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Jehovah`s Witness/Conversation with Adam- a Few questions

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Hello Brother Eddie G: I have been following your conversation with Adam on the FDS etc. Although, and not to any surprise, you backed up your information with scriptures, a few questions arise.

1. Could it be possible that the JW view as well as the mainstream view require more investigation?

One of the key components to understanding is interpretation. So when I looked at the scriptures you provided I reviewed them: Topically, In Context, In translation and in application.

So if you will clarify some things for me. First you say the evidence points to 1914,as the time of Satan being cast down, the heavens being cleansed and the place prepared. As not to get into a theological debate over 1914, let us look at a few things:


NWT

“. . .Also, if I go my way and prepare a place for YOU, I am coming again and will receive YOU home to myself, that where I am YOU also may be. 4 And where I am going YOU know the way.”” (John 14:3, 4)

The NWT relies on the Westcott/Hort Text for its translation. I reviewed this against the Wescott/Hort and the Textus Recptus as well, along with fragments from other sources. In verse 3 we see the word "home" this does not appear in either text or early manuscripts. They all in translation state "unto myself" or "to myself".

Now this does not present a problem in context but is presented only for example of how translation can throw off interpretation and can lead to clouded understanding. When we look at the following scripture quoted:

NWT
“But each one in his own rank: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who belong to the Christ during his presence.” #1 Corinthians 15:23#


NIV
23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

King James

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

It is at this verse understanding can be gained or lost, for there are 2 words that present the problem from the Greek...En..which is translated: at, with, by, among, through, "in" and Parousia, which is basically translated: Coming, Presence.

Westcott/Hort and the Textus Receptus both translate the last 2 words of verse 23 as "en parousia"; the Textus Receptus states "at his coming" the Wescot/Hort "in the presence of Him". From the Wescott/Hort Text the NWT further translates "in" to "during" and Parousia as Presence. Now according to JW theology the Parousia began in 1914. It is known, that the 1914 date for the 'parousia" was not the belief of Russell, it was introduced and changed as such by Rutherford. So this makes it necessary to examine the major 3 trains of thought:

1. Russell - "Parousia in 1800's" - Invisible Presence
2. Rutherford - "Parousia in 1914"  Invisible Presence
3. Mainstream - "Parousia or coming" at End of world.


I cor 15 in context:

21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

This passage of scripture does clearly give the order: First Fruits of Christ, then they that Belong To Him. The first fruits as you have said is those that have died "in Christ", we find in Rev. 14, these first fruits are the 144,000. So this leaves 2 questions:

1. Who is it that belongs to him?
2. When will the gathering of them occur?

Now in reading preceeding verses we find at verse 24 that it will happen at the "end", so are not those who belong to him by JW wording..."The Great Crowd?"

This brings us into the scriptures found at 1 Thess. 4. However, there is still a couple of questions that need clarification:

1. What happens with the ones that died before Christ?
2. Where do the 24 Elders fall in this explanation?

I bring up the 24 Elders because the JWS believe the 24 Elders are part of the 144,000. However, scripture identifies them as a separate class not belonging to them:

Rev. 14:3-4
3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

In these verses we see a distinction. The 144,000 sang a song before,or in front of the Elders.. song no man could learn but them.


Now before we get into the scriptures at 1 Thess. I have a question about the 1918-1919 date of inspection.

Russell died in fall of 1916. Until 1925 the group then called the "Bible Students" followed Russells teachings. Rutherford abandoned Russells teachings and instituted new doctrine over the years leading to 1931 when the name "jehovahs witnesses" in lower case was adopted# upper case not used until years later#. So the question becomes, if the inspection was in 1918, who was it that was inspected and what was it that was found?

2. How is it, that Russell is called a "faithful and discrete slave", when by omission of all of his teachings in the present organization, they are testified too as being false?

3. How does the new revelation that changed the WTBS from being called as such to now being called the FDS class fit in to this?

I know these are sensitive issues and are not brought up for reasons other than clarity. Because of the length of this..I will pose my question about the relevance of 1 Thess. 4 and the FDS etc. in follow up questions.

I eagerly await your response and clarity on these issues.

Rev. Darryl Murphy

Answer
Nice to hear from you again Mr. Murphy (can I call you Darryl?)

Anyway, very informative post.  

As to your questions, you asked:

>>1. Could it be possible that the JW view as well as the mainstream view require more investigation?<<

Yes I do agree. In fact the latest WT dated July 15 2013 is prime example of this. After browsing through it, it appears that our understanding of the FDS class and the associated scriptures have been further clarified. So yes, as we gain more understanding of the scriptures, details of it will get more and more clearer. As you see there are changes in the details but the fundamental truth remained the SAME.

In a quick summary what we know is this:

1) 1914 -> Gentile Times Ended, Christ crowned King of God's heavenly Kingdom.

2) 1914 -> "Heavens" cleaned by ejecting Satan and his demons. A "place" was prepared for the "anointed". "Harvest of the wheat" class begin.

3) 1914 - 1919 -> Christ's "presence" begin - resurrection of the dead begin, those who "belong to Christ" gathered to be with Jesus. Anointed remnant of FDS class identified and presented themselves.


Latest "light" understanding.

4) 1919 ->  The FIRST APPOINTMENT (of the FDS class) begins - to give "food at the proper time" to Christ's "DOMESTICS".

5) Great Tribulation - Armageddon -> Second Appointment of the FDS class (to take over ALL of Christ's belongings - in heaven and earth). (Judgement) separation between sheep like and goat like persons and final destruction of those condemned at Armageddon.


Now below is a snippit of one of the the study articles. I'll let you read the rest as it contains more information and it answers (I think) most if not all of your questions.

http://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/w20130715/

It says:

"What have our publications stated about the illustration of the faithful slave?

3 How, then, are we to understand Jesus’ illustration about the faithful slave? In the past, our publications have said the following: At Pentecost 33 C.E., Jesus appointed the faithful slave over his domestics. The slave represents all anointed Christians on earth as a group at any one time since then. The domestics refer to the same anointed ones as individuals. In 1919, Jesus appointed the faithful slave “over all his belongings”—all his earthly Kingdom interests. However, further careful study and prayerful meditation indicate that our understanding of Jesus’ words about the faithful and discreet slave needs to be clarified. (Prov. 4:18) Let us examine the illustration and  how it involves us, whether we have the heavenly or the earthly hope."


http://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/w20130715/who-is-faithful-discreet-s

As to your point. I would like to clarify the seeming problem surrounding the Gk word "en parousia".

I believe the confusion is stemming from which word is the correct one to use when talking about "en parousia". That is whether it's correct to use the word "coming" instead of "presence" at 1 Corinthians 15:23.

Like you stated, to fully understand it, CONTEXT needs to be accounted for, needs to be in the mixed.

And in the context the apostle Paul talked about an orderly resurrection (of the dead) - in stages.

That is, first the Christ (in 33 C.E.), then followed by those who "belong to him" (during his "parousia"), then the rest of (dead) mankind and finally the surrendering ALL things by Jesus to God.

So with these in mind the question then is:

Does the ""en parousia" mean Christ's "presence" or his (second) "coming"?

Which word fit the context?

That is, per the scriptures you provided.

>>1 cor 15 in context:

21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.<<

If you say "coming", then how many times this "coming" will be? One time or many times?

If you say one time, does this means then that the dead who "belong to Christ" will be resurrected at the same time? If so what will happen to those who are still living after his coming then die off? Does Jesus come back again to resurrect these ones? If so how many times he has to do this? Then we also have to ask, which location on earth is he coming to? Is there a specific place? Will all mankind see his "coming" when he resurrect the the dead? Will all (dead) mankind be resurrected at his coming? When will he come (the second time) if not 1914? These are just but a few of the many problems that will come up when we use "coming" for "parousia".

Now if we say "presence" then it makes sense for Jesus' presence takes a long period of time - it encompasses the time when he was appointed as King in God's Kingdom (in 1914) all the way to Armageddon - that is, until all enemies of God are destroyed and all of the "chosen ones" are resurrected back to heavenly life. This time period will be enough time to aacomplished that which he was asked to do. Why it can even encompass the "end" when Jesus surrenders everything to his God so that ALL things will be to God.


Furthermore, if you say that Jesus is "coming" it doesn't make sense to give a sign of his (second) coming for no one says to look for a sign of "my coming", when he says he's coming. Plain and simple.

Yet his apostles asked for a sign.


Mat 24:3 KJV - "And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what [shall be] the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"

Why the sign if he said he is coming? Doesn't make sense.

But one needs a sign to indicate a "presence", just like a light bulb indicates a presence when it's turned on.

Thus Matthew 24:3 makes sense when rendered this way:

“. . .While he was sitting upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately, saying: “Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?”” (Matthew 24:3)

Now since the "chosen ones", those who belong to Christ are to be resurrected to a "heavenly life" (during his presence) then it's to them that the word "coming" makes sense. It make sense in that they will SEE their master has "come" for them.


Notice what he told his disciples when he was with them:

“A little longer and the world will behold me no more, but YOU will behold me, because I live and YOU will live.” (John 14:19)

“In the house of my Father there are many abodes. Otherwise, I would have told YOU, because I am going my way to prepare a place for YOU. 3 Also, if I go my way and prepare a place for YOU, I am coming again and will receive YOU home to myself, that where I am YOU also may be. 4 And where I am going YOU know the way.”” (John 14:2-4)

As for the 144,000 and the 24 Elders - they are ONE and the same. I'll cover this in my follow up response so as not to mixed things up.  

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