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1st Century Christians, Leaders, Apostle Paul Letters to the congregations.


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A topic, or more of a number of questions ? 

I've been pondering and trying to research a few things. But the problem I've found in trying to research is that people have their own agenda and will write according to it. They have their own predetermined answer and will therefore write accordingly. I am therefore not starting with a predetermined set of answers, but am asking questions, as many of you have great experience and knowledge.

I'm looking at the 1st Century Christian 'organisation', at the 12, at the Apostle Paul, and at the warning and destruction of Jerusalem which I think happened in 70 C. E.

One point I was looking to discover was, when did the 1st Century Christians leave Jerusalem, based on the warning from Jesus.

About thirty-seven years before the destruction, Jesus had foretold the terrible events that would follow his death. He warned his followers to immediately flee Jerusalem when the signs he predicted occurred. The Christian community carefully watched for the signs and followed the Savior’s warning.

 

Epiphanes also attested to the Christian escape, according to Bible scholar Adam Clarke. The latter wrote: “It is very remarkable that not a single Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem,......"

Vespasian was approaching with his army, all who believed in Christ left Jerusalem and fled to Pella, and other places beyond the river Jordan; and so they all marvellously escaped

Pella must not have been the only destination of fleeing Christians, but it was the most prominent at the time. The flight to Pella took place in A.D. 66 during the attack by Gallus.

So I'm now looking to find out where the 12 Apostles went and exactly when they left Jerusalem ?

AND, importantly, Did they stay together as a 'body' or did they go separate ways ?

As a side note here I find that the NWT has it that the book of Acts was written in 61, whereas others believe it to be written in 66. 

The Governing Body of CCJW give the impression that they are following on from the 1st Century Apostles and Older Men. 

However, here we must look at a few points. 

The Apostle Paul, who was NOT one of the 12, was the one chosen, it seems, to write Letters to the congregations.

If the 12 Apostles (11 original + 1 chosen by men) were the original 'governing body', then why are the Letters to the Congregations NOT written by the 12 ?  Why was Paul chosen to write those letters ?

Or, just as important, Why are there no letters to the Congregations written by a 'body of Apostles / Older Men' recorded in the Bible ? 

Paul was basically an outsider. Why are his writings more prominent in the Greek Scriptures ?

One other thing I noticed was that all of Paul's letters are pre 70 C. E. which is before the destruction of Jerusalem. 

It seems, (although research seems to differ) that Paul was murdered by the Romans / Nero, in 68 C. E.

The only Bible writings after 70 C. E. were written by the Apostle John. Revelation in 96 and John's other writings in 98. 

Was he the only one of the original 12 alive after 70 C. E. ?

So what proof do we have of a 'governing body' 'group of Apostles /Older men' from the time that the 12 left Jerusalem in around 66 C. E. ? 

And why were they not used to write letters to the Congregations ?  Did they stay together as a 'body' or did they separate ?

@JW Insider @TrueTomHarley @Arauna @Anna As JWs that think your Org has truth, maybe you can answer my questions.

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Unfortunately, this has been going on even from the time that the scriptures were written, or at least from very shortly after the NT was completed. This means that even the very idea that there had been an escape to Pella might just be from persons with their own agenda. The best evidence that comes down to us is from Eusebius of Caesarea and Epiphanius of Salamis. Eusebius wrote his "Ecclesiastical History" (Church History) between about 300 and 325. Epiphanius would have written "Panario

Using the quotes extracted from Eusebius and Epaphanius in a Wiki article Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. It might be interesting to note that the impetus to leave Jerusalem and go to Pella was not specifically credited to Jesus' prophecy in Matthew/Mark/Luke, but to an angel, or a specific oracle/revelation/prophecy given just before the war. This would put it on par with the prophecy of Agabus (Acts 11:27, 28) . . .In those days prophets came

(Matthew 24:15, 16) 15 “Therefore, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken about by Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place (let the reader use discernment), 16 then let those in Ju·deʹa begin fleeing to the mountains. (Mark 13:14) 14 “However, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation standing where it should not be (let the reader use discernment), then let those in Ju·deʹa begin fleeing to the mountains. (Luke 21:

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38 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

The idea that the command only went to those in the city who were worthy, might also imply that there were reports that some [less worthy] Christians had died in Jerusalem's destruction.

Quite often those "worthies" that escape destruction, are the ones who have getaway money, and can afford to do so.

As many in the Peoples' Republic of Kalifornia, Taxachusettes, and New York are discovering ... there is nothing more PORTABLE, than people with money.

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On 2/23/2020 at 11:39 AM, 4Jah2me said:

He warned his followers to immediately flee Jerusalem when the signs he predicted occurred.

(Matthew 24:15, 16) 15 “Therefore, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken about by Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place (let the reader use discernment), 16 then let those in Ju·deʹa begin fleeing to the mountains.

(Mark 13:14) 14 “However, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation standing where it should not be (let the reader use discernment), then let those in Ju·deʹa begin fleeing to the mountains.

(Luke 21:20-28) 20 “However, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near. 21 Then let those in Ju·deʹa begin fleeing to the mountains, let those in the midst of her leave, and let those in the countryside not enter into her, 22 because these are days for meting out justice in order that all the things written may be fulfilled. 23 Woe to the pregnant women and those nursing a baby in those days! For there will be great distress on the land and wrath against this people. 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled. 25 “Also, there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth anguish of nations not knowing the way out because of the roaring of the sea and its agitation. 26 People will become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But as these things start to occur, stand up straight and lift up your heads, because your deliverance is getting near.”

The words of Mark and Matthew implied that the Romans would have come right up to the Temple to defile it, and that this was the time to leave as quickly as possible. We know from Josephus that Jews read Daniel's "abomination of desolation" to be based on Antiochus IV, who: according to common knowledge had done as follows, 200 years earlier:

In 168 BC, the Greek king Antiochus IV Epiphanes invaded Jerusalem and captured the city. He marched into the Jewish temple, erected a statue of the Greek god Zeus, and sacrificed a pig on the altar of incense. This provoked a revolt in Judea as the Jews fought to remove Antiochus’ sacrilege from the temple.

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But Titus did not do anything akin to this in 66. Although in 70, he did. You can see almost direct evidence of this today by looking at the Arch of Titus.

In that year, the Roman general Titus invaded Jerusalem to crush a Jewish revolt, entered the temple, had the building destroyed, and carried off the lampstand and other temple artifacts to Rome.

So, it seems likely that it was not specifically anything in 66 (in Jesus' prophecy) that would have triggered a fleeing to Pella, nor does anyone who believed in a Pella flight actually time it to 66. Cestius Gallus did plunder the Temple [funds] and it resulted in a counter-attack by the Jews that was mostly successful. So this was an excellent time to leave, and both Jews and Romans got out of the city at that time. Wikipedia says:

The Roman governor,

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, responded by plundering the
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, claiming the money was for the Emperor, and the next day launching a raid on the city, arresting numerous senior Jewish figures. This prompted a wider, large-scale rebellion and the Roman military garrison of Judaea was quickly overrun by the rebels, while the pro-Roman king
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, together with Roman officials, fled
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. As it became clear the rebellion was getting out of control,
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, the
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of
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, brought in the Syrian army, based on
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and reinforced by auxiliary troops, to restore order and quell the revolt. Despite initial advances and the conquest of
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, the Syrian Legion was ambushed and defeated by Jewish rebels at the
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with 6,000 Romans massacred and the Legion's
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lost.

But at that point, Christians would have many months of opportunities to leave the city between 66 and the actual surrounding of Jerusalem in 70. 66 fits some of what Jesus said, but it was not a case so desperate that one would be unable to even grab a coat from inside your house. That was more like the situation just before Passover in 70. This is probably why Eusebius, who had read both Josephus and knew the Bible very well, believed the fleeing to Pella to be based on an angelic revelation.

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@JW Insider  Thank you for so much information. I will have to re -read it at least twice more to be able to digest / understand and try to remember it. Even better I will copy and paste sections of it as a draft email to myself. 

Quote "There are plenty of letters and stories and other Christian writings between 70 and 300, but no evidence about Pella."

Can you point me in the right direction to above statement please.

I'm still not sure if you've answered my questions written in blue.  Please bear with me as at 70 years old i find it difficult to hold information in my mind and to process it well.  As Arni said ' I'll be back'

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, 4Jah2me said:

Can you point me in the right direction to above statement please.

Naturally, if it's something that might be historical but isn't found in the Bible itself, the first place you'd look is in the writings of contemporaries of first century Christians like

  • Josephus,
  • Pliny the Elder,
  • Pliny the Younger

You might also try persons who referenced famous persons from the first century in works that referenced say Philo or Gamaliel, etc., even though they died before the Temple was destroyed. The same would go for biographies of the Romans or their military exploits that might reference:

  • Herod Agrippa
  • Cestius Gallus
  • Gessius Florus
  • Nero,
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    ,
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    , and
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    . (the 5 Roman Emperors between 66 and 70)

Then you might try to find references in or about the writings of any of the following historians who might have mentioned something by chance up to within a 100 years of the Jerusalem event:

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    , (fl. 41–69), Roman history
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    (c. 60–70), Greek history
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    (c. 40 – c. 115 AD), history of the Getae
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    (c. 56–120), early Roman Empire
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    (c. 46–120),
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    of important Greeks and Romans
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    (fl. 100), history of the Getae and the Dacian Wars
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    (c. 69 – after 122), Roman emperors up to the Flavian dynasty
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    (c. 160 – c. 230), biographer of Roman emperors
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    (fl. c. 230), history of Greek philosophers
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    (c. 160 – c. 240), early Christian

The many Jewish and Jewish Christian writings to check during this period could include those with dates on them that fit the period, as seen on earlyjewishwritings.com and earlychristianwritings.com. Note that the dates are usually considered to be "scholarly" dates, not the dates that Christians assign to them when it comes to the actual NT writings. That requires a whole new discussion, but for now, those writings to check would include the following:

(Excuse the formatting issues below. I just copied them from a portion of the list at earlychristianwritings.com. It's a couple years worth of reading. I haven't completed more than a few of them, but have found nothing yet about the flight to Pella/Perea/Decapolis in any of them. The list of writings becomes much longer if you include Christian-related writings all the way up through the 300's when Eusebius and Epiphanius wrote.)

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@JW Insider   Um yes, well i suppose I asked for that didn't I.

And top of your list is the only one that i have in hard copy.

I have a soft cover Enlarged type - Illustrated, Complete Works of Josephus. Of which i have only 'dabbled' in the Antiquities Of The Jews and noted in chapter nine the  mention of the stoning of James, brother of Jesus.

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Did you once say of me, that I trusted no one ? (Sorry if I'm mis-quoting you)

However, the first item I looked at, 

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Quote :-

1 Timothy is one of the three epistles known collectively as the pastorals (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus)

Norman Perrin summarises four reasons that have lead critical scholarship to regard the pastorals as inauthentic (The New Testament: An Introduction, pp. 264-5):

The letters as reflecting the characteristics of emergent Catholocism. The arguments presented above are forceful, but a last consideration is overwhelming, namely that, together with 2 Peter, the Pastorals are of all the texts in the New Testament the most distinctive representatives of the emphases of emergent Catholocism. The apostle Paul could no more have written the Pastorals than the apostle Peter could have written 2 Peter.

I hope you see my point about not trusting anyone. I think one needs the guidance of the Holy Spirit to know truth from lies.

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Backtracking if you please. What I'm looking to find out is, is there any proof of a  'governing body' 'group of Apostles / Older men' after 70 C. E. ?

I will have to re-read 1,2, 3, of John as they were the last writings included in the Holy Scriptures. 

But, another question. From 70 C. E. did the congregations that were already formed, act independently of one another ? 

Is a list of congregations that had been formed available, apart from those mentioned in God's Word ?

The GB & Writing Dept of Watchtower / CCJW  is central control. All congregations now follow the 'rules' from central control.  But was there such a central control of the 1st Century congregations ?  

And I'm still puzzled as to why the Apostle Paul was chosen to be the one to write to the congregations. 

Also as Paul was put to death in 68, I would have thought there would have been other writings to the congregations to encourage them at that time. 

Which brings me to the point (and I admit to not knowing ) Who chose the writings to be included in the 'Holy Scriptures' ? But i will do so research on that. 

If the GB are a representation of the 12 Apostles / Older men in Jerusalem, then who is the representation of the Apostle Paul ?  Because it would seem that Paul was independent of those in Jerusalem. 

It's just a thought. 

 

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4 hours ago, 4Jah2me said:

I'm still not sure if you've answered my questions written in blue.  Please bear with me as at 70 years old i find it difficult to hold information in my mind and to process it well.

The questions in blue were as follows:

On 2/23/2020 at 11:39 AM, 4Jah2me said:

So what proof do we have of a 'governing body' 'group of Apostles /Older men' from the time that the 12 left Jerusalem in around 66 C. E. ?

 

On 2/23/2020 at 11:39 AM, 4Jah2me said:

And why were they not used to write letters to the Congregations ?  Did they stay together as a 'body' or did they separate ?

There is no proof or reason to believe that the apostles themselves survived as a group until 66. The book of Acts discontinues the use of the phrase "The Twelve" very early in the narrative, and it's probably no coincidence that Acts stops referring to the apostles in Jerusalem at about the time it brings up that Herod killed one of them, James, and then immediately went after Peter. After the apostle James is killed (the brother of John) we never hear about any of the original "Twelve" again except for Peter and John. Tradition has Peter and Paul killed in the 60's, and only John surviving past the 70's. Early Christian writers like Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp and Papias, all give credence to the idea that John survived until about 96 to 100 CE. None of them mention any others as apostles except Paul and Peter who are considered to have died decades earlier.

You mentioned James, Jesus' brother, who is mentioned by Josephus, providing a context that would put his death about 62, although Epiphanius apparently thought he died at age 96, and Hegesippus is used to point to a date around 69 CE.

Jesus had only asked the apostles to stay in Jerusalem until the outpouring of the holy spirit, which would have been Pentecost, just a couple months after Jesus died. Acts speaks of them staying on a bit longer to take care of some problems of prejudice by Jews against non-Jewish Christians, and therefore making some assignments to make sure the non-Jewish Christians were treated fairly. But after mentioning the assignment of Stephen and the missionary work of Philip and his daughters, there is no more mention of the apostles. But the Jerusalem congregation was still considered to be led by "pillars" who had a lot of respect, just as Paul mentions in Galatians. Paul does not consider them to be a "governing body" however. But he did respect their decisions, even if he considered some of them as wrong. Paul directly contradicts their decision about eating meats that had been sacrificed to idols, which might even throw some question about Paul's stance on eating meats that had not been bled correctly. But Paul definitely supports the stance of the elders in Jerusalem on fornication and idolatry, of course.

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1 hour ago, 4Jah2me said:

Did you once say of me, that I trusted no one ? (Sorry if I'm mis-quoting you)

I was only quoting you. It's something that J.B. had said about three times, and I wasn't surprised when 4J said the same thing.

1 hour ago, 4Jah2me said:

The apostle Paul could no more have written the Pastorals than the apostle Peter could have written 2 Peter.

Yes, you have to be very careful whom you trust on such matters. Some of these ideas are based on a belief that Paul would not have changed his instructions as the congregations matured. Paul's stance against legalism for example doesn't seem to fit his "rules" about how to identify a deserving widow. Or specific sets of rules about who can be an elder or a ministerial servant. This does not mean that the letters were not "Pauline" however, but it does mean that we should look carefully at why certain statements appear to contradict earlier letters.

The case of 2 Peter is a little more serious. It could have been taken from Peter's own writings and turned into a useful letter for the congregations based on earlier letters, but this particular letter was not accepted as Peter's own writings by several early Christian writers. Even Eusebius (300) didn't think it belonged in the canon, although it was always generally admitted that its doctrinal content was exactly what Peter would have written. There is even a good chance that it was Peter's own content, but that many Christians of the time didn't believe it because they didn't like the idea that it implied that it might be another thousand years or so from then when the parousia would actually arrive. At any rate, there is nothing significant in 2 Peter that cannot be found in other Bible books, and the part about the parousia being delayed by another thousand years has been proved true.

This is not the topic with which to discuss the canon, or authenticity, but you will see a lot of this when looking to match historical information with early Christian writings, so it can't be totally avoided.

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Quote @JW Insider  " This is not the topic with which to discuss the canon, or authenticity, .. "

Are you suggesting another topic to discuss such or are you saying we should not discuss such ?

I'm becoming of the opinion that there was NO 'Governing Body' of the 1st Century Christians. And that with the deaths of the Apostles and with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C. E. there was NO central form of 'rulership' over the Congregations of Christians of that time. 

Galatians 1, v 15 through 20

But when God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through his undeserved kindness, thought good 16  to reveal his Son through me so that I might declare the good news about him to the nations,

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 I did not immediately consult with any human;
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17  nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before I was, but I went to Arabia, and then I returned to Damascus.
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18  Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to visit Ceʹphas, and I stayed with him for 15 days. 19  But I did not see any of the other apostles, only James the brother of the Lord. 20  Now regarding the things I am writing you, I assure you before God that I am not lying.

I also read this account by Fred Franz 

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Which seems to make it clear that Jesus was not working through a central 'rulership' or GB at the time of Paul's missionary work.

""And they [members of the Antioch congregation] laid their hands upon Paul or Saul and Barnabas and sent them forth, as a number of translations read, sent 'em forth! And then they went forth by the Holy Spirit operating through the Antioch congregation and they went out on their first missionary assignment. So you see, the Lord Jesus Christ was acting as the head of the congregation and taking action directly, without consulting any body here on earth what he could do or what he could not do! And he acted in that way with regard to Saul and Barnabas, an they were both apostles of the Antioch congregation, and so they went out to the work and had great success..."

No matter what personal opinions people have of Fred Franz, his words above (if the quote is correct) seem to make good sense. 

The fact that there is a Governing Body of the Watchtower and CCJW is just a fact. But to try to say that they are based on a first century 'Governing Body' seems to be lies. There is no proof of any 1st Century Governing Body at all. 

So, the question remains, Did each congregation rule itself ?  This quote from FF above concerning Antioch seems to say that Antioch made it's own decisions whilst being guided by Holy Spirit. 

I can see that i need to do much more research. 

 

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4 minutes ago, 4Jah2me said:

So, the question remains, Did each congregation rule itself ?  This quote from FF above concerning Antioch seems to say that Antioch made it's own decisions whilst being guided by Holy Spirit. 

It would seem that the personal goal of persons like Paul, Peter, and John was to get congregations to a point where they would reach that level of maturity. But we see Paul continuing to "shepherd" the congregation, as a kind of "long distance" elder. He is to those congregations what the "governing body" seems to be to current Witness congregations.

John, in Revelation, writes to congregations with an idea that Jesus handles each congregation directly, and that they have been "on their own" under the direction of Jesus. They have a need to recognize this direct authority of Jesus, as they make decisions locally about who/what to listen to, and who/what to avoid. (Revelation 2&3).

It seems as though the apostles and older men of the first century did indeed act like a kind of governing body (not just in Jerusalem, but in Antioch, and anywhere that Paul, Titus, Timothy, etc. might have served from). But by the time John wrote, it was important to have more reliance on the holy spirit, and the FOUNDATION of the apostles and prophets, who had already been inspired to write the Biblical guidance which came to be seen as the primary content of the scriptural canon. So you can't really get mad at people who wish to imitate these shepherds from the first century to shepherd the congregations today. But you can also see a need for a balanced view since the goal should also continue to be guiding all to rely directly on the words of the Bible already written. Teaching the congregations to be guided by the holy spirit is a more difficult concept because, to most of us, it just means following the Bible, which is our only sure and consistent source of guidance by holy spirit.

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    • Eric Ouellet

      Qu’est-ce que le Jour du Jugement ?

      La Bible dit que Dieu “ a fixé un jour où il va juger la terre habitée ”. (Actes 17:31.) Pour beaucoup, l’idée d’être soumis à un jugement, quel qu’il soit, est désagréable. Voyez-vous les choses ainsi ?
      SI C’EST le cas, rassurez-vous : le Jour du Jugement est une disposition pleine d’amour qui apportera de grands bienfaits à la famille humaine, y compris aux morts (Matthieu 20:28 ; Jean 3:16). Mais pourquoi est-il nécessaire ? Et que se passera-t-il réellement pendant ce “ jour ” ?
      Pourquoi le Jour du Jugement est nécessaire
      Lorsque Dieu a placé les humains sur la terre, il ne la destinait pas à n’être qu’un lieu d’épreuve en vue d’une existence dans un autre monde. Il a créé les humains pour qu’ils y vivent éternellement. Bien que parfaits physiquement et mentalement, Adam et Ève, le premier couple, se sont rebellés contre Dieu. Ils ont alors perdu la perspective de la vie éternelle pour eux-mêmes, et ont transmis le péché et la mort à tous leurs descendants. — Genèse 2:15-17 ; Romains 5:12.
      Le Jour du Jugement sera une période de mille ans durant laquelle les hommes auront la possibilité de retrouver ce qu’Adam et Ève ont perdu*. Remarquez que, selon Actes 17:31, cité plus haut, ce “ jour ” concerne les personnes qui vivent sur “ la terre habitée ”. Celles qui recevront un jugement favorable vivront sur la terre, éternellement et dans des conditions parfaites (Révélation 21:3, 4). Le Jour du Jugement contribue donc à l’accomplissement du dessein originel de Dieu pour l’homme et pour la planète.
      Le Juge que Dieu a établi est Christ Jésus. La Bible révèle qu’il va “ juger les vivants et les morts ”. (2 Timothée 4:1.) Qui sont “ les vivants ” qui seront jugés ? Comment les morts vont-ils revenir à la vie sur “ la terre habitée ” ?
      Jésus juge “ les vivants ”
      Nous sommes maintenant proches de la fin annoncée du présent système de choses, où Dieu va détruire tous les éléments de la société humaine corrompue et supprimer les méchants. Les personnes qui réchapperont seront “ les vivants ” qui seront jugés. — Révélation 7:9-14 ; 19:11-16.
      Durant la période de jugement qui durera mille ans, Christ Jésus ainsi que 144 000 hommes et femmes ressuscités pour vivre dans les cieux dirigeront la terre. Exerçant les fonctions de rois et de prêtres, ils dispenseront les bienfaits du sacrifice rédempteur de Jésus et amèneront progressivement les humains fidèles à la perfection physique et mentale. — Révélation 5:10 ; 14:1-4 ; 20:4-6.
      Pendant le Jour du Jugement, Satan et ses démons ne seront plus libres d’influencer l’activité humaine (Révélation 20:1-3). Toutefois, à la fin de ce “ jour ”, Satan sera autorisé à éprouver la fidélité de tous les humains alors en vie. Ceux qui resteront fidèles à Dieu passeront avec succès l’épreuve à laquelle Adam et Ève ont échoué. Ils seront jugés dignes de recevoir la vie éternelle sur la terre redevenue un paradis. Ceux qui décideront de se rebeller contre Dieu seront détruits pour toujours, de même que Satan et ses démons. — Révélation 20:7-9.
      Le jugement des “ morts ”
      On lit dans la Bible qu’au Jour du Jugement les morts “ se lèveront ”. (Matthieu 12:41.) Jésus a dit : “ L’heure vient où tous ceux qui sont dans les tombes de souvenir entendront sa voix et sortiront, ceux qui ont fait des choses bonnes, pour une résurrection de vie, ceux qui ont pratiqué des choses viles, pour une résurrection de jugement. ” (Jean 5:28, 29). Il n’est pas question ici des âmes désincarnées des défunts. Ces derniers sont totalement inconscients et n’ont pas d’âme qui survive à la mort (Ecclésiaste 9:5 ; Jean 11:11-14, 23, 24). Jésus relèvera sur la terre tous ceux qui se sont endormis dans la mort.
      Seront-ils jugés sur la base de ce qu’ils ont fait avant leur mort ? Non. Les Écritures enseignent que “ celui qui est mort a été acquitté de son péché ”. (Romains 6:7.) Ainsi, tout comme les survivants de la fin du système actuel, les ressuscités pour la vie sur la terre seront jugés “ selon leurs actions ” au cours du Jour du Jugement (Révélation 20:12, 13). En fonction de l’issue de leurs actions, leur résurrection se révélera aboutir soit à l’éternité, soit à la destruction. Nombre de ces ressuscités découvriront Jéhovah Dieu et ses exigences pour obtenir la vie. Ils auront la possibilité de se conformer à la volonté de Dieu et de recevoir la vie éternelle sur la terre.
      Aucune raison d’avoir peur
      Le Jour du Jugement ne sera pas seulement un temps d’instruction divine, mais aussi un temps où tous les vivants appliqueront ce qu’ils apprendront et en verront les bienfaits. Imaginez la joie que vous ressentirez quand vous retrouverez vos chers disparus et progresserez à leurs côtés vers la perfection !
      Imaginez la joie que vous ressentirez quand vous retrouverez vos chers disparus.
      Au terme du Jour du Jugement, Dieu permettra à Satan d’éprouver la fidélité des êtres humains. Il n’y a cependant pas lieu d’être inquiet ou d’avoir peur. Tous seront alors solidement armés pour faire face à cette dernière épreuve. Ainsi, le Jour du Jugement est une étape dans l’accomplissement du dessein divin qui effacera toutes les conséquences de la rébellion originelle contre Dieu dans le jardin d’Éden.

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Chantons avec coeur et allégresse 
      Psaumes
      146 Louez Jah!
      Que tout mon être loue Jéhovah !
       2 Je veux louer Jéhovah toute ma vie.
      Je veux chanter des louanges à mon Dieu aussi longtemps que je vivrai.
       3 Ne mettez pas votre confiance dans les princes,
      ni dans un fils d’homme, qui est incapable de sauver.
       4 L’esprit de l’homme sort, l’homme retourne au sol ;
      ce jour-là, ses pensées périssent.
       5 Heureux celui qui a pour secours le Dieu de Jacob
      et dont l’espoir est en Jéhovah son Dieu,
       6 Celui qui a fait le ciel et la terre,
      la mer, et tout ce qui s’y trouve,
      celui qui reste fidèle pour toujours,
       7 celui qui garantit la justice aux spoliés,
      celui qui donne du pain aux affamés.
      Jéhovah libère les prisonniers ;
       8 Jéhovah ouvre les yeux des aveugles ;
      Jéhovah relève ceux qui sont courbés ;
      Jéhovah aime les justes.
       9 Jéhovah protège les résidents étrangers ;
      il soutient l’orphelin de père et la veuve,
      mais il contrecarre les projets des méchants
      10 Jéhovah sera Roi pour toujours,
      ton Dieu, ô Sion, de génération en génération.
      Louez Jah !

      · 0 replies
    • REDROCHA  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Thank you Sister !!!!
      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      LES QUALITÉS D'UN BERGER ET LES ASSISTANTS DE L'ASSEMBLÉE 

      PREMIÈRE LETTRE DE TIMOTHÉE

      3 La parole suivante est digne de foi : Si un homme aspire à être un responsable, il désire une belle œuvre. 2 Il faut donc qu’un responsable soit irréprochable, mari d’une seule femme, modéré dans ses habitudes, réfléchi, ordonné, hospitalier, capable d’enseigner, 3 que ce ne soit pas un ivrogne ni un homme violent, mais un homme raisonnable, non querelleur, non ami de l’argent, 4 un homme qui dirige d’une belle façon sa propre famille, qui tienne ses enfants dans la soumission en toute dignité 5 (car si un homme ne sait pas diriger sa propre famille, comment prendra-t-il soin de l’assemblée de Dieu ?), 6 que ce ne soit pas un homme récemment converti, de peur qu’il se gonfle d’orgueil et tombe sous le coup de la condamnation portée contre le Diable. 7 D’autre part, il faut aussi qu’il reçoive un beau témoignage des gens extérieurs à l’assemblée, afin de ne pas tomber dans le déshonneur et dans un piège du Diable.
      8 De même, il faut que les assistants soient des hommes dignes, qu’ils n’aient pas un langage double, qu’ils soient modérés dans la consommation de vin, non avides d’un gain malhonnête, 9 attachés au saint secret de la foi avec une conscience pure.
      10 De plus, qu’ils soient d’abord mis à l’épreuve quant à leurs aptitudes ; puis, s’ils sont exempts d’accusation, qu’ils servent comme ministres.
      11 De même, il faut que les femmes soient dignes, non calomniatrices, modérées dans leurs habitudes, fidèles en toutes choses.
      12 Les assistants doivent être maris d’une seule femme et diriger d’une belle façon leurs enfants et leur propre famille. 13 Car les hommes qui servent d’une belle façon acquièrent une belle réputation et une grande confiancepour parler de la foi en Christ Jésus.
      14 Je t’écris ces choses, bien que j’espère venir bientôt chez toi, 15 pour que, au cas où je serais retardé, tu saches comment tu dois te conduire dans la maison de Dieu, qui est l’assemblée du Dieu vivant, colonne et soutien de la vérité. 16 Oui, il faut avouer qu’il est grand, le saint secret de l’attachement à Dieu : « Il a été manifesté dans la chair, a été déclaré juste dans l’esprit, est apparu aux anges, a été prêché parmi les nations, a été cru dans le monde, a été enlevé dans la gloire. »





      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Bergers, imitez les Grands Bergers
       
      Christ [...] a souffert pour vous, vous laissant un modèle pour que vous suiviez fidèlement ses traces » (1 PIERRE 2:21)

      QUAND un berger s’intéresse de près au bien-être de son troupeau, les moutons se portent bien. Selon un manuel sur l’élevage ovin, « l’homme qui se contente de mener le troupeau au pré puis n’y prête plus attention risque fort, en quelques années, d’avoir de nombreuses bêtes malades qui ne rapportent rien ». Par contre, quand les moutons reçoivent l’attention voulue, le troupeau prospère.
      La qualité des soins et de l’attention que les bergers du troupeau de Dieu prodiguent à chaque brebis dont ils sont responsables influera sur la santé spirituelle de toute la congrégation. Tu te souviens peut-être que Jésus a eu pitié des foules parce qu’« elles étaient dépouillées et éparpillées comme des brebis sans berger » (Mat. 9:36). Pourquoi se trouvaient-elles en si piteuse condition ? Parce que les hommes chargés d’enseigner la Loi de Dieu au peuple étaient durs, exigeants et hypocrites. Au lieu de soutenir et de nourrir les membres de leur troupeau, les guides spirituels d’Israël posaient sur leurs épaules de « lourdes charges » (Mat. 23:4).
      Les bergers chrétiens d’aujourd’hui, les anciens, ont donc une lourde responsabilité. Les brebis du troupeau sous leur garde appartiennent à Jéhovah ainsi qu’à Jésus, qui s’est présenté comme « l’excellent berger » (Jean 10:11). Les brebis ont été « acheté[e]s à un prix », que Jésus a payé avec son propre « sang précieux » (1 Cor. 6:20 ; 1 Pierre 1:18, 19). Jésus aime tellement les brebis qu’il a bien voulu sacrifier sa vie pour elles. Les anciens ne devraient jamais oublier qu’ils sont des sous-bergers sous la surveillance du Fils bienveillant de Dieu, Jésus Christ, « le grand berger des brebis » (Héb. 13:20).
      Comment les bergers chrétiens devraient-ils traiter les brebis ? Les membres de la congrégation sont exhortés à « obéi[r] à ceux qui [les] dirigent ». De leur côté, les anciens ne doivent pas « commande[r] en maîtres ceux qui sont l’héritage de Dieu » (Héb. 13:17 ; lire 1 Pierre 5:2, 3). Alors comment peuvent-ils diriger le troupeau sans le commander en maîtres ? Autrement dit, comment peuvent-ils répondre aux besoins des brebis sans abuser de l’autorité dont Dieu les a investis ?
      « IL LES PORTERA SUR SON SEIN »
      Parlant de Jéhovah, le prophète Isaïe a déclaré : « Comme un berger il fera paître son troupeau. De son bras il rassemblera les agneaux ; et sur son sein il les portera. Il conduira doucement celles qui allaitent » (Is. 40:11). Cette comparaison montre que Jéhovah se soucie des besoins des membres de la congrégation faibles et vulnérables. De même qu’un berger connaît les besoins particuliers de chaque brebis de son troupeau et se tient prêt à les combler, Jéhovah connaît les besoins des membres de la congrégation et est heureux de leur apporter le soutien voulu. À l’image d’un berger qui, si nécessaire, porte un agneau nouveau-né dans le pli de son vêtement, « le Père des tendres miséricordes » nous portera, ou nous consolera, quand nous serons durement éprouvés ou rencontrerons un besoin particulier (2 Cor. 1:3, 4).

      Quel exemple admirable pour un berger chrétien ! Comme son Père céleste, il lui faut être attentif aux besoins des brebis. S’il est au courant des difficultés qu’elles rencontrent et des besoins qui méritent une attention immédiate, il sera en mesure d’offrir l’encouragement et le soutien nécessaires (Prov. 27:23). Il doit donc bien communiquer avec ses compagnons chrétiens. Tout en respectant la vie privée de chacun, il s’intéresse à ce qu’il voit et entend dans la congrégation, avec amour, il se rend disponible pour « venir en aide aux faibles » (Actes 20:35 ; 1 Thess. 4:11).
      Parlons de la mentalité de bergers que Jéhovah a désapprouvés. Aux jours d’Ézékiel et de Jérémie, Jéhovah a dénoncé ceux qui auraient dû s’occuper de ses brebis, mais ne le faisaient pas. Quand personne ne surveillait les brebis, le troupeau devenait la proie de bêtes sauvages et se dispersait. Ces bergers exploitaient les brebis et, plutôt que de les faire paître, « ils se paissaient eux-mêmes » (Ézék. 34:7-10 ; Jér. 23:1). Le reproche que Dieu leur a fait est tout aussi valable pour les chefs de la chrétienté. Mais il souligne également combien il est important qu’un ancien s’occupe avec sérieux et amour du troupeau de Jéhovah.
      « JE VOUS AI DONNÉ L’EXEMPLE »
      En raison de l’imperfection humaine, certaines brebis peuvent être lentes à comprendre ce que le Berger suprême attend d’elles. Elles ne se conforment pas toujours à un conseil biblique ou ont un comportement trahissant un manque de maturité spirituelle. Comment les anciens doivent-ils réagir ? Ils devraient imiter la patience qu’a eue Jésus envers ses disciples quand ils cherchaient à savoir qui parmi eux serait le plus grand dans le Royaume. Au lieu de perdre patience, Jésus a continué à les enseigner et à leur donner des conseils bienveillants sur la pratique de l’humilité (Luc 9:46-48 ; 22:24-27). En leur lavant les pieds, il leur a fait une démonstration d’humilité, qualité que les surveillants chrétiens sont tenus de manifester (lire Jean 13:12-15 ; 1 Pierre 2:21).
      Le point de vue de Jésus sur le rôle du berger n’était pas le même que celui que Jacques et Jean ont un jour manifesté. Ces deux apôtres cherchaient à s’assurer une place en vue dans le Royaume. Mais Jésus a rectifié cet état d’esprit ainsi : « Vous savez que les chefs des nations dominent sur elles, et que les grands usent d’autorité sur elles. Il n’en sera pas ainsi parmi vous ; mais quiconque voudra devenir grand parmi vous sera votre serviteur » (Mat. 20:25, 26, Bible de Darby). Les apôtres devaient résister à l’envie de « commander en maîtres » leurs compagnons ou de « dominer sur » eux.
      Jésus tient à ce que les bergers chrétiens traitent le troupeau comme lui le traitait. Ils doivent être disposés à servir leurs compagnons, pas les dominer. Paul a manifesté une telle humilité. Il a dit en effet aux anciens de la congrégation d’Éphèse : « Vous savez bien comment, depuis le premier jour où j’ai mis le pied dans le district d’Asie, j’ai été avec vous tout le temps, travaillant comme un esclave pour le Seigneur, avec la plus grande humilité. » L’apôtre souhaitait que ces anciens soutiennent les brebis avec dévouement et humilité. Il a ajouté : « Je vous ai montré en toutes choses que c’est en peinant ainsi que vous devez venir en aide aux faibles » (Actes 20:18, 19, 35). Il a par ailleurs dit aux Corinthiens qu’il ne dominait pas sur leur foi. Il était plutôt leur humble compagnon de travail, pour leur joie (2 Cor. 1:24). C’est un bel exemple d’humilité et de courage pour les anciens de notre époque.
      « FERMEMENT ATTACHÉ À LA PAROLE FIDÈLE »
      Un ancien doit être « fermement attaché à la parole fidèle pour ce qui est de son art d’enseigner » (Tite 1:9). Mais il le sera « dans un esprit de douceur » (Gal. 6:1). Un bon berger chrétien ne force pas une brebis à agir de telle ou telle façon. Non, il réfléchit à la manière dont il stimulera son cœur. Il attirera peut-être son attention sur les principes bibliques à considérer avant de prendre une décision importante. Il reverra avec elle ce que les publications ont dit sur la question. Il l’exhortera à réfléchir aux conséquences de tel ou tel choix sur ses relations avec Jéhovah. Il pourra aussi insister sur l’importance de demander à Dieu sa direction avant de prendre une décision (Prov. 3:5, 6). Ensuite, il la laissera prendre elle-même sa décision (Rom. 14:1-4).
      La seule autorité que les surveillants chrétiens détiennent leur vient des Écritures. Alors ils doivent absolument se servir de la Bible avec habileté et adhérer à son contenu. Ils se garderont ainsi d’un éventuel abus de pouvoir. Car ils ne sont que sous-bergers ; chaque membre de la congrégation est responsable devant Jéhovah et Jésus de ses propres décisions (Gal. 6:5, 7, 8).
      « DES EXEMPLES POUR LE TROUPEAU »
      Après avoir déconseillé aux anciens ( prêtres )« commander en maîtres ceux qui [leur] sont échus en partage », l’apôtre Pierre les exhorte à « devenir des exemples pour le troupeau » (1 Pierre 5:3, note). De quelle façon sont-ils des exemples pour le troupeau ? Prenons deux des choses requises d’un frère qui « aspire à une fonction de surveillant ». Il lui faut être « sain d’esprit » et « présider de belle façon, sa propre maisonnée ». S’il a une famille, il doit la présider de manière exemplaire, car « si quelqu’un [...] ne sait pas présider sa propre maisonnée, comment prendra-t-il soin de la congrégation ( assemblée) de Dieu ? » (1 Tim. 3:1, 2, 4, 5). Il doit également être sain d’esprit, c’est-à-dire comprendre clairement les principes divins et savoir comment les appliquer dans sa propre vie. Il est calme et équilibré et se garde de porter des jugements hâtifs. Autant de qualités qui inspirent confiance aux membres de la congrégation.
      Les surveillants donnent également l’exemple en prenant la tête dans l’œuvre de prédication. Jésus lui-même leur a donné l’exemple à cet égard. La prédication de la bonne nouvelle du Royaume a occupé une grande partie de son activité terrestre. Il a montré à ses disciples comment il fallait l’accomplir (Marc 1:38 ; Luc 8:1). Qu’il est encourageant, de nos jours, de prêcher aux côtés des anciens, de constater leur zèle pour cette œuvre salvatrice et d’apprendre de leurs méthodes d’enseignement ! Leur détermination à consacrer du temps et de l’énergie à la prédication malgré un emploi du temps chargé insuffle du zèle à toute la congrégation. Enfin, les anciens donnent l’exemple en préparant les réunions de la congrégation et en y participant, mais aussi en prenant part à des activités comme le nettoyage et la maintenance de la Salle du Royaume (Éph. 5:15, 16 ; lire (Hébreux 13:7) 
      « SOUTENEZ LES FAIBLES »
      Quand une brebis se blesse ou tombe malade, un bon berger vole à son secours. Pareillement, quand un membre de la congrégation souffre ou a besoin d’une aide spirituelle, les anciens doivent réagir rapidement. Un chrétien âgé ou malade a sans doute besoin d’une aide pratique, mais il a surtout besoin d’un soutien spirituel et d’encouragements (1 Thess. 5:14). Les jeunes rencontrent peut-être des difficultés. Résister aux « désirs de la jeunesse » en est une (2 Tim. 2:22). Le berger doit donc rendre régulièrement visite aux membres de la congrégation dans le but de comprendre les épreuves qu’ils traversent et de les encourager par des conseils bibliques bien choisis. Quand ces visites pastorales sont faites au bon moment, beaucoup de problèmes peuvent être résolus avant qu’ils ne s’aggravent.
      Et si les difficultés d’un chrétien s’aggravent au point de menacer sa santé spirituelle ? « Quelqu’un parmi vous est-il malade ?, a demandé le rédacteur biblique Jacques. Qu’il appelle à lui les anciens de la congrégation, et qu’ils prient sur lui, l’enduisant d’huile au nom de Jéhovah. Et la prière de la foi rétablira celui qui est souffrant, et Jéhovah le relèvera. De plus, s’il a commis des péchés, il lui sera pardonné » (Jacq. 5:14, 15). Même quand un chrétien « souffrant » « appelle à lui les anciens », ces derniers doivent lui venir en aide dès qu’ils sont au courant de son état. Les anciens qui prient avec sont là pour le fortifier et aussi tout frères en difficulté, et ils les soutiennent, se révèlent une source de réconfort et d’encouragement (lire Isaïe 32:1, 2).
      Dans tout ce qu’ils font au sein de l’organisation de Jéhovah, les bergers s’efforcent d’imiter « le grand berger », Jésus Christ. Grâce à l’aide de ces hommes dignes de confiance, le troupeau se fortifie et prospère. Tout cela nous réjouit profondément et nous pousse à louer le plus Grand Berger sans pareil,  notre Dieu Jéhovah



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