Update on Jehovah’s Witnesses

We’ll, my Jehovah Witness “friend” Abbie finally came back a few weeks ago. I had no idea what to expect, or how to prepare. I really wanted to let her lead the discussion, with me raising questions that may cause her to doubt or investigate further. Trying to prepare without knowing which direction we would go in was daunting. It WAS nice to go through my dis-organized box of JW stuff and refresh my memory. These are the notes I found (I will update links as I input them into WordPress):

The Name of God

The Trinity

False Prophecies of the Watchtower

Abbie and another gal spent a few hours with us, discussing the Bible over yummy gluten-free chocolate cupcakes and steaming herbal tea. Abbie brought a book with her called What the Bible Really Teaches, and as much as my pride caused me to resist the student role, I kept reminding myself that lessons in humility are”just what the Doctor ordered” for me!  I thought I would look for chances to share the Gospel and JESUS with them whenever the time arose.

My boys had watched me prepare. They had lots of questions to ask! One of the questions was, What if the Jehovah’s Witnesses are right? I loved that question, and told them we needed to investigate to find out! I let them know they should never be afraid to seek Truth. I also told them about many of the mind-control tactics and false prophecies and scriptural changes the Watchtower has accomplished over the years.

Normally in our house we have an hour or so of “quiet time” each day where each person goes in a room by himself and reads or plays with quiet toys. (I don’t think I could survive without this time of peace I have to myself each and every day.) I let the boys know that it was very important that they stay very quiet while the JW’s were over. If they wanted to hear or discuss anything with us, they were allowed. They could play with Legos or the like in the living room, as long as they were respectful.

My 2 littlest boys were quiet as a mouse, except for interrupting every once in awhile to show off an “amazing” creation or two. My eldest played with Legos part of the time, and then got right in the thick of discussion! The JW’s and myself got stuck disagreeing on a few random points that I probably should have left alone. During a few of those moments, when perhaps the emotion in the room was running a bit high as a few people tried to speak at once, my 10-year old began to interrupt. He was so cute, not really knowing what we were talking about, but obviously knowing better than I did what was important. More than once he would cry out, “B…B….But, that’s why JESUS is soooooooooo special! Because we don’t have to DO ANYTHING to get to be with God! He did it all for us!” One of those times, while chuckling at how off-the-subject he was, I felt a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat! I realized it didn’t matter so much how Abbie and her friend responded, the decision to get together the JW’s was causing MY SON to be introspective and think deeply on matters of Christ and Salvation! And THAT made the whole awkward meeting worth it!

To sum up, we discussed what we thought the whole point of the Bible was. The JW’s think the book, cover to cover, is pointing toward the grand Kingdom which will be set up on earth. I see all of scripture as pointing to Jesus. The Old Testament looked forward to Him (e.g. Passover!) and the New Testament looked at His life on earth and to His future reigning.

We talked a lot about heaven. I didn’t quite understand that JW’s think we simply stop existing, like a dog does, when we die. They used a verse in Ecclesiastes to “prove” their point. It was an odd discussion that helped me understand a bit more where they are coming from. They do think that they will be resurrected again, with the new Kingdom, if they were good enough. But, they won’t be in the presence of God. They said they will never be separated from God’s love, using the analogy of us being not separated from the President’s administrative power here in our state even though we are almost 2000 miles from Washington D.C. This shocked me. I declared, “But would you be satisfied to be that far from your LOVER? I want to be WITH HIM!” I realized they don’t know the Lord like I do. They don’t share in intimate love with Him. Again, the whole discussion just seemed to show how the focus with JW’s is on earthy satisfaction and that Jesus is truly not very important to them. The catch phrases with both us and them sound the same, but the focus is topsy-turvy.

I asked a bit about whether the ladies looked to Watchtower above the Bible. They said, no they don’t, that they think Watchtower can make mistakes. They also claimed that they do not have to go along with prophecies from Watchtower. I said, “Oh, good to hear! Because I have been concerned over false prophecies, and the rumor that you would be disfellowshipped if you didn’t tote the party line.” I happened to have a little packet of photocopies from old Watchtower publications that made different predictions (Jesus coming back in 1874, the end of the world coming various times, etc.) with no mincing of words (again, when I get the chance I’ll put up links here — the story on the street is that one can get into HUGE trouble by not believing whatever Watchtower teaches). I mentioned the packet, perhaps a bit hesitantly. Abbie responded so quickly that she was interested in the packet! She said she had heard this complaint before and was curious to know how to answer people. She took the papers, folded them hurriedly, and put them in her purse. We’ll have to see her response to the photocopied information this Friday.

I know that this coming Saturday is the JW’s big communion day. I can’t remember what it is called right now, but learning about it has broken my heart. Only those select few who are going to Heaven (there aren’t many left as Heaven was closed to new followers in 1935) get to take communion. All others have to pass the cup and the bread by. I’m hoping to share my personal experience with communion with my friends this Friday.

The kids and I are learning about Passover this week as well. The other day, I felt like God almost audibly suggested we have the boys share their crafts and lessons with the lovely ladies as a way to share the gospel with them! I told the boys our researching Passover is part of a covert operation this year!

But, my house is not too clean at this present moment. I’m not finished researching and reading for the Friday meeting. I’m feeling rather under-the-weather hormonally as well. And we have a writing class for 2 of boys across town tomorrow, homeschooling reading and crafting to accomplished, neighbor kids beating down the door (Spring Break for them), and errands to run. I’m starting to get that overwhelmed feeling again…

So, if you read this, say a prayer that we may be prepared, full of God’s love, gracious, kind, considerate, and wise as we welcome the JW ladies into our home once more. And if you say a prayer that these meetings won’t continue for too long…well I’d be happy with that as well! Or at least a boost of confidence that these meetings are part of God’s plan!

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84 thoughts on “Update on Jehovah’s Witnesses

  1. Hello, I’m TJ, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’m glad that you have such an interest in spiritual matters and others that you are willing to discuss these things.

    I would like to ask you, and this is an honest question, what do you think the “new earth” is where Peter says, “God made a promise to us, and we are waiting for a new heaven and a new earth where goodness lives”? (2 Peter 3:13, NCV) If you have any questions for me, I’d be happy to answer them.

    Take care, TJ

  2. Thanks for stopping by, TJ!

    I hope I didn’t say anything offensive to you, I wasn’t thinking about Jehovah’s Witnesses reading this. I am so honored that you read it and left a comment! Thank you!

    What do I think the “new earth” is in 2 Peter 3:13?

    Well, I think there WILL be a new earth! I’m not sure, actually if I think it is a completely re-created earth or more of a renewed earth…or even exactly how it will all work out. I would like to dedicate more time to serious study on all things regarding our future!

    When Jehovah’s Witness come over, I don’t attempt to disagree with them on the idea of a new earth — the idea is scriptural! I DO disagree with them on related ideas that pop up — the idea of 2 classes of people, some who go to heaven some who stay on earth (and a 3rd, I guess, that just stays dead?) or on what that 144,000 number in Revelation means 🙂 — but not on the idea of a new earth in general.

    I found this quote from one of John Piper’s sermons that sort of brings the focus back to what I find is the central message of scripture:

    “But the ultimate gift of the gospel is not the new heavens and the new earth. The ultimate good of the gospel is not a redeemed body. The ultimate good of the gospel is not forgiveness, or redemption, or propitiation, or justification. These are all means to an end. The ultimate good of the gospel that makes the gospel good news, and without which none of these other gifts would be good news, is God himself—beheld in the glory of his crucified and risen Son, and enjoyed because of his infinite beauty, and treasured because of his infinite worth, and reflected because we have been conformed to the image of his Son.”

    I really think it is all about Jesus!

    Anyway, thank you so much for stopping by. I’m truly touched!!

    Deborah

  3. Hi Deborah,

    Thank you for your kind response; and no, I wasn’t at all offended by your original post. 🙂 I think we are essentially in agreement on the main theme of the Bible. We view Jesus as the King of God’s Kingdom, and it is in that governing role that Jesus will completely fix all of mankind’s problems and unite all creation in worship of God.

    And I can understand why you object to our belief that only some people will live in heaven and others will live on earth. But if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you based on what God tells Adam at Genesis 1:28 and 2:15-17, do you think it was always God’s purpose for humans to die and go to heaven – or did he originally purpose for them to live on earth forever, so long as they were obedient?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  4. Dear TJ:

    Many times when Christians and JWs debate, they get all caught up on peripheral issues like celebrating birthdays, blood transfusions, why Kingdom Hall’s have no windows, the New Earth, etc.

    As valid as some of the questions may be, none of them–not one–will have anything to do with the process of ones salvation.

    The one and only issue of utmost importance is “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:13-17). Your answer to this question put forward by Jesus Christ is the one that every person who ever walked the earth will have to answer one day. Who JWs say He is and who Christians say He is, is what separates Christians and JWs.

    Who do YOU say He is?

  5. Well howdy there, Pilgrim.

    Sorry, that was a bad John Wayne impersonation. 🙂 You asked me, “Who do YOU say He is?”

    I agree wholeheartedly with Peter, who answered the question with, “The Christ of God.” (Luke 9:20) In my comments above, you’ll find that I wrote about Jesus heading God’s Kingdom, a real working government in the heavens. So if we put faith in him as the Christ, God’s anointed king, we will live under that Kingdom’s rule

    I think we agree one that. But what I was asking also concerned God’s purpose for mankind, since it is scriptural that there will be a “new earth”. Did God always intend for faithful humans to live on the earth for awhile, then die, then be resurrected to heaven? Or did he intend for faithful humans to live on the earth forever and take care of it?

    The reason this question is pertinent is because God’s purpose *cannot* be changed. Jehovah has said, “my word that goes forth from my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results, but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted, and it will have certain success in that for which I have sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

    By the way, I have never been in a Kingdom Hall that has no windows. 🙂

    Take care,
    TJ

  6. TJ:

    Thanks for your response.

    From what I can gather from the Scriptures, God placed man on earth to dwell there. However, man rebelled and caused sin to enter into the equation.

    Is God sovereign? Absolutely. Man’s sin did not take Jehovah by surprise. This is why Christ’s Sacrifice was foreordained before the foundations of the world.

    So the perplexing question is, if God knew this and knew that Adam and Eve would sin and knew His Son would have to redeem us then He knew there would be those who would be with Him in Heaven, and thus, knew that man would one day be with Him in eternity in Heaven. So did Jehovah INTEND for man to always be on earth or did He intend for man to be with Him in Heaven?

    It’s a very difficult question to ask if you believe Jehovah is a God who is in control.

    But as I said in the previous post, this is a side issue. Our eternal destiny will not be determined by what we believe about planet earth, but by what we believed about Jesus.

    I believe you will agree that there is only one true Christ but many counterfeits.

    The Muslim Jesus was just a good prophet. The Catholic Jesus is a helpless utterly useless entity that can’t do anything to appease His angry Father without the Virgin Mary’s help. The Mormon Jesus was a polygamist who fathered many children and who is the literal, physical offspring of God the Father and Mary.

    Then we come to the Jesus of the Watchtower organization. This Jesus does not resemble the Jesus of Islam, Catholicism or Mormonism (this is a good thing). However, this Jesus also bears little resemblance to the Jesus of the Bible. Of course, this is where I expect you to disagree with me.

    Without “telling you what you believe” let me ask you and afford you the opportunity to tell me what you believe.

    Did the Jesus of the Watchtower resurrect as a “spirit creature” leaving His “physical” body behind to be evaporated into gases by Jehovah? If so, please provide chapter and verse to support this.

    Respectfully,

    – The Pilgrim

  7. Hi Pilgrim, thanks for your response.

    You asked, “did Jehovah INTEND for man to always be on earth or did He intend for man to be with Him in Heaven?” Apparently you are leaning towards a “No” answer for God intending man to live on earth. I would say Yes.

    Concerning what Jehovah intended when he created the earth, we read, “he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited.” (Isaiah 45:18, NIV) So isn’t his intention for the earth clear?

    And even after Adam sinned, God promised that “the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.” (Psalm 37:29, NIV) So when we compare these statements with the promise for a new heaven and a new earth, doesn’t it seem quite reasonable that some righteous humans will be living on the earth forever?

    Now I can understand why you feel that this is a side issue that is not of much importance, but I believe that ALL of God’s purpose is intimately connected, and a good understanding of one aspect helps us to better understand another aspect. The further one gets into a discussion of Jesus’ identity the more these aspects will begin to overlap. So, on to your question about Jesus’ body.

    It wouldn’t be possible for Jesus to retain the physical body he had while on earth. Why? Because it was a sacrifice! The man Adam lost the right to living forever on earth as a perfect human (in a perfect physical body), therefore, to give Adam’s descendants back that right (and thus fulfill God’s original purpose), Jesus had to take up a perfect physical body, living as a human, and give it up freely in their behalf. If he took back that human body, the sacrifice would be nullified.

    In line with this, it is plainly written, “If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one . . . ‘The first man Adam became a living soul.’ The last Adam [Jesus] became a life-giving spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:44,45) Jesus was resurrected with a spirit body, which is what he had before he became a human. (John 17:5) Furthermore, it would also be impossible for Jesus to retain his physical body while living in the heavens, since “flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom.” (1 Corinthians 15:50)

    I hope Deborah doesn’t mind this discussion taking place here, and I’d still be glad to hear her thoughts on these matters.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  8. Hey guys!

    Love the discussion! I’d like to put in my 2 cents but haven’t had much time to think!

    We are putting in a garden right now, or rather spending the day getting our backyard cleaned up and ready for a garden! Perhaps tonight I’ll time to comment!!

    Deborah

  9. Hi Deborah,

    Thanks for chiming in. 🙂 It’s wonderful that you care enough about spiritual things that you take the time to think them over carefully before you answer. That’s not necessarily a common thing. So take all the time you need.

    While you work on your garden, perhaps you can think about why “Jehovah God proceeded to take the man and settle him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and to take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15) Is such work fulfilling? And why do we find gardens so enjoyable?

    TJ

  10. Greetings and Happy Resurrection Sunday; for He is risen!

    TJ,

    You are absolutely correct when you said, “I believe that ALL of God’s purpose is intimately connected, and a good understanding of one aspect helps us to better understand another aspect.” I agree.

    And this is precisely how we are to correctly translate the Scriptures too! When we come across a verse that seems too hard to comprehend for our finite understanding or when it seems to contradict Scripture elsewhere, we must remember to always correctly interpret Scripture by understanding the context of a verse by its immediate surrounding verses and by the context of the whole Bible. Jehovah does not contradict Himself or make mistakes. I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with me on that.

    Now, back to Jesus. The reason this is of the utmost importance (even more vital than a correct understanding of God’s intention for the earth) is because you can be right on every doctrine of the Bible, but if you’re wrong on who Jesus is, then you are wrong for eternity!

    I did not see anything in the verses you cited that said Jesus was resurrected as a “spirit” or “spirit creature” but I can clearly see that reading those passages alone and without any other Scripture considered could lead one to the conclusion that you are forwarding.

    But I urge you to compare what your are attempting to apply to these verses with what other verses say about a “spiritual body/physical body,” specifically Jesus after the resurrection.

    In John 20:20-28 Jesus’ body was clearly physical. He spoke, He breathed on the disciples, and Thomas touched the body; even touching Jesus’ nail scars and the wound in His side that He received during His crucifixion—prior to resurrection.

    In Luke 24:36-43 Jesus displayed more evidence of a physical body. Here the disciples thought they saw a spirit, but Jesus corrected them and told them to look at His hands and feet [physical nail scars on a physical body]. He further corrected the disciples erroneous belief that He was a spirit by telling them that “a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:36-39). It doesn’t get any clearer than that. If Jesus was only resurrected as a spirit then He just lied to the disciples.

    If you were there TJ—believing that Jesus had resurrected as a spirit and not in His own physical body—He would have told you the same thing. Re-read those verses again and replace the word “disciples” with “TJ.”

    Now Jesus didn’t stop there. The disciples still could not believe it (Luke 24:41) so He asked for something to eat [physical bodies hunger and thirst] and He was given fish which He “took and ate it before them” (Luke 24:41-43).

    Jesus told them he was not a spirit, but that He had a physical body, then He proved it to them by eating food in front of them.

    In response to 1 Corinthains 15:50, (flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of Heaven) it too must be understood in context with the fact that Jesus claimed He was not a spirit (Luke 24:39) and all the proof he provided (in the verses cited above). It’s true, sinful flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom, and stand before God, but a glorified risen Savior who knew no sin can and does.

    Here’s a question I leave you with: What would you do if the Bible said that Jesus’ resurrection was a physical one; that is, He resurrected in a physical body (as opposed to your thesis that it was spiritual only)? I’m not saying that it is there, I’m just asking you to honestly tell me if you’d believe Jesus rose in a physical body if the Bible actually said it, and especially if Jesus said it Himself?

    Thanks for your time. I am sorry this post went so long, I will try a little more brevity next time.

    – The Pilgrim

  11. Okay…here’s my 2 cents, for what they’re worth (probably about 2 literal cents!). We had a wonderfully busy weekend, and yet the garden is still not quite ready to be seeded! I set my alarm for early this a.m. to wake up think through some of the questions I wanted to give thoughtful answers to. Then I hit the snooze button for an hour! ACK! I’m thankful the kids are tired from our weekend and are sleeping in a bit while I respond.

    These questions deserve more thought and attention, but LIFE beckons, so here are some short and sweet observations.

    TJ, you asked, “I’d like to ask you based on what God tells Adam at Genesis 1:28 and 2:15-17, do you think it was always God’s purpose for humans to die and go to heaven – or did he originally purpose for them to live on earth forever, so long as they were obedient?”

    I truly believe that God’s main purpose is to glorify Himself. I think He foreknew that Adam and Eve would sin. I think the plan to send Jesus as the final sacrifice, for our redemption, was a plan from the beginning – from before our beginning. I think God loves showing His amazingness through us “weak” humans! God is more glorified by the fact that we can’t do anything without Him. Although I find it hard to explain, I just don’t see God as a Plan B-kind-of-God. The Bible calls Him all-knowing, from everlasting to everlasting, and sovereign over all. I have to believe that everything that has taken place between Creation and now, even things against God’s desire, are permitted by Him and are going to be used for His glory and our pleasure. Augustine said it better than me, “In a way unspeakably strange and wonderful, even what is done in opposition to God’s will [of desire] does not defeat his will [of decree]. For it would not be done did he not permit it, and of course his permission is not unwilling, but willing; nor would a Good Being permit evil to be done except that in his omnipotence he can turn evil into good.”

    I think it has been God’s intention to someday destroy the earth and make a new one (either completely destroying and making a new one, or wiping the surface area clean and rebuilding).

    For instance, as far back as Zephaniah, chapters 1 and 2, there are prophecies many think pertain to the end times. These scriptures plainly state that ALL men, and animals, will be wiped from the face of the earth. The New World Translations says it like this, “I shall without fail finish everything off the surface of the ground” and goes on to specifically include man and beast (the Hebrew word for “man” is “adamah” and means all the sons of Adam!). Verse 18 goes on to say “He will make an extermination…of all the inhabitants of the earth.”

    2 Peter 3:10-13 talks about the elements all around being melted with intense heat!

    I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be here when things get that hot!!

    Zephaniah 2 says that perhaps we will be hid in the day of God’s anger, if we are seeking Him. I think when Jesus came, He removed that “perhaps”and gives us plenty of assurance that we WILL be spared from God’s wrath.

    But, where will the place of safety be? We need a place to be safe from all the destruction. I don’t think one could surmise that this place of safety could be ANYWHERE on the planet (not even Watchtower headquarters in Brooklyn) when the verses so clearly state He will wipe out all human life (and everything else) here with intense heat.

    I believe the only place of safety will be with Christ! IN Christ. In the air, in the heavens, I don’t know – just give me Jesus and I can rest assured in Him. I don’t know how and when things will “play out,” but I know He is the only place of safety. He who believes in the Son has eternal life (John 3:36). Not “he who believes in an earthly governing body.” Jesus alone is the way to the Father (John 14:6)

    Revelation 22 also says the old earth has passed away (NASB). The new things must really be altogether different since there won’t be a sea any longer and our light will now come from the Lamb (also chapter 21)! Wow! I can’t imagine. I want to study this further, but have had the general idea that the “new heavens and new earth” interact with one another and are somehow connected or intertwined. I really could care less if I am on the new earth or in heaven, as long as I am with Christ. That is what made me really sad, talking with my Jehovah’s Witnesses’ friends. Like I said in my post, it isn’t enough for me to be under God’s administration from a far away point. I yearn to be close to Him! I love the fact that I can “walk” with Him now, but I long for the day that I can truly be in His presence all the time. This is what I think of as the afterlife – being with Jesus. The exact location I don’t yet understand or foreknow 🙂

    Well. There’s my thoughts on one question. I’ll have to read through the rest of the comments and see if I have anything to add to the rest of the discussion at a later hour today!

    Oh wait, there was one question I wanted to ask you, TJ. Do you have the NWT Greek Interlinear? I borrowed one a few years ago and was shocked to see that where the Greek says anything about “knowing” Jehovah or Jesus, the NWT reads “taking in knowledge of” (the greek interlinear shows plainly the word “know.”) I was sitting here in my living room with a JW witness friend when I noticed the difference and almost fell out of my chair! To me, the focus changes completely from knowing someone to taking in knowledge of someone. If you have an interlinear, I would love to see if you can spot this difference, and would love to hear if you think reading the verses from the Greek make a difference in interpretation/meaning. John 17:3 is one example.

    Thanks again for stopping by!

  12. Hi Pilgrim,

    Thanks for the response. 🙂 I agree with you that the context must be considered, so with that in mind, let’s take a look at the context of your evidence.

    You referenced John 20:20-28 and Luke 24:36-43 where Jesus appears in a physical body in front of his disciples. Simply because we know Jesus appeared *for a time* in a physical body, does that in itself prove that he did not actually ‘become a life-giving spirit’? (1 Corinthians 15:45) Well, branching out to the context of the entire Bible, we must remember that angels themselves are spirits. (Compare Hebrews 1:13, 14) Yet, there are several examples in the Bible where angels appeared with physical bodies temporarily. (For example: Genesis 19:1-3; Hebrews 13:2) Was this the case with Jesus? Let’s go to your accounts.

    In John 20:20-28, Jesus appears to his disciples and shows them the wounds in his hands and side. But take a look at verse 19 which precedes all of this:

    “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!'” (NIV)

    What’s interesting about this is that attention is drawn to the fact that Jesus’ disciples were in a LOCKED room, and THEN Jesus “came and stood among them” and gave them a greeting. So Jesus appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, in a locked room. Couldn’t that be the result of a spirit person temporarily materializing a physical body?

    And again at the beginning of your second account we read:

    “While they were still talking about this [sightings of Jesus], Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.” (NIV)

    Again we see that Jesus apparently appears out of nowhere, so that he even frightens his disciples into thinking they are seeing a ghost. The Greek word for “spirit”, which is used here, can ALSO mean a “ghost” or “apparition”. (Compare Mark 6:49, 50) So in order to calm his frightened disciples, he showed them how he was in a real person, in a physical body, which he WAS in at the time. The account continues in verse 39:

    “Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” (NIV)

    But there is more. Jesus did NOT always use the same physical appearance when he appeared. This is why others didn’t recognize him at times. Mary Magdalene “turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.” In fact, she was “thinking he was the gardener.” (John 20:14, 15; NIV)

    And when Jesus walked along with two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus, they had no idea that it was Jesus they were speaking with until later that night, when “their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.” (Luke 24:31; NIV) Notice that it doesn’t say, ‘Jesus got up and left’ (which they wouldn’t have let him do anyways), rather it says that he “disappeared from their sight”. Only a spirit person could simply vanish before their eyes.

    So when we carefully examine the context of the accounts you provided of Jesus’ sudden appearances, we do indeed find evidence that Jesus was only temporarily materializing physical bodies, something other spirit persons have done in the Bible. He could create a body with the same wounds he had in his hands and in his side when he died so that his disciples could recognize him. So these accounts give reason to suspect that Jesus was not an ordinary physical being. But the statements wherein Jesus is said to have been resurrected as a spirit, on the other hand, are plain and clear.

    “‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam [Jesus], a life-giving spirit.” The immediate context of this verse makes it indisputable that Jesus was raised up in a spiritual body. Paul is arguing that anointed Christians will, like Christ, be resurrected with spiritual bodies and NOT physical ones:

    “Someone may ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?’ . . . God gives it a body as he has determined . . . There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies . . . So will it be with the resurrection of the dead . . . it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body . . . So it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven . . . And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.” (1 Corinthians 15:35-49; NIV)

    Anointed Christians will be “raised [with] a spiritual body” that they may “bear the likeness of the man from heaven.” In harmony with this, the Apostle Peter tells us, “Christ also died . . . that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18; RSV)

    You asked me, “What would you do if the Bible said that Jesus’ resurrection was a physical one; that is, He resurrected in a physical body (as opposed to your thesis that it was spiritual only)?”

    If I believed that the Bible said that, and that it all harmonized contextually, I would accept it. Really. But aside from all of the evidence I presented above, there is a more important issue here that your post didn’t address. And that is the sacrifice of Jesus’ human life.

    This was really my main point in my last response explaining why Jesus *could not* have regained his fleshly physical body that was put to death in our behalf. Jesus’ human life, along with his perfect human body, was SACRIFICED. He could not take it back without nullifying that sacrifice! This is why Jesus was resurrected back to life with a spiritual body, just as he had before he was sent to the earth to be born naturally in a physical, human body.

    I’d like to get your thoughts on that last point if I could, Pilgrim, since I feel that it is the fundamental reason why a physical resurrection is impossible.

    Many thanks,
    TJ

  13. Hi Deborah,

    I want to thank you for your thorough and thoughtful response. 🙂 There are two areas that I have comments/questions in. And I realize that all of this may be waaaay too much to deal with right now, so there is definitely no rush.

    1. If God chooses to foreknow everything, as seems to be your general view, why would he even give Adam the option that he could live forever if he obeyed; that is, if Adam was *destined* to sin, why even go through the ‘charade’ that he could choose?

    And if God foreknows everything, why is it that he “brought [the animals] to the man *to see* what he would call them”? Didn’t God already know what Adam would call them? (Genesis 2:19; NASB)

    2. You brought up the new earth in Revelation 21, which is described as no longer having any seas. That is interesting, isn’t it? As you probably know, Revelation is a book that uses a lot of symbols. So could it be that “the sea” here is referring more to what Isaiah was talking about? (Isaiah 57:20)

    Furthermore, take a moment and read the entire passage carefully, if you would:

    “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.'” (Revelation 21:1-4; NASB)

    So if we have a new heaven and earth, and the New Jerusalem comes DOWN out of heaven from God, so that “the tabernacle of God is among men”, doesn’t that imply that humans are living on that new earth? And since “there will no longer be any death”, doesn’t that imply that these humans will be living forever on earth?

    Now to your question. Yes, I do own a “Kingdom Interlinear”. At John 17:3 it reads “they may be knowing” for the pertinent Greek word, whereas the NWT reads, as you note, “their taking in knowledge”. Why the difference?

    The root of that Greek word there means simply “to know”. But this specific verb is in the present active subjunctive (sorry for the grammar-speak), which basically means it is “implying a continuous process.” (Zerwick, A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament; p. 336) So the “knowing” is never complete, it is an ongoing process, and the NWT brings this out nicely with “their taking in knowledge”. An interlinear is more concerned with giving basic definitions to the word than bringing out such nuances.

    So the Greek means essentially the same as the NWT, we must *continue* to learn about Jehovah God.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  14. Hey Pilgrim,

    Just a quick correction; where I wrote, “So in order to calm his frightened disciples, he showed them how he was in a real person, in a physical body, which he WAS in at the time.”, it SHOULD say:

    “So in order to calm his frightened disciples, he showed them how he was a real person, in a physical body, which he WAS in at the time.”

    Thanks,
    TJ

  15. Dear TJ:

    (I must practice brevity, I must practice brevity, I must practice brevity . . . )

    What I’m noticing in your case against the physical bodily resurrection of Christ is that the clear evidence is put on the back burner for the “must-be’s.”

    – Because Jesus appeared in a locked room, it “must-be” because He was a spirit.

    – Because Mary and the two men on the road to Emmaus didn’t immediately recognize Jesus, it “must be” because He was a spirit possessing different bodies.

    – Because Jesus disappeared from their sight it “must be” because He was a spirit.

    What about all those times the Jews tried to kill Him and He vanished from the crowd because it was not His time yet? You’d agree that He was certainly in a physical body then, but using the “must be” theory you’re proposing, this means His escape from those situation “must be” because He was a spirit.

    You also said, “we do indeed find evidence that Jesus was only temporarily materializing physical bodies, something other spirit persons have done in the Bible. He could create a body with the same wounds he had in his hands and in his side when he died so that his disciples could recognize him.”

    Where do the Scriptures say Jesus temporarily materialized in physical bodies? It doesn’t. This “proof” that you speak of is not found in the Bible; it’s pure presumption.

    You’re assuming this because it is the only thing that fits the model that you’re forwarding. You’ve started with the “spirit creature” pretext and are trying to make the pieces fit.

    You are attempting to use the 1 Cor. 15:45 as “proof” at the exclusion of the real tangible Biblical proof that Jesus resurrected in His own physical body. You can take one verse, and without a clear understanding of the context of the whole Scriptures, make it sound a certain way. This can be done thousands of times throughout the Bible on various topics.

    And I’d agree with you if 1 Cor. 15:45 was the only verse that we had in the Biblical text on the subject. However, the Bible affords us numerous proofs that Jesus resurrected in His physical body that render the verse you cited incapable of meaning what you’re trying to make it say. This is why we must interpret each verse by the whole of the Scriptures, otherwise we’re pounding square pegs into round holes.

    Let’s recap:
    – John 20:20-28 Thomas touched the physical body of Jesus Christ.

    – Luke 24:36-43 The disciples thought they saw a spirit (ghost, apparition, vapor, smoke, shadow, Leprechaun or whatever else you want to insert here) but Jesus corrected them! He told them to look at Him [His physical body and His physical scars] and said a spirit (or whatever you want to add there) “does not have flesh and bones AS YOU SEE THAT I HAVE.” If His body was not physically resurrected then Jesus just lied to His disciples because if He was really a spirit (as you’re implying 1 Cor. 15:45 says) He just led them to believe He was not! This creates a huge dilemma for you (including contradictions in the Bible) if you hold to the theory that 1 Cor. 15:45 means that Jesus resurrected as a “spirit creature.” However, in context with the rest of Scripture, this harmonizes perfectly!

    – The Bile explains rather clearly in Luke 24 that the reason the two men on the road to Emmaus did not recognize Jesus had nothing to do with His body but and everything to do with them! This is where context is so important.

    “Their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.” (v.16)

    “Their eyes were opened and they recognized Him.” (v31)

    The miracle/phenomenon was in their eyes, not Jesus’ body.
    Since the event with Mary at the tomb is silent about why she did not recognize Him, you must interpret it with what has already been revealed in Scripture (Luke 24:16, 31) not apply your (or someone else’s) assumptions as to why (i.e. well it “must be” because He was a spirit creature). This is when we fall into error.

    Now in regards to your question about Jesus’ body not being able to resurrect because it was offered as a sacrifice is another “must be” and pure conjecture. You’re injecting this opinion into the text based solely on the “spirit creature” presuppositions that you have already come to believe. Where does it say that once He lays His body down He is prohibited from raising it again? The exact opposite is true. Jesus was clear when He said “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later” (Mark 9:31).

    Finally, you said that if the Bible said Jesus resurrected in His own body that you would believe it. I hope and pray that you are honestly and earnestly seeking the truth above all things.

    The last proof of Jesus’ resurrection I will offer today (that is fully supported by the Bible) is Jesus’ own words. I will quote John 2:18-20 verbatim from the latest edition of your own NWT (the black cover):

    Therefore in answer, the Jews said to Him: “What sign have you to show us, since you are doing these things?” In answer Jesus said to them: “Break down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Therefore the Jews said: “This temple was built in forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” BUT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT THE TEMPLE OF HIS BODY. (Capitalization emphasis mine).

    Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely,
    – The Pilgrim

    “But if Christ has not been raised up, our preaching is certainly in vain, and our faith is in vain. Moreover, we are also found to be false witnesses of God, because we have borne witness against God that He raised up the Christ . . .” 1 Corinthians 15:14-15 (NWT)

  16. Hi Pilgrim,

    Thanks for your response. I don’t want you to get frustrated by my disagreeing with you, but please know that I sincerely and honestly believe the things I’m writing.

    You said, “What about all those times the Jews tried to kill Him and He vanished from the crowd because it was not His time yet?”

    That’s explained quite differently though, it says that he walked through the crowd, not that he disappeared from their sight. (Compare Luke 4:30) That’s a big difference. On top of it, the two disciples he “disappeared” from wouldn’t have let him leave, especially when they found out that he was the Christ.

    You asked, “Where do the Scriptures say Jesus temporarily materialized in physical bodies? It doesn’t. This ‘proof’ that you speak of is not found in the Bible; it’s pure presumption.”

    It’s a reasonable conclusion. I have provided proof of angels temporarily becoming physical beings; spirit persons have that power. Jacob even wrestled with one. Are you denying that spirit persons can take on a physical form?

    You said, “You are attempting to use the 1 Cor. 15:45 as ‘proof’ at the exclusion of the real tangible Biblical proof that Jesus resurrected in His own physical body. You can take one verse, and without a clear understanding of the context of the whole Scriptures, make it sound a certain way. This can be done thousands of times throughout the Bible on various topics.”

    If you look back to my post, you’ll see that I went out of my way to post as much of the immediate context to 1 Corinthians 15:45 as possible, in addition to a more extending context. Instead of just saying that I’m taking that one verse out of context, it would be more helpful if you could explain what 1 Corinthians 15:45 means according to your beliefs.

    Just telling a person that a verse is taken out of context without any further explanation isn’t a very compelling argument. So why is it, in the context of explaining what types of bodies anointed Christians will be resurrected with, Paul says that they will be “raised [with] a spiritual body” and that they will “bear the likeness of the man from heaven”? Doesn’t this deserve an explanation?

    You said, “Now in regards to your question about Jesus’ body not being able to resurrect because it was offered as a sacrifice is another ‘must be’ and pure conjecture . . . Where does it say that once He lays His body down He is prohibited from raising it again? The exact opposite is true. Jesus was clear when He said “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later” (Mark 9:31).”

    Pilgrim, I do believe that ‘he rose three days later’. That is not in dispute at all. He was raised as a spirit and NOT as a human. Again this is plain even at 1 Peter 3:18. As for the sacrifice, perhaps you can just tell me what exactly WAS sacrificed in your view. I honestly don’t know. Is it your position that when Jesus told his disciples, “This is my body *given* for you” and “my blood, which is *poured out* for you”, he actually took those back?

    You finished with John 2:18-20, but like with Mark 9:31, this verse does not conflict with my view. 1 Corinthians 15:44 points out, “it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” Just as the literal temple had been destroyed and rebuilt with different materials, it was still the temple. Jesus’ (perfect) fleshly body was destroyed, serving as a sacrifice for the sin of a perfect man, and three days later God raised him in his new spirit body. Thus, his ‘temple’ was destroyed and raised.

    Recognizing the spiritual body he was resurrected with helps us to understand why Jesus prayed shortly before his death, “Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” (John 17:5) He was looking forward to getting back the glory that a heavenly, spiritual body has over an earthly, physical one, for “there are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.” (1 Corinthians 15:40)

    Many thanks,
    TJ

  17. – Is a physical resurrection even possible? Certainly. Do we have examples of someone being raised physically from the dead? Yes. Here are some examples (other than Jesus’ physical bodily resurrection):
    A). Elijah did it in 1 Kings 17:17-23 when he raised a child.
    B). Elisha did it in 2 Kings 4:18-37 when he raised a child.
    C). Jesus did it in Matthew 9:18-26 when He raised a 12 year old girl.
    D). Jesus did it again in John 11:38-44 when He raised Lazarus.

    – “Flesh and Blood” can’t inherit the Kingdom of God, but what “body” is capable of inheriting the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 15:50)? A spiritual one! But do not assume that a spiritual body means an invisible, non-physical entity. It does not say that, you are adding that definition to the text which the text does not expressly say.

    – “Flesh and blood” is an expression used to illustrate mortal humanity. Does the use of the term flesh and blood always mean the physical, muscle, tissue, epidermis as you are suggesting? Consider Jesus’ remark to Peter about Who revealed the truth to him in Matt. 16:17, “flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in Heaven.” Was Jesus referring to someone’s skin? Of course not. He was using the flesh and blood phrase as an illustration of mortal man compared to immortal Jehovah. More specifically this could read “corruptible, perishable man” as opposed to “incorruptible, imperishable God.” Consider the following verses where the use of the term “flesh” is not referring to literal flesh, but an idiom for man’s mortal condition:
    A). Genesis 2:24
    B). Job 19:26
    C). Psalm 84:2
    D). Matthew 26:41
    E). John 6:56
    F). Romans 9:8
    G). 1 Corinthians 15:50
    H). 2 Corinthians 12:7
    I). Ephesians 2:3
    J). 1 John 2:16

    – So what is a spiritual body? One that has been added to, not taken away from. Our perishable body will PUT ON the imperishable; our mortal body will PUT ON immortality. If you continue reading after 1 Cor. 15:50 you will see this. Nothing is taken away, (i.e. physical body), but instead we are added to when our bodies are glorified in the resurrection.

    – If the meaning of the term spiritual “must be” invisible, immaterial, void of a physical body, then what was Adam? Wouldn’t it be logical to apply your same conclusion to Adam when it refers to him as a “living soul” as seen in 1 Cor. 15:45? Of course not because we know Adam had a physical body. So what causes you to assume that the term lif-giving spirit means Jesus “must be” a spirit creature and a living soul “must be” a physical man? You didn’t get it from the Scriptures because when Paul uses the same term to describe a spiritual man in 1 Cor. 2:15 he certainly didn’t mean an invisible, non-physical, immaterial, spirit creature, did he?

    – It’s been your position from the beginning that a “spiritual body” must mean an invisible, immaterial, non-physical entity. However, Scripture does not support this. In 1 Cor. 15:44 it speaks of a spiritual body, but you assume and conclude that a spiritual body must not and can not have a physical body with physical attributes. Why not? You appear to be putting your faith in and relying on the Watchtower’s understanding of the two bodies (physical vs spiritual) as opposed to the intended meaning of the writer of 1 Corinthians. This would be expected if you believe that the Watchtower is inspired and speaks for God. But that’s a can of worms we don’t want to open considering all the mistakes, flip flops and changes in doctrine the Watchtower has made over the years.

    – What exactly is a spiritual body then? Between verses 37 – 44 of 1 Cor. 15 the word “body” is used ten times but nowhere does it say that a spiritual body is invisible or immaterial. So as any good student of hermeneutics would do when we come to a text that is not expressly clear, (instead of applying our presuppositions to it to make it say what we want it to say) we interpret Scripture that is unclear with Scripture that is clear—always Knowing that the Bible does not contradict itself. So do we have an example of what a spiritual body is and does? Certainly.
    A). After His resurrection Jesus ate physical food.
    B). After his resurrection Jesus bore the same physical scars on His body suffered from His crucifixion.

    But that’s not all . . .

    – Jesus Himself gave the two most convincing arguments as to His physical bodily resurrection:

    A). Jesus said tear down “this temple” and in 3 days I will raise “it” up. What is “it”? The temple of His body [Greek: Soma]. In every instance that the NT uses the word Soma in reference to a person it is always—without exception—speaking of the physical body.

    B). Jesus, after seeing that His disciples thought He was a spirit (ironically the very same thing you are saying now), He corrected the disciples telling them to look at Him because a spirit DOES NOT have a body of flesh and blood LIKE YOU SEE I HAVE.” He is correcting you here too TJ if you put your presuppositions aside and read the plain text!

    – If Jesus materialized in a body that wasn’t His and told His disciples that He was not a spirit but a body of flesh and bone when (as you suggest) He really was a spirit, then Jesus would have been a great deceiver. What He did and said would have been a lie—there’s no way around that. To believe your theory this means Jesus purposely misled them (and me). That is despicable to even consider, let alone teach to others!

    – If Jesus only resurrected as a spirit creature, leaving His body behind, where is the body now? According to Acts 2:31 His body never saw decay, so you must account for a deceased cadaver that was subject to decomposition.

    – If you use the argument that angels took on bodies so it “must be” the same idea with Jesus taking on a body, then where does that logic end? I could “prove” to you (using selected Scripture at the exclusion of other Scripture) that Peter was Jesus. Peter walked on water, Jesus did that; he healed the sick, Jesus did that; he cast out demons, Jesus did that. Using this argument this “must be” because Peter is Jesus, right? Of course not. You know this is absurd. Yet you make exception for your non-physical resurrection thesis because since angels took on physical bodies, this “proves” that Jesus “must be” a spirit creature too.

    – The Bile explains clearly in Luke 24 that the reason the two men on the road to Emmaus did not recognize Jesus had nothing to do with Him being an invisible spirit creature needing to possess physical bodies, but that it was their eyes that were kept from recognizing Him. And then it was their eyes that were “opened” to recognize Him. To suggest otherwise is a very deceptive twist of Scripture.

    “Their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.” (v.16)
    “Their eyes were opened and they recognized Him.” (v31)

    This event was the result of what happened to their eyes, not Jesus’ body. This same understanding can be applied to Mary at the tomb even as she “supposed” He was the gardener through her weeping tears. Again, this is when interpreting unclear Scripture with clear Scripture (Luke 24:16, 31) is essential to avoid falling into error.

    – There was no rule, law, construct, or other mandate that prohibited Jesus from resurrecting in His body after He offered it as a sacrifice as you suggest. Your hop-scotching to Communion as proof is not applicable here. He was speaking symbolically of the elements (unless of course you’re Catholic) and had not even gone to the cross yet. But more importantly, Jesus Himself said that not only does He lay down His life, but that He will take it up again. He had authority to lay it down and take it up (John 10:14-18). This clearly refutes your Scripturally unsupported theory that His sacrifice was bound by some sort of “no take-backs” rule. I will take Jesus’ words here (as in every case) over Watchtower teaching.

    Respectfully,

    – The Pilgrim

  18. Hi Pilgrim,

    Most of the points you wrote about above I feel that I have dealt with already, so I won’t go over them again. We can let Deborah read over our respective arguments (which you’ll probably agree are long enough) and decide for herself which is better supported by the scriptures. And if she has any questions or wants further clarification, we can provide that.

    Many thanks,
    TJ

  19. Hope y’all don’t mind me jumping into the fray 🙂

    It seems as though what is at the base of the disagreement over how Jesus passed through walls is the idea of who Jesus was to begin with. Pilgrim (like myself) believes that Jesus was God in the flesh (John 1:14), thus it was no small feat for Him to do so. TJ, as a Jehovah’s Witness, would I be correct in assuming you believe Jesus was simply an incarnation of Michael the Archangel? Would this explain your many references to angels in your comments? If so, could you please provide–from the Bible (you may use the New World Translation (NWT) if you wish)–book/chapter/verse evidence for this belief?

    As far as the question “Whom say ye that I am?” there is adequate evidence from the Bible–even from the NWT–that Jesus is Jehovah.

    John 1:3-43 All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence. What has come into existence 4 by means of him was life, and the life was the light of men. So we see that ALL things–including life iself–came into existence by means of Christ Jesus. All things, visible and invisible (Colossians 1:16), were created by Christ.

    However, what does the prophet Isaiah have to say about Jehovah? Isaiah 44:24 (NWT)24 This is what Jehovah has said, your Repurchaser and the Former of you from the belly: “I, Jehovah, am doing everything, stretching out the heavens by myself, laying out the earth. Who was with me?
    Isaiah 45:18 (NWT)18 For this is what Jehovah has said, the Creator of the heavens, He the [true] God, the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, He the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited: “I am Jehovah, and there is no one else.

    Look at that last little phrase in 44:24. “Who was with Me?” Jehovah is implying that when He created all things and stretched out the heavens, no one was with Him. If this is the case, then what role did Jesus play in creation?

    Reading John 1:3-4 with Isaiah 44:24 and Isaiah 45:18, from their own translation, the Watchtower position hits a snag. John wrote that all things–every single thing, without exception–came into existence by Christ. Yet Isaiah writes that Jehovah created all things by Himself–a loneness that leads Him to ask the rhetorical question “Who was with Me?”

    Now, here’s the dilemma: Did Jesus create all things? Or did Jehovah create all things by Himself, with no one else’s help? The question is moot. Jehovah created all things. Jesus created all things. The only logical conclusion one can draw is that Jesus is, indeed, Jehovah.

  20. Hello fourpointer,

    You bring up a fair question that we are asked quite often. If Jesus created and Jehovah created, and yet there is only one creator, aren’t they both God? Our position can be summed up by what Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

    “for us there is but one God, the Father, *from* whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, *through* whom all things came and through whom we live.” (1 Corinthians 8:6; NIV)

    Jehovah, the Father, is the source of all creation, all things came *from* him. Yet Jesus too had a hand in creation. All things came *through* him; he was the agent that Jehovah used in creating all things. Thus there is a distinct difference in their respective roles, though they could both rightly be termed ‘creators’.

    You referenced Colossians 1:16 for proof that Jesus had a hand in creating all things. We agree that he did, in this agency role. In the verse immediately before that, Jesus is called the “firstborn of creation.” So he was himself *a part* of creation, though he was the very first and only direct creation by Jehovah.

    You also referenced Isaiah 44 and 45, paragraphs that come up often in a discussion like this. A quick examination of the context shows that Jehovah is comparing himself to the empty idols, the false gods, of the nations. Those gods, contrary to the claims made about them, had nothing to do with creation; Jehovah, the God of the Israelites, is the only one that actually did. So this is *not* a discussion of whether or not God used a servant of his, acting through that one, in creating things. There is no snag here in our understanding.

    This can be made more evident by considering how in Isaiah 43:11 Jehovah says that “apart from me there is no savior.” That’s a very definite statement. Yet again, this is understood as a comparison to the false gods and has nothing to do with whether or not Jehovah uses others to save *through*. Other saviors *do* exist in the Bible, ones sent by Jehovah to save, such as the judges Othniel and Ehud. (Judges 3:9, 15) Even earlier in this same book, Jehovah promises to send Egypt a savior to deliver them. (Isaiah 19:20) That does not make that savior Jehovah himself, that one is merely an agent of Jehovah.

    So it is logical to conclude that Jehovah created all things (those being from him) and Jesus created all things (those being through him), and yet Jehovah was the only creator in an *absolute* sense. Jesus was a worker carrying out Jehovah’s will. (Compare John 5:30)

    As to your question about Michael, we do believe that it can be inferred that Michael is another name for Jesus, as other theologians down through the centuries have also concluded. But this was not the reason for my references to angels per se. We believe the Bible teaches that all those who live in the heavens (Jehovah, Jesus, the angels, resurrected Christians) have spiritual bodies. 1 Corinthians 15 makes the same comparison between “heavenly bodies” and “earthly bodies” as it does between the “spiritual body” and “physical body”. So if some spirits from heaven, in this case angels, can take on earthly, physical bodies for a time while visiting those on earth, it would seem reasonable that Jesus, who was resurrected to live in heaven, would also have the ability to take on a physical body for a time while appearing to humans.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  21. TJ–

    You said,

    You also referenced Isaiah 44 and 45, paragraphs that come up often in a discussion like this. A quick examination of the context shows that Jehovah is comparing himself to the empty idols, the false gods, of the nations. Those gods, contrary to the claims made about them, had nothing to do with creation; Jehovah, the God of the Israelites, is the only one that actually did. So this is *not* a discussion of whether or not God used a servant of his, acting through that one, in creating things. There is no snag here in our understanding.

    Actually, it is a discussion of this very thing. While the context of these two chapters is the futility of false idols, Jehovah is very emphatic about His role as the ONLY Creator, having no one to help Him. Hence the rhetorical question at the end of 44:24, “Who was with Me?” He was saying that no one was with Him when He “stretched out the heavens all alone and spread abroad the earth by Myself.”

    As far as Christ being the “firstborn over creation.” In order to understand what is meant by that passage in Colossians, we need to look at the passage as a whole. Verse 15 says, “He is the image of the invisible God.” Man may have been made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), but Christ IS the image of God (see also Hebrews 1:3).

    Then, in verse 16, it says that Christ is “firstborn of creation” because He IS the author of creation. “By Him ALL THINGS were created that are in heaven and that are on earth…whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.” (I won’t get into the faulty addition of the word “other” to the NWT here.) That last part is interesting. The phrase “principalities and powers” is found 6 times in the New Testament—5 of those times it refers to the spiritual (angelic) realm (Rom 8:38; Eph. 3:10; Eph. 6:12; Col. 1:16; Col. 2:15). By understanding this phrase properly we can see that Christ created even the angels.

    That said, look at Nehemiah 9:6 (NWT). “You are Jehovah alone; you yourself have made the heavens, [even] the heaven of the heavens, and all their army, the earth and all that is upon it, the seas and all that is in them; and you are preserving all of them alive; and the army of the heavens are bowing down to you” (See also Hebrews 1:6). Comparing these two verses, we can see that Jesus created the angels, and they worship Him. Yet, in Isaiah 42:8, Jehovah says, “I am Jehovah. That is my name; and to no one else shall I give my own glory, neither my praise to graven images.” Now, would Jehovah, who shares His glory with no other, allow the angels to worship another—especially another angel?

    Then, in Colossians 1:18 (NWT), it says, “and he is the head of the body, the congregation. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that he might become the one who is first in all things.” Notice it says He is the “firstborn of the dead.” He is “firstborn of creation” because He created it, now He is firstborn of the dead because His was the first body to be raised from the grave to incorruption (see Matthew 27:51-52). Also, this is the fulfillment of the picture given to us by the Feast of Firstfruits (Exodus 23:16). He was raised first in order to be the firstborn of many brethren (Romans 8:29). The term “firstborn” points to His position, not necessarily time or order.

    PS—could you please provide book/chapter/verse for the Jesus/Michael belief? Or which theologians taught this?

  22. Wow! This discussion has been great to read!

    I’m sorry I haven’t been more of a participant, but it actually has been lovely to have a bird’s eye view.

    As far as the discussion regarding Jesus’ resurrection, it seems like the scripture plainly leads one to believe that He bodily resurrected. I was considering whether someone would need to be drawn to another conclusion by an outside party to come to a different conclusion. I wondered if anyone would consider the spirt-only resurrection and Jehovah disentegrating the body from scripture alone? It just seems that the plain reading of scripture would lead one to believe Jesus died, was buried, came back to life — that simple.

    “They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such ‘Bible reading,’ they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom’s clergy were teaching 100 years ago,…” (Watchtower; Aug. 15, 1981; p. 29)

    I find it WILD that even Watchtower admits that reading the Bible alone won’t lead you to believe what They think you should believe. This was the first thing Abbie’s niece and I spoke about, whether or not Jehovah’s Witnesses encourage reading of scripture, alone. I had a quote written down somewhere by one of the early leaders (Rutherford, I think) but I know if I go search through my notes for it I’ll miss my little window of time to write here (I’m letting the kids sleep in, but they won’t sleep long!). I can add the info later…

    When FourPointer observed that the resurrection question goes back to more foundational beliefs, whether one sees Jesus as Jehovah or Jesus as Michael — a light bulb went off for me. That makes a lot of sense. Again, with this foundational question, I wonder if ANYONE would come to the conclusion that Jesus is Michael using scripture ALONE?

    One of the things I had wanted to do with this post was to add links to notes I had made while meeting with Abbie. As soon as I can type them up I will do that. One little research project I did was on Watchtower prophecies. I was shocked to find how strongly they told believers certain things would happen. From what I hear, if you were not going along with those ideas you would be disfellowshipped — but then WT would do a 180 degree change — ouch! I have to say that I would FEAR putting my complete trust in fallible man. Watchtower is not an organization that should be held as an authority above scripture. But, when they say that you cannot read the Bible without their counsel, they are doing just that.

    Another set of notes I wanted to type up were in regard to the Should You Believe in the Trinity booklet given to me by Abbie. When I first read the booklet, it did cause me to wonder, especially about the historical teachings on the trinity. But, after lots of research and hunting down of original resources, I was SHOCKED to discover how many, many quotes were taken so far out of context they didn’t even resemble the original meaning of the authors. I looked up enough original sources to become convinced that Watchtower was painting an untrue picture for me, causing me to doubt on false premises. That really bothered me, that a group would be so deceitful — I took it personally, actually!

    I would like to know TJ, if you hold the Watchtower teachings above scripture? Acts 17:11 says to carefully examine the scriptures daily. And since you have a Kingdom Interlinear, you have the opportunity to read scripture almost word for word. I hope you take advantage of that opportunity.

    I will post my notes from discussions with Abbie soon, and link them back to this post.

    Keep up the discussion as long you guys like! I enjoy reading it.

  23. Hello fourpointer,

    In regards to Isiaiah 44 and 45, you said, “While the context of these two chapters is the futility of false idols, Jehovah is very emphatic about His role as the ONLY Creator.” The problem is that you have failed to deal with my counter example that is just as clear that Jehovah is the ONLY savior, yet other servants of God are called saviors in Scripture. So according to the kind of logic you are using Othniel and Ehud MUST be Jehovah.

    You said that Jesus is “‘firstborn of creation’ because He created it.” Perhaps you can provide an example from scripture, of a person or thing being described as a firstborn of a group, wherein that person or thing is NOT a member of that group. There are many instances of ‘firstborns’ in scripture, yet you seem to be using this word here in a different sense from the others.

    As to the topic of Michael, is there a reason that you want to get into this subject immediately? In the interest of trying to keep things more focused for now, I think it may be better to wait before getting into that.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  24. Hi Deborah,

    I’m glad that you are enjoying the discussion. You said above, “it seems like the scripture plainly leads one to believe that He bodily resurrected.” This seems to be a recurring misunderstanding on this topic. I am NOT saying that scripture teaches that Jesus was resurrected without a body at all, but that he was resurrected with a spirit body. So I’m not sure you fully understand what I’m saying when you say, “It just seems that the plain reading of scripture would lead one to believe Jesus died, was buried, came back to life — that simple.” We DO believe that! He was ‘put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.’ (1 Peter 3:18)

    You said in regards to the Trinity brochure, “after lots of research and hunting down of original resources, I was SHOCKED to discover how many, many quotes were taken so far out of context they didn’t even resemble the original meaning of the authors.” Deborah, did you really search down these resources by yourself, read through them, and come to that conclusion OR did you mainly read a publication that attempted to show that these were taken out of context? Could you please provide an example of a quote that was ‘taken so far out of context it didn’t even resemble the original meaning of the author’?

    And will you be answering my last post to you?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  25. TJ,

    I responded to your inquiries about my experience with the “Should You Believe in the Trinity” booklet via a new post — it’s just waiting for the hubster to read through it and make sure their are no glaring errors before I hit “publish.”

    As far as the questions I need to be answering…let’s see if I can find the right ones in all these messages 🙂

    I believe these are them:

    1. ‘If God chooses to foreknow everything, as seems to be your general view, why would he even give Adam the option that he could live forever if he obeyed; that is, if Adam was *destined* to sin, why even go through the ‘charade’ that he could choose?’

    ‘And if God foreknows everything, why is it that he “brought [the animals] to the man *to see* what he would call them”? Didn’t God already know what Adam would call them? (Genesis 2:19; NASB)’

    These questions are so deep. And it would take so much time to explain how I think the dance between predestination and free will is accomplished. I think both are biblical. This is a cheesy answer, but if you look through my posts labeled “Reformed Theology” you would see a bit of our journey towards a more Reformed perspective. Here’s a post on Free Will v. God’s Sovereignty, where I mostly quote other theologians on their explanations of the subject and interact a bit with their thoughts. We are in the process of figuring out and understanding these great mysteries, and I believe this is an in-house discussion that should be talked over tables of Christian fellowship.

    http://onebeggarsbread.wordpress.com/2006/03/30/free-will-and-calvinism/

    2. ‘You brought up the new earth in Revelation 21, which is described as no longer having any seas. That is interesting, isn’t it? As you probably know, Revelation is a book that uses a lot of symbols. So could it be that “the sea” here is referring more to what Isaiah was talking about? (Isaiah 57:20)’

    Revelation is full of symbolism, yes. I don’t claim to be an expert on end times theology, either. And I certainly cannot understand why God would not want the beautiful ocean to remain for eternity — except that I know he has bigger and better plans than I can imagine.

    But, I do think we should apply the general rule that a passage in and of itself should be taken either literally or symbolically. I don’t think we can pick and choose different parts of a passage and interpret them different ways. I don’t feel I have studied Revelation enough to answer whether these verses are symbolic or not — sorry, probably not the opinionated answer you were hoping for 🙂

    However, I think Isaiah 57:20 is simply stating there is no peace for the wicked man. I don’t see the “sea” mentioned in Isaiah being in any way correlated with the absence of a sea in eternal life.

    3 (not numbered, but it was the next question I think) “So if we have a new heaven and earth, and the New Jerusalem comes DOWN out of heaven from God, so that “the tabernacle of God is among men”, doesn’t that imply that humans are living on that new earth? And since “there will no longer be any death”, doesn’t that imply that these humans will be living forever on earth?”

    I see no reason to disagree with you on this one! Sure — new earth, humans on it, no more death, somehow connected to a New Jerusalem that pops out of heaven, God living amongst us. Sounds wonderful.

    As far as the discussion on the resurrection of Christ, I don’t feel ready to comment, because I haven’t quite yet grasped the importance of the argument. I will pray and read over the thoughts presented here and scriptures about Jesus’ resurrection this week.

    Whew! That’s it for now! Please see the new post for reference to one of the quotes I found in the Should You Believe in the Trinity booklet.

    TJ, I admire your gumption in juggling all these conversations!

    Thanks to the others for chiming in as well!

    Deborah

  26. Hi Deborah,

    Thank you for your response. 🙂 I’m glad that you’d agree that there is a new earth in store where righteous humans will be living. If this is the case, then it would seem that it was indeed always God’s plan for the earth to be inhabited by faithful humans, don’t you think?

    As to the topic of Jesus’ resurrection body, I can’t say that I know why the teaching that he retained his actual fleshly body is important to others’ beliefs. But I do know why I cannot accept such a teaching. It fundamentally conflicts with how I understand the *meaning* of the ransom sacrifice. Jesus left a spirit existence to take up a fleshly one *for the purpose that* he could give up that fleshly existence in our behalf. That is what was sacrificed! The Jewish people were well acquainted with the concept of a sacrifice, and it was *not* something that you were able to retain.

    The sacrifice of a perfect human (Jesus) was necessary to cover over the sin of a perfect human (Adam). Jesus could not ‘be made alive’ in the flesh because his perfect human existence was freely given up in our behalf to account for the perfect human existence that Adam lost for us. This “ransom” payment bought our freedom from sin and death. So if we approach this topic from this perspective, it becomes obvious that Jesus could not still be in a fleshly existence, but *must* be in a spirit one.

    Many thanks for allowing the discussion on your blog,
    TJ

  27. TJ,

    When we read about men like Othniel and Ehud being referred to as “saviors,” we need to remember context. In other words, in what way were these men “saviors”? In Judges, and even 2nd Kings 13:5, the context is, of course, temporary physical victory over an earthly adversary. However, in passages like Isaiah 43:3, 43:11, 45:15; Luke 2:11; Titus 2:13, and others like them that refer to Jehovah or Jesus being “Savior,” more often than not the context is salvation from the ultimate enemy, Satan. So, now that I’ve answered your question about “saviors,” will you also answer my question about where in the Bible the Watchtower finds their “proof” that Jesus was Michael? (The reason I am “getting into this subject immediately” is because it speaks to who Jesus is. And if we have a wrong view of who Jesus is, then nothing else we believe matters.)

    As far as the matter of whether Jehovah or Jesus was the only Creator: suppose I tell you I built a house all by myself, with my own two hands. Then I tell you later that, well, I only drew up the plans, while my Son did the building part. Could I still say I built that house “by myself”? If I said that I spread the concrete for the basement “by myself,” but then told you later that my son did the work, did I really do that “by myself,” or “all alone”? No. Therefore, since Jehovah said He did the work of creation by Himself (Isaiah 44:24), but we see that nothing was created that was not created by Christ (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16), Jesus must be Jehovah.

    Now, Jesus being the “firstborn over creation.” You said, “Perhaps you can provide an example from scripture, of a person or thing being described as a firstborn of a group, wherein that person or thing is NOT a member of that group.” Fair question. This is why He was fully human in His incarnation. He took on flesh that He might know our weaknesses (Hebrews 2:14), that though He was tempted in all things (Hebrews 4:15), that He might learn obedience (Hebrews 5:8), so that by His obedience He may be given the name that is above every name (Philippians 2:9). Jesus came in the form of man so that in the flesh He might be the “firstborn among many brethren” (Hebrews 2:11), He might experience death (Genesis 3:15), show Himself to be victorious over death (1st Corinthians 15:55), and be the firstborn of the dead (Colossians 1:18, “that He might have the preeminence.”) For these reasons He can be called “Firstborn over all creation.” Because not only did He create it, He dwelt among it (John 1:14), and took on the sinful flesh of it (Romans 8:3; Philippians 2:7-8).

  28. Hi fourpointer,

    Thanks for your response. I’ve divided it into numbered sections since we are talking on a few subjects.

    1) Your point that we need to remember context is right on. So when Jehovah says that he was the lone creator, just as he claims to be the lone savior, the context shows us that he is matching himself up against false gods. These ones do not have the power to create, nor do they have the power to save. Thus, when considering these rival gods, Jehovah ALONE emerges as the only creator and only savior. When you take a single verse out of this very specific context in an attempt to prove that another person whom Jehovah created *through* must then also be Jehovah, that is the same as arguing that another person whom Jehovah saved *through* must then be Jehovah.

    There is nothing in or around Isaiah 43:11 that restricts Jehovah’s claim to be the sole savior to ONLY mean providing “salvation from the ultimate enemy, Satan” as you claim. In fact, doesn’t verse 14, just three verses later, cite an example of a “temporary physical victory over an earthly adversary” when Jehovah says, “For your sakes I will send to Babylon and cause the bars of the prisons to come down, and the Chaldeans in the ships with whining cries on their part”?

    2) Let’s expand on this further. You asked me the question: “suppose I tell you I built a house all by myself, with my own two hands. Then I tell you later that, well, I only drew up the plans, while my Son did the building part. Could I still say I built that house ‘by myself’?”

    Before I answer this, can you give me a simple answer about a scripture? Who was it that approached Jesus, asked for another man to be healed, and moved Jesus to proclaim that he had great faith? (See Matthew 8:5-13)

    3) In regards to my question about the firstborn being a member of the group, you seem to concede that Jesus became a member of creation. Of course we differ in that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus was the literal firstborn of creation chronologically, just as he was the firstborn from the dead chronologically, being the first person raised to everlasting life. But for now, I’m happy to see that you’ll include him in creation at all. 🙂

    So now, who was it that died for our sins, in your view? Was it Jesus the creature (the man), Jesus the creator (the God), or both?

    4) I’ll go ahead and post on the Michael topic. But again, this was *not* the reason I brought out the point that angels have taken on physical, fleshly bodies in the past. The point was that ALL those in heaven are spirits, and since we have examples of some spirits (certain angels) taking on flesh temporarily, it is reasonable that Jesus, as a “life-giving spirit”, could do so also.

    Both Jesus and Michael have the title “archangel”, which is only used in the singular throughout scripture, applied to them. (Jude 9; 1 Thessalonians 4:16) Both wield great authority over the angels. (Revelation 12:7; 2 Thessalonians 1:7) Both are prophesied to lead the defeat on Satan. (Revelation 12:7; Genesis 3:15) Both will rule over God’s people. (Daniel 12:1; Daniel 7:14) This results in an unprecedented time of distress in both cases. (Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:22)

    There are more, but that should be good for now.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  29. No one can save—whether Israel from her enemies, or man from their sins—but Jehovah. He is the one who raised up mighty men to defend Israel from enemies or lead her out of captivity, or by causing confusion in the camp of their enemy. He is the one who opens our eyes to turn us from darkness to light. Who else can do these things but God? He saves—and is the only TRUE Savior—by doing works in people that only He can do. Psalm 33:16There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. They are saved, they are delivered by the hand of God. And notice all the times it says Jehovah “saved” Israel. God never says He saved them “by Himself.” It almost always says, “Thus God saved…” In other words, “God saved Israel by doing such-and-such.”

    Now, as far as creation. When He asks “Who was with Me” (Isaiah 44:24 NWT), this is a rhetorical question. No one was with Him. Jehovah was alone when He created. He says so Himself. “I AM Jehovah, who makes all things, who stretches out the heavens all alone…” Now, if Jehovah was alone when He created, how could Jesus have done any of the creating? The only was to reconcile these two ideas is to understand that Jesus and Jehovah are one.

    Concerning the centurion in Matthew 8 (and Luke 7), let’s look at the two passages together. First of all, Matthew gives a slightly condensed version of the account. Luke, however, being the more detailed of the four gospel authors, includes in his account that the Jewish leaders and the friends of the centurion were the ones who went by his authority, speaking for him. This is a common occurrence in the gospels, where one writer will give a thumbnail sketch of an event, while another will fill in the details.

    Jesus was indeed the “firstborn” of all creation—but not chronologically, since there were many, many others born into creation before Him. He is the firstborn of creation because of His preeminence (Colossians 1:18; Romans 8:29), not because He was “created” first, or that He was ever “created” (as though there was ever a time when He did not exist), but because He created all things (Colossians 1:16-17), and stepped down into creation to dwell among men (John 1:14), and allow His physical body to be put to death (Romans 8:3) for our sins, and to be the example of our future physical resurrection (1st Corinthians 15:20).

    The verses you listed as “proof” that Jesus is Michael do not offer any proof at all. Jude 9 is talking about Michael—not Jesus. Daniel 12:1 does not mean that Michael will deliver the people, only that he will have a role to play in the things of the end times (Revelation 12). Plus, the verse from 1st Thessalonians, “He shall descend with the shout of the archangel,” does not mean that His is the voice of the archangel. Notice, Paul uses the word “with” three times in that passage—“with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, with the trumpet of God.” These are signs that will accompany His descent on the clouds. If He were the archangel, would the text not read, “He shall descend and shout with his voice” if His voice was the archangel’s voice? Now, while both Jesus and Michael are both in positions superior to cherubim and seraphim, it is only said of one of them that “The host of Heaven worship” Him (Nehemiah 9:6; Hebrews 1:6). Daniel 7:14 talks about Jesus (“Son of Man”) being given dominion, glory, a kingdom, etc. by the Father (“the Ancient of Days”). In fact, almost the entire first chapter of Hebrews was written to dispel the notion that Jesus was any kind of angel (see Hebrews 1:8, 13).

  30. Hello fourpointer,

    You said, “God never says He saved them ‘by Himself.'” Let’s go through this again. At Isaiah 43:11 that is exactly what he says. “I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.” Besides Jehovah there is NO savior! This is just as definite as Jehovah saying that he was alone when creating. But obviously there are other saviors, servants of God, that Jehovah saves through, and this does not make them one with Jehovah. So we have to take into account the context of Isaiah and who Jehovah is comparing himself to. He is NOT considering whether or not he used agents to save or create, he is saying that he alone is the source of salvation and the source of creation. So if Jesus is one that Jehovah creates THROUGH, this does not make him identical with Jehovah.

    Now, earlier you asked me, “suppose I tell you I built a house all by myself, with my own two hands. Then I tell you later that, well, I only drew up the plans, while my Son did the building part. Could I still say I built that house ‘by myself’?” I then asked you who it was that approached Jesus in Matthew 8. But I was pleased to see that you went even further than that.

    Matthew 8:5 says, “When he entered into Capernaum, an army officer came to [Jesus], entreating him.” Yet Luke 7:3, 4 records the account as, “When [the army officer] heard about Jesus, he sent forth older men of the Jews to him to ask him to come and bring his slave safely through. Then those that came up to Jesus began to entreat him earnestly.” As you noted, both accounts are correct, one is simply more detailed than the other.

    It of course would be absurd for someone to read the two accounts and insist that the army officer and the men he sent were the same person, yet this is what is done with Jehovah and Jesus. As another example (they’re everywhere!) let’s look at Genesis 41:41, “And Pharaoh added to Joseph: ‘See, I do place you over all the land of Egypt.'” Then Genesis 45:9 says, “This is what your son Joseph has said: ‘God has appointed me lord for all Egypt.'” So is Joseph saying that Pharaoh is God? Of course not, he’s saying that God appointed Joseph THROUGH Pharaoh.

    So back to your question. Could a guy say that he built a house by himself if he had his son help him? Well, the man would be the supervisor or building foreman, while his son was working beneath him. So if he was standing in a room full of foremen and they asked him if any of them had helped him build the house, he could certainly answer that he built the house “by himself”. He was the ONLY one in charge of the house’s construction, which is what they were asking him about. Whether or not he delegated work to others was not the question.

    I think that if we can work out the above, the objections in the rest of your post will be easier to discuss.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  31. TJ,

    Of course it would be absurd to say that Joseph was calling Pharaoh “God.” But in order to understand and correctly interpret Genesis 45:9, we must look at the verse previous.

    Joseph tells his brothers, “So now it was not you who sent me here, but it was the [true] God, that he might appoint me a father to Pharaoh and a lord for all his house and as one dominating over all the land of Egypt. Go up quickly to my father, and you must say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph has said: ‘God has appointed me lord for all Egypt.’” (Genesis 45:8-9 NWT). This is all one thought, and in this long thought, Joseph has already acknowledged that it was God’s sovereign hand that caused Pharaoh to put him in that position, so he did not need to say it again. There’s nothing that could even lead one to infer that Joseph was saying Pharaoh was God. Joseph is acknowledging that God had appointed him to that position before he ever went to Egypt—Pharaoh just filled in the details, he was just a tool God used.

    While the argument you are trying to make concerning the centurion may look similar (on the surface) to “what’s being done with Jesus and Jehovah,” we begin to see the differences when we dig deeper, and we find they are not quite the same. For one thing, taking the gospel accounts of the centurion together paints the picture that the centurion sent emissaries to Jesus, speaking by his authority, rather than have Jesus become defiled by entering his house. As far as Jesus/Jehovah–well, obviously the Jews in the Old Testament did not know about Jesus (Ephesians 3:9). They knew that God had created the heavens and earth (Genesis 1:1). But they did not know it was God the Son (John 1:1-3). So when Jehovah said He created “by Himself…all alone…Who was with Me?” He meant that He was indeed alone, by Himself, and that no one else was with Him (Colossians 1:16). Jesus is the First, and He is the Last (Isaiah 44:6, Revelation 2:8). In fact, He simply IS (John 8:58).

    Nowhere does it say that Jehovah simply “oversaw” creation—it only says that He did the creating. Long ago you laid the foundations of the earth itself, and the heavens are the work of your hands (Psalm 102:25 NWT). Notice it says the heavens are the work of God’s hands, that He did the actual work of creating.

  32. I am thoroughly enjoying being a fly on the wall in this discussion. I do hope you will entertain my simple question – particularly TJ…

    I notice the continued thread regarding “righteous humans” living on the earth. I do agree that the earth will be made new and we will be inhabiting the earth. But I was wondering what makes one a “righteous human” in order to dwell here when it is made new?

    Thank you and many blessings poured out on you all . . .

  33. Hello fourpointer,

    Thank you for your response. Of course it can be determined that God and Pharaoh aren’t the same person, nor the centurion and the men he sent, but the point is that this representative structure can be found throughout the scriptures. If one person appoints another to do something for him, BOTH persons can be said to have done that thing. This is clear in a modern context when a person says, ‘President Bush invaded Iraq.’ Well, he did and he didn’t, right? And, assuming it was his ultimate decision alone, it could be said that he did it ‘by himself’, though he of course didn’t actually do it without a military.

    We accept these obvious roles, where one with authority makes a decision, taking responsibility for it, and one (or more) below him carries it out, and we do not insist that they MUST be the same person. Yet when it comes to Jehovah and Jesus, the formula ‘Jehovah did x, Jesus did x, therefore Jesus is Jehovah’ is used all the time as definitive proof. What is overlooked time and again are the clear statements that Jesus is working under Jehovah.

    “I [Jesus] do nothing of my own initiative; but just as the Father taught me I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me; he did not abandon me to myself, because I always do the things pleasing to him.” (John 8:28, 29)

    “Jesus said to them: ‘My food is for me to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work.'” (John 4:34)

    “I [Jesus] cannot do a single thing of my own initiative; just as I hear, I judge; and the judgment that I render is righteous, because I seek, not my own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 5:30)

    So let me ask you directly, fourpointer, is Jesus a representative and worker under the Father? And why is it said that “out of [the Father] all things are”, while of the Son, “through whom all things are”? (1 Corinthians 8:6) What’s the difference between “out of” and “through”?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  34. Dear Deborah:

    I can see that you understand what you read in the Bible and have come to the proper conclusion regarding the physical resurrection of Christ.

    Despite TJ’s best use of smoke and mirrors to try to make the Scriptures say what they don’t say, and apply his own definitions to words that the Scriptures define clearly elsewhere, you hold to the faith that was for once handed down to the saints. Amen!

    Anyone lacking any theological understanding, anyone unable to apply basic principles of hermeneutics, or anyone without even a cursory understanding of the Bible knows and understands that “resurrection” means to bring back to life that which was once dead. If Jesus’ body remained dead, then He failed to meet the criteria of a resurrection! How much more elementary can it get?

    This is not to mention that Jesus told us He would raise His body [Greek: Soma] again (John 2:21). Ignoring this clear teachings is a personal choice based on a desire to tenaciously hold onto one’s indoctrination.

    Also remember Deborah, we have 2,000 years of orthodox Christian history on our side. TJ has about a century of Watchtower teaching whose doctrine changes as frequently as the wind.

    This whole topic is vitally important because the resurrection of Jesus IS THE GOSPEL (1 Cor. 15:1-4) not the New Earth! It’s Jesus, the name above all names and the only name by which we must be saved . . . TJ will not bow his knee to Jesus because in his mind, Jesus is just an angel. This requires TJ to bend, twist, and manipulate Scripture on this topic and countless others as well to make Jesus fit the mold that the Watchtower has created.

    If Jesus did not raise from the dead, then we are still dead in our sins, our preaching is in vain, we’re to be the most pitied of all people and we are false witnesses! Paul uses a very interesting term here when he says “false witnesses” . . . very interesting indeed.

    The JW’s “Studies in the Scriptures” Volume 5 page 454 says, “the man Jesus is dead, forever dead.” Yet in 1 Timothy 2:5 (post-resurrection) Jesus is called a man. So who is right? The Bible or TJ? “For there is only one God and one mediator between God and men, and that is the man, Christ Jesus.” This is a far cry from the Watchtower teaching that Jesus was resurrected as a spirit creature, i.e. Michael the Archangel. Jesus is referred to here as a man (which denotes physical), not a spirit as TJ would define it (non-physical).

    Jesus, after seeing that His disciples thought He was a spirit (ironically the very same thing TJ is saying now), corrected the disciples telling them to look at Him because “a spirit DOES NOT have a body of flesh and blood LIKE YOU SEE I HAVE!” He corrected the disciples then and He’s correcting TJ now. If TJ chooses to cling tenaciously to the Watchtower’s interpretation of Scripture instead of the clear, concise words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, then he will have no excuse come judgment day. I don’t won’t to see him or anyone else regret this for eternity, but sadly many will perish for their loyalty to an organization over and above that of Jesus.

    “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.” (2 John 7) Beloved do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the spirit of God; every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God . . . (1 John 4:1-2).

    Although JW’s admit Jesus came the first time in the flesh, they deny His fleshly return after the resurrection and His eventual fleshly return when He comes to judge the world. They claim His resurrection was only spiritual and that His return already happened in 1914 and that it was an invisible return (yeah, prove all that from Scripture). So two out of three times JWs deny the coming of Jesus in the flesh. Those are not odds I would gamble my eternal soul on.

    As for me and my house, we will honor the Son just as we honor the Father (John 5:22-23) and we will continue to be a witness of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8) the one for whom every knee will bow and every tongue will confess is Lord (Isaiah 45:23 & Philippians 2:10-11).

    Sola Christos!

    Sincerely,
    The Pilgrim

  35. Hello gracefull,

    You asked a great question. Peter says that “there are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Peter 3:13)

    Those living on the earth will no longer be slaves to sin and death, because Jesus’ ransom sacrifice delivers them from that state. So we will become perfect humans, just as Adam was originally created. But like Adam, we’ll still have the choice of obeying God or not. To remain righteous, we have to stay faithful.

    In the new earth the words of Psalm 37:10, 11 will find their fulfillment:

    “And just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more;
    And you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be.
    But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth,
    And they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”

    Let me know if you have further questions. Thanks,
    TJ

  36. Hello Deborah,

    In response to Pilgrim’s post above, I’ll just say that I am not trying to deceive you. I am trying to get people to consider ALL of the Bible’s evidence. Once all of the evidence has been considered, THEN one can choose the best interpretation. It seems simple, but this method usually isn’t followed.

    Does Jesus tell his disciples that he is not a spirit? Yes, and if that was the only evidence I considered, I would be in agreement with Pilgrim. But then we are also told that Jesus became a life-giving spirit. So we have to harmonize these two statements. Ask yourself, why does the NIV and other translations use the word “ghost” at Luke 24:37, 39?

    While considering this topic further, pay close attention to what Paul says at 1 Corinthians 15. If a resurrection REQUIRES that the same body be raised, as is being contended, then why is the following question even raised? “How are the dead to be raised up? Yes, with what sort of body are they coming?” (1 Cor. 15:35) And listen to Paul’s analogy in response, “What you sow is not made alive unless first it dies; and as for what you sow, you sow, *not the body that will develop*, but a bare grain, it may be, of wheat or any one of the rest; but *God gives it a body* just as it has pleased him.” (1 Cor. 15:36-38)

    So does the grain keep its same ‘body’ when it germinates and grows into a plant? Paul continues, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. . . . It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body.” (1 Cor. 15:42-44) Read through all of this carefully, and decide whether or not I am using “smoke and mirrors” to deceive you.

    Again, Jesus died and was resurrected, but what he sacrificed was his life as a human. He gave up his fleshly body in our behalf. (1 Cor. 11:24) But Jesus himself was resurrected, “he being put to death in the flesh, but being made alive in the spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18)

    Thanks,
    TJ

  37. Greetings TJ,

    Regarding your statement that This is clear in a modern context when a person says, ‘President Bush invaded Iraq.’ Well, he did and he didn’t, right?—I think we would both agree that while President Bush and, say, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are not the same person they do comprise different persons of the same government. (However, if you were to compare the Trinity to a government, the US government would not be the ideal comparison. The Godhead is not a democracy, it is more of an oligarchy-slash-theocracy.) Likewise, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are not the same Person but they do comprise different Persons in the same Trinity. Looking back I regret to say I have not made this distinction clear in my previous comments. They are three Persons of the same Godhead.

    God the Son has always shared in the glory of the Father. (John 17:5). However, at one point in time, He laid that glory aside, and became a Son to the Father (Psalm 2:7; Hebrews 1:5), submitting to the will of the Father and “learning obedience” (Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 5:8). Thus, it is not so much that “Jesus is working under Jehovah” (since Jesus is Jehovah), but rather God the Son working under God the Father. In fact, the verses you supplied speak to the humanity of Christ, His being the “Son of Man,” and that He humbled Himself in order to carry out the will of the Father (Matthew 6:10). And yes, He is indeed a “representative and worker” under the Father. In fact, He is the very image and brightness of God (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3).

    Consider this: in Genesis 1:26 God is speaking to someone and says, “Let US make man in OUR image.” Yet it goes on to say that God created man in HIS image. Whose image? God’s image. Notice it does NOT say that God created man in the image of God and the one He was speaking to. We were created in the image of God, but Christ IS the image of God.

    Another thing we need to consider:

    Colossians 1:16-17 (NWT) —“because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist”
    John 1:3 (NWT)—“All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.”
    Hebrews 1:6 (NWT)—“But when he again brings his Firstborn into the inhabited earth, he says: ‘And let all God’s angels do obeisance to him.’”

    In Colossians 1:16-17, when translating the Greek word “pas”, the Watchtower Society added the word “[other]”—a mistranslation of the word “pas,” which means all and carries with it the implication of entirety. The Watchtower does this, I guess, to make it appear that Christ created all things “other” than Himself.

    But here’s where we run into a problem: They did not do the same thing with John 1:3 (NWT)—“All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.” Notice, it does not say, “All [other] things…” Why is that? Because John says in the following phrase, “apart from Him not one thing came into existence.” Now, the phrase “not one thing” means “not a single thing”—this would include Jesus Himself, since John does not make the exception.

    Also, in Hebrews 1:6—“But when he again brings his Firstborn into the inhabited earth, he says: ‘And let all God’s angels do obeisance to him.’” Notice, it does NOT say, “Let all God’s [other] angels…” it says “Let all God’s angels do obeisance to him.” How many angels? ALL of God’s angels. In fact, in the first two chapters of Hebrews—which are dedicated to showing that Jesus was NOT and angel—nowhere does it say anything about “the [other] angels…”

    This is the same sentiment expressed in Nehemiah 9:6 (NWT)—“You are Jehovah alone; you yourself have made the heavens, [even] the heaven of the heavens, and all their army, the earth and all that is upon it, the seas and all that is in them; and you are preserving all of them alive; and the army of the heavens are bowing down to you.” Of course, this presents another dilemma. Are the angels of God worshipping Jehovah? Or are they worshipping Jesus? Are they worshipping both? We need to be careful about how we answer this. For as He told the prophet Isaiah, “I am Jehovah. That is my name; and to no one else shall I give my own glory…” (Isaiah 42:8, NWT). If the angels are bowing down and worshipping Jesus, would this not be a case of Jehovah giving His glory to another, and allowing His own angels to worship another, even another angel?

  38. Dear TJ,

    Please do not misunderstand me regarding your intentions. I do not believe that you are intentionally trying to “deceive” Barbra or anyone else for that matter. I truly believe that you are sincere in your feelings and beliefs. I do not think you are trying to “deceive” us anymore than a Roman Catholic or Mormon is trying to “deceive” us when they preach their “gospels.”

    Dear Barbra,
    TJ continues to forget an important aspect in this debate regarding “It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body” (1 Cor. 15:42-44). It is a STILL A BODY!!!

    A spirit (as the Father is) does not have flesh and bones. A spiritual (glorified) body does. Jesus proved it by what He did after His resurrection.

    Again, a spiritual body is not one that’s immaterial or non-physical. An example of what a “spiritual body” is, is when Jesus (post-resurrection) tells His disciples that He’s NOT a spirit, ghost, or whatever. He then proves it (because they were still not believing) by eating physical food. He ate food on numerous occasions after the resurrection.

    Furthermore, we must conclude (yet again) by TJ’s (the Watchtower’s) argument that Jesus was a liar when He said He would raise His own body back to life. This is a conclusion I am not willing to make. Jesus is not a liar, nor does He use deception to further one’s belief.

    Solus Christus!
    Soli Deo Gloria!

    – The Pilgrim

  39. Hello fourpointer,

    Thank you for your response. I think our discussion has played out long enough for each of us to get our major points out. I believe that the Bible clearly explains that Jesus was GIVEN all things he has by Jehovah, and that he carries out Jehovah’s will as his foremost representative. This difference is expressed in that all things created are FROM the Father, but THROUGH the Son. Many examples can be shown where other servants have taken on names, titles, actions, positions, etc., that are said to belong to Jehovah alone, and yet this does not make them Jehovah himself.

    As always, if Deborah or other readers have any specific questions or want my clarification on any of these points, I’d be happy to provide it.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  40. Hello Pilgrim,

    You said, “TJ continues to forget an important aspect in this debate regarding ‘It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body’ (1 Cor. 15:42-44). It is a STILL A BODY!!!”

    If you go back through my posts on this subject, you’ll find that I have always argued that Christ’s resurrection was bodily. Our difference, however, has been on the type of body. As in Paul’s analogy, the grain that a person may sow is “not the body that will develop”, but after it has been sown, “God gives it a body.” He then carries this analogy over to explain the difference between the physical body and the spiritual body.

    You argue above, “Again, a spiritual body is not one that’s immaterial or non-physical.” But wouldn’t that go against the contrast Paul makes when he says, “It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body”? If the spiritual body IS a physical body, this isn’t much of a contrast, is it? And again the contrast is made when he says, “Nevertheless, the first is, not that which is spiritual, but that which is physical, afterward that which is spiritual.” Isn’t he saying clearly that “that which is physical” is “not that which is spiritual”?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  41. TJ,

    I am still curious as to whom you believe the angels worship. Is it Jehovah (Nehemiah 9:6) or Jesus (Hebrews 1:6)? Obviously, the answer is “Yes.” They worship Jesus because He is Jehovah. This was the sentiment expressed by Isaiah, and echoed by John Baptist, “Listen! Someone is crying out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of Jehovah, YOU people! Make his roads straight.'” (Isaiah 40:3 NWT; Matthew 3:3 NWT). And we know that Jehovah alone created all things–all alone, all by Himself, no one was with Him while He did the work of creation. He did not do the work of creation through any angels, but by His own hands. Those hands belonged to Jesus.

    It would also help to know why the WTBTS translated the Greek word pas differently in John 1:3 (all) and Hebrews 1:6 (all) than they did in Colossians 1:16 (all other). The only other place I’ve found (so far) where they inserted the word “other” is Philippians 2:9, and there its addition isn’t even necessary. If the NWT is supposed to be a literal, word-for-word translation, then why the differences? And why hasn’t the WTBTS ever disclosed who was involved in the ‘translation’ process?

  42. Hi fourpointer,

    I’ll answer your new questions, but I’m really going to try not to get stuck going over the same things again and again. 🙂 Please take some time to really contemplate these answers and *try* to see them from my perspective (not that you have to accept them). Just dismissing them out of hand will be a waste of time for both of us. But if nothing else, looking at the evidence from a different point of view will help you to really understand why it is that you believe what you believe.

    You asked, “I am still curious as to whom you believe the angels worship. Is it Jehovah (Nehemiah 9:6) or Jesus (Hebrews 1:6)?”

    The Greek word for worship is proskyneo. Like most words, it has a *range* of meaning. It CAN mean absolute worship or it CAN mean simply bowing down to show respect. This latter meaning is brought out in Revelation 3:9, where Jesus says that he will make those who say they are Jews “worship” (proskyneo) anointed Christians. This is just one of several such examples; for more, take a look at a Biblical Greek lexicon.

    So at Hebrews 1:6 (and elsewhere, where proskyneo is rendered towards Jesus) the angels are certainly showing respect to Jesus, but they are not necessarily worshipping him as they worship God. You can insist that it does mean that if you want, but there’s nothing in the word itself that demands such an interpretation.

    Your reference to Isaiah 40:3 and Matthew 3:3 is another example of Jesus being a representative of Jehovah, not Jehovah himself. Jesus was “sent” by God just as the older men of the Jews were “sent” by the centurion.

    As to the Greek word pas (“all”), it can legitimately be rendered along with the word “other” when it is felt by the translators that it is implied in the text. Most, if not all, translations do this at various places, such as Matthew 26:35; Luke 11:42; 13:2; etc. Paul even tells us outright that “all” can have obvious exceptions:

    “But when he says that ‘all things have been subjected,’ it is evident that it is with the exception of the one who subjected all things to him.” (1 Corinthians 15:27)

    So whether or not to bring out the potentially implied word “other” when the Greek word pas is used is up to the discretion of the translator(s). The NWT does use it at Colossians 1:16. Commenting on this, Greek scholar Dr. Jason BeDuhn writes:

    “…the NW[T] is attacked for adding the innocuous ‘other’ in a way that clearly indicates its character as an addition of the translators. Why is that so? The reason is that many readers apparently want the passage to mean what the NIV and TEV try to make it mean. That is, they don’t want to accept the obvious and clear sense of ‘first-born of creation’ as identifying Jesus as ‘of creation.’ ‘Other’ is obnoxious to them because it draws attention to the fact that Jesus is ‘of creation’ and so when Jesus acts with respect to ‘all things’ he is actually acting with respect to ‘all other things.’ But the NW[T] is correct.” (_Truth in Translation_, p.84)

    At John 1:3, it says, “All things came into existence through [the Word], and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.” For whatever reason, the translators didn’t make the implied exception here explicit in the translation. But this has no effect on our understanding that Jesus is “the firstborn of creation” and “the beginning of creation” and his role in all things be created THROUGH him (notice that even in John 1:3 the word “through” is used).

    As an example, what if I said that you will meet all those that love God in the resurrection. Does that mean that you will “meet” yourself? Of course not, you are obviously excluded from this, yet you would still be a member of the group of people “that love God”, correct? This is why it can be said that “all things” were created through Jesus, and yet he is still “of creation” himself.

    The same goes for Hebrews 1:6. It could be said of a human ruler that all the people will bow to him, yet we know that this doesn’t include himself, though he is still a human. All angels can bow down to Jesus, and yet this statement would have no effect on the question of whether or not Jesus is the archangel Michael.

    Lastly, you asked, “And why hasn’t the WTBTS ever disclosed who was involved in the ‘translation’ process?”

    The translators asked to remain anonymous so that they wouldn’t receive undue glory from men. The translation itself was left to stand on its own merits. But I’ve answered this question enough to know that it is usually loaded. So rather than taking shots at the motives of the translators, I suggest we stick to the evidence itself (translators of other Bible versions, such as the NASB when it was initially published, have chosen a similar course of anonymity).

    I mean, let’s take a step back and take a look at just the discussion so far on this page; several times the motives of “the Watchtower” have been impugned. If even Jesus himself could have his motives attacked by others, should we really rely on such ‘evidence’? Shouldn’t we instead keep the focus on what the Scriptures themselves actually tell us?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  43. TJ,

    I am aware of the meanings of the word “proskuneo” and how it has become a victim of the selective interpretation process of the New World translators. Second, Isaiah 40:3 and Matthew 3:3 are NOT examples of “Jesus being a representative of Jehovah.” The words are very clear; this is a call to make way for Jehovah Himself.

    Now, touching on Hebrews, one cannot rightly study the first two chapters and still truly believe that Jesus was an angel. This is clear even in the New World Translation. Consider how the first chapter is constructed. The writer asks rhetorical questions in the vein of “To which of the angels…” (Verses 5 and 13) These are questions that are posed, not expecting any answer other than “no.” (Much like 1st Corinthians 12:29-30.)

    In verses 9-12, the writer talks about the supremacy of Jesus to the angels, then says in verse 13, “But to which one of the angels has he ever said…” Notice how the writer is making a distinct line between Jesus and all angels, including Michael? For further proof, we need look no farther than chapter 2, verse 5. “For it is not to angels that he has subjected the inhabited earth to come, about which we are speaking.” From this verse alone we can see that Jesus was not an angel, because just 3 verses later, “‘All things you subjected under his feet.’ For in that he subjected all things to him, [God] left nothing that is not subject to him. Now, though, we do not yet see all things in subjection to him;” The writer says that the world to come will be subject to Christ, not angels—any angels—even Michael.

    From this and other passages, it is obvious that Jesus was not Michael. It is also obvious, from careful study of the New World Translation that the word “other” was inserted in Colossians in order to make that passage fit their doctrine. Consider this: why would it be necessary for Paul to differentiate between Jesus and “all [other] things” but not between Jesus and “all angels?” Especially if Jesus was an angel? Also, why did the writer of Hebrews draw such a clear line between Jesus and angels—all angels—if Jesus was an angel? Since the Bible does not specifically say that Jesus was Michael, we must dismiss this belief as the invention of man.

    Finally, I would be careful about quoting from BeDuhn. I know he fancied himself as quite the Greek scholar, but he was also a Manichaean, and wrote several books in support of it. Manichaeism was a 3rd Century religious sect similar to the Gnostics. From the American Heritage Dictionary:

    1. The syncretic, dualistic religious philosophy taught by the Persian prophet Manes, combining elements of Zoroastrian, Christian, and Gnostic thought and opposed by the imperial Roman government, Neo-Platonist philosophers, and orthodox Christians.
    2. A dualistic philosophy dividing the world between good and evil principles or regarding matter as intrinsically evil and mind as intrinsically good.

  44. Dear TJ:

    You asked “Isn’t he saying clearly that ‘that which is physical’ is ‘not that which is spiritual?’”

    Again, Scripture must be interpreted with Scripture or you end up injecting your definitions into a text.

    If Jesus resurrected in the same body as evidenced by the scars, and if His post-resurrection body ate food and drank drink, then either we have to conclude that a spiritual or glorified body is a physical one or that the Bible is in contradiction.

    You have maintained that Jesus did not resurrect in his own body and you cite the “contrast” by Paul as being the proof in the pudding. If you approach it believing that Jesus was Michael the Archangel, a created being, then your Watchtower produced presuppositions will always bring you to that conclusion in spite of a mountain of evidence to the contrary. I choose to let the Scriptures speak for themselves and when Jesus said in His own words that He would raise again in His OWN BODY, I simply can’t ignore that or call Him a liar to make your (square peg) theory fit in the round hole.

    Jesus’ further clarification to the disciples that He was not a spirit or ghost but was in His own physical body is the greatest “contrast” on this matter that can be gleaned. He corrected them when they thought the same thing that you are proposing today. Will you believe Him like the disciples did, or will you continue to cling to the uninspired, ever-changing doctrines of the Watchtower?

    As I said before, you can be right on every doctrine of Scripture but if you’re wrong about Jesus Christ, you’ll be wrong for eternity.

    – The Pilgrim

  45. Hello fourpointer,

    You said, “I am aware of the meanings of the word ‘proskuneo’ and how it has become a victim of the selective interpretation process of the New World translators.”

    Actually, ALL translators have to be “selective” when they choose which aspect of a source word to bring out in a target language. This is called translating. Again, you are free to attack the motives of the NWT translators if you feel that you cannot address the evidence itself. Isn’t it true that proskyneo can mean something less than absolute worship? Do you deny that others in the Bible, besides God, rightfully receive forms of proskyneo? If these are true (and they are), then you shouldn’t be using the fact that Jesus receives a form of proskyneo as direct proof that he must be Jehovah.

    You continue, “Isaiah 40:3 and Matthew 3:3 are NOT examples of ‘Jesus being a representative of Jehovah.’ The words are very clear; this is a call to make way for Jehovah Himself.”

    Fourpointer, it seems that again you are willing to not only dismiss, but completely IGNORE any evidence that goes contrary to your argument. Matthew 8:5 is just as clear that it was the army officer himself that approached Jesus. It says, “When [Jesus] entered into Capernaum, an army officer came to him.” But it was actually his REPRESENTATIVES that he sent. God SENT Jesus as his representative. (See John 17:3)

    You can continue to ignore this perfectly obvious point and continue with the formula, ‘Jehovah does x, Jesus does x, therefore Jesus is Jehovah’, but when you fail to apply this same formula to other representatives, you are truly being selective in your method of interpretation.

    Next, you said, “Now, touching on Hebrews, one cannot rightly study the first two chapters and still truly believe that Jesus was an angel.”

    By the same reasoning, I could say, “one cannot rightly study the first two chapters and still truly believe that Jesus was a prophet.” Why? Hebrews 1:1 says, “God, who long ago spoke on many occasions and in many ways to our forefathers by means of the prophets, has at the end of these days spoken to us by means of a Son.” A clear distinction has been drawn between the Son and the prophets. Yet Jesus was most certainly a prophet himself. (See Deuteronomy 18:18) The point, however, is to show how Jesus is above the collective group of prophets. None of these were God’s only-begotten Son. The same reasoning can be applied to Jesus’ distinction from the angels.

    The point is to show how Jesus has been elevated above the *common* group of angels, “he has become better than the angels, to the extent that he has inherited a name more excellent than theirs.”. (Hebrews 1:4) Really think about it, couldn’t it be said, while Jesus was still living as a human on the earth, that he was better than the men of the earth? Would that mean that he wasn’t a man at that time? No, we would be singling out and highlighting the elevated position of one individual in contrast to a collective group. That is what is being done in Hebrews. Please go back and *carefully* read the examples in my previous post, since these are analogous situations.

    Your comments on Colossians 1:16 give no reason at all for the word “other” being a necessarily biased addition. It certainly has support from the fact that Jesus is said to be (in the preceding verse!) “of creation” himself. And it is perfectly acceptable English to NOT always use the word “other” with “all” when there are exceptions. Again, I gave examples in my last post that clearly illustrate this. Did you even read those? If so, why haven’t you addressed them at all?

    In regards to Dr. BeDuhn, I’m sorry to see that rather than addressing the *content* of his argument, you chose instead to attack his credentials/character. This is a common fallacy that is used to distract attention away from the focus of the discussion. You may be doing this unintentionally, but if you are really searching for truth, regardless of where it takes you, it’s good to start recognizing when we are employing such tactics and when we are ignoring valid counterpoints to our arguments.

    Remember that “the word of God is alive and exerts power . . . and is able to discern thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) If we approach Scripture determined to find certain doctrines in it, regardless of what it actually says, it will allow us to become stubborn and unreasonable. But if we approach it with humility, allowing it to direct us to the truth, we will gain a firm foundation for our beliefs so that we can have the confidence to speak openly and honestly with others.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  46. Thank you for your response, Pilgrim.

    You said, “If Jesus resurrected in the same body as evidenced by the scars, and if His post-resurrection body ate food and drank drink, then either we have to conclude that a spiritual or glorified body is a physical one or that the Bible is in contradiction.”

    But there is another conclusion! Other spirit person have appeared with physical bodies. Jacob wrestled with an angel, fallen angels lived on the earth and had children before the flood, some first-century Christians unknowingly hosted angels, etc. So spirits have the ability to temporarily take up physical bodies.

    And if we accept that a spiritual body is in actuality a physical body, Paul’s words simply make no sense. He makes a plain contrast between the physical and spiritual body. In fact, the root meaning of the Greek word for “spiritual” means “wind”. It meant something that is NOT physical.

    You said, “Jesus’ further clarification to the disciples that He was not a spirit or ghost but was in His own physical body is the greatest ‘contrast’ on this matter that can be gleaned.”

    But you are not harmonizing that statement with the very clear statement that Jesus is indeed “a life-giving spirit” and that Jesus was ‘put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.’ (1 Cor. 15:45; 1 Peter 3:18) If your goal is to let scripture speak for itself, what is it telling us in those places?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  47. TJ,

    This may sound sarcastic, and I don’t mean for it to, so please don’t take it that way. But no matter how many word games you try to play, there is no way of getting around the fact that the writer of Hebrews was making a clear-cut distinction between Jesus and every angel—including Michael. The writer was addressing a group of Jews who thought that Jesus was an angel, and the Holy Spirit led the writer to pen these two chapters to dispel that thought. He drives that distinction home in Hebrews 2:5, when he says that God has NOT put the world to come in subjection to angels. Any angels. In fact, nowhere in Scripture is Jesus ever referred to as an angel, or Michael, or anything similar. The words aren’t there, the concept is not there. It was an invention of man.

    I am not “ignoring evidence that goes contrary to my argument.” I have already addressed the issue of the centurion. It is clear from Scripture that Matthew gave a sketch while Luke filled in the details. However, it is also clear that Jehovah said He did the work of creation—with His own hands (Psalm 102:25)—by Himself (Isaiah 44:24), with no one’s help. Yet John tells us that nothing was created by anyone other then Jesus (John 1:3). These are two clauses of exclusivity. One did the work by Himself, but the other one made every single thing. These two verses do not speak of two separate beings, but they do speak of one God.

    Jesus’ status as “Firstborn of creation” does not reside in His “being created first.” It resides in the fact that He is the Head of all creation, though He was not created Himself, save the body He took upon Himself when He walked the earth. You asked, “How can one be firstborn if they weren’t born first?” Well, I would ask you, “How could God call David ‘firstborn’ when HE wasn’t born first?” Psalm 89:20, 27—“I have found David my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him…Also, I myself shall place him as firstborn, the most high of the kings of the earth.”

    In addressing BeDuhn, it certainly is proper to attack his credentials and character. After all, if you were going in for surgery, would you want the person operating on you to be of reputable character and lacking in the proper credentials? Shouldn’t we also inspect the credentials and character of a man who is claiming to be interpreting the oracles of God—even more so, seeing as how he is handling eternal matters? BeDuhn was a spiritually confused man, prone to following esoteric religions. Reading several debates he has had with other scholars, his bias toward the New World Translation comes through very plainly. In fact, he is rather circuitous in his logic. He says, “That is, they don’t want to accept the obvious and clear sense of ‘first-born of creation’ as identifying Jesus as ‘of creation.’” Yet, by your own admission, isn’t the WTBTS also guilty of translating that passage according to their own doctrine? It seems that Dr. BeDuhn is a bit disingenuous and circular in his argument.

  48. Dear TJ:

    “If your goal is to let scripture speak for itself, what is it telling us in those places?”

    We again either have a contradiction or your version of “harmonizing” is not accurate. Jesus said He would raise HIS OWN BODY. He told the disciples He was NOT a spirit and when they didn’t believe Him He asked for and ate food to PROVE it.

    Either 1). the Apostle Paul was mistaken, 2). Jesus was mistaken 3). or you are trying to define a “spriritual body” as one that is not physical.

    I understand your argument, however, if your interpretation (via the Watchtower) is correct, then Jesus lied. You cannot get around that.

    – The Pilgrim

  49. Hi fourpointer,

    In regards to Hebrews 1, you are missing the point. Just as Jesus is distinguished from the collective group of prophets in verse 1, though he is himself a prophet, he is also distinguished from the collective group of angels when it says at the outset, “he has become better than the angels.” From that point on, the goal is to explain *in what way* Jesus has BECOME better than them. You can call this ‘word games’ if you want, but just like Isaiah 44:24, you are failing to consider the context and the direction of the argument.

    So yes, you are ignoring the evidence that goes against your position when you continue to make the same assertions over and over, without addressing my counterpoints. Please deal with the examples I provide.

    Next fourpointer, you were being dishonest, either intentionally or unintentionally, when you wrote, “You asked, ‘How can one be firstborn if they weren’t born first?'” I did NOT ask this. Perhaps you *thought* that that was what I was thinking, but I wasn’t. So please do not ‘quote’ what you think I’m thinking.

    One *can* be called firstborn and not literally be the very first. For example, this was the case among Jacob’s children:

    “the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel—for he was the firstborn; but for his profaning the lounge of his father his right as firstborn was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel, so that he was not to be enrolled genealogically for the right of the firstborn. For Judah himself proved to be superior among his brothers, and the one for leader was from him; but the right as firstborn was Joseph’s.” (1 Chronicles 5:1, 2)

    So Joseph attained the title and rights of the firstborn when Reuben, the actual firstborn, lost those privileges. But here’s the point, Joseph still had to be a son of Jacob to become the firstborn. In your example showing David being called the firstborn of God, “the most high of the kings of the earth”, David had to be a king in order to be given that title.

    So when Jesus is called “the firstborn of creation”, he himself HAS to be a member of creation to receive that title. That much is for certain. And if you look at the far majority of occurrences of the word “firstborn”, it naturally refers to the LITERAL firstborn in chronological order. In fact, just a few verses after Jesus is called “the firstborn of creation”, he is called “the firstborn from the dead.” He was literally the very first person to be resurrected to everlasting life from death. So the most natural meaning of “the firstborn of creation” is that Jesus is literally the very first member of creation.

    In addition to this, Jesus is called “the beginning of creation.” (Rev. 3:14) Regarding this verse, BDAG, the standard lexicon for Biblical Greek, says, “the [meaning] beginning=first created is linguistically prob[able].” Now, I’m aware that you will no doubt have what you refer to as ‘word game’ explanations for this evidence, but please answer the following. What would Scripture have to say in order to teach that Jesus was the literal firstborn and beginning of creation?

    In regards to Dr. BeDuhn, it’s a waste of time to consider this any further. You’ve proven you can attack anyone that agrees with the NWT. That is great. But can you instead deal with the *content* of his argument?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  50. Hello Pilgrim,

    In answer to my question concerning how you explain Jesus being called a spirit and the fact that he is said to be put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, you said:

    “Either 1). the Apostle Paul was mistaken, 2). Jesus was mistaken 3). or you are trying to define a ‘spriritual body’ as one that is not physical.”

    Well, I’m sure we agree that 1 and 2 are NOT correct. The problem with your number 3 is that I didn’t even mention a “spiritual body” in my question. Jesus is plainly called “a life-giving spirit”, yet you argue that he is NOT a spirit. Therefore, the burden is on you to explain what the Bible means when it says that Jesus became “a life-giving spirit”. So, what does that mean?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  51. Greeting TJ,

    First off, let me just say that I was NOT being “dishonest” when I referred to what I thought you had asked about the concept of “firstborn.” I apologize for my mistake, but I was not trying to be deceitful or dishonest.

    That said, let us look further into Hebrews, especially chapter 2, verse 5. Even the New World Translation says that God has not put the world to come under the authority of angels (see Heb. 2:5 NWT). Why did the writer have to say that? Because there were many who, when they heard that Jesus was the “Son of God,” had thought this was a reference to Him being an angel (See Job 1-2). In the first two chapters the writer dispels this notion. He does not make any mention of “common” angels, nor does he differentiate between Michael and any other angel. If he wanted to, then there are three different Greek words (allos, loipos, etero) he could have used to differentiate between Michael and the other angels. Also, the writer no doubt had in mind a sect in Qumran which considered the archangel Michael to be superior to the Messiah Himself, and in fact equated Michael with Melchizedek (thus the discussion of Melchizedek in chapter 7). If the belief that Jesus was an angel was true, then the writer would not have addressed this issue the way he did, and would not have gone so far out of his way to show that Jesus was separate–completely–from every angel.

    Concerning your statement about “prophets” in 1:1. Why doesn’t the writer say “other” prophets? Who knows. But that does not negate the argument that Jesus is not an angel. Plus, consider that Jesus said He “did not come to destroy the Law and the prophets” (Matthew 5:17). And what did He say about the two Great Commandments? “On these hang the Law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:40). So from this we can see that the writer was speaking of the writings of the prophets. Plus, the Holy Spirit made sure to tell us in other places that Jesus was indeed a prophet (John 4:19; Deuteronomy 18:18).

    However, it is nowhere stated that Jesus was merely an angel. That’s why Nehemiah 9:6 and Hebrews 1:6 both say that “all God’s angels” worship Him. Also, Paul writes in Ephesians 1:21 that Jesus is seated “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.” Principalities and powers is a common NT reference to angels. However, this chapter was not talking about angels at all. So when he says every, he means every. The apostle Peter writes that Jesus has “gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1st Peter 3:22). How many angels? All of them.

    Christ’s position as “Firstborn over creation” has everything to do with why the writer of Hebrews said “He has become much better than the angels.” First, He did indeed step down into creation, and take on a created body of flesh. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among men” (John 1:14). “You have made Him a little lower than the angels” (Hebrews 2:6). Jesus “made Himself of no reputation, taking on the form of a servant…being found in fashion as a man” (Philippians 2:7-8). These verses tell us that Jesus left His glory in Heaven (John 17:5) and dwelt among His creation. Thus, God made Him the “Firstborn of creation” just as He made David “Firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.” And while this may not be what the majority of occurrences of this word means, that is certainly what is means in Colossians 1:15.

    Touching on the BDAG definition of “beginning of creation,” I would be interested to see more of what they had to say about that. I’m sure you are aware that the BDAG is not the only “standard” Greek lexicon, with Strong, Thayer, Vine, and Kittel being some of the others. Thayer (no Trinitarian by any means) defines “beginning” (arche) as “beginning, origin; the person or thing that commences, the first person or thing in a series, the leader; that by which anything begins to be, the origin, the active cause; the extremity of a thing; of the corners of a sail; the first place, principality, rule, magistracy (of angels and demons).” Of course, whichever definition we accept out of these will no doubt be influenced by our theology. So consider Genesis 1:1—“In the beginning God…” and John 1:1—“In the beginning was the Word…” When John wrote, “In the beginning…” He was inseparably equating the Word with God, telling the people that God the Son did the creating. After all, Genesis 1:1 says that the first thing God made was the heavens and earth, it does not say the first thing He created was an angel.

    Peace,
    Four* Pointer

  52. Hi fourpointer,

    You said, “Even the New World Translation says that God has not put the world to come under the authority of angels (see Heb. 2:5 NWT). Why did the writer have to say that?”

    This whole discussion is guided by the premise that Jesus, after his resurrection, “has become better than the angels.” So it shouldn’t be strange that the author goes on to explain how Jesus has become better. Hebrews 2:7, 9 explains, “[God] made him a little lower than angels; with glory and honor you crowned him, and appointed him over the works of your hands. . . . we behold Jesus, who has been made a little lower than angels, crowned with glory and honor for having suffered death, that he by God’s undeserved kindness might taste death for every man.”

    Apart from being the only ARCHangel, this explains how Jesus was different from every angel. He humbly lowered himself by becoming a man, vindicated God’s purpose by paying the ransom sacrifice, dying as a perfect man, then was resurrected and crowned with glory and honor for doing that. “So he has become better than the angels, to the extent that he has inherited a name more excellent than theirs.”

    Let’s look at your verse again. “For it is not to angels that [God] has subjected the inhabited earth to come.” Do I agree? Yes! It is only to the one that “has become better than the angels” that he has subjected the earth. So the point is to show the superior position over angels that Jesus has been given as a result of his faithfully carrying out God’s will.

    I find it revealing that you first say, “If he wanted to, then there are three different Greek words (allos, loipos, etero) he could have used to differentiate between Michael and the other angels”, and then you turn around and say, “Concerning your statement about ‘prophets’ in 1:1. Why doesn’t the writer say ‘other’ prophets? Who knows.”

    Let’s get this straight. If the author does not carefully use the word “other” before “angels”, then this absolutely proves to you that Jesus cannot be the archangel, yet when “other” is not used before “prophets”, you feel this has no effect on Jesus’ status as a prophet. This is exactly why your reasoning is inconsistent.

    You’re conclusion that “the writer was speaking of the writings of the prophets” is far from a given. For one thing, the parallel comparison is made between how God communicated through the prophets and through Jesus. For another, “the prophets” did not automatically refer to the title of prophetic writings. For example, Jesus told the wicked religious leaders, “Woe to you, because you build the memorial tombs of *the prophets*, but your forefathers killed them!” (Luke 11:47) These were people.

    Even in the book of Hebrews itself we read, “I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets.” (Hebrews 11:32) According to your reasoning, Samuel CANNOT be a prophet because none of the three Greek words for “other”, allos, loipos, or etero, are used with “the prophets”. But Samuel clearly is a prophet, as he is even described as “Samuel the prophet”. (Acts 13:20) Do you see how the same reasoning you are using in Hebrews 1 and 2 creates obvious problems elsewhere?

    Your next argument again proves my point. You said:

    “That’s why Nehemiah 9:6 and Hebrews 1:6 both say that ‘all God’s angels’ worship Him. Also, Paul writes in Ephesians 1:21 that Jesus is seated ‘Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.'”

    Take a look at Ephesians 1:21. If Jesus is seated above ALL principality, power, etc., and is above EVERY name that is named, should we then say that Jesus CANNOT have principality, power or a name? After all, he is above ALL of them, right? This is the basis of your argument when you say ALL of God’s angels worship him, therefore he cannot be the archangel. Obviously, this makes no sense. Jesus is indeed above ALL [other] principality, power, etc., and has a name above EVERY [other] name; Jesus himself is an exception to the ALL and EVERY, right?

    In regards to Colossians 1:15, you say, “And while this may not be what the majority of occurrences of this word [‘firstborn’] means, that is certainly what is means in Colossians 1:15.”

    This is where you have to recognize that it is your theology that causes you to overturn the natural meaning of the word. Nothing in the immediate context forces such an interpretation, and it even runs counter to the way the word is used just three verses later. Recognizing when we are doing this is extremely important.

    As to Revelation 3:14, I couldn’t agree more when you say, “whichever definition [of arche] we accept out of these will no doubt be influenced by our theology.” But that doesn’t mean that all definitions are equal. Can you provide any example from the scriptures where arche means “origin” or “source”? It doesn’t exist. And while it is true that arche can mean “ruler”, John, in all of his writings, never uses this meaning. Again, the PRIMARY meaning of this word is “beginning”, the very first one chronolgically.

    So again you are using your overall theology to trump the natural meaning, as in Colossians 1:15. This is not necessarily wrong, as long as your theology stands up, but it should reduce your outrage against those that accept the natural meaning of these words.

    I asked you last time, what would Scripture have to say in order to teach that Jesus was the literal firstborn and beginning of creation? Could you please answer this?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  53. Dear TJ:

    I believe I already have answered the burden.

    When you need to understand what it is or what it isn’t, (referring to “spirit”) you can refer to examples of Jesus’ post-resurrection activities. He had His own physical body, proved it by his nail scars (notice “scars” is plural indicating He was crucified on a cross not a stake . . . but that’s a whole different topic).

    Jesus also told the disciples that He was not a spirit. He corrected them when they thought He was (the very same thing you are saying now). And yet these disciples were still skeptical (like you) so He asked them for food and ate it to prove it to them.

    Further add the fact of Jesus’ own statement that He would raise His own BODY back to life and you can pretty much sit confident on the fact that Christ’s resurrection was a physical one in which He resurrected in His own body. This is the understanding that has been held by the Christian faith for 2,000 years.

    We can continue to cite back and forth Scripture after Scripture (as we’ve been doing) but the reasonable person who looks at the Scriptures and weighs the totality of all the evidence (without indoctrination or supposed “new light” given to a select few) will most certainly understand that when Jesus said He’d resurrect His own body, He meant it!

    I rest my case and the jury now has all the evidence they need to make an informed decision (I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer). :o)

    – The Pilgrim

    P.S. Do you mind if I ask you a question outside of this topic of bodily resurrection?

  54. Pilgrim,

    You still are not explaining what it MEANS when scripture calls Jesus “a life-giving spirit”. Please explain that one verse!

    We have two seemingly contradicting scriptures, one seems to argue that Jesus is not a spirit, one seems to argue that he is. Now, one can simply accept one and ignore the other, OR one can accept both by understanding one in a qualified sense.

    I have accepted that Jesus IS a spirit and understood his saying he is not a spirit in a qualified sense (meaning that he is not a ghost or vision, and that he has temporarily taken up a physical body). You then charged me with using smoke and mirrors. All the while, however, you have NOT given an explanation for Jesus being called “a life-giving spirit” that harmonizes with your interpretation.

    So, how is it that Jesus is “a life-giving spirit”???

    And yes, you may ask me a question outside of this topic, but please give me a direct answer to my question.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  55. TJ:

    Again (and again and again) you define a life-giving “spirit” as one without body, immaterial, non-physical. I define a life-giving “spirit” by what the Scriptures show us that Jesus was when this applies to Him.

    1). Raised in His own physical body.
    2). Ate physical food.
    3). Corrected the disciples when they called Him a “spirit.”
    4). Jesus said He would raise His own Soma (physical body).
    5). Paul calls Jesus a “man” in 1 Timothy 2:5, not a “spirit” or “spirit creature” and he certainly does not call Him Michael the Archangel. “For there is only one God and one mediator between God and men, and that is THE MAN, Christ Jesus.”

    When you can satisfactorily answer these, I suppose you will better understand life-giving “spirit,” but until then you can continue to beat the dead horse.

    Sincerely,
    – The Pilgrim

  56. Greetings TJ

    The answer to the question of how Jesus “became much better than the angels” is found in Ephesians 4:9-10—“(Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)” He ascended far above all the angels because He first had to descend far below them. He was always above the angels (Nehemiah 9:6), but “in the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4), He stepped down from His glory and became a Son to the Father (Psalm 2:7; 2nd Samuel 7:14; Philippians 2:6; Hebrews 1:5).

    You said, “If the author does not carefully use the word “other” before “angels”, then this absolutely proves to you that Jesus cannot be the archangel, yet when “other” is not used before “prophets”, you feel this has no effect on Jesus’ status as a prophet. This is exactly why your reasoning is inconsistent.” It’s not that my reasoning is inconsistent. It’s more like I know what I’m trying to say, and having a hard time trying to figure out how to say it 😦

    Granted, no word means the same thing every time it is used. But in order to understand what a word means in a particular verse, we need to compare Scripture with Scripture. Was Jesus a prophet? Yes. But, as John Baptist said, Jesus was “much more than a prophet” (Luke 7:26). And in fact, even if the writer of Hebrews was not speaking of the writings of the prophets (which I still believe he was, but I ain’t gonna take a bullet for it), he was certainly setting Jesus apart from “the prophets.” So, could the writer have used the phrase “other prophets” here? Yes. Did he need to? No.

    In much the same way, he was clearly setting Jesus apart from the angels. That is why he asked the rhetorical question, “To which of the angels…?” Which of them? None of them. That’s the point the writer is trying to make. Because Jesus was not an angel. There is nothing in Scripture that says He was Michael. Therefore, the writer did not have to make that distinction. We can go round and round about why a certain writer did or did not use a certain word in a certain place. But when we are faced with two different ways to interpret, it is best to compare Scripture with Scripture.

    As far as your question, “Can you provide any example from the scriptures where arche means “origin” or “source”? It doesn’t exist. And while it is true that arche can mean “ruler”, John, in all of his writings, never uses this meaning. Again, the PRIMARY meaning of this word is “beginning”, the very first one chronologically.” There are times when what is the most common meaning of a word is not what the writer meant. Take kephale, for example, which means “head.” The natural meaning–the meaning that is used the majority of the time–would be “the thing that sits on top of our neck.” But in some places, it means something like a leader or master (“Christ is the head of the church.”). Would it make sense to use the natural meaning in these places? No.

    That said, there are four times in Revelation when John uses the word “arche” to denote Jesus as the “origin” of everything. Rev. 3:14, of course. Also, in Rev. 1:8, Rev. 21:6 and Rev. 22:13, He quotes Jesus as saying “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end,” telling us that not only was He in the beginning, He is the beginning, the originator of all things, and He is the end, the one that finishes all things. Much like He said that not only does He bring resurrection and life, He is resurrection and life (John 11:25).

    I suppose in order for me to accept that Jesus was created—apart from, of course, His created body which He walked in—the Scripture would have to say that Jesus is a created being. There are all kinds of ways the Word can be misinterpreted to say that. But when we consider what the writers wrote, in the original language, and the ideas they were conveying–not only to their immediate audience, but to us as well–and taking the Scriptures as a whole, we do not find that concept anywhere. And we certainly do not see Christ as being an angel.

    Peace,
    Four* Pointer

  57. Dear TJ:

    Everyone is made of a “spirit” and body. You, I, and the man Christ Jesus who, being God, stepped form eternity to die for the sins of mankind have not only a spirit but our physical bodies.

    Jesus is a man and He is God.

    An immaterial, non-physical “spirit” as defined by you (or more directly, the Watchtower) He certainly is not. He is not a “spirit creature” named Michael the Archangel whose physical body remained in the grave after death.

    So in answer to your question, as you (and the WT) define “spirit”, no, He is not a non-material, non-physical, angelic, spirit crature.

    “For there is only one God and one mediator between God and men, and that is THE MAN, Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5)

    – The Pilgrim

  58. Hey Pilgrim,

    Thanks for the ‘no’ answer. This is where the inconsistency in your position becomes apparent. You made it perfectly clear in an earlier post that you believed there was a distinct difference between a spirit and a spiritual body when you said, “A spirit (as the Father is) does not have flesh and bones. A spiritual (glorified) body does.”

    Yet 1 Corinthians 15:45 says plainly that Jesus IS a spirit. Not that he ‘has’ a spirit, but that he “became” a spirit. So if you are going to be intellectually honest, you have to admit that you are taking this evidence in some qualified sense and not in the same sense that you spelled out above, where you plainly said, “A spirit . . . does not have flesh and bones.”

    Thanks,
    TJ

  59. Hello fourpointer,

    Thank you for your response. There really isn’t much of a difference between what we are saying, but the conclusions are very different. For example, you say, “So, could the writer have used the phrase ‘other prophets’ here [in Hebrews 1:1]? Yes. Did he need to? No.”

    Exactly! This is why “other” is not NEEDED with “all God’s angels”. You had implied earlier that “other” was needed for Jesus to be the archangel. You continued:

    “In much the same way, he was clearly setting Jesus apart from the angels. That is why he asked the rhetorical question, ‘To which of the angels…?’ Which of them? None of them. That’s the point the writer is trying to make. Because Jesus was not an angel.”

    I agree with you up to your conclusion. Going back to Ephesians 1:21, which you brought up in your last post, we are told that Jesus is “far above . . . every name named.” But this does NOT mean that Jesus doesn’t have a name! It means that he has a name far above “every name”.

    In the very same way, Jesus is said to become better than all the angels. Does this then rule out the possibility that Jesus is Michael the Archangel? It does NOT anymore than his better name, which is above “every name”, makes him nameless! Does this make sense?

    The bottom line is, if you are going to insist that because Jesus has been elevated over “all” angels he CANNOT be the archangel, this is the same as arguing that because Jesus is above “every” name he CANNOT have a name. See the problem? Or do you think that Jesus doesn’t have a name?

    You said, “There are times when what is the most common meaning of a word is not what the writer meant.”

    Yes, and I agree with that. But what you have to understand is that in order to *overturn* the natural meaning, one has the burden of explaining why it is necessary. You attack the NWT at Colossians 1:16 because they have accepted the NATURAL meaning at Colossians 1:15. So the burden lies on you to show why one shouldn’t accept the natural meaning there BEFORE you address Colossians 1:16. You took a backwards approach (not that that isn’t common).

    You go on to say, “there are four times in Revelation when John uses the word ‘arche’ to denote Jesus as the ‘origin’ of everything.”

    Aside from the fact that I don’t believe Jesus is the person given the titles you mention, your very argument is undermined by the fact that your translation uses “beginning” INSTEAD of “origin”. Furthermore, the accompanying titles show that “origin” is inappropriate. Revelation 22:13 says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

    So “beginning” is paralleled with “Alpha”, which is the FIRST letter of the Greek alphabet (not the ‘origin’ of the alphabet), and with the word “first” itself. So the primary meaning of arche, “beginning”, is used in every translation I have seen. I have never seen a translation use “origin” here. It is ONLY at Revelation 3:14 where some translators will try to use “origin” or “source”, though they don’t use it anywhere else for the Greek word arche.

    In answer to my previous question, you said, “I suppose in order for me to accept that Jesus was created—apart from, of course, His created body which He walked in—the Scripture would have to say that Jesus is a created being.”

    That’s the thing though, fourpointer. Scripture does say that Jesus is “of creation”, twice in fact! Yet you use your overall theology to trump that by confining its meaning to his “created body”, though Scripture does NOT say this. So if Scripture said, “Jesus is a created being”, as you say would be proof, wouldn’t you just use your theology to say something like, ‘it MEANS that Jesus became a created being when he became a man’?

    So really, what COULD Scripture say that would cause you to accept Jesus as the very first creature? Alternatively, do you have any evidence that shows Jesus was NOT created that is just as clear?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  60. Greeting TJ,

    The point you are missing is this: aside from words like “other” and “all,” the writer of Hebrews clearly makes the distinction by the rhetorical question, “To which of the angels…?” Again, he is not expecting any answer other than “none of them.” In verses 7-8, he writes, “…and to the angels He says…But to the Son He says…” This is a common literary device used not only in Greek, but in Hebrews as well (you can find it many times in Psalms and Proverbs), pairing opposites against each other to make a clear distinction. And when he says in 2:5 that the world to come will not be subject to angels, he makes no exceptions for Michael. You accuse me of not using the “natural meaning” of words, then turn around and do the very same thing in reading these two chapters. And in fact, in this instance the “natural reading” is the proper one. I really don’t think there’s any more ground we can cover on this subject.

    As far as why Paul said Jesus was the “Firstborn of creation” when He was not a created being: although you do not want to accept that Paul was referring to Jesus the same way God referred to David in Psalm 89:27—that even as God made David the firstborn, He also made Jesus the Firstborn (not “first created”). That even though David was not the first king, He was made “firstborn” by his excellency over all other kings of the earth. Likewise, Jesus was not the first person to ever be born, but He was called “Firstborn” by virtue of His excellency above all creation. That is what Paul was saying. That because Jesus took a created human body upon Himself (Psalm 40:6; Hebrews 10:5; John 1:14) and dwelt among His creation as the Son of Man, and was tempted in all things (Hebrews 2:14), God has made Him the Firstborn over creation. In fact, why did Paul says that He was the Firstborn? “Because all things were created by Him, and through Him and for Him.” We don’t need to try and figure out what Paul meant by “Firstborn” because he tells us in the very next breath.

    Also, in Hebrews 2:14 (NKJV), the writer says that “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same.” He partook of flesh and blood, just like us humans. He was numbered among us, thus He is now the Firstborn of many brethren (Romans 8:29).

    In much the same way, again I bring us back to 1st Corinthians 11:4. Here, Paul uses the same word (kephale) two times in the same verse, but with two very different meanings. That’s not uncommon. To say that “Firstborn” must mean “first created” simply because it is used in a similar fashion a couple verses later is to disregard what was said in between. By that reasoning, the word “head” must mean the same thing both times it is used in 1 Cor 11:4.

    As far as how the word “arche” is used, we need to consider one thing. The word may be translated “beginning” in every translation you find. But remember that “beginning” can be synonymous with “origin.” Besides, just because translations don’t render a word a certain way, that doesn’t mean it’s not what they’re saying. After all, up until the NWT, no translation ever put the word “other” in Colossians 1:16. Yet you don’t have a problem with the insertion. Also, how long was it until an English translation rendered 2nd Timothy 3:16 as “All Scripture is God-breathed.” Up until some of the more recent translations, it was always rendered “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” Yet “God-breathed” is closer to the meaning that “given by inspiration of God.” They are two different ways of saying the same thing. The same goes for “beginning” and “origin.” My translation may say “beginning,” but again, we need to understand that “beginning” is synonymous with “origin.” Another example: We can say “The Mississippi River has its beginning in Lake Itasca, MN.” What would we be saying? We would be saying that “The Mississippi River has its origin in Lake Itasca, MN,” or even “Lake Itasca, MN is the origin of the Mississippi River.” In the same way (and more), Jesus is the origin—the beginning—of everything.

    As far as “proof” that Jesus was not created, I would again offer up that He was God the Son, who created all things by His own hand (Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 33:6, 102:25; Isaiah 44:24, 45:18; John 1:1), who is before all things (Colossians 1:16), who is the origin of all things, and the one who will finish all things (Revelation 1:8, 3:14, 21:6, 22:13). That the Jews knew that He was calling Himself God (John 8:59; 10:31, 33, 39). Now, can you show me where it says Jesus was an angel?

    Peace,
    Four* Pointer

  61. Hello fourpointer,

    You said, “The point you are missing is this: aside from words like ‘other’ and ‘all,’ the writer of Hebrews clearly makes the distinction by the rhetorical question, ‘To which of the angels…?’ Again, he is not expecting any answer other than ‘none of them.'”

    Fourpointer, it seems to me that you are choosing to ignore how your own example, namely Ephesians 1:21, essentially destroys your argument in Hebrews 1. That is why you are so casually brushing aside the “other” and “all” aspect of this, whereas earlier, that was the foundation of your argument!

    Now you want me to focus on the rhetorical question, “To which of the angels…?” The answer is none, which is the reverse of “all”. So how is this any different? If “all” of the angels are mentioned as doing something Jesus is not, and yet you cannot make this prove that Jesus isn’t the archangel, somehow by showing that ‘none’ of the angels were told something Jesus was you think this will magically prove that Jesus can’t be the archangel? This is getting tiring. Whether “all” or ‘none’, Jesus is the EXCLUSION to these absolutes, just as he is in Ephesians 1:21.

    Imagine the whole chapter was about how Jesus has become better than the prophets. It even asks the rhetorical question, “To which of the prophets . . .”, with the obvious answer, ‘none of them.’ Would this rule Jesus out from being a prophet? Would you argue that he wasn’t?

    You continue, “In verses 7-8, he writes, ‘…and to the angels He says…But to the Son He says…’ This is a common literary device used not only in Greek, but in Hebrews as well . . . pairing opposites against each other to make a clear distinction.”

    The same distinction is used in verse 1 with “the prophets” and “the Son”. Yet as we have discussed over and over already, the Son IS a prophet. The point is to show that he is more than just a prophet, just as he is more than just an angel. He has become better than the angels.

    As far as your comments on Colossians 1:15 and Revelation 3:14, it’s nice that you put forth your theology again that causes you to overturn the natural meaning of the words, but none of this PROVES that the natural meanings MUST be trumped. You are fighting an uphill battle based on what the text actually says, but downhill based on what tradition says (which is what most people choose). I’ll interact with a couple of the reasons you give.

    You said, “In fact, why did Paul says that He was the Firstborn? ‘Because all things were created by Him, and through Him and for Him.’ We don’t need to try and figure out what Paul meant by ‘Firstborn’ because he tells us in the very next breath.”

    This can just as easily be explained that Jesus is the firstborn of creation because after he was the first one born into existence, then all things were created THROUGH him. These couldn’t have been created through him if he wasn’t first created.

    Remember how I asked you a few times why 1 Corinthians 8:6 says all things are OUT OF the Father, but THROUGH the Son? I don’t think you ever answered that. What’s the difference between “out of” and “through”?

    You said, “Another example: We can say ‘The Mississippi River has its beginning in Lake Itasca, MN.’ What would we be saying? We would be saying that ‘The Mississippi River has its origin in Lake Itasca, MN,’ or even ‘Lake Itasca, MN is the origin of the Mississippi River.’ In the same way (and more), Jesus is the origin—the beginning—of everything.”

    Look at your example again; if “the Mississippi River has its beginning in Lake Itasca”, isn’t it true that Lake Itasca contains the FIRST part of the Mississippi River? Wouldn’t this mean then that Jesus is the FIRST part of creation?

    Again, what could Scripture possibly say for you to accept Jesus as the very first creature? I don’t think anything could be said that you would accept. If you understand these words with their primary, most straightforward meanings, doesn’t Scripture express this teaching AT LEAST twice, in two different ways!? And if Jesus wasn’t the actual firstborn or beginning, wasn’t that a poor choice of words by the apostles Paul and John?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  62. Dear TJ,

    Thanks for your reply. I apologize up front for the length of this post, but I believe it is necessary.

    I will try to explain this one last time in an effort to clear up any confusion or misunderstandings that you or anyone else may have.

    Point One:
    1). God is spirit. (John 4:24).
    2). Jesus is God (for the sake of space I won’t cite the plethora of examples, you can review some of them for yourself at this website http://www.carm.org/cut/Jesus.htm ). Of course I expect you to deny this truth too, but your denial of this is just rehashed Arianism whose heresy was crushed and dismissed by the early church . . . only to resurface again with the Watchtower 1500 years later. There is truly nothing new under the sun. But I digress.
    3). Jesus was “spirit” before He came to earth, however, He did not lose His deity when He took on flesh, as all the fullness of Jehovah still dwelt in Him (Colossians 1:19).
    5). Thus Jesus is spirit.
    6). Jesus stepped from eternity to take on human flesh to be a ransom (Mark 10:45). So He is also man. If man never sinned Jesus would have never taken on human flesh and thus would have remained as He was from all eternity without taking a human body.
    7). He resurrected in that same body, bearing those same scars (John 20:20, 27 & Luke 24:39) and is still to this day referred to as “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
    8). This means He is fully spirit, fully man, fully God. This does NOT mean that He is an angel named Michael who is an immaterial, nonphysical, invisible, apparition.

    Point Two:
    1 Corinthians 15 is showing a comparison between a corrupt and perishable body, with an incorruptible, imperishable, glorified body. 1 Corinthians 15:52-554 clearly shows that we “put on” the new body. This harmonizes very well when you stop clinging to the Watchtower script that “spiritual” or “spirit” must always and in every situation mean invisible, immaterial, nonphysical. It is exampled this way in John 4:24 (as cited above), when referring to God the Father and we know He has no physical body. Jesus, who took on human flesh, does have a physical body. If we were to take the JW definition of “spirit” and apply it to every instance that the word “spirit” is used, regardless of context, then we must conclude that in John 4:23-24 in order for us to worship God in “spirit” we must somehow leave our physical body.

    This same type of one-dimensional, out-of-context, poor-use-of-hermeneutics application to biblical definitions is very popular with many evangelicals today who mangle the context of Matthew 7:1 to say that we are never permitted to “judge” anyone under any circumstance. However, when we interpret Scripture with Scripture and in context we see that Jesus is referring here to judging hypocritically. And that we are not only permitted to “judge,” but we are expected to (1 Corinthians 5: 1-13).

    Point Three:
    1). Jesus said “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” John clarified that when Jesus said this He was speaking of “the temple of His body.” His body, TJ. Greek: Soma, “physical body.”
    2). The disciples upon seeing the risen Lord “supposed they had seen a spirit” (or “ghost” if you want to split hairs). Ironically this is the same thing you and the Watchtower organization still believe today. Jesus answered them (and you) by beseeching them to look at His hands and feet (Luke 24:39). Here they saw the nail scars from his crucifixion that were still present on His Soma (physical body).
    3). Jesus told them to handle Him because “a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” (Luke 24:39)
    4). Then He showed them His hands and His feet (Luke 24:40) not someone else’s, not some materialized body, not some hologram, but HIS hands and feet.
    5). But the disciples still did not believe (like you) so Jesus went a step further and asked for food (Luke 24:41). He then proved to the disciples that He was not a “spirit” when He ate the food (Luke 24:43).
    6). To believe that Jesus’ body remained in the grave is not only a direct heresy, but an indirect heresy because you have to conclude that Jesus was a fraud, acted with great deception, and was knowingly dishonest. So TJ, which is it?

    A). Did Jesus lie to the Pharisees (John 20:18)?
    B). Did Jesus lie to the disciples (Luke 24:39-41)?
    C). Both A and B?

    There are no other options.

    You see, my position is consistent. However, when you begin denying one truth of Scripture, it unravels all others and you cannot, therefore, make any of them fit within your dogma because your whole foundation becomes corrupted. Thus you assume that the other explanation is inconsistent.

    I repeat, when you deny the essentials your whole theology begins to unravel. Case in point, you deny Jesus rose physically from the grave, now you have a missing body that can’t be accounted for and you make Jesus a liar. Woe to you TJ, woe to anyone who calls the Son of God a liar.

    If I didn’t care about the ramifications of your theology I would not take the time to discuss this with you. By claiming that Jesus’ body remained dead, you are denying the very definition of resurrection in its purest logical form and also the very definition the Bible provides. No one will enter Heaven who denies this as you must believe that God raised Him from the dead in order to be saved. It’s an essential component as described in Romans 10:9 and it’s the foundation to the Christian faith.

    Your eternal destiny hinges on this TJ. It’s not a light matter. You can be right on the money on every doctrine of Scripture but if you are wrong on the Son of God and who He is, you will be wrong for eternity. I am not here to win an argument. I don’t want to see this happen to you TJ. At worst, if you’re right, I vanish at death. If I’m right, you will incur God’s wrath on you for eternity.

    Do you realize that those who teach will be judged more strictly (James 3:1) and we will all give an account for every careless word you and I speak (Matthew 12:36)? How much more so when our words are cleverly crafted and meticulously devised that result in leading people astray?

    Sincerely,
    – The Pilgrim

  63. Hello TJ,

    I don’t mean to sidetrack your discussion with The Pilgrim, but my primary question to you would be; “How is sinful man reconciled to a perfectly holy and just God?”

    I think this all important matter touches on several areas, therefore in responding to this inquiry I believe an exploration of the following questions is in order.

    I’d like to hear the JW’s explanation of WHO the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are and HOW they interrelate in JW theology. As you’re no doubt aware Trinitarian Christians believe the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit comprise the Godhead and are in fact the inseparable, eternal, unchanging, and self contained One True and Living God.

    Additionally I’d like to know if you believe the Father is the Great God while Jesus Christ is a “lesser god”, and if you believe any form of worship is due or appropriate for Jesus Christ.

    Furthermore I’d like to know how a JW knows if he or she is righteous enough (or otherwise qualifies) to either enter heaven and serve as one of the 144,000 kings and priests, or to enter paradise on earth. You can explain either or both, your choice.

    I’d also like to know about soul sleep and how you deal with the Bible’s numerous teachings on the reality of a place of unspeakable suffering known as hell in which an eternal torment is clearly and distincly in view.

    Lastly I’d like to understand your view of sin which ties directly back to my original question. In JW theology how is a sinner freed from sin and justified before God Almighty?

  64. Pilgrim,

    I’m not going to go over all of that again, since I have answered those points above. But you have finally said something that gives *some* inkling as to how you are going to handle the fact that Jesus ‘became a spirit’, according to 1 Corinthians 15:45.

    You said, “If we were to take the JW definition of ‘spirit’ and apply it to every instance that the word ‘spirit’ is used, regardless of context, then we must conclude that in John 4:23-24 in order for us to worship God in ‘spirit’ we must somehow leave our physical body.”

    Now I know you’re on a mission to get every jab in at Jehovah’s Witnesses that you can, but IT IS YOUR OWN DEFINITION of “a spirit” that you gave when you said, “A spirit (as the Father is) does not have flesh and bones. A spiritual (glorified) body does.”

    You made a clear distinction between a SPIRIT and a SPIRITUAL BODY, there. You even continued, saying, “Again, a spiritual body is not one that’s immaterial or non-physical. An example of what a ‘spiritual body’ is, is when Jesus (post-resurrection) tells His disciples that He’s NOT a spirit, ghost, or whatever.”

    So, by your own definition, you were arguing that Jesus was NOT a SPIRIT, but that he had a SPIRITUAL BODY. But then I pressed you on the fact that Jesus is called a SPIRIT, and now you are blurring the lines between a SPIRIT and a SPIRITUAL BODY. Yet when I tried to give an explanation to the seemingly contradicting scriptures, you accused me of using smoke and mirrors. Interesting.

    I just wanted to draw attention to the fact that you weren’t dealing with scriptures that seem to argue against your position. I still don’t think I’ve seen you say a word about 1 Peter 3:18, which I referenced 5 times previously.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  65. Hello Coram Deo,

    First, thank you for your respectful post. 🙂 I’m not sure I want to start yet another long discussion with a person on a third party’s blog. Deborah has been extremely patient and kind allowing this discussion to go on as long as it has, and I don’t want to overstay my welcome.

    I might be willing to have a short discussion with you at your blog, if you are willing, especially in order to consider your primary question, as this is the question I feel is central to all of this.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  66. TJ,

    You said, “As far as your comments on Colossians 1:15 and Revelation 3:14, it’s nice that you put forth your theology again that causes you to overturn the natural meaning of the words, but none of this PROVES that the natural meanings MUST be trumped. You are fighting an uphill battle based on what the text actually says, but downhill based on what tradition says (which is what most people choose).”

    And you, my friend, are using your theology to make these verses say something they are not saying. I am trying to show you what the writers meant, I am not just taking some ideas I have been fed by a group like Watchtower, that has made their own faulty translation of the Bible using men who had no training in Biblical Greek (Franz, Knorr, Schroeder, Gangas and Henschel. Out of these, only Franz had any schooling in Biblical Greek, and he dropped out of it before the end of his first year).

    You then said, You said, “In fact, why did Paul says (sic) that He was the Firstborn? ‘Because all things were created by Him, and through Him and for Him.’ We don’t need to try and figure out what Paul meant by ‘Firstborn’ because he tells us in the very next breath.”

    This can just as easily be explained that Jesus is the firstborn of creation because after he was the first one born into existence, then all things were created THROUGH him. These couldn’t have been created through him if he wasn’t first created.

    Remember how I asked you a few times why 1 Corinthians 8:6 says all things are OUT OF the Father, but THROUGH the Son? I don’t think you ever answered that. What’s the difference between “out of” and “through”?

    That’s strange. Now you’re the one who wants to use your theology to overturn the “natural meaning” of what Paul is saying and change the subject. After all, he said all things were created “BY and THROUGH” Christ. Then you went to say, “Well, I can explain this by saying…” But you don’t.

    And I’m not clear on one thing. Was Jesus the first being that was “created” or the first one that was “born.” Because these are two totally different ideas. But hey, I’ll play the game. It’s quite simple, really. All things are OUT OF God the Father, and THROUGH God the Son. Now, will you admit that Paul said the reason Jesus was “Firstborn of Creation” was BECAUSE He did the work of creation? After all, that is the “natural meaning” of the words.

    Finally, when you said, Look at your example again; if “the Mississippi River has its beginning in Lake Itasca”, isn’t it true that Lake Itasca contains the FIRST part of the Mississippi River? Wouldn’t this mean then that Jesus is the FIRST part of creation?, you have to remember this as well—that the water in the Mississippi River is the same water—of the same essence and nature and substance—as the water in Lake Itasca. That it is not necessarily a different body of water, but is, when you get right down to it, ONE with the lake, and a continuation of that same water. Much like Jesus, who has always been of the same essence and nature as the Father, and is ONE with the Father.

    I have said all I’m going to say in this conversation. I have answered far more of your questions than you have answered of mine. For example, I asked you about the use of “kephale” (the Greek word for “head”) in 1st Corinthians 11:4. Paul uses the same word twice in the same verse. So, does it mean the same thing both times? You did not answer that, and I do not expect you to. Why? Because you won’t. Because then it would throw doubt on your argument about “firstborn” in Colossians 1 having to mean the same thing both times. As far as “Again, what could Scripture possibly say for you to accept Jesus as the very first creature? I don’t think anything could be said that you would accept?” I don’t know what to tell you. If you are asking what specific words would I accept, I don’t have an answer for you. But it seems to me that you will accept the “natural meaning” of words when it suits your theology, then turn around and do loop-de-loops with words when the “natural meaning” isn’t convenient for that theology. I’m done, you may have the last word.

    Four* Pointer

  67. Hello fourpointer,

    I’m sorry to see that you are ending the discussion. But I can’t help but notice that your main discussion point, that Jesus cannot be the archangel based on Hebrews 1 and 2, has been entirely dropped in your response. I guess you have seen that it is a bad argument, so this discussion has been beneficial for that, if nothing else.

    I’ll just respond to one comment you made. You said, “I have answered far more of your questions than you have answered of mine. For example, I asked you about the use of ‘kephale’ (the Greek word for ‘head’) in 1st Corinthians 11:4. Paul uses the same word twice in the same verse. So, does it mean the same thing both times? You did not answer that, and I do not expect you to. Why? Because you won’t.”

    Actually, I didn’t respond to that because I never made the argument that one word used twice in close proximity MUST have the very same meaning in both occurrences. Just like when you gave me the assumed question, ‘How can one be firstborn if they weren’t born first?’, you are assuming that I am making some kind of definite RULE here. I am not. It’s just that when the same word is used in a similar way a few verses later, it takes a lot of evidence to PROVE that the two occurrences mean different things. That was my point.

    Thanks for the discussion fourpointer.
    TJ

  68. TJ,

    From all appearances Deborah is a gracious and hospitable hostess, and in her own words in prior posts she is benefitting from this discussion thread, therefore if possible I’d like to keep our conversation contained herein.

    Deborah,

    Would this be okay with you?

    In Christ,
    CD

  69. TJ,

    OK, this is definitely my last post on this (probably 🙂 )

    You said, Actually, I didn’t respond to that [the use of ‘kephale’] because I never made the argument that one word used twice in close proximity MUST have the very same meaning in both occurrences.

    If so, then you need to be a little clearer in what you mean, because you certainly made it sound like that was what you meant. Your quote from a previous post:

    In fact, just a few verses after Jesus is called “the firstborn of creation”, he is called “the firstborn from the dead.” He was literally the very first person to be resurrected to everlasting life from death. So the most natural meaning of “the firstborn of creation” is that Jesus is literally the very first member of creation.

    See, this is what you do. You take a position, then when you are called on it, you say, “No, that’s not what I meant.” Just like this whole business of “natural meaning.” You say that we must use a word’s “natural meaning” except when it doesn’t fit your theology. And that when the “natural meaning” is not the one the Watchtower uses, then the WT’s translation trumps “natural meaning.” That the WT can add words when they feel it is right, even though it does not fit the “natural meaning.”

    BTW, when you say, I’m sorry to see that you are ending the discussion. But I can’t help but notice that your main discussion point, that Jesus cannot be the archangel based on Hebrews 1 and 2, has been entirely dropped in your response. I guess you have seen that it is a bad argument, so this discussion has been beneficial for that, if nothing else. Uh, no not quite. See, you are doing exactly what you accuse me of doing (so what else is new?) by assuming you know what I’m thinking. But, that is your game and you play it quite well. I am “dropping it” because you do not want to understand what the writer is saying, and no amount of evidence will convince you that you are wrong.

  70. CD, TJ and others,

    Feel free to keep talkin’ 🙂

    I’m praying for all of you, for wise and fruitful discussion that reveals Truth.

    Thanks for letting me eavesdrop!

    Deborah

  71. There are only two religions; one is the true religion which proclaims the salvation of the One True and Living God made available by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone – the eternal Son – as uniquely revealed within the Holy Bible. This pure religion is commonly known as orthodox, historical, Biblical Christianity.

    The other religion is the man centered works righteousness false religion of Satan the enemy which in fact encompasses every other false religion by any name, doctrine, or creed that professes or proclaims anything other than the the orthodox, historical Biblical Christian faith.

    By evidence of its words and deeds the JW faith is an example of the latter, and is therefore a false religion. Those who adhere to a false religion have an angry God above them, a guilty and accusing conscience within them, and a yawning and eternal hell beneath them.

  72. Hello fourpointer,

    Welcome back. 🙂 Please bear with me through to the end of my post, since I’ll try to explain my perspective in all of this.

    You said, “See, this is what you do. You take a position, then when you are called on it, you say, ‘No, that’s not what I meant.'”

    Like I said last time, when I offer SUPPORTING EVIDENCE you seem to want to take it and transform it into a DEFINITE RULE. But I am not claiming them as definite rules, fourpointer! You keep assuming WAY too much.

    It should be fairly straightforward, I would think, that when a firstborn-followed-by-a-genitive construction is used twice in the same train of thought (Colossians 1:15, 18), it SHOULD take a lot of sound evidence to argue effectively that the two occurrences of “firstborn” have two different meanings. That is all I’m saying. Nowhere do I even hint that it is IMPOSSIBLE that the same word can’t be used in close proximity with two different meanings, yet this is what you assume I mean.

    You next said, “Just like this whole business of ‘natural meaning.’ You say that we must use a word’s ‘natural meaning’ except when it doesn’t fit your theology.”

    Fourpointer, when I referred to the natural meaning of “firstborn”, I meant that it usually refers to the FIRST person BORN. That is what the word means in its most basic sense. The same goes for “beginning”; it has the natural meaning of ‘first in the series’. This is why in reference to Revelation 3:14, BDAG says “the [meaning] beginning=first created is linguistically prob[able].” These are the most basic and primary definitions of these words. Therefore, if you want to override that natural meaning to give them a more specialized meaning, the burden is on you to PROVE why it must be done.

    But then you take this simple concept and apply it to how you interpret entire passages of Scripture. You did this when you said, “You accuse me of not using the ‘natural meaning’ of words, then turn around and do the very same thing in reading these two chapters.”

    Two chapters? I was talking about the natural DEFINITIONS of specific words, and you are talking about the natural INTERPRETATION of two chapters. That’s quite a difference! You did this again when we were discussing the INTERPRETATION of Colossians 1:16, which is NOT a word, but a sentence!

    I understand that you are frustrated fourpointer, but you can’t take my argument where I highlight your rejection of a commonly-accepted, natural definition of a word and then turn around and throw your interpretations of whole passages back at me and claim that I’m rejecting what you think is the ‘natural’ interpretation. It’s apples and oranges.

    So I hope you can now see that your statement isn’t factually correct when you say, “You say that we must use a word’s ‘natural meaning’ except when it doesn’t fit your theology.”

    I have never said that. Again, what you have brought up is NOT the natural definition of a specific word, but what you believe is the natural interpretation of two chapters and a sentence.

    Finally, you conclude by quoting me and giving some comments after: “‘I can’t help but notice that your main discussion point, that Jesus cannot be the archangel based on Hebrews 1 and 2, has been entirely dropped in your response. I guess you have seen that it is a bad argument, so this discussion has been beneficial for that, if nothing else.’ Uh, no not quite. See, you are doing exactly what you accuse me of doing (so what else is new?) by assuming you know what I’m thinking.”

    Quite honestly fourpointer, I find it a bit irritating that you ask me to take the time to discuss whether or not Jesus is the archangel, based on the Bible, then when I point out how your own example contradicts your argument based in Hebrews 1 and 2, you completely drop the whole angel aspect of our discussion, which was the primary thing we were discussing, and end the discussion.

    So, of course I am left to assume that you don’t have an answer, otherwise I’m sure you would have given it rather than end the discussion. On the one hand, I’m glad that you’re not just dismissing my point and continuing on with the same argument, so I respect you for that. But at the same time, I would be much more impressed if you gave an answer, even (especially!) if you acknowledged that I brought up a point that you hadn’t considered before and you’re not sure how to answer it.

    I mean, is this an honest discussion of the Bible or is it simply a gotcha game against the ‘evil’ Watchtower? How many times am I going to be charged with effectively being close-minded and just saying what the Watchtower tells me to say, no matter the evidence, and yet when evidence is brought up that contradicts YOUR position and you don’t respond, for some reason we’re just supposed to assume that you are still open-minded and allowing God’s Word to speak for itself?

    I’m sorry for being a little tough with you fourpointer, but I can tell that you are a smart guy and I do respect the fact that you didn’t just play the ignore-and-state-my-same-points-over-again game when I showed you a contradiction in your reasoning. I hope that you will respond again and maybe we can smooth some things out. I’ll try to communicate my points to you more effectively so that we don’t have some of these misunderstandings. I’m actually a nice guy. 🙂

    Thanks,
    TJ

  73. Hi CD,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I disagree with many of them, and I feel that it doesn’t really explain what the ‘gospel’ is.

    So, where do you want to go from here?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  74. TJ:

    Again, I ask the question?

    A). Did Jesus lie to the Pharisees (John 20:18)?
    B). Did Jesus lie to the disciples (Luke 24:39-41)?
    C). Both A and B?

    – The Pilgrim

  75. TJ,

    I’d be happy to begin with my earlier questions to you, or if you are so inclined please feel free to expand upon your disagreements with the points made in my most recent post regarding the fact that there are only two religions in existence and my assertion that the JW’s are, by definition, in the “anti-christ” (i.e. false) camp.

    In Christ,
    CD

  76. Hi Pilgrim,

    As I said before, I have answered these questions in past posts, but you didn’t really comment on them. I’ll go through them again.

    You asked, “Did Jesus lie to the Pharisees (John 20:18)?”

    Just to clarify for everyone, you had a typo there with the scripture citation. It should be John 2:19.

    My answer is no, Jesus did not lie to the Jews when “he was talking about the temple of his body.” (John 2:20) Jesus was put to death in a physical, fleshly body and then raised in a spiritual body. Your argument emphasizes that if Jesus’ EXACT same body he was put to death in wasn’t raised, then he MUST be a liar. I disagree.

    If a building is destroyed, and the owner vows to ‘raise it’ up again, is he a liar if he uses new materials to rebuild and includes some improved features? According to you, he would be a liar. But just as the literal temple was first built by Solomon, then destroyed, then rebuilt under Zerubbabel, and then was rebuilt again by Herod, all three constructions were and are properly referred to as “the temple.” So “the temple of [Jesus’] body” likewise properly refers to his physical body and, after that was destroyed, his spiritual body that he was raised in.

    This concept harmonizes perfectly with Paul’s analogy of the grain that BECOMES a plant. “What you sow is not made alive unless first it dies; and as for what you sow, you sow, NOT THE BODY THAT WILL DEVELOP, but a bare grain, it may be, of wheat or any one of the rest; BUT GOD GIVES IT A BODY just as it has pleased him.” (1 Corinthians 15:36-38)

    Your next question was, “Did Jesus lie to the disciples (Luke 24:39-41)?”

    Again, no, Jesus didn’t lie. He could appear *temporarily* in a physical, fleshly body rather than in a spirit form. Verses 13-35 relate how Jesus had walked along the road with two of his disciples and after they were able to recognize him, “he disappeared from them.” (vs. 31) It was “while [his disciples] were speaking of these things” that Jesus showed up again. (vs. 36)

    Proving that he was not any kind of spirit, but in a physical human form, served to calm their fears so that he could teach them. His appearing in a fleshly body and eating before them had been done by angels (who are also spirits) in the past:

    “[T]he two angels arrived at Sodom by evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot caught sight of them, then he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the earth . . . they turned aside to him and came into his house. Then he made a feast for them, and he baked unfermented cakes, and they went to eating.” (Genesis 19:1, 3)

    I think the single biggest problem to your entire position is that Jesus’ fleshly body that he was put to death in was a sacrifice. It would not be a sacrifice if he took it back, just as any other sacrifice wouldn’t be a sacrifice if it was taken back. Jesus told his disciples that his body was “to be given in your behalf.” (Luke 22:19)

    The Hebrew Christians were likewise encouraged by the fact that “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ.” (Hebrews 10:10) The Law covenant foreshadowed this reality:

    “And Aaron must lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat and confess over it all the errors of the sons of Israel and all their revolts in all their sins, and he must put them upon the head of the goat and send it away by the hand of a ready man into the wilderness. And the goat must carry upon itself all their errors into a desert land, and he must send the goat away into the wilderness.”

    What do you think would happen if Aaron brought that goat back from the wilderness? Would that sacrifice be looked upon favorably by God?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  77. Hi CD,

    Well, I would agree with the true/false distinction in relation to the world’s religions. In attempting to promote unity and equality, many have adopted the view that all religions can lead to God, but the Bible certainly doesn’t teach that. We both obviously believe that we are a part of that true religion, yet we believe differently on some things. So if you don’t mind, I’d like to get to what I believe is one of the crucial differences between us.

    The ‘gospel’, or good news, as I explain it to others, is that all of mankind’s current problems will soon be solved by a real heavenly government, headed by Jesus Christ, which replace all earthly governments. By means of his sacrificial death, everyone who chooses to put faith in Jesus and Jehovah will have the opportunity to live forever.

    I think a great discussion point to consider is HOW Jesus’ sacrificial death opened the way to everlasting life for everyone who puts faith in him. In other words, how do you explain the ransom price?

    If there is another aspect that you’d like to focus on in addition to this, such as your view that Jehovah’s Witnesses are a “man centered works righteousness false religion of Satan”, I wouldn’t mind considering that as well.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  78. Dear TJ:

    Again, Jesus said His BODY, not someone else’s. Everyone understood what He meant (after the resurrection). The disciples thought He was a spirit and He corrected them. Only you and the Watchtower seem to still disbelieve Him.

    If a builder rebuilt a building that was destroyed, we know he’d use new materials. But if he passed the new building off as being built with the same materials (as you accuse Jesus of doing) then the builder would certainly be using deception and he’d be a liar.

    Jesus showed everyone His physical body, encouraging Thomas to touch the scars. He proved to them that He was not a spirit but in His own physical flesh by eating. If His body was someone else’s or consisted of new materials, then he would be like the contractor who claimed he made a new building out of the old building’s material. He’d be a liar.

    Instead, the miraculous happened, He did in fact raise the same body! He’s not some earthly contractor on a building site, He is the true and living God, the creator of the universe and He said He’d raise His own body and He did precisely that.

    At this point it is apparent that we are not going to get anywhere with this. You have failed to convince anyone of your argument and citing Scripture back and forth is useless. Attacks on the Christian faith are nothing new. The god of this world has blinded many eyes. I deal with Mormons and Catholics as well as JWs and they all have their own indoctrination. The early Church dealt with false doctrines and we will always have false teachers among us. If the JW’s vanished tomorrow there’d be a new organization that would come along and claim “you’ve had it wrong for 2,000 years, we’ve got the new light, come follow us.” Well golly gee, the Mormons claim the same thing and they popped up in the same century as the JWs, so who should I believe?

    Of course I’m not allowed to say this kind of stuff without being accused of “attacking” but I will not pull punches when it comes to the Truth, any more than JW’s pull no punches when they say the vicious things they say about Christians. I take no offense and would hope you do likewise.

    So I believe this discussion has run its course. No matter what I say you will hold tenaciously to your indoctrination for three reasons:

    1). You have willfully chosen to place your eternal destiny in the hands of men who interpret the Bible from the faulty Watchtower position marked with a long history of false prophecies and flip-flopping doctrinal stances.

    2). You view me and all Christians as apostates who are under the influence of Satan so you won’t consider anything we say any more than I would a consider the words of a Wiccan who tried to instruct me from the Bible.

    3). Only God can open your heart and mind to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45, Acts 16:14, 1 John 5:20) because a carnal man cannot accept the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:14) and the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18). Unless God opens a man’s heart and mind to the truth, he will forever live in a lie.

    It has been enlightening and I sincerely want you to know I do genuinely care about you. I have no ax to grind, I just fear for those who will stand before the Messiah and ask, “Didn’t we do all these wonderful things in your name” and He will reply, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:31).

    Sincerely,
    – The Pilgrim

    P.S. I invite Deborah and her readers to delve more into the history and teachings of the Watchtower organization here:
    http://defendingcontending.wordpress.com/category/jehovahs-witnesses/

    P.S.S. I also encourage readers to check out my series on Faith vs Works. This is one of the other key differences between Christianity and every other false religion on the planet.
    http://defendingcontending.wordpress.com/2007/12/12/faith-vs-works-part-1-the-introduction/

  79. TJ,

    The Eternal Gospel is the touchstone for everything else of any eternal importance to mankind. And the key to one’s understanding of the Eternal Gospel is a proper, Biblical understanding of the Person of Jesus Christ. So to properly, Biblically, and thus correctly understand the Person of Jesus Christ and His Gospel then we must begin with the Holy Bible that uniquely testifies to Christ, would you agree with me thus far?

    I want to carefully walk through this most important issue point by point so as to avoid, inasmuch as possible, trailing off into irrelevant, specious, and unnecessary peripheral issues. Agreed?

    In Christ,
    CD

  80. Dear readers:

    The disconnect (and reason why TJ is having so much trouble understanding this) is partly due to his refusal to acknowledge that a word may have different meanings contingent upon the context the word is used.

    “Spirit” does not always mean the same thing in every use of the word no more than “flesh” means the same thing every time it is used.

    “Flesh” can mean the physical muscle, tissue, skin, etc. It can also be figurative as when Paul was speaking of the thorn in his “flesh.” It can also be symbolic of man’s sinful, perishable nature (see 1 Corinthians. 15).

    Look at how the word “heart” is used throughout the Bible depending on it’s context.

    “Spirit” is interchangeable as well, depending solely on the Scriptural context and the intended meaning of the writer, (not my meaning or the Watchtower’s). As cited previously, in John 4 the word “spirit” is used in the same conversation by Jesus with the woman at the well but with entirely different connotations. God is “spirit” (and we see that Jesus told Peter in reference to the Father that “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you” indicating God has no literal “flesh”). In the same text of John 4, Jesus then tells the woman at the well that we must worship the Father in “spirit” and truth. We know that these two words cannot possibly mean the exact same thing, could they? Yet TJ does not afford the same contextual application to the word “sprit” in his use of the text in 1 Corinthians 15 in spite of it meaning that Jesus must have been a liar and false prophet.

    Furthermore, if TJ and other JWs still want to hold to the idea that “spirit” can have only one meaning (i.e. an immaterial, non-physical, invisible, recreated “spirit” creature named Michael the Archangel) then it’s their position that becomes inconsistent in proper Bible interpretation because it’s their own teaching of the Watchtower that says the Holy “Spirit” is just an impersonal “active force.” Another definition entirely (and not supported by Scripture I might add).

    The JWs clinging tenaciously to the Watchtower definition of “spirit” reveals the fact that they refuse to look at this issue objectively, but have instead brought their own pretext to the table and have used the selected text out of context to support that pretext. That is prejudice, biased, and very bad hermeneutics.

    If TJ can concede that words oftentimes have different meanings depending on the writer’s intention and the context in which it is penned, then I think we can take a huge step forward in this debate.

    – The Pilgrim

  81. Dear Deborah and readers:

    In spite of TJ disappearing (like the physical body of the JW “Jesus,”) I will proceed with my closing arguments.

    Throughout this conversation TJ has attempted to prove—using Watchtower pretexts—that Jesus did not resurrect in His own physical body but was simply recreated as an invisible, immaterial, non-physical, spirit creature (and if TJ’s a true JW he also believes that Jesus is Michael the Archangel). If you are to hold to TJ’s interpretation of the Scripture then you must wrestle with and ultimately ignore the following problems that arise which TJ has failed to adequately give an account for:

    Problem 01: If Jesus did not raise His own body [Greek: “Soma” physical body] from the dead like He said He would (“THIS temple” not “A temple”), then Jesus would have been a false prophet (John 2:19).

    Problem 02: If Jesus did not raise His own body [Greek: “Soma” physical body] from the dead like He said He would (“THIS temple” not “A temple”), then He is a liar (John 2:19).

    Problem 03: If Jesus used other people’s bodies and fashioned a fake body with the same nail scars to convince the disciples, then he used trickery and deception. Thus, He is a liar.

    Problem 04: When the disciples thought Jesus was a “spirit,” He corrected them and told them to look at him (Luke 24:39) adding that “a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” If Jesus was a spirit as TJ is claiming then this is an out and out deception perpetrated by Jesus. Again, TJ is making our Lord and Savior out to be a liar and as far as I am concerned I will “honor the Son JUST AS I honor the Father” (John 5:23). Implying Jesus was deceptive is to call the Father deceptive.

    Problem 05: TJ has failed to produce Scripture that says Jesus was barred from taking His own body back up or the sacrifice would be null and void. TJ used an Old Testament example of the animal sacrifices, however, he failed to keep in mind that those sacrifices only covered a sin and did not remove it. Furthermore, Jesus was not an animal, but the living Son of God, infinitely more valuable than all mankind combined, He was God in flesh and it is not inconceivable that the very life He laid down He had the power to raise up (as He said).

    Problem 06: Like a poorly planned mafia hit-man, TJ has to “get rid of the body.” If Jesus did not rise physically (like He said He would) then we have a body on our hands that must be accounted for, a body that the Jews could have paraded around Jerusalem to prove that Christ never resurrected and Christianity would have died right there on the spot.

    Problem 07: Resurrection means to bring back to life that which was dead. If Jesus’ body remained dead, then the very use of the term resurrection is nonsensical.

    Problem 08: If Jesus’ body remained dead, then how can the Scriptures rightly ask “Oh death, where is your sting?” Death could answer back, “Where’s my sting? Jesus’ body is still dead isn’t it? There’s my sting.” This would mean that He did not defeat death for the grave still had dominion, evidenced by Jesus’ body still dead.

    – The Pilgrim

    P.S. I highly encourage readers to check out this link for more on JWs:
    http://defendingcontending.com/category/jehovahs-witnesses/

    and the new cult flyer that’s free to download:
    http://defendingcontending.com/2008/05/19/download-your-free-cult-flyer-here/

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