It was all GREEK to me

by Terry 27 Replies latest jw friends

  • Anna Marina
    Anna Marina

    Hi Tiki

    Oh my...I remember all the hoopla over the word parousia...coming as in the process vs coming here you are....if I remember Jesus coming was more than his arrival...but his presence.

    Do you remember when that was? I was never taught the word parousia. But when I did a stand-in talk dealing with it (2005) I immediately recognised it as a serious piece of false doctrine and I blew the whistle as hard as I could. If the false doctrine had been clearly explained to me when I was studying I would never have joined. I studied in 1992.

    I am putting together a YouTube about my experience.

  • blondie

    sad elder,

    I haven't seen a Greek or Hebrew word in a JW publication in quite a wile. Of course I only give a cursory look every year or two.

    I haven't either and pointed that out in Comments every time I saw the WTS refer to something they said being based on a Greek word, rarely mentioned. The first link below is the search in the WOL for the words, Greek (and) word in the same sentence, newest first. (though the NWT Study Bible does have explanations)


    The Greek word translated “transformed” at Romans 12:2 indicates a change in form or composition, like the change of a caterpillar into a butterfly. To be transformed means to change what we are inside​—our character, our nature. By contrast, the Greek word translated “disguising” at 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 refers to a change that is outward only, a superficial change in appearance.

    THE word “synagogue” comes from a Greekword meaning “assembly” or “gathering together.”

    (The Greek word is mentioned more and more in the older issues before 1999)

  • Terry
    Anna Marina

    Hi Terry

    What do you mean by that? I was never taught the word parousia. It wasn't in the literature when I studied. Granted I know the word now, but that is for different reasons, because parousia proves them wrong not right.


    Anna, thanks for asking that question!

    Director Alfred Hitchcock described something he called MacGuffin, "I mean the emptiest, the most nonexistent, and the most absurd plot device - the mysterious object in a spy thriller that sets the whole chain of events into motion or purports to EXPLAIN without really doing so."

    Charles Taze Russell made use of a MacGuffin (parousia) to move his theology out of trouble.
    Here is what happened.


    In his early twenties, Russell was heavily influenced by the Adventist movement, begun by William Miller, who had predicted that Christ would return in 1844. This was the origin of one of the trademark JW characteristics: the creation of fanciful biblical chronologies and date-setting. Miller himself admitted that his chronology had failed (which was indeed self-evident after 1844). A number of his followers, however, rationalized the failure by inventing a doctrine of Christ’s invisible return.

    Russell, who began to lead, in 1870, a Bible study group which evolved into today’s Jehovah’s Witnesses, repeated this unfortunate practice. He wrote in 1881 about the speculations of his short-term partner, Nelson H. Barbour, an Adventist from Rochester, New York, who had originally predicted the physical return of Christ in 1874:

    . . . When 1874 came and there was no outward sign of Jesus in the literal clouds and in a fleshly form, there was a general re-examination of all the arguments . . . It was soon discovered that the expectation of Jesus in the flesh at the second advent was a mistake . . . that Jesus was quickened or made alive in spirit . . . Though the manner in which they had expected Jesus was in error, yet the time . . . was correct, and that the Bridegroom came in the Autumn of 1874. (Watchtower, Oct/Nov 1881, 3)

    Russell and his followers agreed with Barbour’s original prophecy and explained its failure by transforming the Second Coming into an “invisible presence,” as is evident in Russell’s later account:

    As we look backward, we can see that our pathway has been . . . progressive . . . A new view of truth can never contradict a former truth . . . Bro. Keith (one of our contributors) was used of the Lord . . . His surprise was, at finding that the Greek word parousia, which signifies “presence,” had in our common version been improperly rendered “coming” . . . Can it be possible that Jesus does not come in a fleshly body at his second advent? . . . Examination revealed the fact that Jesus since his resurrection is a totally different being from the Jesus who died . . . he is no longer a natural, but a spiritual body. (Watchtower, February 1881, 3)

    Russell discussed biblical chronology with Barbour at length in January 1876 and adopted the view which he held until 1914, namely, that Christ returned invisibly in 1874, that the rapture of the church would occur in 1878, and that the dawn of a golden age would commence in 1914 (see section III). He wrote his first booklet, The Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Return (published by Barbour) in 1877. It set forth the doctrine of the invisible “presence” without delving into dates.


    About 1930, Rutherford moved the “Parousia” from 1874 to 1914. He made this change about 16 years after the supposed Parousia had taken place.


    Putting a square peg into a round hole is the specialty of cults and cult leaders. Magicians used magic words. Shaman use incantations, smoke, and drugs. Politicians use rhetoric Religions use numinous words for their MacGuffin.


  • Anna Marina
    Anna Marina

    Hi Terry - you have taught me a new word, MacGuffin.

    I am familiar with the WT history and this word in particular, I have not met many witnesses that can explain it and few can explain it as clearly as you have. So thank you. This concept that they've messed with is what caused me to realise something was BADLY wrong.

    When I had to do a stand-in talk on the subject, the Theocratic Min School instructor couldn't understand the word and he couldn't understand why my conscience wouldn't allow me to give the talk. Over the years I have tried to explain to various ones why their use of parousia is a MacGuffin :) but I get called a scholar. And that is meant as great insult, not a compliment.

    On the otherhand if I am explaining the MacGuffin to an elder who actually does know a bit of Greek, they go nuts at me or try desperately to change the subject. So my point is, I never found them keen to mention Greek words, especially in my presence/parousia.

    So I carried on learning Greek and carried on learning Hebrew and I found the Greek Interlinear very useful.

  • neverendingjourney

    I was raised a JW in the 80s and was baptized and briefly became a regular pioneer in the 90s.

    Parousia was thrown around by "spiritual brothers" who had a grasp of "deep spiritual matters," but it wasn't regularly brought up by the rank and file. For them, it was "deep spiritual stuff," like most 1914-related topics, that was beyond their grasp.

  • Terry

    I would say the key feature of being a Jehovah's Witness during the Knorr and Franz Presidency was the full frontal engagement of 'gunslinger' ministerial engagement (shootouts) between householders and JW's at the door and during Bible studies conducted in homes.
    I didn't realize until I went to prison (1967-69) what a two-tier religion I was in, and only then because we had an intensified study program inside prison walls, highly motivated by our situation and facing into the headwind of a looming 1975 Armageddon.
    We were trained to argue and use our green NWT as fast-draw rebuttal and sleek rhetoric overpowered opposition.
    All, mind you, PRE-internet.
    Had there been a World Wide Web in previous decades I doubt there would be a Watchtower religion!
    One of the most salient features of JW theology was the EASE of rebuttal using (apparently) the Bible to knock-down objections.
    Very few books exposing the Witness history of duplicity and flip-flops found their way into homes.
    I was 'intellectually' attracted by the powerful simplicity of honed argumentation.
    Part of all that was the (mistaken) delusion I was getting a remarkable education (with Greek, no less) and great speaking skills, as well as reasoning abilities honed to near perfection.
    What JW's had all along was double-talk, false reasoning, and a manufactured piety and skill.

    Fast forward from 1963 (my baptism date) and 2019 and I barely recognize as being part of the religious organization I joined and championed.
    The skills are gone.
    The training has been abandoned. (You can't win arguments when your lies are revealed on Google.)
    It's all pretend. The ministry, the cart-Witness, the Great Tribulation scare tactics .... just a North Korean style cult.
    Sad and infuriating I was ever a part of this.

  • Anna Marina
    Anna Marina

    Hi Terry - I studied 1991 and baptised 1992 - I did really careful research using both the Bible and the Live Forever Book. I challenged the teachings where I had to. Elders sometimes sat in on my study.

    The sister who took my study was surprised how much I knew about the Bible and would sometimes change her mind on WBTS teachings and say: "When you first said that, I didn't think you were right, now I've thought about it, I agree with you."

    When elders showed up, I loved it and we went into great depth on many things. Little did I realise even then, that I was constantly catching them out. But I wasn't doing that, I was just talking and asking questions. However, it was when the elders turned up that I'd get told, "if the Society has anything wrong, they will change it. Unlike the churches we are not dogmatic." And I believed what they said. Why wouldn't I? They were kind and appeared genuine.

    Fast forward to 2005/6 and I found out they had been lying. As you say:

    What JW's had all along was double-talk, false reasoning, and a manufactured piety and skill.

  • Terry

    It is quite hard for me to watch a JW.ORG episode on my Roku because my stomach turns and my heartbeat
    gets chaotic.
    After all this time - the potency of my emotional reaction astounds me!

    THIS RELIGION REBOOTED in 2013 and got away with it!
    The older members must be bewildered

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