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The Incredible Desert Find: the Sinaiticus Sheepngoats, Destined to Update the Bible Canon


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First of all, I should repeat that I have deep respect for the elders who call themselves the "Governing Body" because they have taken the lead in speaking and teaching. They are worthy of "double hon

Yes. Without some sort of governing arrangement—call it what you will—the Bible becomes a relic with the death of the apostles. Similar to how the constitution becomes a relic in the absence of a Supr

Whenever a new version of Scripture appears that is colloquialized, paraphrased, or just plain dumbed down, the refrain is heard: “If it gets modern people to read God’s Word, it is worth it.” How far

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31 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

Are you totally bored too ? 

Actually this serves to banish boredom.

And in a strange sort of way, I offer this as a Bible teaching tool. Most people quote a verse here or there from Galatians (sometimes I think the guy that invented numbered verses should be hung on a gallows) but if you asked them what the overall book was about, they wouldn’t have a clue. Now they will.

I can picture anyone with sufficient time on his hands reading Galatians 5:12 and saying ‘he said that?’ Of course, he did not, but what he did say was not totally from another planet.

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Ah so you were bored but not now :) 

And I agree with you about numbering verses. I'm probably as guilty as anyone for taking a vese out of context. 

When we look at Paul's writings as the letters to congregations that they were, the we get a much better meaning from them. 

I would have loved to have met him. A man that wasn't frightened to speak his mind. Not all mamby pamby like the JW Org pretends to be. 

I've always found that the Org here in UK tries to act toooo posh. 

There was an old Elder in the Honiton congregation and he was an ex farmer. Henry was his name.

He would pronounce Honiton as Onitun, and Exeter as Hexeter. Poor man was always being told off by other Elders. But it was him, his character, the man he really was. But it was easy to see the other Elders didn't like it. 

It was so easy to see, and so funny, that congregants would put on a posher voice in the KH. Then once outside or away from the hall, even on the ministry, then would be back to their 'real self'. 

In my opinion God does not want posh. Jesus did not chose posh people for his disciples / apostles.   

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I love it. Galatians is about the best book to do that with because it's so dramatic.

43 minutes ago, TrueTomHarley said:

but what he did say was not totally from another planet.

True. There are several widely published translations that don't veer too far from your version here, at least in places.

2 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

it does serve to convey the basic idea of the entire Book of Galatians.

It can actually do "double-work" as commentary.

47 minutes ago, TrueTomHarley said:

I can picture anyone with sufficient time on his hands reading Galatians 5:12 and saying ‘he said that?’

Some widely used translations are rather jarring here with expressions like: "I wish the knife would slip."

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22 hours ago, JW Insider said:

It can actually do "double-work" as commentary.

I liked that Paul was largely autonomous for 17 years. I guess that I had imagined that he had marched to the territory servant the moment Ananias left him.

And yet he was not really independent. When he did touch base, it was “for fear that somehow I was running or had run in vain.”

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2 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

And yet he was not really independent. When he did touch base, it was “for fear that somehow I was running or had run in vain.”

That's how I had always read it, too. But there is also a strong possibility that he really means that he wanted to be sure that everything he was doing was not being undone by these superfine apostles from Jerusalem (like James, Peter, and John). James and Peter had influence outside of Jerusalem, obviously all the way up to Galatia, where James sent people to undermine Paul's work, and Peter actually visited himself and ended up setting a bad example for the brothers, there.

Under another topic you already responded to some of these points, but I'll pick up on them again here.

Remember, too, that Peter was a big influence in Corinth, too, so that some were saying they belonged to Paul, Apollos, or Cephas. Paul drops several hints even in Corinthians that the superfine apostles included the "James gang" and others from the "Jerusalem party."  It was easy for the Corinthians to see these apostles appointed by Jesus as a kind of Governing Body representing themselves as THE (superfine) FAITHFUL STEWARD. So Paul made a point to them that he was not a steward that needed such a human "tribunal."

(1 Corinthians 4:1-3) . . .A man should regard us as attendants of Christ and stewards of God’s sacred secrets. 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.. . .

It's also pretty clear that Paul is speaking of this same tribunal that he speaks of in Galatians. Even the timing is set for us.

  • (2 Corinthians 12:1, 2) . . .I have to boast. It is not beneficial, but I will move on to supernatural visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in union with Christ who, 14 years ago—whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know; God knows—was caught away to the third heaven.
  • (Galatians 2:1, 2) . . .Then after 14 years I again went up to Jerusalem with Barʹna·bas, also taking Titus along with me. 2 I went up as a result of a revelation,. . .

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18 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

superfine apostles from Jerusalem (like James, Peter, and John).

I am under the impression that these brothers were not who Paul had in mind, but he was talking about the "Judeizers" 

Didn't he call James, Peter and John pillars? I'm not on my pc so I can't check. I will probably have to come back to this later with some scriptures...

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56 minutes ago, Anna said:

Didn't he call James, Peter and John pillars?

No. Certainly not! They were Judaizers. So he said they "seemed to be pillars."

(Galatians 2:6-9) . . .But regarding those who seemed to be important—whatever they were makes no difference to me, for God does not go by a man’s outward appearance—those highly regarded men imparted nothing new to me. 7 On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the good news for those who are uncircumcised, just as Peter had been for those who are circumcised— 8 for the one who empowered Peter for an apostleship to those who are circumcised also empowered me for those who are of the nations— 9 and when they recognized the undeserved kindness that was given me, James and Ceʹphas and John, the ones who seemed to be pillars, gave Barʹna·bas and me the right hand of fellowship, . . .

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59 minutes ago, Anna said:

I am under the impression that these brothers were not who Paul had in mind, but he was talking about the "Judeizers" 

Paul specifically mentions Peter as coming to Antioch and being clearly in the wrong when Peter "feared those of the circumcised class." But look who sent those men of the circumcised class:

(Galatians 2:11, 12) . . .However, when Ceʹphas came to Antioch, I resisted him face-to-face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12 For before certain men from James arrived, he used to eat with people of the nations; but when they arrived, he stopped doing this and separated himself, fearing those of the circumcised class.

It was specifically because these men had such a "superfine" reputation as the leaders in Jerusalem that Paul went to the trouble of saying that "even if it were an angel from heaven declaring a different good news" they should CURSE that angel.

(Galatians 1:7-9) . . .Not that there is another good news; but there are certain ones who are causing you trouble and wanting to distort the good news about the Christ. 8 However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to you as good news something beyond the good news we declared to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, I now say again, Whoever is declaring to you as good news something beyond what you accepted, let him be accursed.

The focus was on "whoever" even if that "whoever" turned out to be "we" -- the persons the Galatians would have trusted, even an APOSTLE like Paul himself --  or even an ANGEL. Well what was considered the closest thing to an ANGEL for the congregations in that day? 

I think we know that the most likely persons were the apostles at Jerusalem who were actively trying to Judaize or the apostles who knew better but allowed their own peers at Jerusalem to influence them to Judaize. Why else would Paul immediately try to distance himself from these very apostles? Why would he immediately follow this up by showing how he distanced himself from any supposed authority or teachings coming out of Jerusalem?

(Galatians 1:10-2:7) . . .Is it, in fact, men I am now trying to persuade or God? Or am I trying to please men? . . . the good news I declared to you is not of human origin; 12 for neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it was through a revelation by Jesus Christ. . . . 15 But when God . . . thought good 16 to reveal his Son through me so that I might declare the good news about him to the nations, I did not immediately consult with any human; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before I was, but I went to Arabia, and then I returned to Damascus. 18 Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to visit Ceʹphas, and I stayed with him for 15 days. 19 But I did not see any of the other apostles, only James the brother of the Lord. 20 Now regarding the things I am writing you, I assure you before God that I am not lying. . . . 22 But I was personally unknown to the congregations of Ju·deʹa. . . . 2 Then after 14 years I again went up to Jerusalem with Barʹna·bas, also taking Titus along with me. . . . 3 Nevertheless, not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, although he was a Greek. 4 But that matter came up because of the false brothers brought in quietly, who slipped in to spy on the freedom we enjoy in union with Christ Jesus, so that they might completely enslave us; 5 we did not yield in submission to them, no, not for a moment, so that the truth of the good news might continue with you. 6 But regarding those who seemed to be important—whatever they were makes no difference to me, for God does not go by a man’s outward appearance—those highly regarded men imparted nothing new to me. 7 On the contrary,. . .

Why do we think that Paul tries to show that he never had much interaction at all with Jerusalem, and the "supposed" pillars there? Why is it important that he say he did NOT go up to Jerusalem "to those were apostles" but ran off to Arabia instead? Even after three years he only just spent two weeks in Jerusalem staying with Peter, and he happened to see James while he was there -- but NONE of the other apostles?

What is the main point here that he wants the Galatians to be sure they remember he is not lying about? It can only be that he must do his best to smash this myth that Jerusalem is the seat of some kind of authority they should accept. These Galatians are complying with Judaizers, the same problem in Antioch, because they thought that Jerusalem had authority to impose such doctrines on them. So Paul makes it clear that even when he was right there in Jerusalem, that they were not compelled to follow the Judaizers, and the "false brothers" in Jerusalem who wanted to enslave them back into aspects of Jewish law, the most obtrusive of which was "circumcision" - which Paul also utilized as a key expression to summarize the entire egregious idea of being put under law. 

You can see that here when circumcision is expanded to mean any kind of placement under law:

(Galatians 4:1-11) . . .9 But now that you have come to know God or, rather, have come to be known by God, how is it that you are turning back again to the weak and beggarly elementary things and want to slave for them over again? 10 You are scrupulously observing days and months and seasons and years. 11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

But it also included putting themselves under stewards and supervisors. Now that they were no longer under law, they should understand that they are all sons and heirs, and have no reason to go back under human stewards and supervisors. This might refer back to Paul's comments about the supposed "pillars" at Jerusalem, whose authority he didn't accept.

(Galatians 4:1-11) . . .Now I say that as long as the heir is a young child, he is no different from a slave, although he is the lord of all things, 2 but he is under supervisors and stewards until the day set ahead of time by his father. 3 Likewise, we too, when we were children, were enslaved by the elementary things of the world. 4 But when the full limit of the time arrived, God sent his Son, who was born of a woman and who was under law, 5 that he might release by purchase those under law, so that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 Now because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, and it cries out: “Abba, Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave but a son; and if a son, then you are also an heir through God. 8 Nevertheless, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those who are not really gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God or, rather, have come to be known by God, how is it that you are turning back again to the weak and beggarly elementary things and want to slave for them over again?

I think we can take from this that even where the supposed pillars and supervisors (governing bodies) and stewards are faithful and give us good instruction and a good example to follow, that we never should accept that "authority" is coming from them. It should never be the Governing Body we think of them as persons to "obey." Except in the sense of following good examples that their experience has proven to be worthwhile to imitate. Just as we do should do for any elders taking the lead.

(Hebrews 13:7-17) 7 Remember those who are taking the lead among you, who have spoken the word of God to you, and as you contemplate how their conduct turns out, imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever. 9 Do not be led astray by various and strange teachings, for it is better for the heart to be strengthened by undeserved kindness than by foods, which do not benefit those occupied with them. . . . 16 Moreover, do not forget to do good and to share what you have with others, for God is well-pleased with such sacrifices. 17 Be obedient to those who are taking the lead among you and be submissive, for they are keeping watch over you as those who will render an account, so that they may do this with joy and not with sighing, for this would be damaging to you.

Those who think their changing teachings are "food" forget that Jesus is the same, unchanging, and it is undeserved kindness that is much more important than various and strange teachings. Therefore, the ones taking the lead that we are obedient to, are not ones where we feel we must be obedient to any specific teachings. We are obedient to their concerns and counsel about our CONDUCT to the extent that we respect how their own conduct and faith has turned out. This probably sounds like heresy to those who can't get over the idea that we need to be OBEDIENT to the teachings of the Governing Body, or even OBEDIENT the teachings of faithful stewards. We are actually obedient to the counsel of those who are concerned about our Christian conduct, and if we can see that this counsel conforms to their own good example. The real spiritual "food," where we should get our motivation and energy, is our response to Christ's "undeserved kindness." Our "will" should be to Jehovah's will, and find good leading examples that can help us do his will. That should be the motive. God has given us the greatest example of doing good for us, so we wish to also "do good and share what we have with others." These are the good works and conduct that should also be the "meat" of our meetings:

(Hebrews 10:24, 25) 24 And let us consider one another so as to incite to love and fine works, 25 not forsaking our meeting together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, . . .

Considering (remembering/comtemplating) one another so as to incite (lead/motivate) to love and fine works. This is the reason for meeting together and encouraging one another.

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    • M.C.

      Voici ma perle de cette semaine 
      2 Chron 30:6
      Le roi Ézéchias avait envoyé un courrier adressé aux Israélites : « Revenez à Jéhovah »
      Certains ont besoin de chercher Jéhovah  en revenant à lui.
      Cela peut être les inactifs, et les excommuniés
      Pour certains c’est grâce à la création de Jéhovah qu’ils perçoivent son existence, et qu’ils ont de la valeur à ces yeux
      Bien sûr, la prière, nos publications, la Bible peuvent les aider à Examiner des preuves que Jéhovah veut qu’ils reviennent à lui, 
      A leur retour dans notre organisation, le verset 9 dit Jéhovah votre Dieu est compatissant et miséricordieux
      Voilà l’amour qu’ils peuvent Ressentir 
      Jamais les bras de Jéhovah ne sont trop court 
      De même, Nos bras seront prêt à les accueillir chaleureusement 🤗
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    • Mic Drop

      AI knows....

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    • Dandelion Friend

      Status Update, just for fun...if anyone is bored and wants something to read, here are some communications that show one example of how a disfellowshipping works. The emails are not posted in order, you have to look at the dates to figure out the order it happened in.😊



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    • Dandelion Friend

      What an exciting evening! (Sorry if it rambles...)
      I was scared because I had to go into the "shark tank." Jehovah and Jesus went with me, and they totally rocked it!😆
      The COBE elder that kicked me out of the assembly a couple of weeks ago was so angry tonight! (He's kinda like Haman.)
      My husband is PIMI but he only attends about half the meetings. He calls me an apostate and gets mad if I say anything that isn't what the GB says. He didn't go to meeting tonight. I don't let my kids go to the KH unless I go, so the kids and I usually watch the meetings online. I didn't know if they would let me and the kids into the KH. (Since they just evicted us from the assembly a couple weeks ago at lunch because I talked to people and looked like I was happy and joyful.) As we were approaching the door of the KH tonight, the doorman saw me and let it slam shut and through the window I could see him, possibly looking for permission from an elder to see if I was "banned" or not. I knocked, and the visiting CO#2 cut in front of the doorman, opened up to let me in, escorting me right past the doorman! ("Jehovah Factor"😄)
      (There were two COs because I guess one was getting a "shepherding visit week" from the other one...)
      The CO#2 was awesome, a really kind gentleman who acted like a shepherd. CO#1 didn't recognize me at first because during his last visit I didn't attend because I thought the trespassing ban was still in place (although it had been removed but the COBE conveniently forgot to tell me. I found out when I went to his house just before the Memorial to ask, since they never respond to any messages I send either by email or letter.)
      (Incidentally, I wrote in an earlier Status Update about my experiences running into the CO#1 at the assembly a couple of weeks ago...)
      As soon as we got in the KH, the regular Pharisee-types were shocked and dismayed and frowned because my presence is worse than if a contagious yowling leper came in. However, the CO#1 started asking my kids' names, and the elder standing there conveniently forgot how to talk so the CO went through the greetings and asked me my name and I chatted with him for a moment. He figured out who I was after a bit and I think he was a little shocked. (I have written to him plenty about the stuff going on in the congregation - he never replies.)
      So, we walked toward the auditorium and put our stuff down in the middle of the second row from the front. My kids wanted to see their friends, and I got up to walk around a little too. When I passed by CO#2, he stopped me and kindly asked me my name. (The COBE and his wife were standing right next to him.) I answered the COs questions, and we chatted and he asked where else I was from and if I was doing hospitality at all during the week. I told him I came to support the CO visit, and that I would keep him in my prayers. He was so nice. I asked him for a hug, and he gave me a hug. All this time, the COBE and his wife had steam coming out of their ears almost, and finally the COBE grabbed the CO and said "Excuse me! She's been disfellowshipped for a year!" And the CO thought he was joking! So he laughed and said something like "oh, yeah, that's funny" and then the COBE said, "No, really!" And I said, "He is a liar." Because the COBE is a liar. He bears false witness about all kinds of things. And I walked to my seat.
      The meeting started shortly after. The kids and I sang heartily so everyone could hear our joy and affection for Jehovah. The hypocritical COBE was called up to pray. I did not bow my head. I kept my eyes open. That man is a snake. I refuse to say "Amen" to anything he has to say.
      During the Bible gems my kids got to comment. I put my hand up several times too, and everybody nearly had a heart attack. (Is there a rule that says a "disfellowshipped" person can't raise their hand?) Of course, they didn't call on me.
      The second song was a nice loud march. We've always been told to sing loud. I am obedient to that good counsel.
      The CO#1s talk started off pleasant enough. Until he mentioned the "recent apostasy and divisions" the congregation has had to deal with (he means me, since I sent emails to the "friends" to tell them the sketchy things the elders were doing.) Wasn't that nice of him to mention me in the talk! My kids got irritated with his smack talk, but Jehovah got us through it. I think he used maybe three or four scriptures, two of them misapplied. Most of the talk was about worshipping the "Faithful and Discreet Slave" and how much they "have done for us".🤪
      I went because I love Jehovah and I knew He wanted me to go to at least one of the CO visit days, to show my support to the "friends" that I know this is the organization Jehovah is going to clean and that I haven't left of my own accord. (They know about all the details of the sketchy stuff the fake elders did because I informed them of every sketchy thing the elders did to my kids and me.) Part of why I went was to show love for the congregation. Very soon they are going to be in complete shock. I love those people, even though they are all mostly brainwashed at present. They will have a rude awakening soon enough because the GB and the Bethels will be gone when the UN attacks and the congregations are going to need to be comforted. 
      A nice brother said the closing prayers, so I said "Amen" to that one nice and clear. (The poor brothers on the platform were right in front me, there was no one sitting in the row in front of us.) After the meeting, my kids chatted for a little bit with friends and then we were going to leave. I said "hi" to a few people (that really irritates the COBE, that's not why I do it, I do it because Jehovah said to encourage the brothers and we can't if we don't talk to them...) 
      When we were leaving, CO#1 pulled my son aside to talk to him for a minute. The CO wanted me to go away, but I stayed right there, because I think it's rude to cause divisions in a family like what he was doing. The CO attempted to talk to my son about homeschooling right in front of me as if I didn't exist. I wasn't having any of it. I let him do his thing for a minute, and then I told him he was causing divisions, and if he didn't respect Jehovah's arrangement for family (like not talking to the mom who is part of the family) that he wasn't welcome to talk to my son. The COs not good association. Then we walked away.
      My daughter was in the library with her friend and her friends parents and two aunts (one is the wife of an elder.) As soon as I walked in - hush! Everybody stopped talking. I walked by them and told my daughter's friend I loved her and gave her a hug (I used to take her out in service together with my kids). I looked at the people in the room and said "I love you, even though I know you hate me, except for you...I know you love me" to one sister who I know is kind and real. Then we left and on the way out gave the other doorman who is like a grandfather a big hug and he said goodbye and kept waving as we drove off.
      What an evening! (Thank you for any positive thoughts directed my way! Jehovah is the Hearer of Prayer, and He does things with style!)
      "You well know that Jehovah your God is the true God, the faithful God, keeping his covenant and loyal love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.  But those who hate him he will repay to their face with destruction. He will not be slow to deal with those who hate him; he will repay them to their face." (Deuteronomy 7:9,10)

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