By Israeli Bar Avaddhon
"Yes, in her was found the blood of prophets and of holy ones Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. and of all those who have been slaughtered on the earth.” - Revelation 18:24
If Babylon the Great is the modern nation of Israel, why does the book of Revelation say that "in her was found the blood of all those who were slaughtered on the earth"?
Obviously the objection is that if Israel exists only since 1948, it can not be responsible for all the blood spilled!
To answer this question we must understand when the Revelation and the context of this writing are fulfilled.
In the meantime, it is useful to reflect on the words of Our Lord when, addressing precisely to the scribes and the hypocritical Pharisees of that nation, he said: “Serpents, offspring of vipers, Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. how will you flee from the judgment of Ge·henʹna?For this reason, I am sending to you prophets Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. and wise men and public instructors. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Some of them you will kill Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. and execute on stakes, and some of them you will scourge Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. in your synagogues and persecute Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. from city to city, so that there may come upon you all the righteous blood spilled on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. to the blood of Zech·a·riʹah son of Bar·a·chiʹah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation" - Matthw 23:33-36
Now we know that when the Lord said "this generation" did not mean something strange, like a generation that intersects with another generation or such absurdity.
Jesus pronounced those words in 30 AD. about, and those words came true in 70 CE, that is about forty years later.
Nobody asked himself "what the Lord really meant" when he said "this generation" because it was clear what he meant.
This also applies to the "sign of His presence" and should make each of us reflect when, trying to hide a series of errors and wrong intentions, we try to make Scripture say what it does not say.
However, in this context, the question we should ask ourselves is "Why does the Lord impute crimes from Abel to the scribes and the Pharisees?"
Obviously Abel was not killed by a scribe or a Pharisee!
At the time of Abel, the nation of Israel did not even exist!
Why, then, this condemnation?
This could be one of the reasons that led to think that "Babylon the great" was the world empire of false religion because the Pharisees could not be guilty of the death of Abel or of "all those slaughtered on earth".
However this hypothesis is absurd because could also be made the opposite objection.
If when Jesus condemns those who are guilty of the blood of "all those who have been slaughtered on earth" meant this phantom "world empire of false religion" because, instead, the judgment strikes only on Israel? - compare Luke 21:22
The judgment fell into "that generation" and fell right on Jerusalem, exactly as the Lord said.
Why, then, did this condemnation starting with the murder of Abel?
This is because God considers those who have "known God" to be especially responsible, yet they commit unspeakable crimes - Amos 3: 2
What other nation in the world has had a "special relationship" with the Creator of the universe so that they have a greater responsibility for their mistakes? - compare Matthew 11: 21-24; 12: 38-41
It is also very important to consider people's heart condition - Matthew 5: 21-22
Although these scribes and Pharisees were not directly responsible for the death of Abel or all those who had been killed until that day, they had clearly manifested the same mental attitude of Cain and for this reason they were already subject to judgment - John 8 : 44-47; 1 John 3:12 However, the legitimate next objection could be "Why should God condemn Israel again, since it has already paid for its mistakes in 70 AD?"
As said at the beginning, to answer this question we must understand when the biblical book of Revelation is fulfilled.
Every time we read Revelation 18:24 we understood that it was to pay for all the blood spilled since the beginning of time but it does not.
Indeed, Revelation is fulfilled on the day of the Lord - Revelation 1:10
So the blood that is imputed to Babylon the Great is all the blood that will be shed on the Lord's day and not from the beginning of time.
This should make us reflect on the period in which the day of the Lord really begins, namely a period in which there must also be Israel, not before.
If Israel exists only since 1948, the day of the Lord can not start on any other previous date.
It can start at a later date, not necessarily in 1948, but it certainly can not begin sooner.
However we will deepen this "bold statement" in a future article.
Why will Babylon the Great be held responsible for all the blood shed on earth during the day of the Lord?
Because this nation will be the main cause of the clash between the king of the north and the king of the south - Daniel 11:40
The king of the north (Russia) either directly or through one of his allies, will find himself in a situation where he will be forced to attack Israel.
This attack, predicted in the Scriptures, will become the expedient to bring into play the two great world powers.
These will be the wars that foretold the Lord as an unmistakable sign of His presence - Matthew 24: 6
The first and second world wars, though terrifying, have nothing to do with what we have been taught.
It will be the next wars to identify the "day of the Lord" - Revelation 6: 3, 4
God is not responsible for these wars but Babylon the Great.
This will be the main reason why it will be destroyed, but this will not happen during this attack (now close).
Babylon the Great will continue to exist until the last moment of the world system.
Towards the end of the great tribulation (not at the beginning), Babylon the Great, or the nation of Israel that will continue to exist until the end of the third world war, will be finally destroyed.
This event will start the armageddon war.
Look carefully at world events.
The next article will see another characteristic of Babylon the Great and this will also help us to identify it as the nation of Israel.
By JOHN BUTLER
The JW Org / GB say that Armageddon is very close. They also say that Jehovah is speeding up the work in these 'last days'.
Now, it seems I'm not one for knowing truth from lies, so people keep telling me, but this webpage/site seemed interesting to me.
It seems to show more of a decrease in JW's, but more importantly it seems to show more of a lack of faith, or lack of action / 'works' of JW's. It also shows a large number of people leaving the JW Org.
If this video or page has been used before then I apologise for any repeat. But I thought it was of interest.
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By Israeli Bar Avaddhon
In our path of study of the prophecies, as already seen in various previous articles, we will have come across something that we would not have believed possible. The understanding of Babylon the Great, as well as that concerning Armageddon, the Jerusalem above or the Heavenly Jerusalem, have indeed constituted great changes in the official understanding of Jehovah's Witnesses. We can not ignore the chain effects that these "changes of vision" have produced and continue to produce on many other more or less important doctrines. The author of this blog would like above all to clarify that all the theses presented so far have never been considered inspired or infallible and therefore each reader is invited to make their own evaluations (and maybe to contribute) by comparing and meditating on the Scriptures without any injury. At the same time, however, the author is equally convinced that the articles showed respect for the Bible and used it as a guide and supreme authority. Every affirmation, whenever it was possible, was accompanied or confirmed by one or more Scriptures and therefore, although certain arguments went against the official teaching, it was decided to do so in good conscience. The possible firm conviction of the author as well as certain categorical expressions used are exclusively due to this: the support of the Scriptures - John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Corinthians 10: 4, 5 The article that will be developed now, will also consist of a significant change of vision and we will see how, changing the conditions, real or possible scenarios become real that, until the day before yesterday, we would have considered really far-fetched - Job 42 :2; Mark 10:27 The wisest thing that each of us can do is to evaluate that every thesis presented is really in harmony with the Scripture, and nothing else, without closing up in shell or reshaping the power of God to what we think possible - Mark 12:24 ; Job 38: 4 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. What do we know, with certainty, of the battle of Armageddon? Â What do we know about the Armageddon war? Speaking of the war of the great day of the Almighty God, what do we know for sure? - 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Well, we know that it is not total destruction due to a human war, a solar flare, a meteorite or other Hollywood nonsense - Isaiah 45:18; Psalm 78:69; Ecclesiastes 1: 4 We know it is the crucial war in which God takes revenge on his enemies and on the enemies of His people - Psalm 2: 3-6; Sofonia 1:18; Zechariah 2: 8 We also know that it is the occasion when Jehovah is magnified and makes himself known to the nations - Ezekiel 36:22, 23 It is the war that will free His people from oppression and slavery and will finally begin the Millennial Kingdom - Exodus 15: 11-13; Revelation 7:10 These are reliable informations. For the rest, when it will happen, what means it will use, which scenario will present itself just before the outbreak of this war, etc., only assumptions are made. One of these assumptions, which seems to have a strict logic, is that the place in Hebrew is called Har-Maghedon, is not a literal place but a situation. In practice it would be the situation in which all the enemies of God find themselves fighting against His People, wherever they are. This conclusion seems absolutely logical because how could a war of such proportions, which should encompass all of humanity and therefore billions of people, take place in such a small geographical area? It is absurd to even think about it. However, before closing our faculties of perception on any contrary subject we try to consider the following - James 1:19 First of all we have seen that the war between the king of the north and the king of the south, which is a prophecy to come, could greatly reduce the number of people present on earth including their armies - compare Revelation 6: 3, 7, 8 It's a raw topic we would not like to talk about but the prophecies seem clear. This topic has been dealt with in various previous articles, including the one entitled "Who is the horn that became very great?". Furthermore, as we saw in the article titled "Which nations disappear in Armageddon?" We know that the war of Armageddon will not destroy all nations and people on the planet. This war will indeed destroy the satanic system which includes the savage beast, the kings of the earth and their armies - 1 John 3: 8 Seen from this point of view, perhaps the fact that this war can be fought in a specific and relatively restricted place becomes a possibility? Furthermore it is necessary to make a couple of clarifications. Har-Magedon, which means "Mountain of Megiddo", is not a specific reference to that "tell" that you see in Volume 1 of the book "Insight" (page 953 in the edition in Italian). What you see in photography is what remains of ancient Megiddo, a small hill built on 26 layers of ruins of ancient cities. That is "Megiddo" but where's the mountain? Since there is no mountain called "Mount of Megiddo" we try to make assumptions without prematurely concluding that the whole argument is symbolic. Megiddo is located at the entrance of the pass through the chain of Mount Carmel, which overlooks the valley of Esdraelon from the south-west. So the Mount of Megiddo might be Mount Carmel (compare 1 Kings 18:19, 20, Jeremiah 46:18, Amos 1: 2; 9: 3; Naum 1: 3, 4) and could include all the hilly countryside that surrounds the valley of Megiddo, one hundred kilometers north of Jerusalem, including the valley of Esdraelon. Space is noticeable, but before assuming any calculation, we try to ask ourselves according to what logic or why the kings of the earth should / could be there. To a superficial judgment it would seem a stupid thing. The kings of the earth and their armies will not be able to fight against Christ and his elect (though they will try to - compare Revelation 19:19, 20) and so it is evident that they will take it upon His people. Why, then, to concentrate in one area of the earth (whatever it is) to try to destroy the people of God if it is found in all the inhabited earth? Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. we have seen that the earth chosen by God for His people is still the Promised Land and the gathering of Israel will be literal.
The article in part said, "When nations have run out of time, including both the trampling of Jerusalem and the persecution, Armageddon will begin to destroy this beast and all the compact peoples in the fight against the Lamb. At that moment Jerusalem will have been freed and the people of God, after the necessary period spent in the "inner rooms", will be able to go to that country which is still part of the promise and where in a short time it will begin to flow milk and honey - Isaiah 26: 20 " What have we seen so far? We have seen that Babylon the Great is modern apostate Israel but this has to do with the people who occupy it, certainly not with the geographical area which, in itself, can not have merit or guilt - Zechariah 5: 6-8 So, once Israel is liberated from Babylon the Great, Jehovah will bring His people back to that land that bears His name and will be inhabited from generation to generation - Joel 3:20 The crucial question is therefore: will this rallying and consequent exodus to the Promised Land begin after Armageddon or its approach? Some scriptures suggest that this happens just before the final battle. How can we say it? We have seen that during the last war between the king of the north and the king of the south, some nations are able to escape - see Daniel 11:41 The writing mentions Edom, Moab and Ammon and, coincidentally, these are the same nations in which a part of the people of Israel found shelter in the past - compare Psalm 60: 8, 9; Isaiah 16: 4; Jeremiah 40:11 The logical conclusion is that the people of God who survived the war, since they will have to live again Israel now liberated by the Great Whore, are in the vicinity of the Promised Land at least some time before the final battle. This situation would also be similar to what happened in the past but on a much larger scale. If the meeting takes place before Armageddon, then it becomes logical and plausible that the "kings of the earth" will gather in the place that in Hebrew is called Har-Maghedon. This is done to prevent the achievement of the Promised Land (and kill them all at once - compares Psalm 2: 1-6) or simply to kill them once they reach. This hypothesis makes reasonable not only the literal gathering of kings and armies but also the specific place of the gathering. Let's try, for a moment, to read Revelation as if it were the first time and as if they had not taught us anything. The writing says Â“And I saw three unclean inspired expressions Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. that looked like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. and out of the mouth of the wild beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Â They are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons and they perform signs, Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. and they go out to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. of the great day of God the Almighty ( ... ) And they gathered them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Armageddon" Â– Revelation 16:13, 14, 16 Without doing any disquisition on what terms and what it means, the first image that would come to mind are the kings who are gathered together somewhere, is not it? In fact, the writing says that these frogs "gathered them", which makes one think that these kings are heading towards a specific place. After all we have never done any disquisitions on the idea that these frogs actually go to the kings of the earth; we have never hypothesized that their "going to" the kings of the earth was symbolic because it is evident that, if these kings live in different and distant nations, these frogs have to go or go towards them. But we have re-discussed that the kings go somewhere. So frogs go literally (they must reach these kings) while kings go in a symbolic sense. That is, they do not go anywhere. The question that would be spontaneous to those who did not know anything about the issues at stake would be ... "Why do the kings of the earth, at the approach of the war, go to the place called Har-Maghedon (whatever place it is)?" In a war scenario, the answer would become simple: because the object of contention is in that area or near that area. Any nation that would place its army on the borders of another nation would send a strong and clear message. He is preparing for the war. In this case, however, the question does not concern the conquest of the territory of Israel but the extermination of the people who intend to live there - Psalm 2: 1-4 Finally we must distinguish the kings of the earth from their armies. The writing of Revelation says that only the kings of the earth are gathered at Har-Maghedon. How many will be the kings of the earth, following their ministers, their officials in various capacities, their bodyguards, etc? A few thousand? A few tens of thousands? Is the entire hilly area of Carmel and the valley of Esdraelon itÂ’s sufficient to accommodate a few tens of thousands of people? Obviously yes, even only the Carmel. Where will the armies be and for which aircraft will they be extended? We do not have a precise answer but we can make some reasoning based on what we know from the scriptures. The simple distinction, which perhaps few have noticed, between the kings of the earth and their armies, should make every hypothesis fall "of the impossibility of the event" because if the Bible does not specify the area of armies extension they could really be hundreds of millions and even billions of people. The final battle would take place "around the Mount of Megiddo" for an indefinite area (why could not they cover all of Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Egypt, Syria and Iraq for example?) God's people would still be surrounded, the writing would not it would fail and Jehovah would rise above the nations. So, regardless of all the reasoning we have just made, if the Bible does not specify the extent of the armies deployed against the people of God, all the discourse on the secure symbolic nature of writing lapses or at least is not as reasonable as it initially seemed. We will try however to "build" the extension of this army only on the basis of what we know and keeping as close as possible so that all the talk will acquire heaviness and it is really the Bible to speak - Romans 3: 4 Regarding the last dominant king described in Daniel chapters 11 and 12 we know that he will place his tents "between the great sea and the holy Mount of the Adornment" - Daniel 11:45 After this event "he will have to come to his end, and there will not be a rescuer for him" and then it is understood that "pitching the tents" is the last action he performs before his final destruction. We have also seen that the destruction of Babylon the Great (or the nation of Israel) is the prelude to Armageddon and not to the great tribulation. As a result, the army of the last ruling king should already be present on the territory of Israel before the final battle * (see footnote). He simply has to wait for all the others to come (it is to be noted, in fact, that the writing which calls for the gathering of the kings of the earth at Har-Maghedon makes no mention of the wild beast. He is not mentioned because he is among the kings or simply because it is already there?). However, for the moment we do not know whether this immense army will stand as a shield to prevent Israel from entering or whether it will wait for "the people gathered from all the earth" to actually enter the country and then surround it - see for example Joel 3: 9- 12; Nehemiah 6:16; Psalm 44:13; 59: 5, 6; 76:11, 12; 97: 1-3; Jeremiah 1: 14-16; 6:25; 25: 9; Lamentations 1:17 For the moment we can imagine both situations since concepts do not change. So, to obstruct any access to the coming people, the armies will have to cover Israel at least for its entire length. Does this seem reasonable to you? So we have to hypothesize an extension that goes from the Great Sea (the Mediterranean) to the Mount of the Adornment west of Israel and an extension at least similar to the east side of Israel (in terms of width). So a length at least equal to that of Israel if not more. What area are we talking about? We can only make an estimate but a territory equal to twice the current Israel should cover an area of 45 / 50,000 square kilometers. With this in mind, let us now assume how powerful this army could be. A site makes a list of the ten most numerous armies (updated to 2015). This is the list with the respective numbers. Â CHINA (number of staff: 2.285.000). UNITED STATES (1.458.000). INDIA (1.325.000) NORTH KOREA (1.106.000) RUSSIA (1.027.000) TURKEY (666,500) SOUTH KOREA (639,000). PAKISTAN (617,000) IRAN (523,000). EGYPT (468,000) Â The total number of staff would be just over ten million people. We also consider that, as we saw at the beginning, the war between the kings of the north and the king of the south by then will have greatly reduced the numbers and at least a part of the nations listed above may not exist anymore. For the benefit of the numbers, however, it must be said that in case of conflict the "effective" would not be the only ones to go to war. The numbers could be greatly underestimated (it is doubtful, in fact, that the official numbers correspond to the real ones). Finally we must consider that this is the last move of Satan before being thrown into the abyss for a thousand years so he would have every interest in making the armies as numerous as possible. So we multiply by five these numbers and assume that the final attack includes 50 million armed soldiers to the teeth. The area we estimated could contain fifty million people? Yes and fairly well if we consider that these people are not there to live or stay but simply as soldiers waiting to launch a furious attack. Every soldier would have a living space of about one square meter. Do you remember the photographs in which Hitler had his huge troops? In those large gatherings there were probably three or four people every square meter. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Â In Hitler's huge gatherings there were probably 3 or 4 people per square meter Â It is evident that we are making assumptions and the estimates, both of the army and of the militarized area, could vary a lot, but the point we want to illustrate is simply one. Despite the ideas that we made about the war of Har-Magedon, and how they are rooted in us, we can not exclude that the final battle takes place in this geographical area and that it will prove to be the biggest fight in the history of humanity. Indeed, the scriptures mentioned in support of the argument suggest that this is not simply a possibility. Any new understanding, however, can make other scriptures harmonious or create forcing. Forcing should be an indicator that "something is wrong". What happens with the other scriptures, understanding that the place of the final battle will be a specific and relatively restricted place? Meanwhile, as we have mentioned, this situation would be very similar to several biblical episodes we know - see for example Exodus 14: 10-14; 2 Kings 18: 19-25 Jehovah would be exalted in the midst of the nations precisely because, not being really all destroyed, the distant peoples and nations would speak of this event with terror and for centuries - compare Joshua 2: 9-11; Deuteronomy 2:25; Psalm 112: 10 Isaiah 63: 1-6 describes Jehovah coming from Edom who, as we have seen, is one of the places where God's people find refuge, and from there he begins to "tread peoples into His wrath." Psalm 2: 2 describes all the peoples and national groups united "as one man" and this gives the idea that the rulers of the earth, and therefore their armies, are effectively gathered somewhere as one army, a single mass and compact. Finally (but not "finally" because you will find many other similarities if you want to look for them) suddenly becomes clear why the king of the north is troubled because of news from the east and the north - see Daniel 11:44 So far what have we been told? In other words ... we have been told that we do not know. In the book "Pay attention to the prophecies of Daniel" on page 283 (Italian edition) we speak of Gog of Magog (among other things in the understanding that it is Satan the Devil) and paragraph 26 concludes with the words "But what at the end they will contain the news from the east and from the north only God will establish it and time will tell it ". Instead, understanding the scenario that will be created shortly before the final battle we can guess why this king is so upset. He sees the people of God, who evidently believed he had eliminated, gathered and on their way to the Promised Land! Depict the scene. It is easy to imagine that he understands that there is God, the True God and not the farce built by the false prophet behind all this. Despite his immense power and his fury, he has not succeeded in eliminating the people of God who are now reaching the Promised Land in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. It is not surprising that this causes great anger in him and comes out "with great fury to annihilate and to vote many to destruction", or the people of God gathered there - Daniel 11:43 And this explains why he "will pitch the tents of his palace between [the] great sea and the holy mount of the Adornment". Let's take a moment to imagine the scene and see us there, intent on reaching the promised land as the Israelites were in the time of Moses. Perhaps we may find ourselves imprisoned between the Great Sea and the army or we may be a few kilometers from the border and see "men of extraordinary stature" - Numbers 13:33 Perhaps some of us, seeing such a colossal army, might doubt Jehovah's power or his will to protect us - Isaiah 43:10, 11 Try to imagine how many situations described in the Bible would become the mirror of those last moments of the system of things. It is not difficult to see the harmony of the Word of God and to understand what will happen if we free ourselves from our conditioning and do not associate the word "impossible" with God. Is not it a wonderful prospect? One day, towards the end of the terrifying events that will occur on earth, someone will call us to lead us to the Promised Land, but the journey will be reserved only for those who will understand the prophecy and act accordingly. Next stop: Israel. Take the ticket. Make reservations now. The forecasts say that the area will be quite crowded. Â Â Footnote. The article entitled "1290 and 1335 days" shows a difference of 45 days between trampling on God's people and achieving his "happiness" - see Daniel 12:12 These 45 days could include the time of the gathering of the people of God and the consequent exodus that will lead them to cross the boundaries of the Promised Land. Â It is necessary to specify that even if the lowering of the waters of the Euphrates has to do with the destruction of these peoples and not simply with the loss of the defenses, this could refer to the peoples that surround Israel and not with Israel - compare Joel 3 : 4 This could mean that the payment of the sixth cup of the angel is not yet the actual destruction of Babylon the Great and therefore the people of Israel might still be alive and active when God's people approach it to "repopulate". As strange as this may seem, this seems to be in harmony with Revelation 16:19 which says that God would have remembered Babylon "to give it the cup of wine of the fury of his wrath" and by reading the context this happens during or near of the judgment of armageddon - compare Revelation 16:13 Other Bibles translate in a similar way and therefore it would seem evident that when nations gather in Armageddon, God still has to pour his wrath upon Babylon the Great. If this understanding is correct, when the king of the north "will come out with great fury to annihilate and vote many to destruction" it is possible that in his blinding fury he will strike first the nation that had always been their lover - compare Revelation 18 : 10, 15, 18 (see also Zechariah 14:13, 14) And obviously this will happen by God's will - Revelation 17:17 This possibility makes very probable the situation in which the people of God are effectively blocked between Israel (still populated) and all the armies of the world. Â
My mother was a “plein air” artist, and although it sounds rather sophisticated, this artist scraped for every brush and tube of paint she could get. When raising five children, I am sure her love of painting conflicted with the necessary care of her offspring. Many times, it was evident that the artwork took precedence, especially when dinner’s aromas were overpowered by the lingering fumes of the day’s use of turpentine; a sure sign that an unfinished piece of art was given top priority.
Her philosophy was, never copy another artist’s work; that of a well-known painter, or otherwise.
As a girl, I was frequently in tow with father, mother, little brother, art supplies and camping gear piled in the back of a station wagon, and heading for the mountains. Other artists would arrive for the ‘art fest’ over the weekend. As they readied themselves before the scene to be painted, their own unique tools, color choices, and techniques emerged to achieve what they envisioned of the natural scene before them. Even through my young eyes, I could clearly understand the intent of each artist’s desire to capture the scene. Mountains, plains, trees, sage, water were all identifiable from a different, but recognizable perspective. No one owned the scene, only the work and technique they used, to illustrate what they perceived.
Art forgery is a different matter. The intent is to deceive and pilfer the unsuspecting one into thinking they are buying the original piece of art. In the case of copied works by the famous “Masters”, detailed analysis using microscopes and x-rays detects the evidence of modern paints and materials. Also, extensive, historical research is applied to identify a forgery.
Note the comments made by an article on art forgery:
“Regardless of what technique is used, every authentication starts with determining whether a work has a provenance, which is THE RECORD OF A WORK’S OWNERSHIP HISTORY. Ideally, THE RECORD SHOULD STRETCH ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE WORK’S CREATION.
“Unfortunately, an unidentified forgery will accumulate its own provenance the longer it goes undiscovered, so the provenance becomes INCREASINGLY REINFORCED AS TIME PASSES. Forgers will often take advantage of the loose provenance by creating an ILLUSION of provenance along with forging the work. THEY WILL BUILD A FRAUDULENT IDENTITY for the work with fake documents and staged photographs. The longer the forgery goes undetected, the harder it may be to detect that the documents are not genuine.” (https://alj.orangenius.com/techniques-art-forgery/)
False prophets are common, but could a spiritual counterfeit picture of “truth” be painted in order to rob an individual not only of their physical investments but of their spiritual life? Let’s briefly put the Watchtower under a microscope using a valid historical record, the Bible, and see what its “provenance” shows. At one point it made the comment,
"As Christians, we face up to similar challenges today. We cannot take part in any modern version of idolatry—be it worshipful gestures toward an image or symbol or the imputing of SALVATION to a person or an ORGANIZATION." Watchtower 1990 11/1 p. 26 Our Relative Subjection to the Superior Authorities
This is a similar stand of CT Russell when first gathering his Bible Students, when he said, “Beware of ‘organization’. It is wholly unnecessary. The Bible rules will be the only rules you need”. Wt 9/15/1895
What about a statement made BEFORE the 1990 WT. quote?
WT. 10/1/1967 p. 591: "Make haste TO IDENTIFY THE VISIBLE THEOCRATIC ORGANIZATION of God that represents his king, Jesus Christ. IT IS ESSENTIAL FOR LIFE. Doing so, be complete in accepting its every aspect”
Watchtower appears to be staging some confusing fake documents, at whatever angle we look at it. Which quote is genuine, which is a lie? They both carry their own lying qualities. Today, the Watchtower has completed painting its illusion of a spirit-directed organization providing a spiritual paradise to lead you into God’s Kingdom. 2 Thess 2:1-4; Jer 8:11; 14:13-14; 28:8,9
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Watchtower 16/11 pg 16-20:
BE LOYAL TO JEHOVAH AND SUPPORT HIS ORGANIZATION - “Yes, if we are LOYAL to Jehovah and follow the direction he gives us by means of his organization, HE WILL GIVE US EVERLASTING LIFE and he will be loyal to us forever!”
WT 15/8/15 pg 15-20:
PREPARE NOW FOR LIFE IN THE NEW WORLD - “If we want to be ready for life in the new world, we need to learn to be CONTENT and to COOPERATE with Jehovah’s ORGANIZATION and with one another.
To prepare for everlasting life in the new world, we need to OBEY the direction from Jehovah’s ORGANIZATION now.” Wt 15/8/15 pg 15-20
Concisely, a JW must:
BE LOYAL TO THE ORGANIZATION
FOLLOW AND OBEY THE DIRECTION OF THE ORGANIZATION
LEARN TO BE CONTENT WITH THE ORGANIZATION
LEARN TO COOPERATE WITH THE ORGANIZATION
This is now your solid, established teaching, JWs. The requirement held out for everlasting life, according to the Watchtower is total reliance on, and devotion to, the organization; along with a spurious, idolatrous attempt made, to link it with God. Isa 46:5; Rev 13:1,5-8 The necessity of the organization has been a gradual development within the last 100 years; a provenance that has now come under scrutiny. Rev 16:13-16; Ezek 8:6; Amos 7:8; Rev 11:1 Of course, we believe that the faithful early Christians received salvation. What about God’s anointed ones and believers over the centuries since Christ, in various parts of the world? JWs, we know there was no “organization” that TRUE Christians relied on as one’s salvation throughout the centuries. Rev 20:4 Or, do you feel there was not a single soul that was faithful to God and Christ after the formation of the early congregations, UNTIL the Watchtower organization emerged? Col 2:8; Rev 13:1,4,10 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
It appears a wrench has been thrown into the working out of our salvation; and indeed, this is the case. Ask yourself, where is Christ in all of this organization business? When Jesus said, “destroy this temple and I will raise it up in three days”, did he mean that an earthly, man-made corporation decked out with major complexes world-wide and modern-day synagogues was to be established 1900 years later?
“BUT HE WAS SPEAKING OF THE TEMPLE OF HIS BODY. So when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they BELIEVED THE SCRIPTURE and the STATEMENT Jesus had made.” John 2:19-22
Does this “temple” require money and physical upkeep? Does it require any earthly goods whatsoever? Phil 3:18,19
“For you know that it was NOT with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. THROUGH HIM you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” 1 Pet 1:18-21
According to scripture, an earthly organization established with your “silver and gold” is not Bible-based as necessary for salvation. Exod 32:8,4; Isa 42:8; Rom 1:20-22,25; Acts 4:12
We are revealing a case of forgery; a counterfeit “Mount Zion”, the Temple of God. (Heb 12:22,23) It appears so incredibly authentic that God’s Chosen ones and companions have been lulled into passivity by its illustrious beauty and promise of peace if one remains within its picture. 1 Thess 5:3 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
From Pearl Doxsey’s article, “What’s Wrong with Peace and Security”?
“Is this perception of present peace and security accurate?
What is the danger of feeling safe from Satan due to the supposed spiritual shelter of an organization?
Prophecy tells us that when Satan makes his final attack against the woman's seed,
they do not expect the attack, nor perceive their vulnerability ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. )
Can you see that this overlaps with the period where the leaders of God's people are falsely declaring peace and security? ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. )
Because of their drowsy, overconfident condition, they are deceived and conquered ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ).” Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
Now, on to Pearl’s “An Illustration”:
“Satan knows he cannot prevent the prophetic SPIRITUAL signs and events which Jesus foretold for the end, from coming to pass ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ).
Satan realizes that the only way to prevent the remnant from grasping hold of the life-saving warnings, is to stage a counterfeit earlier fulfillment ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ) both religious and secular. He has the power to do so ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ). Satan hopes that the remnant who are searching for the truthful interpretations of unfolding end-time events,
will be detoured, by Satan's own premature counterfeit "fulfillment" ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ).
Satan cannot change nor fulfill the true SPIRITUAL signs Jesus gave. But he can fabricate a decoy within his own physical, visible realm, which IS under his power ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ).
He must do this before the True signs arrive.
Yet, he cannot fabricate a counterfeit for EVERY single true prophetic spiritual detail that Jesus gave.
Will the chosen notice these discrepancies? Will they prove attentive enough to prove wise, faithful, awake, sober, and discreet?”
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(This article is a valuable first step in understanding end time prophesy concerning God’s chosen/anointed people.)
The article on art forgery said, “Finding a forgery can cast doubt on the authenticators and damage the reputation of the sellers”.
The “two witnesses” of Rev 11:3, who work for Christ, reveal the authenticity of the Body of Christ as God’s Temple Zion and expose the Watchtower organization and its Harlot leaders for what they are -fakes, who paint with layers of lies. Ezek 13:10-12; Matt 23:12, 27; John 16:13; Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. JWs! As companion “sellers” of the Watchtower and its “good news”, your reputation with the Head of the anointed Body – Christ – will continue to deteriorate! Sadly, many doubt the authenticity of Christ’s anointed “two witnesses” whose job it is to draw attention to this forgery. Zech 4:3,11,14; Matt 10:20; 2 Cor 10:4,5 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
Art forgery can be a federal and state offense. What will happen to the Watchtower for its blasphemous offense before God? Scripture tells us - Zech 4:7; Rev 8:8 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
I am sure you will say the organization is necessary in spreading the “good news of the kingdom”; yet, the good news is, the false promise of peace and security has been exposed, stopping short any further deceit and pilfering to come against the anointed (“Jacob”) and their companions who see it as it is – an illusion. 2 Thess 2:9-12 They come forth eagerly desiring to shed Watchtower’s sins and to accept freely, the Truth from Christ. The authentic works of the Father and Christ have been found by those with keen understanding and eyes that see. God has redeemed His people. Matt 7:7; 10:6, 1 Cor 1:28,29; Isa 48:20; Rev 18:4-8 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
Other articles are found on Pearl’s blog:
YHWH’S GENUINE MOUNTAIN
ORIGIN OF DARKNESS/”GOOD NEWS”/WOMAN’S SON
By Guest Nicole
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — To those watching on TV, religion may seem absent from the Winter Olympic Games. Away from the spotlight, though, an estimated 3,000 missionaries are on hand.
About 2,000 missionaries — South Korean and international — are working in the city of Gangneung, where the indoor Olympic events are being held. The remaining 1,000 are working in Pyeongchang, site of ski, snowboard and other events.
There is no reliable count of missionaries at Olympics past. But the number of local missionaries here far exceeds previous games, said Marty Youngblood, leader of the Georgia Baptist Convention mission team, who is at his fifth Olympics this year.
South Korea, which is 29% Christian, and among whom Protestants predominate, enjoys high levels of religious tolerance. Buddha’s birthday and Christmas are both national holidays.
The Winter Games have attracted teams of Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons also abound, each group sharing the gospel in its own way. The United Christian Churches of Korea, a coalition of 144 local congregations, is helping foreign mission groups to arrange housing and ministry sites and learn about Korean culture.
Local churches are taking advantage of an Olympics at their doorstep. Many have set up welcome stations in parking lots, where they give away snacks, coffee and Christian literature.
In addition to its coffee and snack giveaway, Somang Presbyterian Church — located in the shadow of the Olympic venues — is showcasing a live orchestra and church members dressed in traditional costume. It’s just one of the 26 local churches in Gangneung with Olympic outreach ministries.
Then there’s the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Helping Hands Center, a two-story building on prime real estate across the street from the train station in Gangneung. Working there is Coloradan Chandler Petry, chosen by her church with a small group of other Mormon missionaries already in Korea to serve at the Olympics.
The center’s multilingual staff will give athletes, members of the media and any Olympic spectator a warm drink and a place to recharge their phones. But its main goal, according to the church’s website, “is for as many as possible to see the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the eyes of the members and missionaries.”
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have sent about 1,000 missionaries to the Winter Games, far more than to previous Olympics, said Steven Park, public information officer for the Jehovah’s Witness Korea branch. He says that the work they do in Gangneung and Pyeongchang is no different from the ministry they do elsewhere and that some missionaries will remain in the area after the Olympics.
One of the most popular tools of ministry for these Olympic missionaries is lapel pin trading.
Myungsu No, a campus minister in Seoul, says his students from the Baptist Student Union use pin trading — a pastime at this and previous Olympics — to spread the gospel. While athletes and spectators trade pins that typically depict a certain country, sport or team, mission groups give away a “More Than Gold” lapel pin, borrowing the slogan a consortium of missionary groups adopted in the 1990s to brand their Olympic outreach.
Psalm 119:127 declares that the commands of God are loved “more than gold.” The reference to gold at the Olympics, where athletes’ highest reward for their performance is a gold medal, is borrowed by the missionaries to suggest there is a higher reward to be sought through faith.
Veteran missionaries trained in the art of Olympic pin trading are passing down the skill to the new generation. The missionaries make an initial pin trade using a nonreligious pin they have collected — say, that of the USA ski jump team. This often prompts a conversation and a chance for the missionary to offer the trader the “More Than Gold” pin as a gift.
Some missionaries who work elsewhere in Asia have decided to take a break to focus on the Olympics.
American Kathryn Daniel, based in China, says she felt called to evangelize at the Winter Games because of her personal connection with Korea. She spent 12 years of her life in the country with her missionary parents.
Nine months ago, she heard her father was getting a group of other retired missionaries to go to the Olympics, and she thought, “I think this is God telling me to go, ‘Kathy, just go.’” Daniel is staying in Korea for a week, working with the group from the Georgia Baptist Convention.
The first weekend of the Olympics, mission groups passed out Christian literature in the Olympic park unimpeded.
Then Olympic park officials posted signs informing visitors that passing out religious material in the park was banned, and any materials found would be confiscated.
Youngblood, of the Georgia Baptist Convention, said he is not concerned. His missionaries are also using the pin trading and only give pamphlets to those who want to learn more.
And A-lim Jang, a recent university graduate and student leader with Baptist Student Union missionaries, said pin trading has allowed her and her colleagues to share the gospel “with many people that God puts in our path.”
Madeline C. Mulkey is a senior at the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She is doing a special online documentary and a series of articles on “God at the Game.” Her project is funded in part by the Magellan Scholarship Program.
This article originally appeared on Religion News Service. Its content is created separately from USA TODAY.
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By Israeli Bar Avaddhon
Thanks to the coherence of the Word of God we have arrived at an unprecedented understanding of the Holy Writings.
This understanding, far from complete but constantly growing, would not have flowed freely if we had not approached it with the utmost care of mind and without prejudice - compare Acts 17:11
One of the fundamental concepts that would have prevented the understanding of many things is that related to the identity of modern Israel.
Even today this subject confuses and makes it impossible to understand the Bible to the vast majority of religions as well as to individual scholars.
Is an attack on Israel coming? In this regard, Charles Taze Russell spoke several times to a large audience of Jews in New York and also in Europe on the theme "Zionism in Prophecy" and in 1925 published the book entitled "Comfort for the Jews".
In time, however, it was clear to some that "something was wrong" in part because the Bible very clearly predicted that this return home would bring blessings to humanity and also because it was strange that God Almighty used the empire Anglo-American and United Nations to restore His people on earth.Â It is true that in the past a similar thing happened, but the Jewish people of that time did everything to restore pure worship, something that certainly can not be said of the current Jewish people.
And there would be so many other things to be said that would severely outweigh the biblical prophecy indicated.
In light of world events, some have revised this interpretation but for many that remains a biblical prophecy fulfilled.
So two distinct groups were created: those that no longer give any importance to Jerusalem and those who say that God's people are in present-day in Jerusalem.
Through the study of the Word of God and His undeserved kindness we have understood that both positions are wrong.
Both positions will prevent any deep understanding of the Word.
What happened in 1948 is indeed a biblical prophecy only that it is not what most religions have imagined - Daniel 4: 20-25 Jerusalem, and Israel as a consequence, still has a great importance in the Word of God (it has never ceased to have it) only that the present one today is not the one that would have brought blessings to humanity but a mystification, a deception.
A deception in which we all fell.
All who are convinced that Jerusalem no longer has any importance in biblical prophecy are invited to reflect on scriptures such as Nehemiah 1: 9, Isaiah 34:17; 60:15, Joel 3:20 or Luke 21:24 Obviously it will become difficult to understand such direct and clear scriptures if every time we read "Jerusalem" we use that filter known as "symbolic meaning" or "spiritual sense".
So also the return of the people of God to their homeland is to be understood in a literal sense, and Russell was right in this, only that this did not happen in 1948.
In its place appeared a sordid prostitute who, far from being the legitimate bride as she herself asserts, has seduced the peoples with her influence and has initiated a series of events that have caused (and will cause) death , pain and despair - compare Revelation 18:24 From the comparison of the biblical books of Daniel and Revelation we understand that a world war is coming, that is, that which will end the king of the south. This is a prophecy to come and not something that concerned 1914 or so.
We understand that "behind the scenes" of this war, there will be this prostitute. Although Jehovah allow this war, as it happened in the past, even to discipline His people, He will not leave unpunished this prostitute.
We know that it will be definitively destroyed at Har-maghedon (not at the beginning of the great tribulation) and therefore "we will have to keep it" until the end of the satanic system. Its complete destruction is near but not so close. From now until the last moment any sincere person who truly wants to know God Almighty and do His will has the opportunity to take the necessary steps. Every single inhabitant of Israel may decide to ask Jehovah for forgiveness and save himself from the destruction that will inevitably fall upon the nation.
The biblical prophecy makes us understand that before its definitive destruction, the king of the north will turn his attention to it - Daniel 11:30 This "attention" does not seem to have anything positive because the same writing speaks of "complaints". In harmony with this we have seen, comparing with Revelation, that the fifth trumpet that torments "those men who do not have the seal of God on the forehead" is most likely aimed precisely at the old people of God.
Since the fifth trumpet is concomitant with the first trouble it is possible to hypothesize that this torment will be particularly painful.
It is certainly not a coincidence that shortly thereafter (exactly five months later) this situation leads to a much wider and bloody war - Revelation 9: 13-20 ". As said, it is because of this prostitute that the great war will break out.
Even the study of Jeremiah, a book we are investigating in recent days, has reinforced this vision.
We do not have a precise date but from these Scriptural reflections we understand that an attack on Israel is coming and so we are right to pay due attention.
Let us prepare ourselves mentally because the Word of God can not fail.
Although this will not yet affect its ultimate destruction, it seems clear that such an attack will be there.
It does not matter if many laugh or take this interpretation lightly; we have a chance to ascertain these things - 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Â Â * If someone has shared, even in part, this information, he is invited to warn people of what is going to happen.
Above all those who have acquaintances or friends in that nation are invited to act according to their conscience.
** Since Revelation speaks of "torment" and not of death it is possible that this attack concerns a series of burning complaints (compare Daniel 11:30) from the king of the north and not a military attack. Most of the political intrasaces of this nation, which include lies, murders and abuses perpetrated against other peoples, could come to light.
This would cause an atrocious pain to all those who, until the last moment, wanted to maintain an aura of holiness and justice and pass for victims of the world.Â ***Spiritual drunks who have the privilege of carrying the name of Jehovah are invited to observe the next world events. Â Â Â
By Guest Nicole
Guatemala trasladará su embajada en Israel a Jerusalén, en consonancia con la decisión de Washington condenada por la Asamblea General de la ONU y desatando el agradecimiento israelí y el rechazo palestino.
“El Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores recibe la instrucción presidencial (de Jimmy Morales) e inicia el proceso de ejecución de esta decisión de política exterior”, afirmó la cancillería guatemalteca el lunes en un comunicado.
El proceso se inició al día siguiente de que Morales anunciara que dio instrucciones a su canciller Sandra Jovel para realizar el traslado.
El primer ministro israelí, Benjamin Netanyahu, saludó este lunes en un comunicado la “importante” decisión de Guatemala.
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By Israeli Bar Avaddhon
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Â Una razÃ³n por la cual a algunos hermanos les resulta difÃcil aceptar que Babilonia la Grande es la naciÃ³n de Israel (no es la Ãºnica razÃ³n) es porque creen, en toda conciencia, que esta naciÃ³n es "un parÃ©ntesis cerrado" y tenemos que entender quÃ© significa esta expresiÃ³n Si con "tema cerrado" nos referimos a que JehovÃ¡ ya no usarÃa un paÃs geogrÃ¡fico especÃfico para "atraer a un pueblo por su nombre", tenemos toda la razÃ³n - Hechos 15:14 Si entendemos que este pueblo, en su tiempo, fue rechazado irreversiblemente, es correcto porque este concepto estÃ¡ sostenido por las Escrituras - Mateo 23:37, 38 Si entendemos tambiÃ©n que cuando la Biblia habla de Israel espiritual se refiere al pueblo de Dios tomadas de todas las naciones, que no es todo "Israel", en este caso estamos en lo correcto - Romanos 9: 6 Â¿Esto significa que este "parÃ©ntesis cerrado" no tendrÃ¡ ningÃºn papel en el tiempo del fin? Â¿Significa que es tan insignificante, desde el punto de vista de JehovÃ¡, que ni siquiera lo he mas mencionado? Tratemos de pensar en algunos aspectos y siempre tratemos de que la Biblia hable lo mÃ¡s a menudo posible. Es cierto que segÃºn las Ãºltimas "directivas" del "esclavo fiel y discreto" ya no tenemos que encontrar tipos y antitipos (despuÃ©s de haber creado cientos, incluso de manera muy forzada, durante casi un siglo), pero es un hecho que los tipos y antitipos estÃ¡n presentes en una forma preponderante en la palabra de Dios. Es cierto que debemos ser precavidos y no buscar tipos y antitipos en cada coma ... en cada palabra dicha o no dicha, pero Â¿significa esto que ya no tenemos que usar nuestras facultades mentales ni siquiera frente a un antitipo obvio del presente? - Hebreos 5:14 MÃ¡s importante aÃºn: Â¿significa esto que debemos borrar las conexiones entre tipos y antitipos, incluso cuando es la Biblia misma a hacerlos? - 2 Pedro 1:21 En esto volveremos mÃ¡s tarde. Cuando JerusalÃ©n fue destruida por primera vez en 607 a.E.V. esta naciÃ³n, aunque apÃ³stata y ahora reducida a un mÃnimo, no podrÃa llamarse parÃ©ntesis cerrado - compÃ¡rese con JeremÃas 16:14, 15 JehovÃ¡ mantuvo fe en el pacto hecho con Abraham al salvar un remanente a pesar de que la gente mostrÃ³, muchas otras veces, que no eran leales. Â¿Se puede decir lo mismo cuando sucediÃ³ la segunda vez, en 70 E.V.? Cuando JesÃºs fue puesto en la hoguera, un acto que marcÃ³ el abandono definitivo de JehovÃ¡, el pacto permaneciÃ³ vigente durante "media semana" en cumplimiento de la profecÃa de Daniel-Daniel 9:27; Mateo 21: 33-41 Entonces, despuÃ©s de la muerte de JesÃºs, que ocurriÃ³ alrededor del aÃ±o 33 E.V., el pueblo de Israel continuÃ³ siendo un pueblo "especial" durante otra media semana, o hasta el 37 E.V. De hecho, ese aÃ±o, con el bautismo de Cornelio, comenzÃ³ a formarse un nuevo Isreal: un pueblo que serÃa tomado de todas las naciones - Mateo 21:43; Hechos 10: 44-48 Entonces podemos decir que Israel, como pueblo especial de Dios, se convirtiÃ³ en "parÃ©ntesis cerrado" en 37 E.V. Sin embargo, refiriÃ©ndose a lo que le hubiera pasado a este pueblo mÃ¡s de treinta aÃ±os despuÃ©s de su abandono, JesÃºs dijo ... "" Â¿No ves todas estas cosas? De cierto os digo que no quedarÃ¡ piedra sobre piedra que no estÃ© en ruinas "- Mateo 24: 2 Uno deberÃa pensar que, precisamente porque ahora estaba cerrado entre parÃ©ntesis, JerusalÃ©n (e Israel en su conjunto) podrÃa continuar existiendo y hacer su vida como cualquier otra naciÃ³n, pero no fue asÃ. EstÃ¡ claro que JehovÃ¡ le prestÃ³ atenciÃ³n a esa naciÃ³n que evidentemente nunca habrÃa sido una naciÃ³n como cualquier otra, independientemente si ahora era o no del pueblo de Dios. Podemos discutir si la destrucciÃ³n de JerusalÃ©n de 70 E.V. fue empujado directamente por JehovÃ¡ o si esto fue solo la consecuencia del hecho de que Dios Todopoderoso retirÃ³ su protecciÃ³n de la naciÃ³n (pero lees las palabras de Luca 21:22) pero ciertamente no podemos argumentar que esta Ãºltima destrucciÃ³n, ya cerrada como parÃ©ntesis, habÃa sido predicha por las Escrituras y que este evento tendrÃa consecuencias directas para los cristianos de la Ã©poca. Â¿Israel continuÃ³ teniendo alguna importancia despuÃ©s del abandono de Dios pero antes de la destrucciÃ³n antes mencionada? SÃ! Israel continuÃ³ siendo de fundamental importancia tanto para los cristianos de ascendencia judÃa como para todos los demÃ¡s, de hecho, el apÃ³stol Pablo hizo muchas referencias al Israel carnal para ayudar a entender la "sombra" de las cosas, la manera de actuar de JehovÃ¡. (asÃ como su personalidad) y quÃ© posiciÃ³n tenÃan, como cristianos, antes de todo esto - Compare Colosenses 2:16, 17 El apÃ³stol Pablo tambiÃ©n nos ayuda a entender, a travÃ©s de la existencia del Israel carnal, quien es la "JerusalÃ©n de arriba" - GÃ¡latas 4:25, 26 El apÃ³stol Pablo hablÃ³ de muchos tipos y antitipos y esto no hubiera sido posible sin la existencia del Israel carnal. No habrÃa habido un criterio, especialmente para la gente de las naciones - Efesios 2: 11-13 TambiÃ©n en este sentido podemos decir que Israel, por lo que fue tambiÃ©n cuando apostatÃ², no pudo ser realmente un "parÃ©ntesis cerrado". Ahora, sin embargo, la pregunta es ... Â¿quÃ© podemos decir de nuestros dÃas? Â¿Israel realmente ha caÃdo en el olvido, desde Dios, desde el final del primer siglo hasta hoy? Â¿Ha dejado de tener una importancia profÃ©tica o antitÃpica? Para la segunda parte de la pregunta, podemos decir que no. Tanto en Apocalipsis como en Daniel, libros que hablan del tiempo del fin, se menciona a Israel. Incluso en Apocalipsis se habla del "canto de MoisÃ©s" y esta es, sin duda, una referencia no solo para Israel, sino tambiÃ©n para el papel de MoisÃ©s como esclavo de Dios - Apocalipsis 15: 3 MoisÃ©s no era simplemente un israelita, sino que tambiÃ©n era el mediador de la Ley (ley que realmente deberÃa ser un "parÃ©ntesis cerrado", Â¿no?). Hablando de la muerte de los dos testigos en cilicio Se dice que este crimen tiene lugar "donde tambiÃ©n nuestro SeÃ±or fue empalado" - RevelaciÃ³n 11: 8 Sin buscar explicaciones articuladas, simplemente deberÃamos preguntarnos: Â¿dÃ³nde fue puesto en la hoguera el SeÃ±or Jesucristo? Por lo tanto, estamos convencidos de que la RevelaciÃ³n no menciona al antiguo Israel (o JerusalÃ©n), que es el carnal, literal, Â¿cuÃ¡l deberÃa ser "un parÃ©ntesis cerrado"? La revelaciÃ³n se cumple en el tiempo del fin, Â¿no es asÃ? TambiÃ©n tratamos de ver si las escrituras de Daniel parecen confirmar o negar esta visiÃ³n de los hechos. Daniel 11:30 dice, hablando de cierto rey, que "tendrÃ¡ que volver y considerar a los que han dejado el santo pacto". Â¿QuiÃ©nes son "los que han dejado el santo pacto"? Por supuesto, podrÃa referirse al cristianismo, pero en los siguientes versÃculos se dirÃ¡ algo que crearÃ¡ un serio problema de identificaciÃ³n de este Ãºltimo. Daniel 11:32 dice ... "Y a los que actÃºan inicuamente contra [el] pacto, Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. los conducirÃ¡ a apostasÃa Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. mediante palabras melosas ". Entonces tenemos un problema. En el versÃculo 30 se dice que "lanzarÃ¡ denuncias contra el pacto santo" y, por lo tanto, este "tomar en consideraciÃ³n" a aquellos que han abandonado el pacto sagrado no parece tener nada positivo. En el versÃculo 32, sin embargo, el rey mismo, a travÃ©s de palabras melosas, llevarÃa a la apostasÃa "a los que actÃ¹an inicuamente contra [el] pacto". Entonces, en el primer caso hay una acciÃ³n enÃ©rgica, autoritaria y quizÃ¡s violenta, mientras que en el segundo caso hay un halago ... Debe notarse que el mismo tÃ©rmino Â– melosas, melosidad - se usa para aquellos que se unen a aquellos que "tienen perspicacia" - Daniel 11:32, 34, 35. Parece que siempre estÃ¡ hablando de un mismo grupo? De hecho, hay una profunda diferencia entre aquellos que han dejado un pacto y entre aquellos que actÃºan perversamente contra de eso. Cualquiera que deje un pacto no puede actuar en manera malvada o benignamente simplemente porque lo ha abandonado. Incluso aquÃ, sin demasiadas palabras, Â¿quÃ© personas han "abandonado el pacto"? La muerte del Hijo de Dios definitivamente sancionado el abandono de ese pacto que JehovÃ¡ sacudiÃ³ con Abraham y sus descendientes - Mateo 23:38 Si Daniel tiene una visiÃ³n del "tiempo del fin", es evidente que aquellos que "dejaron el pacto" todavÃa se mencionan, estÃ¡n vivos y activos, y tienen un papel importante hasta el Ãºltimo momento del sistema mundial. Â Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Â¿Hay alguna diferencia entre aquellos que "dejaron el pacto santo" y los que "actuan malvadamente contra el pacto"? Si piensas que la distinciÃ³n entre "quien ha abandonado el pacto" y "actÃºa perversamente contra el pacto" es un forzamiento (Â¿por quÃ© entonces, dado que los significados son profundamente diferentes?) tal vez serÃ¡ Ãºtil reflexionar sobre Daniel 11:45. Siempre hablando del Ãºltimo rey gobernante, la "cosa repugnante" segÃºn las palabras de JesÃºs en Mateo 24:15, la escritura dice que el rey "plantarÃ¡ sus tiendas palaciegas entre [el] gran mar Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. y la santa montaÃ±a de DecoraciÃ³n ". Ahora, si cada vez que se menciona a Israel en el tiempo del fin, se puede cuestionar si se estÃ¡ refiriendo al Israel literal o a los cristianos tomados de todas las naciones, y si aquellos que "actÃºan perversamente contra el pacto" pueden ser los mismos que han "abandonado el pacto" (es decir, que siempre se refiere al cristianismo), Â¿quÃ© podemos decir de la santa montaÃ±a de DecoraciÃ³n? Â¿CuÃ¡l era la santa montaÃ±a de DecoraciÃ³n? El Monte Moria, por supuesto, donde una vez estuvo el Templo de JerusalÃ©n. Â Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Monte Moria es "la santa montaÃ±a de DecoraciÃ³n" Â De la misma manera que los soldados romanos ponen un pie donde no deberÃan (fueron algo desagradable), el Ãºltimo rey gobernante harÃ¡ lo mismo a travÃ©s del falso profeta como se especifica en Apocalipsis. El problema de eliminar tipos y antitipos, debido a errores pasados, pone el riesgo de pasar del otro extremo y no lograr a ver mas nada, aun cuando la lÃ³gica y las Escrituras nos pongon mÃ¡s de un motivo para reflexionar. Â¿Necesitamos ser inspirados para encontrar alguna contraparte moderna? Absolutamente no, asÃ como no debemos ser inspirados para leer y tratar de entender las Escrituras - 2 Timoteo 3:16, 17 Seguramente debemos ser cautelosos y no ir mÃ¡s allÃ¡ de lo que estÃ¡ escrito, pero fue el mismo JesÃºs quien aplicÃ³ las palabras de Daniel en el tiempo del fin (lo que habrÃa ido mucho mÃ¡s allÃ¡ de la destrucciÃ³n de JerusalÃ©n en el aÃ±o 70 E.V.). AsÃ que pensar en el hecho que las palabras de JesÃºs, incluidos los detalles inherentes a la "cosa repugnante", habrÃan tenido un cumplimiento moderno, son parte del debate bÃblico normal que incluye nuestra capacidad de razonar. La capacidad de razonar, hacer contrastes y paralelos es un regalo que el Creador nos dio. Entonces, volviendo a la montaÃ±a de DecoraciÃ²n ... Â¿quÃ© significado podemos dar mÃ¡s allÃ¡ de lo que estÃ simplemente escrito? Por supuesto, podemos afirmar que el Ã¡ngel usa un lenguaje simbÃ³lico que significa que este Ãºltimo rey habrÃa interferido con la adoraciÃ³n verdadera ... pero este hecho, incuestionable, ya lo hemos visto cuando "suprime el sacrificio continuo". De hecho, Daniel dice que dejarÃa caer una parte de las estrellas, lo que habrÃa hecho tropezar a los que entendieron y continuarÃan "arrojando la verdad al suelo". AdemÃ¡s de todo esto, en cierto punto se dice que colocarÃa sus tiendas hasta la montaÃ±a de DecoraciÃ²n. Â¿CuÃ¡ntos tipos y antitipos podemos darle a la montaÃ±a de DecoraciÃ²n si ya hemos visto que el rey habrÃa arrojado al pueblo de Dios a la tierra, exactamente como dice el Apocalipsis? - Apocalipsis 13: 5 Si no buscamos una explicaciÃ³n articulada a toda costa, tal vez porque estamos convencidos de que no puede referirse de alguna manera con el Israel moderno, entonces la respuesta es obvia. QuizÃ¡s es demasiado obvia. En todo caso, tratamos de preguntarnos: Â¿por quÃ© el Ãºltimo rey dominante, bajo la apariencia del falso profeta, deberÃa establecer su tienda en Israel? Â Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. El falso profeta pondrÃ¡ sus tiendas entre el gran mar y la montaÃ±a de DecoraciÃ²n. Â En un artÃculo anterior tratamos de descubrir quiÃ©n es este falso profeta y cÃ³mo Ã©l representa una evoluciÃ³n del hombre de la ilegalidad que conocemos. Puedes encontrar el artÃculo en esta direcciÃ³n (por ahora estÃ¡ en italiano) Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Esta bestia es una decepciÃ³n religiosa de proporciones mundiales y estÃ¡ vinculada a las palabras de Cristo cuando dijo que surgirÃan falsos cristos y falsos profetas. Sabemos que este tema tomarÃ¡ oficialmente el lugar de Dios y desviarÃ¡ a toda la tierra habitada. Entonces, Â¿por quÃ© deberÃa poner sus tiendas en la montaÃ±a de DecoraciÃ²n? Bueno, Israel, nos guste o no, es el punto de referencia de las religiones mÃ¡s grandes del mundo. No es coincidencia que sea la escena de las guerras mÃ¡s sangrientas porque cada religiÃ³n reclama derechos sobre ella. Sin embargo, como Israel es la causa principal de todas las divisiones religiosas, tambiÃ©n podrÃa convertirse en el enlace de mÃ¡s de dos mil millones de personas. Si el falso profeta pretende ser Dios, entonces poner su morada en esa tierra parecerÃ¡ lo mÃ¡s normal y las tÃ¡cticas mÃ¡s inteligentes: 2 Tesalonicenses 2: 3, 4. Se instarÃ¡ a la gente a adorarlo y evidentemente es este episodio, un tiempo despuÃ©s de la gran guerra, que llevarÃ¡ a la gente a "unirse" bajo este engaÃ±o y creer que finalmente han alcanzado la paz y la seguridad. Obviamente, esta "paz y seguridad" serÃ¡ un engaÃ±o satÃ¡nico y durarÃ¡ muy poco, ya que una destrucciÃ³n repentina vendrÃ¡ sobre todos ellos - 1 Tesalonicenses 5: 3 Poco antes de la Guerra de Armageddon, sin embargo, este falso profeta se verÃ¡ obligado a "desalojar". Â Las Naciones Unidas y el Ãºltimo rey dominante (es decir, el poder polÃtico que se esconde detrÃ¡s de este engaÃ±o religioso) por voluntad de Dios, odiarÃ¡n a esta ramera y la devastarÃ¡n y desnudarÃ¡n. Israel serÃ¡ destruido, contra todas las expectativas, en cumplimiento de la profecÃa bÃblica. Solo en aquel tiempo Israel serÃ¡ realmente un "parÃ©ntesis cerrado" - Apocalipsis 19: 3 Sin embargo, solo este "pueblo abusivo" serÃ¡ un parÃ©ntesis cerrado porque la naciÃ³n, o la tierra geogrÃ¡fica, tendrÃ¡ un papel que nos sorprenderÃ¡. Veremos esto en un prÃ³ximo artÃculo.
By Guest Nicole
Transcript - Preaching in “the Most Distant Part of the Earth”.pdf
By Guest Nicole
A day of rage? Shouldn't calling for that alone be a criminal act and cause for imprisonment?
The Catholic Church raised a “cry of alarm”, because every year ten thousand Catholics become Jehovah’s Witnesses.By Kurt
The FRANCISCO POPE PRAISES GOD’S WITNESSES WORLDWIDE
Moving – Pascom Porto Feliz: Catholic Conference discusses increasing Witnesses … What drives so many people to become Jehovah’s Witnesses? This was the question asked by some clerics, as shown by the following quotations. For example, in Bologna, Italy, the ecclesiastical authorities, with the approval of the pope, held a conference to discuss ways to combat the success of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The Catholic Church raised a “cry of alarm”, the newspaper La Republica, because every year ten thousand Catholics become Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Jesuit Giuseppe De Rosa said that “the religious point of view the most dangerous are Jehovah’s Witnesses. They come fully trained, and always have the Bible in hand.”
In an article that deals specifically with Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica said:
“The first reason for the spread of this movement are the propaganda techniques [ie, in preaching]. On the one hand, the work is thorough, carried from house to house by people who are strictly trained in this work, and are deeply convinced [ …] ”
“The second reason for the success of TJs is the force of attraction of Jehovah’s message, because it can meet the needs, demands and expectations of the people of our time. First, answers the need for certainty, which is much appreciated at a time where everything is uncertain and unstable. […] Above all, it is an absolutely safe revelation of the future and, therefore, all who accepted, experience freedom from fear and anxiety and can face the future with joy, with ensuring that survive the destruction that will come the great day of God’s judgment on a wicked world, to live in eternal happiness on earth. Second, Jehovah’s message helps to overcome the concern of the individual against the woes of this world, announces that soon will end the unbearable situation of today, and soon, so there will be a new era will be born a new world in which all the wicked will be removed now triumph. […] ”
“The third reason for the success of TJs is that this movement gives its members a precise identity and strong, and is a place where they were greeted with warmth and a sense of brotherhood and solidarity.”
The Vatican document analyzed the needs of people today, and the quote above the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica showed that the message of Jehovah’s Witnesses meet those needs. This also showed Vittorio Messori Catholic writer in his recent book Scommesse sulla morte (a bet on death), who writes: “It makes us think that Jehovah’s Witnesses, is one of the religious denominations of the fastest growing in the world. It is among the religions that are practiced in many countries and perhaps […] is first in terms of fervor, zeal, activism, the ability to make proselytes. ” “And his presence, increasingly pronounced, is not limited to Christian tradition countries, but reaching the whole world, where in the name of Jehovah, and before long, they get results that are superior to those of Catholic missionaries, Protestants and Orthodox, who have worked for centuries. ”
“This stunning expansive force is incomprehensible only to those who simply do not want to admit that […] course in how to understand the Bible, Jehovah’s Witnesses meet the real needs that other theologies do not meet.” “You can not get around the issue suggesting that the growth of witnesses is because they scare people is precisely the opposite:. Unlike the churches” official “, deny the existence of hell and preach the destruction, disappearance after death to the wicked and unbelieving. This may be an unpleasant prospect, but certainly less frightening than the threat of a terrible pain for all eternity. “Yes, the God of Jehovah’s Witnesses is a loving God, and not one that terrorizes the people .
The following quote is the Catholic magazine Mondo ERRE March 1986: “It must be said that Jehovah’s Witnesses are the first to live the faith they preach: Do not IRAM, do not smoke, do not accumulate wealth, remain outside the political discussions […] pay taxes. They live a virtuous and honest life, they are happy and helpful. All this has made people appreciate the ”
I’m glad to know that they have had success in evangelizing them my family is Catholic more from small learn to admire their work in all the earth ….
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By Guest Nicole
On his drive to Calipatria State Prison, Ricardo Perez thought of the couple he’d met a few months earlier and their desperate plea: Can you help us get our innocent relative out of prison?
It was spring 2012. Perez was fresh out of Loyola Law School and yearning for a meaningful case, so he agreed to look into their relative’s conviction. After reading the trial transcript, he went to meet Marco Contreras.
“Are you innocent?” he asked him. “If you're not, I won’t judge you and I won’t tell your family. But if I’m going to spend the next several years on this, I need to know for sure.”
Contreras looked him dead in the eye, Perez recalled, and said, “I’m innocent.”
That conversation led to years of investigation and, ultimately, Contreras’ release from custody on Tuesday — the second time this month that a team of lawyers and students from Loyola have helped free a wrongfully convicted man.
After spending 20 years behind bars, Contreras used the moments after his release to speak to others in his situation.
“Keep fighting,” he said in Spanish. “Be patient and keep fighting.”
Contreras, 41, who maintained his innocence, was convicted in 1997 of attempted murder and attempted robbery for a shooting at a Compton gas station a year earlier. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Superior Court Judge William Ryan ruled last week that Contreras was factually innocent, and Deputy Dist. Atty. Bobby Grace said Tuesday that prosecutors lost faith in Contreras’ conviction, adding that other men have been linked to the crime.
Attempted murder and conspiracy charges were filed Thursday against Antonio Salgado, 41; Antonio Garcia, 61; and Ricardo Valencia, 46. Both Garcia and Valencia pleaded not guilty Monday, and Salgado hasn’t been arraigned.
Contreras’ attorneys say an eyewitness inaccurately identified him as the gunman, although he’d been at home sleeping at the time. It’s an example of the unreliability of witness misidentification, said Adam Grant, another Contreras attorney.
“This is a huge problem,” he said. “It’s a thorny problem because the public considers it reliable.”
Loyola Law School’s Project for the Innocent began looking into the case in 2012 after Perez put them in touch with Contreras’ family. During their investigation, lawyers and students found new evidence, including a striking physical similarity between Contreras and Salgado. The team of attorneys then presented its findings to the district attorney’s conviction review unit — a crew of prosecutors and investigators dedicated to overturning wrongful convictions — which conducted its own investigation, along with sheriff’s investigators, into the shooting.
In a letter to the judge made public this week, prosecutors laid out the facts of the case, which they say point to Contreras’ innocence.
At a Mepco gas station on a September morning in 1996, a man fired several shots at Jose Garcia, who was wounded but survived after a month-long hospital stay. While stopped at a red light nearby, Alicia Valladolid, an intern for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, saw the gunman run into a getaway car – a blue and beige Bronco.
She jotted down the license plate number and investigators tracked the car to Contreras. When his brother, Miguel, told police he owned the Bronco, he was charged with attempted murder, attempted robbery, as well as being an accessory after the fact. At Miguel’s preliminary hearing, Valladolid spotted Marco in the audience and told a detective he was the shooter she’d seen. Marco was arrested and charged as the gunman.
At his trial, the victim expressed some doubt in identifying him as the shooter, saying, “I’m not sure about the face.” And defense witnesses testified that Marco was home at the time of the shooting. But jurors found him guilty.
Miguel pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and was sentenced to a 16-month prison sentence. His other charges were dropped as part of his plea deal.
After his release, he told Compton police that his brother — who had a clean criminal record — wasn’t the gunman. Around that time, a detective had been trying to interview Salgado, a documented gang member the detective believed was the true gunman. Salgado fled to Missouri, records show, after realizing police were looking for him.
Although Miguel had long resisted being viewed as “a rat,” according to court records, he eventually told his family that Salgado was the gunman and agreed to help authorities with an undercover sting operation.
During a secretly recorded conversation with Valencia, Miguel brought up the shooting. Valencia told him it was an orchestrated hit likely tied to a drug dispute and said Salgado had admitted to being the gunman.
During a 2014 interview with prosecutors and Loyola attorneys, Miguel said he and Salgado had been hired by Antonio Garcia, another co-worker, to carry out a murder-for-hire plot. Miguel — who described his role in the crime as merely assisting a friend — said he believed Antonio Garcia had promised to pay Salgado $10,000.
Contreras’ release is the second big reversal handled by the district attorney’s conviction review unit since its creation in 2015. Last year, prosecutors asked the same judge to throw out the murder conviction of a man charged in the 2000 slaying of a college student in a Palmdale parking lot. Earlier this year, Ryan tossed the conviction and declared Raymond Lee Jennings factually innocent.
In the other Loyola case from two weeks ago, a different judge threw out the murder conviction of Andrew Leander Wilson, who served 32 years behind bars after being convicted of a 1984 stabbing.
As Marco Contreras was escorted into court Tuesday, he turned to look at his family in the audience. He nodded at them several times, and tears welled in his eyes. Perez patted him on the back.
At the end of the hearing, Contreras — dressed in a black suit — stood to address the judge.
“I’d like to thank you for allowing me to be here,” he said. “Also the D.A. — I’d like to say thank you to everybody.”
The judge smiled and told Contreras he hoped he had a good support system to help him adjust to life outside of custody. The world, the judge warned him, had changed a lot in 20 years.
“This is a new chapter,” Ryan said. “Good luck to you, sir.”
The audience of Loyola students and Contreras’ family burst into applause, shouting, “Woo! Woo! Woo!” Contreras threw his fist in the air in celebration, and the courtroom bailiff smiled. Perez said a single word — surreal — was running through his mind.
During a news conference after the hearing, Contreras’ mother, Maria, walked slowly toward her son. She embraced him in a tight hug and congratulated him in Spanish.
“¡Felicidades, hijo!” she told him. “¡Felicidades, mi hijo!”
She told reporters she’d always known he was innocent, saying before his arrest that he’d never gotten in trouble — not even a traffic ticket, she said.
Asked whether he felt any rancor, Contreras shook his head: “No, none. There’s no reason.”
For now, he said, he was looking forward to two things: good Mexican food and April 11. He’s a Jehovah’s Witness, and that’s the day his denomination will remember the anniversary of Jesus’ death.
His faith, he said, had kept him from spiraling into depression.
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By Bible Speaks
May you remember these words - the Good News is still being preached throughout the Earth! - (Matthew 24:14) . . .And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come."
This refers to the good news of the Kingdom of God and of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. It is called in the Bible “the good news of the kingdom” (Mt 4:23), “the good news of God” (Ro 15:16), “the good news about Jesus Christ” (Mr 1:1), “the good news of the undeserved kindness of God” (Ac 20:24), “the good news of peace” (Eph 6:15), and the “everlasting good news” (Re 14:6).
Enemies. The good news has been bitterly fought, and the source of the enmity is identified by the apostle: “If, now, the good news we declare is in fact veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.” (2Co 4:3, 4)
The earliest enemies of the good news were the religious leaders of the Jews. Their enmity, however, resulted in good to the Gentiles, or people of the nations, in that it opened up the opportunity for Gentiles to be fellow partakers of “the promise in union with Christ Jesus through the good news.”—Ro 11:25, 28; Eph 3:5,6.
Enemies of the good news caused the Christians much suffering and required the apostles to put up a hard fight before rulers in defending and legally establishing the good news so that it might spread with the greatest possible freeness.—Php 1:7, 16In the Revelation given to the apostle John about 96 C.E.
John saw an “angel flying in midheaven” who had “everlasting good news to declare as glad tidings to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people, saying in a loud voice: ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of the judgment by him has arrived.’” (Re 14:6, 7) These inspired statements indicate that in the “last days” there would be an unparalleled proclamation of the good news of the Kingdom. jw.org
This photo 1940 shown preaching God's Kingdom!
I want to make a "collection" of all those photos that appear radomly on the official page,
although our internet friend david has made a wonderful collection on his web.8080.page.
[thank you david]
Talking about God’s Kingdom with Spanish-speaking farmers
Matobo District, Zimbabwe—
Witnessing from house to house
Offering Bible-based publications in Maria-Theresien-Platz
Seoul, South Korea—
Engaging in metropolitan witnessing
By Guest Nicole
More and more people are leaving rural and small town environs behind as the flock into the world’s biggest cities in search of better jobs and living conditions. Just as urban demographics become more and more colorful and diversified, these same changes inevitably impact the interactions between people sharing proximate living spaces as well.
Some of the world’s most promising metropolises have thus become some of the most dangerous places on earth, and large populations and limited law enforcement capabilities only exacerbate problems. As a result, we see many popular cities being identified as particularly dangerous, highlighted by their high crime rates.
The World’s Most Dangerous Cities
When planning your next trip, you may want to avoid some of the cities we’re about to mention. In 2015, they ranked among the world’s most dangerous places on the basis of murder cases per capita.
Caracas, Venezuela has risen to number one spot with 119.87 murders per 100,000 beating out San Pedro Sula in Honduras which had the top position in 2015, with 171.2 murders per 100,000 people per year but dropped to second at 111.03 in 2016. The number is surprisingly high in comparison to the most violent cities in many other countries. In the US, for example, St. Louis, with its murder rate of 59.23 per 100,000, is still a much safer place to live than the world’s most dangerous city. Illegal drug distribution, extensive poverty, and gangs all combine to affect the living conditions in Caracas and San Pedro Sula, the help make those city so notorious.
Amid a rise in mass killings and escalating violence between alleged gang members, San Salvador has almost doubled its murder rate from 61.21 to 108.54 taking the 3rd spot. August was most violent month in San Salvador, with more than 900 killings, including an unprecedented 52 deaths registered in a single day. The other two cities that complete the top five most dangerous places in the world are Acapulco, Mexico and Maturin, Venezuela.
Crime Levels in the US – Dangerous Urban Havens?
Four US cities have a place among the top 50 most dangerous cities in the world (on the basis of murder per capita statistics). St. Louis ranks 15th with a murder rate of 59.23 per 100,000 inhabitants a rise from 2015's rate of 49.93, making it the most dangerous location in the country by far. The city is also present in rankings based on considerations for other crimes – the Missouri city has a burglary rate of 606.9 per 100,000 and an aggravated assault rate of 317.7 per 100,000. This has led many to the conclusion that St. Louis is probably the most dangerous city in the US.
Baltimore, Maryland was ranked 40th last year with a murder rate of 33.92 has risen to 19th spot this year with a murder rate of 54.98 per 100,000 people.
Detroit is the now the third city included in the 2015 ranking of the world’s most dangerous cities in terms of murder rates. With its 43.89 murders per 100,000 people, Detroit is a bit further down the list than St. Louis, but is still classified a dangerous place nonetheless. Factoring in all violent crime Detroit does top the list of the most dangerous cities in the United States.
New Orleans falls further down with 41.44 murders per 100,000 residents a year.
Europe’s Most Dangerous Cities
Europe may very well be the safest continent in the world, considering that none of its cities appear in the World’s Most Dangerous Cities ranking. However, there are still some cities on the Old Continent that one should be careful about when visiting.
One such city is Rotterdam in the Netherlands. This city tops the chart for European lack of safety. Poland’s Lodz takes second while Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom occupies the third position in the European city danger rankings.
Actual crime rates and perceptions are completely different things. Several official polls have been carried out to assess where people don’t feel safe in Europe. The cities where people felt most secure were Oviedo and Groningen, while residents of Athens (Greece), Istanbul (Turkey), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Bucharest (Romania) felt the most endangered.
Do wealth and standards of living have anything to do with security? Crime statistics do suggest that poverty and murder prevalence could be linked to each other, and some of the world’s most dangerous places are indeed located within countries plagued by political turbulence, corruption, low standards of living and economic underdevelopment. Hopefully, figures for all of these dangerous cities will decline in years to come.
Most Dangerous Cities in the World
Rank City Murder Rate (per 100,000) 1 Caracas, Venezuela 119.87 2 San Pedro Sula, Honduras 111.03 3 San Salvador, El Salvador 108.54 4 Acapulco, Mexico 104.73 5 Maturin, Venezuela 86.45 6 Distrito Central, Honduras 73.51 7 Valencia, Venezuela 72.31 8 Palmira, Colombia 70.88 9 Cape Town, South Africa 65.53 10 Cali, Colombia 64.27 11 Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela 62.33 12 Fortaleza, Brazil 60.77 13 Natal, Brazil 60.66 14 Salvador, Brazil 60.63 15 St. Louis, U.S.A. 59.23 16 Joao Pessoa, Brazil 58.4 17 Culiacan, Mexico 56.09 18 Maceio, Brazil 55.63 19 Baltimore, U.S.A. 54.98 20 Barquisimeto, Venezuela 54.96 21 Sao Luis, Brazil 53.05 22 Cuiaba, Brazil 48.52 23 Manaus, Brazil 47.87 24 Cumana, Venezuela 47.77 25 Guatemala, Guatemala 47.17 26 Belem, Brazil 45.83 27 Feira de Santana, Brazil 45.5 28 Detroit, U.S.A. 43.89 29 Goiania, Brazil 43.38 30 Teresina, Brazil 42.64 31 Vitoria, Brazil 41.99 32 New Orleans, U.S.A. 41.44 33 Kingston, Jamaica 41.14 34 Gran Barcelona, Venezuela 40.08 35 Tijuana, Mexico 39.09 36 Vitória da Conquista, Brazil 38.46 37 Recife, Brazil 38.12 38 Aracaju, Brazil 37.7 39 Campos dos Goytacazes, Brazil 36.16 40 Campina Grande, Brazil 36.04 41 Durban, South Africa 35.93 42 Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa 35.85 43 Porto Alegre, Brazil 34.73 44 Curitiba, Brazil 34.71 45 Pereira, Colombia 32.58 46 Victoria, Mexico 30.5 47 Johanesburg, South Africa 30.31 48 Macapa, Brazil 30.25 49 Maracaibo, Venezuela 28.85 50 Obregon, Mexico 28.29
Last week’s lesson in the October 16 WT, page 27 about exercising faith in Jehovah’s Promises brought out that Noah exercised faith by preaching to his neighbours.
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. highlights the faith of Noah who, “after receiving divine warning of things not yet seen, showed godly fear and constructed an ark for the saving of his household.” Noah exercised his faith by building the gigantic ark. Without doubt, his neighbors must have asked him why he was building such a colossal structure. Did Noah keep quiet or tell them to mind their own business? By no means! His faith moved him to witness boldly and to warn his contemporaries of God’s coming judgment. Quite likely, Noah repeated to the people the exact words that Jehovah had spoken to him: “I have decided to put an end to all flesh, because the earth is full of violence on account of them . . . I am going to bring floodwaters upon the earth to destroy from under the heavens all flesh that has the breath of life. Everything on the earth will perish.” Also, Noah no doubt explained to the people the only means of escape, repeating God’s command: “You must go into the ark.” Thus, Noah further exercised his faith by being “a preacher of righteousness.”— Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. .
We have always understood that Noah witnessed to the inhabitants of that time, while he was building the ark. We say this because 2 Peter 2:5 calls Noah a “preacher of righteousness”. But it occurred to me that Noah must have been a preacher of righteousness BEFORE Jehovah asked him to build the Ark, as this was the reason Jehovah asked him to build the ark, to preserve him alive. Genesis 6:9 says: “This is the history of Noah. Noah was a righteous man. He proved himself faultless among his contemporaries. Noah walked with the true God”. Is there any scriptural proof that Noah witnessed to “his neighbours” about the impending destruction while he was constructing the ark, or are we simply assuming he did? And wasn’t Noah exercising faith mainly by building the ark, rather than preaching destruction to the people? The only scripture that I can think of that would indicate that Noah may have talked about the destruction is in Matthew 24:39 where it says that “they took no note until the Flood came and swept them all away”. But this could also mean that they took no note of him building the Ark rather than any reasoning from Noah. Or Heb 11:7...after receiving divine warning of things not yet seen, showed godly fear and constructed an ark for the saving of his household; and through this faith he condemned the world. This seems to indicate that it was because he acted and constructed the ark.....or was it that he actually voiced a condemnation to the people?
Jehovah’s Witnesses at an assembly in Rishon Letzion
The state refuses to recognize them and they have been victims of harassment. But Jehovah's Witnesses insist that they lead normal lives and are not a dangerous cult.
By Netta Ahituv
December 1, 2016
Yarden Zalimansky is only 25, but comports himself like a staid older citizen. He’s been married for a few years, and wears a white shirt, tie and dark slacks for our meeting; he has a tablet opened to a Bible app and speaks in a deeply serious tone of voice. Until age 19, he styled himself an atheist, now he’s a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He grew up in Tel Aviv in a secular family (“One Holocaust and three cases of cancer was enough for the loss of God”), and majored in film at an arts high school.
“I was always interested in history and in religions, and I used to talk to a friend about it. One day, while I was in the army, she told me she was studying Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was bent on stopping her, but as we went on talking, I saw that what I believed in was incorrect and that she had tools to prove that her belief was right,” he relates.
What did you find in Jehovah’s Witnesses that you didn’t find elsewhere?
“One thing that bothered me in most religions is that at a certain stage, you are requested to stop asking questions – and I had plenty of concrete questions. For example, I couldn’t understand the Holy Trinity in Catholicism, and I felt that my questions about it were not welcome. In Jehovah’s Witnesses, I can always ask questions and get answers from the Bible. They don’t call for blind faith, but base themselves on evidence and on asking questions.”
Most of the adherents I met while researching this article told a similar story. They discovered the creed via a friend, a pamphlet they came across or another Witness who “opened my eyes.” Initially skeptical, they were gradually won over, and decided to devote themselves to this mix of Judaism and Christianity.
The approximately 1,600 members of the community in Israel obey the laws of the country, pay their taxes and believe that they are upstanding citizens, but refuse to fulfill one national obligation: to perform military service (as they explain below). As with Witnesses abroad, they believe in the Hebrew Bible (Torah, Prophets, Writings), which they call the “Hebrew Scriptures,” and also in the New Testament, or the “Christian Greek Scriptures,” in their terminology. Both together constitute the “Bible.” According to them, at the end of the first century C.E., after the New Testament was written, God ceased to reveal himself to mankind. Accordingly, all the answers about faith, way of life, prohibitions and commandments can be found in the Bible. Every other interpretation, such as that relating to Holy Trinity or full delineation of the laws of kashrut, are later additions and therefore not part of the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Given the community’s belief in the sanctity of the Hebrew Bible, it’s surprising to discover that there are many precepts that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not follow, such as observance of the three festivals (Sukkot, Pesach, Shavuot), or circumcision, which is permitted, but not mandatory. Their explanation is that according to the prophecies of Daniel, when the Messiah – namely Yeshua, or Jesus – comes, the offering of sacrifices will be stopped and the Temple destroyed, and from that moment the followers (i.e., the Jehovah's Witnesses) are no longer subjected to the Torah’s precepts.
The community takes its name from Isaiah 43:10: “‘You are my witnesses,’ declares Jehovah, / ‘Yes, my servant whom I have chosen’…” (from the 2013 edition of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ “New World Translation” of the Bible).
One word that irks them in particular when used in their context is “cult.” Contrary to the prevailing view in Israel, Jehovah’s Witnesses have no guru, they are not asked to transfer all their assets to the community, and no attempt is made to cut them off from family and friends. Still, it’s difficult for them to maintain full ties with their families, as they are forbidden by their faith to celebrate holidays, whether Jewish or Christian, as well as birthdays. Families who want to meet with their converted relatives do so on non-celebratory occasions. From the culinary aspect, hosting them is easy: Other than raw and very rare meat, and an injunction to go easy on drinking wine – they are free to eat everything.
Smiling from ear to ear
Several things strike one upon meeting Jehovah’s Witnesses. The first is their cordiality: They greet you warmly, and always seem to be smiling from ear to ear. They are also immaculately attired. The men wear a tie with a well-ironed shirt that’s tucked into suit pants; the women generally wear a skirt and an elegant blouse. The children, too, are well dressed, including their footwear. Order and cleanliness are also clearly important for the community’s members. In all the homes and meeting places of Jehovah’s Witnesses that I visited, I didn’t see a single item that seemed to be out of place, covered with dust or improperly maintained.
Each of these elements is backed by at least one verse from the Bible. “The moment a person allows the spirit of God to influence his life and implements the principles of the Bible, he is imbued with a certain feeling that is perhaps expressed in what you call cordiality,” says Ran Kaplan (not his real name; he spoke under condition of anonymity), one of the community elders in Israel. “If you fill a person with pleasant things and with faith, his approach to life changes and becomes more positive.”
As for the attire, he explains, “The idea is to dress in a way that honors God, internally and externally. Each community around the world dresses differently, according to local custom, but with dignity and relative modesty. Also, one of the principles that God demands is physical, mental and moral cleanliness.”
Opponents of Jehovah’s Witnesses are legion. In Israel, what upsets people is their missionary activity. “We are not permitted to offer benefits for conversion, or to solicit minors. Beyond that, the law does not prohibit persuasion,” explains Oved Yitzhak, 42.
Every Friday, members of the community set up stands at various spots around the country. This is done in shifts and according to the believers’ desire and availability. The stands, which are neat and tidy, of course, offer pamphlets explaining the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses and a few principles from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament in Hebrew, English, Russian and Arabic. The meticulously dressed members of the community do not solicit people at their initiative, conversing only with those who approach them and show an interest.
What they usually get from passersby are dirty looks, sometimes supplemented with curses.
In addition to the goal of winning people over to their faith, another principle of Jehovah’s Witnesses that sparks an adverse reaction is their refusal to accept blood transfusions. As explained in the FAQ section on their website: “This is a religious issue rather than a medical one. Both the Old and New Testaments clearly command us to abstain from blood (Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 17:10; Deuteronomy 12:23; Acts 15:28, 29). Also, God views blood as representing life (Leviticus 17:14). So we avoid taking blood not only in obedience to God but also out of respect for him as the Giver of life.”
Kaplan elaborates: “In the past, we were more stringent with regard to blood transfusions. Today we understand that in some cases, this is a life-or-death matter, so we will not take formal action [such as expulsion from the community] against someone who has chosen to accept a transfusion. Medicine is progressing and is now capable of offering treatment without transfusions. It is important for us to point out that, contrary to all kinds of myths that are spread about us we, do not object to medical procedures, only to receiving blood.”
I ask Kaplan about another issue: the belief in the existence of Satan that seems to be present in the community’s faith and way of life.
“According to the Bible, Satan exists – the Book of Job documents a conversation between Satan and God,” he says. “But Satan is not a central figure in our faith or a source of irrational fears. The Bible says, ‘oppose the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you’ [James 4:7-8]. According to the Scriptures, Satan cannot make us do anything against our will and there is no hell populated by the devil and demons. Nor is all evil attributed to Satan: People themselves bear responsibility for their wicked deeds.”
What is your attitude toward the authorities? In Israel, for example, you pay taxes but don’t do army service. Why?
Kaplan: “We believe that when the kingdom of God is established, all the transitory kingdoms will disintegrate. God allows governments and international organizations, and as subjects we need to submit to them. We refuse to submit only when the government asks us to do something against our will, such as to use physical violence. That is why we do not join the army.”
Young Jehovah’s Witnesses are permitted to submit a formal letter to the army declaring that they are members of the community who have been baptized, whereupon they receive an exemption from service – a process that is repeated every year until they reach the age 30, when they are officially discharged from military service. They thus undergo a process similar to those of Orthodox youths studying in yeshivas, though in the case of the Witnesses it is regulated by the military draft law, the last version of which was approved in 2015.
"Jehovah's Witnesses are exempt from service since they belong to a special community, and must be presented with a proper alternative due to their way of life," the Israel Defense Forces Spokesman's Office says in response. "The exemption is not part of an agreement [with the IDF per se], but is anchored in laws regarding the security services."
Kaplan, for his part, says: "We are not afraid to be different, but we are not out to provoke. Those who know us, including serious institutions in democracies, know that we are not a group of crazies with apocalyptic visions. Apparently, a religious minority is a convenient target for slanders and distorted facts, as the Jews themselves know from their bitter experience.”
Another allegation vehemently denied by Jehovah’s Witnesses is that they forcefully separate believers from their families. Yarden Zalimansky says that he has excellent relations with his family. "We work together in the family business. It was hard for them when I was exempted from army service, because I come from a family of fighters and officers. But they got over it. And by the way,” he adds, “the friend who introduced me to Jehovah’s Witnesses is now my wife.”
Are you and your wife thinking of expanding the family?
Zalimansky: “Not at the moment. We devote most of our spare time to Jehovah’s Witnesses activity and we want to continue that. The biblical prophecies describe the present period as critical, and the activity of spreading the word as urgent and important. The idea is to inform as many people as possible, not necessarily to convert them. Many in the community therefore prefer to do intensive work of spreading the word for a few years before devoting themselves to children.”
“Of course, the decision about having children is completely personal,” says Kaplan, explaining Zalimansky’s logic. “The vast majority of couples in the community have children. There are also couples who decide to defer parenthood for a time in order to be more active in the community, and there are a few who forgo having children altogether. Encouragement not to have children is overt and appears in the articles we distribute. At the same time, this is one of the issues on which the Bible does not contain detailed laws, so we do not treat it in the way that Jews, for example, treat a rabbinical ruling that obliges the believer.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that 1914 marked the end of a 2,520-year period called "the Gentile Times," after which human society would be replaced by the establishment of God's kingdom on Earth. They explain today that they do not know when the end-of-days period in which we are living is due to end, but say it will be soon. Which why it is so important to them to spread their message now.
Kaplan is only 50, but he’s the elder of one of the Israeli communities. There is no position of teacher or religious leader; instead, the “elders” instruct the believers in assemblies without payment. The criteria for becoming an elder appear in the New Testament: “The overseer should therefore be irreprehensible, a husband of one wife, moderate in habits, sound in mind, orderly, hospitable, qualified to teach, not a drunkard, not violent, but reasonable, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money” (1 Timothy 3:2-3).
A gathering of three or more elders has the authority to expel an errant believer from the community, a custom that recalls the Hasidic movement. This is rarely done, however, according to Kaplan. “My rough estimate is that we’re talking about 0.5 percent to 0.8 percent of the believers a year,” he says.
In addition to the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Israel, there are 300 more in the areas of the Palestinian Authority. Worldwide, they number about eight million, and in 180 countries – Israel is not one of them – they are recognized officially as a religion. The largest community, with some 1.2 million members, is in the United States, where the Witnesses had their beginnings in the 1870s. In Italy, Witnesses is the second largest religious community, after Roman Catholicism. According to estimates, they grow by 3 to 4 percent annually worldwide, that is, by 240,000 to 320,000 new adherents a year. Those figures do not include children born to adherents, who are not baptized until they so choose, at age 17 or above.
Each community holds twice-weekly meetings at one of three centers in Israel, with a different topic discussed at each. The meeting I attended in Rishon Letzion, on the subject of “love and marriage,” opened with communal singing, after which one of the elders delivered a sermon. Everyone took an active part in the lesson that followed. Many had Bible apps on their smartphone or tablet. The lesson has a question-and-answer structure, and each member may reply to the elder’s questions. He appends “brother” or “sister” to everyone’s first name.
The atmosphere was comfortable and relaxed, but the discussion seemed a bit childish, both in terms of the repetitive pedagogical instructions and the naïve content. For example, the discussion about the absolute ban on adultery made no mention of the desires and concrete difficulties involved.
“It’s a format of meetings that has to be suitable for 8.2 million people of every background, educational level and age,” Kaplan explains. “Obviously, then, the method has to be simple. The depth and richness of the subject dealt with at each meeting depends on the composition of the local community. As for the messages, there are very simple biblical truths, and even if they sometimes seem utopian, according to the Bible, one can live by them.”
A Jehovah’s Witnesses head office operates in every country or geographical region in the format of a “small kibbutz,” as Kaplan puts it. The office staff do their work on a voluntary basis, and the others look after their basic needs: housing, food, money for everyday needs. The main Israeli office has 43 permanent volunteers and 10 more who work in rotation as required. Globally, there are some 20,000 volunteers, who must be either single, or, if married, childless.
“Think of it as an urban monastery,” Kaplan suggests, adding that parents with children do not do volunteer work for both spiritual and economic reasons: The community does not have the resources to provide services for children, too.
The budgets come from donations. Each assembly room has a donation box, and people can give as much as they like. Communities also donate to one another. Thus, in Europe and the United States, where most such groups are self-supporting, money is also transferred to less solvent areas, such as Africa and Israel. Not surprisingly, this practice, too, is based on a biblical verse.
Domestic and regular
To show me how "normal" their life is, the Zeibert family invited me for Friday lunch in their central Tel Aviv home. The family consists of Sarit, 47, Ran, 48, and their two daughters, Or, 20, and her younger sister, who asked not to be mentioned by name and age in the article, because she is shy and also because she hasn’t yet told her new classmates about her religious affiliation. Their younger daughter is enrolled in the state-secular education system, as was Or for 12 years.
There is nothing unusual about the family’s home. There are no crucifixes or icons on the walls, a custom prohibited by the Bible. The hospitality is extensive, and only the benediction recited before the meal indicates that this is a Jehovah’s Witnesses home.
Sarit relates that one day, when Or was a baby, a woman from Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked on the door. A conversation ensued and Sarit found the woman’s reasoning congenial, but found it difficult to stop smoking (which is also not permitted, since followers believe they have to take good care of their body and soul) and drinking heavily. She took Bible lessons and kicked her bad habits several times but relapsed, until finally she triumphed over them and decided to be baptized. It took her husband a few more years, in which he studied and investigated the subject himself, before he too underwent baptism.
Sarit is from a traditionalist Jewish Israeli family, Ran’s background is secular. Both of their families now accept their conversion, following a difficult initial period. The grandparents grew accustomed to not giving the children presents on their birthdays, but make it up to them with plenty of gifts on other days.
Or chose to be baptized at the age of 17 and did not do military service. The exemption process was simple, she says: She submitted an official form proving she is a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She is a volunteer at the community’s center in Tel Aviv, and has clearly taken upon herself the tenets of the religion she chose.
An intriguing facet of an encounter with children from the community is how they cope with the prohibition on celebrating holidays or taking part in ceremonies, which means they are absent on days when the school marks religious or national events. The ban on birthday celebrations is another significant limitation. Don’t they feel deprived, especially given the fact that they attend regular schools?
Or admits that every transition to a new school framework obliged her to explain why she couldn’t take part in her friends’ birthday parties. “After a while, I wasn’t invited to birthdays anymore, because they understood that our faith made it impossible to celebrate,” Sarit says. “Wherever the girls went to school, they found open, polite and respectful people around them. We’ve hardly ever encountered religion-based tension. But I have to say that this refers specifically to the center of Tel Aviv and to the schools the girls attended. I’ve heard harsh stories from other Jehovah’s Witnesses about how their children were treated.”
Or, as a girl, wasn’t it hard for you not to celebrate birthdays?
Or: “I always had a social life and terrific and happy things that filled my life.”
Sarit: “Or liked parties, so we had parties that weren’t connected to birthdays. Until the fifth grade, she pressured me about the holidays. It was a challenge. One day I compromised and let her wear a ‘symbolic’ costume on Purim. Things haven’t always gone smoothly, which is only natural, especially because they were the only Jehovah’s Witnesses children in their schools. But no one, religious or secular, raises their children in total freedom and gives in to all their caprices. Everyone sets boundaries, whether for religious or other reasons.”
While I was at the Zeiberts’ home, Sarit mentioned in passing that that day was the younger daughter’s birthday. “They know their date of birth, of course, like everyone, it’s not that we hide it from them,” she noted.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that birthday celebrations have pagan roots – and the Bible condemns sorcery, fortune-telling, spiritism and the like. They believe it is not by chance that neither the Hebrew Bible nor the New Testament have a single mention of one servant of God who celebrated a birthday. After all, the birthdays of two people who did not serve God are mentioned negatively in the Bible.
Sarit and Ran say their lives have been tranquil since they became Jehovah’s Witnesses. According to Sarit, her decision was the first time in her life that she felt she was making an independent choice. “Until that moment I went along with what I was born into and what happened to me. So, that was a formative and important moment in my life,” she says.
Ran, who was a PR man for dance and music clubs, began working as a gardener – a profession he enjoys, he says, because it brings him close to nature and to people. He doesn’t miss his former life, which was “confused and lacked meaning.”
Sarit is currently engaged in historical research about the tragedy that befell Jehovah’s Witnesses under the Nazi regime. Her studies, conducted in cooperation with noted researchers of the Jewish Holocaust, mainly from the Yad Vashem Holocaust Authority in Jerusalem, indicate that 20,000 to 25,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses lived in Germany during the Hitler years. Of them, 12,000 were incarcerated in concentration camps for refusing to sign a form renouncing their faith, and 2,000 of them were murdered. She has found 19 Jehovah’s Witnesses who have been designated Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.
The Yad L’Achim organization, an Orthodox counter-missionary group that sees its mission as “the saving of each and every Jewish soul from Christian cults,” has published a detailed pamphlet decrying Jehovah’s Witnesses and alleging that the community collaborated with the Nazi regime .
Sarit rejects that claim outright: “Jehovah’s Witnesses were persecuted in Germany and occupied Europe from Hitler’s accession to power until the regime’s collapse, because of their religious belief and because of their military neutrality and their love of their fellow man, which did not allow them to cooperate with the regime.”
Although Yad L’Achim claims to abstain from any violence against Jehovah’s Witnesses (or any other group), local adherents report being subjected to numerous forms of attack. Motti Danziger, 43, a former Jew who became a member of the community as a teenager, says that recently an ultra-Orthodox man followed him into the apartment building where he lives with his wife, who is also a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The next morning, all the building’s occupants found in their mailboxes a letter warning that, despite Danziger’s affable exterior, he is a dangerous person who will try to convert them.
Danziger also encountered harassment during his missionary activity. In the town of Nes Tziona, south of Tel Aviv, he knocked on the door of an apartment and was invited in by the woman of the house. But when her husband arrived, he locked the door and threatened Danziger and his associate. After words were exchanged, and Danziger tried to call the police, the man agreed to let them go – on condition that they leave all their written material with him.
In several large assemblies of Jehovah’s Witnesses from different cities, participants were met with violent demonstrations. The latest such incident occurred this past June, when adherents who attended an assembly in Rishon Letzion endured attacks that included stone-throwing and physical assaults, apparently organized by the ultra-right Lehava organization (the name is an acronym, meaning “flame”) for Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land.
A similar event occurred a year earlier, in Ra’anana, which also involved a legal saga. On the morning of the assembly, the municipality announced that it was canceling the event, “for fear of offense to the public’s sensibilities,” after discovering that a public hall had been rented by Jehovah’s Witnesses. The issue reached the Supreme Court (after the municipality appealed a decision of the District Court that ordered that the gathering could take place), which ruled that the city cannot cancel a gathering on the grounds of religion, as this would infringe on freedom of religion and worship. When it became clear that the assembly would proceed as planned, the city’s rabbi, Yitzhak Peretz, organized a demonstration outside the venue. About 1,000 people showed up and tried to break in. Two demonstrators were detained by the police and released shortly afterward.
But the primary confrontation Jehovah’s Witnesses have in Israel is with the state. Since 2000, they have been attempting to gain official recognition as a religious community. Recognition would accord them various rights, such as being able to marry according to their faith, as well as social, legal and cultural legitimacy, and certain tax benefits. They are currently in the midst of legal proceedings, in the course of which they realized – in concurrence with their lawyers and with the U.S.-based international center of Jehovah’s Witnesses – that most of the difficulties they encounter in the country are due to ignorance about them and their beliefs.
“People don’t know what it means to be a Jehovah’s Witness, and so they are afraid of us,” Kaplan says.
They hope that this article – the first to enter into the community's usually closed doors since their activity got underway in 1913, in Palestine and Israel – will help reduce the fear people feel about them.
In other countries, too, Jehovah’s Witnesses anger people and institutions. They infuriated the regimes in China and Russia (both during the era of the USSR and today), angered the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s, and even irked the U.S. Department of Education, due to the refusal to allow their children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school (until a 1943 Supreme Court decision ruled that schoolchildren could elect not to utter the pledge). The Catholic Church doesn’t like their denial of the Holy Trinity, and some elements of Israel's religious establishment perceives them as a threat to Judaism.
The irony of the situation is not lost on Keren Kimchi, 51, from Jehovah’s Witnesses: “Everywhere in the world we are regarded as enemies of Christianity,” she says. “Only here in Israel are we seen as Christians.”
In August 2000, lawyers for Jehovah’s Witnesses sought recognition for them as a formal religious community in Israel via the cabinet secretary, the attorney general and the Prime Minister’s Office. Fully three years later, the attorney general’s office replied that the decision was up to the government, as the community itself had noted in its request. Following another letter, they were told that only a cabinet minister could place the subject on the agenda, and therefore the attorney general was referring the matter to the interior, justice and religious affairs ministers. Seven years after that, the cabinet secretary informed Jehovah’s Witnesses that no progress had been made.
In 2014, another request for recognition was conveyed to the cabinet secretary. A year went by without a reply. A month after the community sent a reminder, the legal adviser to the Prime Minister’s Office informed Jehovah’s Witnesses that she was rejecting their request. “There are many different groups in Israel that wish to be recognized as a religious community. Accordingly, in the past 40 years, given the broad implications entailed in recognizing new religious communities, the government has not seen fit to change the existing situation,” the legal adviser wrote.
The “existing situation” is that the state recognizes only the following religious communities (in addition to Jews): Muslims, Christians, Druze, Circassians, Bedouin, Samaritans, Ahmadis and Bahais. (By comparison, Britain recognizes about 30 religious communities.) Jehovah’s Witnesses now believe that, all other possibilities having been tried, the only remaining alternative is the High Court of Justice. A petition to the court to that effect is now being drawn up by attorney Yael Nagar from the law firm of Eliad Shraga & Co.
Concurrently, Jehovah’s Witnesses are seeking recognition as a public institution from the Tax Authority as a nonprofit organization engaged in religious activity. This process, which is being spearheaded by attorney Amit Moshe Cohen from the law firm of Doron Tikotzky Kantor Gutman Cederboum, has been ongoing for three years. During that time, representatives of the Israel Tax Authority, after visiting the Jehovah’s Witnesses offices in Tel Aviv and being persuaded that the required criteria were met, transmitted the request to the Knesset’s Finance Committee. In a meeting held last March, the committee’s chairman, MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), announced that he was referring the request to the attorney general because the issue is a matter of “deep public controversy.”
No response was received from the Prime Minister’s Office, which is responsible for the attorney general's office, by press time.
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