Ruin those Ruining th Earth

by peacefulpete 52 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • peacefulpete

    It has been mentioned before but since we have been discussing environmental issues on another thread, I thought it might be timely to discuss Rev 11:18 which has recently become a popular text for those Christians concerned about environmental threats of pollution and climate change. Is this passage being interpreted correctly? Did the writer somehow anticipate the modern environmental situation, or did he intend something more in keeping with the Bible's general concerns of morality and sin?

    First, what does the Greek say?

    Secondly, how does the context help to interpret it?

    Third, are there parallels outside Revelation to compare?

    First, the Greek for "ruin" is diaphtheirai it is defined as "morally corrupt, defile, destroy" and is used numerous times in the NT and in the Greek translations of OT. So the Greek can mean "destroy those who are corrupting the earth" which would be perfectly consistent with the general message of the authors of the Bible, but is this the best interpretation consistent with the context?

    Secondly, does the context help? Yes, rev 19:1,2 says:

    “After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! “For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her”

    Here in the context of Revelation the word clearly supports the meaning of people morally ruining or corrupting the earth.

    Third, are there parallels outside Revelation? Yes, many. In those usages a variety of shades of meaning is meant, consistent with the definition above. For example 1 Tim 6:5

    These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.

    A notable parallel in application among them is Gen 6:11 (LXX) which gives as justification for killing everyone in a flood:

    11 But the earth was corrupted before God, and the earth was filled with iniquity.

    The LXX Greek translation here at Genesis uses the same Greek word we are discussing. This is significant as the author of Revelation was most likely using the LXX and made countless allusions to, and drew heavily from, the OT.

    Considering the global environmental devastation of a earth-wide flood killing everything outside the ark, I doubt the authors of the Bible though of their god as concerned about environmental impacts.

    While I have not been able to pinpoint an exact moment when this passage in Rev 11 was reinterpreted as an environmental ruining it likely was pretty recent when the topic became of interest. If someone has the resources to do a search as to when the WT first applied this passage with an environmentalist spin, I'd love for them to share it. I suspect it was no earlier than the 1960's.

  • blondie

    I did a fairly good look at WOL and this is the first quote of Revelation 11:18 that connects to the idea of pollution. Remember that pollution was not a big topic in the world in general, the WTS tends to jump on the band wagon with their ideas when it becomes an issue outside the WTS and could attract attention to their publications. But not too long ago the WTS (Walkill) was charged with polluting their own property.


    Science and technology boast of material progress, but for half a century they have in fact been ruining the earth. (Rev. 11:18) Self-seeking materialists have played havoc with the productive land, polluting air and soil, river and sea, and decimating the living resources of the earth

  • eyeuse2badub

    It's a typical wt method. If one definition of an obscure Greek or Latin word or phrase doesn't support their dogma, then simply switch to another 'possible' definition of that word or phrase. The wt writers use such kindly expressions as "that must be what Jesus (or fill in the name) must of had in mind when he said______________", and then completely change the whole meaning of a scripture. Or just add a comma and the whole meaning of what Jesus said can completely change! lol

    And yet we ate their crap for decades!

    just saying!

  • WTWizard

    And what about those idiots that waste all that gas and time running around preaching the message of global Noahide Law (and work to bring it to reality)? And waste all that gas going to so many meetings, including traveling several hundred kilometers to attend big boasting sessions? And waste time and pollution going to McDonalds every day for lunch, polluting with all those plastic wrappers and straws just so they can keep their time going.

  • rickroll

    We live better today than at any time in history. We now have an avg LE of around 82, 200 years ago maybe 35. What would only be for the very wealth now the most poor have TV, AC food ect all brought to you by fossil fuel. The issue is not what or how we consume, its the population pure and simple. You can not put 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag. There are 8 billion people on the planet and growing. Does not matter if everyone only threw out a quart jar a week of trash at some point the shear amount of people doing it will out weigh the ability of our environment to keep up. So all this we need solar, Wind BS does not mean crap. What we get from oil most idiots who say we need to get off of it don't know what we get from it. They think Gas and cars and live in a city where they don't drive. Well we get everything from Tooth paste to the soles of your shoes from oil. From the pesticides that keep crops from being decimated to the plane the few you to see your family. Solar and wind will not give us what we need to live like we do. If nature does not kill off a lot of humans by disease or something else and we keep expanding uncontrolled it will end badly. My prediction is we will see it end badly I just hope its past my sell by date.

  • peacefulpete

    PLEASE, lets not debate the state of the environment or what we need to do about it.

    Thanks Blondie, that was what I expected.

  • BluesBrother

    Thank you Pete, that is most interesting I have enjoyed your posts for years.I can dispute other "signs of the times" but it has always been hard to deny that we live in a time when men seem to be ruining the Earth.

    I am no scholar but I would only comment :

    The NWT is not alone in its rendering , I have compared KJV, NIV and NEB .

    The verse uses the Greek word twice. If we were consistent in using it, would it make sense to read, "[He] will corrupt those corrupting the earth" ?

    Just my laymans thoughts....

  • peacefulpete

    Bluesbrother....yes the duel use of the Greek word was an example of antanaclasis a literary device. Repeating a word with a dual meaning. Let the dead bury the dead, comes to mind.

    The word just like the English word "corrupt" can mean to rot, to make worthless, to ruin. That carries a range of connotation depending upon context and usage. The entire book of revelation directs the writer's anger at religious and political enemies for their moral/religious corruption. Never once does it mention environmental crimes. In fact the one doing the environmental damage is God.

  • peacefulpete

    Another example, lost in translation.

    Roman 12:13b,14

    ...Practice (dioko )hospitality. Bless those who persecute (dioko) you...

    Dioko means to 'pursue' here again the author was using a literary device.

    Pursue hospitality and bless those who pursue you.

  • neat blue dog
    neat blue dog

    I think it means morally as well, as Genesis 6 says about the preflood world that it was "ruined".

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