Reviewing the November 2016 Watchtower Study Edition

It was not necessarily by my choosing that this review centered once again on the Governing Body.  Rather, it is the Governing Body themselves who are regularly promoting every Christian’s absolutely unquestionable obedience to anything they put in print.  I would encourage everyone to read the full context of the November 2016 Watchtower HERE.  In the next podcast, i’ll be addressing the 1918/1919 doctrines which deserve special attention.

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75 thoughts on “Reviewing the November 2016 Watchtower Study Edition

  1. rotherham2 says:

    Well that’s a hard format to follow, but from what I could understand, you haven’t said anything that you haven’t said before, things that I have already addressed and refuted in detail to which you have never responded or refuted. Therefore, if you or if anyone wants to isolate a particular point and discuss it, I am certainly willing to do it, although I realize you likely never will.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. michaeljfelker says:

      Yeah, nothing really new here as it’s just the Governing Body once again requiring absolute unquestionable obedience to everything they put in print. But there’s always going to be new listeners, so repetition is sometimes necessary. The 2nd part will discuss 1918/1919. Insofar as what I have never responded to, can you be specific? I’m happy to do a Podcast on it if necessary.

  2. rotherham2 says:

    One problem with your presentation, and something you keep repeating erroneously, questions are certainly allowed and encouraged. Its only the promotion of an idea that causes disunity that creates the problem. God doesn’t like disunity. We’ve been through this.

    Regards

    1. michaeljfelker says:

      Did Jesus and the apostles promote ideas that caused unity or disunity with the Jews? Also, I hope I didn’t imply that questions aren’t allowed. Certainly, JW’s can ask questions. I figured that was obvious. But at the end of the day, while questions can be asked, every JW knows that they are going to be required to believe any answer they receive for those questions. Anything less would be considered divisive, disobedient, etc. That’s what I mean by absolute unquestionable submission.

      For example, the next Watchtower could hypothetically come out with a new doctrinal change and offer no biblical basis whatsoever for it. You can ask all the questions you want and possibly get no answers. Yet, you’d be required to believe it.

      1. rotherham2 says:

        Hello Mike,

        You are mistaken on a number of points. First, your use of the word “unquestionable” is misleading, because you admit that questions are allowed. Plus, all of the teachings received from the GB are either intrinsically scriptural or based upon scriptural deductions. We are not required to believe anything that does not have at the very least, a basis in the scriptures.

        Also, we are not personally obligated to accept everything that is taught if we think we see scriptural reasons otherwise. But in order to maintain the unity among “Christians”, we must not promote divisive ideas or teachings in the flock. We can continue to correspond as much as we want with the GB in order to resolve the issue. Investigation and/or questions are not forbidden. In fact, they encourage us to get as many of our questions answered as we can.

        Regards,
        Rotherham

  3. rotherham2 says:

    *** w96 7/15 17 Maintain Unity in These Last Days ***
    7 What if we individually have difficulty understanding or accepting a certain point? We should pray for wisdom and undertake research in the Scriptures and Christian publications. (Proverbs 2:4, 5; James 1:5-8) Discussion with an elder may help. If the point still cannot be understood, it may be best to let the matter rest. Perhaps more information on the subject will be published, and then our understanding will be broadened. It would be wrong, however, to try to convince others in the congregation to accept our own divergent opinion. This would be sowing discord, not working to preserve unity. How much better it is to “go on walking in the truth” and encourage others to do so!—3 John 4.

    Rotherham

    1. michaeljfelker says:

      Rotherham-

      You said: “all of the teachings received from the GB are either intrinsically scriptural or based upon scriptural deductions”

      ALL teachings? Always?

      Next, you state: “Also, we are not personally obligated to accept everything that is taught if we think we see scriptural reasons otherwise.”

      But you just said that ALL the teachings are scriptural? If that’s the case, then EVERYTHING must be accepted. So there is no room for “reasons otherwise.”

      1. rotherham2 says:

        Hello Mike,

        Yes, all teachings are either EXPLICIT or DEDUCED from scriptural inferences.

        If a teaching is explicitly scriptural then it can not be overturned. I am sure you would agree. Naturally those things are to be accepted without reservation. However, other things, although BASED upon scripture, are more or less ambiguous. In areas of ambiguity one could reason otherwise, but they would still not create divisions among the brotherhood. Creating divisions among the brotherhood is condemned by God.

        Rotherham
        Rotherham

      2. michaeljfelker says:

        Sure, if it’s explicit, then i’d agree. Though i’m sure we’d disagree on what doctrines are explicit and which aren’t.

        In terms of Scriptural deductions, can you please clarify? For example, was every teaching in The Finished Mystery based on Scriptural deductions?

      3. rotherham2 says:

        Hello Mike,
        I have never read the book so I can’t speak for everything in it, but I am sure they thought everything they taught was taken from scriptural inferences. Maybe you can give me a for instance.

        When it comes to ambiguous scriptures though, such as prophetic passages and books, much is left to interpretation and an attempt to often match things with historic events. Interpretations, not based upon explicit statements, are naturally subject to revision and/or rejection once better understood.

        I hope this ends up in the right place. As usual the format for these blogs is far less preferable than a discussion board.

        Rotherham

      4. michaeljfelker says:

        Rotherham-

        It’s you who said, “all of the teachings received from the GB are either intrinsically scriptural or based upon scriptural deductions.” Well are they or aren’t they? “I’m sure they thought everything they taught was taken from scriptural inferences” isn’t the same thing. Either it’s scriptural (whether deduced or explicit) or it isn’t.

        If my historical understanding is correct, The Finished Mystery was still in publication during and after the 1919 event. This is extremely important and I will detail this further in part 2 of my review. So here’s just one case in point.

        “Pastor Russel being the messenger of the Laodicean Church, and occupying the position of the Lord’s special servant to give the Household of Faith meant in due season, it was expected that he would bring forth from the Lord’s great ‘Storehouse’ the needed spiritual food for the church.” (p.4)

        Was this a true statement or a false statement? Or more specifically, to use your words, was it “either intrinsically scriptural or based upon scriptural deductions?” I would encourage you to read The Finished Mystery. I can email you a full PDF if you like, but it’s easy to find with a simple Google search. You’ll probably find that it’s difficult to get past a single page without finding something you disagree with. Or worse, something that if believed today as a JW, you’d be disfellowshipped over. Interestingly, Jesus didn’t do any disfellowshipping in 1919, even though this publication was still in print.

      5. rotherham2 says:

        Hello Mike,

        You said:
        It’s you who said, “all of the teachings received from the GB are either intrinsically scriptural or based upon scriptural deductions.” Well are they or aren’t they? “I’m sure they thought everything they taught was taken from scriptural inferences” isn’t the same thing. Either it’s scriptural (whether deduced or explicit) or it isn’t.

        #######################################
        I am beginning to wonder if you know the difference between something that is explicitly taught as opposed to something that is ambiguously. Do you?
        All of our teachings are based upon scriptural interpretations. However, some scriptures interpret themselves because they are explicit in what they teach. Other scriptures must be interpreted according to a “best” understanding at the time because they are NOT explicit. Those interpretations are subject to being edited as knowledge and understanding increase. As I have mentioned before, prophecy, and/or symbollic language would be included in that category. Do you honestly not know the difference?
        ####################################

        If my historical understanding is correct, The Finished Mystery was still in publication during and after the 1919 event. This is extremely important and I will detail this further in part 2 of my review. So here’s just one case in point.
        “Pastor Russel being the messenger of the Laodicean Church, and occupying the position of the Lord’s special servant to give the Household of Faith meant in due season, it was expected that he would bring forth from the Lord’s great ‘Storehouse’ the needed spiritual food for the church.” (p.4)
        Was this a true statement or a false statement? Or more specifically, to use your words, was it “either intrinsically scriptural or based upon scriptural deductions?”

        #####################################
        Since there is nothing explicitly stated as to who the Laodicean messenger is, any interpretation of that character is based upon the “best” understanding at any particular period of time. Although we believe today that Russell was in the class of those signified as the FDS in his day and age, we do not think he was the Laodicean messenger.
        #######################################

        I would encourage you to read The Finished Mystery. I can email you a full PDF if you like, but it’s easy to find with a simple Google search. You’ll probably find that it’s difficult to get past a single page without finding something you disagree with. Or worse, something that if believed today as a JW, you’d be disfellowshipped over. Interestingly, Jesus didn’t do any disfellowshipping in 1919, even though this publication was still in print.

        ####################################
        Well, readjustments by those gifts in men was and is to be completely expected, especially during the time that the wheat and the weeds would be separated. There was and is a refining process being done. Adjustments are to be expected. As mentioned, creating disunity is what gets one disfellowshipped, not disagreeing with an ambiguous interpretation. Do you not agree that God condemns creating divisions among the flock?

        Regards,
        Rotherham

      6. michaeljfelker says:

        Rotherham-

        I’m simply holding you to what you said: ““all of the teachings received from the GB are either intrinsically scriptural or based upon scriptural deductions” With that said, i’m not asking about ambiguous Scriptures. My position is that anyone reading The Finished Mystery should be able to conclude that many of the teachings are based on explicit Scripture or Scriptural deductions.

        To answer your questions about divisions, it really depends on the situation. If a majority (including the elders) in my congregation started teaching that homosexual behavior is ordained by God, then I don’t think it would be wrong to stand my ground and seek to persuade others of the Biblical view. Would my respectful persuading be divisive? Maybe, maybe not.

        I would hope that if the Governing Body started condoning homosexual behavior that you would be willing to stand up for what you believe regardless of the consequences.

      7. rotherham2 says:

        Hello Mike,

        You said:
        I’m simply holding you to what you said: ““all of the teachings received from the GB are either intrinsically scriptural or based upon scriptural deductions” With that said, i’m not asking about ambiguous Scriptures. My position is that anyone reading The Finished Mystery should be able to conclude that many of the teachings are based on explicit Scripture or Scriptural deductions.

        ##################################
        Well then chalk it up to indistinct terminology on my part. Rather than say all teachings are either intrinsically scriptural, let me say “explicitly” stated in the scriptures. I’ve explained what I meant more than once. Also, instead of saying “based upon scriptural deductions”, let me say “interpreted according to our best understanding at the time. I’ve also explained this more than once in more than one thread.
        ###################################

        To answer your questions about divisions, it really depends on the situation. If a majority (including the elders) in my congregation started teaching that homosexual behavior is ordained by God, then I don’t think it would be wrong to stand my ground and seek to persuade others of the Biblical view. Would my respectful persuading be divisive? Maybe, maybe not.
        I would hope that if the Governing Body started condoning homosexual behavior that you would be willing to stand up for what you believe regardless of the consequences.

        #################################
        I completely agree with you, and in fact, if they in any way decided to abandon explicit teachings from the scriptures, we should abandon them as representing in any way the body of Christ, but that’s not what I am talking about.
        Explicit statements, as we concluded, should be accepted and adhered to without reservation. However, teachings based upon our best understanding “at the time”, whereas we might personally entertain a different view, if the view of the body of Christ has a workable interpretation, we should not cause divisions against the body by promoting contrary teachings. Would you not agree?

        Regards,
        Rotherham

      8. michaeljfelker says:

        Rotherham-

        I’m sure you think i’m being nit-picky, but precision of language is important here as it seems we’re regularly misunderstanding each other, so thanks for clarifying.

        You said: “interpreted according to our best understanding at the time.” Well then, you could pretty much claim that for almost any group who takes the Bible seriously and yet errs profoundly. Since i’m sure the authors of The Finished Mystery sincerely believed they were interpreting the Scriptures accurately (though some of the interpretations are laughable, which even you might agree), i’m not sure it really gets us anywhere.

        So if I may, let me attempt to rephrase your original point: all teachings received from the GB are based on explicit scriptural teachings or their best understanding of ambiguous scriptures. The reality is, we’re going to disagree on interpretations of even the explicit scriptural teachings. But let’s say for a moment that we agree on the explicit stuff. But we are probably going to disagree even on what’s ambiguous. So lest we keep mincing words, let’s get a working definition here:

        -open to more than one interpretation; having a double meaning.
        -unclear or inexact because a choice between alternatives has not been made.
        -synonyms: equivocal, ambivalent, open to debate/argument, arguable, debatable; More
        antonyms: clear

        So, if something is debatable or open to only one interpretation, what biblically assumed authority does the Governing Body claim whereby all JW’s are required to agree with their interpretation of ambiguous Scriptures? More specifically, why do they demand conformity and not just leave each JW to respectfully disagree with one another in deciding the matter for themselves? In my opinion, if two followers of Jesus Christ can’t disagree on, let’s say the number of the beast (is it 666 or 616?), and yet be respectful of one another, then that’s a sign of immaturity. Is it really “divisive” for two Christians to respectfully disagree on an ambiguous Scripture? I just don’t see any biblical mandate for two disagreeing Christians to submit to the authority of the Governing Body (which I don’t even believe exists) and simply believe their interpretation. You may say a Christian is allowed to hold to a contrary view privately, but is that really what the Governing Body expects? Or does the Governing Body expect every Christian to be quick to accept what is taught?

        If i’ve misunderstood again, please clarify further your position.

      9. rotherham2 says:

        Hello Mike,
        You said:
        I’m sure you think i’m being nit-picky, but precision of language is important here as it seems we’re regularly misunderstanding each other, so thanks for clarifying.
        You said: “interpreted according to our best understanding at the time.” Well then, you could pretty much claim that for almost any group who takes the Bible seriously and yet errs profoundly. Since i’m sure the authors of The Finished Mystery sincerely believed they were interpreting the Scriptures accurately (though some of the interpretations are laughable, which even you might agree), i’m not sure it really gets us anywhere.

        ###############################
        Actually this speaks much to the point that I have often made. As long as a religious group has the explicit teachings intact they could potentially err profoundly in areas that are not explicitly stated. Maybe even a better differentiation would be “absolutes” and “non absolutes”. That’s why the most fruitful discussions would be found in those areas of what is viewed as “absolute”. If a religious group is wrong about what it views to be absolute then serious reconsideration would be in order. However, if they turn out to be wrong about something they alredy regard as non-absolute, there is not a great deal of consequence in that. As long as they are willing to adjust to increased knowledge and understanding, there would be no problem. Absolutes are the actual only reliable key to overturning any religious system, not non-absolutes.
        #################################

        So if I may, let me attempt to rephrase your original point: all teachings received from the GB are based on explicit scriptural teachings or their best understanding of ambiguous scriptures. The reality is, we’re going to disagree on interpretations of even the explicit scriptural teachings. But let’s say for a moment that we agree on the explicit stuff. But we are probably going to disagree even on what’s ambiguous. So lest we keep mincing words, let’s get a working definition here:
        -open to more than one interpretation; having a double meaning.
        -unclear or inexact because a choice between alternatives has not been made.
        -synonyms: equivocal, ambivalent, open to debate/argument, arguable, debatable; More
        antonyms: clear
        So, if something is debatable or open to only one interpretation, what biblically assumed authority does the Governing Body claim whereby all JW’s are required to agree with their interpretation of ambiguous Scriptures? More specifically, why do they demand conformity and not just leave each JW to respectfully disagree with one another in deciding the matter for themselves?

        #########################################
        This all speaks to the importance of unity as I have mentioned before. Another meaning of ambiguous is given as “difficult to understand or classify” and this may work best for what I am describing. There are many prophecies and parables in the Bible that have death dealing consequences to them, such as the identity of and the separation from Babylon the Great, and the identify of the wild beats and the reception of its number. Lives are at stake in properly identifying and responding correctly to what these prophecies are saying. Naturally this falls under the jurisdiction of the body of Christ to instruct the flock as to their meaning and how to protect themselves.

        The same is true when it comes to other terms and commands that could be consideed difficult to classify. For instance, we are told to not practice fornication. What exactly is fornication? What would include and what woud it not include? This is very important especially when we realize that the only grounds for an acceptable divorce and remarriage is fornication. Should each respective member of the church make up their own mind? Each man? Each woman? I think you could imagine the chaos and confusion that could follow.

        Ephesians 4 condemns being simultaneously carried here and there by every wind of teaching. Unity is presented as of utmost importance until we all reach the full-grown stature spoken of in that chapter. Those gifts in men have the responsibility to unify the body through readjustments, just as it reads.

        Now likely there are different ways of looking at some things that make no difference whatsoever to the overall structure of teachings and there would likely be no issue of someone who preferred a particular view different than the official position, as long as it did not present division and disunity in the congregation.
        #####################################

        In my opinion, if two followers of Jesus Christ can’t disagree on, let’s say the number of the beast (is it 666 or 616?), and yet be respectful of one another, then that’s a sign of immaturity. Is it really “divisive” for two Christians to respectfully disagree on an ambiguous Scripture? I just don’t see any biblical mandate for two disagreeing Christians to submit to the authority of the Governing Body (which I don’t even believe exists) and simply believe their interpretation. You may say a Christian is allowed to hold to a contrary view privately, but is that really what the Governing Body expects? Or does the Governing Body expect every Christian to be quick to accept what is taught?

        ########################################
        This is covered by what I said above. Whether the number of the beast is 666 or 616 would hardly be of any consequence because it does not change what is taught in regard to its identity and how to avoid its mark, which are necessary to understand to save our lives. I am sure there are other non-consequential things that could be entertained which would cause no division at all, but there would also be many things that would. I have mentioned just a couple of examples. All in all, though, it seems your encouragement toward Jehovah’s Witnesses is to cause division within their ranks if they disagree rather than following the prescribed means of resolving the disagreements.

        If they believe these men in the GB have a special connection with God when it comes to guidance and understanding, why would they not defer to their leadership as they are asked to do by God himself, rather than creating division for the sake of what? If they disagree that strongly, to where they feel division is the only recourse, then they would evidently be thinking their view is absolute. If they remain in that conviction they should try to resolve it and if not, they should depart because how could they continue to go where what they see as an absolute is ignored?

        Therefore, how much better it is to tackle the things that are considered “absolute”. If those can be overturned then you really have something.

        Regards,
        Rotherham

  4. Riven says:

    It is good point Rotherham but what if the point points precisely that is something that is walking in truth.
    For instance in Rev 7:17 it spell out clearly that the great crowd have white robes because of their faith in Jesus everyone agrees with this in the congregations but then go to Rev 22: 14 v where it states “those who have washed their robes(no exceptions have authority to go into the city and yet the GB view is that the great crowd who have white robes because of having washed them with the blood of the Lamb are outside the city?? .Then what ?Its one thing to not influence the brothers with a point that could have many meanings but one cannot simply keep quiet about something like this so as to avoid “discord”. What happens when during the congregation a study when this is touched upon ? must one keep quiet.
    I agree there is a difference between wanting a personal interpretation taking hold and one that not is directly in opposition with what is stated.
    And yes churches are filled with the same drama CARM where Mike I believe also writes is guilty of this especially if you descent in what they deem not polite to Trinity etc. They function the same way either accept or you are not Christian regardless of how many question they may allow you to ask

  5. rotherham2 says:

    Yes they did but this was a transition period of time where the Jewish religion was being replaced by Christianity. Naturally there would be things brought up that were not in harmony with Judaism. How does that parallel with modern day Christianity where that transition is long in the past?

    Rotherham

    1. michaeljfelker says:

      Rotherham-

      It actually parallels quite well. Consider the origins of your religion’s movement. Were your early leaders considered divisive? They were challenging the religious majority of their day. Jesus and the apostles did the same. I don’t see what’s biblically wrong with that. I’ll do my best to get to your other points soon. Thanks for answering that question.

      1. rotherham2 says:

        Your comparing apples and oranges unfortunately. For instance, the disciples and Christ brought up things that were divisive to groups OUTSIDE Christianity. That is far different than bringing up and/or causing divisions WITHIN Christianity. God condemns those who create divisions within the body. Surely you have read that.

        Rotherham

  6. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Riven,
    Since New Jerusalem is not a literal city but is the bride of Christ, made up of individuals, “going into” Jerusalem could mean nothing more than being under their jurisdiction and guidance whereas the wicked would not be, ever. All in God’s favor at this time are pictured as going into the gates.

    Rev 21: 25 Its gates will not be closed at all by day, for night will not exist there. 26 And they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.
    Rev 22:14 Happy are those who wash their robes, so that they may have authority to go to the trees of life and that they may gain entrance into the city through its gates.

    Rotherham

  7. KingdomSeeker says:

    Rotherham

    Current GB interpretation of Rev 22:14 is

    *** re chap. 44 p. 317 par. 8 Revelation and You ***
    Only those anointed Christians who truly “wash their robes” so as to be clean in Jehovah’s eyes are privileged to “go to the trees of life.” That is, they receive the right and title to immortal life in their heavenly position. (Compare Genesis 3:22-24; Revelation 2:7; 3:4, 5.) After their death as humans, they gain entrance into New Jerusalem by resurrection. The 12 angels allow them in, while keeping out any who practice lies or uncleanness though claiming to have a heavenly hope.

    And current GB interpretation of Rev 21:26 is

    *** re chap. 43 p. 310 par. 17 The Resplendent City ***
    The kings of the earth,” then, who bring their glory into New Jerusalem must be the 144,000, who are “bought . . . out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” to rule as kings with the Lamb, Jesus Christ. (Revelation 5:9, 10; 22:5) They bring their God-given glory into the city to add to its radiance.

    This does not align with your interpretation ” .. “going into” Jerusalem could mean nothing more than being under their jurisdiction and guidance whereas the wicked would not be, ever. All in God’s favor at this time are pictured as going into the gates.”

    Do you agree with current GB thinking or not?

  8. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Riven,

    OK, if what you presented above is still current thought, and it appears it is, there is yet another reference that bears upon the phrase “inside the city”.

    In Revelation 20:9 we read of the encampment outside the city which gets surrounded by the Devil and his hordes post thousand year reign. That is applied to the other sheep on earth at that time, so the beloved city and the camp mentioned here in verse 9 cannot be the actual heavenly anointed ones as they would not physically be attacked by the Devil and his demons. The encampment outside the city is therefore regarded the same as the beloved city because if it’s obvious connection and is clearly part of the domain of that city. It is therefore an extension of the city and would clearly belong to it and is therefore “in it” or “under” its jurisdiction. Same answer, simply a different reference was needed to demonstrate it.

    The Revelation book has been pulled from print and I have heard it is to be revised and republished. It will be interesting to see if they address this particular point any further. In my opinion, the explanation I gave earlier, although not the actual verses they use to support it, fits quite well with our teaching without the creation of any division. But nonetheless, those scriptures are not needed to do so as explained above.

    But this raises a question for you; since you seem to believe that the city includes JUST the 144,000 with no extension, do you believe that it is just those in New Jerusalem that will be saved, ever?

    Regards,
    Rotherham

  9. KingdomSeeker says:

    Current GB thinking on Rev 20:9 does not align with your interpretation, They are still outside the city.

    *** re chap. 40 p. 292 par. 24 Crushing the Serpent’s Head ***
    24 “The beloved city” must be the city that is spoken of by the glorified Jesus Christ to his followers at Revelation 3:12 and that he calls “the city of my God, the new Jerusalem which descends out of heaven from my God.” Since this is a heavenly organization, how could those earthly forces ‘encircle’ it? In that they encircle “the camp of the holy ones.” A camp is outside a city; therefore, “the camp of the holy ones” must represent those on earth outside the heavenly location of New Jerusalem who loyally support Jehovah’s governmental arrangement. When the rebels under Satan attack those faithful ones, the Lord Jesus regards it as an assault on him. (Matthew 25:40, 45) “Those nations” will try to wipe out all that the heavenly New Jerusalem has accomplished in making earth a paradise. So in attacking “the camp of the holy ones,” they are also attacking “the beloved city.

    By not aligning your answers with current GB thinking, you are bolstering the argument that GB is not channel and you can interpret verses

    1. rotherham2 says:

      Hello Kingdom Seeker,

      If you think about it, you’re not really making much sense. Do you agree that the camp of the holy ones is outside the city? Is the camp of the holy ones on earth? So IF the city IS the Lamb’s bride and only the Lamb’s bride, is that all that ever ends up being saved? How does Gog and Magog surround the HEAVENLY city? Is it not by surrounding what is considered an EXTENSION of that city, the encampment?!

      The very paragraph you quoted against me ends up making my point. Notice:

      “Those nations” will try to wipe out all that the heavenly New Jerusalem has accomplished in making earth a paradise. SO IN ATTACKING “THECAMP OF THE HOLY ONES” THEY ARE ALSO ATTACKING “THE BELOVED CITY”.

      So how is that possible unless the camp of the holy ones is considered an extension of the city? Would it not be just like I have explained?

      So my explanation about the encampment is in harmony with what the WT has stated. Clearly they believe that the camp is outside the city yet they are in a saved condition. The only way that works in harmony with everything else Revelation says about access into the city is if the camp is regarded as an extension of the city.

      I am certainly in agreement that the GB has the authority to harmoniously interpret scriptures. If I happen to have a personal slightly different view about the application of a particular verse that causes no disagreement or division with the teaching involved, there is no issue. Only in the event that a personal view would cause division would there ever be an issue.

      If you take time to answer the questions I have asked, you should get the point.

      Regards,
      Rotherham

  10. KingdomSeeker says:

    Up to now we have seen that the current GB thinking is as follows (Points 1-3 below):

    1. Only 144,000 make up New Jerusalem and enter into it
    *** re chap. 44 p. 317 par. 8 Revelation and You ***
    Only those anointed Christians who truly “wash their robes” so as to be clean in Jehovah’s eyes are privileged to “go to the trees of life.” That is, they receive the right and title to immortal life in their heavenly position. (Compare Genesis 3:22-24; Revelation 2:7; 3:4, 5.) After their death as humans, they gain entrance into New Jerusalem by resurrection. The 12 angels allow them in, while keeping out any who practice lies or uncleanness though claiming to have a heavenly hope.

    *** re chap. 43 p. 310 par. 17 The Resplendent City ***
    “The kings of the earth,” then, who bring their glory into New Jerusalem must be the 144,000, who are “bought . . . out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” to rule as kings with the Lamb, Jesus Christ. (Revelation 5:9, 10; 22:5) They bring their God-given glory into the city to add to its radiance.

    *** it-1 p. 867 Foundation ***
    Most appropriately, the 12 symbolic foundation stones of the New Jerusalem, bearing the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb, are precious stones. (Re 21:14, 19, 20) The New Jerusalem described in Revelation is made up of the 144,000 who are betrothed to the bridegroom.

    2. The camp of the holy ones are “representatives” of the city not an extension of it. In the same way as Jesus sees whats done to his brothers as being done to him (Matt 25:40,45)

    *** w98 2/1 p. 22 par. 15 The Other Sheep and the New Covenant ***
    15 Will Jehovah then be able to say of these human servants: ‘I am their God, and they are my people’? Yes. “He will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them.” (Revelation 21:3) They will become “the camp of the holy ones,” earthly representatives of “the beloved city,” the heavenly bride of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 14:1; 20:9; 21:2)

    *** re chap. 40 p. 292 par. 24 Crushing the Serpent’s Head ***
    When the rebels under Satan attack those faithful ones, the Lord Jesus regards it as an assault on him. (Matthew 25:40, 45) “Those nations” will try to wipe out all that the heavenly New Jerusalem has accomplished in making earth a paradise. So in attacking “the camp of the holy ones,” they are also attacking “the beloved city”.

    *** w95 2/1 p. 12 par. 12 A Great Crowd of True Worshipers—From Where Have They Come? ***
    12 The way in which other humans deal with these heirs of the Kingdom is of vital importance. Do you view them as Jesus Christ does and as Jehovah does? (Matthew 24:45-47; 2 Thessalonians 2:13) A person’s attitude toward these anointed ones reflects his attitude toward Jesus Christ himself and toward his Father, the Universal Sovereign.—Matthew 10:40; 25:34-46.

    3. Benefits to mankind are channeled through New Jerusalem hence she becomes their mother.

    *** re chap. 43 p. 308 par. 12 The Resplendent City ***
    12 Even the city’s foundations are beautiful, being adorned with 12 precious gems. This calls to mind the ancient Jewish high priest, who on ceremonial days wore an ephod studded with 12 different precious stones somewhat similar to the ones described here. (Exodus 28:15-21) Surely this is no coincidence! Rather, it emphasizes the priestly function of New Jerusalem, of which Jesus, the great High Priest, is the “lamp.” (Revelation 20:6; 21:23; Hebrews 8:1) Also, it is through New Jerusalem that the benefits of Jesus’ high-priestly ministry are channeled to mankind. (Revelation 22:1, 2) The city’s 12 gates, each being a pearl of great beauty, call to mind Jesus’ illustration that likened the Kingdom to a pearl of high value. All who enter through those gates will have shown true appreciation for spiritual values.—Matthew 13:45, 46; compare Job 28:12, 17, 18.

    *** w98 10/15 pp. 22-24 pars. 16-17 A Jerusalem True to Its Name ***
    Ahead of us too is a truly momentous event—the heavenly marriage of the Lord Jesus Christ to his bride of 144,000 citizens of “New Jerusalem.” (Revelation 19:7; 21:2) We cannot say exactly when that climactic union will be completed, but it certainly will be a joyous event.—See The Watchtower, August 15, 1990, pages 30-1.
    17 We do know that the completion of New Jerusalem is very near. (Matthew 24:3, 7-14; Revelation 12:12) Unlike the earthly city of Jerusalem, it will never be a cause for disappointment. This is because all its citizens are spirit-anointed, tested, and refined followers of Jesus Christ. Upon their faithfulness to death, each one will have proved to be everlastingly loyal to the Universal Sovereign, Jehovah God. That has significant meaning for the rest of mankind—the living and the dead!

    *** re chap. 43 pp. 311-312 pars. 23-26 The Resplendent City ***
    23 During the Thousand Year Reign, the benefits of the ransom are applied fully through the priesthood of Jesus and his 144,000 underpriests. Fittingly, then, the river of water of life flows through the middle of the broad way of New Jerusalem. This is composed of spiritual Israel, which along with Jesus makes up the true seed of Abraham. (Galatians 3:16, 29)

    Trees of Life
    26 Those trees, well watered by the river, may include the 144,000 members of the Lamb’s wife. While on earth these also drink of God’s provision for life through Jesus Christ. Interestingly, these spirit-begotten brothers of Jesus are prophetically called “big trees of righteousness.” (Isaiah 61:1-3; Revelation 21:6) They have already produced much spiritual fruitage to Jehovah’s praise. (Matthew 21:43) And during the Thousand Year Reign, they will have a part in dispensing the ransom provisions that will serve for “the curing of the nations” from sin and death.—Compare 1 John 1:7.

    *** ws chap. 11 p. 97 par. 16 Earthly Jerusalem in Contrast With Celestial Jerusalem ***
    16 This union with the Lamb Jesus Christ in marriage will mean unspeakable joy for the figurative New Jerusalem in heaven. Through it she will become “a joyful mother of sons.” (Psalm 113:9) Yes, she will become the heavenly mother to all humans, living and dead, whom her loving husband redeemed by his perfect human sacrifice 19 centuries ago. In full harmony with Jehovah’s Abrahamic covenant of thousands of years ago, the New Jerusalem will prove to be a blessing to all the families of the earth.

    So, hopefully I have shown what the current GB position is on New Jerusalem i.e. ONLY 144,000 ENTER into New Jerusalem. Blessings are channeled THROUGH her to mankind. Attacking the “camp of the holy ones” IS LIKE attacking her.

    All of this still leaves Riven’s point unanswered.

  11. rotherham2 says:

    Hello KS,

    I fail to see how it is unanswered, and you didn’t really address all that I asked you. Had you done so, this might not still be going on, but nonetheless, I will try again.

    It appears you would at least agree with the following:

    1.New Jerusalem is the Lamb’s bride, it is not a literal city, It is persons, 144,000 to be exact.

    2.There are also others who receive salvation that are not part of New Jerusalem, whom we regard to be the other sheep.

    Riven’s original question reads too much into what is stated both in the Bible and in the Revelation book. Look again at the exact wording then look at what you offered in comparison. The point is to obviously get the big picture of what is being stated and represented by the visions.

    *** re chap. 44 p. 317 par. 8 Revelation and You ***
    Only those anointed Christians who truly “wash their robes” so as to be clean in Jehovah’s eyes are privileged to “go to the trees of life.” That is, they receive the right and title to immortal life in their heavenly position. (Compare Genesis 3:22-24; Revelation 2:7; 3:4, 5.) After their death as humans, they gain entrance into New Jerusalem by resurrection. The 12 angels allow them in, while keeping out any who practice lies or uncleanness though claiming to have a heavenly hope.

    Read closely and you will see that no where in that paragraph or verse does it say that IF you have received the robe then you MUST therefore be a member of the city. That conclusion is reading too much into the text. It merely says that if you are in the city then you have to be one who has washed their robe and you must be clean. It nowhere states that you must be in the city if your robe has been washed.

    The difference between an extension and a representative is minimal at most. I believe you’re trying to split hairs. The point is this camp of the holy ones would be locationally outside the city yet it is treated as if it is the city itself, via representation or extension, the result is the same.

    Question: Do you believe that those who live forever on earth who are not part of the Lamb’s bride must have also have washed robes? If not, why not? If so, then what’s the point of your question?

    Regards,
    Rotherham

  12. KingdomSeeker says:

    Hello Rotherham.

    Thank you for your diligent replies.
    Your current position now aligns with current GB thinking.

    I got involved in this discussion since you initially said to Riven
    “All in God’s favor at this time are pictured as going into the gates.” using Rev 21: 25 and Rev 22:14.
    This does not align with current GB Thinking.

    Later you used Rev 20:9 with the comment “Same answer, simply a different reference was needed to demonstrate it.”
    Also you said later that “The only way that works in harmony with everything else Revelation says about access into the city is if the camp is regarded as an extension of the city.”

    My issue has always been “access into the city”, “going into the gates” etc

    I feel your latest comment aligns with current GB thinking, and hence I am happy to terminate this exchange.

    You have asked me a number of times what I believe, and I have purposely not responded.
    I am in the process of weighing up current GB thinking with the body of scripture, allowing scripture to interpret scripture. I have REAL doubts about current GB thinking on a number of issues (such as two classes of Christians) and I know many others are in a similar position (I would like to add that I do agree with many other GB teachings). Many fear expressing their opinions for fear of being disfellowshipped. They fear losing their friends, family and sometimes employment, and so do not publicly express these views. The cost is too high for them.

    Thank you for the exchange

    KS

    1. michaeljfelker says:

      KS-

      According to Rotherham, there should be nothing to fear as long as you’re not causing divisions in the congregation. I would assume that any “expression” of those opinions, even if those opinions are actually true, is what leads to discipline. Perhaps a fruitful discussion would be how one is to express disagreements, whether publicly or privately. And are such expressions honoring to Christ? Or is it always better to keep quiet or perhaps discuss the matter privately with your elders? This is something i’m currently discussing with Rotherham in this thread and still owe him a response. But since you and others are in this very dilemma, i’d welcome your comments and i’m sure Rotherham would as well.

      1. rotherham2 says:

        Hello Mike,

        Once again your evaluation I find misleading. To say that ANY expression of a different opinion leads to discipline is simply not true. Discussion is encouraged in order to resolve as well as possible, the issue at hand. Only PROMOTION of a DIFFERENT opinion that causes DIVISION, is what leads to discipline.

        Regards,
        Rotherham

      2. KingdomSeeker says:

        The truth of the matter, as Rotherham is well aware, is,no public expression.
        So the reality is this:
        1.A person reads a scripture(s) that leads them to a different conclusion to GB
        2. They make it a matter of prayer and study all relevant GB material, and read scripture contextually, etc
        3.They leave it for a while and keep reviewing it, but they still fail to see GB interpretation.
        4. They can go to elders and/or write to branch/GB.but the reality is they will point the person back to relevant GB Material.

        So if this scripture comes up in a Watchtower study, they cannot answer unless it is as the Watchtower/Book study states. (without a visit from the elders)
        If they are given a talk on this subject, they have to toe the line.
        If they go on ministry/conduct a study, they have to toe the line.

        They might be able to discuss it with a few trusted friends privately.
        My experience is that these friends will accept GB interpretation EVEN if they can contextually see the argument. The GB have an unbelievable amount of hold on the minds and hearts of JW’s.
        Most JW’s will put GB interpretation at the same level as coming from Jehovah himself. Disloyalty to GB interpretation is disloyalty to God. (Similar to papal authority/Magisterium). All of this borders on idolatry, since the average JW is putting GB and organisation at the same level as Jehovah himself. Disloyalty to GB/Organisation is disloyalty to God.

        So where does it leave someone who has serious doubts about a doctrine. Since you cant comment publicly (for fear of being disfellowshipped), you can
        1. Keep it to yourself and keep quiet
        2. Slowly drift away from organisation.
        OR … go on forums under a pseudonym…. 🙂

  13. Riven says:

    Rotherham,

    The idea that going into a city could be interpreted falling under the jurisdiction is not an option why?
    The language in the verses is clear between only between 2 options.
    Option 1: You have washed your robes and are in the city
    or Option 2:you are outside the city and are filthy.
    There is no third option of wearing white robes but being outside the city.

    Camp of the holy ones
    I may say that while this can leave the possibility of something outside the city the issue still remains that according to the GB all references to the Holy ones in the NT pertaining to humans are the 144,000.
    So those of the camp of the holy ones would be members of the 144,000. Just like the camp of the Israelites was made up of Israelites.
    What the camp is is irrelevant at this point because we all could come up with different thoughts but what we can explicitly conclude is that the camp is of the holy ones i.e. it is made up/of the holy ones which according to the GB is the 144,000. So the only other way for that scripture to hold is to either say the 144,000 are the other sheep/great crowd ore they have to change the meaning about who the holy ones are here.

  14. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Riven,

    There are different ways to look at an expression that says OF something. Rather than necessarily describing its constituents it could be describing ownership which could fall under jurisdiction in this case. Such as the “kingdom OF the heavens” where it could speak of either locality, jurisdiction or ownership, not constituents.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

  15. rotherham2 says:

    Hello KS,

    I would be most willing to discuss the teaching of two classes of Christians. Just wondering, do you still accept an earthly class of believers in addition to a heavenly class? Do you believe that everyone who will be saved will be a member of the bride of Christ, or are there others? Will they or will they not be Christians as well?

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. KingdomSeeker says:

      Hello Rotherham

      Like yourself, I have been, over many decades defending GB interpretation, both to those raised as JW’s and those outside, Over the last few years I have been following your argumentation on ivanmonroy’s site, this site and obviously your own, and I could see myself making similar arguments as yourself in the past. But lately I have been looking at the plain meaning of Bible Texts, and some GB teachings just do not align with the plain meaning of scriptures. Its easy to “force” / “strain” a text to mean something, but is that what the text itself is saying. I’ve seen other apologists defending their denominational teachings, and how they strain the text, rather than allowing the text to speak for itself.

      As an example you said in an earlier post to me:

      “Read closely and you will see that no where in that paragraph or verse does it say that IF you have received the robe then you MUST therefore be a member of the city. That conclusion is reading too much into the text. It merely says that if you are in the city then you have to be one who has washed their robe and you must be clean. It nowhere states that you must be in the city if your robe has been washed.”

      The text itself plainly states:
      (Revelation 22:14, 15) 14 Happy are those who wash their robes, so that they may have authority to go to the trees of life and that they may gain entrance into the city through its gates. 15 Outside are the dogs . . .

      The plain meaning is simple , If you have washed your robes, you are declared happy since you have authority to to go to the trees of life and gain entrance.
      By trying to impose on the text the meaning that you can wash your robe but you still don’t have authority to go to the trees of life, you are putting your theology ahead of the text.

      I will let the readers of this forum to decide who is being more honest with the text

      1. rotherham2 says:

        Sounds as though we could have some interesting discussions. The offer stands.

        I still think you are reading more into the text than what it has to say. Lets say that you have received an invitation to go to a party, but before that can happen you must meet and sustain certain requirements. Once you have met and still sustain the requirements you are happy because now you have authority to enter the party. It does not mean however, that if you have sustained the requirements that you have necessarily been invited. The same could be said of the anointed. They have received the invitation to be a member of the bride of Christ. They must sustain certain requirments to be accepted even after the initial invitation. But it does not mean that one that has sustained the requirements, is by necessity on the list of invitees. But if they are they are happy because they can enter the arrangement to which they have been invited. But the key is the invitation AND the requirments, not just one or the other.

        One must always look at as much of the complete picture as is possible without focusing too much on one aspect so as not to confuse issues that are not necessary to confuse.

        Although New Jerusalem is symbolically depicted as a city, it is certainly not an actual city as it is technically the bride of Christ, numbering 144,000 persons. They ARE the city. In the book of Ezekiel, there is a futuristic vision and prophecy of Jerusalem and it is interesting what it reveals. If one reads through the 46th and 47th chapter of Ezekiel it becomes more than obvious that others besides Israelites have provisions extended to them by the city and from the city. A close look at what those prophecies might entail could be benficial.

        New Jeruslaem is said to descend to BE with mankind, to spread its tent over them and God would be with them. The heaven and earth dichotomy is consistently portrayed in many places through out the bible and its prophecies. The trees on both sides of the river flowing from New Jerusalem are said to be for the healing of the nations. Again, heaven and earth depiction. We have new Jerusalem and we have recipients of its provisions pictured separately. It should be apparent from all that is said prophetically that there is indeed the priestly anointed class and there are those who benefit from their priesthood who are not priests themselves. Taken collectively, the visions and prophecies concerning this futuristic Jerusalem and its temple, present no problem as to there being two classes of Christians for eternity. Heavenly and earthly.

        But I am open to being persuaded through good evidence if it is strong enough to do so, so, as stated, the prior invitation stands.

        Regards,
        Rotherham

      2. KingdomSeeker says:

        Interesting comment
        “But the key is the invitation AND the requirements, not just one or the other.”

        Lets allow the text to speak.
        So the requirement is “wash robes”

        The invitation is :
        (Revelation 22:17) 17 And the spirit and the bride keep on saying, “Come!” and let anyone hearing say, “Come!” and let anyone thirsting come; let anyone who wishes take life’s water free.

        Lifes water is in the City, down the middle of the main street.
        (Revelation 22:1, 2) 22 And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of its main street.. . .

        So the bride (city personified) is inviting “Anyone” to partake of the life’s water.
        So you have an invitation and requirement fulfilled.

      3. rotherham2 says:

        Hello KS,

        You said:
        Interesting comment
        “But the key is the invitation AND the requirements, not just one or the other.”

        Lets allow the text to speak.
        So the requirement is “wash robes”

        The invitation is :
        (Revelation 22:17) 17 And the spirit and the bride keep on saying, “Come!” and let anyone hearing say, “Come!” and let anyone thirsting come; let anyone who wishes take life’s water free.

        #######################
        This invitation is not the same invitation as to become a member of New Jerusalem. What is depicted in Rev 22 is invitation to ANYONE who wishes life water, not spirit adoption as a son of God and brother and brother of Christ.

        Zechariah’s prophecy about Jerusalem is helpful here as well.
        14: 8 In that day living waters+ will flow out from Jerusalem,+ half of them toward the eastern sea*+ and half of them toward the western sea.*+ It will happen in summer and in winter. 9 And Jehovah will be King over all the earth.+ In that day Jehovah will be one,+ and his name one.+

        Combining the visions tells us that although the river flows within Jerusalem it also flows from Jerusalem into the surrounding lands. So a wider prophetic view does not necessitate the waters to be only contained or available inside Jerusalem. The nations being healed is an obvious reference to earthly inhabitants, which could again be likened to the camp outside Jerusalem which is referenced as being a part of the city by extension.
        #############################

        Lifes water is in the City, down the middle of the main street.
        (Revelation 22:1, 2) 22 And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of its main street.. . .
        ############################
        See my comment above that covers this as well.
        ###############################

        So the bride (city personified) is inviting “Anyone” to partake of the life’s water.
        So you have an invitation and requirement fulfilled.
        #################################
        Different invitation, But since the camp is considered the same as the city itself by extension, we would naturally think that what is required of one is required of the other. If ones robe must be washed to be in New Jerusalem, it would surley be harmonious to think that the same requirement is for the camp outside the city.

        If there are going to be both earthly and heavenly worshippers of Jehovah into eternity, would we not expect this dichotomy to me somehow represented vision wise?

        Regards,
        Rotherham

  16. Riven says:

    Rather than necessarily describing its constituents it could be describing ownership which could fall under jurisdiction in this case.

    True and it could be all those meanings atone go. AS i said the precedence is in scripture the camp of as seen ain the language of the OT are the constituents
    The camp of Israelite is not just a camp under the jurisdiction of Israelite but it consists of Israelite. The preference is to present an example
    Being a member of the kingdom heavens whether on earth or in heaven does not for a second that those on earth are not constituents of that kingdom.
    The language of Jesus is forceful in this regard. Abraham etc are eating at a table in the kingdom of heavens.

    I would be most willing to discuss the teaching of two classes of Christians. Just wondering, do you still accept an earthly class of believers in addition to a heavenly class

    Rotherham my aim is not so much to disprove whether there is 1 or 2 classes.As far as it consists of Christians in our time that is before the Great Tribulation all are baptised into Christ therefore are baptized to into his death .How big their measure of their reward the Lord will give them is up to him but we do no have any authority whatsoever to segregate, no lay laws or suggestions of what each of these Christians should do in this time that is whether they can eat or drink.
    Yes i know the GB says whoever wants to eat may eat but this is undercut by making suggestive comments that people are mentally ill or hang on to false doctrine(never mind they were actually JW’s all their lives) if they are partakers viewed as being of the earthly class.
    There is no precedence for assuming that the earthly class should not eat. The point is this should not even be a suggestion in our publications.Its a requirement ,the will of Jehovah for all who are baptised.
    By the reasoning the GB uses we could also say the earthly class should not preach but then what would be the basis of this?
    If the 144,000 are ambassadors then the so called earthly class truly has no business in doing the work of the ambassadors of Christ since they are not baptised into him. Let me ask right now what are you? Are you an ambassador of Christ or are you not?
    You see there is no middle ground here .Just like its either you are sheep or a goat .There are no cattle as the middle ground.:-)

    Note I am speaking of those who we could say are living in this “Gospel Age” that is from Christs death up until the culmination of systems of things.
    What happens after that I cannot say except new scrolls will be open but the one thing that is said with certainty and without fail is that the great crowd have been completely given the Seal of approval,hence their wearing white robes(remember the robes are sign of reward hence their surviving the great tribulation in the first place they received the mark of the Father and Son on their Foreheads that is the HS. How one can say the great crowd escaped the GT without this mark is beyond what the scriptures teach
    There is only 2 options.You have the mark and survive the GT or you don have the mark and you die.It’s that simple.

    So if a 2 class exists it will be with those after the great Tribulation but then there will be new requirements(new scrolls) that they have to live up to different from those before just like we have new scrolls(the NT) different from Moses and the like (OT)

    My biggest issue not the 2 class or how many classes there are system as this virtually exists in other churches as well in some form or another e.g. believing the 144,000 are only literal Jews but how did the GB get to the conclusion that those who do not rule must not eat.

    Look it up in many of our publications the other sheep are compared to the foreigners of Old Israel who were were commanded to also partake of the then Passover …Note the explicit command that they participate and since there is no contrary command in the NT i don’t see how in Christ the new “foreigners” would be disallowed.

    We can all mistakes and change in various interpretations but the one thing but Jesus words are a clear command and not something to be interpreted .Eat my Body ,Drink my blood Do this(Eat and drink) nothing more nothing less.How we actually do the eating and drinking whether from one cup or 10 cups etc is interpretation and that can be forgiven or is not relevant but the important part is We eat and drink.

    So the real discussion is if there is a 2 class system at present where does it forbid one of the classes from partaking of the Lords Memorial.
    As a warning i would say do not invoke the scripture at Corinthians to prove this because using the GB logic i will show you how that scripture fails their conclusion given that they believe only the “anointed” existed in the 1st century

  17. KingdomSeeker says:

    Thanks Riven

    Your post better articulates what I should have said about the 2 Class Issue.
    My overall disagreement with the 2 class doctrine is that we have allowed a few parables/visions: John 10:16: Rev 7:9 Matt 25:31 to dominate our theology for millions of witnesses. Interpretation of Parables/Visions are subject to change, as our history testifies. They are open to different views e.g. Is John 10:16 referring to Gentiles, Is Rev 7 talking only about tribulation survivors etc. We should have allowed clear statements of the Bible to dominate our theology and then allowed parables and visions to fit around that. We have allowed the tail to wag the dog.
    For example (1 John 5:1) 5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born from God, and everyone who loves the one who caused to be born loves him who has been born from that one.

    ! John 5:1 is a CLEAR statement. We should not deviate from that and allow interpretation of parables and visions to form core doctrine.

  18. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Riven and KS,
    Could I ask you both the same two questions and then maybe we can progress from there?
    1. Do you believe that there will be faithful humans, worshippers of Jehovah, living on earth forever?
    2. Do you believe that the anointed brothers of christ are heavenbound?
    Thanks,
    Rothrham

  19. Riven says:

    Kingdom Seeker I agree.Clear statements should dominate theology then the ambiguous statements should fit around that.

    Rotherham.
    1. Do you believe that there will be faithful humans, worshipers of Jehovah, living on earth forever?
    Yes

    2. Do you believe that the anointed brothers of christ are heavenbound?
    Yes at some point they will be but i also think they will also be on earth at some point after the resurrection.

  20. Riven says:

    Rotherham just to reiterate, At this point the significance is not so much whether there is one class or 2 classes or whether they will be heaven or on earth .As i stated even if we to grant the position that there are 2 present day Christian classes where is the scriptural prohibition for one of those classes to not partake of the Lord’s meal

  21. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Riven,
    Thank you for answering. I too believe that clear statements should dominate theology and the ambiguous should be guided by the statements that are absolute, but I also think that this is exactly what has happened in this area of distinction between heaven and earth. There are clear statements that righteous humans will live forever on earth and clear statements that there are those who are heavenbound. JWs do not need any ambiguous scriptures to first establish that as a teaching. But the prophecies then must FIT with those clear statements and I believe that is exactly what has ben accomplished. Not that there is no need for clarification or adjustment, and I expect there to be such, but I think they have achieved harmony between the clear and the ambiguous statements in this area, but, as I said, I am willing to listen to the opposition to that in hopes we can come together in unity of thought.

    Regards,
    Rotherhah

  22. Riven says:

    I agree.Unlike the majority who had totally abandoned life on earth for faithful believers, even to the point of seeing of an eternally destroyed earth , the JW’s corrected( though i am not claiming we are the originators)it but i also see that in this correction though by wanting to accommodate the idea of heaven and earth dwellers it lead to an awkward teaching .The bane of contention is not the 2 class view and as much as I disagree with the majority of Mikes theology e.g. Trinity,hell,intermediary state basically the stalwart points of Protestantism etc his issue amongst others may not be a 2 class view but what the 2 class view does when it comes to the Memorial in our context. This is the real problem. The restriction it places on the Memorial is contrary to Jesus words .

    As an example Look at Jesus words “I make a covenant with you for a kingdom …Does kingdom here mean just the government part or the whole kingdom?
    Given that in the majority of texts the kingdom always meant the entirety of where God’s rule dominates and Jesus having not qualified his statement any further, then this statement alone dismantles the restrictive view the GB has on it. The language is identical of the sheep on the right hand inheriting the kingdom. It is not qualified so whatever the kingdom is the sheep will inherit it . I only state this point because the GB somehow uses this logic to then make the unclaimed thing of saying the sheep who are to inherit the kingdom are not to eat because they are not rulers
    So again even if granting them the logic that kingdom there meant the kingdom government and in other places means domain they still have to show where those who are looking forward to being the subjects i.e. baptised sheep are not to eat the Christian Passover.

    Look at Israel of the OT ..Anyone who was in that kingdom whether king ,priest ,Jewish subject foreigner subject was required to eat the Passover and given that the GB of old has made a comparison of the OT foreigners with the other sheep it has absolutely become baffling on how they reached the conclusion that these new foreigners cannot eat the new Passover.

    In everything else the other sheep have to do as the 144,000 do and yet this and only this are they persuaded not to do so when no one else in scripture was told such.The only scripture that forbids eating and drinking of the Passover(the scripture at Corinthians) using our own logic that is all in the first century were anointed is directed precisely at the 144,000 about their behavior so it would be by the same criteria that the other baptised sheep would restrict themselves or be judged from eating i.e. their behavior of living up to the model of Christ and not based on the reward they will receive. any other criteria is man made.

    1. rotherham2 says:

      HellO Riven,

      All must partake of the true Passover, which is the Christ, whether they are heaven or earth bound, other sheep or not. Foreigners could not be priests within Israel. But since John 6 likens our faith to eting the flech and drinking the bloof of Jesus, we all must do that for salvation. But that is not the same as actually partaking of the Lord’s evening meal. John 6 does not apply to the actual meal, but is symbolism of fsith in Christ.

      More to follow.
      Ratherham

  23. KingdomSeeker says:

    Nothing in the text or surrounding verses imply that “This invitation is not the same invitation”
    Everything in the text implies open access: open gates, glory brought into it. The defiled won’t enter, only those written in the scroll of life will enter.
    (Revelation 21:24-27) . . .. 25 Its gates will not be closed at all by day, for night will not exist there. 26 And they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 27 But anything defiled and anyone who does what is disgusting and deceitful will in no way enter into it; only those written in the Lamb’s scroll of life will enter.

    None of this suggests just 144,000.

    Also ANYONE, not just 144,000 who adds/takes away from this scroll (Revelation) will have their portion taken away from trees of life and out of the city

    (Revelation 22:18, 19) 18 “I am bearing witness to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone makes an addition to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this scroll; 19 and if anyone takes anything away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take his portion away from the trees of life and out of the holy city, things that are written about in this scroll.

    So we see the whole picture is the text we started with

    (Revelation 22:13-15) . . .. 14 Happy are those who wash their robes, so that they may have authority to go to the trees of life and that they may gain entrance into the city through its gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and those who practice spiritism and those who are sexually immoral and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices lying.’

    The authority (and by implication invitation :- Christ is not going to give someone authority to go to trees of life if he has not invited them) to go through gates is dependent on washing our robes white.

    Hopes this help

  24. rotherham2 says:

    Hello KS,

    Since we have determined that the “camp “outside the holy city is to be thought of as the city itself, as I stated earlier, what is required of one would naturally be required of the other. If one must have his robe washed to get into the holy city, the Lamb’s bride, likewise they would need their robes washed to be allowed in the camp outside. it would seem the criteria for one would be the same as for the other.

    RotherhERHAM

  25. Clay says:

    It seems to me that most of the JW detractors around the net seem to have beef with the way in which the humans that make up the congregation run the show. However, I must say, I’ve never seen a group that is so selfless or kind-hearted than the JWs. Even if they somehow don’t have the details down right (subject to interpretation), I have looked and looked and can’t find a group of Christians that puts such an emphasis on the bible. To the point where if it isn’t mentioned, or if it’s mentioned in a negative light, it’s not done. Verboten even. That may be problematic to some because it seems overly strict, but it certainly does no harm.

    1. michaeljfelker says:

      Clay, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. While I certainly don’t share your experience in terms of Christians who put emphasis on the Bible, I would recommend putting more focus on getting the details correct. That is, it doesn’t really matter if someone puts emphasis on the Bible when it turns out they’re getting everything wrong. Hopefully you see my point.

    2. Riven says:

      Clay part of me agrees with you but we cannot turn a blind eye to something that is obviously glaringly wrong. I will admit there are some details which i will say are not clear and can be interpreted several ways but the eating of the Passover by all people baptized is simply a non interpretation issue.IT is spelt out clearly and definitively. As i said prove from scripture that the other sheep (I am allowing the 2 class for this purpose ) are not to eat the Passover.

      Something like you maybe baptised but are not worthy to eat the body and drink the wine if you are of the other sheep.Just one proof or line of evidence

      1. KingdomSeeker says:

        totally agreed Riven
        Clay – I also agree with you. JW’s are kind, selfless, use the Bible. The list carries on with so many things I agree with JW’s. But separating Christians into 2 classes, where one are in union with Christ and the others are not is not an acceptable doctrine

      2. Clay says:

        Thank you for the replies. I suppose (in my opinion) that is a bit of a silly technicality to worry about. I don’t care that I don’t physically eat the bread or drink the wine. It’s being part of the event that I think truly matters. While I do believe there is a line, people that get hung up on little things like this are missing the forest for the trees.

    3. Eastwardtohelel says:

      Well Clay, most Christian detractors seem to have a beef with the way in which Christians run their show as well. Christians have the same claim if not a larger one. Every time I read anti-christian literature or listen to anti-christian beliefs they almost always start of the same way, by attacking Christians as a whole and not going after the beliefs first. That happens on both sides of the isle.
      Second, as far as the selfless and kind, brother come to Atlanta and ride around with me for a day. Let me take you to a few places and industries and let me show you what kind of reputation the JW have in my community. It’s not a pretty one. More importantly where are you searching? I can show you some churches that are far more scripture based than JW or a typical western church. Just because some of the big name denominations might not fit your idea of what Christianity should look like doesn’t mean these kinds of churches are out there. Personally I fall into messianic Judaism, and I am being very broad by that definition. Attend one of those churches and they will make a Kingdom Hall sermon look like a joke. And by the way, they do not need a publication to them how to read the scripture, they simply know it.
      I’m not here to promote strictly these kinds of churches, because I can show you some loosely defined western churches that are very much based in scripture as well. You just need to focus on scripture first my friend and then find those with whom to sharpen yourself. Yahshua will guide you my friend.
      My point is not to condemn you but to point out the argument of back and forth between JW and all other brands of Christianity is just a false one, because there are a wide variety of beliefs and churches, you just got to do a little looking and have some perspective.

    4. Eastwardtohelel says:

      Just to prove a point, when it comes to hospitality and outward affection, love, and accommodation do you want to know who I personally find that puts us all to shame(generally speaking that is)? Mormons my friend, and I don’t believe a single thing they preach, not in the slightest. So outward displays of who you are doesn’t mean you have the mark. I’ll just close with this, every time I come across someone handing out pamphlets on how wrong mainstream Christianity has it, I find it funny I have never seen them answer with my favorite verse on this subject. They all, including the JWs, say THEY have the correct way, translation, what have you. They all say they are the correct religion. Pay attention here because this really opened my eyes friend, none of them ever quote James 1:27. That is the only religion I follow and if you love King Yahshua( BBH) and you love his creation mankind then I have nothing but love for you. If you don’t find this in any pamphlet that is being handed out condemning Christianity, run from it.

  26. rotherham2 says:

    hello KS,
    If you believe that there will be non-anointed ones living on earth eventually in the future, would they be part of new jerualem in your estimation?
    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. KingdomSeeker says:

      Hello Rotherham.

      I hope you are recovered.

      I think the question is framed wrongly.

      What I believe is what Revelation itself says:
      (Revelation 22:13-15) . . .. 14 Happy are those who wash their robes, so that they may have authority to go to the trees of life and that they may gain entrance into the city through its gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and those who practice spiritism and those who are sexually immoral and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices lying.’

      The authority to New Jerusalem is through a washing of the robes.
      Hope that helps

    1. KingdomSeeker says:

      Hi Rotherham
      All who have faith in the blood of the Christ and are declared righteous enter New Jerusalem
      Hope that clarifies matters.
      KS

  27. rotherham2 says:

    Also since the camp of holy ones is to be considered the same as or even part of New Jerusalem, would not the same criteria apply for entrance? They too must have their robes washed .
    Regards

  28. KingdomSeeker says:

    Hello Rotherham
    I hope you are well

    I believe all present day followers of Christ need to be born again (as Christ commanded “Do not be amazed because I told you: You people must be born again” (John 3:7) ) , and if they remain faithful, in the future they will be granted access to the New Jerusalem.

    In the future regarding others such as the Nations/Kings of The Earth, exactly how the Nations and the kings of the earth enter New Jerusalem, I am still trying to put the scriptural pieces together. Happy to hear your thoughts on it.

    (Revelation 21:24-27) 24?And the nations will walk by means of its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25?Its gates will not be closed at all by day, for night will not exist there. 26?And they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 27?But anything defiled and anyone who does what is disgusting and deceitful will in no way enter into it; only those written in the Lamb’s scroll of life will enter.

    Can I ask if you agree with the society on this comment:

    *** re chap. 44 p. 318 par. 9 Revelation and You ***
    Everything in Revelation is addressed primarily to anointed Christians, who will inhabit New Jerusalem. Through that congregation, the great crowd is also privileged to gain understanding of these precious prophetic truths.—John 17:18-21.
    *** uw chap. 14 p. 111 par. 4 ‘I Make a Covenant With You for a Kingdom’ ***
    At Pentecost of 33 C.E. the first of them were anointed with holy spirit. (Acts 2:1-4; 2 Cor. 1:21, 22) God’s provision for salvation leading to immortal heavenly life was made known. Peter used “the keys of the kingdom of the heavens” to open up this knowledge—first to the Jews, next to the Samaritans, and then to people of the Gentile nations. (Matt. 16:19) Special attention was being given to making up the government that would rule mankind for 1,000 years, and nearly all the inspired letters in the Christian Greek Scriptures are primarily directed to this group of Kingdom heirs—“the holy ones,” “partakers of the heavenly calling.”

    Do you agree that Revelation and (by extension the Christian Greek Scriptures) are primarily addressed/directed to 144,000?

  29. rotherham2 says:

    It stands to reason that during the time of transisiton and new beginnings for the Israel of god, focus would be placd upon their gathering, their function and their place in God’s arrangmntt of things so I nhave no problem with much of what is writen in Revelation and the CGT to be directed primarily to them, but not solely.

    Ther is much about Revelation an what it states that is yet to be understood fully in the future.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

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