Jehovah`s Witness/reminder

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Question
QUESTION: Hi Brenton,

Just dropping you a reminder about our discussion on how you would prove to someone, who explains away certain Bible passages, that the Devil is in fact an actual person.

ANSWER: Hi Cos,

I thought I sent a message to you last week by editing an old correspondence we had some time ago, but when I went and looked for it it seems I forgot to press the button to send. I apologise for that.


I am actually embarrassed that I have not been able to respond to the question in a timely manner.  

This subject on proving to a Christadelphian  that there is a literal devil who is a “fallen angel” is harder than I thought it would be.  I have found, and read a site from the  Christadelphians  that explains why they take the view that they do, and countering all their reasoning’s is very challenging and time consuming.  There belief in no “fallen angel” devil touches on the idea that Jesus did not have a pre human existence, his death was not a corresponding ransom for that of Adam


I tend to be very analytical and looking up many different Bible versions and checking various Hebrew and Greek word  meanings and how they are used is taking a lot of time.  Knowing how  the ancients used the various words is important in understand what meaning  in what context to apply to them in English when translation is done.   

In my research I found this site.  I do not know what religion the author belongs to but he gives about 90 pages of information as to why he believes  the Christadelphian view is incorrect.

http://webzoom.freewebs.com/christadelphianresearch/Satan%20The%20Devil%203.pdf


As yet I have not had the time to read all of it, but from what I have read, I would agree with him. While I am still going throughout i,t I thought I it would nice for you to read through it as well.  

I also found this web site by a JW  with links to other information that I have not yet been had the time to read that may be of help.

http://defendingjehovahswitnesses.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/who-is-satan-devil_15.


I will continue reading up on the subject and trying to put information together the best way I can, so after you have read the various pages above, and you still have questions I will see if I have learnt enough to give a better answer.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Brenton,

I have had a look at the links you provide and noticed that the JWs who wrote those articles reasoned that because attributes are ascribed to the Devil in Scripture, which only an actual person can possess, is ample grounds to deduce that the Devil is a real person, here is how  they reasoned;  

“…Satan actually CONVERSED with others…Michael and his angels actually waged war with Satan and had him "hurled down to the earth". This would make no sense if Satan was merely the ‘‘personification of the evil’”

“The personal presentation of Satan is as widespread as of any real person. To cite but a few examples: He has authority (Ac 26:18), tempts (Mt 4:1; 1Co 7:5), has designs (2Co 2:11), is able to misrepresent himself and have ministers who are themselves real persons who do likewise (2Co 11:14), is able to dwell more specifically in one place than another (Re 2:13), misleads (Re 12:9; 20:8), gets angry (Re 12:12), is a father with desires, was once in the truth (Joh 8:44), was a murderer and the father of the lie (and so was responsible for the serpent’s original lie) before sin existed in any human (Joh 8:44), is crafty (Eph 6:11), is not blood and flesh (Eph 6:11, 12), is able to flee (Jas
4:7), can sin and perform works (1Jo 3:8), has a will of his own (2Ti 2:26), delegates authority (Mt 4:9; Re 13:2), is the ruler of the world (Joh 13:31; 14:30; 16:11) and its god. - 2Co 4:4…. The Bible’s presentation of Satan the Devil as a person is widespread and overwhelming.”

Do you agree that this is a legitimate method to determine that the devil is a real person?

ANSWER: Hi Cos,
Only one of those links I gave you is from a known JW.  The first one (http://webzoom.freewebs.com/christadelphianresearch/Satan%20The%20Devil%203.pdf ) I have no idea as to that persons religion.

Yes I do agree with those things mentioned, but, for me, it also goes further, there is more to the  showing the identity  of Satan as a real fallen angel than those points .  See also all the points I mentioned in earlier replies.

For me also, the fact that satan is mentioned at the end of  Gods judgement time in Revelation 12:9 as the original serpent that is cast out of heaven links this one back to the fallen angel.

The RSV renders that as the “ that ancient serpent,”  Many others say “the old serpent”

The Greek word used there is “ ἀρχαῖος archaios”.  This is an extension  of “ ἀρχὴ arche”   Arche is used depending on context to mean  - “the beginning, first, corner”.

Thayeres Greek Lexicon says of  “ ἀρχαῖος   “ properly that has been from the beginning original ,  primeval, old, ancient, ...”

The rendering of Bibles such as the KJV which use the word “old” may give the impression that the dragon is just “old” such as an “old” man. The Biblical Greek had a word for “old” in that sense it is “3820 παλαιός palaios”  An example of that is at Mr 2:22  “ And  no man  putteth  new wine  into  old <3820> bottles: else  the new  wine ...”

For me then, the identify of the great dragon the one called devil and satan in Rev 12:9 identifies the snake (sly adversary).  Jesus identified the devil as a murder or man-slayer from the start (or beginning) and the father of the lie.  This seems to be a clear reference to events in Eden.

Bellow are two partly finished posts I started to reply to  you with, but as I wrote I started going in different directions.  They will not make complete sense as I never finished them, but you may be able to glean some extra information from them that may be helpful.


_______________________________________________________________________
Hi Cos,

Thanks for that link to the Christadelphian wed site. It was an interesting read.  In the opening portion of that article was this paragraph with a series of questions. (I numbered them)

Quote
“Of course there are real difficulties about accepting such an idea.  (1) If the devil was a real angel to begin with, how ever did he come to revolt against God? (2) And why does God allow a supernatural being to destroy His work in the earth?  (3) Where is the devil now, anyway?  (4) And how can he really work?
End Quote

Q 1 I want go into detail again about this but I do provide a reply to that in my previous post.  Briefly  the answer is found at James 1:13-15 .  They willingly apply to  humans and it also applies to spirit sons of God as per me earlier examples.

Besides the main instigator of the rebellion we are told that other sons of God rebelled and left their rightful place in heaven..  They allowed their desire to cohabit with woman over take them.
Genesis 6:2 “the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose.”

We know that this refers to angels that forsook they rightful place because of what is recorded at 2 Peter 2:4 “For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment”  and at Jude1:6 “And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day;”

Q 2 God isn't allowing a supernatural being to destroy his work on worth.  A very important question was raised. That question was to do with Gods sovereignty or right to rule.  The words that are recorded as the ones tempting Eve I will use the RSV as that is the one that was used on that web page.  At Genesis 3:5 the temptation was “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."   

Reasoning on that text where would a human get the idea that there was a possibility to even be like God when there are no other examples of authority to observe. Satan being a spirit son of God who who had witnessed the formation of the the physical universe the perpetration of the earth and finally the creation of other intelligent creatures that he was superior over could well think that it would be a good idea to have these new creations worship himself and not God. He is also in a higher positions to humans new what it was like to see other intelligent creatures as subservient and he wanted that. (James 1:13-15 )

(Hebrews 2:7,9 tells us that Jesus was made lower than angels to become a human “7  Thou didst make him for a little while lower than the angels,.... 9 But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels,”  however that may be a problem with  a Christadelphian as I understand that they do not believe in a pre-existence of Jesus, but any way, the principle is there that humans are lower than angels )

So now we have a situation where all of Gods spirit creatures have been exposed to the idea that maybe God does not have the right to be the universal sovereign.  The various texts quoted last time show that  there is now a ruler of this world.

Q 3 The Bible tells us that the Devil was cast out of heaven and confined to the realms of the earth, knowing that he had a short time to live before being forever destroyed.  “9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Rev 12:9 ) “ 20:10 ..and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire... 13 ... This is the second death, the lake of fire”  (Rev 20:10,13 )

Q 4  The view the writer of that article takes is “They [people who believe in a devil] think it is the devil that secretly whispers in your ear and tempts you to evil.”

It would appear as if their idea of what “people” perceive satan to be is that he constantly literally tries to temp us.  No wonder they turn to  James 1:13-15 so quickly.  Texts mentioned in the last post show that Satan is the ruler or prince of the world. As such he has great authority and power

Thayers Greek Lexicon at http://biblehub.com/greek/1140.htm

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Hi Cos

First thank you for being patient while examined this idea that Christadelphian's that satan is not a real fallen angel

Second I want to apologise for the way I have put this material together.  I am the sort of person that must do his best to prove everything.  I do not like just being told something without trying to discover tangible proof.  So in preparing an answer I went and found  a lot of information on the what Hebrew and Greek words are used, and, how they were used by different Bible writers, and how translators rendered those words.  I had started to put together so much detail, I started getting lost in where and how I was recording it.  I also found it very difficult to try to put the details I require to accept a subject  into a shorter coherent format.  To me what I have produced bellow makes sense but that is according to the way I think.  I have been told that I think and process information differently from most people, so what is to follow may seem disjointed.  I have tried my best to make it flow.  I have also tried hard not to go back over and include to much of what I have already posted.

Quoting from that web site it seems I have to agree with this statement..

“Many of us have had the experience of discussing the devil and Satan with others and have found that the discussion does not seem to get anywhere.”  

From my personal point of view, form extra reading I have done on the Christadelphians, I would say that one of the reasons why the discussion does not go anywhere, is, that the to explain the idea of a personal Satan, the discussion leads into subjects that they do not believe in such as mankind being made perfect without  sin in him (more later), and the pre-human existence of Jesus.  When Jesus spoke of Satan, we say that he did so from personal experience of having seen what happened in Eden and was there when Satan entered into Gods presence at the time of Job.  A new subject then has to be raised and established to show that Jesus knew about who he was referring to and why Satan could tempt him with the kingdoms of the earth.  The article does not discuss the temptations of Jesus in detail but just says it was his human nature.  The nature of those temptations show that the one tempting Jesus was in deed very powerful with great authority over the world. That is not the description of any one man on earth at that time.  (see details above in previous posts)


In the last paragraph of your question you wrote

QUOTE
To show that the Devil is a real person we must show that only an actual person can speak to another person, and that only an actual person can be called a liar and a father, with the ability to think and rebel, these are the attributes of a real person, 
end quote.

From the little I knew of Christadelphians, I too was under the impression that  they saw the devil as an “internal struggle” that we humans have, so I set about trying to show that “that only an actual person can speak to another person, and that only an actual person can be called a liar and a father, with the ability to think and rebel, these are the attributes of a real person ”.  Then I read that link you provided and it seems that they have a second way of explaining the word satan (or adversary).  If that web site correctly portrays their beliefs then, the word satan is not limited to an abstract idea but can be a real person. So we have an internal statan our sinful nature and an external satan that refers to an individual, but not a fallen angel.

That I understood  is from what was written about in the account of Job.  The web site says ….“So the “sons of God” among whom “Satan” came (in Job chapter 1) need not be angels in heaven; they could be people on the earth . ”...   This reasoning suggests that Satan was one of the humans on earth that conversed with God at this assembly as it was not unusually for mankind to come  together to worship or praise God.   They have no problems here making assumptions.  The idea behind this assumption is that in various places we are told of individuals including  Moses, Joshua, The nation of Israel and Mary presented themselves before God. (They refer to Deuteronomy 31:14; Joshua 24:1; 1 Samuel 10:19; Luke 2:22-24 )  

They then tend to lead readers astray with the reason that the phrase “the sons of God”...  “in the Bible as a whole it is often used of men and women who really worship God.”  That raises the question is that correct.  Bellow are all the places in the OT where that phrase is used as per the RSV

 Genesis 6:2  the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose.
Genesis 6:4  The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.
Deuteronomy 32:8  When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of men, he fixed the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God
Job 1:6  Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.
Job 2:1  Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD.
Job 38:7  when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

It is interesting that the article acknowledges that at Job 38:7 the sons of God refers to angels.  What about the other occurrences, do they refer to angels as well?

Genesis 6:2,4 refers to angels?  How do we know?  Peter refers to those sons of God that forsook their rightful place in disobedience to their creator before the flood as spirits

I Peter 1:19,20 “19  in which he [the resurrected Jesus] went and preached to the spirits in prison,
20  who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah,”

2 Peter 2:4 “For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell [Tartarus]
and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment;”

Jude also mentions these ones under inspiration Jude 1:6</v> “And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day;”

What about <b>Deuteronomy 32:8
? That sounds like an assembly of humans.  The majority of English Bibles say of those last few words “according to the number of the children of Israel.”  My two Hebrew interlinears and the  on line interlinear http://biblehub.com/interlinear/deuteronomy/32-8.htm all say “Israel”  I do not know what Hebrew text the RSV was using as the base master text .  Perhaps they used the Greek Septuagint as Sir Lancelot's English rendering of the LXX says “according to the number of the angels of God.“

The RSV wasn’t the only  English Bible  to say  “according to the number of the sons of God ” or similar. The English Standard Version reads the same. Other examples were

“ according to the number of the angels of God” The Apostles Bible
“within boundaries under the care of divine guardians.”   Message
“He assigned to each nation a heavenly being,”  Good News Bible

From the context, however it seems very clear that the land was divided according to the population of each tribe as God had promised to give the land to the descendants of  Jacob (Israel)

The web site

So that just leaves “the sons of God” in Job 1:6; 2:1 .  Could this be referring to an assembly of Gods worships?  What does the account tell us about Job.  In Chapter 1 verse 1 we are told that Job “was blameless and upright, one who feared God, and turned away from evil.”  How many people at that time fitted that description. Verse 8 tells us what God says when speaking to Satan “"Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth , a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?".  (see also Job 2:3 ) God does not lie (Hebrews 6:18 ) so there was only one God fearing man at that time.  There is no assembly of earthly “sons of God” that had gathered together to worship him.

Keeping the context of the OT, what conclusion can we get from the way the OT uses the wordings “sons of God”?

How does the NT treat the expressions “sons of God”.  Yes here we find humans being referred to as sons of God and Luke 20:36  is most interesting in this regard as these humans are said to become like the angels after their resurrection to heavenly life   “for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God , being sons of the resurrection.”

The only other places where “sons of God are mentioned have to do with those that put faith in God and his Christ.

Matthew 5:9  "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God .
Romans 8:14  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God .
Romans 8:19  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God ;
Galatians 3:26  for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God , through faith.

Now if this one that is referred to as “Satan” in Job was just a man, then he was a man with supernatural powers.  God had told him that he could test out Jobs integrity by taking away all his earthly belongings.
 
This Satan was allowed to fort of all take away all of Jobs belongings, that included all his herds.  So somehow this man satan organised all these raiders on Jobs herds form the Sabeans and The Chaldeans and for fire from heaven to burn all his sheep, as well as a strong wind to blow down the house with Jobs children in it and finally to “afflicted Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.”  That is one mighty powerful man if it was a man, or it was a fallen angel with supernatural powers.



The article does not go into any detail about the serpent in the garden of Eden except to say “So “the serpent” becomes a symbol in the Bible for the power of sin.”  They view the serpent as a real creature that God cursed to crawl on its belly.

After the animals were created we read “ And God saw that it was good.” (Gen 1:25 )  So God was ;eased with what he created.  Then then created man as the superior organism of this planet with the responsibility to look after it.. One of the first assignments Adam had was to name “every beast of the field and every bird of the air.... and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.” (Gen 2:19 ) The implication is that Adam named these creatures according to they looks and behaviour.  Of the serpent we are told in 3:1 that it “was more subtle than any other wild creature”.  Why would it be descried as that?  Could it possibly be that it already slid on its belly close to the ground?  The serpents as a group were named before the tempting of Eve.

Now the account tells us that the serpent spoke to Eve.  Are we to conclude, then, that God made the serpent as another intelligent creature with the ability to speak and reason and think?

Is there a possibility that the fallen spirit creature was “speaking through“ the serpent just as God spoke through the donkey to Balaam. “Then the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said to Balaam,..” (Numbers 22:28

What about the curse in Gen 3:14 .  Your quote of that text was... " Because of what you have done, you will be the only animal to suffer this curse-- For as long as you live, you will crawl on your stomach and eat dirt. "   

Or as the RSV says    '"Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.' “  

A simple reading of that text tells me that the cures was on one “individual” not the whole set of creatures called serpents.  If the cures was on only one serpent why are all serpents cured to be on their belly? Is it because they were already created that way already?  Now if we take it that Satan was a fallen spirit son of God, then the  behaviour of a serpent in its natural environment, crawling on its belly and flicking its tongue as if to lick up dust, fittingly symbolised Satan’s debased condition. Having previously enjoyed a lofty position as one of God’s angels, he was consigned to the lowly condition of the earth. That explanation works once one exceptes that Satan is actually a “fallen angel”

Both the example of Job and what happened in Eden show that the Christadelphians do acknowledge that the devil could be a real person or thing (serpent).


But what about the idea of Satan being an impersonal internal part of human nature.

There are many texts that show the resiter (Satan) to be a personal

A)He has authority (or power) (Ac 26:18),
B)  tempts (Mt 4:1; 1Co7:5),
C) has designs (2Co 2:11),
D) is able to misrepresent himself and have ministers who are themselves real persons who do
likewise (2Co 11:14),
F) is able to dwell more specifically in one place than another (Re 2:13),
G) misleads (Re 12:9; 20:8),
H) gets angry (Re 12:12),
I) is a father with desires, was once in the truth (Joh 8:44),
J) was a murderer and the father of the lie before sin existed in any human (Joh 8:44),
L) is crafty (Eph 6:11),
M) is not blood and flesh (Eph 6:11, 12),
N)  is able to flee (Jas4:7),
O) can sin and perform works (1Jo 3:8),
Q) has a will of his own (2Ti 2:26),
R) delegates authority (Mt 4:9; Re 13:2),
S) Is the ruler of the world (Joh 13:31; 14:30; 16:11)
T) and its god. - 2Co 4:4.


It is true that Christadelphians will say that these are just personifications of a sinful nature. Any one of these,  or even several,  might be explained as personifications,  but all  of them?

You mentioned Hebrews 2:14 so I want to explore that and the associated texts that they uses.


“14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”


Now, we can not refer to the pronoun “him” above to suggesting a male.  In Greek every word is either masculine, feminine or neuter.  In Greek  a masculine or feminine noun is always represented by a masculine or feminine pronoun.  In English we we use a neuter pro noun “it”  or “whom” or “they” to go with a different gender, in Greek they do not.  The Greek word meaning adversary (devil) is a masculine adjective and must be represented by a masculine pronoun hence we read “him”.

They argue that “...Jesus destroyed the devil. So the devil is “dead”... “  (from that web site you gave me ) But is that what this text is saying, that Jesus destroyed (past tense) the devil and that by his death the devil (sin) is dead?   The RSV uses the words “mighty destroy”.  The Greek word here is katargēsē

The NAS Exhaustive Concordance  gives this meaning “to render inoperative, abolish “

Strongs Exhaustive Concordance   gives these manings  “ to be (render) entirely idle (useless), literally or figuratively -- abolish, cease, cumber, deliver, destroy, do away, become (make) of no (none, without) effect, fail, loose, bring (come) to nought, put away (down), vanish away, make void.

This particular form the Greek word  katargeó   is found just three times in the NT. Hebrews 2:14 and

1 Corinthians 1:28 “...bring to nothing things ...” RSV

1 Corinthians 15:24 “.. after destroying..” RSV  ( he shall have put down [KJV])


The other interesting word here is “power”.  But what does  “has the power of death” mean in this verse?.

This is the Greek word is  “kratos”  and means “ dominion, strength, power; a mighty deed.”   It is used 12 times  in the NT.  In the RSV at 1Ti 6:16; 1Pe 4:11; 1Pe 5:11; Jude 1:25; Re 1:6    it is translated as Dominion.  Once as strength  4 times as might, once  as mighty.  Other Bibles have different combinations for example

KJV - power 6, dominion 4, strength 1, mighty 1

NAS-dominion 6, might 1, mightily 1, mighty deeds 1, power 1, strength 2

Notice these few renderings of that verse.


“he might put an end to him who had the power of death, that is to say, the Evil One;”  BBE
“ he might annul him who has the might of death, that  is, the devil;”  Darby
““he might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;” - ERV
“he might vanquish him who had the power of death, that is, the devil;” -  LO
“he might bring to nothing the one having the means to cause death, that is, the Devil” - NWT

Paul, here, does not imply that Satan has the ultimate power over death, rather, he is pointing to Satan’s ability or potential to cause death.  It is this potential to cause death that Jesus sacrifice of his life was going to do away with.

Was Jesus born with a sinful nature”


1 ¶  Therefore we must pay the closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.
2  For if the message declared by angels was valid and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution,
3  how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him,
4  while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his own will.
5 ¶  For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking.
6  It has been testified somewhere, "What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou carest for him?
7  Thou didst make him for a little while lower than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honor,
8  putting everything in subjection under his feet." Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.
9  But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one.
10 ¶  For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.
11  For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
12  saying, "I will proclaim thy name to my brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee."
13  And again, "I will put my trust in him." And again, "Here am I, and the children God has given me."
14 ¶  Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil,

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I apologize not completing either of those posts.  As I think I mentioned before this is a subject that I never before  had to prove in any detail, so all the research is new for me.

I hope ALL the information has been of some help.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Brenton,

Thank you for your response.

I respect how you said:

"I am the sort of person that must do his best to prove everything."

Unlike some as the Christadelphians who will refuse outright, and close their mind when shown how the Devil is a person because it conflicts with what they have been taught through their religion even though they are shown through the Bible that only a real person can posses the traits and attributes you mention:

A)He has authority (or power) (Ac 26:18),
B)  tempts (Mt 4:1; 1Co7:5),
C) has designs (2Co 2:11),
D) is able to misrepresent himself and have ministers who are themselves real persons who do
likewise (2Co 11:14),
F) is able to dwell more specifically in one place than another (Re 2:13),
G) misleads (Re 12:9; 20:8),
H) gets angry (Re 12:12),
I) is a father with desires, was once in the truth (Joh 8:44),
J) was a murderer and the father of the lie before sin existed in any human (Joh 8:44),
L) is crafty (Eph 6:11),
M) is not blood and flesh (Eph 6:11, 12),
N)  is able to flee (Jas4:7),
O) can sin and perform works (1Jo 3:8),
Q) has a will of his own (2Ti 2:26),
R) delegates authority (Mt 4:9; Re 13:2),
S) Is the ruler of the world (Joh 13:31; 14:30; 16:11)
T) and its god. - 2Co 4:4.

Your comment was spot on when you said;

"It is true that Christadelphians will say that these are just personifications of a sinful nature. Any one of these, or even several, might be explained as personifications, but all of them?"

Sadly only someone who is blinded by their religion would dismiss out of hand these clear Biblical truths you mention?

Which now brings me to another even more important matter, in this, your religion is in complete harmony with the teachings of the Christadelphians, and that is regarding the personality of the Holy Spirit.

They, as do JWs, maintain the idea that the Holy Spirit is not an actual person.

If someone were to show that the Holy Spirit is an actual person by using the same method you have used to show that the Devil is actual person, why reject the fact?

The personality of the Holy Spirit is brought out so clearly in many Scriptures,

The Holy Spirit
1) hears - John 16:13.
2) speaks - Acts 8:29, 10:19-20, 1 Tim 4:1.
3) teaches - 1 Cor. 2:13,
4) bears witness - John 15:26
5) reveals - John 16:13-14
6) forbids - Acts 16:6-7
7) comforts - Acts 9:31
8) convicts - John 16:7-8
9) has a mind - Rom. 8:27
10) loves - Rom. 15:30
11) wills - 1 Cor. 12:11
12) can be grieved - Eph 4:30
13) can be blasphemed - Matt. 12:31
14) can be lied to - Acts 5:3-4
15) intercedes for us - Rom. 8:26-27
16) guides - John 16:13
17) chooses - Acts 13:1-4
18) is equated with the father and the Son - Matt. 28:19, 2 Cor. 13:14


Any one of these, or even several, might be explained as personifications, but all of them?

Answer
HI Cos,

Nice to hear from you again. Sorry for the delay My computer has had viruses and spy-ware on it that has taken me a couple 0of days to track down and remove.

I thought  my last answer might have brought about a response from you or another reader about the holy spirit.   I agree with you, that on the surface there does seem to be an argument for the idea that the holy spirit is a person, especially after I reasoned the way I did on the various aspects that indicate that Satan is a real person.


The NT Greek writers borrowed the  two  words translated  into English as “satan” are Σατανᾶς = Satanas (Aramaic origin) and Σατᾶν Satan (Hebrew Origin) so, they naturally have the same meanings as  what is used in the OT.  We know that the basic meaning is a resistor or adversary.  As shown in our previous discussions this “quality” refers to individuals.  It is something that an individual does – they resist- become adversaries.  In Eden the “adversary” there resisted, spoke against God to Eve.     In the Book of Job the adversary challenged God that people only serve him for selfish reasons , that God blesses and protects them.  In the case of Jesus the adversary put temptations in front of him.  Peter was called a “satan” because he was putting an idea of resistance against Gods will and purpose before Jesus. In all cases the words translated as “Satan” clearly points to either one particular “individual”, or, the qualities displayed by an individual that makes them a resistor.  

When we see references to the holy spirit, we understand that this is not an individual, but, something that belongs to God, somethimg a HE owns.  The following texts are just a few where the Greek word for God is in the genitive case demonstrating ownership by God.   (Unless otherwise stated all texts are from the 1910 American Standard Version [ASV] )

Matthew 3:16  And Jesus when he was baptized, went up straightway from the water: and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him;
Matthew 12:28  But if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then is the kingdom of God come upon you.
Romans 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Romans 8:14  For as many as are led bythe Spirit of God , these are sons of God.
1 Corinthians 2:11  For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man, which is in him? even so the things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God .
1 Corinthians 2:14  Now the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God : for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged.
1 Corinthians 3:16  Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1 Corinthians 7:40  But she is happier if she abide as she is, after my judgment: and I think that I also have the Spirit of God .
1 Corinthians 12:3  Wherefore I make known unto you, that no man speaking in the Spirit of God saith, Jesus is anathema; and no man can say, Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit.
1 John 4:2  Hereby know ye the Spirit of God : every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

To understand if the holy spirit exists on its own  as a separate individual, or, is owned by someone else, namely God there are other details that we need to consider in relation to the holy spirit.  We need to look at how the original words in Hebrew and Greek are used.

In both Hebrew and Greek, the words generally  translated as “spirit” have the same basic meaning.  That is, in  both  Hebrew (ruʹach)  and Greek (pneuʹma) the words have a first meaning of wind, breath,
Strongs Greek Lexicon also tells us that pneuma is  “a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze;  the mental disposition a person of, etc., or an invisible heavenly “person” ie God, the angels etc.”

What it actually is telling us that “ruach and “pneuma” refer to forces that we can not see.   The Greek word “pneuma” is where we get our words such as pneumonia (a disease of the lungs), pneumatic (to be powered by air ie tyres on a car)

The wind is an unseen force but we can see the effects of it.  God and the angels (both good and bad) are unseen forces (spirits with personality).  We can not see them but we do see the effect that they have. So the question that arises is, is the holy spirit also an unseen person with personality, or is it something that belongs to God ie his breath, the unseen force that he uses to accomplish many things. Are the things that the Bible tells us that the “holy spirit” does proof of “personality” or, the effects of the way it is used as a “tool” or “implement”  at the hands of  a skilful operator?

To answer that question we need to look at all the aspects of the holy spirit not just some.  Lets start by assuming that the holy spirit is Gods  breath,  the unseen force that he uses to accomplish many things.  What texts show that the spirit fits that category.


What do we learn from these few texts  

In relation to the  birth of  John the baptist, his parents were told “and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit ,” (Luke 1:15 )

When Mary, the mother of Jesus, visited her cousin Elizabeth, the Bible says that the unborn child in Elizabeth’s womb leaped, “and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit ” (Luke 1:41 )

We are told that the  Zacharias the father of John “was filled with the Holy Spirit ” (Luke 1:67 )  

Other examples where we find individuals being “filled with holy spirit”  are found at  

Acts 2:4
Acts 4:8
Acts 4:31
Acts 13:9

Acts 8:8
“received the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 13:59 “ filled with joy with the Holy Spirit.”

Ephesians 5:18  “And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit;”


[NOTE:  In all  of those texts, the KJV reads “Holy Ghost”,  and ,  the definite article “the” before holy spirit is not in the original Greek, so in English it should read  “.. was filled with holy spirit”. Capitalisation of the words holy and spirit  (ghost) are not called for nor is it implied]

Acts 13:52 is interesting, as it puts the effects of being filled with holy spirit on the same level as the quality  of an emotion  response, as something that a person can be filled with. Being filled with joy is an emotional feeling, an unseen force emanating from within that impels us to act in a given way. Joy is not a person and neither is this text identifying the holy spirit as a person

Ephesians 5:18 was also interesting as it contrasts  the  bad effects  of being intoxicated wine with good effects of being filled with holy spirit.

Acts 6:3 describes for us how 7 men were were be selected  to look after the distribution of food.  These men  were filled with holy spirit  “3  Look ye out therefore, brethren, from among you seven men of good report, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.” (ASV)  The Greek reads slightly different in different “Master Greek Texts”  For example the Greek text that the KJV was rendered form includes the word holy, where as the ASV does not have the word holy. In both Master Greek texts  the definite article is missing)    Besides being filled with (holy) spirit these men were filled with wisdom.  Wisdom, we know and understand to be  something possessed by a person, we can impart wisdom to another person.  So what is meant by (holy) spirit here?  Something God owned / possessed and was in a position to  given away?  Or a person?

Here is a question. Is it reasonable that a person would be “filled” with another person?. How about if the holy spirit was like an invisible force that eliminated from God, his breath or active force, does that sound like something that could be used to fill others with?

When John the Baptiser spoke to his disciples about Jesus as the one who would succeed him, John said
“...he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire:”  (Matthew 3:11 )   The baptism that John performed was complete water immersion, covering all parts of the body in water.   Is it reasonable to conclude that John was referring to holy spirit as a person when he spoke of baptising people with it?  But, again, if  holy spirit was a force, breath form God, the means that he uses to accomplish things , does that  sound like something that one could be baptised in?

Luke records something quite interesting about holy spirit here at Acts 2:17 “...in the last days, saith God, I will pour forth of my Spirit upon...”   Lets look at the use of the word pour.   This Greek word (ἐκχέω = ekcheo)   basically means to “gush forth, pour out, shed, spill.” and is used for the pouring out  (shedding) of blood or poring out wine. In the KJV this word is used 28 times in the following ways - “pour out 12, shed 4, shed forth 1, spill 2, run out 1, shed 5, run greedily 1, shed abroad 1, gush out 1.”

Ask yourself, what is being recorded here?  Is this telling us that if the holy spirit had personality, was actually a living individual, that this, someone is actually  being poured out (like blood, water, wine) on many different people?  Or does it better fiyt the explanation that it is God's breath, active force?

In Acts 10:38 we find another remarkable aspect of holy spirit.  Speaking about Jesus we are told  “how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power:”

Strongs Greek Lexicon says of the  word anointed   “ through the idea of contact; to smear or rub with oil”.   Kings and priests in the past were anointed by the rubbing of oil over the head of the person. So, here we have holy spirit being put on the same level as the fluid oil and Jesus is this anointed with it as both King and High Priest.

Just a little further down at Acts 10:44,45 we are told how holy spirit fell not only on the household of Cornelius but also on other Gentiles.  Again, if holy spirit was a person in what manner could it fell on so many people? But, if it was Gods breath, his active force, something that he could actually give to help others, would that fit the idea of holy spirit falling on people?

And at 2 Corinthians 6:6 holy spirit is included among a number of different qualities.

2 Corinthians 6:4-8  “4  but in everything commending ourselves, as ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5  in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; 6  in pureness, in knowledge, in long suffering, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit , in love unfeigned, 7  in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8  by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true;” (ASV)

I will reproduce this from the NWT

2 Corinthians 6:3-8 . . .; 4 but in every way we recommend ourselves as God’s ministers, by the endurance of much, by tribulations, by times of need, by difficulties, 5 by beatings, by imprisonments, by riots, by hard work, by sleepless nights, by times without food; 6 by purity, by knowledge, by patience, by kindness, by holy spirit , by love free from hypocrisy, 7 by truthful speech, by God’s power; through the weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left, 8 through glory and dishonor, through bad report and good report. We are regarded as deceivers and yet we are truthful. “

If the holy spirit was a person why is it included among all these qualities?  I found it interesting that again the ASV and the KJV and others include the definite article “the” before holy spirit when it is not in the Greek Text, nor is it before any of the other qualities mentioned in this text.  The conclusion I come to, is, that due to theological bias, translators have inserted “the” and capitalised Holy Spirit.  When we read the NWT of the same text, the holy spirit correctly is put on the same level as all the other qualities, no definite article and no capitalisation.

Now you have nicely provided a list of texts that indicate to you  that the holy spirit is a person, has personality. How do they fit into the picture?

Well we have to remember what Hebrews 6:18 tells us “it is impossible for God to lie”  and also at Titus 1:2 “which God, who cannot lie,”.  There are no contradictions in the Bible.  If there are some things that seem to be contradictory there must be another explanation.

Is there any other way of explaining the idea that a person can fill another person, or that a person can actually be baptised that is fully immersed in another person, or that one person can be used as the anointing oil to anoint another, or that one person can fall upon many different individuals?   Are any of these figures of speech? Is the holy spirit being personified in those ways?

Is there any way, according to the Bible, that an impersonal  force or some other  impersonal “thing” can teach, lead, speak, comfort, be grieved etc.  Or are these figures of speech, just ways of personifying something that has no personality.

I just want to mention a few here. Would we say that the following  “things” are individuals and have personality.  Death, wisdom, sorrow, sighing

What personifications does the Bible make about these “things” “

Romans 5:14 “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses,” (ASV)  The word rendered as reigned basically means to “to be king, to exercise kingly power,”  or to be a governor or magistrate.   That word picture puts death in a very hight position as a person .   We naturally know from what else that is written about death, that this verse is not teaching us that death is a person. We dismiss such an idea straight away.  

In <Proverbs 1:20,21</b> we are told that wisdom cries and has a lowd voice “ 20 Wisdom crieth aloud in the street; She uttereth her voice in the broad places; 21  She crieth in the chief place of concourse; At the entrance of the gates, In the city, she uttereth her words:”   Take your time to Just think about how this impersonal  wisdom might be said to speak and cry out. The same principles for that are applied to the holy spirit.

In Matthew 11:19 we are told that wisdom has works “19  The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold, a gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! And wisdom is justified by her works.” The feminine pronoun “her” is used because in Greek the word for wisdom is feminine.  Again, take the time to contemplate how the works of an impersonal  wisdom may be manifest in each one of us.

Luke 7:35 “And wisdom is justified of all her children.”  Was Wisdom literally a person that had children?   What sort of children would wisdom have?

We are told in Isaiah 35:10 that sorrow and sighing flee  “and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”  Do they literally run flee as we would?

Now it is true that there are a lot more texts that personify the holy spirit.  Are these texts just that personifications of Gods breath, his active force, or are they actually referring to a real person with personality?

While some Bible texts say that the spirit speaks, when we look at other texts, we see that the spirit does not speak of its own, but speaks through others such as humans or angels.   Matthew 10:19,20  we are told that spirit of God (the holy spirit) speaks via an agency “19  But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what ye shall speak. 20  For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.”    Reading that carfully we see that the spirit belongs to God, he has ownership of it . The similar situation is recorded at Acts 4:24,25   “24  And they, when they heard it, lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, O Lord, thou that didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that in them is: 25  who by the Holy Spirit , by the mouth of our father David thy servant,”  Reading this carefully, we see God is speaking (the “who ”) by the Holy Spirit , and then by David.  This is easy to follow when we understand that the holy spirit is God's breath.  He speaks and his invisible breath (force) carries his words.

Also Acts 28:25 “ And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Spirit through Isaiah the prophet unto your fathers,” [In this text the definite article “the” is used 5 times, but In English it is missing  3 times in the ASV.   The text literally reads  “discordant   moreover   being   with   one-another   they-departed   having-spoken   the Paul  word   one  that  rightly   the   spirit   the   holy   spoke   through   Isaiah   the   prophet   to   the   father   of   us ”  The point of presenting this is that I need to do more research into when and why the definite article is actually used, as its use does not necessitate capitulation of nouns even when it is used.]

The point I wanted to highlight is. that taking the idea that the spirit is Gods breath it was actually God speaking via means of the spirit through Isaiah, and not an individual that is called the holy spirit.

One important aspect of the Greek gramma in regard to the  word  pneuma is, that it is never spoken of in the masculine gender.   The personal pronouns that accompany pneuma are always in the neuter gender because  pneuma is a neuter word.   Any Bible that refers to the holy spirit with masculine pronouns are being unfaithful to Greek Gramma and doing so out of theological bias.  But what about John 16 :13,14 , even the NWT uses the masculine pronouns “he” and “his” here, it reads “ However, when that one comes, the spirit of the truth, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak of his own initiative, but what he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things to come. 14 That one will glorify me, because he will receive from what is mine and will declare it to you.”

Actually those masculine pronouns do not refer back the word “spirit”.  They refer to verse 7 and  the word Παράκλητος = paraklētos.  This is a masculine word and in  its widest meaning refers to “a helper  succorer, aider, assistant” Thayer's Greek Lexicon.   The ASV, ERV and the KJV and several others translate this word as comforter, while others such as the BBE, Diaglot, EMTV, ESV, GNB, GWV, NAS, to name a  few use helper.  Still others use advocate such as the NIV, NLT.  The HCSB uses councilor .


The NWT also uses the word helper here as well as in John 15:26.

Can an impersonal force be a helper?   Even in our language we can use the word helper to refer to a non person.

For example.  I have for a long time dreamt about a fishing kayak to go fishing with.  Due to my back problems I could not sit and use the oars to paddle a kayak for any period of time.  I have seen two different makers of kayaks that have helpers built into them that would enable me to go fishing.  These two manufactures have a pedal system to them.  You pedal like being on a bicycle.  The other helper is, that they both can be fitted with small masts and I could have a sail.  That means that when I could no longer paddle, or pedal the wind would help me get to my destination. (its nice to dream of buying such a craft )

How could an impersonal force be a helper?  Below is some information from a 2003 Watchtower article

QUOTE
While with his apostles on the last evening before his sacrificial death, Jesus spoke about yet another provision that his heavenly Father had made to comfort them. Jesus said: “I will request the Father and he will give you another helper [ or comforter; Greek, pa·raʹkle·tos] to be with you forever, the spirit of the truth.” Jesus assured them: “The helper, the holy spirit, . . . will teach you all things and bring back to your minds all the things I told you.” (John 14:16, 17, 26) How did the holy spirit actually bring comfort to them?

The apostles had received extensive teaching by Jesus. They would certainly never forget the experience, but would they remember what he actually said? Would important instructions be lost because of their imperfect memories? Jesus assured them that the holy spirit would ‘bring back to their minds all the things he had told them.’ Thus, some eight years after Jesus’ death, Matthew was able to write the first Gospel, in which he recorded Jesus’ heartwarming Sermon on the Mount, his numerous illustrations concerning the Kingdom, and his detailed discussion of the sign of his presence. More than 50 years later, the apostle John was able to write a reliable account filled with extensive details about the last few days of Jesus’ earthly life. How encouraging these inspired records have been right down to our day!

More than simply bringing words back to their minds, the holy spirit taught the disciples and guided them to a fuller understanding of God’s purpose. While Jesus was yet with his disciples, he told them things that they did not then clearly understand. Later, however, moved by holy spirit, John, Peter, James, Jude, and Paul wrote explanations of further developments in God’s purpose. Thus the holy spirit served as a teacher, giving valuable assurance of divine direction.

The miraculous gifts of the spirit also helped to make clear that God had transferred his favor from fleshly Israel to the Christian congregation. (Hebrews 2:4) The fruitage of that spirit in the lives of individuals was also an important factor in identifying those who truly were Jesus’ disciples. (John 13:35; Galatians 5:22-24) And the spirit strengthened the members of that congregation to be bold and fearless witnesses.—Acts 4:31.
End Quote

How can an impersonal force be grieved?  Here are a few quotes

QUOTE
it-1 p. 339 Blasphemy

Since Jesus was God’s Son and direct representative, the things spoken against him may also properly be defined as blasphemy. (Lu 22:65) So, too, since the holy spirit or active force emanates from God and is intimately connected with God’s person, Jesus could speak of “blasphemy against the spirit.” This is stated to be the unforgivable sin. (Mt 12:31; Mr 3:28, 29; Lu 12:10) Blasphemy is shown to originate within one’s heart (Mt 15:19; Mr 7:21, 22); hence the heart condition, manifest in the willfulness involved, must relate to such blasphemy against the spirit. The incident that led to Jesus’ statement concerning the unpardonableness of such sin demonstrates that it refers to opposing the operation of God’s spirit. This would not be because of deception, human weakness, or imperfection; but the opposition would be willful and deliberate. The Pharisees clearly saw God’s spirit at work in Jesus to accomplish good, yet for selfish reasons they attributed this power to Beelzebub, Satan the Devil, thereby blaspheming God’s holy spirit.—Mt 12:22-32; compare Heb 6:4-6; 10:26, 27.
End Quote


QUOTE
Matt. 12:31, 32,  “Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (If the Holy Spirit were a person and were God, this text would flatly contradict the Trinity doctrine, because it would mean that in some way the Holy Spirit was greater than the Son. Instead, what Jesus said shows that the Father, to whom the “Spirit” belonged, is greater than Jesus, the Son of man.)
End Quote

QUOTE
w07 7/15 p. 18 pars. 8-9 Have You Sinned Against the Holy Spirit?  

8 First-century Jewish religious leaders who maliciously opposed Jesus Christ were sinning against the holy spirit. They saw God’s spirit at work in Jesus as he performed miracles that honored Jehovah. Yet, these enemies of Christ attributed this power to Satan the Devil. According to Jesus, those who thus blasphemed against God’s holy spirit were thereby committing a sin that would not be forgiven in the present “system of things nor in that to come.”—Matthew 12:22-32.

9 Blasphemy is defamatory, injurious, or abusive speech. Since the holy spirit has God as its Source , saying things against his spirit is the same as speaking against Jehovah. Unrepentantly resorting to speech of that kind is unforgivable. Jesus’ words about such sin show that Jesus is referring to those who willfully oppose the operation of God’s holy spirit. Because Jehovah’s spirit was at work in Jesus but his opposers ascribed this power to the Devil, they sinfully blasphemed against the spirit. Hence, Jesus declared: “Whoever blasphemes against the holy spirit has no forgiveness forever, but is guilty of everlasting sin.”—Mark 3:20-29
End Quote

The whole line of reasoning I have been trying here, is to show that the holy spirit is owned by God, it is is breath, his active force, when the holy spirit is said to have done or said something, it is because it comes form the ultimate source in the universe, the God and the Father of Jesus Christ.


I will get to your second question that is waiting as soon as I possibly can.

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Brenton Hepburn

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I AM one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I am always learning. I am NOT an expert in the full sense of the word but I can answer questions on the reliability of the NWT - the so called mind control problems-so called prophecies - how being a JW affects the individual and relatives and general practices and history of Jehovah’s Witnesses. >>WARNING<< Please be aware that there are people here who ARE NOT practicing JWs. By all means ask these ones questions. Depending on the question you will get an honest answer, but, generally the answer you get, will mislead you as to what we believe, often because, they do not give ALL the relevant details. These ones will, have an agenda against JWs., and will at times give answers that are not correct in regard to JW teachings and practices. If you are after a answer from one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, please read some of the answers that the various experts have published before choosing someone. If you want to ask one of the NON JWs a question, that is fine, BUT if you want a balancing view after asking one of the NON JWs, ask a JW the same question. PLEASE ALSO NOTE: There(have been)and are, some "experts" here who are NOT always the most courteous and polite, at times are actually quite rude, that applies to both JW's and non JW's and their answers may offend, especially when they get personal and attack the character of the person and not the message. Unfortunately some here that have done that. So it IS IMPORTANT to chose an "expert" that YOU feel will best suit YOU by reading some of their past answers . . . . .

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I have been a publisher since 1964. When I first went on the internet I found a lot of negative information dealing with Jehovah’s Witnesses covering prophecy, mind control and what many said was a very bad translation of the Bible known as the NWT. It shook my faith. After may hours researching these topics I could see why some felt that way, but, I was also able to explain why there were these misleading views. I can now set matters straight for anyone that has negative information about Jehovah’s Witness to show them that such information is at best misleading and at worst dangerous lies.

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I have been a student of the Bible for many years, am trying to teach myself Biblical Greek. Was a public tax accountant for many years untill SEP 2009 when I gave it up due to health problems.

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