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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LIGHTNING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"The Sun of Righteousness Shall Arise"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

(KJV) Matthew 24:37-39

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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QUICK REVIEW

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

BACKGROUND

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GENTILE TIMES

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

Luke 21:24 King James Version (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONCLUSION (pt. 1 of 2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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and other online sources.) 

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

[The KJV is misleading by rendering

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

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

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

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

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

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

And a 2008 Watchtower on the subject adds this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Very interesting so far JWInsider. Enjoying reading your analysis.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 18 In the verses that lead up to

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

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

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CONCLUSION (pt. 2 of 2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COMMENTARY SOURCES

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

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

NON-CANONICAL books of Jewish Literature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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synteleia.

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

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

Strong's Dictionary indicates the following definitions:

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  1. to end together or at the same time

  2. to end completely

    1. bring to an end, finish, complete

  3. to accomplish, bring to fulfilment

    1. to come to pass

  4. to effect, make, (conclude)

  5. to finish

    1. to make an end of

    2. to bring to an end

    3. destroy

 

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

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

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

 

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4 hours ago, Noble Berean said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    • By JW Insider
      I think you referenced my opinion here. It's as follows:
      We know that Jesus' invisible presence began in the first century, around 33 CE, because, as Jesus said:
      (Matthew 18:20) For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there I am in their midst.”
      (Matthew 28:20) . . .And look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”
      So, Jesus is invisibly present with Christians always from his resurrection UNTIL the conclusion (Gk, synteleia). If the conclusion began in 1914, then Jesus was saying he would be invisibly present with us UNTIL 1914.
      But this is not the "parousia" which can also be translated "presence" or "visitation." The scriptures tie the "parousia" to the "glorious manifestation" of Jesus when he is revealed, and "every eye shall see him" and a time of sudden, bright flashing like lightning. (Scripture references available upon request. 😊) Thus, for several years, the following comment was included in the NWT appendix, which has since been removed from the 2013 Revised NWT:
      *** Rbi8 p. 1577 5B Christ’s Presence (Parousia) ***
      Also, Bauer, p. 630, states that pa·rou·siʹa “became the official term for a visit of a person of high rank, esp[ecially] of kings and emperors visiting a province.”
      These visitations of royal personages were a spectacle, often with trumpeted fanfare and with the official accompanied by throngs of persons brought with him and joined by spectators alongside the parade. To make sure that the "parousia" went smoothly, the local authorities could even raise a special tax on the local citizens to fix the roads to make straight paths for the king's chariots and horses and entourage on foot. That tax was minted on "parousia" coins, or later "adventus" coins, just as they were in Paul's day. (This can explain why the first Bible translations did not translate "parousia" as presence, while koine (NT) Greek was still a living language. They used a word that meant "advent" or "visitation" focusing, therefore, on the arrival/coming, not the presence that followed.)
      It seems obvious that this "parousia" did not start in 1914.
      On the issue of when Jesus sat down in his Kingdom, this also seems pretty obvious from the scriptures. Jesus is called "king of kings" in the first century.
      (1 Timothy 6:13-15) ...I give you orders 14 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 and Lord of those who rule as lords,
      (Revelation 1:5, 6) . . .and from Jesus Christ, “the Faithful Witness,” “the firstborn from the dead,” and “the Ruler of the kings of the earth.” To him who loves us and who set us free from our sins by means of his own blood— 6 and he made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father. . .
      Immediately after his resurrection, Jesus said that "ALL authority" had bee given to him in heaven and on earth.
      (Matthew 28:18) . . .“All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.
      Trying to minimize this kingdom authority in the first century appears to take away from the scriptures. In the scriptures, Jesus is already "crowned" in the first century.
      (Hebrews 2:9) 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made a little lower than angels, now crowned with glory and honor for having suffered death,. . .
      (Hebrews 1:3) . . .he sustains all things by the word of his power. And after he had made a purification for our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
      He already has a scepter:
      (Hebrews 1:8) 8 But about the Son, he says: “God is your throne forever and ever, and the scepter of your Kingdom is the scepter of uprightness.
      And "sitting at God's right hand" means the same as "rule as king" as said above:
      (1 Corinthians 15:25) . . .For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet.
      So with this in mind, I think that 1 Cor 15:23 makes sense:
      (1 Corinthians 15:20-26) . . .But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep in death. 21 For since death came through a man, resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. 22 For just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each one in his own proper order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who belong to the Christ during his presence. 24 Next, the end, when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father, when he has brought to nothing all government and all authority and power. 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.
      In other words, Jesus has now been raised from the dead, and he is the first of those to be raised alive "in the Christ." The word "during" is only used here because the NWT translators believe we should focus on a long time period. Most often the word just means "at."
      So, first Jesus, then those who belong to him "at his visitation," at his parousia, at his manifestation, at his coming, at his arrival, at his presence, at that day.
      (2 Thessalonians 2:8, 9) 8 Then, indeed, the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will do away with by the spirit of his mouth and bring to nothing by the manifestation of his presence [parousia].
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      (2 Timothy 4:1) I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his manifestation and his Kingdom:
      Paul does not ever speak about 1,000 years, specifically, but he makes it appear that there is a resurrection of those "in the Christ" and then the end, when he brings to nothing all government and authority and power. Paul appears to refer to only one single end that includes bringing to nothing all these other governments, and that this results in the end of death. Mission accomplished.
      From Paul alone, then, we can't tell where a 1,000 year reign fits in. Paul speaks from the perspective of this particular kingdom of Christ accomplishing its purpose, and in some sense being handed back to God at the point where the final enemy (death) is fully subjected. 
    • By 4Jah2me
      I'd like to ask @JW Insider 's view on the 'public edition', No 2 2020 Watchtower of 'What Is God's Kingdom' 
      Page 8 bottom left corner. mentions the 'so called' Signs of the times' Luke 21 v 10 & 11. But fails to mention the previous verse that say :- Verse 9.
      "Furthermore, when you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified. For these things must take place first, but the end will not occur immediately.”
      And Matthew 24 v 8 says,  All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress. 
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      And I notice on page 10 and 11 that the GB are holding on tightly to their doctrine of 1914.  Is this a good thing ? 
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    • By KevinM
      Right after talking to his disciples about when “the end will come” at Matthew 24:13, 14 Jesus warned of a time when his followers would “catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken about by Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place” after which they were to “begin fleeing” from Jerusalem and the surrounding district of Judea “to the mountains”. (Mt 24:14-16)  This was a signal that the end was imminent.  For the most part, all can agree how and when this occurred in the first century but what about our understanding of the modern day fulfillment?  Do we understand it completely?  What prophecies “spoken about by Daniel the prophet” was Jesus referring to in regard to the modern day fulfillment of the disgusting thing standing in a holy place?
      There are only a four prophecies of Daniel that could apply to Jesus description of a “disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken about by Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place”. 
       
      Daniel 8:9-25 is a prophecy that Jehovah’s Witnesses applied to Anglo America, starting first with Britain as a “horn, a small one” then when joined by America this horn “grows very great toward the south, toward the east and toward the decoration”.  Then Anglo America is said to become responsible for a “transgression causing desolation” upon God’s people “to make both the holy place and the army things to trample on.” (Da 8:9-25)  This was applied to the persecution of Jehovah’s witnesses starting in Nazi Germany and then persecution expanding to engulf the British Commonwealth and America during WWII.  However, could this prophecy in Daniel 8:9-25 apply to a time when Anglo America stands the UN disgusting thing “in a holy place”?  If so, does this passage show that this “holy place” is associated with God’s people?    
      Another prophecy that could apply is Daniel 11:30-35, this prophecy is regarding the king of the north.  In this prophecy he is said to “hurl denunciations against the holy covenant” and then he returns or “will go back and will give attention to those leaving the holy covenant. And arms will stand up, proceeding from him; and they will profane the sanctuary, the fortress, and remove the constant feature. And they will put in place the disgusting thing that causes desolation.” (Da 11:30b, 31)  Jehovah’s Witnesses have applied this prophecy in a few ways.  It is applied to Nazi Germany’s assault of Gods people during WWII and it is also expanded to include the installation of the UN as the disgusting thing in 1945 as well as the intrusion into their organization by Soviet spy’s during the Cold War.   Is it possible that Daniel 11:30c shows that the king of the north returns to assault Gods people again by standing the UN disgusting thing in a holy place? (Da 11:31)  Also do to the similarities in the language used in Daniel 11:31 and Daniel 8:9-25 show a possibility they are describing the same thing and does this suggest Anglo America is the king of the north?   
      Another prophecy in Daniel that could relate to the standing in a holy place is Daniel 11:40-12:1.  According to the prophecy of Daniel 11:40-43 the king of the north “storms” against the king of the south and “enter(s) into the lands and sweep(s) through like a flood and also enter(s) into the land of the Decoration”.  Again this has been applied by Jehovah’s Witnesses to events surrounding the persecution of God’s people during WWII particularly in Nazi Germany and then by the Soviet Union during the Cold War (because these world powers were viewed as the king of the north).  Yet according to the latter part of the prophecy in Daniel 11:44-12:1 after conquering Egypt (a symbol for both the world and the king of the south) the king of the north will “go out (of Egypt) in a great rage to annihilate and to devote many to destruction” and will return to Israel to “plant his royal tents between the grand sea and the holy mountain of Decoration”.  Jehovah’s Witnesses view this as a future and final attack on the estate of spiritual Israel by the King of the north.  Armageddon or God’s war was said to be triggered by this attack which is said to come at the end of the great tribulation after false religion is destroyed.  
      Because of reasoning in this manner, Jehovah’s Witnesses have never associated this final attack by the king of the north with “the disgusting thing that causes desolation . . .  standing in a holy place”. (Mt 24:15)  Also they view the “standing in a holy place” as an attack upon false religion and not an attack directed at Jehovah’s Witnesses.  But does the scriptural evidence within the context of Daniel 11:44-12:1 point to a time when the land of Decoration (a symbol of spiritual Israel) is invaded by the king of the north near his end?  Also if Anglo America is actually the king of the north would such an understanding harmonize with the other prophecies of Daniel already mentioned above and would that enhance understanding of the disgusting thing standing in a holy place?  
       
      Daniel 12:5-12 is a vision that surrounds a period of 3 ½ years that involves “the dashing to pieces of the power of the holy people”. (Da 12:5-7)  This was viewed as something that occurred to the bible students during WWI, which climaxed when eight prominent members were imprisoned, headquarters was shut down and the constant feature (the preaching work) was said to be removed.  The date set for this 3 ½ year time period is December 1914 to June 1918.  Daniel 12:11, mentions a time period of “1290 days” that occurs when “the constant feature has been removed and the disgusting thing that causes desolation has been put in place”.  Jehovah’s Witnesses used this verse to explain that after the preaching was virtually stopped and the League of Nations was proposed in Jan 1919 there was “1290 days” in which “anointed Christians awaken and progress spiritually”. The “1335 days” of Daniel 12:12 is said to follow on the heels of the 1290 days, and is a time when the “anointed Christians attain a happy state”.  However could it be possible that the application of Daniel 12:5-12 has not been fully understood and that it may extend to the time when “the disgusting thing that causes desolation” is “standing in a holy place”, a holy place associated with God’s holy people?  
      All four of the above mentioned prophecies picture either a ‘profaning’ or a ‘transgressing’ of the temple sanctuary (According to Jehovah’s Witnesses these are symbols of the condition of the anointed congregation), an ‘entering’ into “the land of the decoration” (a symbol of the spiritual estate of anointed remnant) or “the dashing to pieces of the power of the holy people” (depicting persecution and stoppage in their preaching work).  In all four of these prophecies, Jehovah’s Witnesses view the anointed as either “holy people”, “holy ones”, the “sanctuary” (Decoration / temple), “the land of the decoration” (spiritual Israel) or “the holy mountain of decoration” (Jerusalem).  In view of this it’s hard to deny that “the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken about by Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place” is something directed against or directly affects God’s “holy people” in the manner described by Daniel's prophecy.  (Mt 24:15)
       
       
       
       
       
       
    • By JW Insider
      Even before C.T.Russell was born, commentaries on Bible prophecy included  dozens of potential dates. Nearly 200 years ago, a couple of them even included 1914 as potentially significant time period. The "1914 presence" doctrine, however, is only about 75 years old.
      All the ideas behind the Watch Tower's version of the 1914 doctrine have already been discussed for decades now, and all of them, so far, have been shown to be problematic from a Scriptural point of view. Since the time that the doctrine generally took its current shape in 1943, the meanings and applications of various portions of Matthew 24 and 25 have already been changed, and the timing of various prophesied events and illustrations have changed. Most recently, the meaning and identification of the "faithful and discreet slave" has changed. And the definition of "generation" has changed about half-a-dozen times. This doesn't mean that the current understandings are impossible, of course, only that it has become less likely from the point of view of reason and reasonableness.
      Besides, for most of the years of teaching this doctrine, we have had the flexibility of extending the "1914 generation" from a possible 40 years, up to 70, then 75, then 80 years. And this has been applied to teenagers who saw 1914, 10-year-olds who saw 1914, then even newborns who saw 1914. With every one of these options already tried and stretched to their limits, we finally were forced to convert the meaning of generation from its most common meanings and give it a new "strained" meaning that has no other Biblical parallel. (See Exodus 1:6; Matthew 1:17; 16:4; 23:36; Luke 11:50)
      But that flexibility is still seen as the last reason for hope that the Watch Tower Society might have still been correct in hanging on to 1914. Since the Bible says that a lifespan is 70 or 80 years and 1914 + 80 = 1994, the "generation" doctrine in its original form (1943) could remain stable until about 1994. Of course, a lifespan could technically reach to 120 years or more, and Gen 6:3 even gives vague support to the idea that the "1914 generation" could last 120 years, until 2034.
      The current alternative solution is to make the generation out of the length of two lifespans, which technically could be double 120 years, or nearly 240 years from 1914. That would have had the potential to reach to the year 2154 (1914+240) except for the caveat that it can, by its new definition, only refer to anointed persons who discerned the sign in 1914 and whose lives overlapped (technically, by as little as one second) with the lifespan of another anointed person representing the second group. If persons from each group don't really discern their own "anointing" until age 20, for example, this would effectively remove 40 years from the overall maximum. 1914+120-20+120-20 = 2114. We could also assume a possible lifespan of more than 120 years, but otherwise, the new two-lifespan generation could potentially make the generation last 200 years. This "technical maximum" is not promoted currently, because for now we look at examples like Fred Franz who was part of that original generation already anointed and who saw the sign, and the typical example of an anointed brother who was apparently "anointed" prior to Franz' death in 1992 would be someone like Governing Body member, Brother Sanderson, who was born in 1965, baptized in 1975, and was already a "special pioneer" in 1991. His is currently 52.
      However, the generation problem is just one more problem now which we can add onto the list of all the other points that make up the 1914 doctrine. Here are several points related to 1914 that appear problematic from a Scriptural point of view:
      All evidence shows the 1914 date is wrong when trying to base it on the destruction of Jerusalem. (Daniel 1:1; 2 Chron 36:1-22; Jer 25:8-12; Zech 1:12, 7:4; Ezra 3:10-13) Paul said that Jesus sat at God's right hand in the first century and that he already began ruling as king at that time. (1 Cor 15:25) Jesus said not to be fooled by the idea that wars and rumors of wars would be the start of a "sign" (Matt 24:4,5) Jesus said that the "parousia" would be as visible as lightning (Matt 24:27). He spoke against people who might say he had returned but was currently not visible. (Matt 24:23-26) Jesus said that his "parousia" would come as a surprise to the faithful, not that they would discern the time of the parousia decades in advance. (Matt 24:36-42) Jesus said that the kingdom would not be indicated by "signs" (Luke 17:20, almost any translation except NWT in this case) The "synteleia" (end of all things together) refers to a concluding event, not an extended period of time (Matt 28:20) Jesus was already called ruler, King and even "King of Kings" in the first century. (1 Tim 6:15, Heb 7:2,17; Rev 1:5; 17:14) Wicked, beastly King Nebuchadnezzar's insanity and humiliation does not represent Jesus as the "lowliest one of mankind." (Heb 1:5,6; 2:10,11; Daniel 4:23-25; cf. Heb 2:7; 1 Pet 3:17,18) The demise of a Gentile kingdom cannot rightly represent the time of the rise of the Gentile kingdoms (Daniel 4:26,27) The Gentile kings did not meet their demise in 1914. (Rev 2:25,26) The time assigned to the Gentile Times that Jesus spoke about in Luke 21:24 is already given as 3.5 times, not 7 times (Revelation 11:2,3) The Devil was already brought down from "heaven" in the first century. (1 John 2:14,15; 1 Pet 5:8; Luke 10:18; Heb 2:14) The Bible says that the "last days" began in the first century. (Acts 2:14-20; 2 Tim 3:1-17; 1 Peter 3:3-5; Heb 1:2, almost any translation except NWT in this case.)
    • By Edward J
      Good Day friends 
      I've recently received a voice note of a brother giving a talk and mentioned that the governing body feels that the prophecy in Matt 24:14 has been fulfilled.
      I'll try to attach the file
      Please let me know what you think
      Thanks in advance my dear brothers and sisters
      AUD-20170407-WA0002.mp3
    • By JOHN DAVIS
      WHAT IS THE DISGUSTING THING THAT CAUSES DESOLATION IN OUR TIME AS RECORDED AT MATTHEW 24:15? 
    • By Anna
      Has anyone wondered about this?
      God’s Kingdom Rules! Page 230, par.19 & 20  says:
      How to Prepare Ourselves
      19  How can we prepare ourselves for the earthshaking
      events that are to come? The Watchtower stated some years
      ago: “Survival will depend on obedience.” Why is that so?
      The answer is found in a warning from Jehovah to the captive
      Jews living in ancient Babylon. Jehovah foretold that
      Babylon would be conquered, but what were God’s people
      to do to prepare themselves for that event? Jehovah stated:
      “Go, my people, enter your inner rooms, and shut your
      doors behind you. Hide yourself for a brief moment until
      the wrath has passed by.” (Isa. 26:20) Note the verbs in this
      verse: “go,” “enter,” “shut,” “hide”—all are in the imperative
      mood; they are commands. The Jews who heeded those
      commands would have stayed in their houses, away from
      the conquering soldiers out in the streets. Hence, their survival
      depended on obeying Jehovah’s instructions.[2]
       
      20  What is the lesson for us? As in the case of those ancient
      servants of God, our survival of coming events will
      depend on our obedience to Jehovah’s instructions. (Isa.
      30:21) Such instructions come to us through the congregation
      arrangement. Therefore, we want to develop heartfelt
      obedience to the guidance we are receiving. (1 John 5:3)
      If we do so today, we will be more inclined to obey willingly
      in the future and thus receive the protection of our Father,
      Jehovah, and our King, Jesus. (Zeph. 2:3) That divine
      protection will allow us to witness firsthand how God’s
      Kingdom will completely remove its enemies. What an unforgettable
      event that will be!
      Prior to those paragraphs, and in harmony with Matthew 24, it was made clear that the sheep and the goats will have already been judged, the sheep being marked for survival. Why would there be further need to follow some other instructions in order to survive? Matthew 24 does not indicate anything about additional instructions as a criterion for survival. In fact it says “then two men will be in the field; one will be taken along and the other abandoned.  Two women will be grinding at the hand mill; one will be taken along and the other abandoned.” This indicates that people will be in ordinary situations, when they are “saved”. The rest of the gospels focus on doing God’s will and following in Christ’s footsteps as the criterion for gaining salvation. "For this is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome" 1John 5:3. None of the Greek scriptures talk about any special instructions that will have to be obeyed during the great tribulation and Armageddon.  It is only Isaiah that mentions this in relation to surviving the overthrow of Babylon, with similar references to the Passover in Egypt and perhaps also Noah entering the Ark.
      I wonder why the Slave thinks that the same pattern will be followed when the ultimate destruction comes, as if Jehovah is not capable of saving individuals wherever they may be. Looking at it from a practical point of view, not everyone will be physically able to “go” or “shut” or “hide”. Think of the old and infirm.  The scripture in Zepheniah 2:3 talks about doing specific things well before  the day of Jehovah's anger. “Seek Jehovah, all you meek ones of the earth, Who observe his righteous decrees, seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably you will be concealed on the day of Jehovah’s anger”.
      The paragraph that follows,  (Par. 20) talks about us learning to obey the Slave now, so that when the time comes we will “obey” the Slave then, because our salvation depends on it.  But the scriptures clearly show our salvation depends on lots of other things, one of them being enduring faithfully to the end.  This was the symposium at this year’s Do not Give up convention as well. This included practical steps to “Run With Endurance”
      ·         Run to Win! (1 Corinthians 9:24)
      ·         Train Diligently (1 Corinthians 9:25-27)
      ·         Let Go of Unnecessary Burdens (Hebrews 12:1)
      ·         Imitate Good Examples (Hebrews 12:2, 3)
      ·         Eat Nutritious Food (Hebrews 5:12-14)
      ·         Drink Plenty of Water (Revelation 22:17)
      ·         Obey the Rules of the Contest (2 Timothy 2:5)
      ·         Be Confident of Gaining the Prize (Romans 15:13)
      That pertains to everything we do now. And those are the things we will be judged on. That’s how we prepare ourselves surely? Not by obeying some last minute instructions as if Jehovah is not capable of saving each individual Witness wherever they may be, since the whole performance is going to involve supernatural powers anyway....Plus, it has been speculated that some may die at Armageddon, not by Jehovah's hand, but by other extenuating circumstances, even by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
      I will do some more research on this....
       
    • By Jack Ryan
      What is our official definition of "parousia" found in Matthew 24:3?



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    • Eric Ouellet

      RAPPEL DE JEHOVAH
       
      Aleph
      Parfait est mon chemin 
      Marche dans la voix de Dieu
      Cherche moi de tout ton coeur
      Garde mon témoignage, tu seras heureux.
      Oppose toi au mal
      Marche dans la voix de Dieu
      Observe ma volonté
      L'abîme de la honte tu ne connaîtras
      Mes justes lois 
      Instruit ton coeur en ma droiture.
      Aime moi de tout ton coeur,
      de toute ton esprit, de toute ton âme et de toute ta force vitale. (Souffle de vie)
      Je te rendrai grâce
      Laisse toi entièrement
      à ce que je te dis 
      D'OBSERVER
      TELLE DOIT ÊTRE TA VOLONTÉ
      Beth
      Écoute ma parole
      Garde pur ton chemin
      telle un enfant de Dieu.
      Ne t'écarte point de mes commandements
      Cherche moi de tout ton coeur
      Ne point faillir en toi
      La promesse que je t'ai dis 
      D'OBSERVER
      De tout ton coeur 
      Apprend ma volonté
      Béni seras -tu.
      Le jugement de ta bouche 
      Soit toute énuméré de mes lèvres.
      Que toutes richesses
      Jubiles
      Dans les témoignages de ma parole
      Regarde mon chemin que je t'ai donné 
      Médite sur mes préceptes
      N'oublie pas ma lois
      tes délices
      Tu les trouveras en fesant ma volonté
      Gimel
      Observe ma parole
      tu vivras
      Sois bon envers autrui
      Merveille est ma voie
      Regarde
      Ouvre tes yeux
      Ne cache point mes commandements
      Car un étranger de la terre tu seras
      En tout temps suit mon jugement
      Si tu le désires
      Que mes yeux se tourne vers toi.
      Reste et guide ta vie sur mes normes divine.
      Car t'en égarer tu seras maudit.
      Les suivres te rendront parfait
      Garde mon témoignage
      ainsi
      Tu ne connaîtras le mépris
      Médite sur ma volonté
      Ne parle jamais contre moi
      Tu deviendras un homme parfait.
      Mes conseilles met les dans ton coeur
      De tout mon témoignage
      Tu vivras tout les trésors de la vie.
      Dalèt
      Vivifie toi en moi 
      Car ton âme est collé à la poussière
      Apprend mon adage
      Énumère ma loi
      Je te répondrai
      Médite sur mes desseins
      Tu comprendras mes préceptes
      Relève toi en ma droiture
      Ton âme ne connaîtra le chagrin
      Grâce à ma loi 
      Tu te détourneras de la voie du mensonge
      Conforme est ma loi 
      choisi la voie de JEHOVAH. (YHWH)
      Guide tes actions vers ma justice
      Immerge toi dans ma connaissance 
      Élargi ton coeur et marche dans la voie 
      De mes commandements

      Heureux ceux qui garde le chemin,
      la voie de mon salut.
      Enseigne toi, La voie de l'univers celle de ma sainte Parole.
      Observe de tout ton coeur
      Garde en toi 
      Tu comprendras, là ton cheminement
      Guide toi au chemin de ma parole
      Ne guide ton coeur vers le gain de ce système de choses.
      Fléchis ton coeur et vivifie toi en mon royaume.
      De ma parole
      Libère tes yeux de l'illusion
      Craint le Dieu Très Haut
      Tiens tes promesses telle un fidèle serviteur
      Que mes lois soit le bienvenu en toi 
      ainsi
      Tu seras libéré de toutes insultes
      Vivifie toi! Dans ma justice
      Béni seras tu!
      Désirs mes préceptes
      Telle doit être ta volonté
      zayin
      Garde les promesses qui viennent de ton coeur
      Ton salut est en mon dessin
      Amour du Dieu Très Haut
      Garde ma parole
      Aucune riposte et insulte est ma Parole.
      Espère en ma promesse et en mon royaume
      Guide ta bouche vers la parole de la vérité.
      Toujour et à jamais
      Sans relâche
      Médite sur ma parole que Je t'ai donné
      Cherche mes préceptes
      Engage ta démarche dans ton coeur
      J'élargirai ta vie
      Ne sois acerbe en ma parole
      Quelle devienne un délice à ton palais.
      Médite en ma volonté
      Aime mon commandement
      Ouvre les mains, Je te bénirai
      TAV
      Fonde ton espoir en ma volonté
      Deviens mon serviteur
      Rappelle toi de ma parole
      Vivifie toi !En ma Sagesse
      Je te délivrerai de ceux qui ton outragé
      Reste sur la voie de ma loi
      Console toi par la prière et la méditation venant de tout ton être.
      Ma parole te soutiendra dans les moments difficiles de ta vie.
      Reste dans le chemin que je t'ai donné.
      Que ta colère garde l'amour en ma volonté
      Je te délivrerai de ton impureté.
      Préserve le coeur d'enfant que je t'ai donné
      Sois ferme dans ton coeur
      Louange mon Nom pour toujour.
      Observe ma loi dans tout l'univers de ton être
      De cette volonté, ton âme s'illumineras
      Dans la nuit
      Je me souviendrai de ton nom.
      Garde en toi mes préceptes et souviens toi de mon Nom.
      Elle sera ta délivrance éternelle.
      AINSI TU CONNAÎTRAS MA PROMESSE DE VIVRE POUR TOUJOUR, AU PARADIS.
      Amen
      YHWH (JEHOVAH)
      Erico

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Apprenons à craindre Jéhovah
      “ La crainte de Jéhovah est le début de la sagesse. ” — PROVERBES 9:10.

      IL FUT un temps où dire de quelqu’un craignait Dieu était un compliment. Beaucoup jugent aujourd’hui désuète et illogique l’idée de craindre Dieu. " Pourquoi craindre Dieu s’il est amour?" s’étonnent-ils. C’est que la crainte est à leurs yeux un sentiment forcément négatif, voire paralysant. Or, la crainte de Dieu, la vraie, est bien autre chose que de la peur et, comme nous allons le voir, elle ne se résume pas à un sentiment.
       La Bible présente la crainte de Dieu sous un jour positif (Isaïe 11:3). Craindre Dieu, c’est éprouver envers lui un profond respect et désirer vivement ne pas lui déplaire (Psaume 115:11). C’est aussi accepter ses normes morales et s’y conformer strictement, appliquer dans notre vie ses critères du bien et du mal. Un ouvrage de référence indique que cette crainte salutaire exprime “ un rapport à Dieu, une disposition d’esprit dominante, qui incite à se conduire avec sagesse et à rejeter le mal sous toutes ses formes ”. La Bible dit d’ailleurs que “ la crainte de Jéhovah est le début de la sagesse ”. — Proverbes 9:10.
      La crainte de Dieu influe sur de nombreux domaines de l’existence. Outre la sagesse, elle favorise la joie, la paix, la prospérité, la longévité, l’espoir, la confiance (Psaume 2:11 ; Proverbes 1:7 ; 10:27 ; 14:26 ; 22:4 ; 23:17, 18 ; Actes 9:31). Elle est étroitement liée à la foi et à l’amour. Pour tout dire, elle touche tous les aspects de nos relations avec Dieu et avec les humains (Deutéronome 10:12 ; Job 6:14 ; Hébreux 11:7). Craindre Dieu, enfin, c’est avoir la ferme conviction que notre Père céleste se soucie de nous personnellement et qu’il est disposé à pardonner nos transgressions (Psaume 130:4). Il n’y a donc qu’aux pécheurs non repentants que Dieu devrait inspirer de la terreur. — Hébreux 10:26-31.
      APPRENONS À CRAINDRE DIEU
      Puisqu’il est indispensable de le craindre pour prendre de sages décisions et recevoir ses bénédictions, comment "apprendre à craindre Jéhovah"
      dans le bon sens du terme (Deutéronome 17:19) ? De nombreux exemples d’hommes et de femmes qui craignaient Dieu ont été consignés dans les Écritures “ pour notre instruction ”. (Romains 15:4.) Intéressons-nous à la vie de l’un de ces personnages, le roi David.
      Saül, le premier roi d’Israël, avait la crainte du peuple, mais pas la crainte de Dieu. Cela lui a valu d’être rejeté par Jéhovah (1 Samuel 15:24-26). David, lui, était un homme qui craignait vraiment Dieu ; sa vie et son intimité avec Jéhovah en témoignent. Les nombreuses nuits à la belle étoile qu’il avait passées dans sa jeunesse à faire paître les moutons de son père l’avaient certainement aidé à comprendre ce qu’est la crainte de Jéhovah (1 Samuel 16:11). De l’immense univers, il n’avait contemplé qu’une infime partie, mais cela lui avait suffi pour saisir l’essentiel : Dieu mérite respect et adoration. “ Quand je vois tes cieux, les œuvres de tes doigts, la lune et les étoiles que tu as préparées, écrira-t-il plus tard, qu’est-ce que le mortel pour que tu penses à lui, et le fils de l’homme tiré du sol pour que tu t’occupes de lui ? ” — Psaume 8:3, 4.
      Il était normal que David soit impressionné quand il comparait sa petitesse à l’immensité des cieux étoilés. Mais, loin de l’effrayer, cette connaissance le portait à louer Jéhovah. “ Les cieux proclament la gloire de Dieu, a-t-il écrit ; et l’œuvre de ses mains, l’étendue l’annonce. ” (Psaume 19:1). Ce profond respect le rapprochait de Jéhovah ; il lui donnait envie d’apprendre ses voies parfaites et de les suivre. Percevez-vous les sentiments qui l’habitaient quand il chantait ce psaume : “ Tu es grand et tu fais des choses prodigieuses ; tu es Dieu, toi seul. Instruis-moi de ta voie, ô Jéhovah ! Je marcherai dans ta vérité. Unifie mon cœur pour craindre ton nom. ” — Psaume 86:10, 11.
      Quand les Philistins ont envahi le pays d’Israël, leur champion, Goliath, a provoqué les Israélites du haut de ses trois mètres. " Envoyez donc quelqu’un m’affronter en combat singulier ! les narguait-il. S’il me bat, nous serons vos serviteurs. " (1 Samuel 17:4-10). Saül et toute son armée étaient terrifiés. Mais pas David. S’il devait craindre quelqu’un, c’était Jéhovah, et non un homme, si fort soit-il. “ Je viens vers toi avec le nom de Jéhovah des armées, a-t-il lancé à Goliath. [...] Et toute cette assemblée saura que ce n’est ni par l’épée ni par la lance que Jéhovah sauve réellement, car à Jéhovah appartient la bataille. ” Grâce à Jéhovah, une fronde et une pierre ont suffi à David pour abattre le géant. — 1 Samuel 17:45-47.
      Il peut arriver que nous nous trouvions devant des obstacles ou des ennemis aussi intimidants que ceux qu’a dû affronter David. Que faire alors ? Imiter David et d’autres fidèles du passé en s’armant de la crainte de Dieu. La crainte de Dieu l’emporte sur la crainte de l’homme. À ses compatriotes en butte à l’opposition, le fidèle Nehémia a adressé cette exhortation : “ N’ayez pas peur à cause d’eux. Souvenez-vous de Jéhovah le Grand et le Redoutable. ” (Nehémia 4:14). C’est parce qu’ils avaient son soutien que David, Nehémia et d’autres ont réussi à faire ce que Jéhovah attendait d’eux. Nous le pourrons également si nous craignons Dieu.
      Après celle sur Goliath, Jéhovah a accordé d’autres victoires à David. Jaloux, Saül a tenté de tuer le jeune homme, d’abord dans un geste de colère, puis par des moyens détournés, enfin en mobilisant toute une armée contre lui. Même si David avait reçu l’assurance qu’il serait roi, pendant des années il a dû fuir, se battre, et attendre le moment fixé par Jéhovah. Dans toutes ces situations, il ne s’est jamais départi de sa crainte du vrai Dieu. — 1 Samuel 18:9, 11, 17 ; 24:2.
      À un moment donné, David s’est réfugié auprès d’Akish, le roi de Gath, ville philistine d’où était originaire Goliath (1 Samuel 21:10-15). Les serviteurs d’Akish l’ont dénoncé comme ennemi. Comment a-t-il réagi à cette situation périlleuse ? Il s’est confié à Jéhovah de tout son cœur (Psaume 56:1-4, 11-13). Il s’est finalement sorti du guêpier en simulant la démence, mais il était bien conscient de devoir son salut à Jéhovah, qui avait béni son stratagème. David a prouvé qu’il craignait vraiment Dieu en plaçant toute sa confiance en lui. — Psaume 34:4-6, 9-11.
      À l’exemple de David, nous montrerons que nous craignons Dieu en ayant confiance en sa promesse de nous aider dans les épreuves. “ Roule ta voie sur Jéhovah, compte sur lui, et c’est lui qui agira ”, a affirmé David (Psaume 37:5). Cela ne veut pas dire qu’il faut mettre nos problèmes entre les mains de Jéhovah sans rien faire d’autre qu’attendre son intervention. David ne s’est pas contenté de prier et de voir venir. Il a cherché une solution à son problème en utilisant les capacités physiques et intellectuelles dont Jéhovah l’avait doté. Pour autant, il ne pensait pas que ses efforts d’humain suffiraient. Cette façon de voir devrait aussi être la nôtre. Faisons tout ce qui est en notre pouvoir, puis laissons Jéhovah se charger du reste. Cela étant, il est fréquent que nous ne puissions rien faire d’autre que compter sur Jéhovah. C’est là que la crainte de Dieu revêt un caractère très personnel. Combien est réconfortante cette réflexion de David : “ L’intimité avec Jéhovah appartient à ceux qui le craignent. ” — Psaume 25:14.
      Il s’agit donc de ne pas banaliser nos prières et nos relations avec Dieu. Lorsque nous nous ‘ avançons ’ vers Jéhovah, nous devons “ croire qu’il est, et qu’il devient celui qui récompense ceux qui le cherchent réellement ”. (Hébreux 11:6 ; Jacques 1:5-8.) Et quand il vient à notre aide, il nous faut, conformément au conseil de l’apôtre Paul, ‘ nous montrer reconnaissants ’. (Colossiens 3:15, 17.) Ne ressemblons jamais à ceux dont un chrétien oint expérimenté a dit : “ Ils prennent Dieu pour une sorte de garçon de café. Ils aimeraient qu’il réponde à un claquement de doigts dès qu’ils ont besoin de quelque chose, et qu’il disparaisse dès qu’ils ont eu ce qu’ils voulaient. ” Où est leur crainte de Dieu ?
      Le fait que Jéhovah l’ait secouru a augmenté la confiance et la crainte que David éprouvait envers lui (Psaume 31:22-24). Trois fois, cependant, David a mis notablement sa crainte de Dieu entre parenthèses, ce qui a eu des conséquences tragiques. La première fois, c’est quand il a décidé de faire transporter l’arche de l’alliance à Jérusalem sur un chariot, et non sur les épaules des Lévites comme le prescrivait la Loi. Ouzza, qui conduisait le chariot, a saisi l’Arche pour l’empêcher de tomber. Dieu l’a fait mourir sur le champ pour cet “ acte d’irrévérence ”. Certes, Ouzza avait commis un péché grave, mais c’est bien David qui, pour n’avoir pas respecté la Loi divine, était responsable de ce drame. Craindre Dieu suppose que l’on fasse les choses comme lui l’entend. — 2 Samuel 6:2-9 ; Nombres 4:15 ; 7:9.
      Une autre fois, sous l’impulsion de Satan, David a procédé au dénombrement des hommes de guerre en Israël (1 Chroniques 21:1). Là encore, il a cessé momentanément de craindre Dieu, ce qui a coûté la vie à 70 000 de ses compatriotes. Bien qu’il se soit repenti devant Jéhovah, lui et le peuple ont beaucoup souffert en la circonstance. — 2 Samuel 24:1-16
      C’est aussi parce qu’il avait oublié sa crainte de Dieu que David a couché avec Bath-Shéba, la femme d’Ouriya. David savait qu’il était mal, non seulement de commettre l’adultère, mais aussi de désirer la femme d’un autre (Exode 20:14, 17). Tout a commencé quand il a aperçu Bath-Shéba qui se baignait. La crainte de Dieu lui commandait de détourner son regard immédiatement et de maîtriser ses pensées. Mais il a manifestement ‘ continué à regarder ’, si bien que la passion l’a emporté sur sa crainte de Dieu (Matthieu 5:28 ; 2 Samuel 11:1-4). David a oublié que Jéhovah devait être présent dans tous les domaines de sa vie. — Psaume 139:1-7.
      De son adultère avec Bath-Shéba est né un fils. Peu après, Jéhovah a envoyé le prophète Nathân dénoncer le péché de David. Retrouvant la crainte de Dieu en même temps que la raison, celui-ci s’est repenti. Il a supplié Jéhovah de ne pas le rejeter et de ne pas lui retirer son esprit saint (Psaume 51:7, 11). Jéhovah lui a pardonné et a atténué le châtiment, mais il ne lui a pas épargné toutes les conséquences de ses actes. Le fils de David est mort ; les malheurs se sont succédé dans sa famille. Quel prix à payer pour avoir momentanément fait abstraction de la crainte de Dieu ! — 2 Samuel 12:10-14 ; 13:10-14 ; 15:14.
      Aujourd’hui de même, ne pas craindre Dieu dans le domaine de la moralité peut avoir des conséquences graves et durables. Imaginez la douleur de cette jeune femme qui découvre que son mari chrétien l’a trompée lors d’un déplacement professionnel à l’étranger. Choquée, anéantie par le chagrin, elle enfouit son visage dans ses mains et pleure toutes les larmes de son corps. Combien de temps faudra-t-il au mari infidèle pour regagner la confiance et le respect de sa femme ? Des situations aussi pénibles peuvent être évitées grâce à la crainte de Dieu. — 1 Corinthiens 6:18.
      Satan détruit les valeurs morales de la société humaine les unes après les autres, et il cherche particulièrement à corrompre les vrais chrétiens. Pour ce faire, il exploite le chemin le plus direct vers le cœur et l’esprit : nos sens, avec une prédilection pour l’ouïe et la vue (Éphésiens 4:17-19). Comment réagissez-vous quand, involontairement, vous vous trouvez exposé à des images ou à des paroles obscènes, ou encore en présence d’individus immoraux ?
      Voyez le cas d’André. Cet ancien et père de famille est médecin dans un pays d’Europe. Quand il était de garde de nuit à l’hôpital, des collègues féminines avaient pris l’habitude d’épingler sur son oreiller des mots doux ornés de petits cœurs pour l’inviter à coucher avec elles. André s’interdisait résolument d’accorder la moindre pensée à ces avances. Mieux, pour se soustraire à cet environnement malsain, il a changé d’établissement. Sa crainte de Dieu s’est révélée sage et lui a valu des bénédictions, puisqu’il effectue aujourd’hui une partie de ses activités au siège des Témoins de Jéhovah de son pays.
      Troquer nos précieuses relations avec Jéhovah contre quelque chose auquel nous n’avons pas droit : voilà où nous risquons d’en arriver en cultivant de mauvaises pensées (Jacques 1:14, 15). Si nous craignons Jéhovah, en revanche, nous nous tiendrons éloignés — et même nous nous écarterons délibérément — des gens, des lieux, des activités ou des divertissements qui pourraient nous faire baisser notre garde (Proverbes 22:3). Quel que soit l’inconvénient ou le sacrifice que cela implique, il n’est rien à côté de la perte de la faveur divine (Matthieu 5:29, 30). La crainte de Dieu nous commande de ne jamais nous exposer intentionnellement à quoi que ce soit d’immoral — à commencer par la pornographie sous toutes ses formes —, mais aussi de faire en sorte que nos yeux “ passent sans s’arrêter à la vue de ce qui n’est que néant ”. Soyons convaincus que Jéhovah, alors, nous ‘ gardera en vie ’ et nous donnera tout ce dont nous avons réellement besoin. — Psaume 84:11 ; 119:37.
       Assurément, c’est toujours faire preuve de sagesse que de laisser la crainte de Dieu dicter nos actions. C’est aussi la source du vrai bonheur (Psaume 34:9)

      · 1 reply
    • T Naidoo  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Please email me the  Pure worship scripture via email tennyson@capemedia.co.za please I still have a problemdownloading the info. 
      Thank you
      Tennyson Naidoo
      · 1 reply
    • Eric Ouellet

      Prière de Moïse qui nous apprend un message important pour les enfants de Dieu de nos jours.
       
      Ô Jéhovah, tu as été notre demeure de génération en génération.
      Avant que les montagnes soient nées
      ou que tu aies donné naissance à la terre et au sol productif,
      depuis toujours et pour toujours, tu es Dieu.
      Tu fais retourner le mortel à la poussière ;
      tu dis : « Vous, fils des hommes, retournez à la poussière. »
      Car, à tes yeux, mille ans sont comme le jour d’hier quand il est passé,
      comme une veille pendant la nuit.
      Tu emportes les humain ; ils deviennent comme un instant de sommeil.
      Au matin, ils sont comme l’herbe qui germe.
      Le matin, elle fleurit et se renouvelle,
      mais le soir, elle se flétrit et se dessèche.
      Oui, nous sommes consumés par ta colère
      et terrifiés par ta fureur.
      Tu mets nos fautes devant toi ;
      à la lumière de ton visage, nos secrets sont dévoilés.
      Nos jours déclinent à cause de ta fureur ;
      nos années s’achèvent tel un murmure.
      La durée de notre vie est de 70 ans,
      ou de 80 ans si l’on est particulièrement robuste.
      Mais elle est remplie de malheur et de chagrin ;
      elle passe vite, et nous nous envolons.
      Qui peut sonder la puissance de ta colère ?
      Ta fureur est aussi grande que la crainte qui t’est due.
      Apprends-nous à compter nos jours
      pour que nous puissions acquérir un cœur sage.
      Reviens, ô Jéhovah ! Jusqu’à quand cela va-t-il durer ?
      Aie pitié de tes serviteurs.
       
      "Au matin, rassasie-nous de ton amour fidèle,
      pour que nous puissions crier de joie et nous réjouir tous les jours de notre vie.
      Réjouis-nous pendant autant de jours que ceux où tu nous as affligés,
      pendant autant d’années que celles où nous avons connu le malheur.
      Que tes serviteurs voient ton action
      et que leurs fils voient ta splendeur.
      Que la faveur de Jéhovah notre Dieu soit sur nous !
      Puisses-tu faire réussir l’œuvre de nos mains,
      oui, fais réussir l’œuvre de nos mains. "
       
      Celui qui habite dans le lieu secret du Très-Haut
      logera à l’ombre du Tout-Puissant.
      Je veux dire à Jéhovah : « Tu es mon refuge et ma forteresse,
      mon Dieu en qui j’ai confiance. »
      Car il te délivrera du piège de l’oiseleur
      et de l’épidémie destructrice.
      Avec ses plumes il te couvrira,
      et sous ses ailes tu te réfugieras
      Sa fidélité sera un grand bouclier et un mur protecteur.
      Tu ne craindras ni les terreurs de la nuit,
      ni la flèche qui vole pendant le jour,
      ni l’épidémie qui rôde dans l’obscurité,
      ni la destruction qui ravage en plein midi.
      Mille tomberont à tes côtés
      et dix mille à ta droite,
      mais rien de cela ne s’approchera de toi.
      Toi, tu ne feras que voir cela de tes yeux
      quand tu assisteras à la punition des méchants.
      Puisque tu as dit : « Jéhovah est mon refuge »,
      tu as fait du Très-Haut ta demeure ;aucun désastre ne t’arrivera
      et aucun fléau ne s’approchera de ta tente.
      Car il donnera à ses anges un ordre à ton sujet,
      pour te protéger où que tu ailles.
      Ils te porteront sur leurs mains,
      pour que ton pied ne heurte pas de pierre. 
      Sur le jeune lion et le cobra tu marcheras ;
      tu piétineras le lion à crinière et le gros serpent.
      Dieu a dit : « Parce qu’il a de l’affection pour moi, je vais le délivrer.
      Je vais le protéger parce qu’il connaît mon nom.
      Il m’appellera à l’aide, et je lui répondrai.
      Je serai avec lui en temps de détresse.
      Je le délivrerai et le glorifierai.
      Je le rassasierai d’une longue vie
      et je lui ferai voir mes actes sauveurs. »
       
      "Au matin, rassasie-nous de ton amour fidèle,
      pour que nous puissions crier de joie et nous réjouir tous les jours de notre vie.
      Réjouis-nous pendant autant de jours que ceux où tu nous as affligés,
      pendant autant d’années que celles où nous avons connu le malheur.
      Que tes serviteurs voient ton action
      et que leurs fils voient ta splendeur.
      Que la faveur de Jéhovah notre Dieu soit sur nous !
      Puisses-tu faire réussir l’œuvre de nos mains,
      oui, fais réussir l’œuvre de nos mains." 


      · 1 reply
    • Bernice Krovocheck  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Twyla, I need Weekly meeting workbook week of October 5-11
      · 2 replies
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