Love the don't use a gun for self defence by Gary Bro

by mickbobcat 37 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Earnest

    TD : What is the JW explanation of Luke 22:36 these days?

    Luke 22:35-38 says :

    He also said to them: “When I sent you out without a money bag and a food pouch and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said: “No!” Then he said to them: “But now let the one who has a money bag take it, likewise a food pouch, and let the one who has no sword sell his outer garment and buy one. For I tell you that what is written must be accomplished in me, namely, ‘He was counted with lawless ones.’ [Isaiah 53:12] For this is being fulfilled concerning me.” Then they said: “Lord, look! here are two swords.” He said to them: “It is enough.

    In the first instance, then, it was fulfilling prophecy. But when Jesus says "It is enough", what is it enough for? Eleven verses later it says :

    When those around him saw what was going to happen, they said: “Lord, should we strike with the sword?” One of them even struck the slave of the high priest, taking off his right ear. But in reply Jesus said: “That is enough.” And he touched the ear and healed him.

    The account in John 18:10,11 says :

    Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. The name of the slave was Malchus. Jesus, however, said to Peter: “Put the sword into its sheath. Should I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

    The account in Matthew 26:51,52 says :

    But look! one of those with Jesus reached out his hand and drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, taking off his ear. Then Jesus said to him: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword."

    The explanation in the Watchtower is that Jesus told them to have a sword when they went to the Garden of Gethsemane to demonstrate that he could have resorted to weapons for self-defense if he condoned it, but didn't.

  • TD

    Interesting. Thanks Earnest.

    The Watchtower endorsed the idea expressed by Yoder, Penner and other Christian pacifists that Peter's possession of a sword served as a fulfillment of Isaiah 53:12 in the 1983 article, Walking With God In a Violent World

    However they explicitly walked that idea back in (at least) three private letters that I have firsthand knowledge of and said that the "brief statement" on page 19 should not be viewed as an adjustment to the existing idea that it was the manner of Jesus' execution and to a lesser degree, his trial and arrest that actually fulfilled the prophecy.

    I was curious about your inclusion of the reference in the quoted passage above, so I went and looked in the 2013 edition of the NWT and sure enough, it is there now. That is a departure from their 1984 reference Bible, which did away with that reference.

  • TD

    Even without the factoid above the number of assumptions you have to make for the plausibility of the explanation strains this readers credulity. (At least....)

    You have to assume that Jesus either didn't know that at least a couple of his disciples had swords. or had been perfectly okay with it up to that point.

    You have to ignore the clear meaning of the metaphor, καὶ...πωλησάτω τὸ ἱμάτιον αὐτοῦ, and assume that Jesus seriously expected his disciples to go out in Jerusalem on Passover and conduct this transaction if need be

    And you have to interpret the references to a purse and food pouch under an entirely different rubric even though all three items are listed in the same context.

  • Earnest

    It does not surprise me that you are better versed in Watchtower theology than I am, TD, but as I do not have access to the private letters you mention I cannot really comment on them. But it does seem clear to me that Jesus was specifically saying that their having swords was a fulfillment of prophecy. After all, you wouldn't identify someone having a money bag as lawless, or someone having a food pouch, but you may well identify someone having a sword as being lawless. Especially if he was resisting arrest or cutting off ears.

    Your reasons that it is implausible that Jesus was talking about the immediate situation rather than a more general preparedness are all good (if I have understood you correctly), but his disciples thought he was talking about that moment because they said "Lord, look, here are two swords". And his reply "It is enough" also refers to their immediate situation. I dunno. What Jesus says doesn't always make sense to me. But in this case it does show how his disciples understood him regardless of the assumptions it leaves in its wake.

  • TD


    Unfortunately, I've stated almost as much as I can without violating a trust. (If you recall, it was during the early 80's that law enforcement became an unacceptable profession for JW's and it precipitated a wave of consternation in my neck of the woods.)

    Here is an excerpt from one letter (Writer is deceased) and the reply:

    Question: "In what way could Jesus' disciples be considered the "Lawless ones" of Isaiah 53:12? Is this an adjustment to the understanding found on page 86 of the book Man's Salvation out of World Distress at Hand!"

    Answer: "No, the brief statement on page 19 should not be viewed as a new understanding"

    It's about as satisfying as a photograph taken from 12,000 feet, but that's all I have.

    As always, there are a number of ways to interpret Jesus' more cryptic comments. The 1984 reference Bible linked the prophetic reference to John 18:12, which was an allusion to the manner of his death (i.e. As a condemned criminal) The idea that Jesus was the leader of a band of brigands (Or the perception thereof) is a little off the beaten path, especially for a doctrinally conservative group like the JW's.

    TBH, I'm more curious (confused) than ever now. The JW's did away with the reference in 1984 and brought it back in 2013. I wonder what they would say if they were asked point blank today (?)

  • Anony Mous
    Anony Mous

    The Bible scholars would say you are comparing 3 versions of the same story and thus different early traditions of the interpretations of Jesus’ story. The different stories each have their own interpretations of early Greek philosophy worked into the story of the Messiah, so you can see a more pacifist, a more realist and a more mystical version of each story. You can see the same repeat in the rest of the story, where one will be more aggressive anti-Roman Jesus vs pacifist Jesus vs the Roman citizen Jesus.

  • RandomUserName3500

    When someone attacks you, you're not supposed to call the police. You're supposed to call the elders. At least that is what the elders told me after my now ex wife went on an anger filled rampage. I was doing some home remodeling and had a tool belt on. She grabbed the hammer and was swinging it at me. Got away from that and she started throwing things through windows, smashing furniture, etc. I tried calling the police. She got the cell phone and threw it. Got it back and called. She was prosecuted and convicted of domestic violence. I was counseled for calling the police, should have let the elders handle it. Yeah right.

    Funny, i was outside when the police showed up. Can hear stuff being smashed inside still. First thing i tell the police is I have a 25 on my ankle. He takes it and unloads it and asks why i didnt use it. Didnt need too, got myself out and safe.

  • FedUpJW

    Perhaps it is just me, I have seen that increasingly JW men are being emasculated by WT. I cannot imagine ANY real man standing by and watching his GF, his Wife, his daughter, his mother being physically and/or sexually assaulted, and then just stand there with a shit-eating grim on his face repeating the name Jehovah over and over like some kind of verbal charm, or dropping to his knees to pray as they are assaulted and perhaps killed.

    Don't JW's know that there are not only sins of commission, but sins of OMISSION? I always said that I would rather face judgement day knowing I had killed someone while protecting my family rather than hope to see them in some professed resurrection and face judgement for letting them die while doing nothing to stop it from happening.

    As far as the right now, Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.

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