Wednesday, June 02, 2021

The reason for the name


Why have Jehovah’s Witnesses chosen the name “Jehovah” when that is known to derive from a hybrid of the vowels for Adonai on the Tetragrammaton YHWH?

“Because that form of the divine name has a long history in the English language.”[1] This is shown in two examples:
[1] Explaining why he used “Jehovah” instead of “Yahweh” in his 1911 work Studies in the Psalms, respected Bible scholar Joseph Bryant Rotherham said that he wanted to employ a “form of the name more familiar (while perfectly acceptable) to the general Bible-reading public.” [2] In 1930 scholar A. F. Kirkpatrick made a similar point regarding the use of the form “Jehovah.” He said: “Modern grammarians argue that it ought to be read Yahveh … but JEHOVAH seems firmly rooted in the English language, and the really important point is not the exact pronunciation, but the recognition that it is a Proper Name, not merely an appellative title like ‘Lord.’” (brackets, ellipsis and underscore added)[2]
Thus, the fact that “Jehovah” was not the original pronunciation is irrelevant. (By way of comparison, “Jesus” is also not the original pronunciation.) Additionally, the indication that YHWH was originally disyllabic is relevant on a historical level, but it does not inform the reason for choosing the name Jehovah. The reason for choosing “Jehovah” was stated succinctly above, because of its “long history in the English language.”

In fact, Jehovah’s Witnesses have even made known the origins of “Jehovah” and the likely disyllabic pronunciation of YHWH. This is seen in the Insight books under “Jehovah.” Under “Correct Pronunciation of the Divine Name,” it states:
“Jehovah” is the best known English pronunciation of the divine name, although “Yahweh” is favored by most Hebrew scholars.
Then, after asking “What is the proper pronunciation of God’s name?,” it states:
In the second half of the first millennium C.E., Jewish scholars introduced a system of points to represent the missing vowels in the consonantal Hebrew text. When it came to God’s name, instead of inserting the proper vowel signs for it, they put other vowel signs to remind the reader that he should say ʼAdho·naiʹ (meaning “Sovereign Lord”) or ʼElo·himʹ (meaning “God”). … Hebrew scholars generally favor “Yahweh” as the most likely pronunciation. They point out that the abbreviated form of the name is Yah (Jah in the Latinized form), as at Psalm 89:8 and in the expression Ha·lelu-Yahʹ (meaning “Praise Jah, you people!”). (Ps 104:35; 150:1, 6) Also, the forms Yehohʹ, Yoh, Yah, and Yaʹhu, found in the Hebrew spelling of the names Jehoshaphat, Joshaphat, Shephatiah, and others, can all be derived from Yahweh.[3]
Thus, when the scribes confronted YHWH, they would place the vowels of Adonai on it. (See below.) If read with those vowels, you get the hybrid trisyllabic vocalization of “Yehowah.” When the scribes confronted Adonai YHWH however, they then placed the vowels of Elohim on YHWH, producing a different hybrid trisyllabic vocalization.

Now, when the scribes placed the vowels of Adonai on YHWH, they ran into a grammatical conflict and had to alter the first vowel point: the compound shewa on the aleph (A) of Adonai became a simple shewa because of the yodh (Y) of YHWH. See Figure 1[4]:

Figure 1

I think it’s kind of funny that the scribes ran into a grammatical problem when they tampered with the sacred Tetragrammaton, don’t you?

Additional Information
For additional reading and information, please see: A Word of Advice
Some insist that YHWH was originally trisyllabic in an effort to defend “Jehovah.” This is unnecessary. We can accept the explanations above. As Geoffrey Jackson warned, we could get “side-tracked” over the original pronunciation of YHWH, even turning this into a toxic issue.[5] There is even a meme in circulation on social media where YHW, the first three letters of YHWH, are in a box labeled “Yeho,” with the final W labeled as “wah” to support “Yehowah.” The problem with this is “Yeho” is an assumption, for the first syllable is more appropriately “Yah” (YH), with WH forming the last syllable. Thus, for that meme to work, there would have to be another W, YHWWH!

Lastly, it is notable that YHWH is abbreviated as Yah or Jah, YH. We know this pronunciation without any controversy or question. Jah is also notably connected to YHWH in Isaiah 12:2 and 26:4, making the first syllable YH of YHWH naturally follow.

This emphasizes that we do not demand one pronunciation over another, and we do not oppose Yahweh either. Doing any of these is a mistake.

Conclusion
Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses use “Jehovah”? Due to its long, established popularity in ENGLISH.

The end.

Footnotes:
[1] New World Translation, 2013. Appendix A4: The Divine Name in the Hebrew Scriptures www.jw.org/en/library/bible/study-bible/appendix-a/tetragrammaton-divine-name
See also the June 2015 JW Broadcast www.jw.org/en/library/videos/#en/mediaitems/StudioMonthlyPrograms/pub-jwb_201506_1_VIDEO
[2] ibid.
[3] wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200002391
[4] From “The Yehovah Deception” by the Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry, a Sacred Name movement. yrm.org/yehovah-deception
[5] June 2015 JW Broadcast at the 9:36 and 15:25 minute marks. www.jw.org/en/library/videos/#en/mediaitems/StudioMonthlyPrograms/pub-jwb_201506_1_VIDEO

See also: “Jehovah” or “Yahweh”? jimspace3000.blogspot.com/2015/06/jehovah-or-yahweh.html

Credits: Opening graphic from JW.org with colors reversed.

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Monday, April 26, 2021

Facebook Fact-checks Easter Meme

Usually, censorship is considered to be a bad thing, stifling freedom of speech. The popular social media giant Facebook though has utilized a fact-checking system to impede access to media considered to be ill-informed, thus stifling the spread of bigotry fueled by blatant misinformation, to “curb the spread of false news.”[1] This was first seen with social and political issues. I wondered if it would eventually include religious issues, and recently it has—to my exquisite delight.

In my previous blog entry “Easter Ishtar?”[2] I expressed great caution and disdain over connecting those two words Easter and Ishtar together because they may sound similar. Every year during Springtime too I had to endure an incredibly obnoxious meme posted on Facebook that was loaded with historical errors and propaganda. It is this meme that has now felt the fury of Facebook fact-checking.

Its fact-checking system justifies blocking that meme by referring to this article: “Easter not derived from name of ancient Mesopotamian goddess.”[3] Indeed, adding insult to injury for ones spreading that meme around is that it may not even be depicting Ishtar. Currently that goddess is called “The Queen of the Night,” but her specific name remains elusive.[4]

Good riddance! (This also includes all other similar memes spreading the same deceptive propaganda of Easter=Ishtar.)

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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Did Russell Want Followers?



Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916) expressed a number of times if he wanted to start a following around himself. Significantly, he is reported to have said: “Take your eyes off me, dear friends, and fix them on the Lord.”[1] There is documented corroboration for this statement. For instance, he wrote in 1896 under the subheading “Worshipping Fellow Messengers”:
while we appreciate the love, sympathy, confidence and fellowship of fellow-servants and of the entire household of faith, we want no homage, no reverence, for ourselves or our writings; nor do we wish to be called Reverend or Rabbi. Nor do we wish that any should be called by our name. … Nor would we have our writings reverenced or regarded as infallible, or on a par with the holy Scriptures.[2]
Some fourteen years later in a 1910 convention discourse, he declared:
Another thing: Some of the dear brethren seem to find as much about Brother Russell in the Bible as they find about the Lord Jesus, and I think that is a great mistake. I do not find it there. Some of them say that I am blinded on that subject, that they all can see better than I can. Perhaps they can, I do not know, but I think, dear friends, that there is a danger in that direction, and I would like to put you all on guard. … And yet I think there is a danger of some dear friends preaching Brother Russell. Brother Russell would like for you not to do so. He thinks it would not be to the glory of God. … But let us not go into anything that would be at all like man-worship, for I am sure that would be displeasing to the Lord and injurious to ourselves. … but [Brother Russell] does not want any worship, he does not want any undue adoration, he does not want any praise. He is glad to have the love of all those who are brethren of the Lord and to be considered a fellow-servant with all.[3]
Thus Russell made it very clear—just six years before his death—that he saw great spiritual danger in having a following, was in obvious opposition to it, and wanted no part of it. He warned against it. Thus, viewing him as a spiritual ancestor is to reduce religion and spirituality to superficial lines on a chalkboard—where the line connecting followers to him is as relevant and thick as the layer of chalk is.

Footnotes:
[1] James Parkinson, Troubled Waters, Bible Student Fragments 1917-1967, page 6 n. 11. This states specifically that:
Edith Hoskins testified in 1929 that Pastor C.T. Russell “used to say, ‘Take your eyes off me, dear friends, and fix them on the Lord.’”
This testimony was given at “The Pittsburgh Reunion Convention” which “was held at the old Bible House 1929 November 1-3, with at least 150 attending.” (page 6)
http://www.biblestudentarchives.com/documents/TroubledWaters.pdf

[2] December 15th, 1896 Zion’s Watch Tower, “Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness.” NO. 2., R2080; 306. https://htdb.space/1896/r2079.htm

[3] “Church Federation—Part IV,” Convention Report Sermons, 124. https://htdb.space/MISC/CR.htm#CR124

Appendix
Does the Governing Body Want Followers?

An immediate response to the above may be: Do the men taking the lead among Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Governing Body, want followers of themselves?

Two quotes from them immediately come to mind:
In order to avoid misunderstandings, Jehovah’s Witnesses try to be careful about how they express themselves. Instead of saying, “the Society [or Governing Body] teaches,” many Witnesses prefer to use such expressions as, “the Bible says” or, “I understand the Bible to teach.” In this way they emphasize the personal decision that each Witness has made in accepting Bible teachings and also avoid giving the false impression that Witnesses are somehow bound to the dictates of some religious sect.[A1]
Are you ready to defend your beliefs? For example, if someone wants to know why you do not take part in some unscriptural custom or practice, do not be satisfied with saying, “It’s against my religion [or the Governing Body].” Such an answer may suggest that you let others [the Governing Body] make your decisions for you and that you must therefore be a member of a cult. It might be better to say, “God’s Word, the Bible, forbids it” or, “It would displease my God.” Then give a reasonable explanation as to why.—Romans 12:1.[A2]
So on one hand, we follow the basic, principle teachings disseminated by them in order to function as Jehovah’s Witnesses. On the other hand, we are not bound to the Governing Body as their followers, but make Bible teachings our own (we do not robotically say “my leaders told me so”).

More recently, the Governing Body said: “The Governing Body is neither inspired nor infallible. Therefore, it can err in doctrinal matters or in organizational direction.”[A3]

So at this point these statements make it blindingly obvious that they do not want followers of themselves, but are directing our primary teachings and the ministry.

Therefore this claim that they want followers betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of their intent, and collapses under its own weight.

Footnotes:
[A1] The Watchtower 1998 3/15 “Living Up to Christian Dedication in Freedom” page 19
wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1998207#h=6

[A2] The Watchtower 2002 8/15 “Follow Me Continually” page 18
wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2002604#h=14

[A3] The Watchtower 2017.02 4:12, page 26. wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2017283#h=23 Or, as the Simplified Edition put it: “The Governing Body is neither inspired nor perfect. It can make mistakes when explaining the Bible or directing the organization.”—page 24.
wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/402017283#h=23

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Thursday, April 01, 2021

A surprising eye-witness?


A nightmare text for the “Biblical Unitarian” Christological prehuman-existence denier camp would be where someone who was privy to the happenings of God’s Court before Jesus’ birth saw him (the one who would become Jesus) there in God’s Court before his earthly sojourn, and then spoke of that during his earthly sojourn, which was then recorded in the Gospels. In other words, if someone said something along the lines of: “Hey when I was in God’s Court, I saw you there before you left to be born on earth!” That would be a fatal blow to denying Christological prehuman-existence.

But we may indeed have such a text in Mark 1:23-24 and Luke 4:33-34, where a demon-possessed man identified Jesus as “the Holy One of God.” Here it was the demon speaking through one of the Synagogue congregants identifying Jesus that way, calling him by a title previously applied to the prophet Elisha. (2 Kings 4:9) Now, it may be significant that he did not identify him as the Messiah of God,[1] but as “the Holy One of God.”[2] Jesus in a prehuman, pre-Christ-existence would indeed fit that description.

In response, a popular Biblical Unitarian, Dr. Dale Tuggy, in a podcast was confronted with this case from Mark 1:23-24, and rejoined:
What? (ha ha) That’s an interesting claim, I mean, is the presupposition that Jesus in his prehuman existence is like hobnobbing with the demons somehow? So like “Oh I remember that guy!” How did the demons have their special knowledge of his identity as the son of God, as God’s messiah? I don’t know. I don’t think the text tells us, and I don’t know why you would assume that this requires preexistence either.[3]
Well, first, it’s evidence that the angel who became that demon was associating with “the Holy One of God” before his birth as Jesus. Dale is being overly skeptical and dismissive here. At least acknowledge that it can be interpreted to allow for the demons being angels witnessing prehuman-existence. His presupposition is that “the demons were always demons.” But that begs the question, why would God create demons? Clearly they were angels at one point as seen in Jude 1:6.

Consequently, with that objection being deflated, it appears that we have support for Christological prehuman-existence from a surprising source, from a demon who as an angel was an eye-witness of it!

Footnotes:
[1] Contra Anthony F. Buzzard, footnote for Mark 1:24 in The One God, the Father, One Man Messiah Translation.
[2] In another incident with the Gadarene demoniac, the demon(s) called Jesus the “Son of God” (Matthew 8:29) and “Son of the Most High God” (Mark 5:7, Luke 8:28). Mark (NWT) adds that the demon(s) replied to Jesus with “I put you under oath by God not to torment me,” (present tense, not past tense) whereas Matthew records: “Did you come here to torment me before the appointed time?” Luke similarly has: “I beg you, do not torment me.” The NET Bible for Mark 5:7 has: “I implore you by God—do not torment me!” Its footnote here cites the question in Matthew 8:29 and explains: “There was an appointed time in which the demons would face their judgement, and they seem to have viewed Jesus’ arrival on the scene as an illegitimate change in God’s plan regarding the time when their sentence would be executed.” So, this is not a reference to Jesus’ prehuman existence, but the reference to Jesus being the “Son of God” might be. (See also Mark 3:11 and Luke 4:41) While not explicitly identifying him as the Messiah, Luke adds “they knew him to be the Christ” regardless.—Luke 4:41.
Lastly, regarding how they “seem to have viewed Jesus’ arrival on the scene as an illegitimate change in God’s plan” for their final judgement, I imagine it is possible they had in mind a “prophecy” in 1 Enoch 10:12-13, which states that the demons would be restricted for “70 generations” from the time of the Flood until their final “torment and the prison in which they will be confined forever.” According to Luke’s genealogy in Luke 3:23-38, Jesus was the 70th from Enoch, but they may have had anticipated counting 70 generations from Noah.
[3] Trinities Podcast 307: Two Readings of Mark – popular or esoteric? – Part 3, 55:1. trinities.org/blog/podcast-307-two-readings-of-mark-popular-or-esoteric-part-3

Credits:
Picture from: The Truth About Angels www.jw.org/en/library/magazines/watchtower-no5-2017-september/truth-about-angels/

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Friday, March 19, 2021

Satan as a Dragon


Why is Satan depicted as a dragon in Revelation, and a multi-headed one?

Revelation 12:9 calls Satan δράκων (drakon, dragon) and ὄφις (ophis, snake), the later being used in Genesis 3 LXX. 

Revelation 12:3 says he has 7 heads, and this may refer to the apocalyptic heads of δράκων of Psalm 74:13 LXX and the “heads of Leviathan” of 74:14. The NET Bible footnote explains the origin of this imagery: “The imagery of vv. 13-14 originates in West Semitic [Ugaritic] mythology” which had a 7-headed leviathan chaos dragon.

Thus Revelation is harking back to Genesis 3 LXX ὄφις and to the West Semitic “heads of δράκων” imagery of Psalm 74:13, 14.

Lastly, one scholar stated:

“Dragon” (δράκων) is another OT word for the evil sea monster that symbolizes evil kingdoms who oppress Israel. Often the wicked kingdom of Egypt is portrayed by this emblem.[1]
Thus, it is a familiar sight, and even reminds one of the legend of Hercules battling the multi-headed Hydra.

Footnotes:
[1] Gregory Beale, The Book of Revelation (The New International Greek Testament Commentary) (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999), 632.

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Thursday, March 11, 2021

Flat Christology


A “flat Christology” is accepted in the Christological Preexistence-denying Socinian or “Biblical Unitarian” camp.

“Flat Christology” is the explanation that Jesus did not exist before his birth because Jesus only started living at his birth. Not only is this blatant circular reasoning, it is also flat for not accounting for the “Z-axis,” a spirit person entering our realm to be born as a man. It is “flat” for not thinking in three dimensions. It is also (in a play on words) flatulent, as in having unsupported pretensions, for not properly accounting for scriptural descriptions of Christological Preexistence. (See: Jesus’ life before his birth and Regarding Jesus’ Pre-Human Existence.) It bears repeating that Jesus was born from a virgin because he existed before as a spirit person, otherwise a natural birth would have sufficed. Thus, the virgin birth necessitates preexistence.

Documenting this flat Christological flatulence is this declaration that appeared on social media:[1]
John 8:40: Jesus said “I am a man” – not a prehuman angel or GOD.
Preexisting persons are nonsense in English, or any language.
You cannot be before you begin to be.
Think about it.
Yes, let us “think about it.” I’ll even do so with half my brain tied behind my back. In fact, consciousness is optional.

In John 8:40 Jesus called himself “a man” in conversation with murderous opponents, and thus this was clearly not a good time to bring up stuff that would only irritate his opposers. This should have been excruciatingly obvious. It’s rather obnoxious when someone who does not “think about it” chides you to “think about it” when he doesn’t want to “think about it.”

Second, “Preexisting persons are nonsense” only if you deny the spiritual Z-axis, if you think like a two-dimensional flat-lander and not in three-dimensions. This is also seen in “You cannot be before you begin to be.” This is a strawman argument as no one claims Jesus as the son of Mary and Joseph existed before his birth. This strawman betrays a senile two-dimensional mentality and thus winds up ironically attacking anti-Trinitarianism as being unintellectual. One can certainly exist before their appearance on earth just like the three men Abraham encountered in Genesis 18:2 who ate in verse 8 existed as angels prior. These three men are a documented scriptural case of “preexisting persons” not being nonsense.

There is even an entire Apocryphal book dedicated to this theme that no one objected to: Tobit. This book presents Azariah with a verified Jewish genealogy who actually had a pre-human existence as the archangel Raphael![2]

So, let’s “think about it” indeed. Ones falling for this flat Christology need to do just that, which will hopefully result in rejecting the denial of Christ’s glorious pre-human existence.

But this is not the only example. A person I think who should have known better, who should have been more competent considering his prestigious education as a professional philosopher, proclaimed the following:[3]
…it’s common sense that the descendant exists because of his ancestors, and Jesus surely is taught in the NT to have human ancestors, going back through Mary.
Common sense today maybe, or at least within flat Christology, but not common sense to serious Bible readers or for the people who lived in Bible times. Abraham saw that his three physical meal-eating friends preexisted in the spirit realm. The writer of Tobit armed his Galilean Azariah with a verifiable Jewish genealogy and then revealed he existed before that as the angelic Raphael. He portrayed his character as going from one mode of existence to another without violating common sense.

To his credit, the above philosopher also acknowledged that “whether being a man precludes being a pre-existent non-human spirit depends on what one thinks about the metaphysics of human persons.” Rather, it depends on acknowledging the Z-axis of God conveying what is needed to Mary’s son for conscious continuation. There was definitely a sacrifice to come to earth to be born, a sacrifice of being alive and completely conscious. It was a progressive intervention, as indicated at Jesus’ baptism when the heavens were opened. This may have been the final stage of progressive restoration of his pre-human existence, with memories being converted to be held in his brain.[4] None of this is very deep or hard to comprehend, but it does depart from being flat to being lively three-dimensional and results in a richer realization of who Jesus is and what he endured.

Footnotes:
[1] Anthony F. Buzzard, November 19, 2018 on the Facebook group Trinities.
[2] Tobit 5:4, 12-13 has a Galilean named Azariah preexist as the archangel Raphael. As one scholar reported: “Raphael has therefore taken on the guise of a Galilean Israelite with a verifiable history.” He continued: “Raphael, the savior of Tobit, should be understood as a theological template for Jesus’ followers when they identified him as a heavenly savior in human form.” (Phillip Muñoa, Raphael, Azariah and Jesus of Nazareth: Tobit’s Significance for Early Christology. Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha. (2012). 13, 15)
[3] Dale Tuggy, March 10, 2021 on his Facebook group Trinities.
[4] See: Jesus: a Spirit Born on Earth (jimspace3000.blogspot.com/2011/02/jesus-spirit-born-on-earth-jesus-was.html), Figure 1 and Appendix A.


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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Answers to 10 Questions & Answers


They will do no wrong; they will tell no lies. A deceitful tongue will not be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.—Zephaniah 3:13 NIV.

A pamphlet of the “anti-cult” genre entitled “10 Questions & Answers on Jehovah’s Witnesses”[a] attempts to introduce people to Jehovah’s Witnesses and train them in responding to them. (This pamphlet will be referred to hereafter as 10JW.) As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I found this pamphlet to be an exercise in “poisoning the well,” influencing its readers to be bigoted and even at times misinformed about us. Sadly, this is far from surprising, as the anti-cult movement within Evangelical Trinitarianism operates like a cult itself, complete with hate-speech and thought-control. But don’t take my word for it. What follows is a response to statements deserving to be responded to.


Question 1
Its question 1 (Q1) is: “How Did Jehovah’s Witnesses Begin?” Its opening statement sets the general tone for what’s to follow:
Apostasy and Restoration
Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that Christianity fell into general apostasy under Emperor Constantine in the 4th century AD. To restore pure worship in the last days, God appointed Charles Taze Russell (1852–1916), who established the Watchtower organization to provide spiritual truth for Jehovah’s true worshipers through literature such as The Watchtower and Awake! magazines.
This is generally correct, but the “appointed” language needs a citation, and none is provided. This is important for our book Reasoning From the Scriptures states: “Jehovah’s Witnesses do not claim to be inspired prophets. They have made mistakes. Like the apostles of Jesus Christ, they have at times had some wrong expectations.—Luke 19:11; Acts 1:6.”[1] Additionally, we never say he was “appointed,” but was a Bible student and researcher who stood on the shoulders of thinking predecessors, like Adventist George Storrs and Henry Grew.[2] Ironically, 10JW acknowledges this by citing Adventist influence on Russell.

Regarding apostasy, it acknowledges warnings about it as seen in 1 Timothy 4:1, but it then denies a Great Apostasy by saying:
Jesus promised that the “gates of hell” would never “overpower” his church (Matt. 16:18). The apostle Paul also proclaimed that God would receive glory in His church “throughout all generations” (Eph. 3:21).
First, 10JW has embarrassingly and inexcusably misapplied Matthew 16:18 which is obviously about death, not apostasy. That is, the “gates of Hades or the Grave” will not remain closed for Jesus or his congregation. It never ceases to amaze me how many times Trinitarians misapply this glaringly easy-to-understand scripture, reading it like it says “gates of apostasy.” This is an example of failing abysmally at basic reading comprehension, and embarrassingly doing it in print. The RSV even makes it extremely easy to understand, for it has: “powers of death”! The NET Bible footnote similarly presents it as meaning: “the power of death.” There is no hint of apostasy! Second, in Ephesians 3:21 the immediate antecedent of “throughout all generations” is not “church” but “Christ Jesus.” God receives glory “throughout all generations” “by means of Christ Jesus.” Additionally, even though adopting apostate doctrines like Trinitarianism and Hellfire, the mainstream churches still preached Jesus’ ransom and preserved the Bible, and hence God received glory from it “throughout all generations” too. The authors of 10JW would do well to read an article from one Watchtower, which explained that:
Paul recognized that Jehovah was glorified by means of the congregation’s unity. The apostle wrote: “To him be the glory by means of the congregation.”—Eph. 3:21. However, the blessed unity of the Ephesian congregation was threatened. Paul warned the elders: “From among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.” (Acts 20:30) Also, some brothers had not completely left behind the divisive spirit that, Paul warned, “operates in the sons of disobedience.”—Eph. 2:2; 4:22.[3]
Thus, 10JW is guilty of misunderstanding easy-to-understand scriptures (thus questioning their reading comprehension and honesty) and is guilty of isolating Ephesians 3:21 from its context and misreading its structure. 10JW then tries to turn the tables with apostasy under the subheading “Russell and the Bible” by saying:
Scripture warns of a time when people “will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires” (2 Tim. 4:3). Russell did this when he rejected the clear teaching of Scripture on eternal punishment (Matt. 10:28; 25:46; Luke 16:22-29; Rev. 20:10-15).
First, Russell is not our founder nor teacher. Second, we do believe in eternal punishment, but not in eternal punishing: Hellfire, torturing people in climactic pain for eternity. 10JW’s assessment then is quite unfair. Hellfire (1) makes God look ridiculously cruel and malicious, and (2) is not a “clear teaching” as seen in the Evangelical, Trinitarian Rethinking Hell movement with Edward Fudge that holds to “conditional immortality” and not to Hellfire and eternal torture. 10JW then is seen as the real one who is “tickling ears” by poisoning the well of knowledge.

Q1 finishes up under “You Should Also Know...” with four historical claims without any citations. These claims range from being irrelevant (such as using the Great Pyramid, as others were doing at the time that 10JW neglects to add) to outright vitriolic slander that Rutherford was anti-black racist. This is unhistorical and a lie in direct imitation of Satan. (John 8:44) When people calling themselves Christian imitate Satan by lying, they forfeit any claim on being Christian. Lying to be sensational is really easy to do, but the consequences are far more dire.

Question 2
Q2 is “Is God’s True Name Really “Jehovah”?”

Here, the Evangelical Trinitarian scholars responsible for 10JW betray alarming ignorance of the Bible. Indeed, they display sweeping ignorance of the following cardinal scriptures and of Jesus’ reference to them: Jesus declared that the Father person is the “only true God” in John 17:1-5 in accords with divine revelation seen in Deuteronomy 32:6, Isaiah 63:16, 64:8, Jeremiah 31:9, Psalm 89:26 and Malachi 2:10, which all in one way or another identify God or Jehovah as the Father. Sadly, this disturbing ignorance of the Bible and of Jesus’ message is typical in the “anti-cult” cult.

After acknowledging that we “may be justified in rendering God’s name as “Jehovah”” in the OT of the NWT, 10JW states that this freedom is lacking for the NT of the NWT, as the Tetragrammaton is not in any Greek manuscript. Thus, 10JW fails to account for quotations of the OT in the NT that do bear the Tetragrammaton, and thus betrays an inability to engage in this demanding subject. 10JW then declares: “In this respect, the NWT is guilty of adding to God’s Word by inserting His name where it doesn’t belong in the text.” Not adding, but restoring God’s name where the surrogate “kurios” (Greek for Lord) appears. 10JW is being extremely uncharitable and is stifling honest and productive interaction with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Without skipping a beat, 10JW concludes: “By inserting ‘Jehovah’ where there is no evidence that the New Testament writers used God’s name, the New World Translation distorts Jesus’ identity by creating an artificial distinction between Him and Jehovah God.” Again, 10JW embarrassingly fails to account for quotations of the OT in the NT bearing the Tetragrammaton. This makes it inept and unqualified to enter into this important discussion. This statement also betrays an anti-Jehovah bias, excluding his name from Christian scriptures. Ironically, if apostates were the ones who replaced “Jehovah” for “Lord” in the NT manuscripts, then it is self-serving and circular to then say that Jehovah should not be in the NT because it is not in the NT manuscripts. This anti-Jehovah stance is also diametrically opposed to Jesus’ prayer in John 17:1-5. By alienating themselves from Jehovah, they are also alienating themselves from Jesus. Jehovah’s Witnesses are dedicated to helping them mend this self-inflicted wound, if they would only humbly listen.

Question 3
Q3 is “Is the Trinity Really a Pagan Doctrine?”

At the bottom of the page is a conspicuous Medieval Triquetra symbol, with this caption: “The triquetra, an ancient symbol representing the Trinity.”


However, one authority explaining the history of this symbol informs us that “In Ireland, it [the Triquetra] has sometimes been used in a Christian context to represent the holy trinity, similarly to the shamrock. Because of this, it is often referred to as the ‘trinity knot’.”[4] The use of it in Ireland lands it solidly in the Medieval period, post-ancient. Calling it “an ancient symbol representing the Trinity” then is an obvious bold-faced lie in imitation of Satan the “father of the lie.”—John 8:44.

This page calls into question the comparison to pagan triads and a quotation from the out-of-print brochure Should you believe in the Trinity?. My advice is to not “pound the pagan point” on the Trinity, for this can be easily reversed. A Trinitarian could say that the demons were making a parody of the true triune God or that it is a manifestation or corruption of how God was revealed to Adam. Quoting the Ante-Nicene Fathers or Church Fathers can be tricky too. So, it’s better to stick to the Bible, and point out how the full-blown Trinity is post-Constantine. All references to a “trinity” before Constantine are not the same as the Trinity. It was a different theology.

So to answer Q3, asking if it’s a pagan doctrine is sidestepping the more important question, is it a scriptural doctrine? Addressing this, under the subheading “The Trinity in Scripture” 10JW states:
Evidence of God’s tri-unity is seen throughout Scripture. The Father (1 Pet. 1:2), Son (John 1:1; 20:28), and Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4) are each called “God.”
10JW is correct that the Father is called God at 1 Peter 1:2. The Son though is not called God in John 1:1; 20:28 in the same way as the Father is in 1 Peter 1:2. By claiming this, 10JW falls into what I call “theological fundamentalism.” Just as the Fundamentalist young-earth creationists say that the creative days are solar days, so theological fundamentalists say “god” in John 1:1c; 20:28 is God. Both kinds of fundamentalists fail to discern important distinctions. I hold that the scholar Hugh J. Schonfield was able to discern this important distinction for “god” in John 1:1c; 20:28, and I think we can all benefit from his cutting-edge discoveries.[5] Lastly, a close reading of Acts 5:3-4 reveals that it is not necessarily calling the holy spirit God. By lying to the holy spirit, the offenders were lying to God since the holy spirit is God’s emissarial connection. It was in their midst when the lie occurred, so by extension they were lying to God (who Jesus identified as the Father in John 17:1-5). Thus, when 10JW states that both ‘the Son and Holy Spirit are each called God,’ it is excising John 17:1-5 from the Bible in the same spirit as wicked King Jehoiakim who cut out parts of Jeremiah’s pronouncements that he disliked.—Jeremiah 36:23.


10JW continues, pretending that it is not cutting-out John 17:1-5:
Yet, they operate distinctly from one another, indicating personhood. Given the emphatic declaration that there is only one true God (for example, Deut. 6:4, John 17:3), we conclude that this “one God” exists in three unique Persons.
This is a conclusion derived from theological fundamentalism, the theological equivalent of young-earth creationism. If YEC is false, then so is Trinitarianism, as they are both identified with the same type of fundamentalism. 10JW also overlooks who Jesus said the “only true God” was, the Father. Thus, 10JW is seen using wicked King Jehoiakim’s scripture-cutting knife on the very words of our Lord Jesus Christ. What a reprehensible sin!
  

10JW plods along with this whopper:
Many passages ascribe divine attributes to all three Persons or list the three together (as in the words used for baptism in Matthew 28:19).
The triadic formula in Matthew 28:19 does not demand the Trinity as it can pass as a figure of speech. Demanding that it does prove Trinitarianism is theological fundamentalism. 10JW also irreverently fails to cite the “many passages” even though it could have. This omission stifles honest communication and is unprofessional.

Lastly, Q3 offers this standard reply to Jesus saying the Father is greater than he is at John 14:28:
While Jesus was on earth, the Father was in a “greater” position than He, but position doesn’t denote an inferior nature.
Yes Jesus said that on earth, and he said that with a physical, human body with blood and fragile moist corneas. So he was absolutely saying that with “an inferior nature” to the Father. It gets rather frustrating having to state the obvious.

Wrapping up this response to Q3 is a reminder that Trinitarianism can be complicated, and we should never assume the Trinitarian thinks that his God is three Gods or is one person. But then again, on the other hand, 10JW should stop being fundamentalist and be more respectful of both Jesus and the Bible.

Question 4
Q4 is “Is Jesus Christ God?”

This begins by reporting that we have the odd teaching equating Jesus with Michael the Archangel, and thus 10JW is unaware of the history of others within their Trinitarian church making this identification: Charles Spurgeon, John Gill, John Calvin, John Wesley, the Geneva Bible Commentary on Daniel 12, and Jonathan Edwards.[6] But 10JW then claims that Jehovah’s Witnesses think that:
Since Satan (a created angel) is called “god” at 2 Corinthians 4:4, we may also regard Jehovah’s spirit Son, Jesus, as a “god.”
We do not reason this way. Jesus is not ontologically equal to Satan but is God’s first creation, not equal to the angels as 10JW correctly states when citing Hebrews 1-2. 10JW out of presumption then is making a strawman argument. It even says this in tearing down their strawman that we would agree with: “Does Satan’s title “god of this world” prove that Jesus is “a god” like Satan? No!” This is a strawman argument because Jehovah’s Witnesses make no such comparison. Biblical monotheism is monolatry: The worship of the Most High God Jehovah who is in his Divine Council. This is important and something that 10JW fails to account for, as seen when it states that “Jesus is either the one true God or He is a false “god.”” No, Jesus is the most powerful and senior member of the Divine Council subordinate to God. But by advocating worshipping Jesus in the same way as we should worship the Father, 10JW unwittingly advocates turning Jesus into a false god and an idol.

Under the subheading “Jesus is God,” 10JW concisely presents the Evangelical Trinitarian position, with responses noted:
Jesus is the one true God who “is the same, yesterday, today and forever” (Heb. 13:8; Rev. 1:7-8). Coming to earth, Jesus added human nature to His divine person and is forever the God-Man (Acts 17:31; 1 Tim. 2:5).
First, no scripture says “Jesus is the one true God.” Jesus himself contradicted that assertion when he said his Father is the ‘one true God.’ Jesus is not the Father. The quote is correctly from Hebrews 13:8, but the citation to Revelation 1:7-8 is misplaced. Additionally, it is relating to his person, not necessarily to his ontology or how he is existing. This is correct because he was born from Mary (Galatians 4:4), he existed for a time as a zygote and embryo. He was not a person then. Jesus then put his life into his Father’s care before being born as a baby, and he grew up, “progressing in wisdom and in physical growth and in favor with God.” (Luke 2:52) There is no “Hypostatic Union” or dual natures here. So his zygote-nature was not added to his divine nature—which is blasphemy. He relinquished his life in heaven to be born as a baby and grow to manhood. The “man” reference in Acts 17:31 and 1 Timothy 2:5 is thus best read as experiential. As Jesus experienced life as a man, he can be referred to as such with his past existence of being a man in mind. The dual natures then are dispensational, he was spirit, then man, then resurrected back as spirit (see below).
He never ceased being God (Phil. 2:5-11), nor did He cease being human when He rose from the dead (Luke 24:39; John 2:19-22). One day “every eye will see Him” physically return to earth (Rev. 1:7; Matt. 24:30) in the same manner that He visibly ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9-11).
Actually, Philippians 2:5-11 says the exact opposite in verse 7, that he “emptied himself” to become human. 10JW then misunderstands Luke 24:39 to be saying that Jesus was not ontologically (existing as a) spirit, when the parallel account in John 20:19 has him appearing in the locked room. This is clearly then a materialization event, with the spiritual Jesus materializing a human body in the locked room and confirming he is physical. Regarding John 2:19-22, at John 10:18 Jesus said that he had the authority or the right (NET Bible footnote) to be resurrected by his Father. This harmonizes with Acts 2:24, 32, 3:15, 10:40, 2 Corinthians 4:14, Galatians 1:1 and Hebrews 13:20, which declare that it was God, the Father, who resurrected Jesus. Thus, in light of John 10:18, we can see what Jesus meant at John 2:19-22 where he said he would raise up his body. It was by his perfect obedience that Jesus provided the moral basis for the Father to raise him from the dead. Because of Jesus’ faithful course of life, it could properly be said that Jesus himself was responsible for his resurrection. Jesus himself used the same reasoning at Luke 8:46-48, where he attributed the faith of the one he healed as being responsible for the cure. Thus, Jesus was in full reliance on his God and Father to raise him from the dead.

Regarding Revelation 1:7 and Matthew 24:30, 10JW embarrasses itself by not noticing the supernatural imagery. It will be “as if” they are seeing Jesus, when in reality it is the supernatural “power and glory,” reminiscent of the Sinai theophany, that will identify him. As one scholar noted: “The consuming fire that terrified Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai will appear again when Jesus returns in his glory to judge humanity.”[7] There is nothing humanly physical in that, and Jesus is not miraculously preserving his sacrificed body forever! Such a notion is wildly absurd, is thankfully unscriptural, insulting to Christ, and is blasphemy. Regarding Acts 1:9-11, yes he supernaturally ascended and vanished with an obscuring cloud and was invisible, and will return “in the same manner” invisible supernaturally. None of this is difficult to grasp mentally.

Regarding the Michael identification, Q4 retorts: “Jude 9 states that Michael the Archangel did not have authority to rebuke Satan, yet Jesus did on a number of occasions (for example, Matt. 16:23).” 10JW conveniently left out the defining context of Jude 9, that it was over Moses’ body. Now that Jesus was on earth during his mission, it can be seen that he now has “authority to rebuke Satan.” 10JW presents the event of Jude 9 as if it was concurrent with Jesus’ earthly ministry, which is absurd. Ironically, the event in Matthew 16:23 is a passion narrative where Jesus said he would be abused and killed (verse 21), and where Peter responded that Jesus would not be killed (verse 22). If Jesus was a God-Man, then Peter was correct that Jesus would not really be killed, as it was only his human nature that would expire. Jesus’ sound and devastating rebuke to him shows conclusively that Jesus was no God-Man, and that this Trinitarian claim then is sheer satanic blasphemy.

Lastly, 4Q closes with these two scriptures:
“…And we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20).

“For in Him [Jesus] all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9).
For 1 John 5:20, the antecedent for the second sentence is the Father God, as seen in the context conveniently omitted. Verses 19 and 20 say: “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.” (NASB) Thus the main subject is God who sent his Son Jesus. God then is the appropriate antecedent for “This is the true God and eternal life.”[8]

For Colossians 2:9, it never ceases to amaze me how this scripture is misapplied into saying that Jesus is physical now as a God-Man. All it is saying is that he has a “bodily form” that manifests his Father’s character to the fullest. This scripture is not a “God-Man” proof-text as 10JW would like you to believe.

Question 5
Q5 is “Is the Holy Spirit Just God’s “Active Force”?”

This section presents a quote from an older out-of-print book with this claim:
Today, most Jehovah’s Witnesses would be surprised to learn that on pp. 216-217 of the 1939 Watchtower book Salvation, the Society proclaimed that “In the year 1918 … the holy spirit that had been the guide of God’s people, having performed its function, was taken away.” The Watchtower no longer teaches that the Holy Spirit has left the earth.
However, the complete quote is, with the quoted parts underlined:
In the year 1918 the antitypical Job class, the faithful followers of Christ Jesus whom Job represented, were in great distress because of oppression heaped upon them by the enemy. In that year the Lord Jesus came [217] to the temple of Jehovah God. The holy spirit that had been the guide of God’s people, having performed its functions, was taken away, and the Lord Jesus himself, being present, represented his people and advocated in their behalf before Jehovah God, that is, in behalf of those who had fallen into distress because of their failure to properly use their lips in proclaiming the truth.
First, the context is about distress, and is reminiscent of the well-known expression of Jesus when he was dying in tremendous agony: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). One Watchtower commented on this: “his words may indicate that Jesus recognized that Jehovah had taken His protection [holy spirit] away so that His Son’s integrity could be fully tested.”[9] But obviously this was not permanent for Jesus, and nothing in the Salvation quote indicates permanency either. 10JW also ignored, skipped right over, the part about Jesus himself advocating for them “before Jehovah God.” Lastly, the quote in 10JW is also sloppy for presenting “function” in the singular instead of plural. Thus, when this Salvation quote is examined in context, it becomes rather striking that 10JW has been uncharitable and is in a rush to condemn Jehovah’s Witnesses. This treatment is nothing short of disgusting and is childish, but sets the tone of Q5 as being rather careless and sinister.

Earlier, Q3 used Acts 5:3-4 as a proof-text that the holy spirit is God, a person of the Trinitarian Godhead. Unsurprisingly, Q5 uses it again as a proof-text. However, as stated for Q3, a close reading of Acts 5:3-4 reveals that it is not necessarily calling the holy spirit God. By lying to the holy spirit, the offenders were lying to God since the holy spirit is God’s emissarial connection. It was in their midst when the lie occurred, so by extension they were lying to God (who Jesus identified as the Father in John 17:1-5). It then cites 2 Corinthians 3:17, “the Lord is the Spirit.” But this is the same as Jesus’ statement that “God is a spirit” in John 4:24. In both cases, “spirit” is nominative, and is expressing the ontological, spiritual existence of God. Q5 continues with this whopper: “Acts 28:25-27 reveals the Holy Spirit as the Lord God of Isaiah 6:8-10.” Isaiah has Jehovah speaking, whereas Acts says “the holy spirit aptly spoke.” (Acts 28:25) 10JW ignores, again, biblical theology explained above: Jesus declared that the Father person is the “only true God” in John 17:1-5 in accords with divine revelation seen in Deuteronomy 32:6, Isaiah 63:16, 64:8, Jeremiah 31:9, Psalm 89:26 and Malachi 2:10, which all in one way or another identify God or Jehovah as the Father. Thus, the holy spirit is not the Father, but he can talk through his connective emissary of his holy spirit utility. Unwittingly calling the holy spirit the Father is a disgrace, and springs from fallacious theological fundamentalism.

10JW continues, in an exercise of “missing the point” and omitting key defining scriptures:
Throughout Scripture, qualities of personhood are attributed to the Holy Spirit. He is seen as one who testifies (John 15:26), intercedes (Rom. 8:26), teaches (John 14:26), and guides believers (Rom. 8:14). He has a mind (Rom. 8:27) and a will (1 Cor. 12:11). He can be grieved (Eph. 4:30), lied to (Acts 5:3), blasphemed (Matt. 12:31), and tested (Acts 5:9).
In all of these except 1 Corinthians 12:11, which has the spirit being distributed as a utility (as seen in 1 Corinthians 12:4), personification works best with the whole fabric of scripture. Second, John 14:26 and 15:12 is about calling the holy spirit the paraclete, which is also personification since the holy spirit is God’s projected, connected, infiltrating emissary. Why this personification works best with the entirety of scripture is in the following:

Parallel language: Paul at Romans 8:11 said it was God’s spirit that resurrected Jesus, and at Ephesians 1:19-20 he said it was God’s power that resurrected Jesus. Thus he appears to have called God’s holy spirit God’s power, which is similar to what the Gospels present. In the account at Matthew 12:28, Jesus used the phrase “God’s spirit,” but in the parallel account at Luke 11:20, Jesus said “God’s finger.” Thus the Gospels present God’s holy spirit as God’s power. Thus God, the Father, resurrected Jesus with his power, appropriately called the “holy spirit.”[10]

Unintentional appropriations: Consider the virgin birth of Christ. If the holy spirit is a person, the third person of the Trinitarian Godhead, then a person is responsible for Mary’s pregnancy. Period. (Or in Mary’s case, no period.) Thus, it sure sounds like Trinitarianism unwittingly teaches that God had sex with Mary, thus not a virgin. It looks like a sexual union of an alien person with a human female, giving the holy spirit the role of an incubus. It would also give the holy spirit the role of Jesus’ father and not the Father. But speaking of unwittingly placing the Trinitarian Holy Spirit person into the category of an incubus demon, it is ironic that 10JW next makes a comparison with demon possession:
Just as demon spirits of Jesus’ day retained their personhood while entering in and dwelling within people (Luke 8:27-30), so the Holy Spirit is no less a person because He can dwell within believers (Eph. 5:18).
This comparison is blasphemy, and unwittingly confirms that Trinitarianism presents its Holy Spirit person as an incubus demon possessing Mary and thus not a virgin, which is anathema. Anathema on top of blasphemy![11]

10JW then finishes Q5 by claiming that Jehovah’s Witnesses justify the personification interpretation by using the personification of wisdom in Proverbs. This is a strawman argument. We typically use the parallel language route detailed above as well as scriptures placing the holy spirit in comparison with abstract qualities—2 Corinthians 6:6 and Romans 14:17.

Halfway Point
Passing halfway through 10JW, we have been confronted with lies, blasphemies, strawmen, and misquotes.
  • Lies
  • Blasphemies
  • Strawmen
  • Misquotes
The first half was mainly concerned with theology, whereas the next half will be mainly concerned with beliefs and practices. But as the first half can be summarized as an utter, horrific failure of astronomical magnitude, it does not bode well for the second half. As we will see, strawmen will raise their ugly heads in what follows.

Question 6
Q6 is “Will Only 144,000 People Go to Heaven?”

This points out that it is inconsistent to take 12,000 (12,000x7=144,000) as figurative but 144,000 as literal. Actually, we have pointed out that the 24 elders represent the 144,000 too, each representing 6,000 members. Nowhere have we taken a stand that the 12,000 is figurative. This concern is good to be aware of though.

Q6 seems to be presenting that 144,000 is figurative for all Christians, and that all Christians have the same destiny. A linchpin scripture though is Revelation 5:10. Whereas a translation may say they “rule on the earth,” a literal meaning of the critical Greek word epi is “over.” These people are kings and priests, so it makes sense that they would be presiding over people on earth. Regarding membership of the New Covenant, 10JW says: “Christ is the mediator between God and all people who are redeemed in him (1 Tim. 2:5-6).” This scripture is another linchpin, for it states there is “one God” with a mediator “between God and men.” This mediator Jesus is not God then. He stands between God and people accepting his ransom sacrifice. Taken alone, 1 Timothy 2:5-6 can be about all Christians, but Revelation 5:10 still indicates a dichotomy. Another point to consider is that this may not be the last word on the matter. Further revelations of God’s purpose may come.

But 10JW also states: “There is no basis in Revelation 7 or any other passage for dividing Christians into two classes.” Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures however there are a number of prophetic patterns foreshadowing a dichotomy within the body of true worshippers, for instance: Joseph’s ten repentant half-brothers (Genesis 37, 42-45), famine-stricken Egyptians who sold themselves to Joseph (Genesis 41; 47:13-26), the mixed company that left Egypt with Israel (Exodus 12:38), alien residents in Israel (Leviticus 19:34), Rahab of Jericho (Joshua 2, 6), Gibeonites who sought peace with Israel (Joshua 9, 10), foreigners who fought along with David (2 Samuel 15:18-22), the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10), Naaman cleansed of leprosy (2 Kings 5), Jehonadab joining with Jehu (2 Kings 10:15-28), foreigners who prayed toward Jehovah’s temple (2 Chronicles 6:32, 33), and other examples.[12] Thus, careful readers of Scripture recognize a pattern to support a Christian dichotomy as a continuation of the previous Jewish dichotomy.

Question 7
Q7 is “Can Only Jehovah’s Witnesses Be Saved?”

JW10 fails to do justice to our position. One Watchtower even asked: “Can it be stated flatly that only baptized witnesses of Jehovah will survive Armageddon?” Its resounding answer:
It would be misleading to answer this question with either a simple “Yes” or a “No.” The Scriptural answer of necessity must be a “qualified” one, and it is easy to see why.[13]
Thus, it is a larger body of survivors than just Jehovah’s Witnesses! But 10JW makes it seem like we hold that it is only Jehovah’s Witnesses when it states: “they must pass the final test of Satan (during which Satan is released from the pit to tempt all faithful Witnesses one last time) before God will grant them eternal life.” 10JW embarrassingly failed to recognize that this account is in Revelation 20:7-10, and not something that we made up. Q7 also grandstands on our humility on being saved, and claims this is unscriptural. This is uncharitable and is another strawman argument.

10JW also brings up Revelation 20:5 presuming that we are unaware of its existence, and conceals that it is a difficult text due to its unique parenthetical nature:
Contrary to Watchtower thinking, there will be no 1,000-year period for people who have died to be given a second chance at perfection. Revelation 20:5 states that those who are not part of the first resurrection will “not come to life until the thousand years” are completed.
However, contrary to the dismissive presumption of 10JW, Jehovah’s Witnesses have given this scripture a lot of thought, as seen in this explanation:
[At Revelation 20:4] it is said of those becoming kings and priests with Christ that they “came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for a thousand years.” “The rest of the dead” [in Revelation 20:5] not coming to life “until the thousand years were ended” must be those alive at the end of the thousand years, but before Satan is released from the abyss and brings the decisive test on mankind. By the end of the thousand years, people on earth will have reached human perfection, being in the condition that Adam and Eve were in before they sinned. Now they will really have life in perfection. Those who thereafter pass the test when Satan is released for a short time from the abyss will be able to enjoy that life forever.—Re 20:4-10.[14]
So it actually is compatible to “Watchtower thinking,” and it is more of a “real chance” and not a “second chance.” As one of our books stated, the millennium does
not offer mankind what is called “a second chance.” Rather, it affords to mankind its first real opportunity to gain eternal life in human perfection and absolute innocence in an earthly Paradise.[15]
This again exposes 10JW as misrepresenting Jehovah’s Witnesses due to poor research.

10JW also failed to cite any scripture in James regarding faith and works! Instead, it said: “No one can earn or deserve salvation; it is a “free gift” from God based on Christ’s merit, not human worthiness (Rom. 6:23).” We clearly know this, but to pretend James cannot contribute to this discussion is to again wield wicked King Jehoiakim’s scripture-cutting knife, slicing this book of the Holy Bible into the fire!

No, true Christians do not cut James out of the Bible, but instead take James 2:17, 20, 26 seriously: “In the same way, faith also, if it has no works, is dead,” “are you willing to acknowledge, you foolish person, that faith without works is useless?” and “just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” (NASB)

Lastly, Q7 closes with this statement that we agree with: “After the final judgment, God will bring about the New Heaven and New Earth with no trace of sin’s curse.”

Question 8
Q8 is “Is the Watchtower’s New World Translation Reliable?”

Q8 under the subheading “Jesus Christ Is God” compares four scriptures with the NWT and Kingdom Interlinear Translation (KIT). First, 10JW would do well to recognize that Jesus told us that God is the Father and that his God and Father is superior to him after his resurrection. (John 17:1-5; Revelation 3:12) Thus, saying “Jesus is God” is just as absurd as saying “Jesus is the Father.” Next, the comparisons between the NWT and KIT are supposed to show that the KIT supports Jesus being God but that the NWT changed the meaning. The first scripture is John 8:58, where the NWT has “I have been” and the KIT has “I am.” All this shows is that 10JW does not know the difference between an interlinear translation and a regular translation, and is therefore too inept to be able to engage in Bible translation analysis. The KIT presents the hyper-literal translation that has to conform to English, as earlier editions of the NASB did in the margin, presenting the exact same words: “I have been.” See Figure 1:[16]

Figure 1
The 1960-1973 editions of the NASB have “I have been” as a variant reading in the margin.
click to enlarge
click to enlarge

The second is John 14:14, but 10JW dishonestly conceals from the reader that there is a manuscript variation here. While the KIT, which presents the Westcott-Hort Greek text, has Jesus saying “If ever anything you should ask me” instead of “If you ask anything” (NWT), the Reference Bible NWT footnote lists the textual variant sigla and says its translation is “in agreement with [John] 15:16 and 16:23.” Additionally, the Study Bible NWT summarizes succinctly: “This reading is supported by some ancient manuscripts and agrees with the wording at Joh 15:16 and 16:23. Other ancient manuscripts read: “ask me.”” The third scripture is Colossians 1:16-17 where the NWT has “all [other] things” whereas the KIT has “all (things).” The “other” is just reflecting what is semantically included in “all” for the passage to flow smoothly, so Christ does not end-up creating himself. This should be excruciatingly obvious, but alas it flies right over the heads of those Trinitarian scholars responsible for 10JW. What an embarrassment! The fourth scripture is Colossians 2:9, comparing “fullness of divine quality” (NWT) with “fullness of the divinity” (KIT). This always struck me as a red herring because we believe that Jesus now is fully divine as a spirit being, thus diffusing the supposed problem. However, the Trinitarian scholars responsible for 10JW believe in the Hypostatic Union, that Jesus retained his sacrificed human body and has it now fused to his spirit body! This is like fusing a bird to a fish! Fusing an inferno to a glacier! Fusing a cube to a two-dimensional square! This is of course outrageously absurd and impossible, exposing the Hypostatic Union as blasphemy, and is thankfully unscriptural.

Under the subheading “More Mistranslations,” 10JW lists four other scriptures. It opens with:
Matthew 25:46: “And these will depart into everlasting cutting-off,” rather than “punishment,” because Witnesses don’t believe the wicked will be punished forever.
This again is very embarrassing for 10JW, for being punished with eternal death is everlasting punishment, whereas their eternal torture doctrine is “punishing” forever. It is horrifically different, and we can be eternally thankful that Hellfire is not a Bible teaching! The second scripture is Luke 23:43 about the comma placement. 10JW must be a glutton for punishment for not recognizing that Jesus was raised on the third day and could not have been in paradise with the criminal on their same day of death. Also, it should be known that the comma placement seen in the NWT is also seen in the second century Coptic translations, translated directly from the Greek. See Figure 2:[17]
Figure 2
Interlinear translation of the Sahidic Coptic Luke 23:43, the word functioning as a comma is in the red box:

Third, it presents 1 Corinthians 15:44 and quibbles of the translation of “physical” as opposed to “natural,” including 1 Corinthians 2:14. 10JW says “physical” was used because we believe Jesus was resurrected as a spirit and “not in a physical body.” 10JW presumes too much. This is a red herring and a strawman. Lastly, 1 Timothy 4:1 is presented, where the NWT has “inspired utterance” instead of “the Spirit,” “because Witnesses don’t believe that the Holy Spirit is a person.” Again, 10JW is being presumptuous. The real reason is that “the spirit” is idiomatic for “inspired information,” inspired by God via his emissarial projection of the holy spirit. Again, as seen in Q5, we can be most thankful that the holy spirit is not a person!

Q8 has really exposed the Evangelical Trinitarian scholars responsible for 10JW as not being teachers of the Bible, but as cantankerous students challenging the teacher.

Question 9
Q9 is “Which Is the Final Authority: The Bible or the Watchtower?”

Under the subheading caustically titled: “No “Independent Thinking”,” 10JW presumes that we are not to engage in personal thinking but must accept all Watchtower teachings as Gospel truth. The real problem however is not “independent thinking,” but “causing divisions.” Incidentally, Trinitarianism engages in “thought control” where you must accept the Trinity or be ostracized. Additionally, we definitely agree with this following advice in Q9:
Test All Things
The New Testament commends the Christians in Berea (Greece) for being “more noble-minded” because they tested Paul’s message by Scripture (Acts 17:10-11). In 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 Christians are encouraged to question prophetic claims (“examine everything carefully”) and reject what is false (“abstain from every form of evil”), a pattern begun in the Old Testament (for instance, Deut. 18:21-22).
Again though, if one applies this to theology and rejects the Trinity as a blasphemy, they are disfellowshipped from the Trinitarian churches.

10JW also states: “we no longer need an earthly organization to go to God.” That is actually not our position, but rather it is about doing God’s will. Anyone can pray to God and accept Jesus’ ransom, but doing God’s will today requires some direction. Reading the Bible on your own is fine, but one doing that will never believe in Trinitarianism, as that requires direction from a Trinitarian organization. So from this example we can see how unfair and unrealistic 10JW is being.

10JW then looks at Matthew 24:45-51 regarding the “faithful slave,” and says: “Nowhere does He indicate that the parable applies only to an organization; rather, it is given to individual Christians.” But nowhere does 10JW mention the “domestics/household” or the “food” the faithful slave serves. Yes, it is about individuals, but individuals who are serving others within the household of faith spiritual food. Therefore, 10JW skipped over some important details in its analysis, as if excising them with the knife again.

10JW concludes Q9 with what it labels as “false prophecies” regarding expectations for certain years it claims were identified for Christ’s return, and offers no citations. Not all the dates listed were regarding Christ’s return, like 1874 which was about the start of his presence, and was not published before 1874 as the Watchtower was first printed in 1879.[18] In any case, these were misinterpretations of scripture, not new prophecies in addition to existing scripture. Thus, it is quite uncharitable and unscriptural to label these misinterpretations as “false prophecy.” Also, are there any Trinitarian preachers who have also mistakenly identified when Christ would come? Lastly, Jehovah’s Witnesses strive to be patient with the ones taking the lead in teaching, not causing divisions as that would detract from our main goal of preaching God’s Kingdom in these Last Days.

In closing, answering the question of final authority, one Watchtower said that we imitate Jesus who “viewed God’s Word as the final authority.”[19]

Question 10
Q10 is “What Else Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Believe?”

Q10 focuses on blood transfusions, birthday and holiday celebrations, and politics and war.

First, 10JW tries to make a distinction with digestion that transfused blood is not digested—however the Bible does not make this distinction, but simply declares that blood should be left alone (Acts 15:29), as it was also used for medical purposes then too. 10JW also fails to consider the historical context of when negative statements were made about organ transplants and vaccinations, which it acknowledges are fully allowable now. It also picks on past cautions against aluminum cooking utensils, yet even today there are secular concerns about ingesting aluminum. So why was that so problematic? This point on aluminum ingestion embarrasses 10JW for being too hasty in its condemnation. 10JW also fails here for not providing citations for its claims, which gives the appearance of mudslinging.

10JW appears to identify “Daniel and his colleagues” as Christians, and this ironically stresses the point that Christians are different than the Jews in Babylonian exile. We respect the political powers (Romans 13:1) but do not get involved with politics and the scandalous nature surrounding it.

Since the close of the first century, with apostasy and pagan spiritistic practices being infused into society, we have seen the need to be sensitive about these things, about which customs have been infected by that, and thus the application 10JW makes to Romans 14:5, 6 does not really seem to apply in the same way—as Paul’s audience was in a different situation.

Reflecting on the abysmal failures of 10JW in the preceding chapters, one can also get the sense that Q10 is an exercise in “the pot calling the kettle black.”

Appendices
10JW has some appendices, like a glossary that says this: “The Truth: Another name for the Watchtower organization’s changing doctrines.” Actually, “the truth” is in regards to central teachings, not peripheral or secondary teachings which may be changed to better harmonize with science, scholarship and history. 10JW would do well to not be so uncharitable, as that makes it look childish and unchristian.

Under “Resources,” it includes a slanderous website on pedophilia, added for good measure. What a hateful and anti-Christian thing to do.

10JW closes with “Tips for Talking with Jehovah’s Witnesses.” This includes these comments:
  • “Jehovah’s Witnesses are not allowed to read anti-Watchtower literature.”
Not true. Only apostate literature receives this admonition.
  • “Witnesses are told they can’t understand the Bible apart from Watchtower literature.”
Not true. Ironically, Trinitarianism teaches that you can only agree with the Trinity if you accept all the convoluted manmade creeds from the Nicene Creed on.
  • “Also, don’t ask if you can pray with them for healing of sickness (unless they approach you privately). They’re taught that God doesn’t “heal” today and anything miraculous is done by Satan to deceive the unsuspecting.”
Book, chapter, verse please that God heals us today of sicknesses. This really makes God look like a heinous monster for allowing so many people to die prematurely of sicknesses, like COVID-19.
  • “Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe God cares as much for them as He does for the organization.”
This is a bold-faced lie. How despicable!
  • “If they’re asking questions, they’re starting to think for themselves.”
We think for ourselves all the time. The point is to not run ahead and cause divisions. Why 10JW cannot understand this is absolutely astounding, but not surprising.

In Closing
10JW has now been responded to. Additionally, there is a chart not included in 10JW, but is included in associated publications from the same publisher, called “Biblical Christianity vs. Jehovah’s Witnesses.” This also contains some points worth responding to in conclusion, and will be abbreviated hereafter as BCJW.

BCJW really captures the mindset of 10JW well in chart form. For instance, it starts without any hesitation as being super-obnoxious and intolerant, saying they have Jesus for their founder and the Bible for their basis, whereas we have C.T. Russell as our founder and the Watchtower publications as our basis. The bigotry could not be any greater. We could turn the tables and say Trinitarianism has Constantine as its founder and the Ecumenical Creeds as its basis. Obviously, that would be inflammatory like a declaration of war, just like BCJW is being.

It also repeats the same ignorance of 10JW when it says that “Very soon, [Jesus] and the angels will destroy all non-Jehovah’s Witnesses.” This is a popular strawman argument as we do not believe that. Our actual position is far more nuanced and forgiving than what 10JW and BCJW allow for and want to admit.

BCJW continues without skipping the beat of bigotry:
Most [Jehovah’s Witnesses] must earn everlasting life on earth by “door-to-door work.” Salvation in heaven is limited to 144,000 “anointed ones.” This number is already reached.
No, no, and no. We do not earn salvation, but like 10JW, BCJW ignores the entire book of James about expressing your faith with works. Salvation is obviously not limited to the 144,000 as BCJW knows that we believe ones inheriting the earth also have salvation. But BCJW wants to sacrifice accuracy for sensationalism to be slanderous, in imitation of Satan. Lastly, I do not think we firmly teach the number has been reached. How could we possibly do that as we are not divinely inspired?

The intellectual integrity of BCJW is really breaking down when it states: ““the great crowd,” live on earth, and must obey God perfectly for 1,000 years or be annihilated.” We definitely do not teach that, that is another ugly strawman. How embarrassing for BCJW to turn this chart into a vile diatribe.

Lastly, I want to focus on one statement: “After dying on a stake (not a cross), he was resurrected as a spirit; his body was destroyed.” Jesus sacrificed his body. It was a ransom sacrifice. By speaking so flippantly about what Christ endured and sacrificed, BCJW acts very disrespectfully of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In fact, one reason why we have had a problem over the cross is due to the Great Apostasy when Christianity started absorbing unscriptural beliefs like the Trinity and adopting pagan imagery like the Triquetra. Since pagan worship also featured cruciform devices, our suspicion over the iconographic cross grew and then turned into rejecting its historicity as well. Additionally, as seen here Trinitarianism has a very shallow view of Christ’s ransom sacrifice and acts like he was never nailed and killed! How incredibly despicable! Words fail to describe how terrible their nonchalant attitude towards the ransom sacrifice is.

Thus, like 10JW, this supplemental chart BCJW is an exercise in poisoning the well and spreading intolerance about Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Trinitarian “anti-cult” preachers would do well to be more charitable and treat us like neighbors worthy of serious dialog. (Matthew 22:39) Their salvation is at risk for being so unloving like this!

Footnotes:
[a] Rose Publishing, 2008. 





[1] “False Prophets,” page 136 wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1101989228#h=29
[2] See: “Working in the “Field”—Before the Harvest,” w00 10/15 pp. 25-30 wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2000766
[3] “Christian Unity Glorifies God,” w10 9/15 page 16 wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2010684
[4] Lewis Sloan, Triquetra: the history and meaning of the triple knot. October 15, 2020 www.irelandbeforeyoudie.com/triquetra-the-history-and-meaning-of-the-triple-knot/
[5] See my entry that explains his conclusions derived from ingenious pattern recognition: “The Authentic New Testament” jimspace3000.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-authentic-new-testament.html
[6] See: jimspace3000-ya.blogspot.com/search/label/Michael%20is%20Jesus
[7] Jeffrey J. Niehaus, God at Sinai (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995), 344.
[8] For additional reasoning on this scripture, see: Who Is “the True God and Life Everlasting”? w04 10/15 p. 30-31 wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2004768
[9] “Highlights From the Book of Mark,” w08 2/15 p. 30 wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2008127#h=30 Additionally, the April 15, 2021 issue stated:
[Jesus] also knew that at the time of his death, Jehovah would need to remove any “protective hedge” from around him. (Job 1:10) Jehovah thus allowed Jesus to prove beyond any doubt that he would remain faithful no matter what the circumstances of his death.—Mark 14:35, 36. (“Questions From Readers,” page 30. www.jw.org/en/library/magazines/watchtower-study-april-2021/Questions-From-Readers%E2%80%8B-April-2021/)
As stated above, this removal only concerned this pivotal moment and was not a permanent condition.
[10] See: “Hebrews 5:7 and Trinitarianism: A Compatibility Crisis” jimspace3000.blogspot.com/2012/09/hebrews-57-and-trinitarianism_11.html
[11] See: “JW’s, Can you explain to me why the Holy Spirit is an Active Force instead of a 3rd person in a trinity?” (Archived from Yahoo! Answers.) jimspace3000-ya.blogspot.com/2014/03/jws-can-you-explain-to-me-why-holy.html
[12] This list was taken from Survival Into a New Earth, 1984, p. 190: “Prophetic Patterns and Descriptions of People Now Living Who Will Inherit the Earthly Realm of God’s Kingdom.” wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1101984345
[13] w71 1/15 p. 63 Questions From Readers. wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1971048
[14] “Life,” Insight on the Scriptures, Volume 2 p. 249. wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200002739#h=27
[15] God’s Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached p. 129. wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1101973017?q=%22second+chance%22&p=par#h=37
[16] See figure 1 in “Identifying Jesus” jimspace3000.blogspot.com/2016/08/identifying-jesus.html
[17] See: “Based on the teachings of Christ and the Bible, which is the way Luke 23:43 should ACCURATELY be translated?” (Archived from Yahoo! Answers.) jimspace3000-ya.blogspot.com/2011/09/based-on-teachings-of-christ-and-bible.html
[18] Recommended reading: “The Problem with “False Prophecy” Polemics” onlytruegod.org/xlation/fp.html
[19] “Keep Your Minds Fixed on the Things Above,” w14 10/15 p. 32 wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2014767#h=27

Credits:
Images of King Jehoiakim from “King Jehoiakim Burns Jeremiah's Scroll.” Free Bible Images. https://freebibleimages.org/illustrations/jeremiah-scroll/

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Thursday, January 07, 2021

Who’s more confused?


A Genesis 4:1 NET Bible footnote counters a Trinitarian claim. For reference, the NIV presents Eve as saying: “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth [Footnote: “Or have acquired”] a man.” The NET Bible footnote reads:

Heb “with the LORD.” The particle אֶת־ ('et) is not the accusative/object sign, but the preposition “with” as the ancient versions attest. Some take the preposition in the sense of “with the help of” (see BDB 85 s.v. אֵת; cf. NEB, NIV, NRSV), ...

Some understand אֶת־ as the accusative/object sign and translate, “I have acquired a man - the LORD.” They suggest that the woman thought (mistakenly) that she had given birth to the incarnate LORD, the Messiah who would bruise the Serpent’s head. This fanciful suggestion is based on a questionable allegorical interpretation of Gen 3:15.

It is also based on the questionable assumption that Eve thought that she could give birth to God as a baby! There’s nothing hinting at such a concept in the context. A “fanciful suggestion” indeed!

Furthermore, the LORD is a surrogate for Jehovah, who is identified in the Bible as God, the Father: Jesus declared that the Father person is the “only true God” in John 17:1-5 in accords with divine revelation seen in Deuteronomy 32:6, Isaiah 63:16, 64:8, Jeremiah 31:9, Psalm 89:26 and Malachi 2:10, which all in one way or another identify God or Jehovah as the Father. The Father was not to be the Messiah. Thus, Trinitarianism has produced a very confused theology where the Father is his Son.

So while Eve was confused about how she produced her son, some Trinitarians are even more confused about it than she was.

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