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Is the UN preparing to attack Religion?


The Librarian
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Nice points from both of you. 

For my son I had an intuitive feeling that something was about to happen but no significant signs, e.g. broken amniotic sac or contractions.   Since I was tired only, I checked myself in  just before sunset and had the baby just after midnight , although the nurse told me I was not in labour.  Just to show that sometimes one can't go by the normal signs. Still shows you have to be always ready, as you are expectant.

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Discuss the question from the title of the topic? Now that's a novel idea. ? It is a reasonable solution to see the 10-horns and the wild beast as either representing, or some part of the domin

I hate when people do this. Ford had just assumed the presidency and pardoned Nixon. At a NYC District Convention the next day, the speaker held aloft the NYDaily headlines - "Peace and Security!

After having spent twenty five and more years discussing things like this with people who have strong ideas about such things ... but like myself, NOT HAVING THE SLIGHTEST CLUE, I have given up even c

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27 minutes ago, Gone Away said:

Certainly, there is an escalation from intense to very intense, in my experience as an observer.

Of course there is, but this escalation usually lasts from a few hours to a few days. Remember, too, that you already had to posit that the two uses of the same word, once by Jesus, and once by Paul, were for two different purposes even thought the subject matter was exactly the same. That might be a hint that you got something wrong, based on what is sometimes called "special pleading."

If there was any question about the actual meaning we merely need to look at the way that both Jesus and Paul used the word "instantly" in this context. So even if we pleaded that the word CAN sometimes refer to the longer-term process, we have the evidence from Jesus and Paul that they were referring to something that comes "instantly" upon them. (Luke 21:34; 1 Thess 5:3 -- αἰφνίδιος, unexpected, sudden, unforeseen. [Source: Strong's; Thayer's; Vines, etc.)

27 minutes ago, Gone Away said:

By the the way, Kingdom birth illustrations are another subject altogether.

Special pleading again. Actually, this is exactly the way we speak of the labor pains in Revelation 12, and we tie this birth to 1914.

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After having spent twenty five and more years discussing things like this with people who have strong ideas about such things ... but like myself, NOT HAVING THE SLIGHTEST CLUE, I have given up even caring about such things.

Things ARE WHAT THEY ARE .... and,

THEY ARE NOT WHAT THEY ARE NOT

... and a million word exposition  by the clueless ... myself included ... will not change that.

Do the best you can ... chill out ... have a beer ...  relax ... take more naps.  Pay more attention to your children while you still can.

Most "pangs of distress", I have found ... are self inflicted.

About the OTHER "pangs of distress" ... soon ... perhaps too soon ... we will all know.

I will probably be worse if you built your home on the side of an active volcano, or you live close to Yellowstone Park.

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15 hours ago, Gone Away said:

I find this a bit difficult to rationalise against a statement that uses an apparent pregnancy metaphor: "For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress."

I should add that it's very possible for the disciples in 33 CE to hear these words on their own without the context and understand them to say that wars, food shortages and earthquakes would be signs that the end would be nearly upon them. We can't be blamed for seeing them the way the Watchtower explains them, because the Watchtower has always relied on re-translations of the words in Matthew 24 which tend to remove the meaning in context. 

There is a good example of this mistranslation in the Matthew 24:8 above, where it supposedly says "All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress." The KJV is often followed as closely as possible by at least half of the modern English translations whenever the differences do not seem that important. So about half of the English translations are very similar to ours. But a little more than half, from a check of 40 translations, include a translation of the Greek particle "de" which the KJV and the NWT skips here. In other words we translate it as if it said:

  • πάντα ταῦτα ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων

when it really says:

  • πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων

Why is the word important? It changes the meaning from:

  • "All these things are a beginning of birth pains"

to:

  • "But all these things are but a beginning of birth pains."

In other words it emphasizes that something is missing or even wrong in the natural understanding of the previous statement about wars and earthquakes and famines. Here's why. All the Greek lexicons mention something like the following:

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1161&t=KJV

  • δέ dé, deh; a primary particle (adversative or continuative)
  • STRONGS NT 1161: δέ
  • δέ (related to δή, as μέν to μήν, cf. Klotz ad Devar. ii. 2, p. 355), a particle adversative, distinctive, disjunctive
  • 1. universally, by way of opposition and distinction; it is added to statements opposed to a preceding statement: ἐάν ὀφθαλμός κτλ. Matthew 6:23; ἐλεύσονται δέ ἡμέραι, Mark 2:20; it opposes persons to persons or things previously mentioned

It's true that it isn't ALWAYS translated, but when the context repeatedly refers to the possibility of a misunderstanding then it is an important part of the meaning and must be translated. (Matthew 24 repeatedly and explicitly mentions the possibility of misunderstanding or being misled.)

This is why, when we bring in the meaning of context with the original Greek meaning of the words (including: parousia, synteleia, de, etc) we would have a meaning that more likely fits the following scenario:

  • Disciples: Please, can you tell us when this destruction of Jerusalem's Temple will occur? Can you tell us the sign that we should look for when we know that the final end and your final manifestation is about to happen? 
  • Jesus responds: Look out that nobody misleads you. Many people will come around, even on the basis of my name, saying they represent me, yet they will mislead many. [You could easily be misled by the fact that] there will be wars, earthquakes and famines. Don't be tempted to raise the alarm based on such things, because these kinds of things will keep taking place [as they always have]. All these things are but a beginning of the birth pains, [not the end of all things that you are asking about].

The reason Jesus said this becomes clear in the rest of the chapter when he mentions the suddenness and unexpectedness of the end. It can't be predicted. It's as if two persons were going about their business grinding at a mill, and one was taken and one wasn't. It's the way it happens with most pregnancies, when the mother-to-be can be going about her business, and suddenly and unexpectedly a pain comes upon her. It's the way it happens with a bolt of bright lightning that suddenly happens. It's the way it happened in Noah's day when people didn't really believe or expect it to happen and suddenly the flood sweeps them away. It's the same way it happened in the days of Lot and Sodom when, without warning, fire came from heaven and destroyed them.

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20 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Special pleading

Nonsense. This is a ploy to avoid the issue I am afraid. Kingdom birth illustrations are not the same as matters related to the last days as the the birth of the kingdom precedes the last days....in my universe anyway. ?

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9 hours ago, JW Insider said:

All these things are but a beginning of the birth pains, [not the end of all things that you are asking about].

The beginning and end of birth pangs are not remotely situated. Excuse me if I miss your point here? 

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1 hour ago, Gone Away said:
21 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Jesus, and once by Paul, were for two different purposes even thought the subject matter was exactly the same.

Not so as explained in the post.

Yes, I actually agree with your point here. Here is what you explained in the post:

22 hours ago, Gone Away said:

From what I can glean then, both are true to life descriptions of the occurence of labor contractions. Jesus uses the aspect of their heralding the start of a period or stage leading to an inevitable conclusion. Paul uses the suddeness of their occurence to relate to the manner in which a prophesied event takes place.

I agree with this. I was too anxious to jump off on a tangent to focus on a specific area of disagreement, so that I never even responded to what you were saying.

Jesus does indeed seem to imply a potentially longer period of time for the labor pains, and it does give the impression that there is even nothing wrong with saying that the "labor pains" he speaks of sound as if they can start even at the very beginning of a pregnancy. It's not what the word usually refers to of course.

In fact, you probably knew that the real source was the Watchtower magazine on jw.org, not just the Internet in general when I said above: 

  • The original-language word rendered “pangs of distress” refers to the intense pain experienced during childbirth. [Source: Internet]

Our current doctrine puts the beginning of the labor pains at WWI, at the very beginning of the generation. Jesus implies this is possible. After all, who is to say that one of those wars or earthquakes would not occur in the year 34 CE just a year after Jesus gave the prophecy, at the very beginning of that generation? Some persons, perhaps even some apostles, were bound to be misled into thinking that a war or earthquake or some other event was a "sign" that the expected Parousia was imminent. This must be why Paul said in 2 Thess 2:1,2:

  • However, brothers, concerning the presence [Parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christa and our being gathered together to him, we ask you  not to be quickly shaken from your reason nor to be alarmed either by an inspired statement or by a spoken message or by a letter appearing to be from us, to the effect that the day of Jehovah is here. 

[Can't help but notice that Paul apparently equates the "Parousia" here with the "day of Jehovah." And this is not the only place.]

It's a very similar discussion of the Parousia from the end of 1 Thess 4 to the beginning of 1 Thess 5 which includes of course:

  • we the living who survive to the presence [Parousia] of the Lord will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep in death; 16  because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet . . .  Now as for the times and the seasons, brothers, you need nothing to be written to you.  For you yourselves know very well that Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night. . . . just like birth pains on a pregnant woman, and they will by no means escape.

I come at this with the idea, of course, that both Paul and Jesus are dealing with the question of "When can we expect the Parousia?" and "Will there be any kind of sign, or advance warning?" Since I think that Jesus was referring more directly to the situation of the first generation of Jewish Christian disciples who would still be around Jerusalem, he knew that there would be wars and events and even teachers that might influence them to mistake the sign to get out of Jerusalem. There would be all kinds of ideas about how this or that teacher, or apostle, or another Messiah could mislead them by convincing arguments, or by saying to pay attention to this or that major earthquake, or major war. Paul was more addressing people around Greece, Macedonia and Thessalonika who would not be as much affected by the Romans trampling through Jerusalem. But the question was still the same, because it was still assumed that the same destruction of the Temple would be instantly followed by the end of all things, worldwide. 

To me of course, I think Jesus is saying that these things (wars, etc) are NOT related to the Parousia (the highly visible royal judgment event), but are things that people will easily mistake as signs of the impending judgment event. And another danger, of course, is that disciples might think it necessary to begin counting these as part of the Parousia and then wonder why the real Parousia is delayed, being thus disheartened and discouraged, as "expectation postponed is making the heart sick."

In the previous post I showed how Jesus theme was also the suddenness and unexpectedness of the end [Parousia/Synteleia]. It was primarily in this sense that I meant that Jesus and Paul were covering the same subject matter.

You say that Jesus uses the aspect of their heralding the start of a period or stage leading to an inevitable conclusion. This is true, but not necessarily so different from what Paul is talking about, although I agree that Paul focuses on the suddenness and unexpectedness (as a thief in the night). Jesus also mentions the unexpectedness and suddenness of course, but attaches the word pangs to events could occur earlier, long before the end.

[Hopefully, this covers enough of the separate questions you posted, too.]

I think there is still an important point to repeat for clarity, which is that while Jesus does indeed speak of the pangs even at the beginning instead of just at the end, Jesus does not attach these early pangs to the Parousia/Synteleia. He clearly divorces these early mistaken/misleading signs from any kind of useful sign that might answer their question about the end. I'm sure that's the specific point where we still disagree.

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      ג Guimel
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      Ô mon Dieu Jéhovah , je voudrais recevoir l'honneur 
      de la protection du Dieu de mon Salut. 
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      Hallélouyah
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      afin que je vive et que j’obéisse à vos paroles?
      Ouvre mes yeux pour que je vois clairement
      les choses merveilleuses de votre loi qui sont inscrites
      à l'intérieur des paroles de votre livre merveilleux.
       
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      Bénis soit le Dieu unique de notre Salut
      Hallélouyah.
       

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