[email protected] shirley
I still believe in the paradise earth.
If I understand Russell's personal history correctly, it was his own strong feelings that shaped his view of Bible doctrine.
Rather than gathering all the relevant passages to see what the Bible teaches on a topic, Russell seems to have first decided what a good God must be like and then hunted for verses to support his conclusions.
The first doctrine of Christendom that he rejected was hell.
It's not my purpose to turn this into a thread about hell, but rather to focus on the process by which Russell arrived at "truth." He found the concept of hell as eternal conscious punishment so repulsive that he concluded it must be false. Since a good God must have the same view of this as Russell, hell must not exist. That meant that Bible references to it had to mean something else. Hell must be the grave.
This also led him to consider the issue of what does happen to wicked people at death. They couldn't go to heaven, of course, but there was no hell, so the only alternative had to be non-existence. He searched the scriptures until he found the first half of Ecclesiastes 9:5 and made that his mantra: "... the dead are conscious of nothing at all..." He ignored the rest of verse 5 as well as verse 6 about the dead having no more reward and no part any more in anything that happens under the sun. He also ignored the entire context of the book of Ecclesiastes (the preacher's conclusion in Eccesiastes 1:2 that life is meaningless).
Other Bible passages such as 2 Corinthians 5:8 (Paul preferring to be away from the body and at home with the Lord) and Philippians 1:3 (Paul wanting to depart and be with Christ because that is far better) were ignored as not fitting the "dead are conscious of nothing at all" paradigm.
Would the wicked be gone forever? For Ahab and Judas types, maybe, but Russell was kind enough to allow most people a second chance at paradise via the resurrection, and God must be at least as merciful as Russell. Yet Hebrews 9:27 says that "it is appointed to men once to die and then comes judgment." How to square that with Russell's second chance view? To Russell, "judgment" must not mean "God's condemnation of sinners based on what they had done during their life" but rather "a second chance opportunity throughout the coming 1000 year reign of Christ after which there will be a final trial."
Other doctrines were arrived at similarly. The concept of the Trinity made no sense to Russell. Therefore, it must be false. All Bible references to the deity of Christ must mean something else. He was more than man but less than God. What about John 1:1? It must have been mistranslated for centuries. The Word was "a god," not God.
As with hell, it's not my intention to turn this into a debate about the Trinity doctrine. My point is that Russell developed his understanding of the Bible by starting with his beliefs as to what God must be like rather than coming to his understanding of what God is like by what the Bible says about Him.
Of course, all of us can believe whatever we choose for whatever reasons seem best to us. But when the WT claims to go strictly by the Bible and not go "beyond the things that are written," they are in denial about the way their doctrines really were developed.
Paul, it makes sense to me too and was Jehovah god's original purpose for the earth and us upon it, and it still is his purpose. I just don't know if I will live to see it.
The Jews belived in the restoration of all things, but they did not know the details. If you believe the Bible than you must believe that GOD altered things a bit. Christ changed everything. It is true that the phrase " paradise earth" is not in the scriptures. If you really believe the Bible then you must accept many things on faith because some things just are not explained.
How do we know that everyone who died before Christ didn't go to heaven? Is soul-sleep accurate? Are they under the altar? Perhaps only certain ones will rule, but all will be in heaven, and have the ability to travel to earth? When is the End? What if the big A doesn't come for another 200 years? Where do we go? Maybe all who die before the END of the age will go to heaven, and those who survive and were not chosen to rule will be on earth? Will the Kingdom literally come down from heaven? Who knows?! Not me. I am just working on being a nicer and less judgemental person.