Friday, January 13, 2017

A Word of Advice

When talking to others about:
  • When Adam was created
  • Noah’s Flood
  • Jesus’ death
Please stress the basics, not the specifics. Specifics tend to be less secure than the basics anyway.

The basics of these are:
  • Adam was created thousands of years ago.
  • Noah’s Flood destroyed the wicked human society, and select fauna were preserved on the ark which landed on one of the Ararat mountains.
  • Jesus was nailed upright to wood and furnished the ransom sacrifice, and no representation or replica of Jesus’ execution device should be venerated in any way.—Exodus 20:4, 5; 1 Corinthians 10:14 and 1 John 5:21.
Stress these basics on these topics and the conversation will go way smoother, and you’ll still get your main point across.

If you stress the specifics then you may find yourself getting bogged down in the specifics, which will then be the time to abandon the specifics and return to the basics.

Thank you for listening!

Another thing to not be that specific on is whether or not Peter was ever in Rome. Interestingly, one Watchtower left the door open on Peter ever being in Rome. It said:
Even if Peter did preach in Rome, as some secular literature from the first and second centuries implies, there is no proof that he was head of the congregation there. (2011 8/1 p. 25 Is the Pope “Saint Peter’s Successor”?)
Thus, the only point now being contested is that he was the overseer of the Roman Christians.

Pressing the Pagan Point?
One strategy that should not be used is calling certain things “pagan” in an effort to persuade one into rejecting it. Specifically, the Trinity and cross images. Yes, it’s true that the pre-Christian pagans used triads of gods and even cruciform objects in their worship. However, calling the Trinity “pagan” is ineffective and unnecessarily offensive because all the Trinitarian would have to say in response is that ‘the pagan triads are not the same as the Triune God and are merely a demonic parody of the true Triune God.’ Thus, it is more effective and scriptural to stick to the Bible to show how Trinitarianism is a misrepresentation of Biblical theology. Second, calling the cross a “pagan phallic symbol” is also ineffective and unnecessarily offensive for similar reasons. Additionally, as it was the Romans who executed Jesus, they would be insensitive to our concerns about his instrument of death appearing like a pagan image. Thus, it is a completely irrelevant strategy. Again, it is much better to stick to the Bible and show how images in worship are forbidden for the Christian. Please take heed to my advice. If you believe that you were taught otherwise, that it’s somehow good and effective to press the pagan point, then I encourage you to rethink that approach with the goal of sticking to the Bible in discussing these sensitive topics. This holds true even if you have found it effective in the past to press the pagan point—I implore you to cease and desist due to the potential to cause more harm than good. It can be like using a sledge hammer to reach a person’s heart, when it would be infinitely more effective to use surgical tools instead. Again, thank you for listening. (5/20/2017)

Passing on Predation?
Another thing to not insist on is that God created all fauna as herbivorous, and that the predator-prey dichotomy seen today only appeared after the Noachian Deluge. While this interpretation has reared its ugly head in our publications in the past, it has not seen the light of day in over 20 years, and it is best to keep it that way. God creating faunal predation with prey animals having defensive features in no way contradicts Genesis 1:30, Noah’s ark, or the Isaianic paradise prophecies. A more developed case for this appears in my book Genesis and Ante‐Adamic Faunal Predation. (6/22/2017)

Related blog posts:


Sunday, January 08, 2017

Who will escape?

Joel 2:31 presents “the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah.” Who will escape it? The following verse (Joel 2:32) answers: “And everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, just as Jehovah has said, The survivors whom Jehovah calls.”

The Greek Septuagint (LXX) presents the last part with a different twist. It states: “Those telling good news; those evangelizing [from εὐαγγελιζόμενοι, euaggelizomenoi] whom [Jehovah] calls.”

Why this change? Why are the survivors evangelizers? For the answer we must look at the Hebrew text:

והיה כל אשר־יקרא בשם יהוה ימלט כי בהר־ציון ובירושלם תהיה פליטה כאשר אמר יהוה ובשרידים אשר יהוה קרא׃

The underlined word is ubassridim, “among the survivors or remnant (שרידים, sridim).” Now, to go from that word to euaggelizomenoi, evangelizers, can be accomplished through the following easy modification: if the initial “b” in ubassridim was taken as the initial letter of the word basar, “to preach, tell good news,” (instead of the particle “b” meaning “in” or “among”) along with confusing the similar “r” and “d” (ר and ד), then one Hebrew word was transformed into another similar Hebrew word, which was then translated into the LXX. As the late Solomon Landers[1] once said:
The similarity between “” [“among the survivors”] and “bsr(iyim)” [“evangelizers”] in an unpointed, paleo-Hebrew text—such as the LXX translators would have had—is striking.
But were the LXX translators that far off in their modification? As it harmonizes with the Great Commission that Jesus later gave in Matthew 28:19, 20 and described in Matthew 24:14, they were not off the mark. Ironically, while it was ultimately a mistranslation, it did harmonize with later divine revelation.

Thus, in closing, who will escape the Day of Jehovah? The evangelizers appointed by Jehovah.

[1] Solomon Landers (1942-2013) was a very scholarly Jehovah’s Witness who also maintained an excellent collection of blogs on the Coptic translation of the scriptures.