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  • JW Book: What Can the Bible Teach Us?

    I recently obtained a small JW book “What Can the Bible Teach Us?” I spoke to two JW ladies who had a magazine and booklet stand. I raised the subject of the return of Jesus based on Acts 1:11 and Acts 3:19-21, and they raised the subject of the 144,000 and a few other topics. The book is similar to an earlier book that I had received some years ago “What Does the Bible Really Teach?” The new book is basically a revision of the old, with similar chapter titles, while the new has endnotes replacing different appendix notes in the old.

    In general I agree with much of what is stated, but some JW ideas are introduced without any Biblical support, and these ideas simply reflect the environment and teaching of the JWs. I invite discussion on the following brief comments and the JW view.

    Chapter 1: Who is God?
    Page 12: “God has told us that his name is Jehovah.” Comment: It is generally recognised that YHWH is better understood as Yahweh. Please consider Rotherham’s introduction. I agree with the future tense.
    Page 17: “God wants us to have the best life possible.” Comment: This is true ultimately, but God subjects us to many circumstances now to develop us and some of these trials can be very difficult.

    Chapter 2 The Bible – A Book from God
    Page 22: “In Matthew chapters 5 to 7, we read very good advice that Jesus gave on how to be happy …”. Comment: Similar to the previous comment. Jesus speaks about being blessed, especially in the future.

    Chapter 3 What is God’s Purpose for Humans?
    Page 30: “Satan .. made it look as though the snake was talking.” Comment: The Bible states that the serpent was discerning and spoke Genesis 3:1.
    Page 38: “We die because we inherited sin from Adam.” Comment: We do not inherit sin, but we inherit the effects of sin.

    Chapter 4 Who is Jesus Christ?
    Page 40 Endnote 12: “God created Jesus before everything else.” Comment: I do not accept this as I believe that Jesus did not pre-exist his conception and birth.
    Page 51: “Luke 1:30-35 Jehovah sent Jesus to the earth.” Comment: Luke 1:30-35 speaks about the conception and anticipated birth of Jesus. God was his father through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Kind regards
    Trevor

  • #2
    In my opening post I said “In general I agree with much of what is stated” in chapters 1-4 of the JW book “What Can the Bible Teach Us?”, but there are many items in chapter 5 which I find difficult and that I do not agree with.

    Chapter 5: The Ransom – God’s greatest gift
    Page 54: “None of us could ever pay the ransom for the perfect life that Adam lost. The ransom that had to be paid was another perfect human life. The ransom that had to have the same value as the life that Adam lost.” Comment: This is the basis of the JW understanding of the concept of the ransom. The word ransom is used in the Scriptures, but it is only one aspect of a larger subject. The reasoning behind the JW concept ignores many important aspects of the redemption available in Jesus Christ. Some of the additional comments in this chapter shows some of the logic used to come to their conclusion.

    Page 54: “Jehovah transferred Jesus from heaven to earth, and Jesus was born a perfect human, without sin Luke 1:35”. Comment: Jesus was not transferred from heaven, neither was he born a perfect human. Jesus was born as a descendant of Adam through Mary and shared our fallen human nature. Nevertheless he never sinned and he overcame sin and all its effects.

    Page 55: “Three days after that, Jehovah brought Jesus back to life, not as a human, but as a spirit person.” Comment: Jesus is still a human, but a glorified human. Their statement vaguely introduces the JW unique idea that the human body of Jesus was not raised but somehow preserved separately. The sentence of returning to the dust Genesis 3:19 was reversed in Jesus when his body saw no corruption Acts 2:30-32 and God quickened his dead body after three days and raised Jesus from the dead and gave him immortal life.

    Page 59 – Endnote 16: “The Memorial: Those who will rule with Jesus in heaven eat the bread and drink the wine. Those who have the hope of living forever on earth respectfully attend the Memorial but do not eat the bread or drink the wine.” Comment: This introduces the unique JW teaching concerning the 144,000. I asked the ladies and they stated that there are none of the 144,000 in their meeting. As a result none of the JWs partake of the emblems. My understanding is that all the believers should remember Christ’s death and resurrection by means of the emblems each week.

    Kind regards
    Trevor
    Last edited by TrevorL; October 11th, 2019, 05:08 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      I considered Chapters 1-4 of the JW book “What Can the Bible Teach Us?” in Post #1 and Chapter 5 in Post #2. My initial focus will be to highlight the items which I find difficult and that I do not agree with.
      Chapter 6: Where do we go when we die?
      I agree with most of this chapter as together with JWs and SDAs, as I believe in the resurrection at the return of Jesus and I do not believe that we have an immortal soul that goes to heaven or hell at death. The JW concept that the serpent in Genesis 3 is somehow Satan recurs in this chapter, three times on page 65 and once on page 66:
      Page 66: “Satan said that Eve wouldn’t die, so Eve ate some of the fruit and then gave some to her husband.” Comment: The serpent was one of the creatures that was created as related in Genesis 1 and had the ability to discern and speak.

      Chapter 7: There will be a resurrection!
      Again as I do not believe in immortal souls, I share some aspects of the resurrection with the JWs but some of their unique concepts become apparent in this chapter.
      Page 79: “The unrighteous” includes billions of people who did not have the opportunity to know Jehovah. Even though they died, Jehovah hasn’t forgotten them, and they will have the opportunity to learn about him and serve him. Comment: My understanding is that only some are resurrected, the faithful and unfaithful, representing those who have heard the gospel, whether they have responded or not, and whether they have been faithful to the gospel.

      Page 79: “The Bible also tells us that some people will live in heaven. When someone is resurrected to heaven, he is not brought to life as human with a human body. He is resurrected to life in heaven as spirit person. … Jesus was not resurrected with a human body.” Comment: This is starting to introduce the JW concept of the 144,000, specifically mentioned on page 80. The JW view is also based upon the idea that the body of Jesus was not resurrected but preserved. I believe in the resurrection of the human body of the faithful, they will then be changed to immortal bodies and they will be upon the earth with Jesus when he returns.

      Chapter 8: What is God’s Kingdom?
      I share with JWs that there will be a Kingdom for 1000 years, but differ in many details.
      Page 83: “We have learned that God’s name is Jehovah.” Comment: I suggest that Jehovah is an incorrect representation of YHWH. Yahweh is a better rendition, refer Rotherham’s introduction in his Bible translation.

      Page 84: “Forty days after his resurrection, Jesus returned to heaven. Eventually, Jehovah appointed him as King of the Kingdom Acts 2:33. God’s government will rule over the earth from heaven Revelation 11:15.” Comment: The following two references give a different view to what the JWs deduct here.
      Acts 2:36 (KJV): Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
      Revelation 5:9–10 (KJV): 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

      Jesus was already appointed as both Lord and Christ and the faithful will reign on earth not from heaven.

      Page 91: “For many years before 1914, a group of sincere Christians understood that it would be an important year in Bible prophecy. World events since 1914 have proved that they were correct. Jesus began to rule as King in that year.” Comment: This introduces the unique JW that Jesus started to rule in 1914. The Bible teaches that Jesus will return to earth and then reign from Jerusalem for the 1000 years Acts 1:11, 3:19-21, Isaiah 2:1-4, Daniel 2:35,44, Zechariah 14.

      Kind regards
      Trevor

      Comment


      • #4
        I considered Chapters 1-4 of the JW book “What Can the Bible Teach Us?” in Post #1, Chapter 5 in Post #2 and Chapters 6-8 in Post #3. Again my initial focus will be to highlight the items which I find difficult and that I do not agree with.
        Chapter 9: Is the end of the world near?
        I would agree with the title and some aspects of the answer given in general. Yes, the end of the present era is near, because Jesus will soon return to replace the present kingdoms of men with the Kingdom of God.
        Page 95: “In Chapter 8 we learned that Jesus became King in heaven in 1914 Daniel 7:13-14. The book of Revelation tells us what happened: “War broke out in heaven: Michael [meaning, Jesus] and his angels battled with the dragon [Satan] battled.” Satan and his demons lost the war and were thrown down to the earth.” Comment: Firstly, I am interested in the various time periods of Daniel and Revelation, both as to when they individually start and finish, and also what is represented by the time period and what particular event happens when this period ends. I believe that Jesus is yet to return and thus the JW view of 1914 is incorrect. Some of the termination dates are like milestones towards the Kingdom, not the start of the Kingdom. I believe that the “war” of Revelation is depicting the war between the pagan Roman forces with the Apostate Christian forces of Constantine.

        Chapter 10: The truth about the angels
        Page 106: (Picture of Daniel in the lions’ den, depicting a large angel with very large wings). Comment: I do not believe that Angels have wings. They have appeared and were mistaken at first as men, and thus these were without wings. They can move by means of Holy Spirit power.

        Page 108: “In Noah’s time some angels rebelled and left their home in heaven to live as humans on earth. Why? The Bible tells us they wanted to have wives Genesis 6:2. … [when the flood came:] … To survive those wicked angels returned to heaven. The Bible calls those wicked angels demons.” Comment: I consider that this embellishes the narrative even if you believe that these were fallen angels. My understanding of this is that it is talking about the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. The separation and godliness of Seth and his descendants was broken down when they started to intermarry with the descendants of Cain, and the appeal was the outward beauty of the women who were the descendants of Cain. Angels do not marry.

        Chapter 11: Why so much suffering?
        Page 117: “Jehovah never causes bad things to happen.” Comment: I disagree. God sends judgement upon the wicked. God raised Assyria and Babylon to judge and purify Israel and Judah.

        Page 118: “Jehovah never causes suffering. He’s not to blame for war, crime and mistreatment. God does not cause disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes and floods.” Comment: Similar to the above. God is in control of such disasters as earthquakes, hurricanes and floods and can and has used some of these to accomplish his purpose. God brought the flood in Noah’s time upon the earth.

        Kind regards
        Trevor

        Comment


        • #5
          The following is a brief consideration of the next four chapters of the JW book “What Can the Bible Teach Us?” Again my initial focus will be to highlight the items which I find difficult and that I do not agree with.
          Chapter 12: How can you become God’s friend?
          A large portion of this chapter from page 125 to 129 gives the impression our major problem is dealing with Satan. I remember my mother-in-law when a JW at the door spoke a lot about Satan or the Devil, my mother-in-law said: “I have enough problems in dealing with the devil within without worrying about the devil without.” I agree with her and believe that we have a real struggle with the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life.

          Another feature throughout the whole book is the citation of a Biblical reference from the NWT. Some of these can be helpful, some give a slightly different perspective to my usual environment with the KJV and others seem strange. On Page 132 it uses “the old personality” and “the new personality” while the KJV has “the old man” and “the new man”. These have a slightly different range, and I prefer the KJV.

          Chapter 13: Respect the gift of life
          I agree with and endorse what is stated on Pages 135-139. Then on Pages 140-141 the subject of blood transfusion is considered and this is one of the unique JW teachings.
          Page 104: “God’s faithful servants are determined to obey his law about blood. They will not eat or drink blood, and they will not accept blood for medical reasons.” Comment: I believe that the law concerning drinking blood does not apply to blood transfusions. The law was speaking about some form of pagan sacrifices.

          Chapter 14: Your family can be happy
          This chapter is Pages 145-153 and I agree with what is stated.

          Chapter 15: The right way to worship God
          I agree in concept with what is stated in this chapter, including some teachings that are different to many Protestant Churches, but one outcome is that they claim that the JWs are the true religion. Here is one example of this where it is almost stated:
          Page 118: “So, as God’s servants we follow Jesus’ example. We worship only Jehovah, we use his name, and we teach others God’s name and what he will do for us.” Comment: This claim is based upon their use of the word “Jehovah”, and I believe that the Name of God is better rendered Yahweh, and it is not only speaking the Name, but what is the meaning of the Name. I do not believe that the JWs understand or teach the meaning of the Name.

          Their claim that the JWs are the true religion is explicitly stated on pages 158-159, where there is a list of some of their teachings and practices are listed, and then the following is stated:
          Page 158: “After studying these points, ask yourself: Who base their teachings on the Bible? Who tell others about God’s name? Who …? Who …? Who …? It is only Jehovah’s Witnesses Isaiah 43:10-12.” Comment: JWs do not fully base their beliefs on the Bible. They incorrectly use and teach the name “Jehovah”. The witnesses spoken of in Isaiah 43:10-12 was Israel, not the JWs.

          Kind regards
          Trevor

          Comment


          • #6
            That book's title should be "What can the JWs teach us?" The answer : GARBAGE !

            The Jabroney False Witlesses are a CULT, plain-n-simple. They won't immediately tell you they believe Jesus is the archangel Michael, a tale which Scripture proves false. Besides this, they have a whole list of heresies which are against Scripture. They "have a form of godliness while denying its power".

            Comment


            • #7
              The following is a brief consideration of the last four chapters of the JW book “What Can the Bible Teach Us?” mainly highlighting items that I disagree with.
              Chapter 16: Choose to Worship God
              Most of this chapter is satisfactory. I personally do not keep Christmas though I do not worry if some in my fellowship do keep this. I endorse the concept of having a family gathering. JWs also do not celebrate birthdays, but I find no problem with celebrating birthdays.

              Chapter 17: The Privilege of Prayer
              I endorse most of what is stated in this chapter.

              Chapter 18: Should I Dedicate my Life to God and be Baptized
              This chapter possibly does not give much detail. One feature is the introduction of one of the main JW functions, that of preaching and traditionally this has been door to door, but more recently they have been using book stands in shopping areas or public areas such as parks where there are pedestrians passing by.
              Page 188: “Eventually, you will be able to begin preaching with the congregation. When you feel ready to do so, you can talk to the Witness who is teaching you the Bible and tell him or her that you would like to share in the preaching work with the congregation.” Comment: This seems to indicate that the individual is gradually inducted into preaching before they are baptised, and that this reflects the main purpose and activity of the JW movement.

              Page 191: “After you have dedicated yourself to Jehovah, you are ready for the next step. You need to get baptized.” Comment: This possibly gives the impression that part of this dedication is a full induction to preaching before baptism. Also what is not clear is the level of faith and understanding before baptism, but it would include all of the unique JW teachings.

              Chapter 19: Stay Close to Jehovah
              I agree with much of this chapter, but again the following main function of the JW movement appears.
              Page 201: “If we want to remain close to Jehovah, we also need to talk to others about our faith.”

              Concluding comment: I hope that this review and comments on this book is sufficient to indicate that the JW faith and practice is not in conformity with the Bible teaching.

              Kind regards
              Trevor

              Comment

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