that God was greater than he is.

Huh, Kevin, you do what usually belongs to me! You present a different verse and then say that the verse I presented cannot be taken as literal as it is written. I am really surprised! But unfortunately you are making it too easy for you! First of all, since you were talking about Phil 2. Let’s look at more than that single verse: “Keep this mental attitude in YOU that was also in Christ Jesus, who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God. No, but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and came to be in the likeness of men.” (Phil. 2:5-7). He did not give consideration to a seizure in order to be equal to God? Paul here was speaking about Jesus before he came to earth, so when he still was in heaven! Still he was not equal to God? Hm, rather difficult if he was in a trinity with God .But there is more to it. You put it like Jesus was only referring to him being on earth in John 14:28, but he was not! The whole verse says: “YOU heard that I said to YOU, I am going away and I am coming [back] to YOU. If YOU loved me, YOU would rejoice that I am going my way to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am.” So he said that he was going to the father who was greater than him. So also in heaven God is greater than Jesus!

ad Mark 10:18: You are using an excuse here, nothing more. If Jesus indeed was God, it was right for the man to call him good! If Jesus was good, it was nonsense to say to the man that only God should be called good, but not he himself. Further, he did not say, nobody is good, except one, the father. He said “nobody is good, except one, God”. That is a big difference!

ad John 6:38: You are making a good point for me here! You say that there is headship in the Godhead (which is in fact an assumption, but ok, since you believe in trinity this is what you have to establish) and then you compare it to the marriage. But on the one hand husband and wife are two individuals and are not one, as in a trinity. On the other hand your conclusion is not correct. True, being subject to her husband does not make a wife non-human but it makes her non-husband! And that is the point. So the right conclusion from your comparison would be that being subject to God, is that Jesus is not God As simple as that.

ad Mark 13:32: “He had emptied Himself of certain prerogatives”? That is all? Again that is too cheap. After all we can read in the scriptures that Jesus knew and was able to do, I doubt the possibility that he had just emptied himself of the privilege of knowing the date. That sounds much more like a red herring.

ad Mark 15:34: So Jesus was both when he was on earth? Man and God? Strange combination. This would render whole sacrifice a farce! But that is not the topic now. Back to the verse. So although he also was God, he was speaking as man then? So in your opinion he was talking to himself when he said: “God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”? Do you want to tell me that Jesus was schizophrenic? I don’t believe that. That obviously does not make sense! If Jesus was God, he was not forsaken by himself. Further, who resurrected Jesus after his death? Again not the question of this verse, but ok. But I am sure you will have another excuse for that question.

Yes this can be a simple subject, when reading the whole OT (in which you only find ONE God) or if you consider the verses I presented. What most Christians believe is not relevant to me, since they believe anything they are taught. Regarding John 1:1, the issue is not so easy. You can translate it either way and there are reasons for both possibilities.

Yes you are right, it seems to be human nature to believe what we want to believe. That happens when targeted reading of the Bible comes in. But I don’t see any reason why Jesus would have needed to be God to cover all our sins. There is no reason for that. But as you said that is the subject of another day. Just one more remark: We can’t justify ourselves by our works. That is not possible.

I know that you don’t believe that we find adjustments in the NT, but well I do and I have reasons for that. No Isaiah et al. were not false prophets because of adjustments in the NT. They prophesied what Jehovah wanted them to prophecy. And all of it will happen, although not all of it in the same manner as their contemporary fellows thought it would.

No I did not make a category mistake at all. Jehovah made adjustments to his initial plan, of Adam and Eve filling the earth with perfect humans, when they sinned. Adam and Eve were not forced to sin, they decided too. Likewise the Jews were not forced to kill Jesus, but they decided to reject their king! So Jehovah made adjustments, meaning that he chose a different nation.

Your last two paragraphs still can’t change what I said above, and what I said really above (in all the other postings).

So far for the texts about Jesus being not the same as God. These were not even the elementary arguments why there is no trinity. But they alone show that you need to add things and that you need to twist the written words of the texts in order to be able to hold on to the trinity dogma. I know that Trinitarians are almost immune against scriptures and reasoning which shows that there is no trinity, but that doesn’t make their standpoint any more plausible.

kevin said...

Nathan,

Well, you almost turned me off enough not to reply to your latest comments, with your last sentence:

"I know that Trinitarians are almost immune against scriptures and reasoning which shows that there is no trinity, but that doesn’t make their standpoint any more plausible.?"

But, your post is so full of misunderstandings and misrepresentations of the trinitarian position, that I thought I should at least write something...

Yes, God is patient, not willing that any should perish; we are in agreement on that.

Yes, we should be extremely careful about "finding witness within ourselves." Otherwise, we may find ourselves becoming Mormons! My point is that the Scripture DOES talk about an inner witness that cries out "Abba, Father," etc., and that if we don't have this inner witness, then we cannot be in the faith.

Rom 8:14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God

Gal. 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

You are mistaken, Nathan, that some will not be resurrected:

John 5:28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which ALL [emphasis mine] who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, 29 and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

And yes, there will be some who will never die: Those caught up in the rapture, and possibly those who survive the Tribulation, and who are saved.

Personally, of course, I'd like to be more generous, and say that JW's have faith similar to mine, and will therefore be saved, but unfortunately, I don't see things that way. There is ONE faith; I believe that I have found it, and I don't believe that JW's have it. I've had the JW "faith" before, and it's a completely different thing than genuine, God-given, entering-God's-rest faith. Stark, I know, but this is the way I see it.

"You put it like Jesus was only referring to him being on earth in John 14:28, but he was not! The whole verse says: “YOU heard that I said to YOU, I am going away and I am coming [back] to YOU. If YOU loved me, YOU would rejoice that I am going my way to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am.” So he said that he was going to the father who was greater than him. So also in heaven God is greater than Jesus!"

No, when Jesus spoke those words, He was still on earth. He said "the Father IS greater than I am", not that "the Father WILL BE greater than I am".

Your argument on headship is flawed:

"But on the one hand husband and wife are two individuals and are not one, as in a trinity. On the other hand your conclusion is not correct. True, being subject to her husband does not make a wife non-human but it makes her non-husband!"

Trinitarians do not teach that the Father and the Son are one individual, or person. As much time as JW's spend on the trinity, you'd think they'd at least understand the doctrine correctly that they're trying to refute, but they don't. They "refute" a straw man trinity.

Trinitarians clearly teach, and have always taught, that the Father and the Son are two distinct Persons within the one God. Therefore, there can be headship between two Persons within the Godhead. You make a category mistake when you say that a wife's being non-husband proves that Christ is non-God. My point is that the two Persons can have the same essence (God), yet be two distinct Persons (Father and Son) with headship regarding their relationship to each other. Same with husband and wife, who have one essence (human), in two persons, with headship in their relationship to one another.

No, I never said that Jesus emptied Himself only of knowing the date of His return. He emptied Himself of much more than that. In fact, all the miracles that He did on earth were done in the power of the Holy Spirit, not necessarily (and probably not) in His own power.

By the way, you really need to get a decent translation of the Bible. The NWT's rendering of Phil 2 is just atrocious!

"So in your opinion he was talking to himself when he said: “God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”? Do you want to tell me that Jesus was schizophrenic? I don’t believe that. That obviously does not make sense!"

No, Jesus was talking with the Father, not to Himself. This is not a problem for trinitarians.

"Further, who resurrected Jesus after his death?"

Gal. 1:1   Paul, an apostle (not sent from men, nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead),

John 2:19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews therefore said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

Rom. 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.

So, my answer is that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead. How do you read it?

"What most Christians believe is not relevant to me, since they believe anything they are taught."

Again, let's stay away from personal attacks if possible. I could easily use this kind of tactic against you, in my favor, based on how you and I came to our conclusions regarding correct Bible doctrine.

"We can’t justify ourselves by our works. That is not possible."

Amen on that! I COMPLETELY abandoned self-justification when I left the JW's 24 years ago. It's all by God's grace [undeserved kindness] now.

"So far for the texts about Jesus being not the same as God. These were not even the elementary arguments why there is no trinity. But they alone show that you need to add things and that you need to twist the written words of the texts in order to be able to hold on to the trinity dogma. I know that Trinitarians are almost immune against scriptures and reasoning which shows that there is no trinity, but that doesn’t make their standpoint any more plausible."

OK, Nathan, now I ask you to please read my personal story and complete study (link below), then come back and tell me whether you think I fit that description or not.

And, I'll be genuinely interested in getting your take on just what happened to me when I picked up the Bible and read it for myself. I'd really like your opinion! Am I nuts, or did I find the real Jesus, or, what?

http://www.kevinquick.com/kkministries/

Nathan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nathan said...

Yo Kevin,

I did not want to scare you off, with what I wrote. I just stated what I believe to be the truth.

I don’t think that there was any misunderstanding or misrepresentation in my last posting. Before answering your comments, let me just point out an important point: there is no “THE Trinitarian position”! I will get to that also later on, but it is important to recognize that there is no single Trinitarian position that is shared by all Trinitarians! There are a lot of differences.

To your comments:

ad resurrection) Well I never said that the Scriptures do not talk about an inner witness. So I agree that it does. Well my point of view of it is a little different from yours, but yes the Bible talks about it.

Well I don’t think that I am mistaken about the resurrection. I said that God (Jesus respectively) will decide who will be resurrected. There are several reasons for that. Of course, Adam and Eve will not be resurrected! I think you will disagree here, but since the Jesus I believe in was a mere human, his sacrifice cannot be applied to Adam and Eve, because they were perfect. Further, even if it could be applied, there would be the problem of never getting rid of sin and sinners! If the sin of a perfect human would be forgiven, we would have this problem over and over again for eternity and then the whole 6000-something years until now would have been of zero value. So this cannot be the plan of God. We yield, that Adam and Eve won’t be resurrected. The same of course is true for Judas Iscariot. So John 5:28 can not be used in the way that all humans who ever lived will be resurrected.

But, you will say, they will just be resurrected for judgement! I am not so sure if this makes sense. God won’t just resurrect anyone to tell him: “No sorry you have been a bad guy, no you will die again and this time forever”. Doesn’t sound like God, right? Isn’t quite logical, right? But is it at least Biblical? No it isn’t. The Bible tells us: “For the wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23). So what it the wages that sin pays? Death and then a resurrection in order that God can tell you that you will now die once again? No! It just says: “the wages sin pays is death”. All the rest, including resurrection is “the gift God gives”.

Why then does the Bible speak about a resurrection of those who did good deeds and of those who committed evil deeds? Well this can’t be applied to their condition when they come out of the tombs. Why can we say that, they cannot be judged for what they did before their death again? Well simply because of Romans 6:23. Paul makes this very clear a few verse before, in Romans 6:7: “For he who has died has been acquitted from [his] sin.” So the text only means, that those who will be resurrected, will be judged according to their behaviour during the thousand years that Jesus will reign. Those who stand the test will then have life and those who prove a failure will be judged. The An American Translation Bible renders the text as: “will come out to resurrection and life, and . . . to resurrection and judgment”, emphasising what I said above.

Another, quite direct hint, that John 5:28 does not mean the all humans who ever lived will be resurrected is the difference the Bible establishes between Hades and Gehenna. Gehenna means the second death. Interestingly the Jews put the dead bodies of evil people like murderers etc. there. Like the Jews said, the bodies of all those who did not deserve to be buried! So in this way Gehenna is a quite good symbol! For all who are in the tombs will be resurrected, like John 5 says. But all who are already in Gehenna won’t be resurrected! According to the Jews, all who are in Gehenna have no tomb, so they won’t be resurrected.

I agree that your faith is different from that of JWs. I disagree that yours is superior. I cannot tell you if you will be saved, I just don’t know it because this is up to Jehovah as explained above.

ad trinity) Well obviously you didn’t care that my paragraph was much longer! Before I was talking about John 14:28 I was talking about Phil 2, that you had used before to “explain away” what you would call “the plain sense of scripture” regarding Mark 13:32. However, what I said about Phil 2 is important here! Like Paul said, Jesus did not give consideration to a seizure in order to be equal to God. What did I say then? “Paul here was speaking about Jesus before he came to earth, so when he still was in heaven! Still he was not equal to God? Hm, rather difficult if he was in a trinity with God.” So I explained that Jesus was not equal to God before he was on earth. Interestingly you did not write a single sentence on this reasoning!

But what is more important is to keep this in mind when talking about John 14:28! Yes Jesus said the verses when he was on earth, that is true. But does this mean anything? No! We already know now, that Jesus was NOT equal to God before he came on earth. He was obviously not equal when he was on earth, so why should he be equal after he went to heaven again? No reason for that! So when Jesus said “the father IS greater than I am” he was referring to an active state! Since the father was greater than Jesus, before Jesus was on earth, it wouldn’t have made any sense to say “the father will be greater than I am”, because God had always bee greater than Jesus and will always remain greater. Jesus’ listeners knew this! Further, since Jesus said “I am going my way to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am”, the whole sentence is an outlook to the future, thus showing that God is greater than Jesus now too!

Regarding what you said on headship: First of all, as I already said above: There is not THE doctrine of trinity! But never mind, I will answer on your comments. The marriage discussion started when you said: “There is headship in the Godhead, as there is headship in marriage. A wife, who is subject to her husband, is not thereby rendered non-human.“ After that I showed the errors in that reasoning. I will do it again, and thereby I will show why my arguments are right.

Your comparison does not work, because husband and wife are separated individuals. Both have the same essence, being human, but they are not only two individuals, they are also two complete separated beings. That is what I said. That is why your comparison is wrong. The Catholic dogma of trinity for example teaches that “the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God.” So while they say that there are three personalities they are still just one God. So they are not completely separated. Of course not, because if they were there wouldn’t be anything like a trinity, because 3 entirely distinct persons you wouldn’t call triune.

But I said more to make my point, why your comparison was wrong. You said: “A wife, who is subject to her husband, is not thereby rendered non-human.” By showing that there is a difference between marriage and a triune God, I showed that your conclusion was wrong! I said: “True, being subject to her husband does not make a wife non-human but it makes her non-husband!” So the “there are not three Gods but one God” statements simply cannot be applied to marriage. Thus your argument is wrong.

So I do understand the Catholic definition of trinity quite well. Further if you want to make your point with just saying that I don’t know enough about trinity, please say it. Don’t say that JWs don’t know about it. It is me you are talking to. However there is a big difference between understanding what is taught and between understanding what that really means. While I have a quite good understanding of the Catholic definition of trinity, I don’t understand where it should lead us. Catholics also don’t know that is why they declared trinity to me a mystery. My conclusion is different. Since the whole dogma is completely illogical it is wrong.

Having the same essence does not put two beings together in any way. Two humans will always be two humans, they will always have to personalities and they will never be in unity in the sense of trinity. If you want to tell me that Jesus and God are completely separated beings and Jesus is subject to God although he is of godlike nature, I will agree on it. But if you tell me that they are two separated personalities and Jesus is subject to God, although he is also God himself (in the sense of trinity), I won’t agree. Because it is illogical and it can’t be compared to husband and wife! This can also be seen from what The Catholic Encyclopedia says: “the Persons are co-eternal and co-equal: all alike are uncreated and omnipotent.” Jesus cannot be subject to God like a wife to a husband, since he is co-equal and omnipotent.

I never said that you are of the opinion that Jesus only emptied Himself of knowing the date of God’s day. But since that was the point of discussion, I said that after all Jesus knew and was able to do, it is too cheap to say that he just didn’t knew this date. The reason for his not knowing must be something different. Namely that Jesus is not equal to God.
Well it is up to you whether you like the NWT or not, but to call its translation of Phil 2 atrocious it ridiculous. I believe that it is what you read in these verses that makes you say that, but other translations say that too. I think that the New American Standard Version is rather unsuspicious, isn’t it? It translated Phil 2:6 as: “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped”.. Or the New Jerusalem Bible says: “Who, being in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped.” The NWT says: “who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God.” Quite similar isn’t it? So where here is it atrocious? My arguments remains fully valid!
Mark 15:34: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This is not a problem for Trinitarians? Well that is the problem! It should be a problem for Trinitarians! Why did Jesus say “God, my God”? Why did he not say father? How could God forsake Jesus when part of a trinity?

Yes I believe that God resurrected Jesus! But obviously the son did not resurrect himself, because he was dead. So it was not possible for him to raise him up himself. Romans 8:11 doesn’t say that the Holy Spirit is a person and it does not say that the Holy Spirit raises anybody from the dead. It also says that he who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to others. This “he” is God, the father, not the Holy Spirit.

Please tell me where there is a personal attack in the sentence: “What most Christians believe is not relevant to me, since they believe anything they are taught.” This is a matter of fact, and as the wording shows it is all but personal. But if you really are so thin-skinned, please tell me why you, in the same blog entry said: “As much time as JW's spend on the trinity, you'd think they'd at least understand the doctrine correctly that they're trying to refute, but they don't.“ I believe that this is at least as personal, or (as I think) much more personal.

But I would be interested to know, how you could use “this kind of tactic against” me, “based on how you and I came to our conclusions regarding correct Bible doctrine”. Please show me. Are you sure you still remember how I came to my conclusions?

Well so far to your comments on my arguments that you picked out of the whole response.

I am going to have a look at your page as soon as possible. If I manage to read all of the stuff (let’s see how much it is), I will give you my review.

kevin said...

Hi Nathan,

I know it's been awhile, but I didn't want to leave you hanging indefinitely, and you brought up a couple of things that I thought should be addressed...

You say that there are many differing trinitarian positions. What other positions are there, other than the one delineated in the Nicene Creed? I would estimate that 99% of trinitarians would subscribe to the Nicene formulation. Do you disagree?

Whether it "makes sense" to you or not, God has already "decide[d] who will be resurrected"...

John 5:28 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which ALL who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, 29 and shall come forth; those who did [past tense] the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed [past tense] the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. "

I find nothing in Scripture that negates Jesus' plain statement that ALL will be resurrected, your reasonings notwithstanding.

The idea that resurrected people will be judged by what they do in the Millennium, rather than what they did in their lifetimes, is completely unscriptural. It is a fabrication of the WTB&TS, and lulls its people into a false sense of security.

Scripture is plain:

Heb. 9:27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment

You place a large amount of emphasis on Rom 6:7, with the idea that when someone dies, he is acquitted from his sin. But, most reputable translations say that a person who dies is "freed" from his sin, not "acquitted." "Freed" much better fits the context. The previous verse talks about the power that sin has over us while we're alive. Then, verse 7 makes the point that when we die, that sin no longer can control us. Please read these verses together, in a good, reputable translation (like the NASB); it will only take a moment, and I think you'll see Paul's point on that. At the least, I definitely would not use the NWT's rendering of this verse to try to make a major doctrinal claim that Scripture teaches that if you die, that's enough; that there is no judgment of your previously-committed sins after that.

"All who are in Gehenna have no tomb, so they won't be resurrected." Man, what a stretch of "reasoning" in the face of clear Scriptural testimony to the contrary.

Phil 2... before we get into too much of a discussion of this passage, may I just suggest that you compare a dozen or so other translations on this; the NWT's "gave no consideration to a seizure" is bizarre. All other translations that I'm familiar with say that Jesus didn't consider equality with God something to be grasped, i.e., He let go of it when He emptied Himself.

Just now noticing that you come back to this later in your post... No, the NWT's rendering is very different. The standard, reliable translations say that Jesus "did not regard equality with God something to be grasped." In my view, Jesus already HAD equality with God, but chose not to hang on to it. The NWT's translation of the verse makes it impossible that Jesus could have ever had equality with God intrinsically, intimating that He would have had to have made "a seizure" in order to grab for it and acquire it. So, no, the translations are not "quite similar" at all.

Jesus' body was dead, but His spirit was still alive, as with all humans who die (see my on-line study for evidence on this). So yes, alive in His spirit, He could take part in the resurrection of His body.

I'm sorry that you don't see the personal attack in your statement that "What most Christians believe is not relevant to me, since they believe anything they are taught." Maybe I misunderstood you, but I thought you were inferring that I, being of the group "most Christians," believe anything that I am taught by my church. That's so far from the truth in my case, that it's not funny! So, your statement struck me as personally offensive. Again, I welcome your correction on this if I was mistaken.

And yes, in my experience, most JW's have very poor grasps of the trinity doctrine; many, if not most, believing that trinitarians teach that the Father and the Son are the same person, for instance. "Who did Jesus pray to, to himself?", etc.

No, I'm sorry, I don't remember how you came to your conclusions on Bible doctrine. I sincerely welcome your refreshing my memory on that. Forgive me for assuming that you learned it through the standard Watchtower "Bible study" program (this is how I learned it), if I was mistaken.

Anyway, of course, I can't adequately explain everything about why I believe what I do here in this blog; I look forward to your assessment of my on-line study.

Kevin

Nathan said...

Hi Kevin,

It’s really been a while. I stopped coming back to this thread weeks ago. I thought you lost interest. I noticed your message accidentally, when I wanted to delete my bookmark. So as a result, I will once again answer your points.

First of all, the Nicene Creed actually says not much on the Holy Spirit. But still it is the most widely accepted Creed. Ironically, it is the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed that speaks about the Holy Spirit. It was written some 60 years later. It is also widely accepted among Christian churches, but not as fully as the Nicene Creed. So from this alone we see that not all Christians share the same views on trinity or a dualistic god. Today you also find the movements of Sabellianism and Modalistic Monarchianism. Also a part of the Pentecostal church does not believe in the form of trinity spoken of in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

But what is even more important: It does not matter that much what different churches think about trinity. It matters what their members say. And now go and ask people of different faith how the y would explain trinity. You will get dozens of different answers and opinions. That is not very surprisingly, since the dogma is not only unbiblical it is also not comprehensible.

I think that it DOES matter if something makes sense from a human point of view. The Bible was written for us humans, not for God, since he already knows everything. So if what someone tries to read out of the Bible does not make sense at all or contradicts other Bible verses, then we should be very cautious!

I presented my reasoning about the “resurrection point” to you and also about John 5:28. My arguments are still valid, because you did not prove them wrong so far. Thus I feel no obligation to repeat myself again. It is up to you to reread my arguments or not. It is up to you to accept them or not. But I don’t think it makes sense that you keep repeating here what you already said in above postings and what has already been answered by me.

The idea that resurrected people will be judged by what they do in the Millennium, is not only scriptural it is also very logical. I know you don’t agree with the necessity of logic in arguments and the real world, but well it simply is there. But I already said that above and I already referred to the topic why resurrected people will be judged according to what they do in the Millennium.

I also wrote my 2 cents on Heb. 9:27.

I place a large amount of emphasis on Romans 6:7? I mentioned the verse once and commented on it a half-paragraph long. So what do you mean? I will comment on your insult on the NWT later. Just to quote some, how you would call them, “reputable” translations: “for he that hath died is justified from sin” (American Standard Version), “for he that has died is justified from sin” (Darby Version), “For one who has died has been set free* from sin.” Footnote: * Greek has been justified (English Standard Version), „qui enim mortuus est iustificatus est a peccato” (Vulgate). Is that enough for you? By the way the Vulgate is much older than all modern translation, yet it renders this verse in the way I used it. Remarkably the English Standard Version tells us that in the original Greek it speaks of justification from sin!

Before telling me how most reputable translations would render this verse, maybe it would help to look up what the Greek says. The verb used in the verse is: dikaioĊ. And it can mean the following, according to Greek dictionaries “to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be”. So we see that the translation of the NWT is perfectly right and transports the sense of the original Greek. So your attempt to discredit the verse because of the NWT failed. My contention still stands.

I explained detailed why Gehenna and tomb mean something else. Your quotation omits all the context and reasoning for this argument. The arguments show why this is not even close to a stretch of reasoning. And as I pointed out: it is in real harmony with the Scriptures.

When it come to Phil 2, it is you who is stretching the reasoning. First I read quite a few different translations on that verse. You could know that from the fact that I already quoted some of them in my last posting. I said: “I think that the New American Standard Version is rather unsuspicious, isn’t it? It translated Phil 2:6 as: “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped”.. Or the New Jerusalem Bible says: “Who, being in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped.”” But this by no means has the meaning of “He let go of it when He emptied Himself”. The verse just says that Jesus never wanted to be equal to God ant never looked for a possibility to reach is. So in plain words: he obviously was not equal!

Yes they are similar. It is only your interpretation of the verse that makes it look like a big deal. But even if there was a big difference the substance would remain the same: Jesus was not equal to God. This is what the verse says. Otherwise the sentence does not make sense. If Jesus already was God then he would never think about if being equal was something to be grasped. That would be highly illogical. And even if he would, then he would prove himself not respecting this greatest privilege of all. That is not imaginable from Jesus!

Jesus’ body was dead and so was his spirit. There is no evidence pointing to something else.

I really don’t see the personal attack. But if you did feel attacked I apologized, because this was not my intention. I was criticising the quality of your argument. The majority of people is not relevant to me because the majority of people in uninformed. They are not able to present a profound reasoning. This is also a major reason for the fact that democracy will never work properly. So this is not an assumption it just is a fact. People usually do not know many details about the things they talk about and they are influenced very heavily by others whom they consider to be superior. History is full of evidence for this.

Another reason why it does not matter to me what the majority says can be found in the Bible: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” I think this message is quite plain and clear, isn’t it? Btw. Did you recognize that I quoted from the NASB? See, I am not afraid of other translations.

Well on the one hand, as said above, there are Trinitarians that believe that the father and the son are the same person. But granted that is not the common view. Nevertheless questions like the one you cited as an example still remain valid. They simply show that the whole concept is illogical and does not make sense. They show that people who defend trinity need one red herring after the other not to drown in their illogical reasoning.

My conclusions on the Bible had their beginning in realising that God is, what I would call, a statistical necessity. I believe that this kind of arriving is not very widespread. Then I was asking myself what this God could look like. It soon became clear that he must be a loving creature. Thus he would let us humans know things about him that were important. So somewhere on the way when thinking this way, one comes to examine the Bible. After finding out that the Bible must be God’s word, I started to interpret what I read. And finally I ended up with the conclusion that the teachings of JWs, although being imperfect of course, are right in their basics.

One thought on the NWT. You are constantly trying to discredit the translation. I know you will be able to quote scholars who back your view. But so am I. There are quite a few who say that the NWT is an excellent translation. So again, the discussion about the NWT will not get us any further. Only when compared to the original text one can say if an individual verse is rendered correctly. But in fact it does not even matter when it comes to the points under discussion. All of them have already been very well established before JWs had their own translation! So they were established, using different translations from different people or institutions. So none of these teachings was “invented” because of the NWT rendering. They rather are what JWs say they are: biblical teachings! One more thought: although this obviously is not a sufficient feature but maybe at least very interesting: is there another religion of the same scale as JWs that has its own translation?

Regarding assessment of your study material. I listened to your mp3 talk and found out that your way at arriving where you are now was obviously full of emotional decisions. That is just fine, but not really my way, because I don’t think we can trust them. But never mind I must admit that I won’t find time to comment on a bigger scale on all your material. I simply don’t have the time to do so. Even an abstract would end up in more of a discussion than we had here already. I would have to write a book focusing only on your book and I have no intention to do so, because I write my papers according to my own thoughts. Obviously you spent quite some time putting all this stuff together and I believe that studying the word of God is always worth the time. So I am happy for you that you did your studies. But again, I don’t have the time to focus on all your material, while already doing my own research and writing. So my time budget can’t afford that I do more than we did here in this blog.

But I believe we have seen the major problems here already. I truly believe that my arguments are valid and that you were not able to prove them wrong so far. You don’t believe what I say. You may very well believe that your arguments are true. I believe that I proved a lot of them wrong. Unfortunately you don’t share this opinion. So by now I think we arrived at a point where this becomes a one way. We are running in circles and drawing dead. So I am not quite sure what else we can do to keep this conversation fruitful for both of us. If you know a way, please let me know.

So this concludes my thoughts on your surprise posting.

Greets,
Nathan

kevin said...

Likewise, I've enjoyed our conversation, Nathan, and I wish you all the best. You've got a sharp mind, and an inquisitive spirit. I can't imagine you staying a JW forever. When the JW's fail you, Jesus will be there.

Yes, the way is indeed narrow. There is only way, truth and life. John 14:6

Take care; I hope to see you around.

Kevin

Nathan said...

Hey Kevin,

thanks for the conversation and for bringing up thoughts other than mine. I think we both gained a lot from checking our viewpoint against each other.

I hope God will pull you.

Nathan

Voice of Reason said...

Kevin said:
"When the JW's fail you, Jesus will be there."

When Jws fail you, they are doing what humans can only do. No one relies on JWs. Jesus is behind the JWs.

kevin said...

On the contrary, VOR, if Nathan pursues serving God rather than men, and ever makes it known that he has decided to trust Jesus alone for salvation, the JW's will kick him out of the congregation, just as the Jews kicked the former blind man out of the synagogue in John 9. At that time, Jesus will be there for Nathan, just as He was for the blind man.

Voice of Reason said...

Kevin, you are incorrect.

No one is kicked out for believing in Jesus.

And we do trust Jesus alone for salvation.

But Christianity is not about being alone.

I don't think that you know the difference.