Heaven and Earth will pass away?

by eyeslice 11 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • eyeslice

    Like many, for years I understood the ‘generation’ mentioned in Matthew 24:34 to be an actual ‘chronological’ generation that actually saw the events of 1914. This would mean that to be in a position to see and understand the events of 1914, someone would have to be at least 10 years old, and to be someone who actually fought in the Great War, say 17 or 18 years old. This generation has passed away, as clearly brought home with the recent death of the British Queen Mother who was born at the beginning of the 20th Century.

    Whilst I understand the so called ‘change of thought’ of a few years back that now makes this generation a ‘contemporary’ rather than a ‘chronological’ one, I cannot see how the guarantee that ‘heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away’ sits with a much vaguer ‘contemporary’ one. If it is not possible to clearly define this generation, then this guarantee makes no sense.

    Has anyone heard of any new spins on the ‘guarantee’ aspect, say from COs, DOs, Bethelites, etc, as the official lines have been particularly vague on this point?

  • Larsguy

    Very interesting topic. But LANGUAGE and idiomatic expressions are part of language and we must try to understand the context when certain phrases are used in one language to express a certain idea but in direct translation makes no sense or gives the wrong impression

    FOR INSTANCE: I've I said "I burned rubber all the way to the store to get back in time for my TV program" you'd understand the that "burned rubber" was a way of me staying I sped down to the store. But when translating that, it might no sense to someone not understanding the context!!

    The same goes for Biblical idiomatic expressions. One fun one that is often misunderstood x 2 is the use of the world "camel". In one place the Bible says that it's "harder for a rich man to get into the kingdom than a CAMEL to get through the eye of a needle." Some think this is a reference to a literal camel, but in fact, a "camel" was an idiomatic reference to a knot in the thread that gets bunched up behind the needle hole and it resembles a camel who has a skinny neck but then a bit body. So they euphemistically referred to it as a "camel". So what Jesus was saying was it's harder for a rich man to get into heaven than to get a knot in the thread through the eye of a needle.

    Another use of "camel" is in reference to what we call a "horsefly". In the Middle east they called them camelflies or simple "camels". Thus when Jesus was talking about the Pharisees straining out the gnat but gulping down the camel, he was not talking about a literal camel that would find its way into their drink somehow and they would swallow a dromedary in their drink, but contrasting the very large hoursefly/camelfly with the tiny gnat. So he was basically saying they went to the trouble of straining out the tiniest little gnat which often flew into the drink, but gulped down the huge camelfly, showing their hypocrisy, only the local term for it was simple "camel" because it was in common language.

    The same happens in our culture since if I told you "I smoke Camels" you would not imagine I was talking about the animal but a brand of cigarettes. But is translated into another language it might be confusing.

    So local colloquialism, euphemisms and idiomatic expressions have to be taken into CONTEXT when in reference, which is the case of "heaven and earth." Obviously Jesus is not literally talking about the heaven and earth. But what was it?

    "HEAVEN AND EARTH" was the equivalent to "SYSTEM OF THINGS". That is what "heaven and earth" is in reference to. That's because when you look up into the heavens and see the order of things and the earth being part of that "order of things" they used that to express a reference to a certain consistent cirumstance, an "age" a "world" a "system of things." So when Jesus said "Heaven and earth would pass away" before a single word of scripture would not be fulfilled he was merely saying in another way that the "system of things would end" for sure and God's word would remain true.

    So when you see heaven and earth references to something passing away, it's a reference to a certain "age" or order of things that would end.

    Thus in Revelation 20 we have two references to heaven and earth passing away or fleeing near the end of a specific order of things or system of things or an "age" that ends. The first reference to heaven fleeing is right after Satan is destroyed. That ends an "era" of Satan-dominated existence for the earth. So that era of Satan and his rebellion is over and so it is said that "heaven fled away". But that introduces a new "age" or system of things of JUDGMENT DAY where the dead would be judged. But then again, after all the judgment is over, then another new age or system of things would begin and thus at Revelation 21 we find a reference to a "new heaven and a new earth" coming about whereas the former "heaven and earth" had passed away. Only in this case, it was a reference to the previous "age" of Judgment Day where Death existed.

    So "heaven and earth" is just the colloquial way of referring to an "age" or a "system of things" and not literally the heavens and earth.

    So, whenever reading something in another language and/or especially from another culture, if something doesn't quite make sense, you have to do the extra homework and add a little judgment and insight to try to understand what is MEANT in comparison to a direct translation, and when that is done you get harmony in scriptures.

    It's all the fun and frantic of translations!!!

    Hope this was a help.


  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    "if something doesn't quite make sense, you have to do the extra homework and add a little judgment and insight to try to understand what is MEANT in comparison to a direct translation, and when that is done you get harmony in scriptures. "

    But be sure not to run ahead of "god's spirit directed organization."

    If what they're teaching is WRONG, believe the WRONG thing and if necessary die for the WTONG belief, for this is pleasing to the "Universal Author Of Trooth."


    Realize that there is NO "trooth" fairy!

  • Larsguy

    :If what they're teaching is WRONG, believe the WRONG thing and if necessary die for the WTONG belief, for this is pleasing to the "Universal Author Of Trooth."

    I can't figure out where all these third-graders come from!!! This was simply a discussion about TRANSLATION and IDIOMATIC PHRASES! This is standard, academic stuff and I gave several examples. The only point being here that some people are just not smart enough to keep up. That's a reality. Some people are just not that smart. It's a reality. I guess God lets them off the hook in that case.



  • eyeslice

    The point I was making was regarding the guarantee heaven and earth will pass away but there is no way that this generation will before seeing the fulfillment of Matthew 24. The problem the vague "contemporary" generation is the fact that is is vague! Because this "generation" cannot be identified as having a specific start and therefore a specific end (70 - 90 years later) the guarantee seems to make no sense to me.

    The definition of the generation may have changed but to my knowledge no new explanation of the guarantee of it passing away has surfaced.

  • og

    Since the definition of generation is now elastic, the guarantee is now elastic. Plainly, the WS felt a great deal of pressure building up because they had been trumpeting the guarantee for 70 years or so - always, btw, explaining 'generation' in such a way as to create urgency.

    This topic is dear to my heart, because the 1995 change in generation is what finally got me thinking that the WS might be full of crap.

    "Belief is the death of intelligence." R.A. Wilson

  • NameWithheld

    Yes they have left the term 'generation' deliberatly vague, since they have been so obviously painfully wrong about their last attempt at explaining it. To come out now with another date range for the 'generation' (for example, 1940 on + 70/80 years), would make them look foolish (as if they don't already). So they make the best of both worlds, now saying that the 'generation' is a time period or group of people ... I mean who really knows what the hell they're trying to say it is. I didn't understand it when they made the change in 1995, and I still don't. All I know is they are up to their eyeballs in BS.

  • Adonai438

    Well, I may be sticking my nose into a JW discussion here but...... heaven and earth will pass away. In Biblical chronology for after the end of the Millenium it is described that earth will be destroyed by fire and a new heavens and a new earth will be created.
    (2 Peter 3:10-13, Rev. 20:9b &11b, Rev.21:1-8 especially vs. 1-3 & 5)
    The end times is detailed but clearly outlined in the Bible in Revelations and other prophecies. Just because it is detailed doesn't mean it's symbolic and should be dummied down or ignored though. JW chronology leaves out much of the prophecies and details outlined in scripture and explains away anything it doesn't like as symbolic. But remember, history past is very detailed and confusing to some to remember everything and get how it interelates but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. The same goes for 'history future'. Just because it is detailed doesn't mean it won't happen the way it says it will. Go by the BOOK, THE Bible, and the truth will be evident. Also remember that knowing/understanding endtimes chronology isn't what saves man/people-- it's knowing and believing and trusting in the True God. My nosey 2cents <><Angie

  • evangelist

    I will like to say I think this world will pass away because the Glory of God will come and burn up the filth of this world and this world can not stand the Holy fire of God and the foundation of this earth will melt away.
    Heb:1:10: And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
    Heb:1:11: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;

    Just my understanding from the bible scripture.

    Be Blessed
    Proverb:4:7: Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

  • Carmel


    Are you familiar with the Jewish rendering of the "eye of the needle" scripture? It actually had to do with the east gate leading into the old city of Jerusalem. There were staggered posts in front of the gate which required the entering person to dismount from his camel, remove all the baggage strapped on its back, lead the camel through the "eye" without its load, then re-load inside the posts. The point of the story had to do with becoming detached from our material world (possessions) before entering the "city of God".


Share this