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Monday, April 21, 2014

Jehovah's Witnesses: Why Celebrate Baby Showers But Not Birthdays?

The reason that we celebrate showers is because from the earliest Bible times God’s people have rejoiced and “celebrated” the birth of their children, especially their firstborn. Similarly, God’s people have always given gifts. Even Jesus showed that childbirth was a blessed, happy event among God’s people (Lk 1:57, 58; 2:9-14; Jn 16:21).

Witnesses properly rejoice and give each other gifts when the occasion is appropriated and it does not include unscriptural, pagan customs or practices that go contrary to Christian principles. (While there may in some areas be false religious customs associated with the celebrations of the birth of a baby, Christians do not include these customs in their rejoicing.)


Just looking at the birth of Christ would tell you that it was OK for God’s people to rejoice and gather together in celebration of a birth (Luke 2). God Himself rejoiced when Jesus was born. The angels rejoiced and gathered together and even invited the shepherds to gather! Granted, this celebration was for more than just a child’s birth, but there are many other scriptural examples of parents and friends rejoicing at the birth of a child.

On the other hand, you will also note that there is not even one example in the Bible of God’s faithful servants who commemorated the “birthday” of anyone. Jehovah’s people celebrated other anniversaries but they did not memorialize the date of birth (Jn 10:22, 23).

Further, even the idea of elevating an individual just because he was born is contrary to Christian principles. Birthdays are rooted in selfish pride and all about “Me.” Jesus gave us a guiding principle of humility not self-exaltation (Mat. 23:12; Gal. 5:26).

While we might be able to avoid the egotistical aspect, a bigger principle is involved. It is a matter of practicing unadulterated True Worship as taught in the Scriptures. Celebrating birthdays was unheard of by God’s people for hundreds of years after Christ and only came about with the corruption of True Christianity by false teachers.

Just the slightest research would tell you that celebrating birthdays is not a practice for True Christianity:

"The celebration of birthdays has been borrowed from the practices of other nations, as no mention is made of this custom among Jews either in The Bible, Talmud, or writings of the later Sages. In fact, it was an ancient Egyptian custom."--Customs and Traditions of Israel

The World Book Encyclopedia states: “The early Christians did not celebrate [Jesus’] birth because they considered the celebration of anyone’s birth to be a pagan custom.”

“Early Christians did not celebrate the birth of Christ. Birthdays in themselves were associated with pagan practices; the Gospels say nothing about the actual date of Christ’s birth.”--The Making of the Modern Christmas, by Golby and Purdue

"The later Hebrews looked on the celebration of birthdays as a part of idolatrous worship, a view which would be abundantly confirmed by what they saw of the common observances associated with these days."--*The Imperial Bible-Dictionary

One periodical stated: "The various customs with which people today celebrate their birthdays have a long history. Their origins lie in the realm of magic and religion. The customs of offering congratulations, presenting gifts and celebrating - complete with lighted candles - in ancient times were meant to protect the birthday celebrant from the demons and to ensure his security for the coming year. . . . Down to the fourth century Christianity rejected the birthday celebration as a pagan custom."

"Birthday greetings and wishes for happiness are an intrinsic part of this holiday. . . . originally the idea was rooted in magic. The working of spells for good and evil is the chief usage of witchcraft. One is especially susceptible to such spells on his birthday, as one's personal spirits are about at the time. . . . Birthday greetings have power for good or ill because one is closer to the spirit world on this day....The keeping of birthday records was important in ancient times principally because a birth date was essential for the casting of a horoscope."--The Lore of Birthdays


Celebrating birthdays was adopted from superstition and false religion which corrupted true Christianity.

The Israelites also adopted a religious practice which they renamed as "a festival to Jehovah" and "sat down to eat and drink and to have a good time" (Ex.32:1-35). Even though the Israelites used this festival to worship the True God, God still viewed this as idolatry, and that is also true of customs today that are clearly derived from false religious practices (Lev.18:3; Deut.12:30, 31; Jer. 10:2; 1Cor.10:6- 11). True Christians will listen to what God's thinking and avoid any association with idolatrous, corruptive non-Christian practices in their pure worship of the True God.

We are told: "Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves, says Jehovah, and quit touching the unclean thing; and I will take you in."-2 Cor. 6:14-18, Isa.52:11; Gal.5:9)


The only birthday celebrations of Biblical record are of pagans and linked to instances of cruelty. Hence, the Scriptures clearly place birthday celebrations in a negative light, a fact that sincere Christians do not disregard.

Consequently, while it is entirely a private matter if Christians choose to take note of baby showers or wedding anniversaries, there are good reasons why mature Christians abstain from celebrating birthdays.


**As a side note, pointing to the “wise men” as a reason to celebrate birthdays requires us to be ignorant of the Scriptures. First, they were not “wise men” but “magi” or astrologers and thus were not worshipers of the True God. Second, they were not even around at the time of Christ’s birth and so their gifts were not for his “birthday.” Notice that he was in a “house” and is described as a “young child,” not as a newborn baby.—Mat 2:1-10.

SOURCE: This is an answer provided by BAR_ANERGES to a question at Yahoo Answers.
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Additional Comments to BAR_ANERGES answer:

1.) Distinction between Baby Showers and Birthdays. Baby showers today are a way to celebrate the pending or recent birth of a child by presenting gifts to the parents at a party. It is not a celebration of the specific birthdate of the child by presenting gifts to the child itself.

2.) Baby showers are not of pagan origin. The origin of baby showers is unknown: Baby Shower History (Ezine @rticles)

Although something like baby showers were practiced by people in the past, it appears modern baby showers are not connected to ancient baby showers in any way.

So "baby showers" as we know them today are a modern invention, and cannot be of pagan origin. Besides, (and most importantly) the Bible describes God’s people as having rejoiced and “celebrated” the birth of their children whereas there are good reasons why mature Christians abstain from celebrating birthdays.

3.) The holding of baby showers is nowhere promoted in literature produced by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. It is not an official practice of Jehovah's Witnesses; it is at best a personal choice. We don't have to "stop" doing something we do not officially promote in the first place. "Jehovah's Witnesses" do not have baby showers, individuals do, if they so wish. And even then the emphasis is on helping the parents, not celebrating a birthday.

For more concerning Birthdays, see:

Jehovah's Witnesses and Birthdays - Why Don't They Celebrate? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

What Are Some Customs That Displease God? (w05 1/1 pp. 27-30; Watchtower Online Library)



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Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Generally Meet on Sundays?

Before addressing why the Public Meeting and Watchtower Studies are often held on Sundays, let's first 
address why Sunday came to be the principal day of worship for much of Christendom and then contrast this with Jehovah's Witnesses' pattern of worship.

How did Sunday come to be the principal day of worship for much of Christendom?

Nowhere does the Bible say that Christian meetings were to be held on Sunday or any other particular day of the week. So, then, why do many professed Christians observe Sunday as a holy day? The custom of worshipping on Sunday arose after the Bible was completed and a variety of beliefs and traditions not based on the Bible had begun to appear:

“The retention of the old Pagan name of ‘Dies Solis,’ or ‘Sunday,’ for the weekly Christian festival, is, in great measure, owing to the union of Pagan and [so-called] Christian sentiment with which the first day of the week was recommended by Constantine [in an edict in 321 C.E.] to his subjects, Pagan and Christian alike, as the ‘venerable day of the Sun.’ . . . It was his mode of harmonizing the discordant religions of the Empire under one common institution.”—Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church (New York, 1871), A. P. Stanley, p. 291. - rs p. 345-p. 352, paragraph 5

So Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Generally Meet on Sundays?

In all matters of worship, Jehovah’s Witnesses, like the first-century Christians, strive to follow the Bible rather than tradition. The entire pattern for true worship is laid out in detail in the Bible. (Romans 3:4; Colossians 2:8)

So what does the Bible tell us about how first-century Christians worshipped? They regularly met together to pray, read scriptures, listen to talks, and sing songs praising God. (Acts 12:12; Colossians 3:16) At such meetings, Christians received instruction, strengthened their faith, and gave mutual encouragement to one another.—Hebrews 10:24, 25.

Around the world, Jehovah’s Witnesses closely follow the pattern of worship practiced by Jesus’ early followers. Witnesses don't devote just one day, but enjoy a weekly program of Bible instruction. The days on which their meetings are held are determined by local circumstances, not by unscriptural traditions. We worship on Sunday in many countries mainly because it is the most convenient day in that most people have that day off from work.

Recommended Related Article:

The Bible’s Viewpoint: A Weekly Holy Day—Is It Required? (g 9/11 pp. 10-11; Watchtower Online Library)
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(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at http://www.jw.org/en. Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)



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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Why is Jesus Called "Mighty God" at Isa. 9:6?

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." (Isa. 9:6) 

Pretty much all Christians accept this son as being the
Christ.  Some will tell you that since the meaning of this symbolic name includes the words "Mighty God, Eternal Father," then Jesus is the Mighty God and the Eternal Father.

But there are at least two other ways this personal name has been interpreted by reputable Bible scholars. (1) The titles found within the name (e.g., "Mighty God") are intended in their secondary, subordinate senses. (2) the titles within the name are meant to praise God the Father, not the Messiah.

First, (1) there is the possibility that the words (or titles) found in the literal meaning of the name apply directly to the Messiah all right but in a subordinate sense.  In other words, Christ is "a mighty god" in the same sense that God's angels were called "gods" and the judges of Israel were called "gods" by God himself (also by Jesus - John 10:34, 35), and Moses was called "a god" by Jehovah himself.  This is the interpretation of Is. 9:6 by the WT Society at this time.

Yes, men and angels were called gods (elohim - Hebrew; theos - Greek) in a proper, but subordinate, sense by Jehovah and his inspired Bible writers.  Although they were given this elevated title in a proper sense (not false gods), it was obviously with the clear understanding that it in no way implied a comparison with the Most High, Only True God.  (A bank employee calling his boss, the head of the bank, "the president" would certainly not imply an equality of position, power, etc. with "The President" [of the USA].)
  
The word "god" as understood by those who used that term simply meant a "mighty one" - see Young's Concordance.  In fact the word "Mighty" as found at Is. 9:6 (Gibbor in the original Hebrew) is also applied to the angels at Ps. 103:20 (see a modern concordance such as the New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible).  It is interesting that the ancient translation of the Old Testament that Jesus frequently quoted, the Septuagint Version, renders Is. 9:6: "and his [the Messiah's] name is called the Angel [aggeloV, messenger] of Great Counsel."   

The very early (ca. 160 A.D.) Christian Justin Martyr quoted Is. 9:6 also as "The Angel of mighty counsel" - "Dialogue With Trypho," ch. LXXVI.

So, just as "Lord" was applied to anyone in authority: angels, masters over servants, husbands, etc., so, too, could "god" be applied to anyone (good or bad) who was considered a "mighty person."  Of course only one person could be called the "Most High God," or the "Only True God," or the "Almighty God"! 

In the same way, "Eternal Father" could mean that the Messiah is one who has been given eternal life and through him God has brought eternal life to many others.  (We might make the comparison that the Heavenly Father has brought men to life in this world through their earthly fathers.)  This would be intended in a clearly subordinate sense and not to take anything away from the ultimate honor, glory, worship, etc. due the Most High God and Father in heaven - Jehovah.


At any rate, even trinitarians do not confuse the two separate persons of the Father and the Son. They do not say the Son is the Father.  They say the Father and the Son are two separate individual persons who are equally "God"!

Therefore, since we obviously cannot take "Eternal Father" in the literal sense to mean that Jesus is the Father, we cannot take the rest of that same name (esp. `Mighty God') in its literal highest sense and say that Jesus is Mighty God, etc., either.

In addition to the distinct possibility of the use of the secondary subordinate meanings of the titles such as "God/god" as explained by Bible language scholars, we can see by the actual renderings of some trinitarian Bible translators at Is. 9:6 that they believe such subordinate meanings were intended by the inspired Bible writer.


Instead of "Mighty God," Dr. James Moffatt translated this part of Is. 9:6 as "a divine hero;" Byington has "Divine Champion;" The New English Bible has "In Battle Godlike;" The Catholic New American Bible (1970 and 1991 revision) renders it "God-Hero;" and the REB says "Mighty Hero."  Even that most-respected of Biblical Hebrew language experts, Gesenius, translated it "mighty hero" - p. 45, Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon.

Also, The NIV Study Bible, in a f.n. for Ps 45:6, tells us:


"In this psalm, which praises the king and especially extols his `splendor and majesty' (v. 3), it is not unthinkable that he was called `god' as a title of honor [cf.  Isa 9:6]."  (Bracketed information included in original footnote.  Emphasis is mine)
    
In addition, Rotherham has rendered "Eternal Father" as "father of progress," and the New English Bible translates it: "father of a wide realm."

The above-mentioned Bible translations by trinitarian scholars which apply the words in the name at Is. 9:6 in a subordinate sense directly to Jesus clearly show that they do not believe this scripture implies an equality with Jehovah the Father.

........................
 
And second (2), another way competent Bible scholars have interpreted the meaning of this name is with the understanding that it (as with many, if not most, of the other Israelites' personal names) does not apply directly to the Messiah (as we have already seen with "Elijah," "Abijah," etc.) but is, instead, a statement praising the Father, Jehovah God.


Personal names in the ancient Hebrew and Greek are often somewhat cryptic to us today. The English Bible translator must fill in the missing minor words (especially in names composed of two or more Hebrew words) such as "my," "is," "of," etc. in whatever way he thinks best in order to make sense for us today in English.

For instance, two of the best Bible concordances (Young's and Strong's) and a popular trinitarian Bible dictionary (Today's Dictionary of the Bible) differ greatly on the exact meaning of many Biblical personal names because of those "minor" words which must be added to bring out the intended meaning.
 
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, for example, says the name "Elimelech" (which is literally just "God King") means "God of (the) King."  Young's Analytical Concordance says it means "God is King."  Today's Dictionary of the Bible says it means " God his king" -  p. 206, Bethany House Publ., 1982.
 
Those missing minor words that the translator must supply at his own discretion can often make a vital difference!  - For example, the footnote for Gen. 17:5 in The NIV Study Bible: The name `Abram' "means `Exalted Father,' probably in reference to God (i.e., `[God is] Exalted Father')."- Brackets in original.

This is why another name the Messiah is to be called by at Jer. 23:6 is rendered, `The LORD [YHWH] IS Our Righteousness' in the following Bibles: RSV; NRSV; NEB; NJB;  JPS (Margolis, ed.); Tanakh; Byington; AT; and  ASV (footnote).  Of course other translations render it more literally by calling the Messiah  "The LORD [YHWH] Our Righteousness" to help support a `Jesus is God' doctrine.  Some of these (such as the NASB) actually render the very same name at Jer. 33:16 as "The LORD [or Jehovah] Is Our Righteousness"! - [bracketed information is mine]. 


(Unfortunately for those who wish to use this name at Jer. 23:16 as evidence of Jesus being Jehovah, at Jer. 33:16 it is also given to a city!)

Therefore, the personal name at Is. 9:6 has been honestly translated as: "And his name is called: Wonderful in counsel is God the Mighty, the everlasting Father, the Ruler of peace" - The Holy Scriptures, JPS Version (Margolis, ed.) to show that it is intended to praise the God of the Messiah who performs great things through the Messiah.

Also, An American Translation (by trinitarians Smith and Goodspeed) says:
"Wonderful counselor is God almighty, Father forever, Prince of peace."
 
Of course it could also be honestly translated: "Wonderful Counselor and Mighty God is the Eternal Father of the Prince of Peace."
   
And the Tanakh by the JPS, 1985, translates it:


[a]"The Mighty God is planning grace;
[b] The Eternal Father [is] a peaceable ruler."
 
This latter translation seems particularly appropriate since it is in the form of a parallelism.  Not only was the previous symbolic personal name introduced by Isaiah at Is. 8:1 a  parallelism ("Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz" means  [a]"quick to the plunder;   [b] swift to the spoil" - NIV footnote) but the very introduction to this Messianic name at Is. 9:6 is itself a parallelism: [a]"For unto us a child is born;  [b] unto us a son is given."  It would, therefore, be appropriate to find that this name, too, was in the form of a parallelism as translated by the Tanakh above.

So it is clear, even to a number of trinitarian scholars, that Is. 9:6 does not imply that Jesus is Jehovah God.

For much more, see:

God at Isa. 9:6 (rs p. 405-p. 426; Watchtower Online Library)

Isa. 9:6 "Mighty God, Eternal Father" (Examining the Trinity)

Isa. 9:6 - NWT (Defending the New World Translation)

NAME - “Jesus,” “Immanuel,” and Is. 9:6 (Examining the Trinity)

BOWGOD (God and gods) (Examining the Trinity)

Does Isa. 9:6 prove that Jesus is God? (Search For Bible Truths)

One God in Three? (Pastor Russell; Heading: "No Trinity in the “Old Testament”')

How does the Codex Sinaiticus render Is. 9:6? (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)

How is translated Isaiah 9:6 in old Aramaic Targums? (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)

Or see the Scripture Index.

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(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at http://www.jw.org/en. Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)



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Friday, April 18, 2014

Was Jesus Executed on a Cross or an Upright Stake? Should the Cross Be Used in Worship to God?

Many are surprised to read in several Bibles that Jesus was hung upon a "tree" at Acts 5:30.
http://www.biblestudytools.com/acts/5-30-compare.html

This is because the word "Stau·ros´ in both the classical Greek and Koine carries no thought of a "cross" made of two timbers. It means only an upright stake, pale, pile, or pole:

"The Greek word for `cross' (Stau·ros´) means primarily an upright stake or beam, and secondarily a stake used as an instrument for punishment and execution." - Douglas' New Bible Dictionary of 1985 under "Cross," page 253.

And noted Greek scholar W. E. Vine mentions the following concerning this subject:

"STAUROS denotes, primarily, an upright pale or stake. On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroo, to fasten to a stake or pale, are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed cross." - Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 256. Vine also goes on to describe the Chaldean origin of the two-piece cross and how it was adopted from the pagans by Christendom in the third century C.E. as a symbol of Christ's impalement.

The Pagan History of the Cross

Not only does the Greek word Stau·ros´ not mean a "cross" made of two timbers, but the cross "was an emblem to which religious and mystical meanings were attached long before the Christian era." - Chamber's Encyclopaedia, 1969 ed.

The pagan Romans used the symbol of the cross before and during the early days of Christianity: "These crosses were used as symbols of the Babylonian sun-god ... and are first seen on a coin of Juolius Caesar, 100-44 B.C., and then on a coin struck by Caesar's heir (Augustus), 20 B.C." - The Companion Bible.

And Prof. G.F. Snyder points out that "The sign of the cross has been a symbol of great antiquity, present in nearly every known culture. .... The universal use of the sign of the cross makes more poignant the striking lack of crosses in early Christian remains, especially any specific reference to the event on Golgotha. Most scholars now agree that the cross, as an artistic reference to the passion event, cannot be found prior to the time of Constantine." - p. 27, Ante Pacem - Archaeological Evidence of Church Life Before Constantinte.

The Baptist NT scholar W.E. Vine wrote about "Cross":

"STAUROS ... denotes, primarily, an upright pale or stake. On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroo, to fasten on a stake or pale, are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed cross. The shape of the latter had its origins in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt. By the middle of the 3rd cent. A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the cross of Christ." - p. 248, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Thomas Nelson, 1983 printing.

"In ancient Israel, unfaithful Jews wept over the death of the false god Tammuz. Jehovah spoke of what they were doing as being a `detestable thing.' (Ezek. 8:13, 14) According to history, Tammuz was a Babylonian god, and the cross was used as his symbol. From its beginning in the days of Nimrod, Babylon was against Jehovah and an enemy of true worship. (Gen. 10:8-10; Jer. 50:29) So by cherishing the cross, a person is honoring a symbol of worship that is opposed to the true God." - Reasoning From the Scriptures, "Cross".

The Cross - A Form of Idolatry 

But even if we ignore the evidence and assume that Jesus was killed on a cross, the most important thing is that the cross should not be venerated. Whether it was an upright single torture stake, a cross, an arrow, a lance, or a knife, should such an instrument really be used in worship?

Not only should the thought of venerating the very instrument of Jesus' execution be repelling in itself, but the symbol of the cross is also a pagan symbol...idolatry that God commands us to not even "touch":

“What agreement does God’s temple have with idols?...'Quit touching the unclean thing.'" (2 Corinthians 6:16, 17)

“Guard yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5:21)

"You must not make for yourself a carved image or a form like anything that is in the heavens above or that is on the earth underneath or that is in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them nor be induced to serve them, because I Jehovah your God am a God exacting exclusive devotion." (Exodus 20:4-5)

Long before the Christian era, crosses were used by the ancient Babylonians as symbols in their worship of the fertility god Tammuz. The use of the cross spread into Egypt, India, Syria, and China. Then, centuries later, the Israelites adulterated their worship of Jehovah God with acts of veneration to the false god Tammuz. The Bible refers to this form of worship as a ‘detestable thing.’ - Ezekiel 8:13, 14.

First-century Christians, however, held the sacrificial death of Christ in high esteem. Likewise today, although the instrument used to torture and kill Jesus is not to be worshipped, true Christians commemorate Jesus’ death as the means by which God provides salvation to imperfect humans. (Matthew 20:28)

For more, see:

CROSS - Links to Information (INDEX; Watchtower Online Library)

Cross (Search Results From the Watchtower Online Library)

Did Jesus Die on a Cross? (JW.ORG)

Why True Christians Do Not Use the Cross in Worship (JW.ORG)

Why Don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses Use the Cross in Worship? (JW.ORG)

What does the original Greek reveal as to the shape of the instrument on which Jesus was put to death? (Insight-1 pp. 1190-1192; Watchtower Online Library)

TORTURE STAKE  (Insight-2 pp. 1116-1117; Watchtower Online Library)

Why Don't Jehovah's Witnesses Believe that Jesus Died Upon A Cross? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Was Jesus Impaled on a Cross or an Upright Stake? Should the Cross Be Used in Worship to God? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Why Does the New World Translation Use the Word “Impaled” where Most Bible Translations Say Christ Was “Crucified”? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Why Does it Say The Plural "Nails" John 20:25? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

STAUROS - "Cross" or "Torture Stake"? (Search For Bible Truths)

Stauros / Torture Stake (Response to accusations made by Robert H. Countess) (Defending the New World Translation)

Extracts from HISTORY OF THE CROSS: THE PAGAN ORIGIN AND IDOLATROUS ADOPTION AND WORSHIP, OF THE IMAGE. BY HENRY DANA WARD, M.A., U.S.A. 1871 (In Defense of the New World Translation)

The STAUROS of the New Testament: Cross or Stake? (In Defense of the New World Translation)

Cross or Stake (Stauros) (Pastor Russell)

What does the original Greek reveal as to the shape of the instrument on which Jesus was put to death? (Jehovah's Witnesses Question and Answers)

"Jesus did not die on cross, says scholar" (News article from Telegraph.co.uk)

NWT - Criticism by Zondervan's So Many Versions? - "Torture Stake" vs. "Cross" (Defending the NWT)

Quotes concerning the pagan history of the Cross (Search For Bible Truths)

Should the Cross be venerated? (Jehovah's Witnesses Question and Answers)

Does it matter if Jesus died on a cross? (Search For Bible Truths)


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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Jehovah’s Witnesses' Child Abuse Policy

When you compare Jehovah’s Witnesses with all other religions or secular organizations, Witnesses have the best record for protecting its members from child molesters, fornicators and other perverts.

Most other religions did nothing about priests and ministers who were child molesters and homosexual deviants, and continued to simply transfer these clergy to other congregations when found out. But, Jehovah's Witnesses would instantly remove these individuals from serving in any teaching capacity when they were found out and disfellowship them. What is reprehensible is that other religions constantly criticized the Witnesses for their disfellowshipping policy.

Now, these religions, Protestant and Catholic, are facing thousands of legal cases and paying enormous settlements. At the same time, any legal charges against the Watchtower Society has repeatedly been dismissed by the courts because they determined that Witnesses have NEVER hidden child molesters nor have they ever just transferred Elders accused of molestation to another congregation. So historically Witnesses have the BEST legal record of any religion.

Even the recent adverse decision by one rogue jury in the Conti case was not because we transferred a known child molester–the man had already been reproved and removed from any position in the congregation. And the jury went completely contrary to the legal precedents set in similar cases against other religions. That is, no religion has ever been legally required to make a public announcement of a congregant’s specific sexual misdeeds. In fact, doing so would have broken the law in most countries.

While thousands of Protestant clergy and thousands of Catholic priests were charged with child abuse in the last decades, only a little over a dozen Witness Elders have been charged in the last 100 years (See: Jehovah’s Witnesses care for victims of child abuse - Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Media Web Site - Archive)

In official polls between 25% and 40% of clergy admitted that they had engaged in sexual behavior with some member of their flock and about 15% of clergy are homosexual. And most religions do almost nothing about these clergy!

So, a more valid question would be to ask if other religions have continued to allow fornicators, homosexuals and adulterers to be ministers, priests and teachers?!!

But, among the Witnesses the very few elders who commit immoral acts are instantly removed and most likely disfellowshipped. The media and opposers like to sensationalize a couple of cases where someone was not removed immediately, but those cases are anomalies and occurred only because the organization’s policies were improperly ignored by individual elders.

Also many like to misrepresent the “two witness” rule. This rule has NEVER prevented removal of a child molester. It never took more than one witness for someone to be reported to the authorities for molestation and even before the current government laws on reporting molestations were passed, Witnesses still investigated all accusations and disfellowshipped many without requiring two witnesses. And definitely, when someone was accused of molesting *different* children then there are two witnesses and they would be disfellowshipped.

In actuality, I've seen the courts several times dismiss charges against child molesters who have been disfellowshipped by Witnesses.

To see the actual facts regarding this subject go to:

http://thirdwitness.com/childabuse/default.html

http://defendingjehovahswitnesses.blogspot.com/2009/11/jehovahs-witnesses-and-child-protection.html

SOURCE: This is an answer by BAR_ANERGES to a question at Yahoo Answers.

Also see:
Jehovah’s Witnesses and Child Protection (Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Media Web Site - Archive)

Jehovah’s Witnesses care for victims of child abuse (Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Media Web Site - Archive)
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(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at http://www.jw.org/en. Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)



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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Eating or Ingesting Blood - Does the Bible Prohibit it?

Eating or Ingesting Blood - Does the Bible Prohibit it?


Blood Sausage Before Cooking
Very early in mankind's history, right after the global flood, when God first granted humans the right to eat animal flesh, He immediately made clear His view on the matter of handling blood. He commanded Noah and his family: "Every moving animal that is alive may serve as food for you. As in the case of green vegetation, I do give it all to you. Only flesh with its soul—its blood—you must not eat." (Genesis 9:3)

Later, God's law concerning blood was so important to Him that if an Israelite showed disregard for life as represented by the blood, it was viewed as a most serious wrong. The person deliberately disregarding this law about blood was to be "cut off," executed. (Leviticus 7:26, 27)

Note what M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopaedia says concerning this:

"This strict injunction not only applied to the Israelites, but even to the strangers residing among them. The penalty assigned to its transgression was the being ‘cut off from the people,’ by which the punishment of death appears to be intended (comp. Heb. x, 28), although it is difficult to ascertain whether it was inflicted by the sword or by stoning." -1882, Vol. I, p. 834

Could God's Moral Principle on Blood be Set Aside in Times of Emergency?

Consider the example of what occurred with some soldiers of Israel in the days of King Saul:

"And on that day they kept striking down the Phi·lis´tines from Mich´mash to Ai´ja·lon, and the people got to be very tired. And the people began darting greedily at the spoil and taking sheep and cattle and calves and slaughtering them on the earth, and the people fell to eating along with the blood. So they told Saul, saying: "Look! The people are sinning against Jehovah by eating along with the blood." At this he said: "YOU have dealt treacherously. First of all, roll a great stone to me." After that Saul said: "Scatter among the people, and YOU must say to them, ‘Bring near to me, each one of YOU, his bull and, each one, his sheep, and YOU must do the slaughtering in this place and the eating, and YOU must not sin against Jehovah by eating along with the blood.’" - 1 Samuel 14:31-34

Some of the soldiers of Israel became extremely hungry after a long battle and slaughtered sheep and cattle and "fell to eating along with the blood." Their aim was not to deliberately eat blood, but they did end up hastily eating the meat from animals that were not bled properly. Did the fact that this seemed to be an "emergency" excuse their course? No. Their action was labeled as "sinning against Jehovah by eating along with the blood."

God's High Regard For Blood

So why does God regard blood as so important? The soul is said to be "in" the blood because blood is so intimately involved in the life processes: "For the soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I myself have put it upon the altar for you to make atonement for your souls, because it is the blood that makes atonement by the soul in it." (Lev. 17:11)

Therefore, it is not to be eaten:

God said: "The soul of every sort of flesh is its blood." (Lev. 17:14)

God said: "Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood." (Gen. 9:4) RSV; Moffatt


Blood Pudding
The above Scriptures do not simply outline a diet restriction. By reasonably examining the above Scriptures, it is apparent that God Himself attached a highly important moral principle to blood. God is our Creator and Life-giver. Since He obviously regards life and blood as sacred, He commanded that we view it that way too. By pouring out all the blood that reasonably could be drained out, Noah and his descendants would manifest their regard for the fact that life was from and depended upon the Creator.

God clarified that the same principle would not just apply to animal blood, but to human blood as well...with even stronger force. God said: "Besides that, your blood of your souls shall I ask back. . . . Anyone shedding man’s blood, by man will his own blood be shed, for in God’s image he made man." (Genesis 9:5, 6) If animal blood (representing animal life) was of sacred significance to God, obviously human blood had a sacred significance of even greater value.

Andrew Fuller, viewed as "perhaps the most eminent and influential of Baptist theologians," wrote:

"This, being forbidden to Noah, appears also to have been forbidden to all mankind; nor ought this prohibition to be treated as belonging to the ceremonies of the Jewish dispensation. It was not only enjoined before that dispensation existed, but was enforced upon the Gentile Christians by the decrees of the apostles, Acts XV. 20. . . . Blood is the life, and God seems to claim it as sacred to himself." - The Complete Works of the Rev. Andrew Fuller (1836), p. 751.

For more concerning Jehovah's Witnesses and Blood, see:

Why Don't Jehovah's Witnesses Accept Blood Transfusions? (JW.ORG)

What Does the Bible Say About Blood Transfusions? (JW.ORG)

The Real Value of Blood (JW.ORG)

Blood—Vital For Life (JW.ORG)

Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Refuse Blood Transfusions? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Blood Transfusions - Jehovah's Witnesses Do Not Choose to "Let Their Children Die" as Some Opposers Claim (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses "Abstain From Blood"? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Blood Fractions - Do Jehovah's Witnesses Approve or Disapprove of Their Usage? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Is it Scripturally Acceptable for a Christian to Accept a Bone Marrow Transplant? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

The Truth About Blood Transfusions - The Protection Jehovah's Witnesses Receive Because of Their Refusal Far Outweighs Any Risk (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Do Jehovah's Witnesses Eat Red Meat Since it May Contain a Trace of Blood? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Articles, Websites and Videos Concerning Bloodless Surgery and Medicine (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)
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(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at http://www.jw.org/en. Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)



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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter - Links to Information

Click on any of the following links to view:

Why don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses celebrate Easter? (JW.ORG)

What Does the Bible Say About Easter? (JW.ORG)

Easter or the Memorial—Which Should You Observe? (JW.ORG)

EASTER (INDEX; Watchtower Online Library)

EASTER—FERTILITY WORSHIP IN DISGUISE (lv chap. 13 pp. 144-159; Watchtower Online Library)

What is the origin of Easter and the customs associated with it? (rs p. 176-p. 182; Watchtower Online Library)

Should We Celebrate Holidays? (bh p. 222-p. 223; Watchtower Online Library)
“There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament,” states The Encyclopædia Britannica. How did Easter get started?

Easter - Who Does It Really Honor? (Jehovah's Witnesses United)
"What is the meaning and origin of Easter? Who is honored by the holiday? What are its symbols? Were early Christians commanded to celebrate Easter? Should true Christians celebrate Easter today? The first four questions, and more, will be answered in this paper..

Easter - Pagan and Unscriptural (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses; Excerpts from the 4/15/63 and  3/15/68 Watchtowers)

Why Don't Jehovah's Witnesses Celebrate Easter? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Research: Are Celebrating Holidays Acceptable to God? (Search For Bible Truths)

Holidays (Search For Bible Truths)
Links to related subjects

Paganism (Search For Bible Truths)
Links to related subjects




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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why Did Jesus Have to Sacrifice His Life? What is the Ransom?

Why Did Jesus Have to Sacrifice His Life?  What is the Ransom?

To understand, it is first beneficial to know why we die. The Bible says: “Through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.” (Romans 5:12) We inherited sin and death through our first parents, Adam and Eve.

Because God's Law to ancient Israel required "soul for soul [or, life for life]" (Exodus 21:23), the divine principle that could cover mankind's transgressions would have to equal what the first perfect man (Adam) had lost. Therefore, only the death of another perfect man could pay the wages of sin.

That perfect man was "Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all." (1 Tim. 2:5, 6)

Jesus was originally in heaven, "but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and came to be in the likeness of men." (Phil. 2:7) God did this when He transferred the life of His Son Jesus to the womb of Mary. By means of God’s holy spirit, Jesus was born as a perfect human and was not under the penalty of sin. - Luke 1:35

By sacrificing, or giving up, his perfect life in flawless obedience to God, Jesus paid the price for Adam’s sin. Jesus thus brought hope to Adam’s offspring. - Romans 5:19; 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22

By means of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, we can receive “the forgiveness of our sins.” (Colossians 1:13, 14) We also have the hope of everlasting life on a paradise earth: “The wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23)

For much more, see:

Ransom - Links to Information (INDEX; Watchtower Online Library)

Ransom (Insight on the Scriptures; Watchtower Online Library)

The Ransom—God’s Greatest Gift (JW.ORG)

How Jesus’ Death Can Save You (JW.ORG)

Why Was It Necessary for Jesus to Suffer and Die? - “No One Has Love Greater Than This” (Charles Taze Russell and the Watch Tower Society)

Christ Jesus’ Role as Ransomer (Charles Taze Russell and the Watch Tower Society)

The Ransom and YOU (Charles Taze Russell and the Watch Tower Society)

Do Jehovah's Witnesses deny the Ransom? (Charles Taze Russell and the Watch Tower Society)

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(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at http://www.jw.org/en. Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)


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Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Memorial of Christ’s Death - Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Observe it Annually?

Jehovah's Witnesses observe the Memorial of Christ’s death (also called “the Lord’s Evening Meal” - 1 Corinthians 11:20) because Christians are commanded to.

Jesus said to "Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” (1 Cor. 11:24) But how often?

The Memorial of Jesus’ death is truly a memorial, and memorials are usually observed annually. Additionally, when Jesus was on Earth, Jesus celebrated the Passover with his apostles, and then instituted the Lord’s Evening Meal. Because this meal replaced the Jewish Passover it is appropriate to observe it just once a year.

Does Paul's use of the word "often" mean that the Lord’s Evening Meal should be celebrated more often than once a year?

Referring to the institution of the Memorial of Jesus’ death, Paul wrote: “As often as you eat this loaf and drink this cup, you keep proclaiming the death of the Lord, until he arrives.” (1 Corinthians 11:25, 26)

So what did Paul mean here? Did he really mean for Christ's death to be commemorated frequently - more often than once a year?

Notice this excerpt from the w03 1/1 p. 31; Questions From Readers; par. 2:

"In the context of 1 Corinthians 11:25, 26, Paul was discussing, not how often, but how the Memorial should be observed. In the original Greek, he did not use the word pol·la′kis, which means “often” or “frequently.” Rather, he used the word ho·sa′kis, which means “as often as,” an idiom meaning “whenever,” “every time that.” Paul was saying: ‘Every time that you do this, you keep proclaiming the death of the Lord.’"
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2003007

For more, see:

The Lord’s Evening Meal - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)
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On the night before he surrendered his life, Jesus instructed his faithful followers to remember, or commemorate, his sacrifice. Using the unleavened bread and the red wine before them, he instituted what has been called the Last Supper or the Lord’s Evening Meal and commanded: “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”—Luke 22:19.

Each year, Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide gather to commemorate Jesus’ death on its anniversary. In 2014, the Memorial falls on Monday, April 14, after sundown.

You are cordially invited to attend this meeting, during which further information on the significance of Jesus’ sacrificial death will be presented. Attendance at this event is completely free. No collections will be taken. Contact your local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses for the time and location of the Memorial that will be held in your area, or you may consult our Web site, www.jw.org. More information regarding the Lord's Evening Meal can be found by clicking this link.

Find a Location Near You

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(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at http://www.jw.org/en. Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)


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