Jehovah`s Witness/acts 7:55
Hello again Derrick. Before I ask you this question I would like to give a little of my background regarding the JWs. Before a few years ago I only knew of the JWs as people that would come to your door preaching,I had an encounter with them personally about 15 yrs. ago and dismissed them without too much knowledge of them or Christian teachings. Then one day a co-worker asked me if I wanted to live forever and told me he was a JW. He went on to say there was no such thing as the Trinity ect.. Well, I couldn't even tell him exactly what the Trinity was and didn't even know what they believed in so I did a google search and was astonished at their beliefs and history.I then searched about the Trinity and was not surprised that all my beliefs coincided with main stream Christianity. We've had several back and fourths about this,since he asked me to show him where the Trinity is mentioned in the bible. I've done a lot of reading about this subject. He even suggested that I read the bible. So I did. I read the whole book of John and book of Acts. While reading these books it made sense that Jesus was God to me. The bible says the same thing many times about certain things. So now knowing more about what they believe ,when I read I find many contradictions. I have read all their battle verses and refutations from Christians, but one verse I came across was in Acts 7:55. I thought it was strange that Stephen would be talking or praying to Jesus while he was next to his father. So I asked one of the JWs that I work with why this was so. He said he did not know and politely would get back to me. Several months later I asked him again and he said after re-reading the verses he concluded it was because he recognized Jesus from His time on earth. I then asked another JW I work with the same question and never really got an answer nor a promise to find out. He said he was busy and it was not really important for Him to find out for me. This ne is really combative and doesn't like to answer the hard hitting or thought provoking questions. He often gets frustrated and has since stated that God doesn't love me and I have no hope for resurrection. In his early years he was more careful with revealing his true beliefs, but with much prodding he lets his true feelings known. I then found this site and thought oh joy, I can ask my questions and get answers. I then asked Sister T this same question regarding Stephen and she came up with the idea that this was a vision that was taking place in 1914. When I stated that my co-workers had a different opinion and doubted that she was even a JW she lost it. She said even if she believed me, she had the correct answer because she got it from the pages of the watchtower and even invited these two to write her so they could get on the same page. Well, then I asked my 2 JWs if they thought this vision was past ,present or future? we all agreed that it was present. After all,wasn't he praying for forgiveness to the people about to kill him? This is something I stumbled upon after reading Acts,not from any web sites. The first expert I asked was not able to answer this and it was put in the pool where Sister T picked it up. So long story short, When I read this I understood that Stephen was praying to God to receive his spirit so that he could go to heaven. Am I on the right track?
Thanks again,Kevin AK.
Good morning, Kevin. How are you? Good to hear from you again.
One thing we have to give JWs credit for, is that they have made a lot of Christians get more serious about Bible study. That is a good thing. I have known many people who have told me the same thing...That when they have a personal encounter with a JW, that it makes them put their nose in the Bible and verify their own beliefs. We are warned in the Scriptures about those who seem to know the Scriptures, and are masters of twisting it to deceive. And one of the things that a Christian can profit from his experiences with a JW, is that he will want to learn more about their beliefs and HISTORY (as in your case), and also will want to study the Scriptures to make sure their own beliefs are solid.
As for a JW telling you there is no such thing as the Trinity, don't worry too much about that. Most JWs don't even know what the Trinity is! That is why you see constant false statements here from them, saying things like: "Trinitarians believe Jesus is the Father", "Jesus and the Father could not be the same Person" (nobody said they were), "Trinitarians believe there are 3 separate gods", etc., and such misrepresentations as these.
Like you said, however...When you read the Bible, you see that Jesus fully possesses the nature of God, and the more you read the Scriptures, the more error in JW theology you will see. In fact, the WT itself knows this, as their own founder even told us that a person would be better off reading HIS writings, than the Bible. He went on to say that if a person read the Bible without reading HIS writings, they would be in spiritual darkness within 2 years. On the other hand, if they read HIS writings without reading even ONE PAGE of the Bible, they would be in "the light".
Here, let me show you the quote from Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the modern-day Jehovah's Witnesses:
"“Not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the Scripture Studies aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years - if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he had merely read the Scripture Studies with their references, and had not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of the two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures.”
Now, you wrote...."I then asked another JW I work with the same question and never really got an answer nor a promise to find out. He said he was busy and it was not really important for Him to find out for me. This ne is really combative and doesn't like to answer the hard hitting or thought provoking questions. He often gets frustrated and has since stated that God doesn't love me and I have no hope for resurrection."
Dude, I didn't know you worked with Rando. Wow...small world. My sympathies.
You wrote..."I then asked Sister T this same question regarding Stephen and she came up with the idea that this was a vision that was taking place in 1914. When I stated that my co-workers had a different opinion and doubted that she was even a JW she lost it."
Yes, I remember seeing that exchange. Sister T is somewhat on-the-edge, emotionally, if you know what I mean. I also saw where she told you..."Don't lie on me", and also where she DID state that she had the "right answer" from the Watchtower, and then subsequently denied it. These people are amazing. I don't doubt her sincerity, and have nothing personally against the woman. But I have seen how she reacts and goes off the deep end, as I myself have had to personally address many false statements of hers.
She told one JW study that "they hate us", speaking of non-JWs such as myself. Fortunately, the lady saw through that falsehood, and now writes to me on a regular basis, and knows full well that I have no hate for any of them...JWs, or non-JWs.
So, she told you this was a vision that took place in 1914? Wow. Yes, you and the other 2 JWs were correct....this vision was present. No doubt about it.
Regarding Acts 7:55, you asked...."So long story short, When I read this I understood that Stephen was praying to God to receive his spirit so that he could go to heaven. Am I on the right track?"
You know, I had a similar exchange several years back, on this same verse. The issue then was, did Stephen PRAY to Jesus? Of course, the guy who was a JW at the time, said "no". I said it was obvious that he DID, when he said "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." That is what prayer IS...talking to a heavenly Being. Some people pray to God, others erroneously pray to saints or angels, etc. But that is what prayer is.
In the exchange I had with the JW back in 2008, he wrote to me:
"One can clearly see that Stephen sees Jesus where?…at God’s right hand. (Funny Jesus is standing at God’s right hand when you say He is God) Here I would say that Stephen saw Jesus and called out to Him…This is not a prayer. He then cried to Jehovah….and basically said the same thing Jesus said to Jehovah before He died….”forgive them”"
I responded with this:
"I am sorry that you do not know what prayer is, and try to define it in such a limited way. This is an obvious prayer to anyone with a brain. And your comment about Jesus being on God's "right hand" as proof of not being God, just once again shows your ignorance of what the Trinity actually teaches. Why talk about things you know nothing about?
And would you PLEASE be so kind as to show us just where this text has Stephen addressing 2 BEINGS? Is this something we can actually see, or is this just something you have to try and MAKE it say, because you don't like Jesus receiving prayer?
So you REALLY want to stand by your statement that Stephen was just saying something like "Oh, help me Jesus"??? This is laughable, Sir, and I think deep-down you know that too. But you're trying to defend a doctrine for which there is no defence.
You make the statement "Here I would say". Sir, it doesn't matter in the least what YOU say. It matters what the SCRIPTURE says! And the statement of Stephen addressing Jesus in verse 59 is a continuation of the statement about his "calling on God". This is plain to any reader. He was "calling on God" and his address to Jesus is what he said WHEN HE WAS CALLING ON GOD.
You would have us believe, if I am understanding you right, that he first called on God, then said "Help me Jesus", and then called on God again. Yeah, right! Why bother to do all that with rocks pelting you left and right, knowing you are about to die? Why not just PRAY????"
So yes, I agree that Acts 7:55 is a prayer to Jesus, who possesses the full nature of His Father, and is God. You are on the right track by understanding this to be a prayer to God, and addressed to Jesus, to receive His spirit. Like you saw above, the former JW guy that I had discussed this with, was trying to make it appear that Stephen was addressing God and Jesus back and forth, with rocks hitting him all over his body, knowing he was about to die soon. I think Stephen was praying to God, and he addressed his prayer to Jesus, because it is appropriate to do so...that is what the passage indicates.
Thanks for writing, Kevin. Take care, and God bless.