Watchtower Comments THE GENERATION CHANGE Featuring LEOLAIA

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  • Leolaia
    I am not resposnsible fo how the word parousia is treated in the Lexica. Indeed other secondary meanings are given and examples are presented in accordance with this in the Lexicons for that is what Lexicons do. However, the primary focus of the celebrated WT scholars is the use of this word in the Christian Greek Scriptures and there is sufficient eveidence therein to conclusively prove that parousia means ;presence' and 'presence' alone.

    A truly stunning display of cognitive dissonance. Even in recognition of the fact that lexicons do give "coming" and "arrival" as perfectly valid meanings of parousia, he still insists that the only meaning of parousia is "presence" and "presence" alone. Is he saying that the lexicons are wrong? Or what? Seriously, I am really tired of him trying to have it both ways. He accused me of dishonesty for NOT citing lexicons in my original essay, knowing fully well that these fully support what I wrote, and he even suggested that I would rather rewrite the lexicons to make them have the "crazy idea" that parousia may mean "coming", again not letting on that these lexicons do include "coming, advent, arrival" as part of the meaning of parousia. Now he says that parousia means "presence" and "presence" alone in spite of what the lexicons actually say. So is he saying that it is wrong for them to define the word the way they do? Then why criticize me for not citing them (as opposed to showing the usage directly from the texts themselves)?

    Several times he made reference to "presence" as the primary meaning of parousia and "coming, arrival" as a secondary meaning -- as if that makes any difference. The implication is that the primary meaning is somehow necessarily better, more appropriate, etc. But that is a very unscholarly attitude. It is basic lexicographical knowledge that the first definition given in lexicons usually corresponds to the older and more etymological sense of the word, but that is no reason to prefer it regardless of usage and context in translation and exegesis. As I laid it out in my essay, it is a fallacy to stick to the etymological sense of the word without considering usage. If the word has a number of different possible meanings, you need to see how it is used in context to determine which is the most appropriate sense. Even the "celebrated WT scholars" knew of this in preparing the NWT, at least the times they chose not to ignore it (e.g. rendering xulon as "stocks" and "clubs" in Matthew 26:47 and Acts 16:24, neither the "primary meaning" of xulon in the lexicons).

    And look at the lexicons I presented a few pages ago and see which definition of parousia they consider the instances in Matthew 24 as pertaining to. All the ones that cite this text list it under "advent" or "coming", not "presence". It is not hard to see why if you read Matthew 24 without reading Watchtower doctrine into it.

    The noun occurs 24 times in the NT and the verbal form also occurs 24 times so there is sufficient usuage for deteremining its meaning.How it is used in other sources such as the LXX and extrabiblical sources is important and interesting but not essential in determings its use by Matthew.

    Indeed, the meaning is clear from its use in Matthew 24 alone, but the value of other texts is in confirming that the meaning apparent from one's exegesis was a natural and normal one in the language, and for clarifying its nuances. Only someone who doesn't understand the process of exegesis would think that confirmation and clarification are unimportant.

    The quotation of Adolf Deismann's comment on Parousia or Parusia does not help your argument in fact the opposite is true for there is no evidence anywhere in the literature both Ancient and Modern that would any other meaning for parousia than 'presence'.

    Typical pseudo-scholar statement. He just makes the assertion that there is "no evidence", that's it; it doesn't matter how much evidence is presented -- it is all brushed aside as irrelevant. Of course, by brushing aside other extrabiblical Greek texts for comparison, the question of the relationship between the NT usage and the technical meaning is already moot. For a good "scholarly" discussion of the relationship of the Hellenistic usage of parousia and the gospels, see for instance Kittel 1972 or Brent Kinman's 1999 article in JBL.

  • Mary
    pseudo-scholar said: I am not resposnsible fo how the word parousia is treated in the Lexica.

    Wow! First correct thing you've said on this thread! That's right duffus: You are not responsible in determining that the word "parousia" should only be used as "presence" (and invisible to boot), yet that is exactly what you are attempting to do here.

    However, the primary focus of the celebrated WT scholars is the use of this word in the Christian Greek Scriptures and there is sufficient eveidence therein to conclusively prove that parousia means ;presence' and 'presence' alone.

    'celebrated WT scholars?' Surely you jest. That's like using the phrase "compassionate Nazi philanthropists".

    The noun occurs 24 times in the NT and the verbal form also occurs 24 times so there is sufficient usuage for deteremining its meaning. How it is used in other sources such as the LXX and extrabiblical sources is important and interesting but not essential in determings its use by Matthew.

    In other words, even though it's been shown over and over again by Leolaia that the word "parousia" can and has been used as "coming", this goes against what you've been taught at the KH, so you refuse to accept it. Admit it scholar: what is written in the Watchtower is the only "essential" yardstick you use in "determing its use".

    The context of Matthew, use in the rest of the NT, its literal meaning and that of the lexica are quite sufficient. Thank you.

    Sure it is...... With absolutely no proof whatsoever and no rationale defense of your views, you've demonstrated nothing here......except maybe that you should try another anti-psychotic medication.

  • Leolaia

    Here is an interesting discussion of parousia that highlights how the technical meaning of "arrival" or "visitation" may involve the use of apantésis in the same context to denote the act of meeting a king or official when he arrives:

    "The Greek word parousia can have the ordinary meaning of 'arrival' or 'return'. Paul, for example, can rejoice in the parousia of absent friends and coworkers such as Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus in 1 Corinthians 16:17 or Titus in 2 Corinthians 7:6-7...In its ancient context parousia meant an arrival at a city of a conquering general, an important official, an imperial emissary, or, above all, the emperor himself. Whether that advent was good or bad news for the citizens depended absolutely on their prior relationship with the arriving one. It is probably necessary in those cases to translate parousia not just as 'visit' but as 'visitation.' Here is a classic example that shows how the result of such a visitation (parousia) depends absolutely on the nature of its reception (apantésis).

    "In November of 333 B.C.E., Alexander the Great defeated and humiliated Darius of Persia at Issus in northwestern Syria, as we saw at the start of this chapter on that bronze monument at Thessaloniki's seafrony. He then marched inexorably southward toward Egypt. The Jewish high-priest Jaddus remained unwisely loyal to Darius and repulsed Alexander's initial demand for submission, according to Josephus' Jewish Antiquities (11.327-28). After devastating sieges at Tyre and Gaza, Alexander finally turned against Jerusalem. Jaddus was afraid, 'not knowing how he could meet (apantésai) the Macedonians,' so he sacrificed for deliverance and 'God spoke oracularly to him in his sleep, telling him to take courage and adorn the city with wreaths and open the gates and go out to meet them (literally, make the hypantésin), and that the people should be in white garments... And, after doing all these things that he had been told to do, [he] awaited the coming (parousia) of the king.' It was a moment for trepidation certainly and celebration possibly. (Note, once again, those technical Greek terms for the 'coming' and the 'reception')

    "A visitation from the emperor was a very special occasion for any given city and quite possibly a once-in-a-lifetime event. In times of war it was of course a threatening advent, as in the above story, but under the Pax Romana, an imperial visitation would usually be a happy occasion. It demanded tremendous preparation for civic sacrifice, aristocratic festivity, and popular celebration, but especially a formal greeting by elites and people at the submissivly opened gates of the city. Notice Paul's use of those technical terms for visitation and reception. He uses parousia for 'our Lord Jesus at his coming' in 1 Thessalonians 2:19, the 'coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints' in 3:13, 'the coming of the Lord' in 4:15, and 'the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ' in 5:23. He uses apantésis for when the Thessalonian Christians will "meet the Lord in the air" at his parousia at 4:17. That metaphor controls the entire discussion." (John Dominic Crossan and Jonathan L. Reed, In Search of Paul: How Jesus' Apostle Opposed Rome's Empire with God's Kingdom, pp. 167-168)

    The usage of parousia in 1 Thessalonians is thus consistent with this technical sense. We find the same thing in Matthew. It is the arrival and not the subsequent presence that is prominent in the portion of the discourse dealing with the parousia, with the verb for "come" occurring some 11 times. The admonition is for Christians to be "ready" (hetoimoi) when the Son of Man comes (erkhetai), because they would not know what day or hour he is coming (24:44), and so they must "stay awake" (grégoreite) as v. 42 puts it. This is reminiscent of the high priest Jaddus above, who prepared for the Macedonian king's arrival and who was ready for it. This theme was dramatized in the three parables that follow, including the parable of the ten virgins who waited for the arrival of the bridegroom but who fell asleep (25:5). They did come however prepared with lamps to use when meeting (hupantésin) the bridegroom (25:1). Those who adequately prepared for the late arrival of the bridegroom had enough oil to keep their lamps lit when he in fact arrived. So even though they all fell asleep, those who prepared for the arrival of the bridegroom were there when the midnight cry rang forth announcing the arrival of the bridegroom and commanding the virgins: "Go out to meet (apantésin) him!" (v. 6). This quite clearly dramatizes the parousia in the technical sense as a "visitation".

  • boyzone

    Excellent summary Leolaia. I only wish I had the knowledge and resourses you clearly do. Well Done. Lets hope our dear "scholar" is willing to learn.

  • Leolaia

    A similar point is made in John Nolland's The Gospel of Matthew: A Commentary on the Greek Text (published in 2005 as part of the NIGTC series) with respect to the metaphor in Matthew 24:33: "When you see all these things (panta tauta), you will know that he is near at the gates/doors (thurais):

    " 'At [the] gates' makes use of the imagery of arrival at a walled city. It invites the imagination of the kind of official arrival of a king or other high dignitary to a city that the use of the word parousia in v. 3 for 'coming' conjured up" (p. 988).

    It is also noteworthy to note what he says about the generation in the following verse:

    "Matthew uses genea here for the tenth time. Though his use of the term has a range of emphases, it consistently refers to (the time span of) a single human generation. All the alternative sense proposed here (the Jewish people; humanity; the generation of the end-time signs; wicked people) are artificial and based on the need to protect Jesus from error. 'This generation' is the generation of Jesus' contemporaries" (pp. 988-989)

    Since pseudo-scholar made a big deal about me not quoting or referencing the critical literature in my original essay, here are some other references from important commentaries and reference works. In Matthew: A Commentary by Frederick Dale Bruner (published in 2004) we read concerning the generation in Matthew 24:34:

    "There have been many attempts to interpret this hard verse, especially the phrase 'this generation' [a detailed listing of the different interpretations follows, including "the Jewish people", "sinful humanity", "Christian believers", and a "future generation" at the end of the age].... The majority of interpreters believes that 'this generation' has as its simplest referent the people to whom Jesus is talking and thus means that 'within the next thirty or forty years all these signs will occur' (e.g. Swete, 315; Kummeel, 64-87, esp. 87; Bultmann, 404; Fitzmyer, 2:1353 in Stage I of the gospel tradition; Davies and Allison, 3:366-68). As suggested, Jesus probably spoke to his generation, first of all and at least, about the temple's destruction. Then one or more of the evangelists may have applied Jesus' temple saying to the final generation in world history (cf., e.g. Taylor, 521, Gundry, 490).

    "There is a refreshing honesty in many of the best commentators, of whom McNeile, 355, can be representative: "It is impossible to escape the conclusion that Jesus, as Man, expected the end within the lifetime of His contemporaries" (and he refers to the major parallel texts in Matthew: 10:23; 16:28)" (p. 519).

    In William D. Davies & Dale C. Allison's A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew (published in 1997), they interpret the generation in Matthew 24:34 similarly:

    " 'All these things' embraces all the signs and events leading up to the parousia...(ii). 'All these things' refers to the eschatological scenario as outlined in vv. 4-31 and declares that it shall come to pass before Jesus' 'generation' has gone. In favor of this is the imminent eschatological expectation of many early Christians (cf. esp. 10.23 and Mk. 9.1) as well as Jn 21.20-3, which reflects the belief that Jesus would come before all his disciples had died. So most modern commentators....We favour interpretation (ii). Genea plainly refers to Jesus' contemporaries in 11.16; 12.39, 41, 42, 45; 16.4; and 17.17 as well as in the close parallel in 23.36, and the placement of our verse after a prophecy of the parousia is suggestive" (pp. 366-368).

    And on the suddenness of the parousia as a visitation of the Son of Man, they also write:

    "The very word, parousia, used four times in chapter 24 with reference to the Son of man's return, was, in the Hellenistic world, a technical term for the king's arrival or visit....Unlike his first advent, the Messiah's parousia will be of a sudden (cf. Ps 144.6), as unmistakable as a lightning flash. All doubt will vanish, and all false messiahs will be unmasked. No one will have to say, 'Look here, look there'... Although Daniel 11-12, T. Mos. 10.12; and Apoc. Abr. 28 attempt to calculate the date of the end, Matthew's Jesus negates all such endeavors. If the angels and the Son, the leading characters in the eschatological scenario, do not know something, it must lie beyond all others. This does not contradict v. 34. Rather does the uncertainty of v. 36 interpret the certainty of the earlier verse: although the end will come upon 'this generation', its exact time cannot be fixed. The signs of vv. 5ff. do not constitute a timetable. They invite the vigilance of eschatological agnosticism...[In Matthew 25:1] tote refers back to 24.44 and 50, that is, to the Son of man's parousia (cf. v. 13). On the introductory formula see 2, p. 411. It rightly interprets the parable as having to do with the kingdom of God and its attendant judgment. Here the meaning is: when the future kingdom of heaven comes its arrival will be like the story of the ten virgins who went to meet the bridegroom." (pp. 129, 354, 378).

    I will post more quotes later to show that what I posted is not at all limited to "apostates" but is found widely in scholarship.

  • Lex Talionis
    Lex Talionis

    A general post to all on this thread.

    Scholar is by no means a scholar in the true sense of the word, he is not used in any capacity by the WT.

    Further, he has NOT completed his master as he exhaustedly asserts.

    Scholar I have read through years of your posts and I must say this in this post you have been most thoroughly put to the test and found wanting.

  • xjw44

    Thanks for taking the time to put a new light on this controversial topic. The supposed JW scholar seems to be quite reactive towards your comments and I feel this a typical reaction from almost all faithful JW's. They have been taught to fear the outside world and cling to WT doctrine no matter how many times it changes or is altered. I was involved and baptized in the mid eighties and have been out since '87. I no longer believe the validity of the bible as it has done nothing for peace, but created division and hatred in the world. It is full of good ideas, but also full of lies and laws that are impossible for "sinful" people to follow. Let's all dump our fear based worship and love one another equally and completely.

  • Mary
    Lex Talionis said: Scholar is by no means a scholar in the true sense of the word, he is not used in any capacity by the WT. Further, he has NOT completed his master as he exhaustedly asserts.

    Wow.....scholar says he has his Masters?

    Leolaia has demonstrated here over and over again that the WT's narrow-minded view of "this generation" and "parousia" is extremely slanted, biased and without any foundation whatsoever, when examined closely. Hopefully, scholar will not be foolish enough to back for another round and actually think about what's been presented here.

  • Burger Time
    Burger Time

    I love you leolaia.

  • still_in74
    They wanted to be sure they recognized him then. But not yet having received holy spirit, they did not appreciate that he would not sit on an earthly throne; they had no idea that he would rule as a glorious spirit from the heavens and therefore did not know that his second presence would be invisible." WT 64 9/15 QFR

    If this is the case, then the context of Matt 24 leads us to ask why were the disciples asking for a sign if they thought Jesus was going to be visible? They'd be able to literally see him, no need for a sign.

    But if they were asking "what would be the sign of your COMING, (ARRIVAL, ADVENT)?" Then you can see the need for a sign.

    Jesus then gives the sign at Matt 24 v 30

    I am a bit confused with this one...

    are you suggesting that the disciples did anticipate an invisible presence/coming and that is why they asked for a sign? Why would this be different when asking for a sign of his coming vs a presence?
    If asking for a sign of his coming is necessary then your prior reasoning would suggest that the disciples would have believed his coming to be invisible also...

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