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35 minutes ago, bruceq said:
          Reasons that this manuscript may have been written by a Christian scribe:
 

Forgive an off-topic comment, if you will. I have long wanted to thank you, but did not know that you still hung around.

I finished the book I was working on, 'Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah's Witnesses Write Russia,' and you were the biggest help, since you continually posted updates of persecutions there. I am grateful to you for that.

I also took it to heart when you chastised me for 'liking' the contents of apostates, which I had never done much, but resolved to do not at all henceforth. That is not to say that I have not exchanged barbs with the 'house apostate' who resembles, after a time, a big cuddly snarling lovable rabid old teddy bear. And even a Jack someone or other, whe has launched as many as ten petulant complaints in a single day. But 'guest apostates', like a certain one who used to sign off 'he he he )))))' until he discontinued it, apparantly realizing it made him look like a moron, I do not respond to (usually).

It is well that you stay out of it. You have chosen the high road. I recall you saying that you had recently been appointed MS and married not too long ago, and that you wanted to focus on those real priorities. I hope things are going well with you.

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I thought about posting this on the recent thread "Early Christians, the New Testament and the Divine Name," partly because of a question someone posed there on the earliest evidence for Jewish disuse of the name. However, the issue merits its own thread. There is a book published a few years ago on the Greek form of the tetragrammaton, iota-alpha-omega (Ιαω), that is on-topic, yet that seems to have escaped the attention of non-scholars, and for that matter, many scholars as well. It's dense re

Forgive an off-topic comment, if you will. I have long wanted to thank you, but did not know that you still hung around. I finished the book I was working on, 'Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah's Witnesses Write Russia,' and you were the biggest help, since you continually posted updates of persecutions there. I am grateful to you for that. I also took it to heart when you chastised me for 'liking' the contents of apostates, which I had never done much, but resolved to do not at all henceforth.

I understand what you are saying. I, for one, appreciate the theory because it takes some good independent thinking to come up with a theory that is outside the norm. I like testing theories along with available evidence because it helps to either confirm or weaken the prevailing theories. In this case, I wasn't saying it was impossible that some Christians might have gone a few miles out their way to visit the caves of the Dead Sea, but I was commenting on the "sureness" of the statement about

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10 hours ago, bruceq said:

There is evidence that this fragment may have been written by a CHRISTIAN and not by Jews.

I have just completed a quick reading the book by Frank Shaw recommended by @indagator. I have also done the same for another book recommended to me late last year, "The Earliest Christian Artifacts" by Larry Hurtado. I hope you get a chance to read both books yourself if you have not already.

From what I can see, there is no real evidence that makes this particular fragment more likely to have come from a Christian. It's not just the more likely date that would place the document about 100 years prior to the first known Christian writings, it's also the fact that there is plenty of additional evidence that Greek-speaking Jews used this pronounceable form of the name for hundreds of years prior to Christianity. They had clearly been using it in writing and also pronouncing it too. Before the Greek Scriptures were written, there is evidence that some Jews had already stopped pronouncing the name, but evidence shows that this could not have been true of all Jews all at the same time, everywhere. Perhaps that practice among the Jews had reached a pervasive saturation point some time before Origen and others remarked upon that practice.

BTW, as TTH has also said, glad to see you stopping by.

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I'm sure that "Indagator" has much more background to provide a better answer, but we all learn from questioning, so I will try to take up the question behind the theory: "Could 4Q120 have been written by a Christian?"

First, it's a very interesting idea. To avoid a lot of separate quotes, I'll try to just re-quote a larger section and intersperse comments. These are just my opinions of course, but I'll highlight in orange-yellow if I think the evidence for the statement or implication of the question is not that good, and red if I think the evidence clearly goes against the particular idea presented, and green where the idea appears correct. My comments will be bracketed and in black.

There is evidence that this fragment may have been written by a CHRISTIAN and not by Jews. [Haven't yet come across any such evidence.] Although most scholars say that this fragment was written by a Jew because it is from Leviticus and from the Qumran cav?es. [However, scholars identify it as Jewish not just because it comes from the Qumram caves but because it does not present any of the primary unique indicators of Christian documents from the first century. (see Hurtado, for example)] But did only Jews use the Qumran caves? [All the evidence indicates, Yes, only Jews. There have been several theories about the purpose of the caves and who used them. All of them point to one or more Jewish groups, and there is no evidence of any Christian group who might have used them.] {When the Christians left Jerusalem in 66 C.E. they traveled right past the Qumran cave where this scroll came from "Cave 4" on there way to the mountains of Pella north along the Jordan River}!!!? [Looking at a map of Jerusalem to Pella (see attached picture below) Cave 4 would be many miles out of the way. Jesus indicated that the Christians in Jerusalem should take the quickest route.] The Christians also made copies of the Hebrew Scriptures which they would have translated into Greek the main language of the First Century. [The evidence so far, shows that Christians did not make copies of the Hebrew Scriptures that they translated into Greek. Instead, they appear to have used the LXX which was an already existing translation. There is actually no evidence that they made any copies or translations in the first century, but this does not mean it was not done.] The main reason why this was probably written by a Christian is because the Divine Name in this fragment "IAW" {Iao} is a PRONOUNCEABLE rendering of the Tetragrammaton. [Yes, IAO is a pronounceable rendering of the Divine Name as it had been pronounced by certain groups of Jews for 100's of years. However, I believe that there is no evidence yet that indicates that any Christian in the first century C.E., or even the second century C.E., pronounced or wrote the name this way. This does not mean that they did not, and in fact, I believe that you are right that many Christians did -- but only because especially the Aramaic-speaking Christians would have been following a Jewish custom for which there is a lot of evidence.] A Jew following the custom at the time of not pronouncing the Divine Name would never have written a PRONOUNCEABLE RENDERING as that would go against their traditions. [Except that we already know from the history of the term IAO, that Jews had been using this pronounceable form of the name for hundreds of years. There is evidence that these traditions against pronouncing it were not yet consistent until after the first century C.E.] However Christians did not follow Jewish traditions as Jesus denounced such very strongly. [This statement could be right or wrong, depending on which traditions are being referred to. If we recognize that many Jews were still following the Jewish tradition of pronouncing the name, then I'm sure Jesus would not have condemned that good tradition. Jesus even said of the scribes and Pharisees in Mt 23:3: "Practice and obey whatever they tell you to do."] Jews who wrote the earliest pre-Christian LXX wrote the Tetragrammaton in HEBREW within a GREEK TEXT in most cases making it stand out in order not to pronounce it. [The earliest pre-Christian LXX translations may have initially used IAO. Based on the common use of IAO at the time it is reasonable to conclude that all original LXX translations used "IAO." There is no conclusive evidence that they did not, and no conclusive evidence that they did. But there is evidence that it was earlier than the first century C.E. when IAO was used, and of course any of the other 3 major known LXX variations for the Divine Name. It's possible that some of the LXX translators may have already used "kyrios" in their earliest copies. This means that some would have already been influenced by a tradition not to pronounce the name (in 250 BCE), whether they had used YHWH-square, YHWH-paleo, kyrios, or some other replacement for the Divine Name.]

I'll stop here for now.  

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Only time for a brief reply—sorry. As JWI brings out, certain people have from time to time tried to tie manuscript finds from Qumran to Christianity. All such things have come to naught, and rightly so. A suggestion, bruceq: before forming opinions on a matter, gain the knowledge necessary to do so. In this case, one of the essential points is the testimony of the Greek historian Diodorus of Sicily who states that Jews were using Ιαω as the active pronunciation of their God around 50 BC/BCE. Obviously Christianity did not yet exist then. Therefore, the Qumran manuscript would be support for Diodorus' statement. Yet again, all this is in Shaw's book.

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{When the Christians left Jerusalem in 66 C.E. they traveled right past the Qumran cave where this scroll came from "Cave 4" on there way to the mountains of Pella north along the Jordan River}!!!? [Looking at a map of Jerusalem to Pella (see attached picture below) Cave 4 would be many miles out of the way. Jesus indicated that the Christians in Jerusalem should take the quickest route.] 

The reason I came up with this theory of the path was according to terrain maps they would not have taken the "as a bird flies" route because of terrain but would have taken the already existing roads of which the main one went directly east from Jerusalem to the northern tip of the Dead Sea where cave 4 is located then would have traveled up the Jordan river to Pella. People other than Jews used the caves over the Centuries for shelter - why coudn't the Christians have done so as well? Not that any of this really matters but I was just offering a possibility that this MSS may have been written by Christians since the early Church Fathers mentioned IAO as coming from the "Scriptures" and many other indications as presented above such as by Chrysostom and Origen. I realize none in academic circles of Christendom agrees but that does not mean they are correct just because they are a majority view. {As for dates used by scholars obviously nothing is exact and dates can be off by a couple centuries certainly 50 BC to 50 CE is within possiblity for the margin of error}.

However much evidence for a Christian origin can be found here : 

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4 hours ago, indagator said:

A suggestion, bruceq: before forming opinions on a matter, gain the knowledge necessary to do so.

Sorry i am not a college professor or anything like that. I just have an interest in the subject and have about 250 books dealing with it and thought i would give my 2 cents as i do enjoy discussing this subject. I have read and studied Shaws book about a year ago and i was just giving a theory as an interesting possibility for discussion.

As for more proof of 4Q120 possibly being of Christian origin please read pgs. 45 - 51 of the following ;

"The use of a form of the Tetragrammaton within the 4Q120 manuscript was admittedly the major reason for classi-fying it as of Jewish origin. In the light of the available in-formation today (such as lowering the date of the common use of the Tetragrammaton and the evidenced longstanding use of Ιαω among Christians], might a Jewish Christian ori-gin of the manuscript, penned sometime during the first cen-tury CE be considered possible? Some positive factors for such a hypothesis are the following"

 

 

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1 hour ago, bruceq said:

The reason I came up with this theory of the path was according to terrain maps they would not have taken the "as a bird flies" route but would have taken the already existing roads of which the main one went directly east from Jerusalem to the northern tip of the Dead Sea where cave 4 is located.

I understand what you are saying. I, for one, appreciate the theory because it takes some good independent thinking to come up with a theory that is outside the norm. I like testing theories along with available evidence because it helps to either confirm or weaken the prevailing theories. In this case, I wasn't saying it was impossible that some Christians might have gone a few miles out their way to visit the caves of the Dead Sea, but I was commenting on the "sureness" of the statement about what the Christians, in fact, did. You didn't say that they might have, or that they probably did. You just said that they did travel right past, not just the caves in general, but Cave 4 specifically.

1 hour ago, bruceq said:

When the Christians left Jerusalem in 66 C.E. they traveled right past the Qumran cave where this scroll came from "Cave 4" on there way to the mountains of Pella north along the Jordan River

This is therefore used as if it is solid evidence to feed a theory, when it is conjecture utilized to feed a theory. For that matter, there was a road to Jericho from Jerusalem and we do not know that it touched the Dead Sea and Jordan, even if it might have. Also, it is only extra-Biblical conjecture that the Christians generally fled to Pella. When Jesus said to flee to the mountains, there were actually hills all around Jerusalem, and one of the few directions they could travel "away" from mountains would have been toward the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea. You can see that by looking at the terrain relief map you provided. It seems that someone could have just as easily used Jesus' words as evidence that Christians, in general, would not have immediately traveled to the valley, but would have headed toward mountains and hills instead.

These are interesting ideas about Christians using Qumram and the vicinity, or the date of this particular scroll (4Q120), or the value of the evidence that Church Fathers knew about IAO. The strength and value of such ideas is always worth considering but from what I've seen so far, none of it helps your overall theory. But again, all of the things we state are just opinions here, so I hope you will feel welcome to put any ideas here that you want to consider.

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8 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

When Jesus said to flee to the mountains, there were actually hills all around Jerusalem, and one of the few directions they could travel "away" from mountains would have been toward the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea.

Agree -  however Jesus said to those in "Judea" not just Jerusalem to "flee to the mountains" obviously if they took the words exactly they would not have fled to the mountains around Jerusalem but would have left the province of Judea of which Pella or any of the mountains on the other side of the Jordan would have sufficed.

Sorry about my "wording" it is all conjecture of course i was not an A student in English class. lol..

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2 minutes ago, bruceq said:

Agree -  however Jesus said to those in "Judea" not just Jerusalem to "flee to the mountains" obviously if they took the words exactly they would not have fled to the mountains around Jerusalem but would have left the province of Judea

Perhaps. But telling all the people of Pennsylvania to flee to the mountains would not mean leaving Pennsylvania, but would mean leaving the cities and going up into the hills. (In Judea, the cities were, of course, the focus of Rome's armies, including Masada for example). Surely you didn't think Jesus meant that all the people on the southern borders of Judea near Idumaea would begin heading toward Jerusalem (the quickest route) on their way to Samaria and the mountains of Pella.

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16 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

Perhaps. But telling all the people of Pennsylvania to flee to the mountains would not mean leaving Pennsylvania, but would mean leaving the cities and going up into the hills. (In Judea, the cities were, of course, the focus of Rome's armies, including Masada for example). Surely you didn't think Jesus meant that all the people on the southern borders of Judea near Idumaea would begin heading toward Jerusalem (the quickest route) on their way to Samaria and the mountains of Pella.

Agree but perhaps why Pella is mentioned is because that is where most of the Christians went or perhaps that is where the "Apostles" went - again it is all conjecture. My only point is that the caves may have been used by more than just Jews and therefore Jewish Christians. Most if not all the mss left there were from Jews but why couldn't other religious groups such as Jewish Christians {Apostles} been there. {Likely the Apostles were in Jerusalem in 66 C.E. as just a few years prior the issue in Acts 15 came up they went to the Apostles and elders in "Jerusalem". 

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19 minutes ago, bruceq said:

Agree but perhaps why Pella is mentioned is because that is where most of the Christians went or perhaps that is where the "Apostles" went - again it is all conjecture.

A little off-topic, but I noticed this (for what it's worth) in the Wikipedia article under "Flight to Pella:"

  • The fourth-century church fathers
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    and
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    cite a tradition that before the
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    in AD 70 the
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    had been
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    warned to flee to
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    (Tabaquat Fahil) in the region of the
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    across the
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    .
  • The authenticity of this tradition has been a much debated question since 1951 when
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    in his work The Fall of Jerusalem and the Christian Church provided strong arguments against it, arguing that the
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    would have been allied to their compatriots, the
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    ; only after the destruction of the Jewish Christian community would Christianity have emerged as a universalist religion.
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    The Christian-Zealot alliance has hardly been taken seriously in
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    , but the historicity of the flight to Pella has been controversial ever since.
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I'm a little surprised that we would have no evidence of this tradition until quotes from nearly 300 years after it would have happened.

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Well, it's been a while since JWI obtained and read Shaw's book on the Greek form of the tetragrammaton, Ιαω. He says he's given it two full readings. No doubt the book is dense and difficult, but it has much to offer anyone interested in the divine name.

There are many informative features of the work. One of its strengths is setting the mystical use of Ιαω, that is, its use by Gnostics and magicians, in the proper historical framework. Previous scholars—and many current ones still—see Ιαω and immediately think "magic" or "Gnostic" without understanding how those people came to learn of this Greek form of the name. One the the services Shaw does is set that mystical use straight chronologically. No one had ever done that before.

He shows how there is no basis for saying that mystical types used Ιαω until the end of the first century and early second century AD/CE. What is also significant is that Shaw not only postulates that the earliest, NT Christians used this form of the name, and that it was originally in some NT books, but that it was through the preaching work of those first-century Christians that the mystical types picked up on the name and started using it. In other words, this form of the name's best known usage by Gnostics and magicians came about through the zealous preaching work by the earliest Christians, and their using the name in that preaching. He does not state this in the main text but in two footnotes (p. 288 n. 53, 289 n. 57).

This is a fascinating discovery for at least three reasons. It explains why the mystical types suddenly began using that form of the name at the time that they did. It indicates the earliest Christians used the name so much that it became a feature in their preaching work, just like the brothers have been saying on the basis of passages like Acts 15:14. Finally, it provides a previously unknown picture of how the old devil set about, very early on, attacking Jehovah's name and having it removed from the scriptures.

One can wonder why Shaw buried this detail in footnotes instead of placing it in the main text. Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that is just too radical for other scholars to see and accept. This thought would be in harmony with his statement elsewhere, on p. 287, where he offers the idea that Ιαω likely occurred originally at Rom. 10. He states, "Naturally, this proposal may come as a radical thought to many who have considered the standard interpretation of Rom. 10.9-13 as definitive, and it may threaten a long-held view about this passage." That sort of encapsulates several other things about his book as well.

There are many other valuable things in the book, but now that JWI has had the opportunity to digest it, I thought the time was ripe to post some of my observations. Others are welcome to respond or post their own thoughts if they have read it, or are considering doing so.

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    • By The Librarian
      Examining the rules of pronunciation and grammar as it applies to the name יהוה.

      Addendum #1: Another passage that is frequently used in the discussion of the name YHWH is "call upon his name" as can be seen in Psalm 105:1. The Hebrew word translated as "call" is קרא (QRA), which can mean "call," but is the same word meaning "meet." And as discussed in the video, the word "name" can mean "character," so the phrase "call upon his name," can also mean "meet with his character." Also note that the phrase following this in Psalm 105:1 is "make known his deeds among the people." This is a parallel (a common form of Hebrew poetry found throughout Psalms) with "meet with his character," much more so than "call upon his name."

      Addendum #2: DasWORTanDICH called me on my claim that the character of YHWH can be summed up with the word "unity" (Good job DasWORTanDICH) In Zech 14:9, the end of the verse literally reads "and his name/character is one." The Hebrew for "one" more literally means "unit" or "unity." Throughout the Bible we see God working in unity with himself, even when his actions are in opposition to each other. For instance, in Genesis 1 we see God "creating," but in Genesis 6 we see God "destroying." Two opposites, but working together in unity to bring about order. In the desert God is seen as a cloud by day (bringing coolness and shade), but at night a cloud by fire (bringing heat and light). These two manifestations are in opposition to each other, but work together to protect the people.




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    • folens  »  Eric Ouellet

      Bonjour Eric merci pour cet exposé.
      Bonne journée Michel
      1LE BATEAU.pdf
      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      La sagesse est plus précieuse que l’or et la crainte envers Jéhovah est notre salut.
       
      La vraie sagesse de Dieu est un cadeau inestimable, car seul ceux qui obéissent et suivent ces préceptes en recoivent les bienfaits. En Psaume 111:10 déclare ceci: “La crainte de Jéhovah est le commencement de la sagesse.”
      Qu’est-ce que cela veut dire? La sagesse est la capacité d’utiliser efficacement sa connaissance et son intelligence pour résoudre un problème, éviter un danger, atteindre un objectif. Elle sous-entend un bon jugement. Le commencement, la première partie, le fondement de cette sagesse, c’est la crainte de Jéhovah. Pourquoi cela? Bien que toute création est l’œuvre de ses mains et dépend de lui. Il a accordé aux humains le libre arbitre, mais pas la faculté de diriger leurs pas avec succès sans tenir compte de sa direction (Josué 24:15; Jérémie 10:23). Nous ne connaîtrons le succès durable qu’à la condition de bien saisir ces idées fondamentales sur la vie, et de nous y conformer. Si notre connaissance de Jéhovah nous donne la ferme conviction que la volonté divine est promise au succès, et qu’il tiendra sa promesse de récompenser ses fidèles, alors la crainte pieuse nous poussera à agir sagement. — Proverbes 3:21-26; Hébreux 11:6.
      Prenons un exemple: Il y a quelques dizaines d’années, un jeune homme fréquentait l’université de Saskatchewan, au Canada. Au programme de sa formation figurait la biologie, et on lui a enseigné l’évolution. Après avoir été diplômé, il s’est spécialisé dans la physique nucléaire, profitant d’une bourse pour continuer ses études à l’université de Toronto. Au cours de ses études, il a constaté dans la structure des atomes révélaient des témoignages stupéfiants d’un ordre et d’une finalité extraordinaire . Mais personnes ne répondait pas à ces questions: Qui a conçu tout cela? Quand? Et pourquoi? Sans ces réponses, pouvait-il utiliser sagement ses connaissances dans un monde remplis interrogations ? Qu’est-ce qui le guiderait? Le nationalisme? Le désir de gratifications matérielles? Avait-il acquis la vraie sagesse?
      Peu après avoir été diplômé, cet homme ainsi que sa femme se sont mis à étudier la Bible avec les Témoins de Jéhovah. Dans la Parole de Dieu, ils ont peu à peu trouvé les réponses qui leur manquaient. Ils ont appris à connaître le Créateur, Jéhovah Dieu. En étudiant ce qui est arrivé à Moïse à la mer Rouge, à Daniel et à ses compagnons à Babylone, ils ont appris l’importance de craindre Dieu, et non les hommes (Exode 14:10-31; Daniel 3:8-30). Cette crainte pieuse mêlée d’un amour sincère pour Jéhovah a commencé à les animer. Rapidement, leur vie a changé. Enfin cet homme connaissait Celui dont il avait étudié l’œuvre en biologie. Il a progressivement compris le dessein de Celui dont il avait constaté la sagesse dans ses cours de physique. Au lieu d’employer sa connaissance à élaborer des instruments de destruction, il a choisi, avec sa femme, d’aider autrui à aimer Dieu et son prochain. Ils ont entrepris le service de prédicateurs du Royaume de Dieu à plein temps. Par la suite, ils ont suivi les cours de Galaad, l’École biblique de la Société Watchtower, et ont été nommés missionnaires.
      Bien entendu, tout le monde ne peut pas être missionnaire. Mais tous nous pouvons bénéficier de la sagesse fondée sur la crainte de Jéhovah. Si nous cultivons cette sagesse, nous ne consacrerons pas le meilleur de notre vie à étudier les philosophies humaines, qui n’échafaudent que des suppositions sur le but de la vie. Nous nous appliquerons à l’étude de la Bible, livre inspiré de Jéhovah Dieu, la Source de la vie, celui qui peut nous donner la vie éternelle (Psaume 36:9; Colossiens 2:8). Au lieu de nous rendre esclaves d’un système commercial chancelant, au bord de la ruine, nous écouterons Jéhovah, qui nous conseille de nous contenter de la nourriture et du vêtement, et d’accorder à nos relations avec lui la priorité dans notre existence (1 Timothée 6:8-12). Au lieu de nous comporter comme si notre avenir dépendait d’une belle situation dans le monde actuel, nous croirons la Parole de Jéhovah, qui nous affirme que le monde est en train de passer, de même que le désir du monde, alors que celui qui fait la volonté divine demeure pour toujours. — 1 Jean 2:17.
      Dans le livre de Proverbes 16:16, Salomon nous encourage par cette déclaration certaine: “Acquérir la sagesse [la sagesse qui commence par la crainte de Jéhovah], oh! combien cela vaut mieux que l’or! Et acquérir l’intelligence est préférable à l’argent.” Poussés par cette sagesse et cette intelligence, nous considérerons l’accomplissement de la volonté de Dieu comme le premier centre d’intérêt de notre vie. Et quelle activité Dieu a-t-il confiée à ses Témoins en cette période de l’histoire humaine? Faire connaître son Royaume par la prédication et aider les personnes sincères à devenir de vrais disciples de Jésus Christ (Matthieu 24:14; 28:19, 20). Il s’agit d’une activité dont on retire une satisfaction véritable et un grand bonheur. C’est donc à propos que la Bible dit: “Heureux l’homme qui a trouvé la sagesse, et l’homme qui acquiert le discernement.” — Proverbes 3:13.
      Elle nous retient de commettre le mal
      Un deuxième bienfait que nous procure la crainte de Dieu est qu’elle nous retient de commettre le mal. Celui qui respecte profondément Dieu ne détermine pas par lui-même ce qui est bien et mal. Il ne tient pas pour mauvais ce que Dieu déclare bon, ni ne considère comme bon ce que Dieu déclare mauvais (Psaume 37:1, 27; Ésaïe 5:20, 21). De plus, celui que motive la crainte pieuse ne se contente pas de savoir ce que Jéhovah déclare bon ou mauvais. Une telle personne aime ce que Jéhovah aime et elle hait ce que Jéhovah hait. En conséquence, elle agit en harmonie avec les préceptes divins. Ainsi, comme le dit Proverbes 16:6, “par la crainte de Jéhovah, on se détourne du mal”. Cette crainte pieuse devient une motivation puissante qui permet d’atteindre des résultats qu’on n’obtiendrait pas même si une personne commence tout juste à l’éprouver, la crainte pieuse peut lui donner le courage de ne pas faire quelque chose qu’elle regretterait le restant de ses jours. Au Mexique, par exemple, une femme enceinte a demandé à une chrétienne Témoin de Jéhovah ce qu’elle pensait de l’avortement. La chrétienne lui a lu plusieurs versets bibliques, puis lui a tenu ce raisonnement: “Pour le Créateur, la vie est très importante, même la vie de ceux qui ne sont pas encore nés.” (Exode 21:22, 23; Psaume 139:13-16). Des examens laissaient entendre que le bébé serait anormal. Néanmoins, après ce qu’elle avait vu dans la Parole de Dieu, cette femme a décidé de garder son enfant. Son médecin a refusé de la revoir, et son mari l’a menacée de la quitter, mais elle a tenu bon. Elle a finalement donné naissance à une magnifique petite fille, normale et en bonne santé. Par gratitude, elle a recherché les Témoins et s’est mise à étudier la Parole de Dieu avec eux. Moins d’un an après, son mari et elle se faisaient baptiser. Quelques années plus tard, à une assemblée de district, tous deux ont été enchantés de rencontrer la chrétienne qui avait parlé à la femme la première fois. Ils lui ont présenté leur jolie fillette de quatre ans. Incontestablement, le respect de Dieu et le désir puissant de ne pas lui déplaire exercent une grande influence.
      La crainte pieuse peut nous garder d’un grand nombre de mauvaises actions (2 Corinthiens 7:1). Cultivée avec soin, elle est capable d’aider quelqu’un à mettre un terme à des péchés cachés, connus de lui seul et de Jéhovah. Elle peut l’aider à se libérer de la dépendance de l’alcool ou de la drogue. Un ancien drogué d’Afrique du Sud a raconté: “Au fur et à mesure que j’apprenais à connaître Dieu, la crainte de le décevoir ou de lui déplaire grandissait en moi. Je savais qu’il m’observait, et je désirais ardemment son approbation. Cela m’a incité à me débarrasser de la drogue qui était en ma possession en la jetant dans les toilettes.” La crainte pieuse a aidé des milliers de personnes de la même manière. — Proverbes 5:21; 15:3.
      La crainte salutaire de Dieu nous préserve également de la crainte de l’homme. La plupart des humains connaissent, à des degrés divers, la crainte de l’homme. Les apôtres de Jésus Christ l’ont abandonné et se sont enfuis lorsque les soldats se sont emparés de lui dans le jardin de Gethsémané. Plus tard, dans la cour du grand prêtre, désarçonné et en proie à la crainte, Pierre a nié faire partie des disciples de Jésus et même le connaître (Marc 14:48-50, 66-72; Jean 18:15-27). Mais grâce à l’aide qu’ils ont reçue, les apôtres ont retrouvé leur équilibre spirituel. Par contre, aux jours du roi Jéhoïakim, Urie, fils de Schémaïah, fut terrassé par la crainte au point d’abandonner son service de prophète de Jéhovah et de fuir le pays, ce qui ne l’empêcha pas d’être capturé et tué. — Jérémie 26:20-23.
      Comment vaincre la crainte de l’homme? 
      Après nous avoir prévenus que “trembler devant les hommes, voilà ce qui tend un piège”, Proverbes 29:25 ajoute: “Mais celui qui se confie en Jéhovah sera protégé.” La réponse tient donc dans la confiance en Jéhovah. Cette confiance s’appuie sur la connaissance et l’expérience. L’étude de sa Parole nous démontre que les voies de Jéhovah sont droites. Nous découvrons des événements attestant qu’il est digne de confiance, que ses promesses sont sûres (y compris celle de la résurrection), qu’il est amour et qu’il est tout-puissant. Lorsqu’ensuite nous agissons conformément à cette connaissance, accomplissant ce que Jéhovah demande et rejetant fermement ce qu’il condamne, nous commençons à constater dans notre propre cas qu’il prend soin de ses serviteurs avec amour et que l’on peut compter sur lui. Nous acquérons personnellement la certitude que sa puissance est à l’œuvre pour que s’accomplisse sa volonté. Notre confiance en lui s’accroît, de même que notre amour pour lui et notre désir sincère de ne pas lui déplaire. Cette confiance est bâtie sur un fondement solide. Elle est un rempart contre la crainte de l’homme.
      Notre confiance en Jéhovah, alliée à la crainte pieuse, nous rendra fermes en faveur du bien dans le cas où un employeur menacerait de nous renvoyer si nous refusions de participer à des pratiques commerciales malhonnêtes (voir Michée 6:11, 12). Grâce à cette crainte pieuse, des milliers de chrétiens persévèrent dans le vrai culte malgré l’opposition de membres de leur famille. Elle donne aussi aux jeunes le courage de se faire connaître comme Témoins de Jéhovah à l’école, et elle les affermit face aux moqueries de leurs camarades de classe qui méprisent les principes bibliques. Ainsi, une adolescente Témoin de Jéhovah a dit: “Ce qu’ils pensent m’est bien égal. L’important, c’est ce que pense Jéhovah.”
      La même conviction donne aux vrais chrétiens la force de rester attachés aux voies de Jéhovah lorsque leur vie est en jeu. Ils savent qu’ils risquent d’être persécutés par le monde. Ils sont conscients que les apôtres ont été fouettés et que même Jésus Christ a été frappé et tué par des hommes méchants (Marc 14:65; 15:15-39; Actes 5:40; voir aussi Daniel 3:16-18). Mais les serviteurs de Jéhovah sont assurés qu’il peut leur donner la force d’endurer, qu’avec son aide ils peuvent remporter la victoire, que Jéhovah récompensera sans faute ses fidèles, si besoin en les ressuscitant dans son monde nouveau. Leur amour pour Dieu ajouté à la crainte pieuse les pousse puissamment à éviter toute action qui pourrait lui déplaire.
      C’est parce qu’ils étaient animés d’une telle motivation que les Témoins de Jéhovah ont supporté les horreurs des camps de concentration nazis dans les années 30 et 40. Ils ont pris à cœur le conseil de Jésus consigné en Luc 12:4, 5: “D’autre part, je vous le dis à vous, mes amis: Ne craignez pas ceux qui tuent le corps, et qui après cela ne peuvent rien faire de plus. Mais je vais vous indiquer qui vous devez craindre: craignez celui qui, après avoir tué, a le pouvoir de jeter dans la Géhenne. Oui, je vous le dis, Celui-là, craignez-le.” Par exemple, Gustav Auschner, un Témoin qui avait été interné dans le camp de concentration de Sachsenhausen, a écrit plus tard: ‘Les SS ont exécuté August Dickmann et ont menacé de nous passer tous par les armes si nous refusions de signer un document par lequel nous abjurions notre foi. Pas un seul n’a signé. Notre crainte de déplaire à Jéhovah était plus forte que la crainte de leurs balles.’ La crainte de l’homme mène aux compromis, mais la crainte de Dieu nous affermit pour faire le bien.
      La préservation de la vie
      Noé a connu les derniers jours du monde antédiluvien. Jéhovah avait décidé de détruire le monde d’alors en raison de la méchanceté des humains. Toutefois, en attendant, Noé a vécu dans un monde où régnaient la violence, l’immoralité sexuelle choquante et le mépris de la volonté divine. Noé a prêché la justice, et pourtant “ils ne s’aperçurent de rien jusqu’à ce que le déluge vînt et les emportât tous”. (Matthieu 24:39.) Noé n’a cependant pas renoncé à l’activité que Dieu lui avait confiée. Il fit “selon tout ce que Dieu lui avait ordonné. Ainsi fit-il”. (Genèse 6:22.) Qu’est-ce qui a permis à Noé, année après année et jusqu’au déluge, de toujours agir comme il convenait? Hébreux 11:7 répond: “Par la foi, Noé, divinement averti de choses qu’on ne voyait pas encore, fit montre d’une crainte pieuse.” Pour cette raison, sa femme, ses fils, leurs femmes et lui ont été sauvés du déluge.
       Notre époque ressemble de bien des manières à celle de Noé (Luc 17:26, 27). De nouveau un avertissement est lancé. Révélation 14:6, 7 parle d’un ange qui vole au milieu du ciel et invite les gens de toute nation et tribu et langue à ‘craindre Dieu et à lui donner gloire’. Quel que puisse être le comportement du monde autour de vous, obéissez à ces paroles, puis transmettez l’invitation à autrui. À l’instar de Noé, agissons avec foi et manifestons une crainte pieuse. Par cela, des vies peuvent être sauvées: la vôtre et celle de nombre de vos semblables. Lorsque nous considérons les bienfaits dont profitent ceux qui craignent le vrai Dieu, nous ne pouvons que souscrire aux paroles du psalmiste divinement inspiré qui chanta: 
      “Heureux est l’homme qui craint Jéhovah, dans les commandements de qui il prend grand plaisir!” — Psaume 112:1.

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    • Darlene  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      I can not open study material 
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    • Darlene  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Can not open weekly study material 
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    • Deborah T. Calloway  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Thank you so much for the meeting work book. I really appreciate your hard work 
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