Watchtower Study Review – “I have Hope Toward God” – February 5-11, 2018

Reviewing the article, “I Have Hope Toward God” in the December 2017 Watchtower Study Edition.

The nature and timing of the resurrection is perhaps one of the most difficult Watchtower doctrines to reconcile with Scripture. This review will highlight these difficulties.

 

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38 thoughts on “Watchtower Study Review – “I have Hope Toward God” – February 5-11, 2018

  1. Elmer says:

    Hi Mike,

    Watchtower teaching concerning the resurrection is very confusing to be sure. Please don’t take offense, but some of your counter-arguments are even more confusing. If I understood you correctly, you are implying that Jesus should have been resurrected to heaven in his physical body. You lost me on that one Mike……

    1. michaeljfelker says:

      Yes, but I wouldn’t have time to develop the argument here in the comments as it basically requires a full exegesis of Revelation 20. It’s a pretty common belief too and referred to as amillenialism and post millennialism. Both views are distinct but have in common the present reality of the millennium.

  2. Elmer says:

    Hi Rotherham,

    I didn’t know you had your own website. I certainly don’t want to offend you, but I am very curious as to how you can pull that off without getting disciplined by the Organization. Of course as you well know, any “source” of spiritual insight other than through the “approved channel” (aka GB) or JW.Org is strictly prohibited.

    Don’t get me wrong, I applaud you for having a hunger for spiritual things. But in all honesty, how can you claim to be loyal to the Org and at the same time operate your own “channel”? If you can explain that to me in a completely honest fashion, I would surely welcome your reply.

    Regards,

    Elmer

    1. michaeljfelker says:

      Elmer-

      I would second that question to Rotherham, especially in light of comments from a recent WT Study:

      “Furthermore, posting our publications on websites that allow comments provides a place for apostates and other critics to sow distrust of Jehovah’s organization. Some brothers have been drawn into online debates and thus have brought added reproach on Jehovah’s name. An online forum is not an appropriate setting for “instructing with mildness those not favorably disposed.” (2 Tim. 2:23-25; 1 Tim. 6:3-5)” (Source: https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2018364#h=6)

      While this is in the context of websites that post WT publications without permission, the principle still seems to apply; namely, that the Governing Body does not want you participating in debates on sites like this. I completely concur with Elmer that i’m glad Rotherham is here and participating in discussions, but it’s hard to understand how it’s reconcilable with GB policies.

  3. rotherham2 says:

    Although strongly cautioned against it has never been prohibited. Only those qualified should even attempt such a thing. And as you noted, I do not put our publications out there and provide room for comments by anyone who wishes to take a pot shot at what they say. Nowadays, we are encouraged to use the internet in our witnessing endeavors via email correspondence and the like. Just because they don’t endorse something does not mean they prohibit it. I realize many wish we would just not say anything in response to religious postings and that might be the real reason some people use this approach to try an discourage us from doing so. It is easier than actually addressing the points raised.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

  4. Elmer says:

    Rotherham,

    Thanks for the reply. I must point out however, that you are not being honest. You know this to be true. Saying that it is discouraged but not prohibited is beyond ridiculous. If you were to apply that reasoning, then you would also say that viewing pornography is discouraged but not prohibited. This is the point: If you are truly claiming to be a loyal JW, you wouldn’t continue to test the limits of the Org’s “boundaries”.

    Just please this one time answer this question truthfully- If your Circuit Overseer knew you were engaged in posting on online forums such as this one, what would be his reaction? If by some slim chance that you are an appointed man, how long would that last? Could you possibly end up in a Judicial Committee for apostasy? Highly likely. The reason I mention that is because I served as an Elder for almost 30 years and have seen it several times. Of course, I now appreciate what a crock the whole thing was.

    Bottom line: If you are going to REALLY be a JW, then be one.

    Regards,

    Elmer

  5. rotherham2 says:

    Yes Mike, I will answer YOUR question:
    My circuit overseer would not like it because he knows the danger of doing such a thing and has no idea whether I am qualifies to defend our teachings on an advanced level. I t would not be considered apostasy. That would be a misnomer. Now why don’t we actually talk about the scriptural points I posted?
    Regards

    1. michaeljfelker says:

      Thanks for answering. I couldn’t help myself in light of recent Watchtower emphasis on these matters, but I won’t pursue it further at this time as it’s off topic. Regarding the resurrection, i’m a little more interested in the timing of the resurrection, as that was the bulk of my podcast discussed. The nature of the resurrection is quite relevant too, but I have good reasons for thinking that the nature of the resurrection gets solved once the timing issues are settled. Did you watch/listen to the podcast? Probably not worth engaging until you do.

  6. rotherham2 says:

    But if thst is what I have to do to get you to talk about it, I will try an ;listen this weekend although I can’t promise it will happen.
    Rotherham

  7. Elmer says:

    A Podcast is generally better understood if it is actually LISTENED to. Hard to respond to an article if you have not read it- in this case, listened to it.

    I did not mean to offend you Rotherham, just tried to get you to think. I truly hope the best for you.
    It’s just really difficult for me to handle hypocrisy anymore.

    Also, thank you Rotherham- this is officially the first time I’ve been called an “Apostate”.
    See, you can be honest if you try”….

    Apologies Mike- I won’t push the matter any further 😳

  8. Elmer says:

    It’s a strange paradigm to be sure. Only just a year ago, I would have laughed at the thought. You never know, maybe Rotherham will be able to relate us someday….

  9. rotherham2 says:

    Hello Mike,Well, I actually did get a chance to listen to the podcast in question about the type and timing of the resurrection. Let’s first address the timing issue that you seem to have.
    As you noted, the scriptures talk about the resurrection as occurring in the last day but you seem to think there is a contradiction of the timing between the anointed and the earthly resurrections.
    I think your confusion comes from the not understanding clearly what all can be indicated in the phrase “last day”. Think of it this way, if the “last day” is actually a very long period time then there would be no co0ntradiction between the timing. If you think of the “last day” as a 24 hour event or very short in duration, then here could certainly be a problem.
    Let’s see what is indicated by the phrase “the last day”.
    Actually we believe as says the scripture: 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who recognizes the Son and exercises faith in him should have everlasting life,+ and I will resurrect+ him on the last day.”
    Therefore alll who exercise faith in the Son will be resurrected on the last day, that would include both the anointed and the other sheep. So when is the last day?
    At John 12:48 we are told that “judgment” also takes place on the last day. So two important events are taking place on what is referred to as the last day, resurrection and judgement.
    We are also informed that judgment day corresponds to the millennium in the book of Revelation. So we can conclude that the “last day” is also the “judgement day” for mankind, which is connected to the millennium, which is yet future.
    How then do we see this in connection with 1914 onward when we believe that to be the time when the anointed would be resurrected, which is clearly, pre millennium?
    It has to do with what the phrase “last days” refers to in the Bible. It is used numerous times in the Bible and is sometimes rendered “in the last days’ or in the “final part of the days” and a quick study of what those different phrases refer to will tell us they are not all in reference to the same exact time period. What we do learn is that it is consistently used as a phrase to indicate a time when historical events would reach a final climax, no matter when the time period it was employed.
    Forinstance,Ezekiel 38: 16 Like clouds covering the land, you will come against my people Israel. In the final part of the days I will bring you against my land so that the nations may know me when I sanctify myself through you before their eyes, O Gog.”’b
    This final part of the days occurred at clearly not the same time period involving resurrection and judgement, but occurred circa 600 BCE.
    Likjewise, with the following passages that employ this phrase, it refers to times when historical events would reach a final climax.
    Daniel 2:28
    28 But there is a God in the heavens who is a Revealer of secrets, and he has made known to King Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar what is to happen in the final part of the days. This is your dream, and these are the visions of your head as you lay on your bed:
    Daniel 10:14
    14 I have come to make you understand what will befall your people in the final part of the days,a because it is a vision yet for the days to come.”b
    The Bible also uses this term regarding “the last days” in connection with the presence of Jesus Christ.
    2 Peter 3:3
    3 First of all know this, that in the last days ridiculers will come with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desiresa
    So in harmony with those thoughts that the last days refer to historical events coming to a climax, it could easily refer to the “presence “ of Christ, which is a long, lasting event, starting circa 1914, according to our understanding of prophecy and continuing to the end of the millennium. Notice what “history making” features are mentioned in connection with this establishment of this kingdom by Christ.
    Eph. 1:9 by making known to us the sacred secret+ of his will. It is according to his good pleasure that he himself purposed 10 for an administration* at the full limit of the appointed times, to gather all things together in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.+ Yes, in him.
    This administration and its activity at the FULL LIMIT of the appointed times would surely qualify as a “last days” event. The presence of Christ which lasts clear through the millennium, is definitely a prominent last days in Biblical prophecy as it is the most noteworthy historical event that comes to a climax.
    So we would see the “last days”, or even the “last day” as a reference to the parousia of Christ, in which ALL the resurrections and judgements take place, of both the other sheep and the anointed, so we don’t see the issue with timing that you mention for they are all on the “last day” or in the “last days”, that being the duration of Christ”s presence, which would include the millennium.
    I found it disappointing that you sidestepped 1 Cor. 15 when I believe that is where the issue of TYPE is thoruoughly resolved as I have posted many times.
    In a later post, I will address the TYPES of the different resurrections. But for now I will await your response to the above.

    Regards,
    Rotherham

    1. michaeljfelker says:

      Rotherham-

      I admit that i’m a little more confused than I already was. So let me ask some questions and share a few thoughts.

      -First, where do you get the idea that the “last day” refers to a long period of time?

      -Does judgment day/resurrection happen before, the middle, or after the millennium (“connected” could mean any of this)? And since you have to account for 3 resurrections (anointed, righteous, and unrighteous), it seems extremely difficult to reconcile. But whatever the case, you have to explain a long period of progressive resurrections of the anointed (happens before the millennium), then the physical resurrection of the righteous/unrighteous (is this pre-mil or post-mil?), and then judgment day (Isn’t that post-mil?). If judgment day (post-mil) and the resurrection (pre-mil) are happening in clearly different eras, it seems pretty difficult to reconcile. I’m sure if you drew a chart for all this, it would be confusing.

      -You won’t get any argument from me that “last days” can be a long period of time, which most everyone agrees with. But it sounds like you’re viewing “last days” and “the last day” as the same thing? If so, I don’t see any biblical basis for that.

      -As for 1 Cor. 15, it was sidestepped for obvious reasons. That being, i’d need at least another hour to get into it. If 1 Cor. 15 had been a key focus for the article, I would have gotten into it. Considering the amount of time you spent in your linked article should be reason enough to understand why I didn’t get into it.

  10. rotherham2 says:

    CORRECTION:
    I sais:This final part of the days occurred at clearly not the same time period involving resurrection and judgement, but occurred circa 600 BCE.

    That is inaccurate as we would see the fulfillment of this prophecy to be within the Parousia of Christ
    Regards

  11. rotherham2 says:

    PART 1
    You said:
    I admit that i’m a little more confused than I already was. So let me ask some questions and share a few thoughts.
    -First, where do you get the idea that the “last day” refers to a long period of time?
    ————————————————————————————————————
    The term “last day” or “the last days” or “final part of the days” proves to be an interesting study as to what “time” we are referring to exactly.
    We do not believe that he scriptures present “judgment day” as a 24 hour day but as an extended period of time. It is revealed to be during the 1000 year reign of Christ. We know this because of what the book of Revelation reveals for us about judgment in relation to the holy ones who are to judge the world.(details available)(1 Cor. 6:2) Interestingly, the blueletter bible gives one definition of the word DAY as follows:
    of the last day of this present age, the day Christ will return from heaven, raise the dead, hold the final judgment, and perfect his kingdom. We would concur with that view of the word “day”. I find that many commentators agree. That is clearly not a 24 hour day but an extended period of time.
    This is further witnessed by something I mentioned in my prior response. Jesus Christ often mentioned resurrecting people on the last day. He also spoke of the judgment on mankind being on the last day. (Jn 12:48: Whoever disregards me and does not receive my sayings has one to judge him. The word that I have spoken is what will judge him on the last day.) This informs us that the last day involves both resurrection and judgement. AS mentioned above, judgment day is the 1000 year reign of Christ. Therefore, the time or day for the resurrection would be the same.
    We are also informed that the holy ones are resurrected during or at the “parousia” of Christ. According to our understanding of prophecy, that Parousia began circa 1914. If correct, that would mean that the holy ones who were still in the grave could be resurrected circa that time. Since we are told that resurrection takes place on the “last day” and then told that the resurrection begins at the Parousia of Christ, we can logically deduce that the last day begins with the Parousia of Christ because that is when the “first” resurrection begins. The resurrection and judgment of both the righteous and the unrighteous takes place during the millennium according to Revelation (details available ).
    Paul gives us further understanding about some details of the resurrection of the holy ones
    15 For this is what we tell you by Jehovah’s* word, that we the living who survive to the presence of the Lord will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep in death; 16 because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s+ voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first.+ 17 Afterward we the living who are surviving will, together with them, be caught away in clouds+ to meet the Lord+ in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord.
    From this we see that when the parousia of Christ arrives, those who are dead in Christ rise FIRST, THEN those who survive TO te presence will be “caught away” to be with the Lord. According to 1 Cor. 15: 51-55 Look! I tell you a sacred secret: We will not all fall asleep in death, but we will all be changed,+ 52 in a moment, in the blink* of an eye, during the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound,+ and the dead will be raised up incorruptible, and we will be changed.
    Thus,not all the holy ones fall asleep in death but they will ALL be changed. This is in harmony with what we understand to be the case. Many holy ones HAVE slept in death but were resurrected at the Parousia of Christ. However, once that Parousia commenced the holy ones who die do not SLEEP in death, but they are instantly changed into spirits as was Christ in this same context.
    Now, as far as the difference between “day” and “days”, consider the following. This also involves the expression “that day” in the Bible and what it points to. Initially it should be kept in mind that one of the definitions of DAY is “used of time in general” so we should be able to see that the Greek word for DAY could also mean DAYS, as in standing for “time in general”.
    Scriptures bear out that the day of the Lord or the day of Jesus Christ parallels he time of his parousia I think Baker’s Theological Dictionary has some interesting points about the expression “last day” or “that day” in the the Greek scriptures. Here are some excerpts of interest:
    Continued in next part.
    Regards,
    Rotherham

  12. rotherham2 says:

    Day of the Lord, God, Christ, the
    Expression, often in the context of future events, which refers to the time when God will intervene decisively for judgment and/or salvation. Variously formulated as the “day of the Lord” ( Amos 5:18 ), the “day of our Lord Jesus Christ” ( 1 Col 1:8 ; cf. 2 Col 1:14 ), the “day of God” ( 2 Peter 3:12 ; Rev 16:14 ), or “the last day(s), ” the expression highlights the unmistakable appearance of God. God will make visible his rule of righteousness by calling for an accounting by the nations as well as individuals, dispensing punishment for some and ushering in salvation for others.
    ….
    The Calendaring of the Day. The “day of the Lord” is not a one-time occurrence. Days of the Lord, while often represented in the Bible as in the future, are not limited to the future. There have been days of the Lord in the past. The catastrophe of the fall of Jerusalem in 587 b.c. was described as a “day of the Lord” ( Lam 2:21 ). Isaiah says that the day of the Lord will involve the fall of Babylon. God’s agency will be recognized, for he will “make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place” ( Isa 13:13 ). God’s immediate agent will be the Medes whom he will stir up against Babylon; their action will be decisive. “Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians’ pride, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah” ( 13:19 ). Historically, that event is to be dated to 539 b.c. Joel, in turn, describes a grasshopper plague that for him represents the day of the Lord as imminent, even immediate. The day of Pentecost, now history, is described as the day of the Lord ( Acts 2:16-21 ).

    Still, for the prophets and for many of the New Testament writers, the day of the Lord points to the future. That future may be centuries distant, as in Isaiah’s prophecy about Babylon (chap. 13) or Joel’s prophecy about the Spirit ( 2:28-32 ), or it may be in the far distant future. Isaiah’s language about the universal humiliation of the lofty and arrogant indicates a grand finale, possibly at the end of history ( 2:12-18 ). The New Testament, while speaking of the Christ event as a day of the Lord ( Acts 2:16-21 ), also speaks of the anticipated day of Christ as his return ( 2 Thess 2:1-2 ), which is yet, after almost two thousand years, still future. The surprise factor (it will come “like a thief in the night”) is a marked feature of the day in the New Testament ( 1 Thessalonians 5:2 1 Thessalonians 5:4 ; 2 Peter 3:10 ). Eventually the day of the Lord (God) came to mean the termination of the world.
    Coninued in next part.

    Rotherham

  13. rotherham2 says:

    PART 3

    So, accordingly, the CHRIST EVENT (Parousia) is considered a DAY of the Lord. It begins circa 1914 and continues to the end of the millennium. The parousia is not a one day event according to the scriptures.
    to be continued next part. Sorry for so many parts but board iisn’t poting half of what I have sent. I keep having to break it down to get it to post.

    Rotherham

  14. rotherham2 says:

    PART 4
    Math. 24 37 ( For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be.)
    continued–There is something wrong with this board.

    Rotherham

  15. rotherham2 says:

    PART 4
    Math. 24 37 — For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be.)
    continued–There is something wrong with this board.

    Rotherham

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