Jehovah`s Witness/Please clarify
I'm back once again..Hope you're doing good as always. And I want to thank you for the last response. I didn't get back to you because there's a lot of things that really needs an attention. Anyway, since you're one of the best witness here, I'll choose you once again ..' Hope you can clarify things for me as always. This is actually not my question ... it's from a friend of mine. Here's his concern:
There are a lot of questions you should ask JWs (and JWs should ask themselves) but out of the collosial thousands, I picked two (just TWO) that has so far wrecked havoc on the Congregation close to my home. I mean, it has LITERALLY caused mayhem within their premises.
About less than six months from now, I remember visiting this family (which I was very close to) and luckily for me, they weren't the shunning type so we usually had Bible studies once in a while. The father used to carry two green gigantic books (Insights) which he never opened at all during any of our studies (I guess his bringing them out and slamming them on the table was to intimidate me somehow). We had initially discussed a topic (Jesus and Michael the archangel) in which he had to take me to an Elder to discuss it further so we never got to iron things out between me and the family. Fortunately for me, this saturday was different. I used a technique which had to do with his pride. He never liked leaving a question unanswered (even if he had to use ad hominems and red herrings, he made sure he said something..... I guess this was to impress his wife and his daughter who was my age group). Frankly, I was bitter that I hadn't applied it in our prior discussions but God knows best any way.
I figured out that throughout my witnessing to JWs, there are certain questions that they hate to be asked because they seem to be absolutely NO answers to them. I decided to pick just two to show you guys.
JWs believe that in 1935, the selection or registry of the 144,000 so-called "anointed class" was closed. And that every other person that became a JW after that time was among the "great crowed" otherwise called "earthly class".
Just for evidence sake, I quote:
"We understand that this heavenly calling continued down through the centuries, through during the so-called Dark Ages, there may have been times when the number of anointed ones were very few. With the reestablishment of true Christianity near the end of the last century, more were called and choren. But it seems that in the mid-1930's the full number of the 144,000 was basically completed..." (Watchtower Aug. 15, 1996. p.31).
There are a lot more that make this claim but I'll only quote this one to save time and space.
Now, the problem with this point here is very huge. I asked:
What if ONE of this remaining "anointed class" loses faith, leaves the organization and becomes an apostate, what becomes of Revelation 7:1-8 in the JW interpretation?
This question is a killer, try asking it.
According to a JW, the selection/registry of the 144,000 has stopped since 1935, thus, there isn't any possible selection afterwards. How then would the number be completed? Wouldn't this mean that the number will 143,999 which would make Rev. 7:1-8 false????
[maybe the WT should start giving monthly allowances (bribery) to the remnant of the anointed class to prevent such a catastrophe to their theology]
I am sure you are all aware that JWs believe that in 1918, the remnant class of 144,000 was resurrected to be with the Lord in heaven.
For evidence sake, I quote:
"It was God's will for the remnant on earth to follow the 1918 heavenly resurrection of anointed ones who died prior to that time." (Watchtower July 15, 1960. p.440)
"In that year (1927) the witnesses understood that the dead spiritual Israelites have been raised in 1918 to life in heaven with Christ Jesus. It was an invisible resurrection. (From Paradise lost to Paradise Regained, p.192, 1958).
Now, my questions regarding this one is divided into two:
I. According to the Bible, Jesus was NOT in the grave (John 20:1-10). His Tomb was EMPTY, thus, being the first fruit of resurrection, every other resurrection MUST be the same way, that is, they must leave their graves (Ezek 37:13; John 5:25-29).
Now, since Charles Taze Russell died in 1916 which is prior to 1918, does this imply that if I dig Russell's grave, I won't find any bones??? And if I do, doesn't that mean that the entire JW doctrine is balderdash???
II. What if their bones and decay are still in their graves? What then was resurrected? ["invisible resurrection," you may say] but how did it happen? How is it that the body remains in the grave and they are in heaven? IS THE WATCHTOWER INDIRECTLY INFORMING US THAT A PART OF HUMANS EXIST OUTSIDE THE BODY, AFTER DEATH??? (the very doctrine they call "Christendom")
Either ways, they have Jehovah (and the Watchtower) stuck. There own beliefs prove that the entirety of JW doctrine is built on falsehood and fantasy.
The man couldn't stand it. He had to take me AGAIN to his Kingdom Hall and this time, he took me to 3 Elders who kept telling me "You have to understand... Out of context..." and other save-face excuse. That Congregation has not been the same ever since.
These question are highly explosive. Try asking them but make sure you make enemies like I already have.
Thank you for writing and for those questions. I hope that typhoon in your part of the world has not effected you to much. (It's strange how the same sort of storm has different names. In the USA it is called a hurricane here in Australia we call them cyclones). The devastation there is heart breaking to see.
Now I understand the disappointment your friend has had with that JW family and from the brief account he gave of other JWs he had encountered. I have encountered difficulties with fellow JWs sometimes it is their fault, at times it is mine, and another times it is both at fault. Many times for me personally difficulties have arisen because one of both parties have not communicated thoughts and intentions in a way that the other person can clearly understand.
Some people find it very difficult to make the necessary adjustments in their lives to conform to Bible standards. I do not know the man in question nor your friend, as we have only one side of the account
form your friends perspective, I would not like to make any assumptions about the JW (s) or your friend. (Proverbs 18:13
13 When anyone is replying to a matter before he hears [it], that is foolishness on his part and a humiliation.)
What I will do, is share with you what I have observed first hand from real life, then a couple of Bible examples
It does not matter what religious group you look at you will find people whose motives for being that group are not pure. I know of JWs that when they first become a JW their motive was to be saved. That in itself is not a bad motive but it should not be the only motive. Because their motive was basically a selfish one they never really applied Bible principles these JWs did cause some problems not only for themselves but others as well.
Nearly all of the ones I have in mind left being JWs for various reasons. A couple because they just thought things were dragging on to long. They were getting impatient and wanted God to step in bring an end to this system, so they just gave up. The material things of this world swallowed them up. Being a follower of the Christ is not an easy way of life Matthew 24:13
“.But he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved.”
I knew of a couple of men that wanted prominence in a congregation, and when they were not appointed into a position of responsibility when they thought they should be they left Proverbs 16:18
“Pride is before a crash, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.“
Now others I knew had a lot of ups and downs with other people and got upset when understandings changed and stopped coming to meetings. After a period of time they started back again this time with a different motive. Instead of looking at being a JW as the way to be “saved” they started building a relationship with God. That is the important thing, learning what it is God wants and applying it in our lives.
All the people above had one thing in common at one time. They were hearers of the word of God but not doers as James tells us in James 1:22-26
“However, become doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves with false reasoning. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, this one is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, and off he goes and immediately forgets what sort of man he is. 25 But he who peers into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and who persists in [it], this [man], because he has become, not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, will be happy in his doing [it]. 26 If any man seems to himself to be a formal worshiper and yet does not bridle his tongue, but goes on deceiving his own heart, this man’s form of worship is futile.”
When people decide to become a follower of Jesus there is not a miraculous transformation of one personalties. It is by listening and applying
what one hears that that transforms us.
20 But YOU did not learn the Christ to be so, 21 provided, indeed, that YOU heard him and were taught by means of him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that YOU should put away the old personality
which conforms to YOUR former course of conduct and which is being corrupted according to his deceptive desires; 23 but that YOU should be made new
in the force actuating YOUR mind, 24 and should put on the new personality
which was created according to God’s will
in true righteousness and loyalty.”
“ 5 Deaden, therefore, YOUR body members that are upon the earth as respects fornication, uncleanness, sexual appetite, hurtful desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of those things the wrath of God is coming. 7 In those very things YOU, too, once walked when YOU used to live in them. 8 But now really put them all away from YOU, wrath, anger, badness, abusive speech, and obscene talk out of YOUR mouth. 9 Do not be lying to one another. Strip off the old personality
with its practices, 10 and clothe yourselves with the new [personality]
, which through accurate knowledge is being made new according to the image of the One who created it,”
Just because one is in an approved standing with God does not mean that it is an easy matter to maintain. The apostle Paul showed how difficult a thing that is to do 1 Corinthians 9:27
“but I pummel my body and lead it as a slave, that, after I have preached to others, I myself should not become disapproved somehow.”
Paul also said Romans 7:21
“I find, then, this law in my case: that when I wish to do what is right, what is bad is present with me”
I try to remember Peter. He was adamant that he would never forsake Jesus and bragged about it Matthew 26:34-35
“34 Jesus said to him: “Truly I say to you, On this night, before a cock crows, you will disown me three times.” 35 Peter said to him: “Even if I should have to die with you, I will by no means disown you.”
We know what happened Matthew 26:74, 75
” 74 Then he started to curse and swear: “I do not know the man!” And immediately a cock crowed. 75 And Peter called to mind the saying Jesus spoke, namely: “Before a cock crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.”
Peter was aware of his short comings. Some people just are not. What I would like to say to your friend is that there are many personalises in the world, we all have our own faults. Some are aware of them and some ore not. Do not attack the messenger but listen to the message.
At times even among the apostles of Jesus there was contention (Luke 22:24
“However, there also arose a heated dispute
among them over which one of them seemed to be greatest.”
King David tool another mans wife as his own then conspired to murder. Both punishable by death under the Mosaic law. God, the reader of hearts, let David live because of his repentance. The point there is that King David was in a very high position of responsibility, made major mistakes.
We are all imperfect and we must expect all humans at this time to make mistakes. True some should know better. The case of David and Peter show us tha even those that
Ok back to his questions. First I do not understand why your friend thinks …. “These question are highly explosive.”
. …. They are as easy to discuss about as any other question I have had. I also do not understand why the JWs he spoke to were unable to answer him. And yes keeping things in context is important. One needs to look at the whole context of the Bible not just a few verses.
In relation to Question 1
I want to copy his quote and underline a couple of important words.
that this heavenly calling continued down through the centuries, through during the so-called Dark Ages, there may have been times when the number of anointed ones were very few. With the reestablishment of true Christianity near the end of the last century, more were called and chosen. But it seems
that in the mid-1930's the full number of the 144,000 was basically completed..." (Watchtower Aug. 15, 1996. p.31).
First it is not a “doctrine” but an “understanding
of what the Bible says and the writer is not being dogmatic about it by the use of the words it seems that
The last paragraph of that article makes the following point (Bold and underline mine)
“There is no need for any of us to be concerned if a person begins to partake of the emblems or ceases to do so. It really is not up to us whether someone actually has been anointed with holy spirit and called to heavenly life or not
. Recall Jesus’ solid assurance: “I am the fine shepherd, and I know my sheep.” Just as assuredly, Jehovah knows those whom he has chosen as spiritual sons. There is every reason to believe that the number of anointed ones will continue to decline as advanced age and unforeseen occurrences end their earthly lives. Yet, even as these truly anointed ones prove faithful till death, in line for the crown of life, the other sheep, who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, can look forward to surviving the impending great tribulation.—2 Timothy 4:6-8; Revelation 2:10."
About a year earlier in the March 15 Watchtower was an article with the heading “ Who Really Have a Heavenly Calling? In that article we find this comment
“But what if an anointed Christian proved unfaithful and a replacement was needed? Then it would be reasonable to conclude that God would give the heavenly calling to someone who had been exemplary in rendering faithful service to our heavenly Father for very many years.”
The answer then to his question …. “What if ONE of this remaining "anointed class" loses faith, leaves the organization and becomes an apostate, “ ….. it is therefore, our understanding that they would be replaced.
There is no outward sign of any sort that identifies who is of the anointed, no mysterious parchment suddenly shows up saying “So and So is now sprint begotten” that is why the above article said “It really is not up to us whether someone actually has been anointed with holy spirit and called to heavenly life or not
In relation to question 2
I will again quote from what your friend as sent you and notice the bold and underline again …..”In that year (1927) the witnesses understood
that the dead spiritual Israelites have been raised in 1918 to life in heaven with Christ Jesus. It was an invisible resurrection. (From Paradise lost to Paradise Regained, p.192, 1958).
Again it is what is understood from what the Bible says. No one knows for a 100% certainty but for us the evidence leads us to conclude that is the case.
If the bones of CT Russell were dug up I am sure that they would be there.
It is true that in the resurrections that have been reported in the Bible people left the graves. Lazarus is a good example as he walked out.
Now notice what Martha said to Jesus just before Jesus brought Lazarus back to life “John 11:39
“Jesus said: “TAKE the stone away.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to him: “Lord, by now he must smell
, for it is four days.” Now why would there be a smell? Because flesh decays. When it decays it breaks down until eventuality there is nothing. So parts of Lazarus body cells had deteriorated – gone. Were the exact body cells put back into Lazarus? We do not know, but more than likely - no. Why do I say that? When Jesus healed the man with the withered hand (Matt 12:10
) or when Paul healed the man that was disabled in his feet being lame from birth.(Acts 14:8
) what cells were use in these cases and the many others? We must assumed that they were new cells to the body. Remember God created the human body from the dust of the ground and gave it life in the beginning,... is it not within his power to do the same from scratch again for any person?
Paul, in writing his first letter to the Corinthians illustrates an aspect of death and resurrection to that of a seed. For a plant to grow a seed must first die. The plant that comes from the seed is different to the seed “Nevertheless, someone will say: “How are the dead to be raised up? Yes, with what sort of body are they coming?” 36 You unreasonable person! What you sow is not made alive unless first it dies; 37 and as for what you sow, you sow, not the body that will develop, but a bare grain, it may be, of wheat or any one of the rest; (1 Corinthians 15:35-37
) What life comes back again is not in the same body as it died.
Reading further in verse 38 – 41
“ 38 but God gives it a body just as it has pleased him, and to each of the seeds its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same flesh, but there is one of mankind, and there is another flesh of cattle, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. 40 And there are heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies; but the glory of the heavenly bodies is one sort, and that of the earthly bodies is a different sort. 41 The glory of the sun is one sort, and the glory of the moon is another, and the glory of the stars is another; in fact, star differs from star in glory.”
Now we see that there are two types of bodies. One for the heavens and one for the earth. On earth there are severable types of flesh and mankind is different to the heavenly life forms.
Paul goes on to describe that those raised to heavenly life will have a different sort of body to those of flesh
"42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised up in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised up in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised up in power. 44 It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one. 45 It is even so written: “The first man Adam became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 Nevertheless, the first is, not that which is spiritual, but that which is physical, afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is out of the earth and made of dust; the second man is out of heaven. 48 As the one made of dust [is], so those made of dust [are] also; and as the heavenly one [is], so those who are heavenly [are] also. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the one made of dust, we shall bear also the image of the heavenly one."(1 Corinthians 15:42 -49
That passage, we understand to be discussing the resurrection of the spirit anointed ones as they are to send to heaven, However we also understand that the principle of not the same body applies to those resurrected to earth just as Lazarus and disabled (“cripples”) ones new cells to replenish or replace the ones missing or decayed.
When Jesus was resurrected we understand that his life was transferred back into a spirit body, like the one he had before coming to earth, to be with God who is a spirit (John 4:24
) That is why we are told Jesus .”became a life-giving spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:45
) His body did not see corruption (Acts 2:27,31
. . .neither will you allow your loyal one to see corruption. 31... concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he forsaken in Hades nor did his flesh see corruption”
The Greek word rendered as corruption means “that destruction which is effected by the decay of the body after death”. Seeing Jesus was raised as a spirit, something happened to his fleshly body so that it did not decay and return to dust. We do not know what happened to it, but we can only speculate that God made it vanish in some manner.
Your friend asks …. “ IS THE WATCHTOWER INDIRECTLY INFORMING US THAT A PART OF HUMANS EXIST OUTSIDE THE BODY, AFTER DEATH??? ...”
The answer is NO.
At times in the past different “sprirt sons of God” were able to materialze and take on human form. (see Ge 18:2; 19:1, 12; Jos 5:13, 14; Jg 13:3, 6;
and Hebrews 13:2
“Do not forget hospitality, for through it some, unknown to themselves, entertained angels”) We also have the sons who disobeyed God and forsook their own proper dwelling pace” (Jude 6
) to cohabit with the daughters of men (Genesis 6:4
“ when the sons of the [true] God continued to have relations with the daughters of men and they bore sons to them, they were the mighty ones who were of old, the men of fame.)
These spirit creatures took on human form and back again into spirit form. The Bible therefore indicates that upon resurrection (if it be to heaven or earth) we do not have the same body as when we die.
That raises the question what is resurrected? Our understanding is, resurrection involves the restoration of the life pattern of the individual. That includes ones personality with all its traits. Ones personal history and experiences. In other words all all the details of ones identity.
We know a few things about God in Isaiah 40:26
we are told of Gods amazing memory 2“Raise YOUR eyes high up and see. Who has created these things? It is the One who is bringing forth the army of them even by number, all of whom he calls even by name. Due to the abundance of dynamic energy, he also being vigorous in power, not one [of them] is missing.“
tells us about God in that “.For with you is the source of life.” We therefore have confidence that Jehovah can readily bring back to life the same person in a newly formed body” The man Job expressed his faith in that with these words “14 If an able-bodied man dies can he live again? All the days of my compulsory service I shall wait, Until my relief comes. 15 You will call, and I myself shall answer you. For the work of your hands you will have a yearning. . .Job 14:14, 15
One of the Psalmist expressed his faith with these words “If you conceal your face, they get disturbed. If you take away their spirit
, they expire, And back to their dust they go. 30 If you send forth your spirit
, they are created; And you make the face of the ground new”Psalm 104:29, 30
also note Psalm 146:4
which says “4 His spirit
goes out, he goes back to his ground; In that day his thoughts do perish.”These words assures us that God can resurrect the life of a person by re-creating human body and putting the life force and all that was a person into that body.
The above Psalms mentions taking away the spirit and sending forth the spirit. The word rendered spirit here is the Hebrew word “ruwach” which has the basic meanings of “ air, wind; breath, exhalation; life, “ and depending on context there are some other meanings.
Compare the Psalms above above with the KJV Ps 104:29,30
“29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath
, they die, and return to their dust. 30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit
, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth. Ps 146:4
goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.”
At death we lose our spirit – that is our breath – and our thoughts perish. However we were also told that God can give us back our spirit (Breath) and our memories.
No matter what body we have we are resurrected as the same person. Physically, we are not the same person as we were say 10 years ago as all our cells die of and constantly renewed. We may look the same or very similar, but our physical bodies are different. So how is it beyond human reasoning that the architect of all life can not bring us back to life with different physical cells (i.e. not the same body)?
I have not been able to cover ALL aspects of what your friend has asked about, and possibly I have raised other issues. If your friend would like more information email me and I will send you what ever “official” WT publications have to say.
I look forward to hearing from you again.