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Matthew 24. Is the INVISIBLE PAROUSIA doctrine based on less likely, special definitions of SIGN, PAROUSIA, CONCLUSION, LIGHTNING, GENERATION, and "GENTILE TIMES"?

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There seems to be be several ways to read Matthew 24 (and parallel accounts in Mark 13 and Luke 21). This has been noted by many Bible commentaries through the years, and even C. T. Russell admits some things about Matthew 24 that might surprise a lot of Witnesses today.

The primary discussions about Matthew 24 revolve around the question of whether it was ONLY about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., or primarily about the final Great Tribulation on the whole earth, or was it about BOTH judgment events.  (Even if this were primarily about 70 C.E., of course, it would still provide principles to guide Christians in every era and generation, especially about the expectation of the judgment event. -- 2 Tim 3:16; 1 Cor 10:11)

Over the years, the Watchtower has proposed slightly different ways to read Matthew 24, including splitting it up into two and sometimes three parts, where the first part referred pretty much equally to both a "minor" fulfillment on the first-century generation and a "major" fulfillment on the "final" generation that sees the final judgment event. Then, a middle portion of the chapter was often said to be primarily for the first century without direct application to the "final" generation. Then, later parts of the chapter were said to be meant primarily or sometimes ONLY for the final judgment event on the whole world. None of the differences in these variations was very significant in the overall picture, because in general the Watchtower has seen the greater "major" important fulfillment of almost all of Matthew 24 to be tied to the final generation that sees that "parousia" or "presence."

If we assume that the primarily fulfillment of Matthew 24 was intended for the final generation, then the secondary discussion is about whether we have correctly understood what Jesus meant with respect to the sign, the parousia, the conclusion, the generation, etc. So, that's the basic discussion being proposed here: that we look carefully at Matthew 24 and see if we have not perhaps tried to fit unlikely definitions of words so that we could make our specific doctrine fit.

Of course, it is quite proper to look at unlikely definitions of words if the meaning derived becomes the only possible way to understand a passage and the only way in which it properly fits the context and related scriptures. But what if the more likely definitions of each of the words also produces an overall meaning that fits just as well with the context and other scripture? What if accepting the more likely definitions of words in the chapter resulted in an even BETTER fit overall for the rest of the scriptures? What if it were seen that trying to make a doctrine out of the unlikely definitions actually created scriptural contradictions?

What I'd propose is that we try to let scripture explain scripture wherever possible and then try to give an honest appraisal of whether or not our "special definitions" we have infused into the meaning of several words in the chapter really makes more sense than the more common definitions of these words.  We could start with general ideas that we can all agree on (hopefully) and then check those ideas as either more or less likely to fit the ideas created from other parts of the chapter that depend on special definitions. I think this will help us evaluate whether we have built a doctrine upon the more likely or the less likely meaning of the words that Jesus used.

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Sure, I'll be happy to start out. :D

By the end of this discussion we should be able to go through the whole chapter and give a kind of evaluation score to whether we think we have a more likely doctrine or a less likely doctrine. This isn't about whether the meaning we have given a certain idea is impossible, just a way of measuring if the idea is more or less likely.

I'd propose that we have currently been driven to accept a LESS LIKELY definition of the word GENERATION. (Example: "the 1914 generation refers to two groups, where the first group included those whose lifespans overlapped with a second group quite possibly around a point in 1992 or even later, such that we can now add the lifespan of the oldest persons in the second group to the 1914 generation until they might die off in the near future, or perhaps much later, such that the 1914 generation can now include a reference to people born, say in the 1970's or later, living nearly until the year 2050, or even closer to the year 2100.") This has already been discussed elsewhere.

I don't think the definition we give it in the latest Watchtower articles and JW Broadcasting videos is impossible, but it seems very  unlikely. In my experience very few WItnesses will attempt to defend it Biblically. The ones who do make the attempt, have offered scriptures that actually make a much better fit the more common definitions of "generation."  (Exodus 1:6, Genesis 50:23; etc)

Without belaboring the possibility that the current understanding is somehow POSSIBLE, I think almost everyone in the world would agree that it is a LESS LIKELY definition that we are using, than any of the common definitions. (Especially since it can be found in no Bibles, no Bible dictionaries, and no dictionaries.)

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I'll propose one more of the terms to evaluate that we have given a special definition to. It's the term "LIGHTNING."

LIGHTNING

In the development of the "Invisible parousia" doctrine, the Watchtower has offered several different explanations of the meaning of "lightning" in Jesus phrase:

(Matthew 24:27) 27 For just as the lightning comes out of the east and shines over to the west, so the presence [parousia] of the Son of man will be.

(Luke 17:24) 24 For just as lightning flashes from one part of heaven to another part of heaven, so the Son of man will be in his day.

Lightning is one of the most strikingly SUDDEN & VISIBLE phenomenon known to man, and the context of the verse is about how SUDDEN and UNEXPECTED the "parousia" could surprise people.

But early in the years of developing the doctrine of an INVISIBLE PAROUSIA, Bible Students like N H Barbour, B W Keith, and later, C T Russell, knew that none of them had recognized the parousia when it began. No one suddenly understood when it had started. No one spotted it like a flash of lightning when it began. That's because there was an expectation of a sudden, bright and shining event that would start in 1874, but they were confused when it didn't happen. And it may have been a year or more later before it finally dawned on them that maybe they weren't wrong after all, maybe the PAROUSIA really did start in 1874, but it was invisible.

The problem is that they would have to change the meaning of this verse. Here's how C.T.Russell promoted a change in meaning:

1897: Studies in the Scriptures, The Battle of Armageddon, was one of several places that changed it from "lightning" to "the Sun" which fit the theme of "millennial dawn" a little better. The bracketed words are in the original:

"The Sun of Righteousness Shall Arise"

"Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: or behold he is in the secret chamber; believe it not. For as the bright-shiner [the Sun] cometh out of the East and shineth even unto the West, so shall also the presence [Greek parousia] of the Son of Man be." Matt. 24:26,27. 

Here's how this was explained in the Watch Tower, in May 1914, p.5656 reprints, "Messiah's Kingdom To Be Invisible"

"As the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, and shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of Man be in His Day."

This astounding statement is better understood when we translate the Greek noun astrape as "shining" instead of "lightning"; for evidently it refers to the sun, which rises in the east and sets in the west, shining out of the one part of the heaven even unto the other. But how will this represent the Son of Man in His Day? How will He be like the sun? We answer that the Day of Christ is a thousand-year Day, the Millennium; and our Lord's statement was one of the "dark sayings" of which Jesus said, "I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now," and promised that in due time the Holy Spirit would grant them an enlightenment, that all of His words might be clearly understood. This portion, now due to be understood, is therefore becoming clear to those of spiritual discernment. Then, that they might gradually learn that these things belonged to a distant time . . .

So by changing the meaning of the word, they didn't really have to explain why it took them so long for their spiritual insight to allow them to see, only after the fact,  that the parousia really had begun in 1874.

In answer to a letter from 1949, the Watchtower explained that this was changed (actual change was in 1934, but this in 1950 added an additional idea) as follows:

*** w50 8/1 p. 239 Letters ***
The book “The Time Is at Hand”, published in 1889, explained the Greek word “astrapé” in Matthew 24:27 to mean the sun as the ‘bright shiner’, because there Jesus mentioned the “astrapé” as coming out of the east and shining even to the west. (See said book at pages 155-157.) However, never in sacred Scripture nor in classical Greek literature is “astrapé” used to refer to the sun of our solar system. At Luke 17:24 Jesus makes a parallel statement, but does not designate any particular direction from which the lightning flashes, saying: “As the lightning [astrapé], that lighteneth [verb astrápto] out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.” Notice that expression “under heaven”, which befits lightning which occurs under the sun in the heavens obscured by the clouds.

The Sun was an extremely unlikely translation of the word for lightning, and this article admitted further down that it was wrong and had no basis. The part quoted above also shows that Russell had forgotten to consider parallel verses in Luke and several other scriptures. The parallel in Luke will also be impportant for another reason. Note from above, near the beginning of this post, that the expression in Matthew "parousia of the Son of man" is paralleled with "the Son of man in his day." It's just another of many indicators that the parousia is less likely to refer to the entire "generation" of "last days" but that it more likely refers to the final judgment event.

Note that for a time, the idea of associating "lightning" with clouds so that it could be associated with "INVISIBILITY" was attempted.

In the Watchtower, August 15, 1940, p.241 the explanation was also a bit convoluted, because Jesus was still "present" since 1874, but had "come" in 1918, and both anointed and their companions still look to the future for the "manifestation" of his presence:

Jesus' words cannot mean that zigzag lightning comes
always out of the east and shines unto the west and that
this represents his coming. What his words really mean is
that the lightnings come or appear in one part of the heavens
and are seen by persons at different points and that therefore
the lightning is not confined to a local place. It is seen
by those who are watching. The"statement recorded by Luke
concerning the same thing supports this view: "For as the
lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven,
shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the
Son of man be in his day."-Luke l.tf: 24.
Lightning originates with Jehovah, says Jeremiah
10: 13. Just so all light upon the divine purpose originates
with Jehovah. When he reveals his light to his anointed
church he does so through the Head of his organization,
Christ Jesus. No human is able to make lightning. Likewise
no human is able to point to the fact that Christ Jesus is at
some local spot on earth. His presence is revealed to those
of God's anointed remnant and their earthly companions
of good will, all of whom look for the manifestation of his
presence. In Matthew 24: 27, "coming'' specifically refers
to his coming to the temple [in 1918] and his presence there for judgment
of the "house of God", which house is composed of
God's anointed and faithful ones and is not a material house
of brick, wood or stone.

Of the more current explanations given, the most common is based on this idea below:

*** w74 12/15 p. 750 Who Will See “the Sign of the Son of Man”? ***
When Christ would return in an invisible presence he would not come as a man on earth. Therefore Christians should not look for him “in the wilderness,” so that they could train with him in some out-of-the-way place for a revolution. Nor would he be in some secret “inner chambers,” where he could conspire against world governments with his followers. No, his presence was to be like lightning, not in its being instantaneous and unexpected, but in its being seen over a wide area, in the open, for everyone to behold. (Luke 17:24; compare Psalm 97:4.) His followers would not keep their knowledge of his invisible presence secret, but would give it widespread proclamation.—Matt. 10:26, 27.

*** ka chap. 16 pp. 321-322 pars. 61-62 Completion of the Foretold “Sign” Nears ***
61 His presence or parousia was to resemble the lightning as to its effects. His parousia was to be like the lightning, not in flashing suddenly, unexpectedly and in the fraction of a second. The emphasis here is not on the lightning’s striking instantaneously unannounced, but on its shining over a broad area, from eastern parts to western parts. (Luke 17:24) The lightning’s illuminative power is like that described in Psalm 97:4: “His lightnings lighted up the productive land; the earth saw and came to be in severe pains.” So, too, the inhabitants of the earth were not to be left in darkness respecting the parousia of the Son of man. From horizon to horizon all the people were to be enlightened concerning his regal parousia. It was to be made as public as is a flash of lightning by its illuminative power, its far-extended shining. To Christ’s disciples today, who are acquainted with his invisible parousia, his words to his apostles nineteen centuries ago apply:
62 “Therefore do not fear them; for there is nothing covered over that will not become uncovered, and secret that will not become known. What I tell you in the darkness, say in the light; and what you hear whispered, preach from the housetops.”—Matthew 10:26, 27.

So the current explanation continues to work with the idea that Jesus did NOT mention lightning because it is sudden and unexpected. Consider how likely this is when considering the further context. In a recent discussion on Matthew 24 note what someone (Gnosis Pithos) said about the very next paragraph in context:

 

On 7/26/2017 at 8:49 PM, Gnosis Pithos said:

And as in Noah’s time, Jesus judgment will appear as a sudden event in Judgement.

(KJV) Matthew 24:37-39

37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so, shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

The moral of the story is, People should have been well aware in Noah’s time the purpose of Noah building the ARK just as people today know the purpose of Jesus preaching the gospel of the good news of his impending righteous kingdom, and future judgment. The ONLY similarities between these two events are in “judgment”, it came and will come as a surprise.

It's not impossible that the meaning of "lightning" here refers to the fact that lightning isn't just in one place, but it shines over extended areas. But it's also impossible to avoid the idea of suddenness and surprise in several places throughout the chapter. And it's also impossible to avoid the fact that Jesus had just spoken about those who claimed that Jesus had returned, but that you just couldn't see him. They would say he had returned, but that he wasn't visible at the moment because he was far off somewhere else, or hidden in a room somewhere.

Our current Watchtower explanation is that the "illumination" is given to those with spiritual insight who can then spread the word of his invisible parousia over a wide area. But the previous verses were about claims by those without spiritual insight, and this was the answer to their claims. In other words, the answer to the claim that Jesus might have returned but that he was just not visible was that Jesus parousia would be as visible as lightning. Claims of an invisible presence were therefore going to be false. It would also be bright and sudden and unmistakable as lightning. It would be like the kind of lightning that is visible from one horizon all the way to the other. 

How likely would it be that Jesus was saying that an INVISIBLE PAROUSIA would be just like something as VISIBLE as lightning that covers the entire sky?

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QUICK REVIEW

So, we have these six words or terms from Matthew 24 (Mark 13 & Luke 21) for which we are trying to evaluate whether we have chosen a more likely meaning of the term, or a less likely meaning in order to arrive at the INVISIBLE PAROUSIA doctrine. It might even be possible to trace how some of the terms were apparently forced into their special meaning after the decision was made to declare that the PAROUSIA had indeed already begun.

BACKGROUND

Most of the persons who set dates for the visible return of Christ in the 19th century just stopped setting them as soon as a date didn't pan out. But some had invested so much time and effort into it that this was apparently impossible. Hundreds of thousands paid close attention to the 1843 date set initially by William Miller. When it failed another 1843 date was set, then an 1844 date, and Miller quit setting dates. (Russell would later claim that this showed that Miller was one of the 'foolish virgins whose lamp ran out of oil,' because Miller had given up on setting dates.)

But others who had invested their life and reputation on it waited right up to the last day of 1844. Then, of course, new "adjustments" were discovered that put Jesus return in the 1850's, then the 1860's. But by now there were only tens of thousands paying attention. The typical thing to do was to show your faith by focusing on the very next date, but N H Barbour, after some study and decisions in 1859, decided to skip all those expectations for the mid-1860's and go straight to his 1873 date. (He did not settle on 1874 until 1873 failed.) 

This means that when the 1860's dates failed, Barbour was already set to gain a following for the 1873 date. Less people were setting dates, there were less to choose from that were still based on the Millerite foundation. (Miller himself had mentioned the possibility of the 1870's date, half a century earlier.) When it failed in 1873, Barbour had spent as much of his life as Miller had on these dates. He changed it to 1874, and when that failed he was truly depressed. One of his contributors, B W Keith, went back to some teachings that had been promoted in the 1820's about a two-stage parousia. The first stage would be invisible, and Benjamin Wilson who also believed in a two-stage parousia had published the "Diaglott" as an aid to supporting this idea. (Later the Watch Tower Society--Russell--bought the rights to reprint Benjamin Wilson's Diaglott so that most available copies today have the Watch Tower's name in them.)

Barbour credited Keith with the two-stage idea in his tract ("magazine") and it got Barbour back on track. Barbour spoke about possibly picking up an extra 5,000 of the Second Adventists each month as new subscribers. He fully expected at least 20,000 of the current number of Second Adventists to subscribe. In 1877, Barbour convinced Russell of the urgency of this chronology, because just 3.5 years after the presence had begun, they expected Christ's bride to be changed and to have gone up to heaven in 1878 while "lesser" Christians awaited heaven at a later date. So the Russells sold off most of the assets of their largest company so that Barbour could distribute his tracts and booklets more widely.

When 1878 failed, subscribers dropped, and trouble also broke out between Barbour and Russell. Barbour blamed it on disagreements with Russell about money. Russell blamed it on a doctrinal disagreement. (Russell had "crazy" views about the ransom that are no longer considered valid, and Barbour had his own "crazy" view.)

By mid-1879 Russell had convinced three major contributors to Barbour to come over to his own new magazine. Russell also sent out an offer to all the Barbour subscribers to switch over to the Watch Tower. And it was also timed to pick up the current subscribers of a Second Adventist magazine from California as that magazine was just running out of money and discontinuing. So Russell printed up 8,000 copies of the first July 1879 issue. In 1879, there was still an urgency again for the next major date, because Russell expected the Bride of Christ to be changed in October 1881. (3.5 years plus 3.5 years from October 1874.) Lesser Christians would remain on earth until around 1914, when the Harvest would be complete.

Because of the failure of 1881, the number of subscribers remained low. (8,000 had been an overestimate.) But the book series, Divine Plan of the Ages (1886), The Time is at Hand (1889), and Thy Kingdom Come (1891), were extremely popular, "proving" the 1874 chronology with charts containing pyramids and diagrams, and pointing to great expectations between then and up to 1914.

Everything was invested into this idea of a two-stage parousia that started invisibly in 1874 and would manifest itself most visibly in the years just prior to 1914 (later adjusted to the year and months just following 1914).

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

Most people here are probably already generally aware of this background information, but it is difficult to understand why parts of the 1874 chronology lasted nearly 70 years -- until 1943/1944 without this background. (My father remembers believing in 1874, but says they were mostly calling it 1878 just before he was baptized.) It also can help explain why it was easy to just transfer the explanation of Matthew 24 from an 1874 chronology over to a 1914 chronology when that became necessary. It still remained a "two-stage Parousia" in every case.

Will pick up on another one of the terms in the next post.

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Yes, I was about to go straight to the word PAROUSIA as the next term to discuss, and to me this is an easy one. But it is so ingrained as the basis for related teachings that I will save it for later. So, instead:

GENTILE TIMES

The NWT and WT now refer to this term as "Appointed Times of the Nations." based on Luke 21:24. Comparing the KJV and the NWT, the verse read as follows:

Luke 21:24 King James Version (KJV)

24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

NWT (Luke 21:24) 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.

This discussion probably won't deal so much with Daniel 4 directly, however, there are numerous Biblical problems with using a type/antitype fulfillment that uses a wicked, pagan, Gentile king Nebuchadnezzar and has him stand in for the Jewish Messianic kingdom under Jesus Christ. The beast-like humiliation of Nebuchadnezzar as a lesson for his haughtiness lasts for "seven times" until he is restored to his throne. That moment when he is restored after seven times is supposed to represent how Jesus restored the Messianic kingdom by sitting back down on the throne after seven times. Of course, the beast-like humiliation of a pagan Gentile king as a lesson for haughtiness makes no sense when applied to Jesus' Messianic kingdom. 

But the 1874 chronology that included a 40 year harvest ending in 1914 had failed. For a while the emphasis shifted to a 40 year harvest from 1878 to 1918, but that was not to last either. The Watch Tower Society finally dropped every vestige of the 1874 chronology and went back to this secondary method of reaching the date 1914. They simply noticed that if you work backwards and count 2,520 years from 1914 you will reach 606 BC, so this date 606 became the new date for the fall of the Jewish Messianic kingdom. It didn't matter that there was absolutely ZERO evidence for Jerusalem being destroyed in that year, but it appeared to be only about 20 years off, so that was considered close enough. It had already been one of the evidences that Barbour had used prior to Russell, although both of them considered other evidence to be better. In 1876, Russell had used Leviticus as the primary scripture for claiming the Gentiles would chastise the Jews for seven times, and he tied the mention of 7 times in Daniel 4 as a support of the scripture in Leviticus:

(Leviticus 26:28) . . .and I myself will have to chastise you seven times for your sins. . .

Later it was noticed that this verse in Leviticus wasn't really about seven periods of time, so the WTS now pinned everything on Daniel 4 (without Leviticus) and it became the new primary support for 1914. We simply said that the 7 times means 7 years, and that 7 years are made up of 2,520 "prophetic" days using 360 days to a year, and 2,520 "prophetic" days must  be thought of as 2,520 solar years (of 365.25 days each). We then say Nebuchadnezzar represented the Messianic kingdom. And, of course, we also needed to start a pseudo-chronology that pretended it was possible to move Jerusalem's destruction by Nebuchadnezzar back 20 years from where all the evidence pointed, so that 2,520 years would land on 1914.

The WTS once claimed that there were about 10 different threads of evidence that all pointed to 1914, and all but one of these came through the date 1874 and added 40 years. The date 1914 now hangs by only this one single thread now based solely on a dream about Nebuchadnezzar's 7 time periods of insanity.

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

The above is worded truthfully, but clearly in a way that makes it seem unlikely to have been correct. But I'm not trying to say it is impossible. This is just an exercise to see if we have assigned the most likely meaning to it. So is there any way to check ourselves against other scriptures and see if we picked the most likely time period?

Turns out there are at least two scriptures to help here.

One is the verse itself. Note that Luke 21:24 says that they "WILL FALL by the edge of the sword and Jerusalem WILL BE TRAMPLED on by the nations UNTIL the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled."

Note that this action of Jerusalem falling by the edge of the sword is is in the future, and it is directly connected to the trampling that is also placed in the future. We know from history that Jerusalem fell by the edge of the sword in 70 CE, and that Jerusalem was therefore and thereby trampled on by the nations.

The Watch Tower publications have a different view of this scripture. It is understood by the WTS to mean that Jerusalem will continue to be trampled on by the nations from 676 years prior to 70 CE and for another 1844 years after 70 (until 1914). But, if that was true --and important-- why didn't Jesus use the proper tense. Both Aramaic and koine Greek have tenses that cover ongoing action as opposed to simple future action.

Discussions of specific language and tense cannot be definitive, however. There may always be more than one way to read something, and our only goal here is to find evidence for what is likely.

There is another verse however that gives us an indication of an actual time period to attach to these "appointed times of the nations."

When Jesus said "and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled" it would have been nice if he replaced those "times" with an actual amount of time. That would surely get us on the right track. In other words what if Jesus had said

: "the nations, they will trample on Jerusalem until seven times are fulfilled."

or since "seven times" are the same as "seven years" and therefore 2,520 days, we would even accept:

"the nations, they will trample on Jerusalem, the holy city, until 2,520 days are fulfilled"

Or since 2520 days is the same as 84 months of 30 days each, we would accept:

"the nations, they will trample on the holy city for 84 months."

Well, as most of already know, Jesus actually did say something like that when he gave the Revelation to John, and this should clear up why we attach a length of "seven times" to the "times of the nations." In Revelation 11:2, Jesus says:


(Revelation 11:2) . . .the nations, and they will trample the holy city underfoot for 42 months.

Imagine the joy that the Watchtower Society must have felt when it was discovered that Jesus himself had attached a time period to the Gentile Times, and thus cleared up any question about the whether or not it was "likely" that the Gentile Times were actually 84 months long as the Watchtower claims! (84 x 30 = 2520)

In fact, this scripture was the basis for so many Bible chronologists attaching a length of 42 months, or 1,260 days to the Gentile Times. Many of those commentators, especially the ones in the 19th century, therefore attached a period of 1,260 years to the Gentile Times. This included John Aquila Brown, about whom the Watch Tower publications said the following:

*** jv chap. 10 p. 134 Growing in Accurate Knowledge of the Truth ***
As early as 1823, John A. Brown, whose work was published in London, England, calculated the “seven times” of Daniel chapter 4 to be 2,520 years in length. But he did not clearly discern the date with which the prophetic time period began or when it would end. He did, however, connect these “seven times” with the Gentile Times of Luke 21:24. In 1844, E. B. Elliott, a British clergyman, drew attention to 1914 as a possible date for the end of the “seven times” of Daniel, but he also set out an alternate view that pointed to the time of the French Revolution. Robert Seeley, of London, in 1849, handled the matter in a similar manner. At least by 1870, a publication edited by Joseph Seiss and associates and printed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was setting out calculations that pointed to 1914 as a significant date, even though the reasoning it contained was based on chronology that C. T. Russell later rejected.

These statements contain some misleading and false ideas buried within them. For example, John Aquila Brown did not clearly discern the date with which the prophetic time period began or when it ended. Did Russell clearly discern the beginning and end dates of the period? Russell vacillated between 606 and 607 and finally decided it must be 606 for the beginning --- even though he was about 20 years off from the evidence. Russell vacillated between 1914 and 1915 for the end date, then even indicated that he was willing to dismiss the whole chronology as potentially laughable for a time, and finally came back to 1914 and 1915 after he saw the Great War begin in 1914.

The Proclaimer's book also says that "He [Brown] did, however, connect these "seven times" with the Gentile Times of Luke 21:24."

That statement is absolutely false. Brown always denied any connection between the "seven times" of Daniel with the "Gentile Times" of Luke 21:24. And that's at least partially based on the fact that he knew that Revelation 11:2 had already attached a different time period to the Gentile Times of Luke 21:24.

There are a lot of other funny or ironic claims and ideas to look into from this section of the book. This happens whenever someone tries to present a partially cleaned up history of their own chronology beliefs that already failed in the past.

Even the very definition given to the term "Gentile Times" failed in 1914. And that's the main point of what this discussion is looking for. It was the very meaning that the Watch Tower publications had given to the term Gentile Times that was tied to all the expectations that 1914 and 1915 would bring. All 100% of those expectations failed, and therefore the definition given to term "Gentile Times" must also be considered unlikely.

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I think a debate about this does not serve any purpose because there are many other scriptures in the bible that supports an invisible rule from heaven.  Why would we need SIGNS if it were visible?  The signs are an indication that something has happened that we have not seen but has had an effect on earth.  REV 12: 7-12 gives a good indication that the Kingdom was established in heaven (invisible to human eyes) and authority was given to Christ.  There is a war and Satan and his demons cast out.  We cannot see demons can we?   They are cast out to the earth and it laments the effects this event will have on the earth which will be a clear sign that we are in the final days of human rule. "Short time left" indicates this.

The illustration of a pregnant lady puts it clearly..... we can see the signs that she is pregnant (big bump) and we know the birth is eminent .... close ...... but we do not know the hour.     Similar to the 'signs' on earth....we are in the ninth month -  but the day and hour will come suddenly. 

In the past the governing body have gone into great detail to explain every little nuance - but we have heard so many times in the past few years that they are sticking to the broader lines of each illustration.  Similarly - we need to read all the scriptures connected to this time together and let them explain each other.  I do not think that going in the past history of the governing body and the detailed versions ( which was part of those historical times) to cloud our vision at this time.  I do not care about the word "Parousia" there are enough other scriptures in the  bible which indicates that it will be invisible.  

Jesus said there will be many false Christs appearing or rumors of this.  Why?  because Muslim and Christendom are expecting Jesus/Isa to come in the flesh as a ruler or fight with a sword..... " If possible to corrupt the true disciples."....Jesus will not come in the flesh and his armies will be the angels - not humans.  Humans will physically kill each other and certain "signs" will appear to indicate that Armageddon is here!  The heavenly angels will then finish the job of removing the wicked.   I believe that the time of end will be like the time when israel left Egypt - Jehovah will "prove to be"  by his deeds and signs just like he used Moses - he will again use faithful servants to bring the message and support his people in this time to do the job. Noah was a preacher until the end.   This preaching work in the entire world is part of the 'sign' of the time of the end.  The appearance of a slave who gives spiritual food to the nations 'free' is a sign of the end.  And it asks the question - who is he?  So we must be able to recognize the slave....

Our ruler will be 'invisible' from heaven and the principles which will unite the world (all nations) as one, are principles that are practical and workable (a peaceable ideology- I call Social Studies 101). But only if all in the new world citizens willingly agree to follow these principles and leave their egos behind. No man is to control another or even tell them what to do.... each person to care more for another than for themselves so we all care for each other collectively and the wellbeing of others in respect and principled love.  We do not need a physical ruler if we all follow these principles.  The ruler is already ruling invisibly.... Those who like to lord it over others will NOT be kept alive!  Our shepherds will be loving shepherds.... who care and only provide help and guidance.... no domination whatsoever or "lording" it over others because this trait is a trait out of Satan's book!  All forms of control or dominion has its origins in the ego and will disappear.  Satan had a ego and wanted more attention from humans than he deserved.  

So these Social studies 101 tells me that we will have direct rule from God and his chosen representative in heaven and like a shepherd tends to flocks the "princes" will be humble shepherds who fall under the same invisible rulership.  There are more than enough other scriptures to indicate that Jesus will start ruling amidst his enemies.... 

The time line of the bible is given to us as an indication of how far we are in the stream of time and the purposes of Jehovah to come in fulfillment - like 1914.   The entire bible is a "restoration project of the earth." and Jehovah has been silently working to come to the point where his legal ruler will start ruling and bring his purposes to fulfillment.  Each individual can choose if they want to be part of it - or NOT.

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Thanks @Arauna for the comments. I agree that the SIGN is an important part of this discussion, and as you say there may be evidence for INVISIBILITY that we haven't considered here yet. I think all of this is important so that we can have a comprehensive view and understanding of our own beliefs : (1 Peter 3:15) ". . .always ready to make a defense before everyone who demands of you a reason . . . ."

I'd love to get to those other points you made right away, especially the topic of "the SIGN."  Just before that, I hoped to cover the term:

CONCLUSION (pt. 1 of 2)

The NWT uses the word "conclusion" to translate the Greek word: "SYNTELEIA" as the way to distinguish it from "TELOS" which means "END."

(Matthew 24:3) While he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately, saying: “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion [synteleia] of the system of things?”

However, technically, TELOS can also be translated as "conclusion" not just "end:"

Strong's #5056: telos (pronounced tel'-os) from a primary tello (to set out for a definite point or goal); properly, the point aimed at as a limit, i.e. (by implication) the conclusion of an act or state

and SYNTELEIA can also be translated as "end" not just "conclusion:"

Strong's #4930 syntéleiaσυντέλεια (pronounced soon-tel'-i-ah); entire completion, i.e. consummation (of a dispensation):—end. (

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and other online sources.) 

Many translations of the Bible translate the word SYNTELEIA as END rather than "conclusion." Does it make a difference? The Bible Hub source includes the following note:

[The KJV is misleading by rendering

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(syntéleia) as "the end of the world" (i.e. when it occurs with aiōn, "age/epoch"). This expression actually means "at the "consummation of the age," i.e. when it reaches its intended climax (consummated conclusion).]

Initially, when the 1950 NWT came out, SYNTELEIA was translated "consummation".

(Matthew 24:3, NW 1950) “What will be the sign of your presence and of the consummation of the system of things?”

Since "presence" already covered the potentially long period, it was not that much of a concern to prove whether "consummation" referred to just the final end or ran completely parallel with the "presence."

And of course, the WTS later chose the word "conclusion" in support of the potentially long time period, as opposed to a "final end" which the WTS concludes that only "TELOS" refers to. Here are the current Watch Tower's study notes on Matthew 24:3. Note that the NWT "renders" the word from a meaning that does not specifically focus on a drawn-out conclusion.

*** nwtsty Matthew Study Notes—Chapter 24 ***
conclusion: Rendered from the Greek word syn·teʹlei·a, meaning “joint end; combination end; ending together.” (Mt 13:39, 40, 49; 28:20; Heb 9:26) This refers to a time period during which a combination of events would lead to the complete “end” mentioned at Mt 24:6, 14, where a different Greek word, teʹlos, is used.—See study notes on Mt 24:6, 14 and Glossary, “Conclusion of the system of things.”

And a 2008 Watchtower on the subject adds this:

*** w08 2/15 p. 21 par. 2 Christ’s Presence—What Does It Mean to You? ***
2 To take the second expression first, consider the term “conclusion,” the translation of the Greek word syn·teʹlei·a. In the New World Translation, this word is consistently rendered “conclusion,” whereas a related Greek word, te’los, is translated “end.” The difference in the meaning of these two words can be illustrated by describing a talk given at the Kingdom Hall. The conclusion of the talk is the last section, in which the speaker spends a little time reminding the audience of what he has been discussing and then shows how that information applies to them. The end of the talk is when the speaker walks off the platform. In a similar way, Biblically speaking, the term “the conclusion of the system of things” refers to the period of time leading up to and including its end.

In common speech, of course, there is sometimes a bit of overlap and interchangeability in the use of these two words, as in:

  • "At the conclusion of his talk, he walked off the stage." "At the end of his talk, he walked off the stage."
  • "The book starts to get really exciting at the end." "The book starts to get really exciting at the conclusion."
  • "This is an end-of-year sales event." "This is a conclusion-of-year sales event."

But it's still true that the temporal sense of the English words "end" and "conclusion" usually do match the idea in the 2008 Watchtower. So does this mean that we have made use of the most likely meaning of "synteleia"? Just because we have made a proper illustration of the difference between the English words, does not mean we have translated correctly from the koine Greek in Matthew 24. 

Remember that the Watchtower has long proposed that "PAROUSIA" is not a judgment event but a time period that lasts longer than 100 years, possibly even as much as 150 or 200 years. And because this idea of a long time period already makes sense to us, then translating SYNTELEIA as "conclusion" also makes sense. After PAROUSIA was re-defined away from the traditional definitions, we really seemed to have no choice but to also re-define SYNTELEIA away from the traditional definitions.

*** w08 2/15 p. 22 par. 3 Christ’s Presence—What Does It Mean to You? ***
It could be said that the period constituting “the conclusion of the system of things” (syn·teʹlei·a) corresponds to or runs parallel with the period called Christ’s presence (pa·rou·siʹa).

But here's the problem. (Actually the bigger problem is that it's very easy to show that Parousia refers to a final judgment event, but we have put off that discussion until later.) The problem in front of us now, is that both the Greek word parousia and the Greek word synteleia were BOTH being used as terms that referred to a final judgment event, rather than a long time period.

Not only that, but the term SYNTELEIA might have been an even more consistent reference to a final, system-consummating "END EVENT" than the word "TELOS."

(1 Peter 1:20) . . .True, he was foreknown before the founding of the world, but he was made manifest at the end [telos] of the times for the sake of you.

Not that TELOS should ever generally refer to a long drawn-out period of time either, but that even if TELOS refers to the final end part of the conclusion of the system, SYN-TELOS (synteleia) could be an even more emphatic reference to the END event, especially in the context of Matthew 24.

If SYNTELEIA can mean "ending together" or "end of all things together" as a way to emphasize the TELOS it could be the reason that 1 Peter uses the phrase:

(1 Peter 4:7) 7 But the end of all things has drawn close.. . . [uses TELOS]

In the context of Matthew 24, it's not hard to understand why the disciples are depicted as using the idea of SYNTELEIA.

Remember that the disciples could not have been asking for a sign of an INVISIBLE presence because they were only asking about a sign to warn them in time for something visible: the event that would knock down all the stones of the Temple. The Watchtower admits this idea, too:

*** w96 8/15 p. 13 par. 19 Jesus’ Coming or Jesus’ Presence—Which? ***
Even if the apostles had in mind simply the idea of Jesus’ future arrival, Christ may have used bi·ʼahʹ to allow for more than what they were thinking.

*** w92 10/1 p. 16 par. 8 The Messiah’s Presence and His Rule ***
He gave one such illustration as part of his answer to his apostles’ question about when his pa·rou·siʹa would begin; another he gave because “they were imagining that the kingdom of God was going to display itself instantly.”

If they thought it would DISPLAY ITSELF instantly, then they could only use an advance warning sign, not a set of ongoing signs to help them identify when they were in the middle of an invisible presence. Signs like that wouldn't tell them anything about when the Temple would be destroyed.

*** w64 9/15 p. 575 Questions From Readers ***
At Matthew 24:3, when Jesus’ disciples asked him about the “sign” of his presence, what did they have in mind, since later events show that they did not at that time understand that it would be an invisible presence? . . . [Answer]. . . But not yet having received holy spirit, they did not appreciate that he would not sit on an earthly throne; they had no idea that he would rule as a glorious spirit from the heavens and therefore did not know that his second presence would be invisible

If they had no idea about an invisible presence, or a long drawn out period of time, then why does the WTS conclude that they must have used words that contained this meaning. Why do we point out that both of these words referred to an extended period of time?

*** w08 2/15 p. 22 par. 4 Christ’s Presence—What Does It Mean to You? ***
The fact that the word pa·rou·siʹa refers to an extended period of time harmonizes with what Jesus said with regard to his presence.

In fact, it's easy to show that it was not only illogical, but very unlikely that the disciples chose terms that referred to an extended period of time. But this post is a bit long already, so this topic will be split into two parts.

 

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Very interesting so far JWInsider. Enjoying reading your analysis.

I got into a discussion once with a "Bible Student" and he wanted to know the difference between Christ's coming (to execute final judgement) and his parousia (the invisible extended period of time prior to that). He said it was one and the same thing. It does get kind of confusing when Jesus apparently "came" in 1918...

I'm sure you are aware of the July 2013 WT, where the writers attempted to explain the new understanding.  (I realise this is bringing another element into the equation, namely the faithful and discreet slave)

16 Regarding the faithful and discreet slave, Jesus says: “Happy is that slave if his master on arriving [“having come,” ftn.] finds him doing so.” In the parable of the virgins, Jesus states: “While they were going off to buy, the bridegroom arrived [“came,” Kingdom Interlinear].” In the parable of the talents, Jesus relates: “After a long time the master of those slaves came.” In the same parable, the master says: “On my arrival [“having come,” Int] I would be receiving what is mine.” (

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) To what time do these four instances of Jesus’ coming refer?

17 In the past, we have stated in our publications that these last four references apply to Jesus’ arriving, or coming, in 1918. As an example, take Jesus’ statement about “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Read

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.) We understood that the “arriving” mentioned in verse 46 was linked to the time when Jesus came to inspect the spiritual condition of the anointed in 1918 and that the appointment of the slave over all the Master’s belongings occurred in 1919. (
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) However, a further consideration of Jesus’ prophecy indicates that an adjustment in our understanding of the timing of certain aspects of Jesus’ prophecy is needed. Why so?

 18 In the verses that lead up to

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, the word “coming” refers consistently to the time when Jesus comes to pronounce and execute judgment during the great tribulation. (
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) Also, as we considered in  
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, Jesus’ ‘arriving’ mentioned at
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refers to that same future time of judgment. So it is reasonable to conclude that Jesus’ arrival to appoint the faithful slave over all his belongings, mentioned at
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, also applies to his future coming, during the great tribulation. 
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Indeed, a consideration of Jesus’ prophecy in its entirety makes it clear that each of these eight references to his coming applies to the future time of judgment during the great tribulation.

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I am looking forward to what your final conclusion is, summarized in just a few paragraphs I hope! xD9_9

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CONCLUSION (pt. 2 of 2)

In part one of this post, it should have already been made clear that the Greek word "SYNTELEIA" might mean more than just a "conclusion" in the common sense of the word. But we haven't really tried to prove it yet. The rendering of "conclusion" was based on the accepted meaning: “joint end; combination end; ending together.”  In that first post, it was claimed that the Greek word parousia and the Greek word synteleia were BOTH used as terms that actually referred to a final judgment event. The Watchtower has commonly claimed that the words do not refer to events so much as the extended period of time of the PAROUSIA which is inferred when they are translated, respectively, as "presence" and "conclusion," as opposed to:

  • parousia: advent/arrival/coming/royal visitation
  • synteleia: consummation/end/ending altogether/final end

So in this part 2 of the post, we'll look at the evidence for claiming that SYNTELEIA refers to more than just a conclusion.

First we should admit that there was a range of use of the word, but we should also point out that the word is RARE in the Greek Scriptures. Except for a single use in Hebrews, all of the other 5 uses are in Matthew, and all of them are in reference to the PAROUSIA, the final judgment event, or the final "return" of Jesus at the end of the system of things. In the Bible, it is NOT a common word that's found in the usual places for just any type of "conclusion." It's used outside the Bible too, and except for a meaning that deals with "taxation" or "taxable dependency" the meanings come much closer to the the idea of a final end than a long drawn-out conclusion. But even in non-religious usage the word had a similar meaning

Note: Here's a quote from Thebes and Boeotia in the Fourth Century B.C., Authors: S.C.Bakhuizen, Source: Phoenix, Vol 48 No 4 (Winter 1994), pp. 307-330.

"The words syntelein and synteleia had a fairly wide range of meanings: as a verb "to finish," "to complete," as a noun "accomplishment," "completion." In a narrow sense they could be accountancy terms. . . "

In my opinion, it fits closer to the idea presented here:

But, while sitting on the Mount of Olives the disciples came to him in a private spot, asking: “Tell us, when will this occur?1 {MK13:4 and the sign when all this will be fulfilled?2} And, what will be the sign3 of your Arrival4 [Daniel 7:22; 12:2] and the complete end5 of the Age?”6 [Daniel 9:26, 27] {LK21:7 “When will this all occur?”7}

5

Complete end: Here the Greek is a heightened form of TELOS (= end), SYNTELEIAS (= with + end). The disciples likely assumed that the destruction of the Temple meant the Return (Presence) or Arrival of Christ and therefore “the end of the world” as they knew it. . . . This is a word that only occurred once before in the Nazarene’s parable of wheat and tares at Matthew 13:40. However, note this word occurs in the Jewish Greek Bible (LXX) at Daniel 9:27 in the context of Jerusalem’s foretold ‘desolation.’ Compare also Hebrews 9:26 where SYNTELEIA is used with regard to the First Coming of Christ in the “last days” of the Jewish Age (Hebrews 1:1; Acts 2:17; Jude 18; 1 Corinthians 10:11). Judging from Jesus’ admission that he does not ‘know the day and hour’ (Matthew 24:36) there is no way the Nazarene could tell his disciples about the date of “the complete end” or SYNTELEIAS.

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To see if this idea is true, we should know the range of possible meanings in the Biblical contexts, and we should look at how it was used in as many related sources as we can. Obviously the Bible book of Matthew itself is important, along with Biblical contexts such as the translation of the OT in the LXX, and how it was used in Jewish religious literature known at the time, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and various apocalyptic writings.

The Bible's use of the word in Matthew is as follows: (Matthew is the only gospel account to use the word synteleia, and also the only gospel to use the word parousia.)

(Matthew 13:39-43,49) 39 . . . The harvest is a conclusion [synteleia] of a system of things, and the reapers are angels. 40 Therefore, just as the weeds are collected and burned with fire, so it will be in the conclusion [synteleia] of the system of things. 41 The Son of man will send his angels, and they will collect out from his Kingdom all things that cause stumbling and people who practice lawlessness, 42 and they will pitch them into the fiery furnace. There is where their weeping and the gnashing of their teeth will be. 43 At that time the righteous ones will shine as brightly as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.. . .49 That is how it will be in the conclusion [synteleia] of the system of things. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from among the righteous 50 and will cast them into the fiery furnace.

In the Watch Tower publications, the "harvest" is often referred to as an extended period of time, a process that has been occurring over the last 100-plus years and may go on for another 50 to 100 years based on the current definitions presented in the Watchtower. The harvest, per our publications, has continued even while seed-planting and growing continue to occur over these same 100-plus years. But those who have ever actually harvested a field of wheat know that this is more of an event. No one continues to plant and water during the harvest.  Yet, this is how the WTS must describe it:

*** kr chap. 9 p. 88 par. 6 Results of Preaching—“The Fields . . . Are White for Harvesting” ***
“The harvest is a conclusion of a system of things.” Thus, the harvest season and the conclusion of this system of things began at the same time—in 1914.

Paying close attention to the wording in Matthew 13, we actually find terms applied to the synteleia and parousia that the Watchtower typically applies to the "manifestation" or "revelation" of Jesus Christ, but we'll get to that under the topic of parousia. Another place where a similar point is made is in James, and we'll include it here because we have just seen how Jesus says that the "harvest" is a SYNTELEIA:

(James 5:7, 8) 7 Be patient then, brothers, until the presence [PAROUSIA] of the Lord. Look! The farmer keeps waiting for the precious fruit of the earth, exercising patience over it until the early rain and the late rain arrive. 8 You too exercise patience; make your hearts firm, because the presence [PAROUSIA] of the Lord has drawn close.

Notice, that in James, the PAROUSIA hadn't started yet. Christians, however, live with the imminence of the PAROUSIA always in mind. But it had drawn close, not because of any SIGNS James had seen, but because this is how Christians in all ages should live. The point here is that in the analogy of the harvest, patience is needed during the growing season, and there was no need for patience after the parousia, but only UNTIL the parousia. We need patience because the "presence" has drawn close, but do not need patience when the parousia is here. 

In fact, Matthew's only other use of "SYNTELEIA" produces the same kind of problem for the Watch Tower publications that James produces:

(Matthew 28:20) . . .And look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion [SYNTELEIA] of the system of things.”

These are the last words of the entire book of Matthew. (And outside of Matthew, the term SYNTELEIA is only used in one other place, which we'll get to later.) The resurrected Jesus, here says that he will be present from that point in 33 CE until the SYNTELEIA. If the synteleia began in 1914, then Jesus would only be present with his disciples from 33 CE and until 1914.

COMMENTARY SOURCES

Keener's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew points out three commentaries that attempt a distinction between synteleia and telos, in which the synteleia can include the great tribulation for example, and telos refers to the final end. But he gives reasons to conclude the following on page 563:

Grammatically the coming and close of the age are linked by the single sign and represent a single question. . . . But despite the intentional connection between 24:6 and 14, synteleia and telos are interchangeable in this discourse.

NON-CANONICAL books of Jewish Literature

Jewish apocalyptic literature, in Greek, was common and well-known among Jewish people, and became especially salient as Rome continued pushing its own agenda through mean-spirited governors, collaborating kings (Herod), compromising Jewish sects (Sadducees), and the Jewish revolutionaries endangering all of them by standing up to Rome.

For example, 2 Baruch speaks of the 12 good and bad [rivers of] waters that flowed through Zion and he finally reaches the discussion of the 11th water which was their current time period after Babylon had destroyed, and awaiting the 12th which is the age to come (Example: the "bright" 8th water was the good King Hezekiah standing up to Sennacherib, the "black" 9th water was the time of wicked King Manasseh, the "bright" 10th water was good King Josiah.) Under the heading of the 11th waters 2 Baruch says:

67: . . .That Zion was so delivered up, And that lo! the Gentiles boast in their hearts, And assemble before their idols and say, "She is trodden down. . ." . . .  Yet after these things shall the dispersed among the Gentiles be taken hold of by tribulation, . . .

[Note that If Jesus had alluded to this, then his listeners might have been reminded that the time of the Gentiles trodding down Zion actually could have started back in 587 BCE +-20yrs. Luke offers no support for this idea however. ]

About the 12th waters, 2 Baruch says, in chapters 68-74, that the SYNTELEIA comes after all the expected SIGNS:

68: 2 For after these things time will come when your people shall fall into distress, so that they shall all run the risk of perishing together. 3 Nevertheless, they will be saved, . . .  4 And they will have in (due) time much joy. . . .  7 But it will come to pass after these things that there will be the fall of many nations. . . . 70 . . .2 Behold! the days come, and it shall be when the time of the age has ripened, And the harvest of its evil and good seeds has come, That the Mighty One will bring upon the earth and its inhabitants and upon its rulers perturbation of spirit and stupor of heart. And they shall hate one another, And provoke one another to fight, . . .6  And when those things which were predicted have come to pass, Then shall confusion fall upon all men, And some of them shall fall in battle, And some of them shall perish in anguish, 7 And some of them shall be destroyed by their own. Then the Most High peoples whom He has prepared before,

And they shall come and make war with the leaders that shall then be left.

8        And it shall come to pass that whoever gets safe out of the war shall die in the earthquake,

And whoever gets safe out of the earthquake shall be burned by the fire,

And whoever gets safe out of the fire shall be destroyed by famine.

9 [And it shall come to pass that whoever of the victors and the vanquished gets safe out of and escapes all these things aforesaid will be delivered into the hands of My servant Messiah.] . . . 71 1 And the holy land shall have mercy on its own, And it shall protect its inhabitants at that time. . . 72 'Hear now also regarding the bright lightning which is to come at the consummation [SYNTELEIA] after these . . . 2 After the signs have come, of which you were told before, when the nations become turbulent, and the time of My Messiah is come, he shall both summon all the nations, and some of them he shall spare, and some of them he shall slay. . . . 4 Every nation, which knows not Israel and has not trodden down the seed of Jacob, shall indeed be spared. . . . 73 1 And it shall come to pass, when He has brought low everything that is in the world,   And has sat down in peace for the age on the throne of His kingdom, That joy shall then be revealed, And rest shall appear. . . . And anxiety and anguish and lamentation pass from amongst men, And gladness proceed through the whole earth. . . .  And asps and dragons shall come forth from their holes to submit themselves to a little child.  7 And women shall no longer then have pain when they bear, Nor shall they suffer torment when they yield the fruit of the womb. 74 1 And it shall come to pass in those days that the reapers shall not grow weary, Nor those that build be toil-worn; For the works shall of themselves speedily advance Together with those who do them in much tranquility. 2 For that time is the consummation [SYNTELEIA] of that which is corruptible, And the beginning of that which is not corruptible.

There are others, but I already quoted this one with too much length for context.

Also, we have the LXX which gives us several examples of the types of phrases and contexts where the translators thought it appropriate to translate certain Hebrew words with the Greek word SYNTELEIA.

An overview of the uses of SYNTELEIA that we are interested in is found in the following work, also partially available on Google Books at the link given.

Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume edited by Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, page 1163:

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synteleia.

  1. Outside the Bible this word means “common accomplishment” (also “taxes”), “cooperation,” “execution,” “completion,” “conclusion”.
  2. In the LXX it has such varied senses as “execution,” “totality,” “satiety,” “fulfillment,” “conclusion,” “cessation” and “destruction.”
  3. In Daniel LXX it is a technical term for the eschatological “end” (cf. 11:35, 12:4), though it may also mean “end” in a more general sense (9:26). It is a technical apocalyptic term in the Testaments of the Twelve, sometimes with the thought of “completion”.
  4. Qumram [Dead Sea Scrolls] has a reference to the “end” of time.
  5. The NT uses the term only in eschatological sayings….In Matthew the phrase “end of the age”  . . . refers to events that have yet to take place, including the judgment.
  6. Of the apostolic fathers, only Hermas uses synteleia (the “end”). The apologist Tatian uses it in the context of resurrection and judgment.

Another evidence for SYNTELEIA meaning a "final end" is the verb form of the word SYNTELEO, which is always used in the Greek Scriptures in the sense of "final completion," including the LXX.

Strong's Dictionary indicates the following definitions:

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  1. to end together or at the same time

  2. to end completely

    1. bring to an end, finish, complete

  3. to accomplish, bring to fulfilment

    1. to come to pass

  4. to effect, make, (conclude)

  5. to finish

    1. to make an end of

    2. to bring to an end

    3. destroy

 

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Hi @JW Insider I appreciate your thoughtful research. You make a lot of compelling points that Jesus Christ's presence will not be invisible but an undeniably visible event to all. This appears to conflict with the WT's doctrine of an "invisible presence" of Jesus Christ in 1914. 

My question is this: How does the idea of a future, visible coming of Christ harmonize with our religion's current understanding of the faithful and discreet slave? It says at Matthew 24:45-46, "Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on coming finds him doing so!" 

In the scriptures, it indicates that Jesus Christ appoints a slave before his coming. So, if Jesus Christ presence has possibly not yet begun (because there is no "lightning" sign), would it still be logical to conclude that Jesus Christ appointed Br. Russell and the men to follow as a slave over his temple? Because this appointment scripturally comes before his "coming" anyway.

 

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4 hours ago, Noble Berean said:

This appears to conflict with the WT's doctrine of an "invisible presence" of Jesus Christ in 1914. 

My question is this: How does the idea of a future, visible coming of Christ harmonize with our religion's current understanding of the faithful and discreet slave? It says at Matthew 24:45-46, "Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on coming finds him doing so!"

I did not intend for this topic to cover that particular doctrine, but you and @Anna have both brought it up already, I don't mind. I've stated views on that before.

Before getting into that sub-topic, I'd like to clarify a few points:

First, I think it might need to be repeated that I am not making a statement that we are wrong about this 1914 doctrine. I personally believe we are wrong, and I have no doubt about that, and I have known many brothers in positions of responsibility who believed we were wrong about it. However, I know less persons in that situation now than I ever have in the past, especially since about 1978 to 1982 when I worked directly with and for fellow Bethelites. Also, even if I can see places where we are and have been wrong, it doesn't mean that I have a solution. What looks like a solution to me, might be completely wrong, too. Also, even if I have no doubt about the teaching, that doesn't make me right, and it doesn't mean people should accept my word for it.

My point here is to clarify what I believe about this particular position in light of 1 Peter 3:15. By clarifying it, I have a chance to hear from others who have valid critiques about what I have presented. And I also believe that if I share in the things I have learned that it provides a chance for others to understand the situation better if they are confused. Also it is never right, in my opinion, to hold to a belief that we aren't willing to share if asked. And where I have missed something, of course, I have a much better chance at learning about a correction. No one should hold to their belief system in darkness.

(Matthew 10:26, 27) 26 So do not fear them, for there is nothing covered over that will not become uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27 What I tell you in the darkness, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, preach from the housetops.

(Mark 4:22) 22 For there is nothing hidden except for the purpose of being exposed; nothing has become carefully concealed but for the purpose of coming into the open.

(Luke 11:35, 36) 35 Be alert, therefore. Perhaps the light that is in you is darkness. 36 Therefore, if your whole body is bright with no part at all dark, it will all be as bright as when a lamp gives you light by its rays.”

(Luke 12:2-3) 2 But there is nothing carefully concealed that will not be revealed, and nothing secret that will not become known. 3 Therefore, whatever you say in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you whisper in private rooms will be preached from the housetops.

(John 3:20, 21) 20 For whoever practices vile things hates the light and does not come to the light, so that his works may not be reproved. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light,. . .

Also, another point I have repeatedly tried to point out is that I see no need to leave the organization, or in any way leave our Christian brotherhood over some variation in some non-core doctrinal beliefs. Of course, for those who conscientiously believe that 1914 is a core doctrinal belief, then that's is a different story for them, and those persons should merely treat what I say as irrelevant and not worth considering. And that's what persons will do by default. So I understand the clamor about apostasy and danger, and even the subtle counsel about the same, and therefore don't push back when this type of information is merely dismissed. If a person cannot conscientiously consider an alternative to the current official teaching, then that is our Christian prerogative -- for all of us.

(Of course, if a person asks serious questions, no matter what their motive is, or if persons use unscriptural reasoning to try to overturn scriptural reasoning, then I would consider it a duty to defend what I think is the Bible's position, as best I can. This will often give the appearance to others of debates about words, lack of humility, etc., but that's a charge we sometimes have to live with if we are trying to defend our beliefs, and stand up for what we think is right.)

Another thing I've said before is that, for me, and I hope also for others, if they see the same points in the scriptures that were presented above, that this shouldn't really change much. Whether the parousia, synteleia, kingdom, last days, etc, actually started specifically in 1914 or not, it shouldn't matter to the way we live our lives and our service to Jehovah. According to the Bible, we still see ourselves in the last days, we still appreciate the presence of Jesus, we still believe in the imminence of the manifestation or "coming" of Jesus Christ in his day of judgment. We still remain watchful so that our conduct befits our faith in the parousia. We still have faith that Jesus is reigning as king, and is currently ruling in the midst of his enemies. We still see the preaching of the good news of the kingdom as an activity of primary importance for our day. We do not live for a date, and do still do not claim to know the day or the hour. Nothing that is core about our lives and activities and conduct as a Witness needs to be contradicted by anything said in the Bible about the times we are living in.

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

Sorry for the length of that preamble, but it ties directly to the teaching about Matthew 24:45-46. I don't see how a difference in understanding about the timing of Matthew 24, or a different view of the general message of Matthew 24 contradicts the need for a governing body. And I think that a governing body, in the sense that we generally accept them, is 100% applicable to the parable of Matthew 24:45-51. 

The reason I say this is that the Bible directly speaks of the need for a body of elders in the congregation. This can have just as much application to the overall worldwide congregation as it may have for any local congregation. In fact, the Bible speaks of various activities that were coordinated among several congregations.

(Galatians 2:9, 10) . . .James and Ceʹphas and John, the ones who seemed to be pillars, gave Barʹna·bas and me the right hand of fellowship, so that we should go to the nations but they to those who are circumcised. 10 They asked only that we keep the poor in mind, and this I have also earnestly endeavored to do.

(1 Corinthians 16:1-4) 16 Now concerning the collection for the holy ones, you may follow the directions I gave to the congregations of Ga·laʹti·a. 2 On the first day of every week, each of you should set something aside according to his own means, so that collections will not take place when I arrive. 3 But when I get there, I will send the men you approve of in your letters to take your kind gift to Jerusalem. 4 However, if it seems advisable for me to go there also, they will go there with me.

(Colossians 4:15, 16) . . .Give my greetings to the brothers in La·o·di·ceʹa and to Nymʹpha and to the congregation at her house. 16 And when this letter has been read among you, arrange for it also to be read in the congregation of the La·o·di·ceʹans and for you also to read the one from La·o·di·ceʹa.

Clearly, there was a need for brothers who were exceptional in teaching, in coordinating, in managing, in directing. These would be ideal "gifts in men" for those who would coordinate  activities in the overall worldwide congregations:

(Ephesians 4:8-16) 8 For it says: “When he ascended on high he carried away captives; he gave gifts in men.” . . .11 And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers, 12 with a view to the readjustment of the holy ones, for ministerial work, to build up the body of the Christ, 13 until we all attain to the oneness of the faith and of the accurate knowledge of the Son of God, to being a full-grown man, attaining the measure of stature that belongs to the fullness of the Christ. 14 So we should no longer be children, tossed about as by waves and carried here and there by every wind of teaching by means of the trickery of men, by means of cunning in deceptive schemes. 15 But speaking the truth, let us by love grow up in all things into him who is the head, Christ. 16 From him all the body is harmoniously joined together and made to cooperate through every joint that gives what is needed. When each respective member functions properly, this contributes to the growth of the body as it builds itself up in love.

There is nothing wrong therefore with accepting a governing body who sees itself as "guardians of doctrine." There is nothing wrong with a body of elders who see themselves as a governing body tasked with this responsibility.

(1 Corinthians 12:27, 28) 27 Now you are Christ’s body, and each of you individually is a member. 28 And God has assigned the respective ones in the congregation: first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then powerful works; then gifts of healings; helpful services; abilities to direct; different tongues.

Elders in any capacity have shown themselves desirous of a fine work. (1 Tim 3:1) We should respect all elders in all capacities, and follow their lead, contemplate their conduct, and imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13:7) This goes for our governing body just as it goes for every other elder in any congregation.

That said, it's also pretty clear that there is no parable of the faithful and discreet slave. It's a parable of a faithful/discreet and an unfaithful/evil/indiscreet slave. It's really a parable about two different types of conduct found among fellow slaves. Christians are supposed to get the point about which one of those types was the faithful type and which was obviously the unfaithful type.

When Jesus said "Who really is the faithful and discreet [type of] slave?" in his illustration, it's the same as when Jesus spoke of two different types of conduct found in the situation of the "good Samaritan." Christians are supposed to get the point about which of those two attitudes was the right way to act. Thus Jesus started the illustration of the good Samaritan after the question "Who really is my neighbor?"

No one (any more) looks at the "Good Samaritan" and thinks it was some kind of prophecy, do they?

In the same way Paul showed that the illustration applied to him, but it also applied to everyone else:

(1 Corinthians 4:2-5) 2 In this regard, what is expected of stewards is that they be found faithful. 3 Now to me it is of very little importance to be examined by you or by a human tribunal. In fact, I do not even examine myself. 4 For I am not conscious of anything against myself. But by this I am not proved righteous; the one who examines me is Jehovah. 5 Therefore, do not judge anything before the due time, until the Lord comes. He will bring the secret things of darkness to light and make known the intentions of the hearts, and then each one will receive his praise from God.

That's the same point Jesus made. All Christians have been made stewards (servants) and all of us are therefore supposed to be faithful over what we have been appointed to do. But we should not lord it over our fellow slaves. As Paul puts it in some of the following verses:

(1 Corinthians 4:8) . . .Are you already satisfied? Are you already rich? Have you begun ruling as kings without us?. . .

No, all Christians wait until the due time, until the Lord comes. Then each on will receive his praise from God.

1 Peter 4 also says that it is the responsibility of all of us to be faithful stewards:

(1 Peter 4:7-10,13) 7 But the end of all things has drawn close. Therefore, be sound in mind [discreet], and be vigilant with a view to prayers. [faithful] 8 Above all things, have intense love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 To the extent that each one has received a gift, use it in ministering to one another as fine stewards of God’s undeserved kindness that is expressed in various ways. . . . 13 . . . so that you may rejoice and be overjoyed also during the revelation of his glory.

(2 Peter 3:10-14) 10 But Jehovah’s day will come as a thief, . . .  and earth and the works in it will be exposed. 11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, consider what sort of people you ought to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, 12 as you await and keep close in mind the presence [PAROUSIA] of the day of Jehovah, . . . 14 Therefore, beloved ones, since you are awaiting these things, do your utmost to be found finally by him spotless and unblemished and in peace.

Clearly, the lessons of 1 Peter and 2 Peter are commentary on the same point Jesus made about his parousia in Matthew 24. We have been given a responsibility to minister to one another as fine stewards. We must remain faithful and discreet in this appointment, so that we might be overjoyed at the revelation of his glory, when all is "exposed." When Jehovah's day comes, we want to prove that we have been on the "watch" with respect to our conduct, and "what sort of people [we] ought to be."

And to bring this full circle back to the discussion about parousia, etc., it's the same thing that Paul also says of the parousia:

(1 Thessalonians 3:12, 13) 12 Moreover, may the Lord cause you to increase, yes, to abound in love for one another and for all, just as we do for you, 13 so that he may make your hearts firm, blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the presence [PAROUSIA] of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.

Notice that Christians are to stay on the watch with respect to their conduct because Jehovah's day will come as a thief and we want to do our utmost to be found FINALLY spotless at the PAROUSIA of the day of Jehovah. This is exactly what Paul says in Thessalonians about finally being found blameless at the PAROUSIA of Jesus Christ. From 1 Peter 4:13 it should be clear that this FINAL point in time, called the PAROUSIA, is also called the "revelation of his glory." The exact points are made about the SYNTELEIA:

(Matthew 13:39-43) . . .The harvest is a conclusion [SYNTELEIA] of a system of things, and the reapers are angels. 40 Therefore, just as the weeds are collected and burned with fire, so it will be in the conclusion [SYNTELEIA] of the system of things. 41 The Son of man will send his angels, and they will collect out from his Kingdom all things that cause stumbling and people who practice lawlessness, 42 and they will pitch them into the fiery furnace. There is where their weeping and the gnashing of their teeth will be. 43 At that time the righteous ones will shine as brightly as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.. . .

(Matthew 24:48-51) 48 “But if ever that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying,’ 49 and he starts to beat his fellow slaves and to eat and drink with the confirmed drunkards, 50 the master of that slave will come on a day that he does not expect and in an hour that he does not know, 51 and he will punish him with the greatest severity and will assign him his place with the hypocrites. There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be.

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4 hours ago, Noble Berean said:

So, if Jesus Christ presence has possibly not yet begun (because there is no "lightning" sign), would it still be logical to conclude that Jesus Christ appointed Br. Russell and the men to follow as a slave over his temple? Because this appointment scripturally comes before his "coming" anyway.

I see no problem with such a claim, although I would also add that Jesus appointed Peter, Paul, Apollos, and you, too, as slaves over his temple.

(Matthew 25:34-40) 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right: ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. 35 For I became hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you received me hospitably; 36 naked and you clothed me. I fell sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous ones will answer him with the words: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and receive you hospitably, or naked and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 In reply the King will say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

(John 21:15-17) . . .Jesus said to Simon Peter: “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He replied to him: “Yes, Lord, you know I have affection for you.” He said to him: “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again he said to him a second time: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He replied: “Yes, Lord, you know I have affection for you.” He said to him: “Shepherd my little sheep.” 17 He said to him a third time: “Simon son of John, do you have affection for me?” Peter became grieved that he asked him the third time: “Do you have affection for me?” So he said to him: “Lord, you are aware of all things; you know that I have affection for you.” Jesus said to him: “Feed my little sheep.

As I'm sure you know, the Watchtower has now demoted Brother Russell from the category currently defined as "faithful and discreet slave." He was once considered one of the most important members of that class. He is now considered NEVER to have ever been a part of it, according to the most recent Watch Tower publications on the subject.

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4 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

As I'm sure you know, the Watchtower has now demoted Brother Russell from the category currently defined as "faithful and discreet slave." He was once considered one of the most important members of that class. He is now considered NEVER to have ever been a part of it, according to the most recent Watch Tower publications on the subject.

Oh that's news to me about Russell. I thought according to JW doctrine Jesus Christ appointed his faithful slave in 1918?

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6 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

I see no problem with such a claim, although I would also add that Jesus appointed Peter, Paul, Apollos, and you, too, as slaves over his temple.

(Matthew 25:34-40) 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right: ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. 35 For I became hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you received me hospitably; 36 naked and you clothed me. I fell sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous ones will answer him with the words: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and receive you hospitably, or naked and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 In reply the King will say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

(John 21:15-17) . . .Jesus said to Simon Peter: “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He replied to him: “Yes, Lord, you know I have affection for you.” He said to him: “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again he said to him a second time: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He replied: “Yes, Lord, you know I have affection for you.” He said to him: “Shepherd my little sheep.” 17 He said to him a third time: “Simon son of John, do you have affection for me?” Peter became grieved that he asked him the third time: “Do you have affection for me?” So he said to him: “Lord, you are aware of all things; you know that I have affection for you.” Jesus said to him: “Feed my little sheep.

Here's my issue with your reasoning about any Christian being the prophesied faithful slave. Jesus Christ was talking directly to the anointed, and like many JWs today I am not from that group. Additionally, Jesus Christ appointed a slave over the other slaves which implies that there is a person or composite person that is taking the lead over the group. After all, how could Christ's organization function smoothly if everyone claimed to be acting over God's temple?

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9 minutes ago, Anna said:

Brother Russell died in 1916

Hmm that's peculiar since I assumed he was the FDS. So are Rutherford or Knorr considered the FDS? I am aware that the Governing Body as we know it today was established in the 1970s so that leaves a pretty big gap. I don't know why the GB wasn't formed around the prophetic year of 1918 (if it were correct understanding).

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22 minutes ago, Noble Berean said:

Hmm that's peculiar. So are Rutherford or Knorr considered the FDS? I am aware that the Governing Body as we know it today was established in the 1970s so that leaves a pretty big gap.

If I'm not mistaken, both Rutherford and Knorr were considered the FDS, after all, this was after 1918, when the supposed appointment was made, as you yourself mention. But I think this appointment was seen in retrospect. (years later). JWInsider will probably know more about this. I believe all of the anointed were thought to be the FDS and then the WT of July 2013 clarified that it only applied to the anointed in the GB, the article was: "feeding many at the hands of a few"

    Hello guest!

P.S I think Br. Russell is viewed as one who "prepared the way" and as the "rattling of the bones" as per Ezekiel 37:1-14

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2 hours ago, Noble Berean said:

Here's my issue with your reasoning about any Christian being the prophesied faithful slave. Jesus Christ was talking directly to the anointed, and like many JWs today I am not from that group. Additionally, Jesus Christ appointed a slave over the other slaves which implies that there is a person or composite person that is taking the lead over the group. After all, how could Christ's organization function smoothly if everyone claimed to be acting over God's temple?

The answer is straightforward, and this is the reason I included Matthew 25:34-40 in my response.

But I think some background might be useful, and this might take more than one post, sorry:

I am not sure if you are aware that the Watch Tower publications have done away with the practice of claiming that all Bible narratives, parables and illustrations were to be treated as prophecies, or prophetic dramas where we (the WTS) would make specific modern-day applications out of them, such that one entity in the illustration means only the anointed and another entity means only the non-anointed, etc. It was usually a pretty simple formula to work out, but there were often Biblical contradictions if you read the entire context for yourself:

  • If someone in Israel or Judah was doing the right thing it was a "prophecy" about the anointed sometime after 1918.
  • If someone in Israel or Judah was doing the wrong thing, it was a "prophecy" about Christendom, usually around 1918 to 1919.
  • If there was a mention of captivity or discipline of Israel or Judah, it always meant a prophecy about the captivity of the leading brothers in the organization in 1918. (And a release or cleansing always referred to 1919.)
  • If any good person or group from another nation was mentioned, it always referred to the "other sheep" class
  • If it was a bad person or group from another nation was mentioned, it referred to Babylon the Great

There were just a few exceptions and variations, but the formula was usually easy enough to predict.

  • One of the major exceptions was the explanation of the long Bible narratives about the activities of Elijah and Elisha. Elijah transferred his mantle to Elisha, after which Elijah is "taken up in a whilrwind" and Elisha performed twice as many miracles, and appeared to have a "double measure" of holy spirit.
  • It seemed natural that this should apply to the time of Russell as the time of Elijah, and then Rutherford applied the time of Elisha to himself after 1918.
  • But when Rutherford died and thereby transferred the presidency to Knorr, Russell was dropped from the formula and Elijah now referred to Rutherford's time as president, and Elisha now was a prophecy about Knorr's time in the Watch Tower presidency.
  • Most of the entire contents of the book "Let Your Name Be Sanctified" covered this previous point. And this was the book being studied every Tuesday at the "Congregation Book Study" just 5 years before I was baptized.

Another of the study books listed 42 of these type of prophecies that referred specifically to the "other sheep."

And a Watchtower in 1981 listed another 80 of these type of prophecies that referred specifically to the "anointed remnant."

*** w81 3/1 p. 27 Do You Appreciate the “Faithful and Discreet Slave”? ***
OVERWHELMING CREDENTIALS
The “faithful and discreet slave” has abundant credentials. Following is a partial list of Scriptural and prophetic designations applying to or being represented in the remnant of Jesus Christ’s anointed followers since the notable year 1919:
(1) Noah’s wife, Gen. 7:7; (2) angels sent to Lot, Gen. 19:15; (3) Rebekah, Gen. 24:64; (4) Joseph and Benjamin, Gen. 45:14; (5) gleanings left behind, Lev. 19:9; (6) two spies to Rahab, Josh. 2:4; (7) Barak, Judg. 4:14; (8) Jephthah, Judg. 11:34; (9) Naomi and Ruth, Ruth 2:2; (10) David’s Israelite warriors, 2 Sam. 18:1; (11) Jehu, 2 Ki. 10:11, 15; (12) Mordecai and Esther, Esther 4:13; (13) Job, Job 42:10, 13; (14) King’s daughter, Ps. 45:13; (15) men of loving-kindness, Ps. 50:5; (16) intimate group, Ps. 89:7; (17) Shear-jashub, Isa. 7:3; (18) light of the nations, Isa. 60:3; (19) big trees of righteousness, Isa. 61:3; (20) ministers of our God, Isa. 61:6; (21) cluster preserved, Isa. 65:8; (22) servants called by another name, Isa. 65:15; (23) men trembling at God’s word, Isa. 66:5; (24) new nation born, Isa. 66:8; (25) Jeremiah, Jer. 1:10; (26) Jehovah’s people in the new covenant, Jer. 31:33; (27) enduring watchman, Ezek. 3:16-27; (28) man in linen, Ezek. 9:2; (29) cleansed people, Ezek. 36:29-32; (30) dwellers in center of earth, Ezek. 38:12; (31) the host of heaven, Dan. 8:10; (32) sanctuary restored (cleansed), Dan. 8:14; (33) they that are wise, Dan. 11:33; (34) the happy one who is keeping in expectation, Dan. 12:12; (35) all flesh receiving the spirit, Joel 2:28; (36) Jonah, Jon. 3:1-3; (37) apple of Jehovah’s eye, Zech. 2:8; (38) liberated remnant, Zech. 2:7; (39) a Jew, Zech. 8:23; (40) sons of Levi, Mal. 3:3; (41) wheat, Matt. 13:25; (42) sons of the kingdom, Matt. 13:38; (43) workers for the vineyard, Matt. 20:1; (44) those invited to marriage feast, Matt. 22:3-14; (45) chosen ones, Matt. 24:22; (46) eagles, Matt. 24:28; (47) faithful and discreet slave, Matt. 24:45; (48) discreet virgins, Matt. 25:2; (49) brothers of the king, Matt. 25:40; (50) little flock of sheep, Luke 12:32; (51) beggar Lazarus, Luke 16:20; (52) sheep in “this fold,” John 10:1-16; (53) branches of the vine, John 15:4; (54) royal palace of David, Acts 15:16; (55) heirs with Christ, Rom. 8:17; (56) the remnant, Rom. 11:5; (57) branches in the olive tree, Rom. 11:24; (58) holy ones or saints, 1 Cor. 6:2; Rev. 16:6; (59) temple, 1 Cor. 6:19; (60) new creation, 2 Cor. 5:17; (61) ambassadors for Christ, 2 Cor. 5:20; (62) congregation of God, Gal. 1:13; (63) part of Abraham’s seed, Gal. 3:29; (64) Israel of God, Gal. 6:16; (65) body of Christ, Eph. 1:22, 23; (66) soldiers of Christ Jesus, 2 Tim. 2:3; (67) house under Christ, Heb. 3:6; (68) holy priesthood, 1 Pet. 2:5; (69) holy nation, 1 Pet. 2:9; (70) association of brothers, 1 Pet. 2:17; (71) seven congregations, Rev. 1:20; (72) twenty-four persons of advanced age, Rev. 4:4; (73) spiritual Israel, Rev. 7:4; (74) locusts, Rev. 9:3; (75) two witnesses, Rev. 11:3; (76) two olive trees, Rev. 11:4; (77) seed of the woman, Rev. 12:17; (78) New Jerusalem, Rev. 21:2; (79) the bride of Christ, Rev. 22:17; 19:7; (80) Jehovah’s witnesses, Isa. 43:10.

Between just those two sources, that's a partial list of 122 prophecies in total that were mostly dismissed recently as no longer prophecies. These "doctrines" are no longer considered true, with just a few exceptions. In 2015, this type of doctrine was designated no longer "approved." It's informative to see how this was explained:

*** w15 3/15 p. 9-11 par. 7-14 “This Is the Way You Approved” ***
7 If you have been serving Jehovah for decades, you may have noticed a gradual shift in the way our literature explains many of the narratives recorded in the Bible. How so? In times past, it was more common for our literature to take what might be called a type-antitype approach to Scriptural accounts. The Bible narrative was considered the type, and any prophetic fulfillment of the story was the antitype. . . . Can we conclude, though, that every character, event, and object described in the Bible foreshadows someone or something? 9 In the past, such an approach was often taken. Consider, for example, the account about Naboth, whose unjust trial and execution were arranged by wicked Queen Jezebel so that her husband, Ahab, could seize Naboth’s vineyard. (1 Ki. 21:1-16) Back in 1932, that account was explained as a prophetic drama. Ahab and Jezebel were said to picture Satan and his organization; Naboth pictured Jesus; Naboth’s death, then, was prophetic of Jesus’ execution. Decades later, though, in the book “Let Your Name Be Sanctified,” published in 1961, Naboth was said to picture the anointed, and Jezebel was Christendom. Hence, Naboth’s persecution at Jezebel’s hands pictured the persecution of the anointed during the last days. For many years, God’s people found this approach to Bible accounts faith strengthening. Why, then, have things changed?
10 As we might expect, over the years Jehovah has helped “the faithful and discreet slave” to become steadily more discreet. Discretion has led to greater caution when it comes to calling a Bible account a prophetic drama unless there is a clear Scriptural basis for doing so. Additionally, it has been found that some of the older explanations about types and antitypes are unduly difficult for many to grasp. The details of such teachings—who pictures whom and why—can be hard to keep straight, to remember, and to apply. Of even greater concern, though, is that the moral and practical lessons of the Bible accounts under examination may be obscured or lost in all the scrutiny of possible antitypical fulfillments. Thus, we find that our literature today focuses more on the simple, practical lessons about faith, endurance, godly devotion, and other vital qualities that we learn about from Bible accounts.
11 How, then, do we now understand the account about Naboth? In much clearer, simpler terms. That righteous man died, not because he was a prophetic type of Jesus or of the anointed, but because he was an integrity keeper. He held to Jehovah’s Law in the face of horrific abuse of power. (Num. 36:7; 1 Ki. 21:3) His example thus speaks to us because any one of us may face persecution for similar reasons. (Read 2 Timothy 3:12.) People of all backgrounds can readily understand, remember, and apply such a faith-strengthening lesson.
. . . For example, we can rightly say that Naboth’s integrity in the face of persecution and death reminds us of the integrity of Christ and his anointed. However, we can also be reminded of the faithful stand of many of the Lord’s “other sheep.” Such a clear and simple comparison has the hallmark of divine teaching.
A SIMPLER APPROACH TO JESUS’ ILLUSTRATIONS
. . .
14 What, though, about the more detailed stories, or parables, that Jesus related? Some, of course, are symbolic and prophetic; others emphasize practical lessons. But which is which? Through the years, the answer has gradually become clearer. For instance, consider the way we have explained Jesus’ parable of the neighborly Samaritan. (Luke 10:30-37) In 1924, The Watch Tower said that the Samaritan pictured Jesus; the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, which ran downhill, pictured mankind’s downward course since the rebellion in Eden; the thieves on the road pictured giant corporations and profiteers; and the priest and the Levite typified ecclesiastical systems. Today, our literature uses that illustration to remind all Christians that we must be impartial in rendering aid to those in need, especially in a spiritual sense. Does it not make us happy to see that Jehovah makes his teachings clear to us?

Additional comments were made in this Watchtower and in the 2014 Annual Meeting that clarified that we no longer try to turn a Biblical narrative or parable into a prophecy unless there is a specific scripture that tells us that it is to be applied as a prophecy. (e.g., Jonah in the belly of the fish for three days.)

Even in places where we had applied an entity only to the anointed, such as with Naboth, notice now how this narrative actually applies just as well to the "other sheep." The "prodigal son" is another example where the two brothers once referred to the anointed (older brother) and the other sheep (prodigal brother). The clear and simple lesson about forgiveness and human understanding was lost because we thought of it as a prophecy about how the other sheep had lost out on the heavenly hope (wasted that potential inheritance) because they were not as spiritual as the anointed. Obviously this didn't make as much sense after the prejudices against the less worthy other sheep wore off over the years, and the meanings were therefore adjusted.  But the Watchtower still continued viewing the parable as a prophecy about the anointed and other sheep for more than 50 years.

You might already know that there are still three major parables of Jesus that must still be considered "prophecies" even though it would be just as easy to treat them as moral reminders to watch our conduct and motivations. These include the illustration of "the faithful and the evil slave," "the wise and foolish virgins," and "the sheep and the goats." 

This may not be the reason, but the "Governing Body" claims its Biblical authority from the parable of "the faithful and the evil slave" and the "sheep and the goats" parable is used to remind the "other sheep" how they must treat the anointed -- Christ's brothers.

But if you look closely at the parable of the sheep and the goats, you can see more reasons to consider what the Watchtower said about Naboth, for example. The MORAL lesson of the sheep and the goats parable works the same for both the "anointed" and the "other sheep."

Consider who Christ's brothers are in the illustration of the sheep and the goats where Jesus says in verse 40: ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

*** w15 3/15 p. 26 pars. 4-5 Loyally Supporting Christ’s Brothers ***
In 1881, Zion’s Watch Tower identified “the Son of man,” also called “the King,” as Jesus. The early Bible Students understood the expression rendered in the King James Version “my brethren” to refer to those who would rule with Christ as well as to all of mankind after they are restored to earthly perfection. . . . And they believed that people would be classed as sheep because they lived by God’s law of love.
5 In the early 1920’s, Jehovah helped his people refine their understanding of this illustration. The Watch Tower of October 15, 1923, affirmed that “the Son of man” is Jesus. However, it presented sound Scriptural arguments that limited the identity of Christ’s brothers to those who would rule with him in heaven, and it described the sheep as those who hope to live on earth under the rule of Christ’s Kingdom.

7 Today, we have a clear understanding of the illustration of the sheep and the goats. Regarding the identity of those mentioned, Jesus is “the Son of man,” the King. Those referred to as “my brothers” are spirit-anointed men and women, who will rule with Christ from heaven. (Rom. 8:16, 17) “The sheep” and “the goats” represent individuals from all nations. These ones are not anointed by holy spirit. What about the timing of the judgment? This judgment will occur toward the end of the great tribulation just ahead. And what of the reason why people will be judged as either sheep or goats? The outcome hinges on how they have treated the remaining ones of Christ’s spirit-anointed brothers on earth. With the end of this system so close at hand, how grateful we are that Jehovah has progressively shed light on this illustration and on the related illustrations recorded in Matthew chapters 24 and 25!

 

Think about the illustration closely. I'll repeat it here:

(Matthew 25:31-40) 31 “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will put the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right: ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. 35 For I became hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you received me hospitably; 36 naked and you clothed me. I fell sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous ones will answer him with the words: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and receive you hospitably, or naked and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 In reply the King will say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

The Watchtower said that the "brothers" are anointed, and the "sheep" are not anointed. If that isn't clear, just look at the red highlighted words in paragraph 7 of the 3/15/2015 Watchtower quoted above.  But notice what Jesus says about the sheep in Matthew 25:34. He says to the sheep on the right "Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world."

Does it really sound like the sheep are distinguished from those who inherit the Kingdom? Does it really sound like it matters, from a moral and instructional perspective?

I'm trying to point out the contradictions that can happen when we try to break up Jesus' illustrations into prophecies about who is anointed and who is not anointed. As another example, notice Matthew 5:5:

(Matthew 5:5) 5 “Happy are the mild-tempered, since they will inherit the earth.

Who do you think inherits the earth? The anointed or the non-anointed?

*** w09 3/15 p. 23 par. 14 Jehovah Deserves Our United Praise ***
One result was that the way was opened for 144,000 humans to become spirit-anointed followers of Christ. In 1919, Jehovah used his power to deliver a small remnant of these anointed ones from captivity to false religion. Their accomplishments during this time of the end can only be attributed to God’s power. Upon proving faithful to death, they will share with Jesus Christ in ruling from heaven over the earth for the benefit of repentant humans. (Rev. 2:26, 27; 5:9, 10) They will inherit the earth in a far grander way than did ancient Israel.—Matt. 5:5.

*** w09 3/15 p. 11 par. 4 Keep Your Eyes on the Prize ***
Jesus confirmed that this was a valid hope. He said: “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5) Jesus himself is the principal one to inherit our earth, as Psalm 2:8 indicates, and he will have 144,000 corulers in heaven.

Notice how the point must be blended to include the other sheep as OTHER mild-tempered ones, not the specific mild-tempered ones mentioned in Matthew 5:5.

*** w08 5/15 p. 3 par. 4 How Should We Treat Others? ***
4 The mild-tempered ones are happy because “they will inherit the earth.” Jesus, who was “mild-tempered and lowly in heart,” is the “appointed heir of all things” and is therefore the principal Inheritor of the earth. (Matt. 11:29; Heb. 1:2; Ps. 2:8) It was foretold that the Messianic “son of man” would have associate rulers in the heavenly Kingdom. (Dan. 7:13, 14, 21, 22, 27) As “joint heirs with Christ,” 144,000 mild-tempered anointed ones were to share in Jesus’ inheritance of the earth. (Rom. 8:16, 17; Rev. 14:1) Other mild-tempered ones will be blessed with everlasting life in the earthly realm of the Kingdom.—Ps. 37:11.

*** w03 4/1 p. 25 par. 20 Exhibit “All Mildness Toward All Men” ***
. “Happy are the mild-tempered ones,” Jesus declared, “since they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) For Christ’s spirit-anointed brothers, maintaining mildness ensures their happiness and the privilege of ruling over the earthly domain of the Kingdom. As for the “great crowd” of “other sheep,” they continue to manifest mildness and look forward to life in Paradise here on earth

*** w91 10/15 p. 10 par. 2 How Happy the Mild-Tempered! ***
2 Jesus pronounced the mild-tempered happy because they will inherit the earth. As the perfectly mild-tempered Son of God, Jesus is the Chief Inheritor of the earth. (Psalm 2:8; Matthew 11:29; Hebrews 1:1, 2; 2:5-9) But as the Messianic “son of man,” he was to have associate rulers in his heavenly Kingdom. (Daniel 7:13, 14, 22, 27) As Christ’s “joint heirs,” these anointed mild-tempered ones will share in his inheritance of the earth. (Romans 8:17) Other mild-tempered, sheeplike people will enjoy eternal life in Paradise in the Kingdom’s earthly realm.

*** w74 6/15 pp. 377-378 par. 14 Serve with Eternity in View ***
Did Christ say that its fulfillment was all in the past? No, for he projected it into the future, saying that the ‘mild-tempered will inherit the earth.’ Yes, those mild-tempered ones who are to be with Christ in his heavenly kingdom will rule over this earth.


It might seem odd that almost every time the scripture Matthew 5:5 comes up in the Watchtower, there is always this first mention of Jesus and the 144,000, when the obvious point is really about how Jesus promoted that Christians should be mild-tempered. And the reason for this somewhat awkward schema is that we believe that technically, only the ANOINTED inherit the earth, even though there is clearly a wider principle here:

*** w66 8/1 p. 451 “Happy Are the Mild-tempered Ones” ***
Who are the mild-tempered that will inherit the earth? Certainly they would include Jesus Christ himself, for, above all men that ever lived on this earth, he was mild-tempered. As he himself said: “Come to me, . . . for I am mild-tempered.” Concerning him and his triumphal ride into Jerusalem, it was written: “Look! Your King is coming to you, mild-tempered.”—Matt. 11:28, 29; 21:5.
That Jesus Christ, as the preeminent mild-tempered one, will inherit the earth other scriptures make clear. Jehovah God has appointed him to be “heir of all things,” including this earth. In fact, ‘the nations are to be his inheritance, and the ends of the earth his possession.’—Heb. 1:2; Ps. 2:7, 8.
This inheritance Jesus Christ shares, even as he does his Kingdom rule, with his anointed footstep followers, for they are to be “heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ.” These are the ones the apostle John saw in vision standing upon heavenly Mount Zion and who number 144,000.—Rom. 8:17; Rev. 14:1.
While the statement “happy are the mild-tempered ones” is thus seen to have specific and primary application to Jesus Christ and his Kingdom associates, it, nevertheless, states a principle that has wider application.

  • So, according to the Watchtower, who, in Matthew 5:5, are the ones who INHERIT THE EARTH? The ANOINTED.
  • So, according to the Watchtower, who,  in Matt 25:34 are the ones who INHERIT THE KINGDOM? The NON-ANOINTED.

Yet, the "other sheep" are the ones identified as "Kingdom associates" in the sense that they "inherit the Kingdom" in Matthew 25. I'm pointing out what looks like a contradiction, and it is really all based on an emphasis that loses sight of the parable's moral and principle about proper conduct. It's what happens if you were to look at Matthew 5:5 and think (as you stated above): "Jesus Christ was talking directly to the anointed, and like many JWs today I am not from that group." Does that really mean you don't share in the inheritance of the earth?

It's the same thing that would happen if we try to separate Matthew 24:45-51 from the comments Paul and Peter made on the same subject about who should be a faithful steward and what kind of conduct and attitude would identify us as an evil steward.

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I am not a young person so I have seen how the world has changed just in my lifetime. 40 years ago was much different to 70 years ago and 70 years ago was unbelievably different to 150 years ago.... before the telegraph etc. During Russell's time they were still exploring the wild west..... shooting it out in Tucson.

As I have said before so many times on this site - we need to evaluate every attitude and way people look at the bible and at life from the perspective of the entire generation/society and the geographical area.  We cannot look back and judge the past with a modern view of things!  That would be a wrong evaluation of what happened and what was said!  Back then people wanted and 'needed' deeper explanations of everything because they were more scholarly - so they dissected it with detail.  Not that it is wrong in itself to dissect - but one can make the error of reading MORE into it than intended. 

What kept brother Russel active in Jehovah's work and faithful to his cause was studying the scriptures.  What he got out of the scriptures was the identifying of some of the wrong teachings prevalent in the world at the time and wanting to expose them.  Did he do many stupid things which one can attribute to a factor of his time - a time when everyone was looking at the pyramids in a certain way  .....most certainly..... This was after the dark ages when no-one was allowed to say anything against the churches and they had great power. This was when Darwin also appeared! People were looking at everything in a new way - the industrial revolution was on the way and people felt empowered to investigate everything in a scholarly way - in the light of classical influence....   

This is why our new "Gods Kingdom Rules" study  recently quoted Mal 3: 1-4. It was fulfilled in the time of John the Baptist (a messenger of preparation) as he prepared the way for Christ and the messenger of the Covenant (Christ). They also applied it to Russel and those who followed him as the 'messenger of preparation' before the "slave" was appointed. They were also thoroughly cleaned and beaten like one does when you wash washing with lye! (2 messengers  below!)

    Hello guest!
 “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will clear up
    Hello guest!
a way before me.
    Hello guest!
And suddenly the true Lord, whom you are seeking, will come to his temple;
    Hello guest!
and the messenger of the covenant will come, in whom you take delight. Look! He will certainly come,” says Jehovah of armies.
    Hello guest!
 “But who will endure the day of his coming, and who will be able to stand when he appears? For he will be like the fire of a refiner and like the lye
    Hello guest!
    Hello guest!
of laundrymen.
    Hello guest!
 And he will sit as a refiner and cleanser of silver
    Hello guest!
and will cleanse the sons of Leʹvi; and he will clarify
    Hello guest!
them like gold and like silver, and they will certainly become to Jehovah people presenting a gift offering in righteousness.
    Hello guest!
 And the gift offering of Judah and of Jerusalem will actually be pleasing
    Hello guest!
to Jehovah, as in the days of long ago and as in the years of antiquity.
    Hello guest!

 

The days of Noah did not get a sign (Matthew 24)  They saw the ark being built and asked questions about it.  Noah preached until the day he went into the ark.  They took no notice until the rain came down.   The Pharisees saw Jesus doing miracles ........ did it change their faith?   No they loved their lives that they had and were not spiritually inclined. 

I had a Muslim ask me this week where (the place) Jesus going to appear.  I knew why he was asking- because the Muslims believe that Isa will come back as a Muslim and everyone will recognize him because he will have a certain appearance described in Islamic writings......   to me it is absurd to think that a spiritual being will come back as a literal body and appear somewhere....on earth.  The Shia and Sunni muslims believe that Jesus is going to land in 2 different places according to their writings........  So I used the scripture in Matthew 24 to show this:

    Hello guest!
 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look! Here is the Christ,’
    Hello guest!
or, ‘There!’ do not believe it.
    Hello guest!
    Hello guest!
 For false Christs and false prophets
    Hello guest!
will arise and will perform great signs and wonders so as to mislead,
    Hello guest!
if possible, even the chosen ones.
    Hello guest!
 Look! I have forewarned you.
    Hello guest!
 Therefore, if people say to you, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; ‘Look! He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.
    Hello guest!

True Christians do not need a special sign..... we know Jesus is ruling. We have recognized the signs of the times as the fig tree illustration says (Matt 24).  The final sign will be for the ones who will be gnashing their teeth ..... and Jehovah's name will have something to do with it.   When all religion is banned..... preaching banned .....and all have the mark of the beast - I am sure we will reach world news.....and Jehovah's name (Jesus is already known by most in the world) will  be known by all.  Our preaching work (like in the time of Peter when he said we must obey God as ruler rather then men) will become the issue and our disobedience regarding preaching - as subversion (like Jesus).  They will kill us in the name of God thinking that they are doing God a favor....... But we may see physical signs like the Egyptians did before the finale! 

This week I read that the New World translation has been banned as extremist in Russia because it has the name of JEHOVAH in it.


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      15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
      16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
      17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
      18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
      19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
      20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
      21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
      22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
      23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
      24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
      25 Behold, I have told you before.
      26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
      27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
      28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
      29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
      30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
      31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
      32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
      33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
      34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
      35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
      36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
      37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
      38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
      39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
      40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
      41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
      42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
      43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
      44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
      45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
      46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
      47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
      48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
      49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
      50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
      51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
    • By Jack Ryan
      What is our official definition of "parousia" found in Matthew 24:3?
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