I had meant to send a post on the other thread, but was drawn to some of the interesting points you raised in this thread. Just to say, David Gibson was quite a character. It was nice that he comforted you at a difficult time. Overall I liked the guy (though at times I felt that he could blow hot and cold). I really liked Sylvia. She was an easy going woman and always enjoyed freindly conversations with her at the hall I attended some 18 years ago.
With regard to the points you made as highlightd below:
I have already disabused myself of the tortuous and speculative teaching by the JW's surrounding John 10:16. The "other sheep" are patently (to me) the Gentiles who began to enter the Christian congregation with Cornelius.
I agree with you entirely on this point. I first discovered this understanding as I was reading thru Perimenos site under the title - John 10:16 who are the 'other sheep'? I was astounded at what I was reading and could not beleive that it was so clearly obvious as to what Jesus meant. Like all scripture, reading it in context makes so much sense. This is just another scripture that the society has twisted to elevate the anointed and particularly the FDS.
However, come the day, whenever that may be.. There will be a "New Heaven and a NEW EARTH".. I cannot abandon the NOT-unique teaching by the JW's that there will be a restoration of all things on this Earth too.. a reversal in every sense of the sin brought on us in Eden. When that time comes (and when is very much pivotal to this discussion).. the one way ticket for all Christians as you put it.. will cease. So, I cannot agree. Not ALL Christians will share and rule with Christ in heaven. There is a job to do! The JW's have an EXCEPTIONAL explanation of the "Kingdom" arrangement - and for me have explained far more than my years in the schisms of Christendom.
I again agree that only certain ones (the bride of Christ) will rule as Kings and priests with Christ over the earth. How this will be achieved, I am unsure about; ie after the marriage of the lamb, whether they rule from heaven itself or actually all (Jesus and the glorified ones/saints/elect) come back to the earth and then rule directly is something I have often pondered. This isnt so far fetched,- because after Jesus resurrection, he was a spirit, yet for some time he materialised as a human being appearing to many for a length of time John Ch 20 and 21. For me, this is probably the only way I can make sense of the Kingdom arrangement as it would tie in with Mat 24:30 -'they will see the son of man coming on the clouds of the sky with great glory'. Also in 1 Cor 6:2 It mentions how the holy ones/elect will judge the world. This would also fit in nicely with Jesus thousand year reign after which he hands back the kingdom to YHWH, at which point he and his bride will then ascend to heaven forever.
Whatever happens, I thoroughly beleive (just as you have stated) in the basic explanation of the kingdom arrangement as described by the society. Although, I disagree with them on placing dates such as 1914; and am unsure if 144000 is the actual number of the elect or if this number is simply figurative (for me this is what I consider one of those grey areas and therefore avoid being dogmatic about it).
My JW theology is rusty now.. but I have always understood, that the Bible is written SPECIFICALLY to those who have been called to be with Christ. By rote and adoption those who feel they will share in the NEW EARTH come under the HEAVENLY Kingdom arrangement.
I was a little bit unsure if I caught your drift here; but the point you made regarding those who feel they will share in the NEW EARTH reminded me of an incredble scripture I came across as I was doing my daily bible reading recently. It was Philippians 3:14 (KJV) notice how Paul mentions that [he] presses to the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus; yet in vs 15, he states-therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this in mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.
Your statement that I underlined was the very thought that crossed my mind when I read this particular scripture. I highlighted it in my bible at the time when I read it as it had a profound affect on me. I truly beleive the holy spirit guides people (if they allow it to do so) and they then know in their own hearts what they feel is their destination. I personally feel that my hope is to reside here on earth; I have always felt that way. I have never had that feeling for the heavenly hope.
Though I still continue associating with the witnesses. I have resolved to allow the holy spirit to guide me in my thinking and in what I do each day. I tell my wife this all the time, particularly whenever we discuss certain scriptures; and I have been feeling more fulfiled because of this. It may be that it will get me into trouble with the BOE at my Kingdom Hall some day; but I am willing to do what I beleive to be right and to put my trust in God (and not fear man).
Most Kingdoms have a parliament of elected representatives and constituencies consisting of sectors of their population. I have always viewed the Universe as being one massive Constituency with Jesus as the governmental head with his elected representatives. Maybe, says he (the dreamer) the rest of the Universe is populated with races and beings already enjoying the benefits of that Kingdom rule. Maybe soon, it is our turn for a cleansing and a New World Order. That expression seems to be on the lips of many.
I like the way you put this. It is quite possible..who can say; also why not..It is a big universe out there.
This has been a very interesting post by the way.
PS I also beleive that Jesus is mediator to ALL christians regardless of the heavenly or earthly hope. I once discussed my view with an elder as I couldnt understand how it didnt apply to the majority of christians, but he told me to wait on the society, as who knows 'new light may one day be revealed'!.