Bible Speaks

Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe in Jesus? Yes!

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9 hours ago, Micah Ong said:

Deuteronomy 18:22 "When the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word is not fulfilled or does not come true, then Jehovah did not speak that word. The prophet spoke it presumptuously. You should not fear him.’"

It is fair, (as you say) that miraculously inspired prophets in the Bible can and often do, predict future events. And of course, that is the definition that is applied by people who are not JW's and take issue with us. But that is not the definition we apply to ourselves. Why? Because that is not the only definition or attribute that can qualify one as a prophet in doing a prophetic work. JW's are not miraculously inspired and so WE ALREADY KNOW many of the expectations put forward have not taken place as expected. We can't even predict the weather tomorrow (I'm sure you're surprised to know that :). We also acknowledge that while we often say "prophecy is best understood after it has been fulfilled," we even get that wrong at times. So why aren't we all throwing our arms in the air and rushing over to Micah Ong to save us from our folly? Because Micah Ong doesn't know what he is talking about and misapplying what millions of others already know. Here is a description of our view that is not from the "outside" - nose pressed against the glass - looking in:

"The Greek 'prophetes' literally means "a speaker out (Gr., pro "before" or "in front of," and 'phemi,' "say") and thus describes a proclaimer, one who makes known messages attributed to a divine source. (Compare Titus 1:120. Though this includes the thought of a predictor of the future, the fundamental meaning of the word is not that of prediction. (Compare Judges 6:7-10). Nonetheless, living in harmony with God's will requires that the individual know what Jehovah's revealed purposes for the future are so that he may bring his ways, desires, and goals into line with the divine will. Hence, in the great majority of cased, the Biblical prophets did convey messages that free directly or indirectly related to the future." it-2 prophet.

So in "making known messages attributed to a divine source (God - not the educated guesses regarding dates and whatnot - however well meaning - from the GB) we are in a sense doing a prophetic work. For instance, we can confidently say that Armageddon is going to come and therefore do a warning work of an event yet future - a message recorded in God's Word by miraculously inspired faithful servants. But even though we may try to make educated guesses as to the details of how it will happen, we really have no miraculous ability to predict these things. In fact, we also recognize that when elders are said to be "appointed by holy spirit," it is due to the fact (ideally) that they measure up to the qualifications inspired by holy spirit in God's word. No human on earth has a miraculous ability to read hearts, minds, motives...

But there is a responsibility or onus that anyone who cares about others takes seriously. An illustration: Scientists may feel from the "signs" they see,  there seems to be a strong indication an earthquake is about to take place. They have no miraculous ability to predict the future, but nevertheless, they give the order to evacuate because that, to the best of their knowledge, would be the prudent course of action. If it turns out no earthquake takes place, at least no lives were lost - although it would likely be inconvenient. If anyone believed they had good reason to take a certain course of action - even acknowledging they can't predict the future, why wouldn't they at least give a warning? On the other hand, what if it did happen? Now we know certain things for sure, because they are set out in God's Word. But regarding the details that are not specifically spelled out in God's Word, (i.e.. dates and related info), we can't claim miraculous inspiration to fill in those details.

It's true there have been well meaning assertions that out of eagerness have tried to fill in the blanks. And when I see descriptions of how we are told things will take place with details that are not specifically set out in God's Word, I take it with a grain of salt because the case could be made that historically we have been often mistaken. Even things we have studied for years regarding "types and antitypes?" All out the window. Oh well, that's progress for you. I knew to expect that and I'm pretty sure there will be other stuff to fall by the wayside. But even recognizing an imperfect and incomplete picture of things yet to take place, it doesn't stop me from knocking.

By-the-way, what religion are you that you feel is so much better? And don't try a clever dodge by saying "Christian."

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18 hours ago, Micah Ong said:

The fact that Foxes book of martyrs mentions hundreds of thousands of martyrs in the first few centuries does not intrude on the Watchtower way of counting. They ignore history and revise it. They have to for arrival of their exclusive numbering.

Martyr: def 1) "a person who willingly suffers death rather than reduce his or her religion 2) a person who is put to death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause: a martyr to the cause of social justice" 

The fact that someone is described (legitimately or not) as a martyr does not of itself qualify that one as being an anointed Christian, called to be one of the 144,000 described in Revelation. As Paul stated "...I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to accurate knowledge..." (Rom. 10:2) You can look at it any way you choose to, but our understanding according to Jesus' description of true wheat-like Christians being oversown with counterfeit weeds soon after the death of the apostles may have some bearing here. Not only that but the explicit warnings that a wholesale apostasy would develop shortly after the early Christian congregation was established should indicate to the unbiased reader that there would be many false Christians and few true ones. Soon apostate Christianity was the order of the day. So does that fact that someone dies for their beliefs make them a true Christian? There are lots of different religions now that do not agree on how God should be worshipped and yet are willing to die for their beliefs. Does willing to die in man-made wars, crusades, inquisitions or even persecution, automatically qualify them as acceptable to God?  If so, then the suicide bombings and terrorist activity of those wiling to die for their beliefs must also qualify them as acceptable to God, no?  The fact is, I can't quantify all who are selected by God or not and neither can you. 

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2 hours ago, b4ucuhear said:

By-the-way, what religion are you that you feel is so much better? And don't try a clever dodge by saying "Christian."

I never said come to me I am not your mediator to God, I'm not saying I have all the answers, no one on earth does!  As I pointed out Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.  I do not ascribe to any religion and agree with the early statements of the Watchtower that "Religion is a Snare and a Racket!"  I do see the Watchtower as a very successful book publishing company that has cleverly grown through free labor.

It's clear that JW's elevate Jehovah's name over Jesus name when God has elevated Jesus name as the name above every other name - Philippians 2:9; also the person we are saved under - Acts 4:10.  The New Testament is God's final revelation in the Bible not the old Testament so why go back to Isaiah 43:10 and contradict Acts 1:8.  Jesus never said to call on YHWH for salvation and never said to address the Father as YHWH.

2 hours ago, b4ucuhear said:

But even though we may try to make educated guesses as to the details of how it will happen, we really have no miraculous ability to predict these things.

But the Governing Body are meant to be God's channel!  "Mystical manipulation can take on a special quality in these cults because the leaders become mediators for God." "

"That faithful slave is the channel through which Jesus is feeding his true followers in this time of the end. It is vital that we recognize the faithful slave. Our spiritual health and our relationship with God depend on this channel." Watchtower 2013 Jul 15 p.20

      Identifying those used by Jehovah  
 
Bible Times
Watchtower Governing Body
Miracles Jehovah used miraculous works to identify those chosen to lead others. For example:
Noah - Gathering of the animals
Moses - Staff into a snake
Apostles - Gifts of the spirit, such as faith healing


   None
Prophecy When Jehovah used a person to make future predictions, the prophecies were always correct. For example, Daniel's prophecy for the fall of Babylon and the line of world powers 100% of Watchtower predictions have been false, such as that the end of the world would be in 1914, then 1925, then 1975. Furthermore, the generation teaching promoted prior to 1995 is proven to be false, as the last survivors born prior to 1914 die out.
Consistency Bible is harmonious, with Bible writers presenting a message without contradiction. Watchtower doctrine has been in constant flux. This cannot be explained as new light, as there have been numerous flip flops and contradictions, such as the generation teaching, organ transplants, and superior authorities.

 

Why would I trust the Watchtower to save me at Armageddon when their track record shows me that even their well meaning assertions were wrong.  I don't think I would take the so-called 'instructions that won't make sense from a human tactical point at Armageddon' when they do not have any reliable track record.  Compare this to Joshua addressing the Israelites - Joshua 23:14 "...not one word has failed."

All religions have elements of truth in them but no one religion has the absolute truth.  I know the Jehovah's Witnesses have the saying that we are in the "truth."  Well that's not true because it keeps changing.  Come on lets be honest here.

There a lot's of good things with Jehovah's Witnesses because of the teachings of bible based principles, but I see that with many other christian groups as well.  What I don't see are soup kitchens or other charitable ways of helping the unfortunate unless they happen to be in a disaster area close other Jehovah's Witnesses.

I believe your own sincere heartfelt personal relationship with God through his word, prayer and encouragement from fellow believers (true Bible believing Christians), and common sense is all that required.  You can share that with others at anytime as well.  I think religion has complicated things and created a lot of fear and a huge sense of obligation.  Life is a precious gift from our creator and the price for our sins has been paid.  Your not going to live a life against God if you sincerely accept that. 

 

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6 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

1 Tim 6:9 (Ooh! Just had a funny feeling when I saw the numbers!!) "But those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and harmful desires that plunge men into destruction and ruin."

But then, maybe you were one who did suffer from date spec? Did you miss an opportunity?

Haha no I wasn't born then!  Surely that is overkill though.  There are plenty of well off JW's who have high qualifications like doctors and laywers and are they falling into snares and hurtful desires?  No!  So you are misapplying the scripture as the Leading Men at that time were. 

So are you laughing at people that did suffer then because of date speculation?

And this isn't date speculation?

1968 "Just think, brothers, there are only about ninety months left before 6,000 years of mans existence on earth is completed... The majority of people living today will probably be alive when Armageddon breaks out, and there are no resurrection hopes for those who are destroyed then. So, now more than ever, it is vital not to ignore that spirit of wanting to do more." (Kingdom Ministry, March 1968, p. 4 [note: 1968 + 90 months = 1975])

I pray that your heart softens.

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In  some  things  I  agree  with  you,   @Micah Ong ...  so,  I  wanted  give  you  a  like ! :)  We  all  made  &  maybe  still  make  mistakes  about  the  Bible....   The  JW  and  also  our  WT  Org. JW  -    bec.  we  are  ALL   imperfect  here  on  Earth :(   ONLY  our  Creator  Jehovah  as  Almighty  GOD  &  HIS   Son  Jesus,  as  perfect  human,  NEVER  made  mistakes !   I  not  want  to  get  involved  by  so  many  Bible - discussions  here,  bec. first  my  German  language,  my  time - difference  and  bec. not  a  perfect  human...  Greetings  from  Germany  ;-)

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54 minutes ago, Bible Speaks said:

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Yes all in the Hebrew Scriptures with the nation of Israel - they used that name.  The New Testament is the final revelation by God in the Bible and YHWH is not in the New Testament.  You're going against Philippians 2:9 "God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name."

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8 hours ago, Micah Ong said:

There are plenty of well off JW's who have high qualifications like doctors and laywers

True. And many of those have grown up in JW families. Or have brought their wealth, education and position with them. This puts the lie to the claim that JW's experience "total control" or are in some way deprived of education and opportunity etc. But...Did you miss the point of Paul's counsel?

8 hours ago, Micah Ong said:

laughing at people that did suffer then because of date speculation?

Well I thought you would know better than that too. Why should other's suffering be a source of amusement?

8 hours ago, Micah Ong said:

The majority of people living today will probably be alive when Armageddon breaks out,

And the majority (alive in 1968) were likely alive when Armageddon DID NOT break out as some expected....many probably still alive today.

The important thing is to be alive AFTER Armageddon has been accomplished is it not? And as no man knows the day and hour of that event..then it is no crime to strive to be ready for it surely? Peter advised us to "look forward to the day of God and speed (hasten) its coming." (2Pet.3:12) And therefore to "make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him."(2Pet.3:14). NIV quotes.

Now certainly, and in harmony with the original post, our correct estimation of and appreciation of the role Jesus Christ plays in our salvation is of paramount importance here. So, in answer to the question raised "Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe in Jesus?"  A resounding "Yes!"

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On 5/16/2017 at 10:36 PM, Micah Ong said:

The fact that Foxes book of martyrs mentions hundreds of thousands of martyrs in the first few centuries does not intrude on the Watchtower way of counting.

I just did a little fact checking on the "facts" you use to support your contention. 

Foxe as a historian

The author's credibility was challenged as soon as the book first appeared. Detractors accused Foxe of dealing falsely with the evidence, of misusing documents, and of telling partial truths. In every case that he could clarify, Foxe corrected errors in the second edition and third and fourth, final version (for him). In the early nineteenth century the charges were taken up again by a number of authors, most importantly Samuel Roffey Maitland.[42]Subsequently Foxe was considered a poor historian, in mainstream reference works. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica accused Foxe of "wilful falsification of evidence"; two years later in the Catholic EncyclopediaFrancis Fortescue Urquhart wrote of the value of the documentary content and eyewitness reports, but claimed that Foxe "sometimes dishonestly mutilates his documents and is quite untrustworthy in his treatment of evidence"...

Objectivity and advocacy

Foxe's book is in no sense an impartial account of the period. He did not hold to later centuries' notions of neutrality or objectivity, but made unambiguous side glosses on his text,

So, not all are convinced with the sources or even "facts" you put forward. In fact, I was surprised when looking to find how little I knew myself and how little agreement there is on the matter. The estimates range from zero deaths (suggesting it was all a hoax) to 500 million deaths. Of course I don't subscribe to either of these extremes, but one thing is for certain, there is no overall agreement as to the actual number, which varies from none to many. Naturally, I see, you selected ("cherry picked?") the one that supports your contention. Foxes' "Acts and Monuments" was written in the mid 15th century and was framed primarily as polemic against the Catholic church much later than the time we were discussing. Foxe in no way was "close to the action" so to speak and as a Protestant put it together because he had an "axe to grind" with the Catholic church at the time, well over a thousand years after the "fact."

13 hours ago, Micah Ong said:

I do not ascribe to any religion and agree with the early statements of the Watchtower that "Religion is a Snare and a Racket!" 

I respect that, and while I disagree with much (most actually) of what you are saying it seems to me you are sincere and have put much effort into being a student of God's Word. We should all be doing that. As a side note and not to get too much off topic, (since I don't plan to sit in front of my computer with Micah Ong for the rest of my life - although I may still challenge you on some of the stuff you have written - if I have time), I have a question:

Matthew Chapter 24, describes events that would indicate a period of time indicating Christ's return and the end of the conclusion of system of things/final time/end of the world...) That period of time, as you are well aware, would be indicated/accompanied by obvious world events, (false Christians - no cheap shot here please; wars and reports of wars; food shortages; earthquakes in one place after another...true Christians being objects of hatred by all the nations. So my question to you is: Do you think that is happening now? Do you believe we are living in the last days according to the sign Jesus gave his disciples? (Let's keep 1914 out of it to keep things simple please and thank-you).

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16 hours ago, b4ucuhear said:

Foxe as a historian

Good research I didn't know that!

16 hours ago, b4ucuhear said:

since I don't plan to sit in front of my computer with Micah Ong for the rest of my life - although I may still challenge you on some of the stuff you have written - if I have time

Likewise bro. but I have learned a few things in the meantime.

16 hours ago, b4ucuhear said:

Do you believe we are living in the last days according to the sign Jesus gave his disciples? (Let's keep 1914 out of it to keep things simple please and thank-you).

Yes I do the signs as you point out harmonize with Matt 24.  No time in history has the earth been so populated and in a globalized stated because of technology.

It seems to line up with Daniel 12:4 "But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase."

There are many events happening each day showing that we are we are reaching a climax. 

There are Christians being killed for there faith in the middle-east and other places.  Even if you don't agree that they are true Christians they are in effect being killed because of Jesus name Matthew 24:9.   Certainly they would have to have love for Jesus and God.

Now I know this is a touchy subject involving Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia but I merely want to present this as a fact.  Jehovah's Witnesses weren't banned for being Christian's.  Christianity and the Bible aren't banned but it seems preaching is banned not just for Jehovah's Witnesses but Baptist Missionaries http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2017/january/exclusive-american-missionary-fights-to-pray-read-bible-in-putins-russia

and others are as well.

I don't think true Christians are limited to a group of people or an organization. 

John 10:14 I am the good shepherd. I know My sheep and My sheep know Me,

As I said before no one on earth has the absolute truth and Jesus only asked that we try to follow him to the best of our ability.  He wants mercy not a sacrifice ect

Jesus sums in it up in Matthew 22:37-40 He said to him: “‘You must love Jehovah* your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul* and with your whole mind.’ 38  This is the greatest and first commandment. 39  The second, like it, is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40  On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets.”

When you love others and yourself you are in effect loving Jesus and God as well - Matt 25:40.  You pray to him, you draw close to him and lean on him, and you read his inspired writings, then you have that relationship that is not limited to one group but a relationship that he as opened to all mankind.

If God is love to the fullest sense then any sincere person who practices love in it's truest form is closer to God.

James 4:8

Amazing things (blessings) happen when you are in that space, whether you are a Jehovah's Witness or not.

 

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18 hours ago, Micah Ong said:

There are Christians being killed for there faith in the middle-east and other places.  Even if you don't agree that they are true Christians they are in effect being killed because of Jesus name Matthew 24:9.   Certainly they would have to have love for Jesus and God.

Point taken and as I had mentioned before, we have neither a miraculous ability to read hearts (or predict the future) nor the authority to judge who is or is not a good hearted person (or even the potential to be so.) This is what we feel is part of our ministry: to be "God's fellow workers" in reaching as many good hearted people as God draws to him with the good news of God's kingdom as well as providing a warning of God's impending judgment. Of course, a mere profession/appearance of love of God is not always a true indication of the heart. "If anyone says 'I love God and yet is hating his bother, he is a liar. For the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom her has not seen. And we have this commandment from him, that whoever loves God must also love his brother." (1 Jon 4:20-21.) As you had astutely stated: "When you love others as yourself, you are in effect loving Jesus and God as well."  We might add: "By this all will know that your are my disciples - if you have love among yourselves." (John 13:35) You notice this new commandment to love one another  (that would identify Christ's true followers), isn't full of man-made creeds and formulas. It is a simple observable truth that would be evident to any who love the truth. No need to compare hundreds/thousands of differing/contradictory teachings. There are many religions/religious people that claim to worship God but would you have a scriptural basis for saying that people who pray to the same God to help kill their brothers - (even of the same religion) - on the other side of a political fence in warfare are demonstrating that identifying characteristic? Aren't we commanded to love even our enemies? As you correctly quoted "You must love your neighbour as yourself."  Romans 10:2,3 says: "For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to accurate knowledge. For because of not knowing the righteousness of God but seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God."    

 

19 hours ago, Micah Ong said:

I don't think true Christians are limited to a group of people or an organization.

I would both agree and disagree. I would agree there are good people in many if not all religions - those are the ones we look for. But looking at the Bible record, how would you answer: Is it a matter of how we want to worship God? Or is it a matter of how God wants/demands to be worshipped? Is it up to us to decide what God will accept as true worship? Or is it up to him to decide what is acceptable to him? Ironically, many of those you suspect of being true Christians would likely not agree with you that it's not important what organization you are with - (forgive me if I misunderstand you on this point). The fact that there are so many different organizations, all claiming to be the true one testifies to that. Again, looking at the Bible record, did it matter what organization/religion you belonged to? The Israelites were given the law that kept the contaminating influence of other religious ideas and forms of worship at bay/separate. In fact, those other forms of worship (including child sacrifice, temple prostitution, worship of false Gods...) was something "detestable" to God and it was a capital offence to participate in it. Later when the early Christian congregation was formed, was it acceptable to remain under law and not accept Christ? No. What about today then? Revelation describes false religion as a harlot for the immoral relationship she has with the kings of the earth. (Rev. 17).  Rev. 18:4 says: "Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues. for her sins have massed together clear up to have, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind..."  See also 2 Cor. 16:17; Isa. 52:11; 2 Tim. 3:5.  Matthew 7:13,14 "Go in through the narrow gate, because broad is the gate and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are going in through it: whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are finding it.""

So while I tacitly agree with you that true Christians aren't limited to a group of people or organization (for now), there will come a time when decisions will have to be made, based not on how WE want to worship God, but rather how HE wants to be worshipped. 

 

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21 hours ago, Micah Ong said:

Yes I do the signs as you point out harmonize with Matt 24.  No time in history has the earth been so populated and in a globalized stated because of technology.

It seems to line up with Daniel 12:4 "But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase."

There are many events happening each day showing that we are we are reaching a climax. 

We agree on that point (others too I see). Everything we see now in fulfilment in Bible prophecy shows we are reaching a climax. It is in relation to this I have a practical question I think is relevant here. At Ephesians 4:5 we are told that there is "one Lord, one faith, one baptism;" - as opposed to thousands of conflicting beliefs all claiming to be the true religion (I know, we are in that group too). I also notice (I think) in the course of our discussions and your posts, that while you seem to have views in common with other religions, since you don't subscribe to any one religion, you are kind of doing your own thing. (I'm not being sarcastic here and I apologize if it sounds that way). But let's say, you have a "unique" perspective - you are basically one guy in your views - although you share a commonality with others on certain points. So my question is: since we both agree world events (as described in Matthew 24 for instance), show we are reaching a climax, what about the most important part of Matthew 24? Sure it talks about earthquakes, food shortages. wars...before the end comes, but the most important part of that prophecy is in verse 14, the positive one: "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." How do you expect to manage that obligation on your own at this admittedly late stage in the game? Or do you feel you are throwing your lot in with every other Christian organization that claims to be preaching the Good News of God's Kingdom even though they may radically differ in what they feel God's kingdom is?  Personally, I feel the ones that are really doing that on a global scale are JWs. That is why we exist primarily as an organization. It's not for tea parties, bingo, garage sales or chicken dinners. We are organized to continue (what we believe) is the commission for all true Christians. I know others SAY they do that (to an extent). But the ONLY people who have EVER come to me to preach the the good news of God's Kingdom are JWs and I've been around for quite and have been all over the world. Mormons are the only other people who have called on me and out of respect for their taking the time to do that I have always have invited them in for a respectful discussion. But one thing is for sure. They aren't preaching the gospel. That's not to say, other religions don't have their missionaries and have success doing that though - credit where credit is due. But to do that work is a huge task involving billions of people and billions of hours preaching to them in hundreds of lands and hundreds of languages. 

Now to be fair, you may have your own perspective on this, but it is something I always consider when we have for instance, apostates from within our organization who try to draw disciples after themselves. I always wonder: If someone followed them, then what? That preaching work still has to be done - at least to the extend God determines, and it won't get done sitting in someone's living room listening to some solo act nit-pick on some detail he disagrees with us on. (Not referring to you here even though I know you disagree on certain points). The fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 is a tall order and not one someone could attempt on their own at this late stage of the game. 

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6 hours ago, b4ucuhear said:

I'm not being sarcastic here and I apologize if it sounds that way

I know that's cool and I appreciate that we can have discussions like this as it helps having differing point of view.

6 hours ago, b4ucuhear said:

"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."

"On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. 'Teacher,' he asked, 'What must I do to inherit eternal life?'

"'What is written in the law?' he replied. 'How do you read it?'

"He answered: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, love your neighbor as yourself.'

"'You have answered correctly,' Jesus replied, 'Do this and you will live.'" (Luke 10:25-28)

In terms of logic, the verse above states: Loving others and God  IS THE WAY TO  eternal life.

When Jesus was on earth he stated that the kingdom was among them as he was demonstrating the way.

BIBLE: "Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." (1 John 4:7)
LOGIC:  Loving others IS EQUAL TO being born of God AND knowing God.

BIBLE:  "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)

LOGIC:  Love forgives many sins AND God IS EQUAL TO love, THEREFORE God forgives many sins.

It is clear from the gospel accounts alone that Jesus is not concerned about a person's religious status. Jesus told the religious leaders who killed him that the prostitutes were going to enter heaven before they did (Matthew 21:31).

Religion is a cultural institution. On the other hand, love is universal and not limited to a particular culture. According to the Sermon on the Mount, love is the greatest religion there is. Love is also what many of the great world religions is all about. However not everyone practices this religion of love.

I try not to impose my Christianity on other people. If people have God-like characteristics, a feeling of compassion and living that out, then its ok. I respond more to behavior than philosophy. God really doesn't care about theology.  Theologians killed Jesus!

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, 'Of all the commandments, which is the most important?' 'The most important one,' answered Jesus, 'is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these.' 'Well said, teacher,' the man replied. 'You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.' When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, 'You are not far from the kingdom of God.'" (Mark 12:28-34)

This is sharing the kingdom of God not factual knowledge.

The teachings of Christ is not theology.  Jesus taught unconditional love - not theology. It was theologians who had Jesus crucified.  Jesus taught that love is the sign of a true disciple of Christ:

"All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another." (John 13:35)

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33 minutes ago, Micah Ong said:

In terms of logic, the verse above states: Loving others and God  IS THE WAY TO  eternal life.

 

35 minutes ago, Micah Ong said:

Love is also what many of the great world religions is all about.

We both agree that love of God and neighbour is critical in not only fairly representing the God of love in true faith, but also in forgiveness.  Question: How then, would that love be manifest in true faith? I would rephrase your statement above to read: "Love is also what many of the great religions 'talk about,'  but could you say their fruits confirm that? Getting back to a previous illustration, could you really have any scriptural basis for saying religions that slaughter each other - innocent men women and children - are manifesting God-like love? Because that is the historical reality we are faced with. Many millions of lives have been and continue to be brutally shed in God's name - Catholics, Protestants, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims...ALL of the world's "great religions" have misrepresented the God of love in order to kill even their fellow worshippers in other countries. Crusades, inquisitions, local wars, regional conflicts, two world wars - mostly fought in Christians countries; not to mention the bloody terrorist activity of other groups. In what stretch of logic could that be considered showing love? That is characteristic of Satan's work - "the god of this system of things." 

57 minutes ago, Micah Ong said:

I try not to impose my Christianity on other people.

But "the great religions of the world" have tried to "impose" their religion on others by the edge of the sword. Often, people either converted or were killed. But that was not what Jesus did was it? What was it that motivated Jesus to preach the gospel with every fibre of his being? What motivated him to direct his apostles and disciples to carry on that same preaching work "to the most distant parts of the earth," and later preaching the good news of God's kingdom in all the inhabited earth as a witness to all the nations before the end comes? Was it not love? Love for his Father and human beings? He was known as "teacher" because the people were in ignorance and those who loved what he taught recognized that he had sayings of everlasting life. It mattered what they believed. It mattered a lot. He taught love by his example, but he did more than that. Out of love, he showed people what was necessary to please God and gain everlasting life. Yes, although he performed many loving miracles that brought practical and immediate benefits - curing, raising the dead, feeding the hungry...- he was not primarily known as "miracle worker" but "teacher" - both in word and in deed. And what was his message? God's kingdom! Over and over again he taught and spoke about it, even making it a central part of the "Lord's Prayer." Why? Because God's kingdom and the benefits it would bring as the only hope for mankind, brought refreshment, hope and an appreciation for God in not only sending his son to die for us, but an appreciation for what that sacrifice would make possible for mankind, including forgiveness of sins. People were in darkness, "alienated from God," like "sheep without a shepherd." It was not acceptable for them to remain in ignorance.

1 hour ago, Micah Ong said:

It is clear from the gospel accounts alone that Jesus is not concerned about a person's religious status. Jesus told the religious leaders who killed him that the prostitutes were going to enter heaven before they did (Matthew 21:31).

Not to be technical, but you are misquoting the scripture in a way that reflects your bias. The scripture actually says: "...the harlots go into 'the kingdom' of God before you" KJ version (not 'heaven') and is similarly rendered in all other translations. That is an important distinction but would take too much time to consider in detail at this point. Anyway...you actually seem to be making the point that Jesus WAS concerned about a person's religious status and the their religious status mattered. Logic: The fact that prostitutes were going before hypocritical religious leaders suggests that one form of worship was acceptable and one was not (or at least more acceptable/better.) 

1 hour ago, Micah Ong said:

This is sharing the kingdom of God not factual knowledge.

John 17:3 - "This means everlasting life, their coming to know you (taking in knowledge of you), the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ."                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Tim. 2:4 - "whose will it is that all sorts of people should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth."                                             Colossians 3:10 - "and clothe yourselves with the new personality, which through accurate knowledge is being made new according to the image of the one who created it."                                                                                                                                                                                  Ephesians 4:13 - "until we all attain to the oneness of the faith and of the accurate knowledge of the Son of God..."                                         Colossians 1:9,10 - "...we have never stopped praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the accurate knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual comprehension, so as to walk worthily of Jehovah in order to please him fully as you go on bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the accurate knowledge of God"                                                                                                                                                                                          Philippians 1:9 - "And this is what I continue praying, that our love may abound still more and more with accurate knowledge and full discernment, that you may make sure of the more important things..."                                                                                                                                        Hebrews 10:26 - "For if we practice sin willfully after having received the accurate knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice for sins left..."                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not to beleaguer the point since there are far too many other similar scriptures, but having "factual" or "accurate" knowledge does seem to be important. Why? Because although one may feel they are worshipping God, they may actually be or contaminating their worship with what God condemns.  Baal worshippers and apostate Israelites worshipping phallic symbols or golden calves may have thought they were worshipping God, but was it according to "factual knowledge" of God? An accurate knowledge of God?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

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Yes but we don't want to detract from the qualities of the heart and be too factual.  The scribes and the pharisees had very good knowledge but they didn't have the qualities of the heart. 

2 hours ago, b4ucuhear said:

John 17:3 - "This means everlasting life, their coming to know you (taking in knowledge of you), the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ."    

The interlinear says that "they should know you..."

We sometimes like to make scriptures fit our ideals....I know I do it too. 

You are correct with the accurate knowledge that the apostle Paul was speaking but remember too that the apostle Paul had arguments with the other Apostles whom he met some 14 years after his encounter with Jesus.  They had differing views.

The Bible as it exists today was put together by the Pope and a handful of bishops. The Pope had many writings cut out which were considered scripture in Jesus' day. For example, Jude - who was the brother of Jesus - quotes in the Book of Jude from a book that was part of Hebrew canon at the time of Jesus' ministry on Earth and for many years after by early Christians. I am referring to the Book of Enoch. Here is the quote in Jude 14-15 of 1 Enoch 1:9.

"In the seventh [generation] from Adam Enoch also prophesied these things, saying: 'Behold, the Lord came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners spoke against him'." (Jude 14-15)

Peter also references the Book of Enoch in 2 Peter 2:4 and 1 Peter 3:19-20. Now if the Bible quotes from the Book of Enoch then this means the Book of Enoch is divinely inspired and should be included in the Bible. The Book of Enoch existed centuries before the birth of Christ and is considered by many to be more Christian in its theology than Jewish. It is very likely  that Jesus read the Book of Enoch and believed it to be scripture. It was considered scripture by many early Christians as well.

If you want to have accurate knowledge well then you would have to include the book of Enoch as well.

The Word is not a book! If you think otherwise you are worshipping a book and not Jesus. Jesus himself is the Word - and the Word is God - and God is love. According to the Bible, the Word of God is the Logos, the Spirit of Jesus, the only one original Word of God (see Revelation 19:13).

Jesus taught a gospel that is love - a love that loves everyone, wills to save everyone and actually saves everyone.

No religion is the way to eternal life including Buddhism - Christianity - Hinduism etc., because the way to heaven is love [God]. Love is universal. It is not limited to only Christians. God does not love only Christians. God loves the whole world and it is dishonoring to God to think that God loves everyone but throws the vast majority of humanity into destruction for not believing or hearing about the name of Jesus.

 

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      To benefit from God’s promises, though, we must understand the role Jesus Christ plays in our salvation and exercise faith in him. Jesus himself said: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) 
      Pointing to the central role of Jesus Christ in this matter, the apostle Peter said: “There is no salvation in anyone else, for there is not another name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.” (Acts 4:12) 
      The apostle Paul and his associate Silas urged a sincere inquirer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will get saved, you and your household.”—(Acts 16:30, 31)
      Yes, Jesus Christ is “the Chief Agent of life,” and salvation is possible only through him. (Acts 3:15) But how can one man be such a key figure in saving us? Having a clear understanding of his role in this regard should strengthen our hope of salvation.
       
       

    • By Bible Speaks
      Who Really Is Jesus Christ?
      “Now when he entered into Jerusalem, the whole city was set in commotion, saying: ‘Who is this?’ The crowds kept telling: ‘This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee!’”—MATTHEW 21:10, 11.
      WHY did the arrival of Jesus Christ* in Jerusalem on that spring day in 33 C.E. cause such commotion? Many in the city had heard about Jesus and the extraordinary things he had done.          They kept telling others about him. (John 12:17-19) Yet, little did the crowds know that in their midst was a man whose influence would spread around the world and span the centuries down to our day!
      Consider a few examples of the far-reaching influence that Jesus has had      on human history.
      The calendar commonly used in many parts of the world is based on the year when Jesus is thought to have been born.
      Some two billion people—about a third of the world’s population—call themselves Christians.
      Islam, with more than a billion members worldwide, teaches that Jesus is “a greater prophet than Abraham, Noah, and Moses.”
      Many of Jesus’ wise sayings have, in various forms, entered everyday speech. Among them are the following:
      Jesus’ influence is beyond question. Yet, people hold widely different ideas and beliefs about him. Hence, you may wonder, ‘Who really is Jesus Christ?’ The Bible alone tells us where Jesus came from, how he lived, and why he died. Knowing those truths about him can have a profound effect on your life—now and in the future.
      “Jesus,” the personal name of this prophet from Nazareth, means “Jehovah Is Salvation.” The word “Christ” is a title that means “Anointed One,” signifying that Jesus was anointed, or appointed by God to a special position. http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2011241#h=1:0-19:0

    • By Bible Speaks
      God’s foremost judicial officer, Jesus Christ, is “the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah.” (Re 5:5) Appropriately, therefore, the lion, as a symbol of courageous justice, is associated with Jehovah’s presence and throne.—Eze 1:10; 10:14; Re 4:7.


    • By Bible Speaks
      - Let Jehovah Guide you to Rest and Put Confidence in Him! - He Will Save Us from Harm!   
      1. "Jehovah is my Shepherd.
      I will lack nothing.                            

      2   In grassy pastures he makes me lie down;
      He leads me to well-watered resting-places.

      3   He refreshes me.
      He leads me in the paths of righteousness for the sake of his name.

      4   Though I walk in the valley of deep shadow, I fear no harm,
      For you are with me;
      Your rod and your staff reassure me.

      5   You prepare a table for me before my enemies.
      You refresh my head with oil;
      My cup is well-filled.

      6   Surely goodness and loyal love will pursue me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of Jehovah for all my days."
      (Ps. 23:1-6) NWT jw.org