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JW Insider

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  1. Currency manipulation. But it's the kind of manipulation that keeps things calmer during a crisis when someone might otherwise hear about that little bank in Middle-of-nowhere, Kansas that failed, and which then triggers an infectious run on other banks.
  2. You are right. Although China made early mistakes, as expected, they were not as bad as the mistakes made in the United States (also, as expected). Today, the United States has officially reported more active cases than there are active cases in ALL OF CHINA. There are now less than 7,000 active cases in the province of Hubei alone, where the vast majority of Chinese cases had been. Now that the US has passed China and France in the number of active cases, it appears to be ready to pass up Iran, too, which will likely put the US on par with Italy very soon as the two nations with the highest number of cases. Of course, there will also probably be lot of Americans who will selfishly think it's OK to just let this thing catch fire and then burn out. Some stock market analysts have already hoped it would just be allowed to infect the entire country quickly so that they can get back to trading. Others have said it would be good as a way to take care of excess population. And others just think it's the best way to dilute the virus, letting everyone go to school and work as if nothing had changed. Direct comparisons to the common flu often have one of more of these perspectives behind it. I trust China's numbers, and South Korea's and Taiwan's numbers more than other countries so far, because they did more preparation and testing as soon as they knew what they were dealing with. Also, the Diamond Princess cruise ship ended up producing a kind of test lab, so that we know more about the virus in a fairly controlled environment. It seems pretty obvious that when there is a lot of testing, knowledge, communication, and preparation, that the virus will still kill up to 1% of those treated for the infection. Where there is a lack of preparation, testing, and communication, the virus will likely kill from 3% to 8% of those seriously infected. Therefore allowing it to "burn" rapidly and hopefully fade is a recipe for upwards of 8% deaths among those officially tested/treated. But handling it like China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Germany, can keep deaths down to 1%. Germany, Austria, Czechia, Switzerland have remained well under 1% deaths so far. Korea and Taiwan (and Diamond Princess) have kept it close to 1%, as did China everywhere except the Hubei/Wuhan province for which they were not prepared, and ended up with 5% deaths for those infected. People probably won't want to look at how well China handled this after the first few days of mistakes, because this is a perfect setup for racism. But other countries can at least look to Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, etc. Of course a lot of countries are evidently too full of hubris and too full of profit-mongers to focus clearly enough on solutions.
  3. @Kosonen , There are at least two additional scriptural ways to reach this same conclusion. Here is one: (Revelation 6:7-11) 7 When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say: “Come!” 8 And I saw, and look! a pale horse, and the one seated on it had the name Death. And the Grave was closely following him. And authority was given them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with a long sword and with food shortage and with deadly plague and by the wild beasts of the earth. 9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those slaughtered because of the word of God and because of the witness they had given. 10 They shouted with a loud voice, saying: “Until when, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, are you refraining from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And a white robe was given to each of them, and they were told to rest a little while longer, until the number was filled of their fellow slaves and their brothers who were about to be killed as they had been. Note that everyone who has died must waits until after the four horseman have had their ride of death, war, food shortage, pestilence, wild beasts, etc. They must wait until the full number of their fellow slaves have been killed. (Revelation 19:1, 2) 19 After this I heard what seemed to be a loud voice of a great crowd in heaven. They said: “Praise Jah! The salvation and the glory and the power belong to our God, 2 because his judgments are true and righteous. For he has executed judgment on the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her sexual immorality, and he has avenged the blood of his slaves that is on her hands.” (Revelation 19:7-11) . . .Let us rejoice and be overjoyed and give him glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has arrived and his wife has prepared herself. 8 Yes, it has been granted to her to be clothed with bright, clean, fine linen—for the fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the holy ones.” 9 And he tells me, “Write: Happy are those invited to the evening meal of the Lamb’s marriage.” ... 11 I saw heaven opened, and look! a white horse. And the one seated on it is called Faithful and True, and he judges and carries on war in righteousness. (Revelation 20:3-6) 3 And he hurled him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not mislead the nations anymore until the 1,000 years were ended. After this he must be released for a little while. 4 And I saw thrones, and those who sat on them were given authority to judge. Yes, I saw the souls of those executed for the witness they gave about Jesus and for speaking about God, and those who had not worshipped the wild beast or its image and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand. And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for 1,000 years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the 1,000 years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and they will rule as kings with him for the 1,000 years. A little more direct and to the point is the scripture you already pointed out from 1 Thess (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17) . . .because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first. 17 Afterward we the living who are surviving will, together with them, be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air. . . Verse 17 can be just as correctly translated as "Then, we the living who are surviving will, at the same time with them, be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air..." (Matthew 24:29-31) . . .“Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity. (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52) . . .We will not all fall asleep in death, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the blink of an eye, during the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised up incorruptible, and we will be changed. And, of course, we also know that since 33 CE Jesus has been ruling as king in the midst of his enemies, riding alongside these death-related horses, until they are finally subdued. (1 Corinthians 15:25-26) 25 For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. 26 And the last enemy, death, is to be brought to nothing. (Psalm 110:1, 2) . . .“Sit at my right hand Until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.” 2 Jehovah will extend the scepter of your power out of Zion, saying: “Go subduing in the midst of your enemies.”
  4. Not a problem. I knew it was for @4Jah2me [edited: I meant to type @Kosonen here], I just thought it might be easier for him to know that if someone translated it. [Non è un problema. Sapevo che era per @Kosonen, ho solo pensato che sarebbe stato più facile per lui sapere che se qualcuno lo traducesse.]
  5. This appears to mean: You should have more trust in what your wife is doing, not using irony and perhaps even sarcasm about her in such a public way. (Read the comment about the decision to close the Kingdom Halls due to the the coronavirus)
  6. And will be anxiously looking forward to it. The comment you are responding to included the idea of a "soft start to the liquidation of the WT organization." That reminded me of a rumor, surely started by ex-JWs, that the idea behind JW Broadcasting was to ultimately turn the meetings into a video broadcast from HQ. All meetings at the Hall would become more and more made up of videos until finally they were 100% videos. This would supposedly result in HQ turning into little more than a place where the videos were made. Of course, conspiratorialists would say that this could result in "association through connectivity" and the result would be selling off of most HQ buildings, maybe even the Halls, too. Instead, we have a ready-made solution to these kinds of medical emergencies.
  7. Interesting to see what the Memorial plans will be in areas where no more than 10 or 15 can meet at once. We were supposed to get a feed from a congregation in Florida last week, but had to make do locally, after a feed failure. But I don't think it's right to use virtual emblems. For non-partakers, the tradition is to hold the emblem and pass it on, to prove we are refusing it, I guess.
  8. Outside of that one sentence from the 1999 article, there is absolutely no indication that a Witness can cast a vote in a political election. But even the above sentence does not actually say that a Witness can conscientiously vote in a political election. It could be saying no more than the 1950 article was saying when it used similar words. The above quoted sentence might only be explaining why Jehovah's Witnesses will consistently make the same conscientious decision as to why they will not personally vote even if their conscience allowed them to go into the voting booth. And that explanation includes the idea that their decision is based on a Bible-trained conscience. [Note that all the Scriptures in the article showed why a Witness would NOT vote]. The rest of the explanation is that the Witness has an understanding of his responsibility to God and to the State. [Curiously, Romans 13:1 was used in the original 1950 article to include a reason why Witnesses would not vote, based on the idea that Romans 13:1 cannot refer to the State.] Of course, this older view of the "superior authorities" could provide an argument that the 1999 article needed an update that therefore could change the position on the conscience and political voting: Here's the relevant portion of the original 1950 article: *** w50 11/15 pp. 444-447 pars. 18-28 Subjection to the Higher Powers *** 18 It cannot be said of the other political powers and authorities of this world that they were types of Christ as God’s Chief Servant and that therefore God gave such political powers their authority. ... 19 The political powers of this world are, therefore, not the “superior authorities” to whom Christian souls are to be subject in every demand they make. ... 20 ...” (Gal. 6:16) So the Jewish Sánhedrin was no longer a governing body among God’s true people, but was an alien governmental body now. ... 21 In view of not recognizing worldly political powers as the “superior authorities” ordained by God, but recognizing only God and Jesus Christ to be such now, the Christian witnesses conscientiously refrain from taking part in the politics of this world, yes, even from voting. ... 22 In some countries today the legislature wants to make all the adult citizens responsible for the government. To enforce the democratic way upon them they are required by law to vote in the national elections. Under such circumstances what are Christians to do, since they are under divine command to keep themselves unspotted from this world? By dedicating themselves wholly to God through Christ they have vowed their unswerving allegiance to the kingdom of God, and they cannot divide their allegiance. So how are they now to proceed? Can they register as qualified voters? Yes. The apostle Paul held onto his Roman citizenship and fought for its rights, even appealing to Caesar in defending his right to preach the gospel. In lands where military conscription is in force Jehovah’s witnesses register the same as all others within the age limits, and they write down their relationship to the matter. They remember how Joseph and Mary complied with Caesar’s decree and traveled to Bethlehem-Judah in order to be registered at their home town. (Luke 2:1-5, NW) But it is when these ministers of Jehovah’s Word are called up for induction into the army that then they present themselves and take their stand according to God’s Word and pay to him what belongs to him. Likewise where Caesar makes it compulsory for citizens to vote. After they have registered and when election day comes, they can go to the polls and enter the voting booths. It is here that they are called upon to mark the ballot or write in what they stand for. The voters do what they will with their ballots. So here in the presence of God is where his witnesses must act in harmony with his commandments and in accordance with their faith. 23 It is not our responsibility to instruct them what to do with the ballot. They must act in accord with their conscience as enlightened by the study of God’s Word. In lands where voting is not compulsory, the ministers of Jehovah’s Word remember that his people are theocratically organized. According to the divine law under which they are organized the popular vote of the majority does not put servants in office, but all appointments in the theocratic organization are from God and through those whom he puts in authority in his organization. Even in his visible organization the individual members of the congregation do not vote democratically and put qualified men into positions of overseers and ministerial servants by majority vote. No, but the appointments to all official positions of service are made by the spirit of God and through the governing body according to the Scriptural requirements. Even the governing body which make the appointments are under instructions from the “superior authorities”, God and his Christ. To them it is written: “Never lay your hands hastily upon any man; neither be a sharer in the sins of others; preserve yourself pure.” (1 Tim. 3:1-13 and 5:22, NW) So the ministers of Jehovah’s Word do not possess the vote within his organization. As for the governing body, it does not lay its hands hastily upon a consecrated person, lest it should become responsible for his sins in office due to a hasty appointment of an undependable, unqualified person. 24 Since they do not exercise the popular vote to put even consecrated servants into office even within the theocratic organization, they consider it improper to exercise the democratic vote by which unconsecrated persons are put into worldly political offices. They do not choose to share in the responsibility for the sins of such worldlings in governmental offices. They want to preserve themselves pure from this world. They abide by God’s appointments through his theocratic organization, and they accept his appointment of Jesus Christ to the kingship of the righteous new world. THE AUTHORITIES ORDAINED BY GOD 25 Paul was a member of the governing body of the congregation of the first century. He gives the reason for being in subjection to the superior authorities, saying: “The existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God.” (Rom. 13:1, NW) How could this be true of worldly political governments? There those in official positions are put in by popular vote, by machine party-politics, by dictatorial seizure of power, by executive appointment, by hereditary law of a dynasty, by legislative action or parliamentary appointment. God is not manipulating worldly politics like a political boss. It is only within his theocratic organization that the existing authorities stand placed in various positions with relationship to one another by God.... 27 Rightfully Jehovah God has reserved for himself the position of Supreme One of the “superior authorities”. He shares that position with no one else, trinitarians to the contrary. Whom, then, has he placed next highest with relation to himself? Jesus Christ, who proved his loyalty to his heavenly Father to a violent death in the midst of Satan’s hostile world. ..
  9. You might be speaking of the way I gave my opinion, which I deleted, about using the verse from Proverbs on a forum such as this one, where it is difficult to judge people. I assume you are speaking about the apparent contradiction in Proverbs where we have a "P and not P" example. It's a great example. I was extending it to James' idea about how "faith without works is dead" and Paul pretty much saying "works without faith is dead." Similarly, it's not really a contradiction. (James 2:20, 21) . . .But do you care to know, O empty man, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father declared righteous by works. . . (Romans 4:2, 3) . . .if Abraham was declared righteous as a result of works, he would have reason to boast, but not with God. 3 For what does the scripture say? “Abraham put faith in Jehovah, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
  10. Excellent point. And it goes back to what some have already said: that Jesus is still the Head of the congregation. He knows deeds, and he knows the heart behind those deeds, whether they are motivated by love and undeserved kindness. As long as you mentioned Ehrman, he gets a lot more than the usual attention because he spends a lot of time trying to denigrate the "NT" texts based on variances that appear to be direct contradictions. I suppose there might be a few "contradictions" that could have crept in as textual edits, maybe even quite early ones, such as "kyrios" over a possible version of "yhwh". But I noticed that a lot of these assumptions are just based on complete misunderstandings of the purpose of a specific verse or chapter. Or an entire book, like the letter of James, for example. James was nearly rejected from the canon by no less than Eusebius, because he thought it completely contradicted Paul. Then Martin Luther comes along 1500 years after James and claims James was not inspired at all and should be left out of the canon. And these ideas, even among supposed Christians, are just based on the exaggeration of an ideology instead of making the attempt to understand a common way of thinking among the Jewish audience, where "conflicts" were resolved as different "faces" of the same thing. By that I mean something close to this quote from a book about the differences in Greek and Jewish thinking. The book is called Against the Greeks: Understanding the Classical Jewish Worldview: For Aristotle, language is conventional, and therefore Aristotle's law of exclusion tells us that we can have either "P or not P." However, in Jewish thought "P and not P" can exist simultaneously. . . . Aristotle considers only one dimension of meaning in the text as opposed to the rabbinic view that there are 70 faces . . . to the Torah's meaning." What might look like a contradiction is an intentional presentation of various aspects that the Jewish mind was quite capable of resolving for a deeper understanding. Not so different from aspects of poetry, which is also a dying art, at least as a standalone art. It survives fairly well in song lyrics, such as they are, post-Dylan.
  11. This is very true, and applies to those of us with the earthly hope and those of the heavenly hope. It seems more serious for those of the heavenly hope: (Hebrews 6:4-6) . . .For as regards those who were once enlightened and who have tasted the heavenly free gift and who have become partakers of holy spirit 5 and who have tasted the fine word of God and powers of the coming system of things, 6 but have fallen away, it is impossible to revive them again to repentance, because they nail the Son of God to the stake again for themselves and expose him to public shame. (Hebrews 10:26-29) . . .For if we practice sin willfully after having received the accurate knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice for sins left, 27 but there is a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a burning indignation that is going to consume those in opposition. 28 Anyone who has disregarded the Law of Moses dies without compassion on the testimony of two or three. 29 How much greater punishment do you think a person will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God and who has regarded as of ordinary value the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and who has outraged the spirit of undeserved kindness with contempt? The same principle applies to all of us, however. All of us need to remain united in love and truth. All of us need to make sure we are not just following people blindly, but make sure we are not going against accurate knowledge of truth. Just as the Jewish law could demand death for those who trampled that Law, a Christian could trample the law of undeserved kindness and love.
  12. I don't either, but the Watchtower publications going as far back as Russell and Rutherford all associate the anointing and the spirit with light and lamps. As does Acts 2, Matthew 25, parts of Revelation, etc. *** w04 3/1 p. 14 par. 8 ‘The Faithful Slave’ Passes the Test! *** Now, anointed Christians needed to go out and meet him in the earthly courtyards of that temple. It was time for them to “shed forth light."
  13. Our KH was going to stay open for the smaller non-English congregations, but then they were cancelled, too. But most of the congregation (maybe all?) had the ability to tie in to sound at least. Two brothers handled the talk and WT study, which was broadcast from the KH. Singing sounded like about 5 people, including one elder's wife and two daughters. Must have been a strange experience at the Hall.
  14. I think that the @admin will soon give up on trying to create topics that are supposed to be religiously neutral. The most active participants here (including me) will keep trying to make every topic about Witnesses ("CCJW").
  15. Yes. It's a good scripture, and it might even indicate how a person could even endure unto death, and yet still, if their actions were not based on "love," Jesus would remove their approved condition. What's interesting is that, although someone might be able to see this as ultimate condemnation, it would have been just as possible to see this as a removal of their spiritual standing as anointed persons, and not necessarily leading to an ultimate condemnation. The lampstand could be an indication of their "anointing" as the spirit is often associated with light and lamps. In fact the counsel to the congregation in Ephesus includes hope for those who endure unto death (conquers) by concluding with: (Revelation 2:7) . . .To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
  16. Just nit-picking your numbers a bit. Wikipedia quotes sources supporting the following numbers:
      Hello guest!
    It is estimated that in the 2009 flu pandemic 11–21% of the then global population (of about 6.8 billion), or around 700 million to 1.4 billion people, contracted the illness—more in absolute terms than the Spanish flu pandemic. However, with about 150,000–575,000 fatalities, it had a much lower case fatality rate. You quoted 61 million cases, globally, which was the CDC's estimate for the number only in the United States, where about, 300,000 were hospitalized, and 12,500 persons were said to have died from it.
  17. I asked my father about this, because he has been to 'elder's school' in the last few months. I didn't ask how recently it came up, but he implied that it came up at a previous elder's school a couple of years prior. I don't know if he was quoting an instructor, but it sounded like he might have been trying to. His answer went something like this, not an exact quote: Obviously, we don't want to create any documentation that makes it look like we are interfering with a person's right to participate in political activities. In some countries, that can be very dangerous. But if a person is so willing to get so involved with the world, then it surely means that he is not taking Jehovah's counsel to heart in OTHER areas, too. He will need counsel and discipline and we [elders] need to be alert to the OVERALL spiritual welfare of the brother. He wouldn't say if he thinks this position might result in trying to replace the "discipline" for political involvement with "discipline" for other areas of conduct or belief. Actually, he said he didn't think so, but that it just meant that political involvement is a symptom of spiritual weakness.
  18. The scriptures actually do give indications that ALL first century Christians were anointed, and therefore that all of them were "of the 144,000." But, as pointed out earlier, we also have the indications from verses like Matt 5:5 and Rev 21:1 and 2 Pet 3:13 that there was (or would be) an earthly hope included as part of Jehovah's kingdom through Christ. What you say appears logical. And it might even be scriptural. My only point was that you might not realize you are rejecting a long-standing Watchtower doctrine: that all of the early Christian were "anointed" and that, according to the Watchtower, this meant that they only had the heavenly hope in front of them. I'll provide some examples: *** w17 September p. 24 par. 2 “The Word of God . . . Exerts Power” *** The Bible mentions one anointed Christian in the first century who had to be disfellowshipped; later, he was reinstated. (1 Cor. 5:1-5; 2 Cor. 2:5-8) *** w16 November p. 14 par. 1 Do You Highly Esteem Jehovah’s Own Book? *** Consider the first-century Christians Euodia and Syntyche. Serious problems arose between these anointed women. Why do you think the Watchtower, above, concludes that this incestuous man was anointed? Why were these two women necessarily anointed? *** w16 January p. 26 par. 15 “We Want to Go With You” *** 15 Jehovah chooses when in history he will select anointed ones. (Rom. 8:28-30) Jehovah began choosing anointed ones after Jesus’ death and resurrection, and it seems that all in the first-century Christian congregation were anointed. Here, above, was one of the very first times that the Watchtower added the word "seems" to this idea. As if they were not sure any more. In fact, there were literally hundreds of thousands of persons who thought they were Christians who actually gave up their lives for their faith and to protect other so-called Christians within the first couple centuries after Christ. The Watchtower has had to identify most of these so-called Christian martyrs as "weeds." For example, in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, there were 144,000 martyrs around Egypt alone. Another 40,000 suffered martyrdom under Nero, another 700,000 here, another 17,000 there. Think about that! Hundreds of thousands, or even millions of persons were baptized as Christians, and would not compromise their faith or their neutrality and were therefore killed (matryed) for being Christian. But we have to identify the great majority of them as "weeds" to judge them to eternal death, rather than allow them to be included in a chance for a resurrection to life on earth. *** w16 January p. 26 par. 15 “We Want to Go With You” *** From the first century until the beginning of the last days, the vast majority of those who claimed to follow Christ were false Christians; Jesus likened them to “weeds.” Judging them as weeds would not be necessary if the Watchtower had the option of just considering them as weak, uninformed, unrighteous persons. Instead of judging them as "weeds" worthy of going off into everlasting destruction, they would have had an opportunity to be included in the resurrection to potentially accept life on earth. The Watchtower once ran this information about such persecutions: *** w51 9/1 p. 518 Hated for His Name *** Brief respite followed the death of Nero, but by the latter years of the first century the second great persecution, under Emperor Domitian, flared up. It is said that in the year 95 alone some 40,000 suffered martyrdom. . . . Diocletian assumed the crown A.D. 284. At first he seemed friendly to the Christians, but in the year 303 he gave in to persuasion and opened the tenth persecution, probably the most ferocious of all. Suffocation by smoke, forcible drinking of melted lead, mass drownings and burnings, breaking on the rack of men and women alike ran the empire with blood. In a single month 17,000 were slain. In the province of Egypt alone, 144,000 such professed Christians died by violence in the course of this persecution, in addition to another 700,000 who died as a result of fatigues encountered in banishment or under enforced public works. But that information triggered a question from readers just a few months later: *** w52 1/15 p. 62 Questions From Readers *** According to the article “Hated for His Name” in the September 1, 1951, Watchtower, hundreds of thousands of Christians died in the “ten persecutions” starting in Nero’s time, 144,000 dying in Egypt alone during one of the persecutions. How can this be harmonized with the Scriptural limitation of 144,000 placed on the number being in Christ’s body, and which position was the only one open to Christians during those centuries?—J.A., Dominican Republic. The article did not class with any finality the individuals that died during these persecutions, but spoke of the results in a general way. Note that a key qualification was made in the case referred to in the question: “In the province of Egypt alone, 144,000 such professed Christians died by violence in the course of this persecution, in addition to another 700,000 who died as a result of fatigues encountered in banishment or under enforced public works.” The victims are identified as “professed Christians”, not Christians in fact. Many of those persons might have been caught in the wave of persecution, but may never have actually preached the truth or followed in Jesus’ footsteps, being only professed Christians. They knew the world they lived in was rotten and they were listening to the message of the Christians and willing to die for it even though not in line for the high calling in Christ Jesus. Many professed Christians today might be willing to die for their faith, but still not be Jesus’ footstep followers and meeting the Scriptural requirements for such. We would probably hope to be able to read into this answer the idea that they could have been Christians who did not meet the requirements for the heavenly hope but might still be in line for an earthly resurrection. That idea is avoided, because the only choice given is between being "anointed Christians" or "professed Christians." So, typically, they were mostly judged as "weeds." My table head at Bethel said that these questions had seriously bothered some at Bethel at the time they first came out because Fred Franz had commented that almost all the millions of "Christian" martyrs were "weeds" destined for Gehenna. He [Bethel elder, table head] even claimed to know which Gilead missionary with the initials J.A. had just gone to the Dominican Republic, and had been the person behind the question above. I'm pretty sure that no current member of the GB would claim that the majority of these early Christian martyrs would be necessarily assigned to Gehenna. But the wording about "weeds" is not very reassuring.
  19. Yes. That's it. I said nothing about all of them necessarily being apostles. I said nothing about the distinction of gifts. I said nothing about minimizing the responsibility of anyone. These are all ideas that you are adding into the mix. Evidently, you did not understand it at all! @Allen_Smith
  20. Sure. Not a problem. I said exactly what you had requoted, which is this: The Watchtower has said that all the first century Christians were of the "anointed." Therefore they were of the "144,000." That's the whole explanation. You seemed to read this as if I meant the following, quoting you: What you understood is incorrect, of course. It was never implied by me nor by the Watchtower publications.
  21. No. I can only provide examples for what I said, not for this incorrect idea you just asked about.
  22. It's a good question. But be careful if you are asking this question publicly in your congregation. You might not realize that this question was once near the top of the list of red flags to identify apostasy. Also, it can get mixed up with another question that was, for a while, at the very top of the list of red flags to identify apostasy: "Where in scripture does it say that any Christians were NOT of the anointed?" The reason is that it was The Watchtower saying that all the first century Christians were of the 'anointed', those of the 144,000.
  23. I'm pretty sure that the statistics we are seeing are just partial "indicators" and are not accurate enough to give a real picture. There are serious persons who believe that the virus has already been in the United States for some time, and that some of the deaths that had been attributed to the flu season were already actually based on this COVID-19. An interview between Congress and a CDC official (recorded by CNN) already admitted that at least some recent flu deaths in the U.S. have been retested and found to have been positive for COVID-19. Japan, is an ally of the United States, and its relationship with China is much like the US relationship with Russia. Yet, several reports from officials in Japan have now stated that they believe this virus came from the United States. This is based on a study of the chronology and genetic makeup for each of about 4 perhaps 5 family variations of the virus. Opposing that view (and therefore against the view that this was an artificially developed virus) are the scientists who have looked at the genes of the virus and evidently have determined that it has more indicators of a natural virus, not one in which sequences have been artificially recombined. Also, a bit suspicious, but typical, have been the racist attacks on the head of the WHO, who is Ethiopian. Pictures have emerged of him on social media with bigger than usual lips, and racist attacks, licking the feet of his "controllers" or being walked like a dog. This has only been recently however, after he praised China for how well they were able to handle this, and keep it under control so that the rest of the world would have a chance to prepare testing kits, hospitals, beds, breathing support apparatus for impaired lung function, etc. Unfortunately, the rest of the world used this window of opportunity to twiddle its thumbs, and in the case of the US, to delay the partial replacement of severe cuts to the CDC, etc. (The CDC by the way has been notoriously bad in the past when it came to tracking and caring for H1N1, etc.) These racist attacks on China-praisers like Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, have also been traced to IP addresses in Hong Kong. Which has happened before, because Cantonese speaking HK citizens openly speak of Han Chinese (mainlanders) with words that are the near equivalent of the "N" word in America. Similarly, the Wikipedia page for Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has suddenly (only since this virus) been updated to include new information about potential controversy and problems. His praise of other nations that the US didn't like, but which have implemented excellent health reforms is the basis for the new controversies. And this about a man who has risked his own life on the front lines of outbreaks including ebola, etc. Even Reuters has openly acknowledged in reports that many politically-charged Wikipedia changes have been easily traced to CIA computers, and CIA IP addresses. And the close connection between the CIA and HK has been tracked and photographed. Naturally, I don't claim to have followed up on all of these claims, but I did listen to the CDC interview about prior flu deaths in the US now being re-assigned to COVID-19. That one was correct. There is a place to watch the "watchdogs" who follow the sources of hotbeds of political bot attacks, political updates to Wikipedia, politically trending hashtags on Twitter, etc. There is a high turnover of cancelled accounts among this supposed watchdog group. These "whistleblowers" often complain that they can't get far-right, Nazi commentators banned from Twitter, yet they as a group suffer constant banning. I have seen some evidence of the truth of such claims, but can't say I've spent much time testing out these claims very deeply. But it's enough to show that the nations still play dirty tricks and some of these tricks backfire. These "tricks" are played on fellow nations, "enemy" nations, or their own citizens. Another example of such tricks that I just learned about: In a campaign promise, Trump said he would release some of the secret JFK files, and what did some show? That the CIA planned on sinking refugee ships from Cuba to the US, and bombing some Miami communities known for Cuban refugee populations --and blame it on Castro. This would scare refugees, send fear through Miami citizens, and increase support to pressure Castro, or even go to war with Cuba. Supposedly Kennedy's disagreement with some of these plans was why they were included in the files as potential reasons the CIA might have been suspected in the Kennedy assassination. Of course, it might also make us wonder which of the two countries was more totalitarian.

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