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JW Insider

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  1. There is no evidence that Yahweh is the right way either. We use language to be understood, not to perfectly match historical pronunciations. No one who speaks English pronounces the name "Jesus" the way it was pronounced by Greeks and Judeans and Galileans in his own day. "Wrong" would be if it could not be easily understood who we were referring to.
  2. I'm sure most Witnesses here had the meeting yesterday, probably through Zoom, and the Special Talk (pre-Memorial). The talk was also already available on JW.ORG, and the Memorial talk(s) too. The announcement that all the summer conventions would be made available through JW.ORG didn't surprise me, because planning for these is a lot of work in Feb/Mar even where all conventions are at local assembly halls, and planning for other venues takes much longer, sometimes contracted nearly a year in advance. Because of the unknowns it is not possible, therefore, to just push these out a couple of months.
  3. We should still remember that Watchtower publications have admitted for decades that we chose to continue to use the common pronunciation, Jehovah, even though we considered Yahweh to be a more accurate pronunciation. From what I can tell, Nehemiah Gordon has found nothing new that was not already known by the Watchtower researchers (FWF) back in 1947 when they admitted that Yahweh was probably a more accurate Hebrew pronunciation than Jehovah. Remember that Gordon is almost exclusively looking at relatively RECENT manuscripts that have a Masoretic pointing system. He has found absolutely nothing new, but continues to hype up exactly what scholars and Hebrew Bible readers had already known to expect of all the manuscripts coming out of the relatively recent time period he focuses on. In fact, the vowel pointing that would support Yehovah/Yehowah, which he is finding, was long considered to be the solution to help readers AVOID pronouncing the name that way and to replace it with a word that better fit the vowels -- because it was so unlikely that God's name, as represented by YHVH would have had the same vowels as ah-doh-nay, or el-oh-him. If it was a purposeful diversion, as scholars have long thought, then what Gordon is pretending to "discover" could merely be evidence that Jehovah or Yahowah, Jehoveh are some of the specific pronunciations that would never have been used for the actual pronunciation. It bothers me that Gordon pretends to discover things that have been known for centuries. It makes me think he is hyping up something to get attention for himself. It can't be that he doesn't know that all these things he has "discovered" were not already discussed for centuries, unless he really was a clueless scholar. I don't believe he could have bee that clueless, which makes me think he is dishonest. And this has nothing to do with whether I think the name Jehovah is just as appropriate as Yahweh for current usage. I think it's just fine for the exact same reasons that the Watchtower publications (and NWT) have stated that Jehovah is fine for us today, even though the Watchtower also admitted that Yahweh was probably more accurate to the Hebrew.
  4. Yikes. Just saw the Inside Edition clip. I don't know what a demon's eyes look like, but somehow that Kenneth Copeland seems to be able to portray the general idea in a convincing manner.
  5. I guess it is a very cunning, lingering virus.
  6. I put "rules" in quotes because I believe actual rules are too much like laws, and then it smacks of legalism, and we therefore miss the spirit of Jesus' instructions. Especially if they are always followed the exact same way so often that we aren't really paying much attention. But you hit upon a few of the "rules" to question already: Why does our wine need to be the same as a "Passover" wine? At one time, an elder would purchase the wine and no else one really thought much about whether it was "Kosher for Seder" or exactly what levels of sugar it had. Now that millions of Witnesses will think about going out to buy it on their own, they might wonder why we don't try for wine made from Israeli grapes/vineyards. What constitutes too much preservative to make it impure if it must represent the unblemished Lamb? And if it's too difficult to get your own wine, some will wonder (as you did) if you should get symbols at all! Or perhaps, since no one is partaking, would it be OK to take the closest matching wine from your own wine rack? After all, it's only called "the product of the vine" in the Scriptures, and we don't know much more about any Galilean variations for Passover. Also, what if someone has decided just before the Memorial that they now are of the anointed class and the symbol wasn't offered? And, even if no one is partaking, how important is to follow the words: "Take this and pass it from one to the other among yourselves" (Luke 22:17) The same kinds of questions could be asked about the bread. (Also, the question might arise about whether a family needs to clear the food from the dinner table first, since the disciples seemed not have done so in Matt 26: (Matthew 26:20-26) . . .When, now, it had become evening, he was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. 21 While they were eating, he said: “Truly I say to YOU, One of YOU will betray me.” ... “He that dips his hand with me in the bowl is the one that will betray me. 24 ... 26 As they continued eating, Jesus took a loaf and, after saying a blessing, he broke it and, giving it to the disciples, he said: “TAKE, eat. This means my body.” (Usually it was a bowl of oil that a piece of bread was dipped into.) Other questions, like I mentioned, might be why it has to be on Nisan 14, if Jews could celebrate a month later? Or why do we even celebrate it once a year like Passover was celebrated, when Paul said "whenever" and Jesus sais "as often"? Or, is it proper to have this celebration at a house when Paul said that people should eat at their home instead of where they partake of the Memorial? (1 Corinthians 11:20-22) . . .When you come together in one place, it is not really to eat the Lord’s Evening Meal. 21 For when you eat it, each one takes his own evening meal beforehand, so that one is hungry but another is intoxicated. 22 Do you not have houses for eating and drinking? . . . And for some, they might be paying more than the usual attention to this particular Memorial and perhaps even deeper questions might arise about the doctrine itself. Perhaps questions some should NOT be asking. Whether partaking in a Biblical sense actually means sharing which some might say we should all be doing. Or even whether the particular part of the Kingdom hope we wish for ourselves personally should have anything to do with whether we are supposed to partake. (1 Corinthians 10:16, 17) . . .The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of the Christ? The loaf that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of the Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, although many, are one body, for we are all partaking of that one loaf.
  7. Not particularly. But especially not right now. Not necessary for the time when Armageddon starts. Remember when Elijah thought he was all alone, and no other prophets had been spared? (Romans 11:2-5) . . .Do you not know what the scripture says in connection with E·liʹjah, as he pleads with God against Israel? 3 “Jehovah, they have killed your prophets, they have dug up your altars, and I alone am left, and now they are trying to take my life.” 4 Yet, what does the divine pronouncement say to him? “I have left for myself 7,000 men who have not bent the knee to Baʹal.” 5 So in the same way, at the present time also, there is a remnant according to a choosing through undeserved kindness. Obviously Elijah was not at that time huddled together with them. Jehovah sees everywhere, and can choose to protect whom he chooses. Yes, thrilling, but there is no evidence that they all fled to the same place. @Anna has already mentioned what happened at Passover. @paulus has already referred to a very appropriate scripture: (2 Chronicles 20:17) 17 You will not need to fight this battle. Take your position, stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah in your behalf. . . . And there are other principles that can well be applied to Armageddon: (Lamentations 3:24-26) 24 “Jehovah is my share,” I have said, “that is why I will show a waiting attitude for him.” ט [Teth] 25 Good is Jehovah to the one hoping in him, to the person who keeps seeking him. 26 Good it is to wait in silence for the salvation of Jehovah. Or the more "famous:" (Psalm 91:2-11) . . .I will say to Jehovah: “You are my refuge and my stronghold, My God in whom I trust.” 3 For he will rescue you from the trap of the birdcatcher, From the destructive pestilence. 4 With his pinions he will cover you, And under his wings you will take refuge. His faithfulness will be a large shield and a protective wall. 5 You will not fear the terrors of the night, Nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 Nor the pestilence that stalks in the gloom, Nor the destruction that ravages at midday. 7 A thousand will fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, But to you it will not come near. 8 You will only see it with your eyes As you witness the punishment of the wicked. 9 Because you said: “Jehovah is my refuge,” You have made the Most High your dwelling; 10 No disaster will befall you, And no plague will come near your tent. 11 For he will give his angels a command concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. Perhaps it would be nice if many of us could take a long, expensive flight to Australia. Are you recommending a specific time to leave? Any particular airline or cruise line? And why this place in particular? Is it a wilderness that has some connection to the word wilderness in Revelation 12:6? If so, it appears to fly in the face of the very scriptures we often look to when thinking about the parousia/synteleia, the judgment on the world. About that Jesus warned: (Matthew 24:23-26) . . .“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look! Here is the Christ,’ or, ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will perform great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones. 25 Look! I have forewarned you. 26 Therefore, if people say to you, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; . . . It makes me wonder whether Jesus already knew there would be people thinking they could convince others to flee to a wilderness.
  8. I get it. Jehovah takes no pleasure in the suffering of humans and therefore would have him killed without much suffering. I get it. You would take pleasure in prolonging the suffering of a fellow human because they were apostate. You like the idea of prolonged torture against enemies. (Romans 12:16-21) . . .Do not become wise in your own eyes. 17 Return evil for evil to no one. Take into consideration what is fine from the viewpoint of all men. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, be peaceable with all men. 19 Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: “‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ says Jehovah.” 20 But “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing this you will heap fiery coals on his head.” 21 Do not let yourself be conquered by the evil, but keep conquering the evil with the good. (Mark 7:20-23) 20 Further, he said: “That which comes out of a man is what defiles him. 21 For from inside, out of the heart of men, come injurious reasonings, sexual immorality, thefts, murders, 22 acts of adultery, greed, acts of wickedness, deceit, brazen conduct, an envious eye, blasphemy, haughtiness, and unreasonableness. 23 All these wicked things come from within and defile a man.” (James 2:11-13) If, now, you do not commit adultery but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of law. 12 Keep on speaking and behaving in such a way as those do who are going to be judged by the law of a free people. 13 For the one who does not practice mercy will have his judgment without mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. Food for thought.
  9. Strange logic. If one had a choice between being killed by the Angel of Death or being killed by a deranged, murderous "JW" who enjoyed killing apostates, why does it make a difference? Do you think that after his death the apostate is going to be mad because the lunatic "JW" won't wipe that smile off his face?
  10. Someone should take a poll on Wednesday and collect all the ideas and questions that we thought about related to the Memorial.
  11. This is exactly the point! And I think that by shaking up the traditional environment by which we usually hear these talks and prayers, and by which see the symbols in front of us, that we now have a chance for a new, more focused perspective on these symbols. Often, in life, (or football games, or even when training animals, etc.) we don't focus on the "rules" until there are apparent exceptions to the rule. I think the exceptional nature of this particular Memorial will make it a time when everyone thinks more about the symbols, even if some of us cannot obtain the best physical version of the symbol. (In our area a brother is going around delivering wine and bread that his wife made.) Liquor stores are closed, although some grocery stores have wine that is "close enough to spec." I think everyone is going to question what parameters are OK, and what might not be appropriate. There will be differences of opinion about what was appropriate or not. There will be brothers wondering why we didn't put this off for one month, like the Jews did for Passover, and then follow "emergency" procedures if they are still necessary. (Even if we were already at the midpoint of Covid-19, however, we can still expect just as long a curve of suffering and death on the way back down in most places.) I'm thinking that the shakeup of this particular ritual (and the thinking it will motivate) is one "silver lining" of the Covid-19 cloud.
  12. Another thought you bring up is this next idea: I'm sure the thought has occurred to some that we Witnesses have always expected an opportunity to arise when religions are "banned" or effectively put under pressure not to meet. The idea is that we Witnesses would never give in, but would risk our lives to continue on as always no matter what the authorities threatened. In the past, I have stated here that it seems quite unlikely that this scenario (up to that point at least) would really allow the Witnesses to stand very far apart from other religions, because I would expect that dozens of other religions have an apocalyptic view of themselves and are awaiting the same thing. Some of these non-JW groups actually expect this action to come from the UN, too. Also, we strongly expect that our meetings under ban would be "underground" or based on much smaller groupings, and effectively invisible to authorities. And now, with Covid-19, we see a glimpse of how many other religions react to governmental bans and restrictions on meetings. Many have defied the orders of local authorities under threat of having their doors closed and large fines imposed. Mayors are being accused of being too harsh on these restrictions because such sanctions could end up keeping the doors closed on some churches and synagogues even after the crisis is over. Yet some of these religions appear to believe that God will protect them.
  13. I think you have stated the question very well and have already implied the answers. Yes, some see it as a ritual. But it really is a ritual, just as baptism is a ritual that is not optional. Some religions also treat all wedding ceremonies and even funerals as rituals. Some have different or additional rites and rituals. For one who considers himself or herself anointed, it is like baptism: not an optional ritual. As you (and the WT said) the important thing is not to see the ritual as something more than it is. It is not a necessary part of salvation, but an opportunity for a personal and public expression of faith, just like baptism. Although it seems appropriate that members of the other sheep should joyfully celebrate such expressions of faith by the anointed, it is too solemn to be considered a celebration. It is often more solemn than some Witness funerals. There is such quiet and seriousness, that no one even seems to notice if someone, somewhere in the Hall, had partaken. Sometimes, I only notice whether all the glasses, initially filled to exactly the same height, come back to the front table with one of them having less wine in it. And then I wonder if there was a partaker, or if some sister got some wine accidentally spilled on her dress. For a time, the Watchtower made it clear that persons who were of the "other sheep" class, were not invited to the Memorial. Some time later, it was made clear that they would not partake of the emblems and they were invited to join. Sometimes (rarely) we hear the objection that the other sheep only attend in order to show that they are refusing to follow Jesus command to "Take, Eat!" and "Take. Drink!" Or even as if we are only there to physically reject the symbols of Jesus' ransom, I have answered that this is just as much a way for the other sheep to express their faith in an earthly paradise under the rule of Jesus and the 144,000 but separate from them. I have seen Memorials where the scene is "over-the-top" ritualistic when the emblems are offered and refused by the speaker. It can seem even more so where the speaker partakes, and it looks like the changing of the guard at Buckingham when a specially choreographed arrangement is made on the stage for up to 4 servers and the speaker to pass the emblems among themselves, with the speaker in the middle and a table off to each side.
  14. But in many languages even calling God, "God" is using a hybrid name developed by men. For example, the word for "God" in Spanish is Dios, which comes from Zeus. In Greek the word was Theos. dZeu-pater (God the Father) is also pronounced Jupiter. The word "holy" or "heile" in German is a not-so-thinly-veiled connection to the Sun's rays. The word Hades was the name of the Greek god of the underworld. Tartarus was a place in Greek mythology where the mythological giants were imprisoned. There are even several common Greek words that Paul used where the etymology traces directly back to the practices known from particular pagan cities. I think that a lot of people who won't use a pronunciation like "Jehovah" have no problem with people who used it outside the Watchtower publications, especially as it was used prior to say 1900. But we also have a lot of evidence that God's people pronounced the name Yaho in the century(ies) just leading up to Christianity, and therefore many likely used such a pronunciation in Jesus' day. This is probably different from its pronunciation 600 years earlier. But pronouncing the English transliterations of the Hebrew letters is also a human convention developed by man. I think it's the same principle we have to deal with in all language. Language changes over time and pronunciations will sometimes end up overlapping with mundane or pagan words, and sometimes mundane or pagan concepts will overlap with sacred words. Just my opinion, too, of course.
  15. Rutherford thought it was stupid. (I think Clayton Woodworth produced this while Rutherford was busy with some Flag Salute cases.)
  16. 1935 Golden Age, and 1935 Yearbook.
      Hello guest!
    See especially page 381. The foundation for it gets wild in the preceding pages, but the math is generally correct.
  17. Hmmm. Do you refuse to say Hades or Tartarus as used in the Bible? What about the pagan source of the word "Amen" or even the English word "holy?"
  18. (John 10:34) . . .Jesus answered them: “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said: “You are gods”’? I hope you didn't get confused by that scripture. 😉
  19. I accept the lead of good examples. These "leaders" set a very good example in promoting international brotherhood, organizing efficient world wide preaching, designing an educational program that puts Bible examples in front of us constantly so we can learn from good and bad examples. Also, the level of morality that's promoted includes, not just the standard morality of fundamentalists, but also neutrality when it comes to participation in divisive politics and violent wars. I don't remain with my brothers and sisters because of a history of chronology doctrine, and I do my best to point out that this is a trap which could start rearing its ugly head again when the two-part generation starts running out. But as JTR said, find me another religion or association that I could join, and if it's better, I'll join it. Just make sure it has the same position on War, Trinity, Neutrality, Preaching, and New Heavens and New Earth.
  20. Similar, but not quite the same thing as picking a date and then saying, "well it wasn't 1975 let's see if it's going to be 1976 or 1977" etc. From the tied-in perspective of counting the number of years in a life-span or generation starting with someone old enough in 1914, then yes, it was part of a series of failed dates. But, interestingly, even though 1975 was just a part of an expectation for 'what the 1970's would bring,' that particular prophetic expectation for 1975 did not get stronger as the 1970's wore on after 1975. Instead it was dropped like a hot potato for a couple of years. No one talked about it in 1976, even though you'd think it would become even more important. Shows how much focus had actually been put on that one year even though technically it was about the decade of the 70's. But I was also referring to how Daniel says that the person who waits until the last chance "1335" would be happy, and how the Watchtower still identifies this time ending in 1925 and 1926 as "time of great happiness." Yet it was actually a sad time. *** [Daniel's Prophecy] dp chap. 17 p. 303 par. 24 Identifying True Worshipers in the Time of the End *** at the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days!” (Daniel 12:12) The angel gives no clues as to when this period begins or ends. History suggests that it simply follows on the heels of the preceding period. In that case it would run from the autumn of 1922 to the late spring of 1926 (Northern Hemisphere). Did the holy ones come to a state of happiness by the end of that period? Yes, in important spiritual ways. *** dp chap. 17 p. 304 par. 26 Identifying True Worshipers in the Time of the End *** The issue of March 1, 1925, carried the historic article “Birth of the Nation,” giving God’s people a full understanding of what had happened in the 1914-19 period. After 1925 passed, the holy ones no longer served God with an immediate, explicit deadline in view. Rather, the sanctification of Jehovah’s name was paramount. This vital truth was highlighted, as never before, in the January 1, 1926, . . . The period of 1335 is said to have ended in the late spring of 1926, but if we look at the literature, we see that 1925 was still being pushed right up to the last day of 1925. The expression '1925 is not over yet' was used in a publication, very similarly to how Millerites still thought the 1844 year would be correct even if the October date had passed. Different from 1975, the back-peddling began when 1925 arrived. But in this case the back-peddling wasn't a drop of the expectation, but a shift to include 1926 in the prediction. So that the pain and embarrassment and sadness was merely extended by giving false hope for another year. History proves that the ouster proceedings began promptly on time. Prophecy indicates that 1925-1926 will see the greater part of the ousting completed. All the world's statesmen are dreading the next few years." The Way to Paradise (1925) p.171 "The year 1926 would therefore begin about October first, 1925. ... We should, therefore, expect shortly after 1925 to see the awakening of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Melchisedec, Job, Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, John the Baptist, and others mentioned in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. The Way to Paradise (1925) p.224 It's so typical for persons to get their entire lives wrapped up in chronology. Once they get started, it becomes kind of a trap that they never give up on. And then Jesus warned against it, so that we know it's also unchristian and unloving. Russell was attracted to Adventist chronology from a very young age and kept at it until he died in 1916. Harold Camping (non-JW) in the United States was another case of someone who just kept predicting right up until he died, hurting thousands of people by doing so. I had a very sad conversation with one of his "flock" the day before the "end."
  21. I'm not at all suggesting that this is the true meaning of those final verses of Daniel, but they do rather eerily correspond to the experience of almost everyone who feels the frustration of pinning their hopes on chronology. Here is a quote from the actual verses again, followed by a paraphrase of what might be written between the lines. Let the reader use discernment, while keeping their tongue in cheek: ([ACTUAL] Daniel 12:6-13) . . .“How long will it be to the end of these marvelous things?” 7 Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was up above the waters of the stream, as he raised his right hand and his left hand to the heavens and swore by the One who is alive forever: “It will be for an appointed time, appointed times, and half a time. . . . 8 Now as for me, I heard, but I could not understand; so I said: “O my lord, what will be the outcome of these things?” 9 Then he said: “Go, Daniel, because the words are to be kept secret and sealed up until the time of the end. 10 Many will cleanse themselves and whiten themselves and will be refined. And the wicked ones will act wickedly, and none of the wicked will understand; but those having insight will understand. 11 . . . there will be 1,290 days. 12 “Happy is the one who keeps in expectation and who arrives at the 1,335 days! 13 “But as for you, go on to the end. You will rest, but you will stand up for your lot at the end of the days.” ([FAKE] Daniel 12:6-13) . . .“How long will it be to the end of these marvelous things?” 7 Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was up above the waters of the stream, as he raised his right hand and his left hand to the heavens and swore by the One who is alive forever: [“IT'S GOING TO BE 1,260 DAYS"] . . . 8 Now as for me, I heard, but I could not understand; so I said: “O my lord, what will be the outcome of these things?” 9 Then he said: “Go, Daniel, because the words are to be kept secret and sealed up until the time of the end. 10 Many will cleanse themselves and whiten themselves and will be refined. And the wicked ones will act wickedly, and none of the wicked will understand; but those having insight will understand. . . . [YOU WILL PROBABLY WONDER WHY NOTHING SEEMED TO HAPPEN AT THE END OF 1,260 DAYS AND RECALCULATE TO ANNOUNCE]. . . .there will be 1,290 days. [AND WHEN THAT DOESN'T WORK OUT YOU WILL PROBABLY THINK YOU CAN RECALCULATE AGAIN AND ANNOUNCE:] 12 “Happy is the one who keeps in expectation and who arrives at the 1,335 days! 13 “But as for you, go on to the end. [IN FACT, YOU MAY CONTINUE TO GO ON FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE AND WONDER WHY YOU NEVER COULD FIGURE OUT WHY YOUR OWN EXPECTATION PROVED WRONG FOR 1,260, then 1290, THEN 1,335 DAYS. BUT DON'T WORRY AT ALL. THESE TIME PERIODS ARE GOD'S, NOT YOURS. YOU MAY LIVE OUT YOUR LIFE AND REST IN THE GROUND, BUT REST ASSURED] . . . You will rest, but you will stand up for your lot at the end of the days.” Although this FAKE ending of Daniel probably seems ludicrous to you, it has been the exact experience of thousands of persons who thought they could figure out just what is the meaning of the 1,260 days. Several times in the 1800's, for example, men tried to pinpoint the end. Some started announcing in 1840 that the end was about 3.5 years away, but when it didn't happen in 1843, they recalculated and picked new dates in 1844, and then when it didn't happen in October 1844, they waited right up to nearly the last cold day of 1844. Then again it happened in the 1860's, and then it happened again in the 1870's. (Barbour said it would be 1873, then changed it to 1874, then his group recalculated possible dates in 1874. Then, when 1874 failed, they decided it was 1874 all along but invisible.) Then it happened again around 1914, when the "END" of this system had been predicted, and then when it didn't happen, the end "of the Gentile Times" was moved to 1915. A few months after it didn't happen then, the Finished Mystery book, predicted the end of this system for 1918. When it didn't happen then, it was predicted again for 1925.** I think we should stop trying to go where angels should fear to tread, and trust that the end can come at any time. It is our lot to live our lives in expectation that it can happen at any time, yet, for all of us it will happen unexpectedly, in an instant, at the very end of our current lives, if not sooner. **Ironically, the expression in Daniel 12:12: "Happy is the one who keeps in expectation and who arrives at the 1,335 days" is interpreted in the Watchtower to mean the year 1925. This was probably the saddest and most embarrassing year in the history of the Watch Tower Society. Does this sound happy? *** yb75 p. 146 Part 2—United States of America *** So, as Anna MacDonald recalls: “1925 was a sad year for many brothers. Some of them were stumbled; their hopes were dashed. They had hoped to see some of the ‘ancient worthies’ [men of old like Abraham] resurrected. Instead of its being considered a ‘probability,’ they read into it that it was a ‘certainty,’ and some prepared for their own loved ones with expectancy of their resurrection. Imagine, being told that 1925 was a sure thing, even surer than 1914, with even more assurances than Noah had for believing God when God told him there would be a flood. The Watchtower said it was not just a probability but a certainty. Based on that certainty, some brothers even built houses and extra rooms for their resurrected loved ones. Imagine them thinking of Noah explaining to passersby why he was building an ark, when brothers in 1924 and 1925 were explaining to passersby why they were building additions onto their homes. Then imagine being told that it was their own fault for believing the Watchtower which had indicated that it was a certainty, and not just a probability. In fact, they should have never even considered 1925 to be any stronger of a probability than 1850 or 1935 or 1975 or 2034! Those who pin their hopes on any specific signs or dates will probably have those hopes dashed.
  22. Yes. I know of only a few other JWs who admit to believing this. Not that it should mean that much to us, but hundreds of thousands of Bible readers, and most Bible scholars and commentators have believed exactly this way through the centuries. This is true. Even those persons and translators who didn't have access to the first-century definition of "royal parade-like visitation" (discovered in the early 1900's from first-century papyri) had already understood the truth of the matter even from the original "basic" definition of parousia, which is related to being present. The parousia is accompanied by a spectacular judgment event, sometimes referred to in Jewish literature of that time period as a "synteleia" which can refer to a destructive "end of all things together." The "end of all things" judgment event is part of the parousia according to the Bible usage (Matthew 24:3). The parousia of a royal personage could include a judgment event even among the Roman emperors and their officials when they visited a province. But these other royal visitations were parade-like and therefore called parousia's, but not synteleia's. I think it's only a synteleia if it includes a destructive judgment event. It's this judgment, I think, that is referred to with the symbolism of stars falling and in other places, mountains falling, the sun and moon not giving light, etc. The separation of sheep from goats, the resurrection of righteous and unrighteous, the gathering of the anointed, etc. All these things happen at this time period. It does not matter how long it takes, or exactly what things happen just before or after the other things, at this point. It's too late to change divine judgment at this point, so it doesn't matter if the time periods are literal or not after judgment begins. Armageddon is probably NOT a place in Israel, so speculation based on this idea probably won't get us very far. Surely you do not actually think that 12,000 persons of the 144,000 are coming from the smallest tribe of Israel, and another 12,000 come from the largest tribe of Israel, do you? (Revelation 7:5-8) Is this literal when it says "out of the tribe of Zebʹu·lun 12,000"? Since there is no literal Har-Mageddon, afaik, it seems unlikely. Revelation does not describe a literal Jerusalem, and as I said before, I don't think there is a literal Har-Mageddon, so I think these are "virtual" locations. Much like the use of Jerusalem made in Hebrews and Galatians: (Hebrews 12:22, 23) . . .But you have approached a Mount Zion and a city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, and myriads of angels 23 in general assembly, and the congregation of the firstborn who have been enrolled in the heavens,. . . (Galatians 4:26) 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. Because, if Babylon represents the primary tangible "enemy" that Christians must conquer, then when Christians have survived, and have actually conquered, It deserves a recap/summary as part of the final bowl. (John 16:33) . . .. In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage! I have conquered the world. (1 John 5:4, 5) . . .And this is the conquest that has conquered the world, our faith. 5 Who can conquer the world? Is it not the one who has faith that Jesus is the Son of God?
  23. The GB teaches that all of Matthew 24 are signs that were especially prevalent around 1914. This is not misusing the sufferings of others to hype up their own agenda. It's an interpretation. And yes, it's an interpretation that is very easy to fall into. I'm sure that's why Jesus warned us about exactly that sort of thing. There is a danger in it, but it's not the danger of misusing others' suffering. I think the most likely dangers are the following: The danger of hubris and presumptuousness and pride in thinking that we can solve some chronology issues related to the parousia when these are things that not even the angels should try to do. It's not in our jurisdiction. It's in Jehovah's jurisdiction. But we think that we are special and it gives us bragging rights to think of ourselves as a kind of prophet. The danger of believing that we are fated to a certain set of developments in our lifetime and our therefore "immune" to true empathy and sympathy for the sighing and groaning of people without hope in this system. The danger of starting to think we know a date that is just far enough off so that it gives us more time to prepare. The danger of starting to think we know a date that is so close that we begin "serving with a date in mind." In other words, our motivation for our service to Jehovah becomes a works-based sprint to see how much we can do, rather than a focus on love as a response to His undeserved kindness. But the GB are not now hurting anyone with an identification of the parousia happening in 1914. What we define as a parousia is something else altogether from what the Bible defined it as, so we are really just saying that Christ is King and has been present since before any of us were born. Whether that was 33 or 1874 or 1914 makes no difference now. We're in the same situation, regardless. It was only a problem while we were watching for the number of years since 1914 that might be in a generation or a lifespan while awaiting the REAL manifestation of his presence on judgment day. But we no longer do that. I don't think it's a conscious decision, but the new definition of generation is really just a throw-away definition that effectively tosses out the idea of a generation or lifespan from 1914. So most of that problem is gone. 1914 itself is actually just kept as an artifact of pride. It's a way of protecting a tradition that 'saves face' since we already held onto it for so long and since it was once "predicted" by people related to us in the faith. I mean that it was "predicted" in the sense that it was associated with a phrase: "end of the Gentile Times." Everything else about that prediction failed, and in fact even the phrase "end of the Gentile Times" failed. The phrase back then had nothing to do with what we claim it means now. Still, 1914 is so long ago that it has no effect on our current conduct. We are really right back to the Biblically-supported situation where we need to take advantage of the UNKNOWN AMOUNT of remaining time to keep maturing and showing love and faith and responding to undeserved kindness with actual "good works." The context sounds better than just that one sentence. But yes, I think he fell into one of the common dangers of confirmation bias when you promote a specific eschatology. See danger #2 above, perhaps even a little of danger #1.
  24. That was an excellent set of related scriptures by the way. It also adds another dimension to the point they are making when we realize that "the day of Christ" is paralleled with "parousia" (presence) so many more times than most of us probably realize. It makes it even more clear that the parousia/presence is actually the revelation and manifestation of Jesus Christ, an event that suddenly shines like lightning from one end of the horizon immediately over to the opposite horizon. Making wise use of the remaining time is always a good idea, of course. So, adding to your list, there are probably dozens more and a close look at all of them together also shows why we cannot know the time of the parousia: (Romans 13:11) . . .And do this because you know the season, that it is already the hour for you to awake from sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than at the time when we became believers. (Ephesians 5:15, 16) . . .So keep strict watch that how YOU walk is not as unwise but as wise [persons], 16 buying out the opportune time for yourselves, because the days are wicked. . . (1 Timothy 6:14, 15) . . .to observe the commandment in a spotless and irreprehensible way until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which the happy and only Potentate will show in its own appointed times. He is the King of those who rule as kings . . ." Note the full phrase "manifestation of his parousia/presence" in 2 Thessalonians 2:8. (Titus 2:12, 13) 12 It trains us to reject ungodliness and worldly desires and to live with soundness of mind and righteousness and godly devotion amid this present system of things, 13 while we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Of course, I'm sure there is nothing wrong with the perspective of maturing and gaining more spirituality. But thinking that "for sure" we have a few more years to continue gaining maturity can still be a dangerous thing, especially if the end comes tonight. And during turbulent times, the end can come at any time. The "Day of Jesus Christ," the Parousia, is as close as a single lifetime for all of us. (Luke 12:20, 21) . . .But God said to him, ‘Unreasonable one, this night they are demanding your life from you. Who, then, is to have the things you stored up?’ 21 So it goes with the man who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God.”

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