djeggnog needs some answers :-)
Help with irrefutable arguments- creating dissonance
Where the Christians that taught that gentiles should be circumcised to be condemned for this later refined teaching by Paul?
- "No striking or fundamental variation is shown either in the Old or the New Testament. There are no important omissions or additions of passages, and no variations which affect vital facts or doctrines."Reasoning from the Scriptures p. 64
- "Sometime during the second or third century C.E. the scribes removed the Tetragrammaton from both the Septuagint and the Christian Greek Scriptures and replaced it with Ky´ri·os, "Lord" or The·os´, "God."" New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures - With References p.1564 1D The Divine Name in the Christian Greek Scriptures
which is it? - Besty
As you know, what you quoted here came from Appendix 1D (The Divine Name in the Christian Greek Scriptures), pp. 1564-1566 from the NWT Reference Bible, which appendix lists each instance where it is clear that the Tetragrammaton that makes use of four Hebrew characters, would have been used in the Greek text (since the majority of these verses in the Greek text are either quotations from or allusions to the Hebrew Scriptures or to the Greek Septuagint, the latter being a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures that was commissioned by Ptolemy II during the third century BC and produced by 72 Jewish scholars [which Greek translation is also known as "the LXX"]).
Since we know that the writers of the Greek Scriptures would have quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures or the Septuagint in which the Tetragrammaton appears, and we also know from Jerome's fourth century AD writings that before Matthew's gospel was translated into Greek that the apostle Matthew wrote his gospel in Hebrew "for the circumcision," that is to say, for the benefit of Jewish Christians that read Hebrew, for Jerome indicates that had been permitted by the Berean Nazarenes to make a copy of Matthew's gospel for his own use, which "is preserved to this day in the library at Caesarea...." Matthew's gospel alone contains over a hundred quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures that include the Tetragrammaton in them, and "according to the practice of that time," when Matthew's gospel was translated into Greek, it would also have included the Tetragrammaton in it, even as would the rest of the Greek text in which the Tetragrammaton appeared. Now we come to your quote:
"Sometime during the second or third century C.E. the scribes removed the Tetragrammaton from both the Septuagint and the Christian Greek Scriptures and replaced it with Ky´ri·os, 'Lord' or The·os´, 'God.'"
What this Appendix is saying here is that instead of their faithfully copying the Tetragrammaton along with the rest of the Greek Scriptures, the Tetragrammaton was substituted by second or third century AD scribal copyists with with kyrios (which in the English language is rendered "Lord") or _theos_ (which in the English language is rendered "God"), and the Appendix goes on to list 237 instances where the divine name was restored to the NWT Reference Bible as it is believe it would have appeared in the Greek Scriptures.
Professor George Howard (University of Georgia) stated: "When the Hebrew form for the divine name was eliminated in favor of Greek substitutes in the Septuagint, it was eliminated also from the New Testament quotations of the Septuagint [so that b]efore long the divine name was lost to the Gentile church except insofar as it was reflected in the contracted surrogates or remembered by scholars." (Biblical Archaeology Review, March 1978, p. 14.)
Consequently, while Jews refused to even pronounce the divine name, by the third century at the latest, the apostate Christian church had managed to completely remove God's name from Greek language manuscripts of both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Greek Scriptures.
Now by way of response to one of the questions raised in the book, Reasoning on the Scriptures, "How can we be sure the Bible has not been changed?" from which you quoted, reference is made to something contained in the introduction of Sir Frederic Kenyon's work, "The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri," on page 15, in which he stated that upon comparing the extant manuscripts that have been unearthed to date with one another, they confirm the soundness of the existing texts themselves. And here we come to what you quoted: "No striking or fundamental variation is shown either in the Old or the New Testament. There are no important omissions or additions of passages, and no variations which affect vital facts or doctrines." Let me go on here to include the rest of Kenyon's quote though: "The variations of text affect minor matters, such as the order of words or the precise words used... But their essential importance is their confirmation, by evidence of an earlier date than was hitherto available, of the integrity of our existing texts."
Notice that Kenyon here is not talking about the divine name at all, but is discussing the integrity he found to exist in both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Greek Scriptures that are available to us today when the manuscripts with one another, saying that while he did find there to be variations in the text that affect minor matters, maybe the words in some of the text is ordered different or there might be an imprecision as to the words used, there was found to be "no striking or fundamental variation" in these texts, "no important omissions or additions" were found to have been made, and no variations that "affect vital facts or doctrines."
So in response to your question, "which is it," these two quotations that you present in yhour message are not mutually exclusive, for whereas Appendix ID from which you quoted speaks to the substitution of words like "Lord" (Greek, _kyrios_) and "God" (Greek, _theos_) in place of "Jehovah" (that is, the Hebrew Tetragrammaton, "YHWH") and the restoration of Jehovah in the Reference Bible in some 237 instances where the divine name occurs in the Greek Scriptures, the quote found in the Reasoning book highlights to integrity of the Bible that we have today, and note that Professor Kenyon isn't referring specifically to the NWT Bible, but to the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts on which all Bibles today are based. The two things you quoted are both true and independent of one another, referring to two different things.
What answers do you think I need? Please be specific. If there is something I stated above that you find confusing or hard to understand, I believe I am competent to respond to any question that you might have.
I didn't understand your question. It seems that you have a question as to Paul's authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ to have brought back the decision that was made by the first century AD governing body as to the non-necessity for Gentiles to submit to fleshly circumcision before their being accepted into the Christian congregation as Christians, but I don't want to guess what it is you meant to say; your question is unclear. Please rephrase your question and if I can understand it, I'll answer it.
djeggnog writes: "Would you be disfellowshipped today from the Watchtower, if you believed and taught the Society’s doctrines of 1920? _____YES __x__NO"
Actually, according to the QfR in the 01. April 1986 Watchtower, the answer is "yes."
*** w86 4/1 pp. 30-31 Questions From Readers ***
Questions From Readers
Why have Jehovah's Witnesses disfellowshipped (excommunicated) for apostasy some who still profess belief in God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ?
Approved association with Jehovah's Witnesses requires accepting the entire range of the true teachings of the Bible, including those Scriptural beliefs that are unique to Jehovah's Witnesses. What do such beliefs include?
That the great issue before humankind is the rightfulness of Jehovah's sovereignty, which is why he has allowed wickedness so long. (Ezekiel 25:17) That Jesus Christ had a prehuman existence and is subordinate to his heavenly Father. (John 14:28) That there is a "faithful and discreet slave" upon earth today ‘entrusted with all of Jesus' earthly interests,' which slave is associated with the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses. (Matthew 24:45-47) That 1914 marked the end of the Gentile Times and the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the heavens, as well as the time for Christ's foretold presence. (Luke 21:7-24; Revelation 11:15-12:10) That only 144,000 Christians will receive the heavenly reward. (Revelation 14:1, 3) That Armageddon, referring to the battle of the great day of God the Almighty, is near. (Revelation 16:14, 16; 19:11-21) That it will be followed by Christ's Millennial Reign, which will restore an earth-wide paradise. That the first to enjoy it will be the present "great crowd" of Jesus' "other sheep."-John 10:16; Revelation 7:9-17; 21:3, 4."
In 1920, among other false doctrines, the official teaching of the Watch Tower Society was that the faithful and discreet slave" was C. T. Russell; that the Kingdom of God was established in the heavens in 1878, and that "Christ's foretold presence" had begun in 1874; that both the 144 000 and the "Great Crowd" would receive the heavenly reward... Therefore, one would indeed be disfellowshipped for believing and teaching the Society's doctrines of 1920.
Good call, Benny. He got most of the questions wrong, probably intentionally to draw out arguments.
djeggnog: I see what you are trying to do here, but there is a problem with it.
First, off, if you are currently part of the Organization, and as assigned by the organization, are a baptized and so-called ordained Minister, then you well know that you are mixing in company with what you yourself would define as apostates. You know that what you are doing is what the Organization defines as a sin, and this sing is almost equal to that of fornication. The organization, has, on multiple occasions told witnesses not to debate with apostates, yet you yourself are disobeying that order. Keep that in mind.
Secondly, in your first comment, basically what you implied by the illustration, was that the organization just looks wrong, for the time being, because there are people saying it is. You then imply that there is no evidence for this, and that soon we will all be proven wrong in our assumptions via "exoneration". I presume that this exoneration is in the form of armageddon, correct?
Well, the organization now defines as a generation those 'touched' by the truth. But if you examine the REAL definition of the english, and original word generation, as used in the referenced scripture in the book of matthew, which states that this is a literal word for a generation whose gap usually around 30 - 33 years, then that means that only those that were around 33 years old, or younger could be counted among this "generation". Also, generation implies a group of people within the same range of age. By saying that this generation shall not pass until the end, Jesus implies that the majority of the people within that age range would not die before the end. Most, if not all of those people are dead.
I know of nobody that has actually seen Russell in person, nor many- if any- who have seen and heard the talks as far back as the 1920's and 30's.
To legalistically stretch the definition of an english word- ignoring the definition of the actual word as in the original texts (yes, I HAVE researched the word in multiple interlinear translations, and checked the meaning of the word in BOTH languages)- is nothing less than stretching the truth of said word. Besides that, the new world translation has on multiple occasions separated what it meant by using the plural, "generations", rather than the singular. Pleas stop giving irrelevant and overcomplicated explanations in your defense of what you call the truth- it just shows an attempt to elude others to try to convince them whatever you say must be right because you give the pretense of insight.
Also, have you ever wondered why the Organization has more qualified law students than it does bible scholars? Something to think about...
"Would you be disfellowshipped today from the Watchtower, if you believed and taught the Society’s doctrines of 1920? _____YES __x__NO"
Not really. Anyone not wearing a white robe cannot be disfellowshipped, and anyone whose white robe is soiled has already been disfellowshipped.
The QfR article to which you refer would not be applicable to this, for anyone that should be found teaching what things that we do not teach today would be like the Samaritan woman, who believed she was "in the truth" even though she was in reality worshipping a God that did not exist. Jehovah had revealed so much more about Himself than what the Torah had revealed, there having been an additional 34 books (as we reckoned them the Hebrew Scriptures today) than she had been taught about God. This is why when we read John 4:21-24 (and I'm paraphrasing): 'You are worshipping a God that you don't even know, for the hour is coming when neither at some mountain in Samaria or at a temple in Jerusalem will people be worshipping God, for true worshippers will be those that are worshipping God in spirit and truth.'
Contrary to what you are have suggested here, anyone teaching old doctrines are not Christians, are not worshipping the true God, and no more so could that Samaritan woman be put to death for false worship than a former Witness that doesn't know God. Apostasy is an offense that can only be committed by someone that intentionally deviates from the truth by distorting God's word by maliciously teaching different doctrines and twisted things in order to subvert the faith of others, perhaps to draw folks after themselves, and things like these. (1 Timothy 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:18; Acts 20:30).
An individual that teaches wrong doctrine wouldn't even be someone that Jehovah would have invited into His spiritual temple where He dwells in our midst in person, and not just in spirit, for God's temple is a Holy Place and only true worshippers of God can enter the [true] God's temple. As we await the beginning of the great tribulation, Jehovah is elevating the household of faith progressively, little by little, as we make what adjustments are necessary to grow in love for our brothers, so that we may continue to qualify to wear the "white robes" of purity that we were given when we were baptized that we might eventually maintain our place in God's spiritual house forever.
Both apostates and persons on the outside (like those teaching wrong doctrine because they do not know any better) are not God's people, for as you said, they do not "[accept] the entire range of the true teachings of the Bible," so anyone not wearing a white robe is naked and cannot be disfellowshipped since he or she is like that Samaritan woman in that he or she is not even in the truth, but anyone whose white robe is soiled has already been disfellowshipped.
I didn't realize that you were qualified to grade my answers to those questions I answered, and I still don't believe you to be in possession of such qualifications, especially since those questions seemed to me to have been subjective ones, meaning that the answers I provided were mine and thus no one could have answered for me but me, but please allow me to share something with you, just one thing: I don't start arguments; I finish them.
djeggnog writes: "anyone teaching old doctrines are not Christians, are not worshipping the true God [...] An individual that teaches wrong doctrine wouldn't even be someone that Jehovah would have invited into His spiritual temple where He dwells in our midst in person, and not just in spirit, for God's temple is a Holy Place and only true worshippers of God can enter the God's temple. "
The Watch Tower Society itself does teach old doctrines (the identification of the "Generation" of Matthew chapter 24 as the "Anointed" was originally published as "Truth" in 1927).
Furthermore, according to the Society, they were "apostates, with whom faithful Christians would not fellowship":
W 01. April 1986 QfR:
Do we have Scriptural precedent for taking such a strict position? Indeed we do! Paul wrote about some in his day: "Their word will spread like gangrene. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of that number. These very men have deviated from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already occurred; and they are subverting the faith of some." (2 Timothy 2:17, 18; see also Matthew 18:6.) There is nothing to indicate that these men did not believe in God, in the Bible, in Jesus’ sacrifice. Yet, on this one basic point, what they were teaching as to the time of the resurrection, Paul rightly branded them as apostates, with whom faithful Christians would not fellowship.
You see, in 1919 -- the year in which the Society claims they were chosen by the Lord and appointed over all his belongings (WT, 15. March 1990, p.15) -- they were still teaching that the resurrection had begun in 1878 (WT 01. May 1919, Reprints p.6426), which view they continued to hold until 1927, and which view they now admit was false.
Do you honestly believe the Lord appointed over all his belongings an organisation that (by its own published standard) would be 'rightly branded apostate, with whom faithful Christians would not fellowship'?
Oh, do you? I couldn't glean from your post what you thought I was trying to do, so I can only respond here to the problems you are having with my post:
I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses and this means nothing more, nothing less. Perhaps you imagine that you know more about what we teach than I do, and I have no problem with your giving yourself as much [expertise] as you might feel you need in this regard, but there is nothing "doctrinally sinful," for lack of a better way to convey my point here, about someone visiting a website that might also [be used] by an apostate, no more [so] than that it would be "doctrinally sinful" for you and I using the very same restroom at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California, for a restroom is provided to the public. Now one doesn't normally need to sign-up to use a restroom, but I'm hoping you are getting my drift.
I'm not here to hobnob with apostates, but perhaps you will remember learning (or maybe you learned very little!) that elders speak to disfellowshipped persons all of the time, privately for the most part, and some of these expelled ones might be apostates.
However, it is by one's own choice that one takes the necessary steps that have led many [to] making his or her dedication to Jehovah and baptism. Through an assent of his or her own will decide if he or she will serve Jehovah or not, for no one should be forced (and over the years I've become aware of cases where coercion or force was applied to a baptismal candidate) to do anything against their own will.
Now if you, for example, were baptized without your having gained an appreciation for the spiritual things that you were learning -- if you, like many former Jehovah's Witnesses, came away from the truth with a lot of head knowledge, with no one ever explaining to you, by your getting baptized, that you would be becoming a part of the household of faith with duties and responsibilities, not just toward Jehovah, but toward the people for whom Christ died, and that were, in fact, being invited by Jehovah into a Holy Place, the earthly realm of His spiritual temple -- then those particular elders, as has often been the case in the past with other elders, may have had their own agenda (i.e., a quota contest between other congregations in a circuit). But I personally pray for those that have elected to leave us that they may reconsider and come back to Jehovah with the help of someone more mature that the elders that forced them to don that white robe before they were ready to put it own themselves in the first place, someone that can help them make spiritual progress.
You evidently read my post in some skewed fashion, which in my experience typically does happen when someone is in attack mode, not to say that you are in "attack mode" here, but I wasn't implying anything in what I said. I was essentially saying that Jehovah's Witnesses are not inspired, not infallible, and while our being so enthused over the fact that Armageddon is so much more closer than it was when we first learned the truth, and our being so excited over the possibility that we might be numbered among the survivors that see the end of this wicked system of things might lead some to say things that just aren't supported by the Bible, we are happy to accept whatever changes are made in our understanding of scriptural doctrine since we desire to worship God in truth, and will abandon any teaching that we discover to not be in harmony with the Bible.
It's commendable that you are still doing research on what Jehovah's Witnesses are teaching even though you may have severed your relationship with us, and I say this because maybe you'll eventually come to realize that all Jehovah's Witnesses are doing is trying to build faith in God and in His purposes for the earth so that those that listen to us might be saved, both they and we. (1 Timothy 4:16) I wrote a couple of posts having to do with how we now have come to understand the meaning of Jesus' words "this generation" at Matthew 24:34, and I'm sure you can find them, but Jesus did say at Matthew 24:36, that 'nobody knows the day and hour,' which means that Jesus and his executional forces are still coming as a thief, 'at an hour that we do not think it to be it,' I believe our Lord said, because we simply will not be able to figure out "on what day [our] Lord is coming" (Matthew 24:42-44).
As I stated elsewhere (in other posts, that is), when Jesus used the words "this generation" at Matthew 23:36, he had in mind those Jews that were alive contemporaneous with the tribulation that befell the Jewish system of things in 70 AD, when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. However, the words "this generation" that he uses at Matthew 24:34 are contemporaneous with the events that would occur "after the tribulation of those days" when "the sign of the Son of man" will appear in heaven "during the presence of the Son of man" at the end of this wicked system of things. (Matthew 24:37) In this regard, I think it important to take into consideration what Jesus says at Matthew 24:29, 30.
Pertinent to this discussion that we are having here is what I posted the other day:
At Genesis 7:1, reference is there made to Noah's generation ("After that Jehovah said to Noah: 'Go, you and all your household, into the ark, because you are the one I have seen to be righteous before me among this generation'"), and Noah, who was born in 2970 BC, would have been (and was!) 600 years old when the flood waters deluged the earth in 2370 BC. (Genesis 7:6) But the Bible indicates (Genesis 5:28), too, that Lamech, Noah's father, who was born in 3152 BC, gave birth to Noah when he was 182 years old (2970 BC), and that in 2375 BC, Lamech died at the age of 777, but while Lamech's life overlapped that of his son by 595 years, Noah's "generation" began with Noah's birth, and Noah's three sons, Japheth, Shem and Ham, were Noah's contemporaries when their father died in 2020 BC, some 350 years after the Flood, when Noah's generation came to an end.
So from the day that each of Noah's sons were born until the day their father died, Japheth, Shem and Ham were contemporaries of Noah, so for example, Japheth, who was born in 2470 BC, would have been a contemporary of Noah for some 450 years, so even though Noah and Japheth were not born of the same generation, they were both a part of "this generation" that were alive when the 120-year "countdown" began in 2490 BC marking the last days of that ancient world and when the Flood brought that ancient world to an end. Jesus parallels "the presence of the Son of man" with the 120-year period that culminated with the Flood, through which period, Jesus says, the people "took no note" of the message that Noah preached as to the end of that ancient world. (Matthew 24:38, 39)
Similarly, at Exodus 1:6, which refers to Joseph's generation ("Eventually Joseph died, and also all his brothers and all that generation") is used to describe those who were Joseph's contemporaries, even though the verse itself doesn't use this word, which is evinced by the words "...and all that generation," which would not be limit "generation" to just Joseph and his 11 brothers, but would include Joseph's two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, who would also have been as much contemporaries of their father as were Joseph's nephews (and nieces), would they not? All of these were contemporaries of Joseph and thus a part of "that generation [of Joseph's]."
As I wrote elsewhere, there is no "1914 generation" and no "Armageddon generation"; there is but one "anointed generation" -- "this generation" of folks that lived contemporaneous to when the composite "sign" that Jesus provides in Matthew 24 and 25; Mark 13 and Luke 21 appeared in 1914, and many of the people in this generation will still be alive after the great tribulation and "will by no means pass away until all these things occur," so these anointed ones will live to see the end of this wicked system of things.
You also asked me the following:
"[H]ave you ever wondered why the Organization has more qualified law students than it does bible scholars?"
I haven't really considered this question, but with the exception of the apostle Paul, none of Jesus' apostles were well-educated men, Bible scholars or the like. Peter and John, for example, are described at Acts 4:13 as being "unlettered and ordinary." I recall reading somewhere (John 7:15) that Jesus wasn't regarded as being a Bible scholar either, "not [having] studied at the schools." Believe me, I don't wonder about such things at all, but you certainly can.