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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Earth's Perpetual 'Habitable Zone' - Accident or "Remarkable Fine-Tuning"?

Many people know that to avoid extremes of temperature, the Earth must orbit at the correct distance from the Sun. Though the Earth currently does slightly vary in it's proximity to the Sun from time to time, it always remains comfortably in what astronomers call the 'habitable zone'— the area where it is capable of sustaining liquid water.

But what many people may not be aware of is that scientists agree that the Earth has always been in the 'habitable zone' throughout its 4.6 billion-year history. Why should this be so interesting? Because all astronomers will tell you that the Sun gets hotter as it ages. For the Earth to always have had liquid oceans for the majority of it's history, geologists admit that there would have to have been "a remarkable fine-tuning of its atmosphere to a warming sun."

The following is an excerpt from p.100 of Science `83, July/August, concerning this:

"The climate of the Earth has varied considerably over time .... Yet what puzzles many scientists is not that the climate varies but that it has remained as stable as it has.

"The Earth, they point out, is quite literally poised between fire and ice. Consider, for example, what would happen if we somehow moved the Earth slightly closer to the sun.

"As the oceans grew warmer, more and more water vapor would begin to steam into the atmosphere ....

"In the end our planet would become a twin of unfortunate Venus, the next planet inward to the sun: a gaseous, dry searing hell, its surface covered with clouds, oppressed by a massive atmosphere of carbon dioxide, and hot enough to melt lead.

"Suppose, on the other hand, we moved the Earth further out from the sun. As the planet grew colder, glaciers would grind [toward the equator].... In the end, the Earth would gleam brilliantly—but its oceans would be frozen solid.

"Thus, the climate is balanced precariously indeed—so precariously that many geologists now believe that tiny, cyclic variations in the Earth's orbit, known as the Milankovitch Cycles, were enough to have triggered the ice ages.

"But geologists ... assure us that the oceans of the earth have remained warm and liquid throughout its 4.6 billion-year history.

"Perhaps this is a lucky accident—after all, if the Earth had not formed at just the right distance from the sun to have liquid oceans, we would not be here to worry about it. But the astrophysicists point out that things aren't quite that simple.

"The sun [as must ALL stars of this life-supporting type] they say, ... is inexorably getting hotter with age. In fact, it is about 40 percent brighter now than when the Earth was born. So how could the climate possibly stay constant? If the Earth is comfortable now, then billions of years ago, under a colder sun, the oceans must have been frozen solid. But they were not. On the other hand, if the oceans were liquid then, why has the sun not broiled us into a second Venus by now?"

The Science article concludes that if continuation of life on the Earth depended on an "accident" that has been

"followed by a remarkable fine-tuning of its atmosphere to a warming sun, then the hopes of finding other intelligence in the universe must be slim indeed."

On the contrary, doesn't it appear that the "accident" and the "remarkable fine-tuning" over billions of years provide evidence of another, much higher intelligence?

Related Articles:

Earth’s Perfect “Address” (g 2/09 pp. 4-5; Watchtower Online Library)

THE EARTH - Was it “Founded” by Chance? (g00 10/8 pp. 8-11; Watchtower Online Library)

The "Impossible" Universe (Search For Bible Truths)

Why Do Some Scientists Believe in God? (Search For Bible Truths)

The Universe — Did It Come About by Chance or by Design? (Search For Bible Truths)

Is It Unscientific to Believe in God? (g04 6/22 pp. 3-4; Watchtower Online Library)

Our Awesome UNIVERSE - A Product of Chance? (g00 10/8 pp. 3-4; Watchtower Online Library)

Did the ELEMENTS Come About by Chance? (g00 10/8 pp. 5-7; Watchtower Online Library)


(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Holy Spirit "Poured Out" (Ekxeo)

In Acts 2:17,18, God pours out [ekxeo, ekxew] from [apo] his Spirit upon all people. This alone should be clear enough that the Holy Spirit is a thing not a person.

However, let's look at all other uses of ekxeo used in the NT as listed in Young's Exhaustive Concordance.

(Mark 2:22 does not use ekxeo in the best manuscripts.)

John 2:15, "poured out [ekxeo] the coins of the money changers."
Acts 2:17, 18, God "pours out [ekxeo] from [apo] His Spirit upon all people."
Acts 2:33, "he has poured out [ekxeo] this (thing) [touto, neut.] which you see."
Acts 22:20, the blood of Stephen was poured out [ekxeo].
Rom. 3:15, Feet swift to shed ("pour out" - ekxeo) blood.
Titus 3:6, "Holy Spirit which he [God] poured out [ekxeo] upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior" (RSV). [This is also translated by noted trinitarian Beck as "He poured a rich MEASURE of this Spirit on us through Jesus Christ our Savior" (Beck NT)].
Rev. 16:1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 10, 12, 17, pour out [ekxeo] (the contents of) the bowls of the wrath of God. In other words "wrath" was being poured out.
Rev. 16:16, they poured out [ekxeo] the blood of saints and prophets.

Certainly in all other cases ekxeo ("poured out") refers to things. It would be unreasonable to insist that this is not the case in Acts 2 (and Titus 3:6) also. We can see that if we pour out something from something, it can mean one of two things. If we said we poured out from our bowl, for instance, we actually mean we poured from a container which contained some substance (thing). We may have poured some of it or all of it. But if we said we poured out from our wine onto your roast beef, it can only mean that we poured a portion of our wine (out of some container, of course) onto the meat. We would not say we poured from our wine if we had poured it all out.
What was it that God poured out from his Spirit? Well, what did the people receive when God poured out from his Spirit? Acts 2:4, 33 tells us they received holy spirit! If, then, God poured Holy Spirit from his Holy Spirit as described in Acts 2:17, 18, it means he poured out a portion of his Holy Spirit, as rendered in the very trinitarian translations of the New American Bible (1970 and 1991 editions ), the New English Bible, and the Revised English Bible. (It is similar to our pouring out some wine from our wine.) So God poured out some of his spirit here, some of it there, but certainly he still kept an infinite supply.
Also see Numbers 11:17, 25. The literal "from the Spirit" here in the inspired Hebrew Bible language (see the trinitarian The NIV Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament, Zondervan Publ.) also means "a portion" of God's Spirit was taken from one person and given to others. See these trinitarian translations of Num. 11:17, 25: RSV, NEB, GNB, AT, NAB, JB, NRSV, REB, NJB, Mo, and Byington. Spirit, then, is a thing that may be poured out in portions - you simply do not pour out persons in measured portions upon other persons!

For much more, see:

What Is THE HOLY SPIRIT? (g 7/06 pp. 14-15; Watchtower Online Library)

The Holy Spirit - Not a Person or God, But an Impersonal Force From God (HS - Holy Spirit; Original File With Notes; Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Holy Spirit - Links To Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Exposing the False Reasoning Behind Holy Spirit 'Proof-Texts' (Search For Bible Truths)

Trinity Index (Examining the Trinity)


(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Monday, April 28, 2014

VIDEO: After Tornado, Kingdom Halls Being Built To Withstand 250 M.P.H. Wind Speeds

(Originally Posted on 6-2-13)

(Title is in Español, but the Video is in English)

(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Friday, April 25, 2014

Exposing the False Reasoning Behind Holy Spirit 'Proof-Texts'

Many who believe that the Holy Spirit is a person or God Himself rely only on a few selected, so-called 'proof-texts'.

The following links lead to research showing how the most frequently used so-called 'Proof Texts' are not proof of the Holy Spirit's Godhood or personhood in any way.

(Links to more guides can be found at the bottom of this list.)

Gen. 1:26
Gen. 1:26 - "Let Us Make Man in Our Image" (Search For Bible Truths);   Does this Scripture really prove the Trinity? (Search For Bible Truths);   Image (Examining the Trinity);   How is Man Made in God's Image? (Gen. 1:26) (Search For Bible Truths);   ("Let us make man in our image") - ELOHIM 3-6; I-AM 5; (Examining the Trinity)

Mt. 12:32
Blasphemy to Christ: forgiven; to Holy Spirit not - HS (par. #34); (Examining the Trinity);   BOWHS (f.n.) (Examining the Trinity);   Matthew 12:32 "whoever says something against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven" (Examining the Trinity)

Mt. 28:19
What does Mt. 28:19 mean? (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers; Quote from WT 2002 April 1st);   Mt. 28:19 " the NAME of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit" (Examining the Trinity);   Mt. 28:19 - NWT (Defending the NWT);   Does Mt. 28:19 prove that the Holy Spirit is God? (Search For Bible Truths);   Concerning Mt. 28:19... (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers);   2 Cor.13:14 "Jesus", "God", "and the...Holy Spirit" (Search For Bible Truths);   Shem Tov's Hebrew Matthew 14th century manuscripts (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers);   Some comments by scholars and translators (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers);   Online references that discuss the possible spurious origins of Matt. 28:19 (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)

John 6:7-15
John 6:7-15 Holy Spirit as a "he" (Examining the Trinity);   Why, in John 16:7, is the holy spirit spoken of as a "helper"? (Examining the Trinity)

Acts 5:3,4
Acts 5:3, 4 Lied to the Holy Spirit...lied to God? (Examining the Trinity);   Acts 5:3 "play false" (In Defense of The New World Translation);   The Doctrine of the Trinity and Acts 5:3, 4 (Jehovah's Witnesses United);   The Holy Spirit - God's Active Force (Jehovah's Witnesses United)

Acts 8:29

Acts 10:38
"Anointed with Holy Spirit" (Examining the Trinity)

Acts 13:2

Acts 28:25
Acts 28:25 "The holy spirit aptly spoke through Isaiah" (Examining the Trinity)

Rom. 8:27
Rom. 8:27 (phronema) (In Defense of The New World Translation);   Rom. 8:27 - Why is the Greek word translated differently in the NWT? (Jehovah's Witnesses United);   Rom. 8:27 "Mind of the Spirit" (Examining the Trinity)

1 Cor. 12:11

2 Cor. 3:17
2 Cor. 3:17 "The Lord is the Spirit." (Examining the Trinity)

2 Cor. 13:14
2 Cor. 13:14 "the sharing in" (In Defense of The New World Translation);   2 Cor.13:14 "Jesus", "God", "and the...Holy Spirit" (Search For Bible Truths);  Holy Spirit, par. 31Note (13.) to HS, and Note (14.) to HS (Examining the Trinity);   2 Cor. 13:14 "Jesus", "God", "and the...Holy Spirit" (Examining the Trinity);   2 Cor.13:14 "Jesus", "God", "and the...Holy Spirit" (Examining the Trinity)

Eph. 4:30

1 John 5:7
Bible Book Number 62—1 John (si pp. 256-258; Watchtower Online Library);  1 John 5:7, 8 rs p. 405-p. 426; Watchtower Online Library)  Spirit (Insight-2 pp. 1017-1027; Watchtower Online Library)

The 'Johannine Comma' - 1 John 5:7 (In Defense of The New World Translation);   But Your Bible's Been Changed! (From God's Word);   Newton proved that the words in 1 John 5:7 were spurious... (Pastor Russell);   1 John 5:7 (KJV) (Examining the Trinity);   How does the accuracy of the New World Translation Bible compare to other translations? (Search For Bible Truths);   1 John 5:7 proof of the Trinity? (Search For Bible Truths);   "Word" and 1 John 5:7, KJV ("Oneness") (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers);   "Jehovah" in the New Testament (end notes) (Search For Bible Truths, 10th par. end note #1, 10th par. "Zondervan")

1 John 5:8
1 John 5:8 (Examining the Trinity);   Trinitarian reasoning - water and blood persons too? (Search For Bible Truths);   How can the Holy Spirit be "grieved"? (Search For Bible Truths);   What about scriptures that seem to show the Holy Spirit being personified? (Search For Bible Truths)

More material:
Trinity 'Proof' Texts Refuted (From In Defense of The New World Translation of The Holy Scriptures)

What is the Holy Spirit? (From the Official Website of Jehovah's Witnesses)
(Still can't find what you're looking for? Try using the Scripture Index.)


(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Proof That Jesus Existed?

Proof That Jesus Existed?

Was Jesus Christ a real person who lived and died in the first century? Critics who debate his existence have often found themselves in the minority. This is true because credible historians of the past found it impossible to relate history without mentioning this man whose existence changed the world.

Historian and writer H.G. Wells wrote, “It is interesting and significant that a historian, without any theological bias whatever, should find that he cannot portray the progress of humanity honestly without giving a foremost place to a penniless teacher from Nazareth. A historian like myself, who does not even call himself a Christian, finds the picture centering irresistibly around the life and character of this most significant man.”

If you read the four Gospel accounts for yourself you will see that the picture of a real personality emerges. You sense a real person who went against the social norms of his time (John Chapter 4). He cared for the poor, taking a personal interest in neglected women and children (Luke Chapter 7). He stood up against the powerful religious and political system (Matthew Chapter 23).

First century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus not only acknowledged the existence of Jesus Christ in his well documented book, “Jewish Antiquities,” but confirms how Ananus, a high priest in the first century “convened the judges of the Sanhedrin and brought before them a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ.”

Other writers who were very hostile to Christianity also made mention of Jesus and his impact on society. In his historical biography, “The Twelve Caesars,” Roman historian Suetonius wrote regarding Roman Emperor Claudius: “Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus (Christ), he expelled them from the city.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica concluded, “These independent accounts prove that in ancient times even the opponents of Christianity never doubted the historicity of Jesus.” Historian Will Durant said to deny that Christ had ever existed “seems never to have occurred even to the bitterest Gentile or Jewish opponents of nascent (just beginning) Christianity.”

The Historians’ History of the World” noted, “The historical result of his (Jesus’) activities was more momentous even from a strictly secular standpoint, than the deeds of any other character of history. An new era, recognized by the chief civilizations of the world dates from his birth.”

Elaborating further on this, the World Book Encyclopedia says, “Dates before that year are listed as B.C. or before Christ. Dates after that year are listed as A.D. or Anno Domini (in the year of our Lord).” That was the kind of impact this man from Nazareth had on the world. Could anyone have dreamed up such a detailed character, so different than anyone in his time, or even in our time? These Gospel accounts were written by average men described at Acts 4:13 as “uneducated and untrained men.” — New King James Version.

Durant reasoned, “That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels.”

Read all four Bible accounts and decide for yourself if this person known as Jesus Christ feels real. See if God’s Word speaks to your life as it has millions (Hebrews 4:12). You don’t have to ask around and solicit the thoughts of others. At Romans 12:2, the Author of this inspired book says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” — New Living Translation.

Why not prove it to yourself? Read about this historical figure and decide whether he lived and died as millions believe today. The behavior of this unusual man, whom we call Jesus Christ, was out of the ordinary in first century Rome and in Jerusalem. His simple truths are quoted even today, his dealings with others are admired by leaders of other religions, government officials and educators from around the world.

The man took time to listen to children, to help widows and orphans, to lay his hands on those in physical, emotional and spiritual pain. Who could ever forget such a man? He defied his generation of leaders and stood next to common people who could not stand up for themselves. He got up early in the morning, went out to preach good news to people and didn’t rest until late at night, sometimes not at all. He prayed for them, cried with them and encouraged them. Who could ever forget such a man?

Nearly 2,000 years later and more people believe in the reality of Jesus Christ than what they can see with their literal eyes! Their faith in his existence and sacrificial death on our behalf is so powerful, that they are willing to sacrifice everything to follow his example.

Do you believe Jesus lived, died and was raised to heavenly glory? More people will still be talking about his accomplishments and influence on this world than anyone ever will about ours. Isn’t that proof enough?

SOURCE: This article is from WILLIAM WRIGHT

Thanks to Brother Mac Tuckey for bringing this article to my attention! Proof that Jesus existed? (Supporting the Brotherhood)

For much more, see:

Was Jesus a Real Historical Person? Do Scholars Believe That Jesus Existed? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Jesus Christ—Our Questions Answered - Was Jesus really a historical person? (w12 4/1 pp. 4-7; Watchtower Online Library)

The Real Jesus (w01 12/15 pp. 5-8; Watchtower Online Library)

Do Scholars Believe That Jesus Existed? (JW.ORG)

Archaeological Evidence of Jesus’ Existence? (w03 6/15 pp. 3-4; Watchtower Online Library)

Jesus Christ—Evidence That He Walked the Earth (w03 6/15 pp. 4-7; Watchtower Online Library)

(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Monday, April 21, 2014

Jehovah's Witnesses: Why Celebrate Baby Showers But Not Birthdays?

The reason that we celebrate showers is because from the earliest Bible times God’s people have rejoiced and “celebrated” the birth of their children, especially their firstborn. Similarly, God’s people have always given gifts. Even Jesus showed that childbirth was a blessed, happy event among God’s people (Lk 1:57, 58; 2:9-14; Jn 16:21).

Witnesses properly rejoice and give each other gifts when the occasion is appropriated and it does not include unscriptural, pagan customs or practices that go contrary to Christian principles. (While there may in some areas be false religious customs associated with the celebrations of the birth of a baby, Christians do not include these customs in their rejoicing.)

Just looking at the birth of Christ would tell you that it was OK for God’s people to rejoice and gather together in celebration of a birth (Luke 2). God Himself rejoiced when Jesus was born. The angels rejoiced and gathered together and even invited the shepherds to gather! Granted, this celebration was for more than just a child’s birth, but there are many other scriptural examples of parents and friends rejoicing at the birth of a child.

On the other hand, you will also note that there is not even one example in the Bible of God’s faithful servants who commemorated the “birthday” of anyone. Jehovah’s people celebrated other anniversaries but they did not memorialize the date of birth (Jn 10:22, 23).

Further, even the idea of elevating an individual just because he was born is contrary to Christian principles. Birthdays are rooted in selfish pride and all about “Me.” Jesus gave us a guiding principle of humility not self-exaltation (Mat. 23:12; Gal. 5:26).

While we might be able to avoid the egotistical aspect, a bigger principle is involved. It is a matter of practicing unadulterated True Worship as taught in the Scriptures. Celebrating birthdays was unheard of by God’s people for hundreds of years after Christ and only came about with the corruption of True Christianity by false teachers.

Just the slightest research would tell you that celebrating birthdays is not a practice for True Christianity:

"The celebration of birthdays has been borrowed from the practices of other nations, as no mention is made of this custom among Jews either in The Bible, Talmud, or writings of the later Sages. In fact, it was an ancient Egyptian custom."--Customs and Traditions of Israel

The World Book Encyclopedia states: “The early Christians did not celebrate [Jesus’] birth because they considered the celebration of anyone’s birth to be a pagan custom.”

“Early Christians did not celebrate the birth of Christ. Birthdays in themselves were associated with pagan practices; the Gospels say nothing about the actual date of Christ’s birth.”--The Making of the Modern Christmas, by Golby and Purdue

"The later Hebrews looked on the celebration of birthdays as a part of idolatrous worship, a view which would be abundantly confirmed by what they saw of the common observances associated with these days."--*The Imperial Bible-Dictionary

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

"Birthday greetings and wishes for happiness are an intrinsic part of this holiday. . . . originally the idea was rooted in magic. The working of spells for good and evil is the chief usage of witchcraft. One is especially susceptible to such spells on his birthday, as one's personal spirits are about at the time. . . . Birthday greetings have power for good or ill because one is closer to the spirit world on this day....The keeping of birthday records was important in ancient times principally because a birth date was essential for the casting of a horoscope."--The Lore of Birthdays

Celebrating birthdays was adopted from superstition and false religion which corrupted true Christianity.

The Israelites also adopted a religious practice which they renamed as "a festival to Jehovah" and "sat down to eat and drink and to have a good time" (Ex.32:1-35). Even though the Israelites used this festival to worship the True God, God still viewed this as idolatry, and that is also true of customs today that are clearly derived from false religious practices (Lev.18:3; Deut.12:30, 31; Jer. 10:2; 1Cor.10:6- 11). True Christians will listen to what God's thinking and avoid any association with idolatrous, corruptive non-Christian practices in their pure worship of the True God.

We are told: "Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves, says Jehovah, and quit touching the unclean thing; and I will take you in."-2 Cor. 6:14-18, Isa.52:11; Gal.5:9)

The only birthday celebrations of Biblical record are of pagans and linked to instances of cruelty. Hence, the Scriptures clearly place birthday celebrations in a negative light, a fact that sincere Christians do not disregard.

Consequently, while it is entirely a private matter if Christians choose to take note of baby showers or wedding anniversaries, there are good reasons why mature Christians abstain from celebrating birthdays.

**As a side note, pointing to the “wise men” as a reason to celebrate birthdays requires us to be ignorant of the Scriptures. First, they were not “wise men” but “magi” or astrologers and thus were not worshipers of the True God. Second, they were not even around at the time of Christ’s birth and so their gifts were not for his “birthday.” Notice that he was in a “house” and is described as a “young child,” not as a newborn baby.—Mat 2:1-10.

SOURCE: This is an answer provided by BAR_ANERGES to a question at Yahoo Answers.

Additional Comments to BAR_ANERGES answer:

1.) Distinction between Baby Showers and Birthdays. Baby showers today are a way to celebrate the pending or recent birth of a child by presenting gifts to the parents at a party. It is not a celebration of the specific birthdate of the child by presenting gifts to the child itself.

2.) Baby showers are not of pagan origin. The origin of baby showers is unknown: Baby Shower History (Ezine @rticles)

Although something like baby showers were practiced by people in the past, it appears modern baby showers are not connected to ancient baby showers in any way.

So "baby showers" as we know them today are a modern invention, and cannot be of pagan origin. Besides, (and most importantly) the Bible describes God’s people as having rejoiced and “celebrated” the birth of their children whereas there are good reasons why mature Christians abstain from celebrating birthdays.

3.) The holding of baby showers is nowhere promoted in literature produced by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. It is not an official practice of Jehovah's Witnesses; it is at best a personal choice. We don't have to "stop" doing something we do not officially promote in the first place. "Jehovah's Witnesses" do not have baby showers, individuals do, if they so wish. And even then the emphasis is on helping the parents, not celebrating a birthday.

For more concerning Birthdays, see:

Jehovah's Witnesses and Birthdays - Why Don't They Celebrate? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

What Are Some Customs That Displease God? (w05 1/1 pp. 27-30; Watchtower Online Library)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Generally Meet on Sundays?

Before addressing why the Public Meeting and Watchtower Studies are often held on Sundays, let's first 
address why Sunday came to be the principal day of worship for much of Christendom and then contrast this with Jehovah's Witnesses' pattern of worship.

How did Sunday come to be the principal day of worship for much of Christendom?

Nowhere does the Bible say that Christian meetings were to be held on Sunday or any other particular day of the week. So, then, why do many professed Christians observe Sunday as a holy day? The custom of worshipping on Sunday arose after the Bible was completed and a variety of beliefs and traditions not based on the Bible had begun to appear:

“The retention of the old Pagan name of ‘Dies Solis,’ or ‘Sunday,’ for the weekly Christian festival, is, in great measure, owing to the union of Pagan and [so-called] Christian sentiment with which the first day of the week was recommended by Constantine [in an edict in 321 C.E.] to his subjects, Pagan and Christian alike, as the ‘venerable day of the Sun.’ . . . It was his mode of harmonizing the discordant religions of the Empire under one common institution.”—Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church (New York, 1871), A. P. Stanley, p. 291. - rs p. 345-p. 352, paragraph 5

So Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Generally Meet on Sundays?

In all matters of worship, Jehovah’s Witnesses, like the first-century Christians, strive to follow the Bible rather than tradition. The entire pattern for true worship is laid out in detail in the Bible. (Romans 3:4; Colossians 2:8)

So what does the Bible tell us about how first-century Christians worshipped? They regularly met together to pray, read scriptures, listen to talks, and sing songs praising God. (Acts 12:12; Colossians 3:16) At such meetings, Christians received instruction, strengthened their faith, and gave mutual encouragement to one another.—Hebrews 10:24, 25.

Around the world, Jehovah’s Witnesses closely follow the pattern of worship practiced by Jesus’ early followers. Witnesses don't devote just one day, but enjoy a weekly program of Bible instruction. The days on which their meetings are held are determined by local circumstances, not by unscriptural traditions. We worship on Sunday in many countries mainly because it is the most convenient day in that most people have that day off from work.

Recommended Related Article:

The Bible’s Viewpoint: A Weekly Holy Day—Is It Required? (g 9/11 pp. 10-11; Watchtower Online Library)
(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Sunday, April 20, 2014

Why is Jesus Called "Mighty God" at Isa. 9:6?

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." (Isa. 9:6) 

Pretty much all Christians accept this son as being the
Christ.  Some will tell you that since the meaning of this symbolic name includes the words "Mighty God, Eternal Father," then Jesus is the Mighty God and the Eternal Father.

But there are at least two other ways this personal name has been interpreted by reputable Bible scholars. (1) The titles found within the name (e.g., "Mighty God") are intended in their secondary, subordinate senses. (2) the titles within the name are meant to praise God the Father, not the Messiah.

First, (1) there is the possibility that the words (or titles) found in the literal meaning of the name apply directly to the Messiah all right but in a subordinate sense.  In other words, Christ is "a mighty god" in the same sense that God's angels were called "gods" and the judges of Israel were called "gods" by God himself (also by Jesus - John 10:34, 35), and Moses was called "a god" by Jehovah himself.  This is the interpretation of Is. 9:6 by the WT Society at this time.

Yes, men and angels were called gods (elohim - Hebrew; theos - Greek) in a proper, but subordinate, sense by Jehovah and his inspired Bible writers.  Although they were given this elevated title in a proper sense (not false gods), it was obviously with the clear understanding that it in no way implied a comparison with the Most High, Only True God.  (A bank employee calling his boss, the head of the bank, "the president" would certainly not imply an equality of position, power, etc. with "The President" [of the USA].)
The word "god" as understood by those who used that term simply meant a "mighty one" - see Young's Concordance.  In fact the word "Mighty" as found at Is. 9:6 (Gibbor in the original Hebrew) is also applied to the angels at Ps. 103:20 (see a modern concordance such as the New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible).  It is interesting that the ancient translation of the Old Testament that Jesus frequently quoted, the Septuagint Version, renders Is. 9:6: "and his [the Messiah's] name is called the Angel [aggeloV, messenger] of Great Counsel."   

The very early (ca. 160 A.D.) Christian Justin Martyr quoted Is. 9:6 also as "The Angel of mighty counsel" - "Dialogue With Trypho," ch. LXXVI.

So, just as "Lord" was applied to anyone in authority: angels, masters over servants, husbands, etc., so, too, could "god" be applied to anyone (good or bad) who was considered a "mighty person."  Of course only one person could be called the "Most High God," or the "Only True God," or the "Almighty God"! 

In the same way, "Eternal Father" could mean that the Messiah is one who has been given eternal life and through him God has brought eternal life to many others.  (We might make the comparison that the Heavenly Father has brought men to life in this world through their earthly fathers.)  This would be intended in a clearly subordinate sense and not to take anything away from the ultimate honor, glory, worship, etc. due the Most High God and Father in heaven - Jehovah.

At any rate, even trinitarians do not confuse the two separate persons of the Father and the Son. They do not say the Son is the Father.  They say the Father and the Son are two separate individual persons who are equally "God"!

Therefore, since we obviously cannot take "Eternal Father" in the literal sense to mean that Jesus is the Father, we cannot take the rest of that same name (esp. `Mighty God') in its literal highest sense and say that Jesus is Mighty God, etc., either.

In addition to the distinct possibility of the use of the secondary subordinate meanings of the titles such as "God/god" as explained by Bible language scholars, we can see by the actual renderings of some trinitarian Bible translators at Is. 9:6 that they believe such subordinate meanings were intended by the inspired Bible writer.

Instead of "Mighty God," Dr. James Moffatt translated this part of Is. 9:6 as "a divine hero;" Byington has "Divine Champion;" The New English Bible has "In Battle Godlike;" The Catholic New American Bible (1970 and 1991 revision) renders it "God-Hero;" and the REB says "Mighty Hero."  Even that most-respected of Biblical Hebrew language experts, Gesenius, translated it "mighty hero" - p. 45, Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon.

Also, The NIV Study Bible, in a f.n. for Ps 45:6, tells us:

"In this psalm, which praises the king and especially extols his `splendor and majesty' (v. 3), it is not unthinkable that he was called `god' as a title of honor [cf.  Isa 9:6]."  (Bracketed information included in original footnote.  Emphasis is mine)
In addition, Rotherham has rendered "Eternal Father" as "father of progress," and the New English Bible translates it: "father of a wide realm."

The above-mentioned Bible translations by trinitarian scholars which apply the words in the name at Is. 9:6 in a subordinate sense directly to Jesus clearly show that they do not believe this scripture implies an equality with Jehovah the Father.

And second (2), another way competent Bible scholars have interpreted the meaning of this name is with the understanding that it (as with many, if not most, of the other Israelites' personal names) does not apply directly to the Messiah (as we have already seen with "Elijah," "Abijah," etc.) but is, instead, a statement praising the Father, Jehovah God.

Personal names in the ancient Hebrew and Greek are often somewhat cryptic to us today. The English Bible translator must fill in the missing minor words (especially in names composed of two or more Hebrew words) such as "my," "is," "of," etc. in whatever way he thinks best in order to make sense for us today in English.

For instance, two of the best Bible concordances (Young's and Strong's) and a popular trinitarian Bible dictionary (Today's Dictionary of the Bible) differ greatly on the exact meaning of many Biblical personal names because of those "minor" words which must be added to bring out the intended meaning.
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, for example, says the name "Elimelech" (which is literally just "God King") means "God of (the) King."  Young's Analytical Concordance says it means "God is King."  Today's Dictionary of the Bible says it means " God his king" -  p. 206, Bethany House Publ., 1982.
Those missing minor words that the translator must supply at his own discretion can often make a vital difference!  - For example, the footnote for Gen. 17:5 in The NIV Study Bible: The name `Abram' "means `Exalted Father,' probably in reference to God (i.e., `[God is] Exalted Father')."- Brackets in original.

This is why another name the Messiah is to be called by at Jer. 23:6 is rendered, `The LORD [YHWH] IS Our Righteousness' in the following Bibles: RSV; NRSV; NEB; NJB;  JPS (Margolis, ed.); Tanakh; Byington; AT; and  ASV (footnote).  Of course other translations render it more literally by calling the Messiah  "The LORD [YHWH] Our Righteousness" to help support a `Jesus is God' doctrine.  Some of these (such as the NASB) actually render the very same name at Jer. 33:16 as "The LORD [or Jehovah] Is Our Righteousness"! - [bracketed information is mine]. 

(Unfortunately for those who wish to use this name at Jer. 23:16 as evidence of Jesus being Jehovah, at Jer. 33:16 it is also given to a city!)

Therefore, the personal name at Is. 9:6 has been honestly translated as: "And his name is called: Wonderful in counsel is God the Mighty, the everlasting Father, the Ruler of peace" - The Holy Scriptures, JPS Version (Margolis, ed.) to show that it is intended to praise the God of the Messiah who performs great things through the Messiah.

Also, An American Translation (by trinitarians Smith and Goodspeed) says:
"Wonderful counselor is God almighty, Father forever, Prince of peace."
Of course it could also be honestly translated: "Wonderful Counselor and Mighty God is the Eternal Father of the Prince of Peace."
And the Tanakh by the JPS, 1985, translates it:

[a]"The Mighty God is planning grace;
[b] The Eternal Father [is] a peaceable ruler."
This latter translation seems particularly appropriate since it is in the form of a parallelism.  Not only was the previous symbolic personal name introduced by Isaiah at Is. 8:1 a  parallelism ("Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz" means  [a]"quick to the plunder;   [b] swift to the spoil" - NIV footnote) but the very introduction to this Messianic name at Is. 9:6 is itself a parallelism: [a]"For unto us a child is born;  [b] unto us a son is given."  It would, therefore, be appropriate to find that this name, too, was in the form of a parallelism as translated by the Tanakh above.

So it is clear, even to a number of trinitarian scholars, that Is. 9:6 does not imply that Jesus is Jehovah God.

For much more, see:

God at Isa. 9:6 (rs p. 405-p. 426; Watchtower Online Library)

Isa. 9:6 "Mighty God, Eternal Father" (Examining the Trinity)

Isa. 9:6 - NWT (Defending the New World Translation)

NAME - “Jesus,” “Immanuel,” and Is. 9:6 (Examining the Trinity)

BOWGOD (God and gods) (Examining the Trinity)

Does Isa. 9:6 prove that Jesus is God? (Search For Bible Truths)

One God in Three? (Pastor Russell; Heading: "No Trinity in the “Old Testament”')

How does the Codex Sinaiticus render Is. 9:6? (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)

How is translated Isaiah 9:6 in old Aramaic Targums? (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)

Or see the Scripture Index.

(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)


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Friday, April 18, 2014

Was Jesus Executed on a Cross or an Upright Stake? Should the Cross Be Used in Worship to God?

Many are surprised to read in several Bibles that Jesus was hung upon a "tree" at Acts 5:30.

This is because the word "Stau·ros´ in both the classical Greek and Koine carries no thought of a "cross" made of two timbers. It means only an upright stake, pale, pile, or pole:

"The Greek word for `cross' (Stau·ros´) means primarily an upright stake or beam, and secondarily a stake used as an instrument for punishment and execution." - Douglas' New Bible Dictionary of 1985 under "Cross," page 253.

And noted Greek scholar W. E. Vine mentions the following concerning this subject:

"STAUROS denotes, primarily, an upright pale or stake. On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroo, to fasten to a stake or pale, are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed cross." - Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 256. Vine also goes on to describe the Chaldean origin of the two-piece cross and how it was adopted from the pagans by Christendom in the third century C.E. as a symbol of Christ's impalement.

The Pagan History of the Cross

Not only does the Greek word Stau·ros´ not mean a "cross" made of two timbers, but the cross "was an emblem to which religious and mystical meanings were attached long before the Christian era." - Chamber's Encyclopaedia, 1969 ed.

The pagan Romans used the symbol of the cross before and during the early days of Christianity: "These crosses were used as symbols of the Babylonian sun-god ... and are first seen on a coin of Juolius Caesar, 100-44 B.C., and then on a coin struck by Caesar's heir (Augustus), 20 B.C." - The Companion Bible.

And Prof. G.F. Snyder points out that "The sign of the cross has been a symbol of great antiquity, present in nearly every known culture. .... The universal use of the sign of the cross makes more poignant the striking lack of crosses in early Christian remains, especially any specific reference to the event on Golgotha. Most scholars now agree that the cross, as an artistic reference to the passion event, cannot be found prior to the time of Constantine." - p. 27, Ante Pacem - Archaeological Evidence of Church Life Before Constantinte.

The Baptist NT scholar W.E. Vine wrote about "Cross":

"STAUROS ... denotes, primarily, an upright pale or stake. On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroo, to fasten on a stake or pale, are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed cross. The shape of the latter had its origins in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt. By the middle of the 3rd cent. A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the cross of Christ." - p. 248, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Thomas Nelson, 1983 printing.

"In ancient Israel, unfaithful Jews wept over the death of the false god Tammuz. Jehovah spoke of what they were doing as being a `detestable thing.' (Ezek. 8:13, 14) According to history, Tammuz was a Babylonian god, and the cross was used as his symbol. From its beginning in the days of Nimrod, Babylon was against Jehovah and an enemy of true worship. (Gen. 10:8-10; Jer. 50:29) So by cherishing the cross, a person is honoring a symbol of worship that is opposed to the true God." - Reasoning From the Scriptures, "Cross".

The Cross - A Form of Idolatry 

But even if we ignore the evidence and assume that Jesus was killed on a cross, the most important thing is that the cross should not be venerated. Whether it was an upright single torture stake, a cross, an arrow, a lance, or a knife, should such an instrument really be used in worship?

Not only should the thought of venerating the very instrument of Jesus' execution be repelling in itself, but the symbol of the cross is also a pagan symbol...idolatry that God commands us to not even "touch":

“What agreement does God’s temple have with idols?...'Quit touching the unclean thing.'" (2 Corinthians 6:16, 17)

“Guard yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5:21)

"You must not make for yourself a carved image or a form like anything that is in the heavens above or that is on the earth underneath or that is in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them nor be induced to serve them, because I Jehovah your God am a God exacting exclusive devotion." (Exodus 20:4-5)

Long before the Christian era, crosses were used by the ancient Babylonians as symbols in their worship of the fertility god Tammuz. The use of the cross spread into Egypt, India, Syria, and China. Then, centuries later, the Israelites adulterated their worship of Jehovah God with acts of veneration to the false god Tammuz. The Bible refers to this form of worship as a ‘detestable thing.’ - Ezekiel 8:13, 14.

First-century Christians, however, held the sacrificial death of Christ in high esteem. Likewise today, although the instrument used to torture and kill Jesus is not to be worshipped, true Christians commemorate Jesus’ death as the means by which God provides salvation to imperfect humans. (Matthew 20:28)

For more, see:

CROSS - Links to Information (INDEX; Watchtower Online Library)

Cross (Search Results From the Watchtower Online Library)

Did Jesus Die on a Cross? (JW.ORG)

Why True Christians Do Not Use the Cross in Worship (JW.ORG)

Why Don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses Use the Cross in Worship? (JW.ORG)

What does the original Greek reveal as to the shape of the instrument on which Jesus was put to death? (Insight-1 pp. 1190-1192; Watchtower Online Library)

TORTURE STAKE  (Insight-2 pp. 1116-1117; Watchtower Online Library)

Why Don't Jehovah's Witnesses Believe that Jesus Died Upon A Cross? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Was Jesus Impaled on a Cross or an Upright Stake? Should the Cross Be Used in Worship to God? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Why Does the New World Translation Use the Word “Impaled” where Most Bible Translations Say Christ Was “Crucified”? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Why Does it Say The Plural "Nails" John 20:25? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

STAUROS - "Cross" or "Torture Stake"? (Search For Bible Truths)

Stauros / Torture Stake (Response to accusations made by Robert H. Countess) (Defending the New World Translation)


The STAUROS of the New Testament: Cross or Stake? (In Defense of the New World Translation)

Cross or Stake (Stauros) (Pastor Russell)

What does the original Greek reveal as to the shape of the instrument on which Jesus was put to death? (Jehovah's Witnesses Question and Answers)

"Jesus did not die on cross, says scholar" (News article from

NWT - Criticism by Zondervan's So Many Versions? - "Torture Stake" vs. "Cross" (Defending the NWT)

Quotes concerning the pagan history of the Cross (Search For Bible Truths)

Should the Cross be venerated? (Jehovah's Witnesses Question and Answers)

Does it matter if Jesus died on a cross? (Search For Bible Truths)


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