Saturday, February 6, 2010

Are there 2 SEPARATE hopes for Christians?(a Watchtower interpretation issue regarding "little flock" and "other sheep") pt.1

Much of these interpretations are personal conjecture based upon reasoning and scriptural revelation,without the WT lens or men making me ignore Christ's words and much of the NT in application to me and most people.I say conjecture simply because I refuse to pretend that we all know everything perfectly and that there aren't other possibly valid thoughts out there!I can say with sheer confidence,however,that the WT interpretation is not plausible unless Christ truly only spoke to 144,000 men.But such a notion was NEVER qualified nor hinted.I thank the few people who helped me realize many things that I had as much assumed once I started reading scripture alone prayerfully,those who helped me clarify a few questions and bring the truth into greater focus.I feel blessed for your help and kindness and am truly grateful.

All Christians after Christ can be sealed with God's spirit!What a dangerous thing to listen to men who tell you that you can't be in utter contradiction to the pertinent biblical revelation that you CAN.It should be a given based on scriptural revelation that any Christian after Christ may have this opportunity and blessing..Lest a JW should assess this information and STILL insist that even though gentiles become one flock with the Jews,they could still just together symbolize Spiritual Israel and there are yet others who aren't allowed to be,that JW is going to need better proof than just the WT society telling him so.It would be sound and perspicacious and in fact life saving to listen to Jesus Christ himself instead.His invitations are for you.He never qualified that they aren't.So don't let men do so.

Don't throw Jesus's words away assuming they're for a VERY few men.He said in my father's house(Christ's body) there are MANY mansions.He wants to prepare a place for you.It is in violation of Yaheweh's principles to implicitly put faith in men,especially if they contradict his Son in ANY way.You have ONE mediator and it isn't a group of men in NY.You have one savior and it isn't an organization.Though their rhetoric and insistences may seem sound on the surface,it is only because we can all easily be deceived if we put implicit faith in blind guides.For the same reason James White sounds reasonable to a Calvinist,for the same reason Athanasius sounds reasonable to a trinitarian..that is why the Governing body sounds reasonable to a JW.That reason would be that one doesn't listen to Jesus's simple words and the bible's overall revealed succint truths beacause he's letting men drown its voice.The solution is to simply listen to Yaheweh and His Son,using reason and exercising humility,while being willing to sacrifice the words of men when they hinder your journey toward faith,truth,and love with tradition,policies,and fallacies that clearly contradict scripture's overreaching revelations.

I am going to go over a few supposed proof texts that Jehovah's Witnesses incorporate in their insistence that there are a literal 144,000 adopted from the earth to rule as kings and priests with Christ in heaven OVER a "great crowd" who will reside right here on earth forever.In other words,they propagate a "two separate hopes" theology for Christians,with just a literal few Christians going to heaven as Christ's anointed brothers and everyone else living here.For the majority of Christians(and they believe Jehovah's Witnesses are the only true Christians) Christ IS NOT their mediator nor their brother but rather the 144,000(who they believe are a select few men in the upper echalons of the WT organization) are their mediator and kings,their "faithful and discreet slave class" who they think Christ is using to feed them spiritually,who they think they actually need before they can reach Christ.They believe they must cling to the coattails of these men if they wish to see salvation.Even though scripture says there is NO mediator but Christ between God and man.In other words,they don't believe the bible's explicit statement about Christ's unqualified sole role as mediator...Though I am not dogmatic about any interpretation that I am about to present ..I consider the reasoning I will use superior to the WT's.Hopefully,I will be able to provide reasons why in the process.Let me begin by also saying that Jesus and the NT writers offer succint compelling and heart-tugging statements throughout the NT that only eisegesis of the highest order could dictate that they are only made for a literal 144,000 men.Surely 144,000 Christians would've been gathered LONG ago..WT speculations on this matter are confounding since they REALLY believe that men totalling 144,000 worthy to be Christ's brothers STILL haven't been found.And that currently they are only found within the WT organization and nowhere else.As if there haven't been countless martyrs and true servants throughout time after Christ,logically far exceeding the 144,000 mark.

Let's begin this analysis of their theology system on these matters with Revelation chapter 7.

Verse 4 says "And I heard the number of those who were sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel"..then it goes on to name those tribes,12,000 from each.JW's will readily admit that the tribes and even the numbers in the tribes are symbolic.After all ,revelation is a book of symbols.Then they go on to insist that 144,000 ISN'T symbolic, which is an inexplicable discrepancy and diversion from their believing the other numbers are.I don't know how the leap is made from everything being symbolic BUT the 144,000,except that they want to manipulate the texts to conform to their system of theology about this "two class system."This allows them to draw on OTHER texts that they can manipulate to also conform,essentially misleading people with eisegesis and rhetoric that SEEMS sound perhaps on the surface,but only if one doesn't read the bible and OTHER commentaries besides those of the WT that actually make more sense.That actually adhere to Christ's obvious succint and beautiful truths throughout the NT,without the WT lens corrupting their purity and detrimentally erasing their application for the VAST majority of Christians.Christ never qualifies that his invitations to his bride are for a LITERAL few Christians only,or that his saying you have NO life in you if you don't "feed on his flesh and drink of his blood" is only applicable to a minute minority of his servants.Christ also said you're fruitless and will be burned up with fire if you aren't "in him",a privilege the WT society claims belongs only to a very few of them.Which to me suggests that most of them(if they believe these men!) cannot be fruitful or even continue living long,according to Christ.Revelation chapter 7,after declaring these tribes,goes on to say in verses 9-11:

9 After these things I saw, and, look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands. 10 And they keep on crying with a loud voice, saying: “Salvation [we owe] to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell upon their faces before the throne and worshiped God

Couple more facts about the WT interpretation of these..They say that the 24 elders in heaven represent the 144,000 in their heavenly stations,because elsewhere revelation says they have on crowns(4:4).Before proceeding,let me reiterate again that these are my OPINIONS that I am NOT dogmatic about.I don't believe this to be the case simply because it has to be read INTO the text that crowns always mean "anointed brethren."The fact that they bear the name "elders" suggests and connotes to me that they are ancient,perhaps elder angels(or other creatures) of God's who hold very special positions due to their age and wisdom.Which would make sense because Christ is given the most exceptional exaltation of all as the most ancient of God's Sons.Their crowns could simply signify some type of authority God has delegated to them.We must also keep in mind that God's earthly temple order is modeled after his heavenly,suggesting to me he would have elders in heaven as our model here..Again,this IS conjecture.Another point I would like to get out of the way is that to my knowledge and in my opinion,all the texts that people use to prove that Christians go to heaven don't necessarily do so.The language God uses to communicate doesn't DEMAND this.He uses phrases like "kingdom of the heavens" and NOT "kingdom IN heaven".Revelation says that New Jerusalem descends over the earth to bless it,so who's to say the kingdom of the heavens isn't on this earth as heaven descends over it,blessing it benevolently?(21:10)..It "comes down FROM heaven."The blessings are here on earth,ultimately.I am not suggesting that Christians' new "imperishable" bodies won't be able to access heaven..I don't think scripture is clear enough to assume whether that would be possible or not.But my conjecture is that the main hope for mankind is an eternal life in Edenic type conditions on a "new earth."God placed it within our hearts to desire peace here and created us to inhabit and care for the earth.And his grand purposes always get fulfilled.(Is. 55:11)

Let's examine Matt 5:5 “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth. and then verse 10 “Happy are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them."

It would be odd(and I could be wrong) if Jesus was suggesting two different locations of residence for Christians with the SAME HOPE as ONE FOLD.ALL Christians should be meek and will be persecuted for righteousness' sake.So the kingdom OF(as opposed to in) the heavens & the blessed new earth blessed by heaven may be the same place.

Another argument of the WT's is that the anointed brothers are adopted FROM the earth which the WT insists means that they are obviously going to heaven.Again,that notion has to be read INTO the text.The text simply states the location from which Christ adopts them.(the earth)

Also,our being adopted from THIS earth,since God's kingdom isn't fully manifest here yet,except that Christ resides in Christians,connotes our alien residence in a world that isn't really "the new heavens and the NEW earth" which will soon manifest itself.Our being adopted means we will have the right to freedom in God's new kingdom as sons and daughters of God when this earth becomes the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ.We're no longer sons & daughters of THIS world,which is lying in Satan's power,but are instead imminent recipients of a much greater beneficent & beatific calling.

Ephesians 4:4 One body there is, and one spirit, even as you were called in the one hope to which you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;

Notice these texts say "ONE hope,one faith,one baptism"..not two hopes,one faith,two baptisms.

Which is relevant to the point I am about to make in regards to Revelation chapter 7again..

The JW's will argue that the 144,000 men have to be a different group than the following great crowd because the symbolic tribes represent Spirtual Israel and the great crowd are from ALL nations and tribes and tongues and peoples to differentiate them from the 144,000.But to insist that this is the way these texts must be viewed is to COMPLETELY ignore that spiritual Israel,which the symbolic tribes represent are from every tribe, tongue,people and nation,as God is no longer partial.So the most natural implication for me is that the great crowd of people from all nations,again,are the very ones spiritual Israel symbolizes right before they're mentioned in this book of symbols.Christ opened the way for this..remember?The gentiles and ALL nations could suddenly have the SAME hope.Yes,the great crowd IS probably spiritual Israel,symbolically represented BY the tribes,apropos.

Basically,the WT separation here is unwarranted.After John saw the 144,000 he saw a great crowd,suggesting to me personally that they are the SAME group.And this isn't my opinion alone.Many biblical scholars and students have come to the same conclusion.We know that these are the ones who come out of the great tribulation!And Jehovah's Witnesses say that the 144,000 with the heavenly hope are the "chosen ones","the elect."In light of this,let's examine Matthew chapter 24 where we read in verse 22 In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short. ..The WT assumes that the "elect" left on earth at the time of the Great Tribulation will undergo the sufferings of the tribulation and that is how they explain away the implications in this verse.But,to me,a more plausible explanation would be that,in correlation with Matt 24:22,those coming out of the tribulation from Revelation ch 7 (the great crowd!)are the SAME ones ,aka "the elect",for whom God cut those days short.As if,assuming there was a SEPARATE hope like JW's do,God wouldn't also want to cut those days short for those who he loves who aren't of the elect.As if he would for the elect but not the "other sheep",which the WT says are not the elect but the ones who follow them and treat them well and cling to their coattails & hence secure their salvation.In other words,he doesn't mention cutting the days short for anyone who isn't the elect suggesting that he cuts the days short for the them(simply),and that would be the great crowd who comes out of the great tribulation.

Examine:Revelation 7:14:These are the ones that come out of the great tribulation(correlating with Matthew 24:22,again), and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 That is why they are before the throne of God; and they are rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple; and the One seated on the throne will spread his tent over them.

According to JW theology,the great crowd are only on the temple's COURTYARDS,and not allowed in the temple because they say the temple is heaven and the earth is the courtyards.So to explain the implications that would leave for these texts away,they simply say that:

(From Wt 9/1 2006:) "Revelation 7:9-15 gives further details, telling of “a great crowd” from “all nations” who gather in worship and prayer to God “day and night” as they stand in the OUTER COURTYARD of the spiritual temple."

So I guess I'll simply ask the JW's..where does Revelation 7:15 remotely imply "outer courtyards" of the temple but by the insistence and eisegesis of men?I don't know why God's great spiritual temple can't include the earth when it too will be holy and new and clean as New Jerusalem descends over it,becoming "one" with it.Jehovah's Witnesses actually go into the NT assuming that the same partiality God afforded to the Israelites in the OT carries over to the New,even though the bible makes this CLEAR:

Acts 10:34:Peter opened his mouth and said: “For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial, 35 but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him."

Of course,God opened the way for the Gentiles to receive the SAME blessings the faithful Israelites enjoyed,with NO partiality.So why JW's insist there is STILL a blockage to most men in relation to God's granting the ultimate Christian blessings to them when this isn't even implied is beyond me.Scripture makes it abundantly clear that Gentiles will be "grafted into" the same favor,the same fold(and have the same hope!) the faithful Jews enjoy.(Rom 11:17-24)Otherwise,what were Peter's visions regarding what was unclean being made clean and Pentecost(the list goes on)all about?Remember..ONE hope.In other words,Jehovah's witnesses assuming that the gentiles symbolize the "great crowd" of Christians who cannot possibly be anointed and only allowed in the "outer courtyards" and the Jews symbolizing "spiritual Israel" who can be anointed and allowed access where the majority aren't propagates the partiality that God eradicated with Christ's death and this essentially nullifies His invitation to all for the SAME HOPE.This invitation,of course,is for those after Christ to be kings and priests.Some of those BEFORE CHRIST who are most favored with God will,according to scripture,be "princes" in all the earth.

Psalm 45:16: In place of your forefathers there will come to be your sons,Whom you will appoint as princes in all the earth.

Faithful Christians after Christ are ALL offered the invitations to be his brothers and to reign with him.

So WHO exactly will be "kingdom subjects?"All those before Christ I'm assuming because they will need to learn about him and be guided to the truth and fulfillment of all things,the great Amen,Christ, by those faithful who had the privilege to already be exposed to all we know now as Christians in him.It's always possible,and this is conjecture,that there will be some who die after Christ who didn't have the opportunity to be born again yet and so will also be kingdom subjects.But the whole point is that if you're a mature Christian,I can't find an excuse in scripture not to be in Christ,born again,feeding on him,and accepting his invitations.There is no way anyone but a Jehovah's Witness,because of repetition in their literature and an elaborate system of inference from a misuse of a select few texts,would assume Christ and the apostles' words throughout the NT just simply cannot apply to them.There is literally NO qualification anywhere to suggest they don't.It is actually ridiculous to read most of what the NT says and say "welp..that's not for me!"Scripture doesn't say it was written for us ,just not all of us.The OT partiality was made obsolete.

In part 2,I will cover other WT "proof texts" that they isolate to try and support this "two hope theology" system.Stay tuned.

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