Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Faithful and Discreet Slave: Comparison

     After reading the July 15, 2013 watchtower magazine, I've decided to compare the "new view" with the events that take place in the bible book of Matthew, chapter 24. The JWs have changed some of their views, and I am wondering how this lines up now.....or if it lines up at all. Let's begin.

First of all, let's check out the three verses from which this doctrine originated.

Matt. 24:45-47: "Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time?  Happy is that slave if his master on coming finds him doing so! Truly I say to you, he will appoint him over all his belongings." 

From this, we can discern that there is a slave that is being given a responsibility by his master. To feed the master's domestics at the proper time. And this was to occur while the master was gone. Then when the master returns and finds the slave doing as he had asked, he rewards the slave by appointing him over all of his belongings. 

Not that difficult to figure out. But now let's check out how the Watchtower Society has interpreted this. 

The faithful and discreet slave have been identified as the Governing Body, a small group of anointed brothers, that are directly involved in the preparing and dispensing of spiritual food during Christ's presence. Jesus, of course, is the master. The appointing over the master's domestics occurred in 1919. And finally, the appointing over all of the master's belongings is described as those who make up the composite slave will get this appointment when they receive their heavenly reward. Along with the rest of the 144,000, they will share Christ's vast heavenly authority. 

This interpretation produces a number of inconsistencies. 

1) When was the slave appointed over the master's domestics?  The bible indicates that this happened when the master had left. But the Watchtower says that this happened during the master's presence. If the master was present, why would he even need to appoint the slave in the first place? 

2) If the master was already present during this time, how would it be possible for him to "return to find the slave doing as he had asked?"  In other words, what they are saying is that the master was in two places at one time. 

3) The appointing over all of the master's belongings happens once the master returns and finds the slave doing as he was asked. But the Watchtower Society teaches that Jesus returned in 1914. If he returned in 1914, that means that the slave would have had to be appointed before then. Jesus left in the first century. Yet the Watchtower says that slave was appointed over his domestics in 1919. 

Ah, what a tangled web they weave. You want to know the real truth?  

The original teaching failed and needed to be updated. But by doing so, their interpretation of Matthew 24 has become glaringly inconsistent. And this throws a wave of inconsistencies through many of their teachings. For example, the claim that there was a Governing Body in the first century. This was made to strengthen the original view of the faithful and discreet slave teaching. However, if there was a Governing Body in the first century, why didn't Jesus appoint them back then.....when he actually left?  At least that made more sense. It also fogs over the generation teaching. Now they can continuously keep this claim vague. 

This new interpretation makes me wonder how long it will be before they begin including Dr. Seuss books as approved new light literature. Unfortunately, the blind rank and file will continue to feed off of the green eggs and ham that the current slave is feeding them. Not a very proper time, if you ask me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Ex JW Community

     Once the internet became more mainstream, it made it possible to explore beyond what was once possible. Former Jehovah's Witnesses that had been shunned and cast out, faded away, or left on their own accord, began discovering that there were others online who had gone through very similar experiences as they had. Groups began forming in different settings. Eventually, there were thousands that were interacting with one another. This became known as the community of Ex Jehovah's Witnesses.

A lot of good came from this. Almost everyone shared a common bond with one another. We understood exactly what an individual was talking about when they shared an experience. It was a benefit for the newer ones that were going through a rough time, as there were many people on hand to offer advice or give suggestions based on what had worked in the past. It was a place of comfort, a safe haven of sorts. A place where a person was accepted, no matter what they attempted to pursue in life.

Another benefit came in establishing friendships. Already sharing such similar experiences aided one when trying to find a friend. Often times, several people would arrive at the same time and begin a healing process with one another. It was fairly easy to establish a strong bond with those that understood you, and you them.

It was also a very good way to share information that had been gathered. That information was being pooled together, making it easy for any individual that came along to do an extensive research without having to look around much. People began writing blogs, making videos, forming groups, starting campaigns, all with the intent at exposing the Watchtower Society, and educating the outside world about what was really happening within the JW realm.

Unfortunately, when there is a positive side, along with it will come a negative side.

There are those that jump to conclusions, reading something and assuming the worst. This lack of communication has led to rifts between individuals who seem to be interested in holding their ground instead of working things out.

There are those that enter groups that have established rules to help the group run better, and decide that those rules should not apply to them. Comparisons are made to following rules of a jw congregation. And once they are ousted after several warnings, they complain about being shunned.

Then there are those that feel they are more important than others, and therefore, what they say is fact. Inflamed egos that decide it best to cast doubt instead of showing support for one another. They attempt to discredit anyone that is not in line with them.

There are always dangers of meeting someone on the internet. All that you really know about them is what they decide to share.

From my perspective, I believe that a lot of the bad stuff can be attributed to the exposure those folks had to the Watchtower Society. After discovering that they had been lied to, it might become close to impossible for an individual to ever trust anyone again. An individual might decide that they will never succumb to any established set of rules in any type of setting. People do not like being taken advantage of. So for them, the ex jw community becomes toxic.

I    Understand!!! 

The problem with this outlook is that the overall purpose is being tossed aside. The focus is more on defending oneself instead of reaching out to help someone in need. If you are someone that has not had a positive experience in the ex jw community, why hang around and cause problems for others when you could simply leave the scene altogether?

It is unfortunate, yet also expected. Not everyone is going to see things the same way. But when you take a step back and look, the good is heavily outweighing the bad.

Helping People should always be the focus. New people are constantly entering the scene, looking for that same comfort that those that have been there before them have found. It makes me feel good when I see so many people jumping to the aid of an individual that is dealing with a bad experience.

It let's me know that the Ex JW Community cares.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Alpha and the Omega

This topic can be very amusing, or it can make your head spin, depending on the type of jw you encounter should they approach you during their preaching work. Biblical hopscotch has never been more evident than with this topic. Are you ready? Alright, let's walk through this one......slowly.

Rev. 1:8 says: "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

Any jw will tell you who they believe this is. The Almighty? Well, that is Jehovah. 

Isaiah 44:6-8 says:  "This is what the LORD says-- Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come-- yes, let them foretell what will come. Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one."

The jws use this to establish Jehovah as the one and only true God. The Almighty. There is no God besides Him. 

Duet. 6:4 says "Listen O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah." (nwt)

Again, they use this to establish Jehovah being the one true God. 

Isaiah 45: 5, 6 says: "I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other."

Yes, yes.....WE GOT IT!!!!  Jehovah again. 

John 1:1 reads: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

NO, NO, NO the jws will cry. The Word was a god. That's what it is supposed to say. 

But isn't Jesus referred to as a Mighty God in Isaiah 9:6? 

Isaiah 9: 6,7: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this."

Don't even bring up Eternal Father. That might cause a mental breakdown on their part. Just stick with the Mighty God part.

They will tell you that Jesus might be called a Mighty God, but Jehovah is the only Almighty God. (Even though the bible said earlier that there are no other gods besides me)

But isn't Jehovah called a Mighty God in the old testament?

Isaiah 10: 20, 21: In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD (Jehovah), the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God."


Jer. 32: 17, 18: "Ah, Sovereign LORD (Jehovah), you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the parents' sins into the laps of their children after them. Great and mighty God, whose name is the LORD Almighty (Jehovah).

How come it calls Jehovah the great and mighty God, but also the Almighty God?  

You will hear crickets at this point. But before they attempt to escape, read the following.

Isaiah 48: 12: "Listen to me, Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last."

The first and the last. The beginning and the end. That is what the Alpha and the Omega mean. The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. 

So if Jehovah is the Alpha and the Omega, how do you explain the following verses?

Rev. 1: 17, 18: "When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades."

Rev. 2:8: "To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again."

Rev. 1:7:  "Look, he is coming with the clouds," and "every eye will see him, even those who pierced him"; and all peoples on earth "will mourn because of him." So shall it be! Amen.

Jehovah Died????  I thought Jesus was the one who was pierced in the side.

Rev. 4: 8, 9: "Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,' who was, and is, and is to come. Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever."

Rev. 11: 17:  "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign."

Rev. 22: 12, 13: "Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."

Rev. 22: 20: "He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus."

Who was, and is, and is to come? Begun to reign? I thought Jehovah has always been there. When did His reign start? And didn't Jesus identify himself as the one coming soon?  But the big question is about the First and the Last dying. Let's look at the opening verse one more time.

Rev. 1:8 says: "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

From all of those verses, it's pretty easy to see who this is talking about.

The most likely response from a jw will be that it was JESUS that died. But Jehovah is the Alpha and the Omega. Yep, in their baffling reasoning, they will ignore all of these scriptures and try to put a separation in the book of Revelation between Jesus and Jehovah. They HAVE to do that. Because once you piece this puzzle together and realize that the Alpha and the Omega is Jesus, it unravels their entire belief system.

Monday, May 26, 2014


Baptism is an important step for an individual wanting to join the Jehovah's Witnesses. The person is dedicating their life to Jehovah God, and they are also being identified as a Jehovah's Witness in association with God's spirit directed organization. Since this is such an important event for anyone that may desire to do this, it is only right to examine what is involved. What was required for those in the bible to get baptized?  How does that differentiate from the modern day requirements for one to become a Jehovah's Witness? Should there be an age requirement? I will take a look at these things and break down what is involved here.

Let's look at a few scriptures.

Mark 1:4, 5--"And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River."

Acts 19:4--"Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus."

Acts 2:38-- Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

Acts 8:35-38---"Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?" And Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him."

Acts 16:31-33---They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.…

The repentance of sins, and to believe in Jesus. But then....why did Jesus get baptized? He hadn't sinned. And, well, he WAS Jesus.

Matt. 3:15--"Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.

Jesus was baptized because he was obedient to God’s commands, including the prescribed rites for entrance into the priesthood.  (Ex. 29:4, Lev. 8:6) To be a great high priest after the order of Melchizedek, he needed the ritual washing. If he hadn’t submitted to baptism he would have had a sin to repent of in baptism! Instead, Jesus is baptized as part of his total life of obedience to the Father’s will. One needs a perfect righteousness to be saved, and Jesus gives his, which includes his baptism.

So the outline back then was pretty simple. Now let's look at what is required to be baptized as a Jehovah's Witness. 

You have to study the bible with a jw on a regular basis. This is usually accomplished by using one of their publications that they say is bible based. Once you learn their doctrines, you will be asked to apply what you have learned in your life. This involves regularly attending their meetings held at a local Kingdom Hall. Praying regularly is also required. You will be told to recognize the authority of the faithful and discreet slave. At Matthew 24:45 Jesus asked: "Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time?" The leadership of Jehovah's Witnesses are a group of eight men known as the Governing Body. To become one of Jehovah's Witnesses means accepting the authority of these men, who it is believed are providing spiritual food at the proper time. For example, The Watchtower of July 15, 2013 said "It is vital that we recognize the faithful slave. Our spiritual health and our relationship with God depend on this channel." (page 20)  Then you will be asked to become an unbaptized publisher. Speak to your Bible study conductor and the congregation elders to find out how you can qualify to preach about Jehovah house to house along with Jehovah's Witnesses. Meet with your local elders to determine if and when you are ready for baptism. If you qualify, then arrangements will be made for your public declaration of dedication to Jehovah through water-immersed baptism at a public meeting (usually assembles and conventions). Of course, the elders are going to run you through a 104 questionnaire about jw doctrines in front of 3 elders to make sure that you understand those doctrines clearly. And then, finally, the person gets to answer two questions in front of a public audience before full water immersion. The two questions?

The first question is:
On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?

The second is:
Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in association with God's spirit-directed organization? Having answered yes to these questions, candidates are in a right heart condition to undergo Christian baptism." Watchtower 1985 Jun 1 p.30

Do you see what is happening here? Instead of simply believing in Jesus and repenting of sin, you are walking into a trap. How? Well, once you say that you recognize the authority of the faithful and discreet slave, you MUST FOLLOW what they instruct you to do WITHOUT QUESTION. Jesus is somehow set aside. Once you submit to this, they gain control of every facet of your life. Everyone other than jws will be phased out of your life. And should a time come when you begin to question anything, you run the risk of getting disfellowshipped. 

Considering that the jws claim to follow the 1st century Christians as close as possible, there are some very blatant differences when it comes to water baptism.

Jesus was against swearing a vow/oath.

Matt. 5:33-37---"Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.' But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one."

Yet you are required to publicly swear an oath that will make you submit to the "spirit directed organization."

And those wanting to be baptized in the 1st century were not run through a gauntlet of questions. Granted, they did not have a complete bible from which to learn from. But why stray away from the qualifications that were set at that point in time? The argument could be made that they want to be sure that one understands bible teachings thoroughly before a lifetime commitment. But they don't use the bible as a strict guide. They use one, or several of their publications that are "bible-based" that one must eventually accept as truth.

The final point is about age requirement. 

March 15 1998 WT p. 14   "In full recognition of this requirement, Jehovah’s Witnesses advocate the dedicating of oneself to God, but they never coerce anyone into making such a dedication, not even their own children. In contrast with many churches, the Witnesses do not baptize their offspring as infants, as if it were possible to force them into dedication without the benefit of personal choice."

This is written to oppose infant baptism. They make it clear that someone needs to be old enough to be able to make a personal choice....WITHOUT COERCION.   Really? Then what about these examples?

June 1 1998 WT p. 22   " Many children buck against the routine of a family study. Should this stop parents from conducting the study when planned? No, certainly not. “Foolishness is tied up with the heart of a boy [or, girl],” acknowledges Proverbs 22:15. 

 1975 WT p. 319    It is proper that a Christian parent require children to attend Christian meetings. God’s Word admonishes: “You children, be obedient to your parents in everything, for this is well-pleasing in the Lord.” “Train up a boy according to the way for him; even when he grows old he will not turn aside from it." Proverbs 22:6

March 15 WT p. 17      It is not enough merely to attend the meetings. We must listen carefully, paying attention to what is said there. (Proverbs 7:24) This includes our children. When a child goes to school, he is expected to pay attention to the teacher, even when a particular subject does not appeal to him or seems beyond his grasp. The teacher knows that if the child tries to pay attention, he will derive at least some benefit from the lesson. Is it not reasonable, then, for school-age children to pay attention to the instruction provided at congregation meetings rather than be allowed to fall asleep as soon as the meeting begins? True, among the precious truths found in the Scriptures are “some things hard to understand.” (2 Peter 3:16) But we should not underestimate a child’s ability to learn. God does not. In Bible times, he commanded his young servants to ‘listen and learn and fear Jehovah and take care to carry out all the words of this law,’ some of which doubtless were hard for children to understand. (Deuteronomy 31:12; compare Leviticus 18:1-30.) Does Jehovah expect any less of children today? 

"Christian parents realize that their children’s spiritual needs are partly filled by what they learn at the meetings. Hence, some parents arrange for their children to take a nap before the meetings so that they will arrive at the Kingdom Hall refreshed and ready to learn. Certain parents may strictly limit or even wisely rule out television viewing for their children on meeting nights. (Ephesians 5:15, 16) And such parents keep distractions to a minimum, encouraging their children to listen and to learn, in accordance with their age and ability.—Proverbs 8:32.

NO COERCION???  Wait, it gets worse. 

WT 1964 p. 644   "“When it was stressed that it was the parents’ responsibility to see that children had daily Bible instruction, I decided to set aside time for daily Bible reading,” she said. “This raised a howl of protest from my boys, ages seven, five and three, as it always seemed to come at their most enjoyable time. After the account of creation they lost interest, and the howls grew louder as I turned off the television every night and announced it was time for Bible reading. Many times I sat with the Bible in one hand and the rod of correction in the other. However, day by day the antagonism eased, and now, three years later, they not only are willing listeners but ask to have the Bible read and take part in reading and even want me to quiz them on what we have read."

Yes, better to take a quiz than to take a beating. Or they can threaten them with the fear of death angle.

WT 1965 p. 175-176   " Contrariwise, the “goats” who are to be executed as “cursed” persons will include the religionists who stay inside Babylon the Great till she is destroyed forever; also, the religionists who are the modern-day part of the composite “man of lawlessness,” “the son of destruction”; also, the symbolic “tares,” that is, the “weeds,” “the sons of the wicked one” (Matt. 13:25-30, 38-42); also, those political “kings,” their military commanders, their cavalrymen, the freemen and the slaves, the great and the small, all of whom are lined up at Armageddon, but not on the side of the King of kings and Lord of lords.—Rev. 19:18-21.  The “goats” would also include those husbands and wives who have believing marriage partners but who, in spite of the good example of their believing marriage mates, are found to be still unbelievers in the day and at the hour of the execution of God’s judgment against this enemy world; also, the children of a believing parent or the children of believing parents (fathers and mothers), which children were once “holy” as minors, as unresponsible children, but who have grown up to responsible years and have refused to become dedicated, baptized believers by the time that divine execution upon the “goats” begins.—1 Cor. 7:12-16.

Responsible years. In your own opinion, how old does a person need to be to be able to make responsible decisions? In our modern day society, you need to be of a certain age in order to drive a car, get a job, or purchase alcohol. And since the Watchtower Society is strongly against the baptism of infants, the person should be old enough to understand jw doctrines, the importance of a lifelong dedication to God. And this choice is made again, "Without Coercion" from parents, or others. But more often than not, they allow children to get baptized at ages ranging from 7 to 14 years old. Not only do they not fully grasp what they are teaching, as time goes by, their views and opinions might change. And as we seen from previous articles, the threat of being beaten or executed if you remain unbaptized looms largely in the balance of one's decision. 

How can a child overcome that?


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Abel----The First Jehovah's Witness?

     In the Reasoning From the Scriptures book, the claim is made that the line of witnesses of Jehovah reaches back to faithful Abel.  (p. 202)

Hebrews 11:4 says---"By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead."

And down through the entire chapter, individuals are listed. And examples of faith are given. So they think that this is establishing a line of descent based off of what Hebrews 12:1 states.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,"  

Surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses? The scriptures do not say that there was a line of witnesses reaching back to Abel. It merely gives examples of people that demonstrated faith. 

Interestingly enough, it seems as though Abraham was looking forward to something different than what the witnesses teach. 

Heb. 11:9, 10--By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Heb. 11:13-16---" All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

This indicates that Abraham and his descendants desired a heavenly hope. This seems to throw a monkey wrench into the thought that this line of witnesses shared the exact same beliefs as modern day witnesses.

It also strikes me as odd that the witnesses make this claim, yet they deny the doctrine of Apostolic Succession. Lack of proof , yet the only proof they have established is based on faith mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11. 

It appears once again that they pick and choose which scriptures to use to bolster their claims. But that is their mode of operation.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Jehovah's Witnesses are not allowed to celebrate birthdays. The reasons behind this decision are as follows.

1) Two references put birthday celebrations in unfavorable light.

2) Early Christians and Jews did not celebrate birthdays.

3) Origin of popular customs associated with birthday celebrations. Pagan traditions.

Let's check out the first claim. The first reference can be found in Genesis 40:20-22.

"Thus it came about on the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, that he made a feast for all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. He restored the chief cupbearer to his office, and he put the cup into Pharaoh's hand; but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had interpreted to them."

Yes, someone died during Pharoah's birthday. But what is overlooked about this account was that this death was a fulfillment of a prediction by Joseph, and eventually elevated him to second in charge of Egypt. The story brings glory to the prophetic ability of God. The birthday feast was simply a side note. 

The second reference is found in Matthew 14:6-10. 

" But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod, so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Having been prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist." Although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oaths, and because of his dinner guests. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison."

Again, the focus of the story is on the death of John the Baptist, which was an important step in the formation of early Christianity, and not the birthday celebration. 

The Witnesses disagree. 

"Everything that is in the bible is there for a reason. (2 Tim. 3:16,17).  Jehovah’s Witnesses take note that God’s Word reports unfavorably about birthday celebrations and so shun these.” Reasoning From the Scriptures pp.68-69

Well then, what about dogs? They are mentioned in the bible 40 times, and are not spoken of favorably at all. Revelation 22:15 says "Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying." That means dogs won't make it into the new system. They are equated with evil. 

But do Jehovah's Witnesses forbid their members to own a dog?  

There are many other things mentioned in the bible that are spoken of unfavorably. Eye make up, giving wedding gifts, haircuts, drinking. None of those things are considered unacceptable for Christians. 

The next point is about early Christians and Jews not celebrating birthdays. 

“How did early Christians and Jews of Bible times view birthday celebrations? “The notion of a birthday festival was far from the ideas of the Christians of this period in general.” … “The later Hebrews looked on the celebration of birthdays as a part of idolatrous worship, a view which would be abundantly confirmed by what they saw of the common observances associated with these days.”” Reasoning From the Scriptures p.69

The Jews did not make a practice of  celebrating birthdays. Jesus and the early Christians were Jews. That is why the bible does not promote them. But it doesn't condemn them either. So any attempt to use this line of reasoning will fail. Early Christians did not shave their beards either. So if we are to strictly follow the customs from that time period, why are many JWs not allowed to wear a beard in modern times? Wedding anniversaries were not mentioned either. The bible does not say it is okay to celebrate them, but it does not condemn them either. Just because something was or was not customary at that time has no bearing on its inherent rightness or wrongness.

And the next point deals with Pagan origins.

"The various customs with which people today celebrate their birthdays have a long history. Their origins lie in the realm of magic and religion. The customs of offering congratulations, presenting gifts and celebrating--in ancient times were meant to protect the birthday celebrant from the demons and to ensure his security for the coming year....Down to the fourth century Christianity rejected the birthday celebration as a pagan custom." Reasoning from the Scriptures p. 69

 “What about the birthday cake? It appears to be related to the Greek goddess Artemis, whose birthday was celebrated with moon-shaped honey cakes topped with candles.” Mankind’s Search for God p.70

There is Paganism in almost everything we encounter today.  Wedding rings, wedding veils, celebrating with piñatas, pot lucks, tombstones, wind chimes, breakfast cereal, neckties and kites, wearing perfume, etc.  Weddings alone include the ceremony, cake, dress, burning of candles and the wedding ring. And then there is our calendar which the days of the week and each month is named after Roman gods. The JWs had actually created a new calendar which appeared in their magazine, the Golden Age, March 1935, page 381. (That magazine is now called the Awake). Rutherford shot that down though.

Trying to use Paganism as a reason is very contradictory, especially considering what is allowed within the JW realm.

What does the bible say about celebrating life?

Job and his family may have possibly celebrated their birthdays.

Job 1:4,5 “And his sons went and held a banquet at the house of each one on his own day; and they sent and invited their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And it would occur that when the banquet days had gone round the circuit, Job would send and sanctify them"

Paul says the following.

 Romans 14:5,6, 10 “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. … But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you also look down on your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God?"

The angels celebrated the birth of Jesus.
Luke 2:10-14 “But the angel said to them: “Have no fear, for, look! I am declaring to you good news of a great joy that all the people will have, because there was born to you today a Savior, who is Christ [the] Lord, in David’s city. And this is a sign for you: you will find an infant bound in cloth bands and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there came to be with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying: “Glory in the heights above to God, and upon earth peace among men of goodwill."

  The Magi presented the infant Jesus with gifts that were accepted by Joseph and Mary. Had it been wrong to do this, and viewed as an evil custom, that would have been the time for God to make it known.

The reasoning on the refusal to celebrate a birthday is very flimsy and contradictory when put to the test. But then again, considering their track record, what did you expect?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Jehovah, The Name in Question.

Jehovah's Witnesses claim that God's name, Jehovah, was used by Jesus and his contemporaries. Was this true? Did Jesus refuse to follow Jewish Laws and decide to use God's name? What is the history behind this name? Where did it originate? Was it Jewish superstition that did not allow God's name to be used?

The Divine name was given to the Hebrews (according to legend) by way of Moses. During the centuries that followed, passages such as found in Ruth 2:4 indicates the name was still being pronounced at the time of the redaction of the Hebrew Bible in the 6th or 5th century BCE. But according to the Jewish Encyclopedia, the avoidance of the original name of God both in speech and, to a certain extent, in the Bible was due to reverence; and it may well be that such reluctance first arose in a foreign, and hence "unclean" land, very possibly in Babylon.
Certain historical evidence points to this fact. The Tetragrammaton is found to occur 5,989 time in the Hebrew scriptures. However, there is no instance of the divine name appearing in Canticles, Ecclesiastes or Esther, and in Daniel it occurs only 7 times (in chapter 9), a fact which in itself shows the late date of these books, whose authors lived at a period when the use of the Tetragrammaton was already avoided.

Simeon the Righteous or in Hebrew, שמעון הצדיק Shimon HaTzaddik (310-291 or 300-273 BCE) was a Jewish High Priest during the time of the Second Temple. According to Jewish history, after Simeon's death men ceased to utter the Tetragrammaton aloud (Yoma 30b; Tosef. Soṭah, xiii).

Historical evidence also shows that this prohibition continued even during the first century during Jesus' life time. For example, Philo, a Jewish philosopher (20 BCE - 50 CE) knew that the tetragram was the divine name pronounced inside the temple since he related: "There was a gold plaque shaped in a ring and bearing four engraved characters [the four letters] of a name which had the right to hear and to pronounce in the holy place those ones whose ears and tongue have been purified by wisdom, and nobody else and absolutely nowhere else ."

Flavius Josephus (37 CE - 100 CE) who was a contemporary of Jesus' disciples, when writing about the history of the Jews in his writings, Antiquities of the Jews, admitted that he himself is prohibited to pronounce the name. He wrote: "Whereupon God declared to him (Moses) his holy name, which had never been discovered to men before; concerning which it is not lawful for me to say any more” (Ant. 2, 12, 4).

 It is believed that after the disuse of the name Divine Name during the Babylonian diaspora, the correct pronunciation of the divine name may have been lost. Exodus 20:7 says: "You shall not take the name of YHWH your God in vain." The word in Hebrew for vain, שוא shav', means "vain, vanity, falsehood, worthlessness, lie, nothingness." To the Jews, this includes using a false or made-up or mispronounced name. To avoid coming under guilt by accidentally misusing God’s name, there came to be a prohibition to pronounce the name out loud as part of the definition of Ex. 20:7.

 Another fact: Jews, to this day in modern times, when speaking to or about God, they will utter, "Baruch HaShem," which means "Blessed be the name," "holy is the name," or "HALLOWED BE THY NAME." It is said to show that the name is too sacred to pronounce. What did Jesus say in the Model Prayer? Would not this time, when asked how to pray to God, be the best time to show the Jewish people how the name is really pronounced? Instead, he said "Hallowed be they name," or in Hebrew, "Baruch Hashem" because even he didn't pronounce the name.

Well then, where did the name Jehovah come from?

The invention of the word Jehovah will be traced to Catholic Spain and Italy

Before AD 1278 no form of Jehovah has ever existed

1278 Yohoua by the Spanish Monk Raymundo Martini
1303 IOHOUAH, IOHOUA and IHOUAH by Porchetus de Salvaticis
1518 IEHOUA by the Catholic priest “Pietro Colonna Galatino,” Confessor of Pope Leo X.
1525-1530 IEHOUAH by Reformer William Tyndale (1494-1536)
(See for instance Exodus 6:3 http://wesley.nnu.edu/.../imported_site/tyndale/exo.txt )
1526 Jehovah by Martin Luther
1534 Iehovah by William Tyndale
1602 Jehová in the Spanish VALERA Bible version
1611 Jehovah in King James version, mostly transferred from William Tyndale’s translation
1681 Jehova in ALMEIDA Portugese Bible version

In the 19th and 20th centuries Bible translators and scholars became aware of the Jehovah name mistake


Nowadays most Bible translators will substitute יהוה , pronounced by Jews ADONAI, with words from their own languages as THE LORD, DER HERR, l’ ETERNEL, HERREN, YO SOY, [Моим] 'Господь' etc.
This is considered to be a logic translation of Hebrew ADONAI pronunciation.

 JWs will point to John 17:6, which says, "I have made your name manifest" and say, "See! Jesus made God's name known!" They forget that Jesus preached to the Jews. They KNEW what the name of their god was (they just refused to pronounce it." Making one's "name known" is not making known a literal name. Barnes notes on the Bible states: "The word "name" here includes the attributes or character of God. Jesus had made known his character, his law, his will, his plan of mercy - or, in other words, he had revealed God to them. The word "name" is often used to designate the person." This is why various translation in English translate this verse as:
"I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world." (NIV)
"I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world." (NLT)


The Jewish Encyclopedia: "Jehovah" -- a mispronunciation of the Hebrew YHWH the name of God. This pronunciation is grammatically impossible. The form 'Jehovah' is a philological impossibility."

The New Jewish Encyclopedia: "It is clear that the word Jehovah is an artificial composite."

Encyclopedia Judaica: "the true pronunciation of the tetragrammaton YHWH was never lost. The name was pronounced Yahweh. It was regularly pronounced this way at least until 586 B.C., as is clear from the Lachish Letters written shortly before this date."

The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia: "JEHOVAH is an erroneous pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton a four lettered name of God, made up of the Hebrew letters Yod He Vav He. The word "JEHOVAH" therefore is a misreading for which there is no warrant and which makes no sense in Hebrew"

Webster's Collegiate Dictionary: "Jehovah" -- "False reading of the Hebrew YAHWEH."

Encyclopedia Americana: "Jehovah" -- "erroneous form of the name of the God of Israel."

A Dictionary of the Bible by William Smith: "Whatever, therefore, be the true pronunciation of the word, there can be little doubt that it is not Jehovah."

Encyclopedia Britannica: ""The pronunciation 'Jehovah' is an error resulting among Christians from combining the consonants YHWH with the vowels of ADHONAY....The Masoretes who from the 6th to the 10th century worked to reproduce the original text of the Hebrew Bible replaced the vowels of the name YHWH with the vowel signs of Adonai or Elohim. Thus the artificial name Jehovah came into being."

Webster's Third New International Dictionary: "Jehovah" -- "Intended as a transliteration of Hebrew YAHWEH, the vowel points of Hebrew ADHONAY (my lord) being erroneously substituted for those of YAHWEH; from the fact that in some Hebrew manuscripts the vowel points of ADHONAY (used as a euphemism for YAHWEH) were written under the consonants YHWH of YAHWEH to indicate that ADHONAY was to be substituted in oral reading for YAHWEH. Jehovah is a Christian transliteration of the tetragrammaton long assumed by many Christians to be the authentic reproduction of the Hebrew sacred name for God but now recognized to be a late hybrid form never used by the Jews."

New Catholic Encyclopedia: "Jehovah" -- "false form of the divine name YAHWEH.

The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia: "Jehovah" -- "is an erroneous form of the divine name of the covenant God Israel."

The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible: "Jehovah" --"is an artificial form."

Encyclopedia International: "Jehovah" --"the vowels of one word with the consonants of the other were misread as 'Jehovah.'

Merits Students Encyclopedia: --"is an inaccurate reconstruction of the name of God in the Old Testament."

Encyclopedia Judiacia: "YHWH" -- "When Christian scholars of Europe first began to study Hebrew, they did not understand what this really meant, and they introduced the hybrid name 'Jehovah'...THE TRUE PRONUNCIATION OF THE NAME YHWH WAS NEVER LOST. Several early Greek writers of the Christian church testify that the name was pronounced 'YAHWEH.' This is confirmed, at least for the vowel of the first syllable of the name, by the shorter form Yah, which is sometimes used in poetry (e.g. Exodus 15:2)... The personal name of God of Israel is written in the Hebrew Bible with the four consonants YHWH and is referred to as the 'Tetragrammaton.' At least until the destruction of the First Temple in 586 B.C.E. this name was regularly pronounced with its proper vowels, as is clear from the Lachish Letters, written shortly before that date."

Nelson's Bible Dictionary: "Jehovah" -- "The divine name Yahweh is usually translated Lord in English versions of the Bible, because it became a practice in late Old Testament Judaism not to pronounce the sacred name YHWH, but to say instead "my Lord" (Adonai) - a practice still used today in the synagogue. When the vowels of Adonai were attached to the consonants YHWH in the medieval period, the word Jehovah resulted. Today, many Christians use the word Yahweh, the more original pronunciation, not hesitating to name the divine name since Jesus taught believers to speak in a familiar way to God."

 Another trick the Watchtower uses to try to fool the rank & file to thinking the Divine name was used in the NT writings,  is to show photographs of the Septuagint with the Greek writings, and which shows the Divine Name in paleo-hebraic letters, and say, "See! The tetragrammaton was there! Scribes removed it!" They fail to explain to the rank & file, that the Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures, written around 200 BCE, so of course it would have the tetragrammaton in it. In fact there was no equivalent of YHWH in Greek, this is why they left the divine name in paleo-hebraic letters.

It is very ironic the the Catholics invented the name Jehovah since the Watchtower Society blasts orthodox Christendom  for hiding the name of God by replacing it with the Lord.
They claim this is a Jewish "superstition" that dishonors God (which it does not). Yet their own organization has a name that was invented as a result of the same thinking that produced use of "the Lord."

It makes no sense to use an incorrect name for God. But I guess in a religion loaded with misinterpretations, this comes as no surprise.