JW.ORG and Watchtower Library in one search box:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Bible's Viewpoint - What Happens After Death?

According to the Bible, there is no activity, feeling, emotion, or thought in death. (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6,
10)

The simple truth is that no person has had a prehuman existence to remember. Before you were conceived, you did not exist.

So it is logical to conclude that when we die, our consciousness returns to exactly the same state it was before we were alive.

That is why God told Adam after he disobeyed: “For dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19)

However, due to Christ’s ransom sacrifice there is the hope of a resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:22) Consider the account at (John 11:11-14), when Lazarus died, Jesus said: “I am journeying there to awaken him from sleep.” Like Lazarus, the Bible talks about a promised hope in the future FOR US:

"The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear [Jesus'] voice and come out." (John 5:28, 29)

"There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous." - Acts 24:15

Recommended Related Articles:

What Will Happen When I Die?
http://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/wp20121101/what-happens-when-you-die/

Death—Is It Really the End?
http://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/g200809/death-is-it-the-end/

What Hope Is There for the Dead?
http://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/good-news-from-god/what-hope-for-the-dead/

Monday, January 26, 2015

NEW VIDEO AT JW.ORG: Building a New Bible


NEW VIDEO AT JW.ORG:
Building a New Bible 
Get a behind-the-scenes look at how the 2013 revision of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures was constructed.

Cómo se hizo la nueva Biblia

A produção de uma nova Bíblia

La produzione della nuova Bibbia

Die neue Bibel — echte Wertarbeit

La conception d’une nouvelle Bible

Создание обновленной Библии

Виготовлення нової Біблії

Η Παραγωγή μιας Νέας Αγίας Γραφής

새로운 성경이 탄생하기까지

Hogyan készült az új Biblia?

Paggawa ng Bagong Bibliya

Which Worldwide Religion Bears God's Name 'Jehovah'?

Which Worldwide Religion Bears God's Name 'Jehovah'?

Ps. 83:18 identifies God's name:

"That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth." (KJV)

(Also notice Ps. 83:18 from the ASV, Darby, WBT, TMB and YLT Bibles at the following link.)
http://www.biblestudytools.com/psalms/83-18-compare.html

Jehovah's Witnesses are well known for educating others about God's personal name which occurs in the Bible nearly 7,000 times.
http://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/gods-name/

Concerning Jehovah's Witnesses, it is also interesting that there seems to be no other readily-identifiable, world-wide religious group that use the personal name of God to identify themselves today. (Acts 15:14, 15)

"Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen;" (Isaiah 43:10) ASV

What Does "Hallelujah" Mean?

The expression “Hallelujah,” which occurs 24 times in the Hebrew Scriptures, literally is a command
to a number of people to “praise Jah” - a poetic shortened form of 'Jehovah', the name of the Most High God. (Ex 15:1, 2)

"The word halal is the source of `Hallelujah,' a Hebrew expression of `praise' to God which has been taken over into virtually every language of mankind. The Hebrew `Hallelujah' is generally translated [falsely], `Praise the Lord!' The Hebrew is more technically [more honestly] translated `Let us praise Yah,' the term `Yah' being a shortened form of `Yahweh,' the unique Israelite name for God." - p. 301, - Nelson's Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament, Unger and White, Thomas Nelson Publ., 1980.

"Hallelujah - Praise ye Jehovah - frequently rendered [falsely] `Praise Ye the Lord" - p. 276. "Jah - a shortened form of `Jehovah,'" - p. 322, Today's Bible Dictionary, Bethany House Publishers, 1982.

"HALLELUJAH ... 'praise ye Jehovah'; allelouia .... In the NT ['Hallelujah'] is found as part of the song of the heavenly host (Rev. 19:1 ff)." - p. 1323, Vol. 2, The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Eerdmans Publ., 1984 printing.

"hallelujah: (Heb., hillel, he praises; Jah, form of Yahweh-Jehovah....) Literally, Praise ye Yahweh." - p. 320, An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm (editor), 1945 ed.

"HALLELUJAH - HALLELOUIA [in NT Greek] signifies `Praise ye Jah.' .... In the N.T. it is found in Rev. 19:1, 3, 4, 6, as the keynote in the song of the great multitude in Heaven. Alleluia, without the initial H, is a misspelling." - p. 520, W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers, 1980.

"ALLELUIA, the Greek form (Revelation 19:1, 3, 4, 6) of the Hebrew Hallelujah = Praise ye Jehovah, which begins or ends several of the psalms (106, 111, 112, 113, etc.)." – Easton's Bible Dictionary, Thomas Nelson Publ., 1897.

The NT Greek text does have the initial `H' sound. The "misspelling" is in certain English translations (e.g., KJV) which drop the beginning `H' sound: "Alleluia"! However, most respected modern translations do have "Hallelujah" in Rev. 19 (e.g., NIV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, ASV, REB, MLB, Mo, and Barclay).

"Hallelujah....is derived from halal, which means to praise, and Jah, which is the name of God .... here in this chapter [Rev. 19] the original Hebrew form transliterated into Greek, is retained." - p. 169, Vol. 2, William Barclay, The Revelation of John, Revised Edition, The Daily Study Bible Series, Westminster Press, 1976.

"Alleluia, so written in Rev. 19:6, foll., or more properly Hallelujah, Praise ye Jehovah ...." - p. 31. "Jah (Jehovah), the abbreviated form of Jehovah ... The identity of Jah and Jehovah is strongly marked in two passages of Isaiah - 12:2; 26:4." - p. 276, Smith's Bible Dictionary, William Smith, Hendrickson Publ.

"Trust ye in Jehovah for ever; for in Jehovah ['Heb. JAH' - ASV f. n.], even Jehovah [YHWH], is an everlasting rock." - Is. 26:4, ASV.

Yes, Jah is equivalent to Jehovah. Two different forms of the very same PERSONAL NAME of God. (This is likely equivalent to the way Greek manuscripts often abbreviated "God" [Qeos, 'theos'] as QS. If so, Jah would still be pronounced "Jehovah" or "Yahweh".)

Psalm 68:4, King James Version - "Sing unto God, sing praises to his name; extol him...by his name JAH ['Jehovah' - ASV; LB]..."

Of course, the Gentile manuscript copyists of later centuries probably did not know that "Abi-JAH" ("The Father is Jehovah"), "Eli-JAH," ("God is Jehovah"), etc. are transliterations that actually use the shortened form of God's personal name ("Jah") and certainly didn't know that "Hallelujah" (Rev. 19:1, 3, 4, 6) is really Hebrew for "Praise Jah" or they would have surely changed them all also. However, the inspired Jewish Christians who actually wrote the original NT manuscripts certainly knew that writing or proclaiming aloud "Hallelu JAH!" (whether in Hebrew characters or Greek characters) was writing (or proclaiming aloud) God's personal name. If the Jewish Christian and Apostle John had left God's name out of the NT originally, he surely would not have then used "Hallelu JAH!" in four places in Revelation 19, for he knew exactly what it truly said: "Praise ye Jehovah"! Only the Hebrew-ignorant Gentile "Christian" copyists would be fooled by "Hallelujah" exactly as they were when they removed and changed the Divine Name in the Septuagint about the same time).

Also see: Hallelujah / Jah - The Removal of God's Name and Why "Hallelujah" Remained
http://defendingjehovahswitnesses.blogspot.com/2012/09/hallelujah-jah-removal-of-gods-name-and.html

More Information Concerning This Can Be Found In the Following Articles:

Jah
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200002288?q=Hallelujah&p=par

HALLELUJAH (Watchtower Online Library INDEX)
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200272571

HALLELUJAH (Insight on the Scriptures, Volume 1)
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200001830

What Does it Mean to "Fear" God?

What Does it Mean to "Fear" God?

The Bible shows that there is a proper fear and an improper fear. The proper fear of God is an awe and a reverence for Him and is a wholesome dread of displeasing Him.

This proper fear of God is “the beginning of wisdom” (Ps 111:10), “the start of wisdom.” (Pr 9:10) “The fear of God is pure.” (Ps 19:9)

This fear is defined at Proverbs 8:13: “The fear of God means the hating of bad” and “in the fear of God one turns away from bad.” (Pr 16:6)

Recommended Related Articles:

What is the fear of Jehovah that we should have?
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200001500?q=What+is+the+fear+of+Jehovah+that+we+should+have&p=par

Be Wise—Fear God!
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2006565

Enjoy Life in the Fear of Jehovah
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2007164

1 Cor. 11:3 - "The Head of Christ is God."

This Scripture (1 Cor. 11:3), as well as the Bible throughout, clearly shows that Jesus Christ is not God. People who believe that Jesus is God have absolutely no logical response to this.

The God-ordained principle of headship in the Christian congregation states as follows:

"But I want you to know that the head of every man is the Christ; in turn, the head of a woman is the man; in turn, the head of the Christ is God." (1 Cor. 11:3) NWT

This verse plainly states that in the same way that Jesus exercises headship over man and man exercises headship over the woman, God also exercises headship over Christ. God does not have a head or superior.

Not only is God indicated to be superior over Christ here, but God is phrased as a separate person from Christ. Additionally, this Scripture was written about Christ when he is in heaven - not on earth - so Trinitarians cannot use the common excuse for this Scripture that he was merely a man at the time.

1 Cor. 11:3 can also be used in conjunction with 1 Cor.15:28 which shows that Jesus subjects himself to God, and also phrases Jesus as a separate and distinct individual from God.

Recommended Related Articles:

“The head of every man is the Christ.”—1 COR. 11:3.
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/pc/r1/lp-e/1200270046/173/0

1 Cor. 11:3
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1101989276#h=27:0-27:412

Gen. 6:2 - Who were the "Sons of God" as Mentioned in This Scriptural Passage?

The most likely interpretation is that these "sons of God" were angels:

"'Son of God' in the OT can refer to a 'heavenly court' of supernatural beings [angels] (Gen. 6:2, 4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Ps. 29:1; 82:6; 89:6 ...)" - p. 571, Vol. 4, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1988. [Bracketed information added.]

Further supporting this is how the Bible mentions that it was disobedient angels that left their place in heaven during the time of Noah, came down to the earth, and took on fleshly bodies:

"The angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place..." (Jude 6)

Their reason for doing this is explained in the following Scripture:

“The sons of the true God began to notice the daughters of men, that they were good-looking; and they went taking wives for themselves, namely, all whom they chose.” (Genesis 6:2)

Supporting the conclusion that these were ANGELIC "sons of God" is the apostle Peter’s references to “the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient when the patience of God was waiting in Noah’s days” (1 Pet. 3:19, 20), and to “the angels that sinned,” mentioned in connection with the “ancient world” of Noah’s time. (2 Pet. 2:4, 5)

For more, see these posts at my other blogs:

Were the "sons of God" mentioned in Genesis 6:2 angels, and if so, how could they produce offspring (Nephilim) in the time of Noah?
http://searchforbibletruths.blogspot.com/2010/06/since-angels-are-spirits-how-did-they.html

Identifying the Nephilim
http://defendingjehovahswitnesses.blogspot.com/2013/10/identifying-nephilim.html

Gen. 2:17 - What Did God Mean When He Said That Adam and Eve Would Die the Day They Ate the Fruit When They Actually Died Hundreds of Years Later?

God did not lie when He said in Gen. 2:17, "But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die.”

Yes, they died hundreds of years later - but they did die.

If the argument is that they didn't die within that 24-hour period, we need to understand that many times the Bible uses the word “day” in a flexible or figurative sense:

“the day of God’s creating Adam” (Ge 5:1), “the day of Jehovah” (Zep 1:7), the “day of fury” (Zep 1:15), “the day of salvation” (2Co 6:2), “the day of judgment” (2Pe 3:7), “the great day of God the Almighty” (Re 16:14), and others.

This flexible use of the word “day” to express units of time of varying length is clearly evident in the Genesis account of creation. At Hebrews 4:1-10 the apostle Paul indicated that God’s rest day was still continuing in his generation, and that was more than 4,000 years after that seventh-day rest period began. This makes it evident that each creative day, or work period, was at least thousands of years in length. As A Religious Encyclopaedia (Vol. I, p. 613) observes: “The days of creation were creative days, stages in the process, but not days of twenty-four hours each.”—Edited by P. Schaff, 1894.

Even the entire period of the six time units or creative “days” dedicated to the preparation of planet Earth is summed up in one all-embracing “day” at Genesis 2:4: “This is a history of the heavens and the earth in the time of their being created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven.”

Man’s situation does not compare with that of the Creator, who does not reside within our solar system and who is not affected by its various cycles and orbits. Of God, who is from time indefinite to time indefinite, the psalmist says: “For a thousand years are in your eyes but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch during the night.” (Ps 90:2, 4) Correspondingly, the apostle Peter writes that “one day is with Jehovah as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.” (2Pe 3:8) For man, a 1,000-year period represents some 365,242 individual time units of day and night, but to the Creator it can be just one unbroken time period in which He begins the carrying out of some purposeful activity and brings it on to its successful conclusion, much as a man begins a task in the morning and concludes it by the day’s end.

Additional Reading:

Adam’s Sin
http://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/bible-teach/what-is-gods-purpose-for-the-earth/

Gen. 3:22 - Who is the "us" as stated by God at Genesis 3:22?

To help us understand who "us" is at Genesis 3:22, we need to see what the situation was like in heaven when God spoke these words. The Bible says that the Father, Jehovah God created His son Jesus as the very first of all creation:

Rev. 3:14 says that Jesus is "the Beginning of the creation of God". NASB

John 1:18 says that Jesus is God's "only BEGOTTEN Son". ASV

Col. 1:15 says that Jesus is "the FIRSTBORN of all creation".

So when God said "Let us make man in our image" at Gen. 1:26, and “The man has become like one of us in knowing good and bad” at Gen. 3:22), God was speaking to His only-begotten Son Jesus, His Master Worker, the first-born of all creation, *through* whom all other things came into existence. (Prov. 8:30, 31; also compare John 1:1-3; Col 1:15-17.)

Here is a very good article about this:

To whom was God referring as “one of us” at Genesis 3:22? 
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2003766#s=0:0-6:571

Also see:

Is Gen. 1:26 Really "Proof" of the Trinity? ("Let US make man in OUR image.")
http://defendingjehovahswitnesses.blogspot.com/2014/06/is-gen-126-really-proof-of-trinity-let.html


Gen. 3:19 - "...For dust you are and to dust you will return.” What was God condemning, the body, the personality or the person?

According to the Bible, there is no activity, feeling, emotion, or thought in death. (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10)

The simple truth is that no person has had a prehuman existence to remember. Before you were conceived, you did not exist.

So it is logical to conclude that when we die, our consciousness returns to exactly the same state it was before we were alive.

That is why God told Adam after he disobeyed: “For dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19)

Recommended Related Articles: 

A Closer Look at Some Myths About Death
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2002401

Is Death Really the End? - Hope From the God of Life 
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102007442

Gen. 1:26: How is Man Created in The Image of God?

Gen. 1:26: How is Man Created in The image of God?
As to the actual form or shape of God’s body, "at no time has anyone beheld God" (1 John 4:12) because "God is a Spirit" (John 4:24). So it would seem unreasonable to liken man’s body to God’s body. 
Note that the Scriptures do not say that God created man in the image of a wild beast or of a domestic animal or of a fish. Man was made "in God’s image"; he was a "son of God." (Luke 3:38)

Man is "in God’s image" in that he was created with moral qualities like those of God, such as love and justice. (See Col. 3:10) He also has powers and wisdom above those of animals, so that he can appreciate the things that God enjoys and appreciates, such as beauty and the arts, speaking, reasoning, and similar processes of the mind and heart of which the animals are not capable. Man is also capable of spirituality...the knowing and having communication with God. (1 Cor. 2:11-16; Heb 12:9) It was these reasons that man was qualified to be God’s representative and to have in subjection the forms of creature life in the skies, on the earth, and in the sea.

Also see:

“In God’s Image”
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2000846#h=8:0-9:753

Gen. 1:16: It is claimed that God made the stars on the 4th day. Is this true?


It is in Gen. 1:1, not Gen. 1:16, where it describes the stars being physically created. In Gen. 1:1, it
says that "God created the heavens and earth". There is nothing to indicate that billions of years could not have passed between that statement and the next sentence in Gen. 1:2. So “the heavens” (which includes the stars) were most likely created long before the first "day” even began.

 Also the Hebrew word rendered “make” in verse 16 is not the same as the word for “create” used in Genesis chapter 1, verses 1, 21, and 27. So when verse 16 says that "He also made the stars", it does not mean that He actually created them at that time. But what does it mean?

 The events of the six figurative creative “days,” or time periods of special creative works, seem to have been described as they would have appeared to a human observer had he been present on the earth then. So even though “the heavens” (which includes the stars) were created long before the “first day” even began, their light did not reach the surface of the earth, presumably due to dense layers of cloud cover. During the fourth "day" (creative period), however, a notable change took place. The sun, the moon, and the stars were now made “to shine upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:17) “God proceeded to make” them in the sense that they could now be seen from the Earth's surface.

What is the "Spirit of God" as mentioned at Gen. 1:2?

Many translations do not say "God's active force" at Gen. 1:2.
http://www.biblestudytools.com/genesis/1-2-compare.html

However, the New World Translation's "active force" for the Hebrew RUACH is both accurate and appropriate for Genesis 1:2 because the way that the Bible uses the term "holy spirit" indicates that it is God's active force that He uses to accomplish a variety of His purposes.

Even many trinitarian scholars will admit this:

"In the New Testament there is no direct suggestion of the Trinity. The Spirit is conceived as an IMPERSONAL POWER by which God effects his will through Christ." - An Encyclopedia of Religion, p. 344, Virgilius Ferm, 1945 ed.


Using Genesis 1:2; Job 33:4 and Psalm 33:6 as its basis, Swete writes about the "Spirit" in the Old Testament:

"The Spirit of God is the vital power which belongs to the Divine Being, and is seen to be operative in the world and in men. It is the Divine Energy which is the origin of all created life, especially of human existence and the faculties of human nature." Swete, The Holy Spirit in the New Testament (1909), page 2.

The commentator clearly sees the Spirit as a force, not a person in this verse.

About the translation of Genesis 1:2:

"There is little to commend "a mighty wind" (NEB, Speiser, von Rad); in the relatively few passages where "God" is used as a superlative, the context usually makes it clear. The sense is excellently given by "the power of God" (GNB)." A Bible Commentary for Today, General Editor G. C. D. Howley (1973), page 135.

Note that this Commentary states "The sense is excellently given by "the power of God" (GNB)."

"There is apparent a development in the direction of hypostatization of the Spirit, not in the sense that it is conceived as a person but as a substantial source of force and activity. It is the creative force of Yahweh (Gn. 1:2; Jb 33:5)" Dictionary of the Bible, McKenzie (1965), page 841.

This Bible Dictionary agrees with the NWT that in Genesis 1:2, the Spirit is the "creative force of Yahweh."

"The Spirit brooding over the primeval waters (Gn. 1:2) and creating man (Gn. 2:7), the Spirit who garnishes the heavens (Jb 26:13), sustains animal life and renews the face of the earth (Ps. 54:30), is the ruah ('breath,' 'wind') of God, the outgoing divine energy and power." The New Bible Dictionary, J. D. Douglas (1962), page 531.

The ruach is not a person, the basic meaning in Gen 1:2 (and the other scriptures quoted) is shown to be " the outgoing divine energy and power."

Additional Reading:
Genesis 1:2 New World Translation - "..and God's active force was moving to and fro..." (In Defense of the New World Translation)
http://onlytruegod.org/defense/genesis1.2.htm