Does the Bible scare anyone else here sometimes?

by missy04 126 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • missy04

    I still attend some meetings, and "shouldn't" be on this site posting or reading, I'm sure. But I wouldn't be considered good association, either.

    Why are you here? Aren't we APOSTATES?

  • a friend in need
    a friend in need


    Good to hear from you. Please keep an open mind. The bible actually tells us to search the scriptures daily to prove to ourselves that these things are true. Thus, we are told to question things. We would be like robots if we just blindly obeyed. Take care and keep in touch.

    a friend in need

  • Leolaia

    My point is that it is misleading to use English expressions to argue what was meant in Luke 23:32. For instance, pseudoxristos' claim that it sounds unnatural to include "today" in the introductory formula completely misses the fact that such an oath idiom (I X to you today) did in fact exist in Hebrew and in the Greek of the LXX:

    "I declare to you today (angelló soi hémeron) that (hoti) you shall surely perish" (Deuteronomy 30:18, LXX; cf. 4:26, 6:6, 8:19; 1 Samuel 12:5, 1 Kings 1:51, etc.)

    The Lukan gospelist also utilizes this same expression in Acts 20:26 and thus was familiar with it:

    "Therefore I testify to you today (marturomai humin en té sémeron hémera) that (hoti) I am innocent of the blood of all men" (Acts 20:26).

    Although it might sound a little awkward, the idiom is somewhat equivalent to saying in English, "I declare right now that..." or "I'm telling you right now that..." It emphasizes the importance and solemnity of what is being said. ON THE OTHER HAND, we need to recognize that we are in Luke 23:43 dealing with a specific idiom with amén that never occurs in the OT and which contains a verb that never occurs with the LXX "today" oaths. And because the text lacks the complementizer hoti, we have a genuine ambiguity that must be reckoned with. We cannot assume that the verse involves the same expression as in Acts 20:26 because it is also possible that sémeron belongs to the second clause. So we need to look in further detail at the specific amén idiom that occurs throughout the four gospels to determine which of the two possibilities is more likely. That was the point of my last post. The facts are pretty weighty; out of 74 cases of the amén + verb + dative you formula in the gospels, the only instance where the verb is followed by a time adverb or sémeron specifically is Luke 23:43. If sémeron was intended to belong to this specific introductory formula, it would be unprecedented in all literature. It is for this reason that I feel the evidence is stronger that it belongs to the second clause. There is also additional stylistic evidence (concerning contrastive focus) in the verse that also supports this view.

    The notion that Paradise was a place in the present (located in heaven) that can be visited is widely found in intertestamental literature, but one does not need to look outside the Bible -- 2 Corinthians 12:3-4 adequately attests this view. There is a recent in-depth discussion on the belief of heavenly Paradise found in this passage:

    There is also a possibility that Luke intended the verse to be ambiguous. He may have received the saying from earlier tradition (related to the proto-gnostic belief of the Savior leaving the cross in the spirit while Jesus died), which conflicts with the more advanced non-docetic resurrection narrative.

  • seattleniceguy

    The internet is a funny kind of ecosystem. In a way, it's interesting when we get representation from the hard-core WT apologists, because they serve as such effective foils.

    Now, to your question, missy04: Does the Bible scare me? No, no more than any other writing scares me. Do your research carefully, and I think you'll end up agreeing with posters such as Leolaia. You can argue all day about the placement of commas in English translations, on you can step back and see the Bible for what it is: a collection of writings that was heavily influenced by current beliefs and politics.

    People like a friend in need are fighting reality. I know what it's like - I was there for a long time myself. But fighting reality is just a waste of life. Much better to see things are they are and swim in harmony with the universe.

    Just my two cents. Hope that helps.


  • pseudoxristos


    I see the error of my logic (or lack of logic). Thanks for the clarification.


  • Leolaia

    Let me quickly go into the stylistic evidence because it is rather interesting and is rarely mentioned (everyone just gets hung up over where the comma should go). In Greek, contrastive focus is usually done through fronting of words or phrases to the beginning of clauses. In Luke 23:43, there is a case of contrastive focus in the introductory formula: "Truly I tell to you" is literally "Truly to you (soi) I tell". This is very significant because this formula is usually quite fixed. The reason for the fronting of soi before the verb is obvious: there were two criminals being executed with him (v. 39-40), and Jesus was addressing the one that just spoke to him. Now, if we regard sémeron as part of the second clause, its clause-initial position is also probably due to contrastive focus and this is even more likely because the constituent that follows it, met' emou "with me", is also fronted. If this is the case, what is it being contrasted to?

    The previous verse with the criminal's request supplies the answer. A more precise rendering of the passage is as follows: "Jesus, remember me whenever (hotan) it is that you enter your kingdom" (Luke 23:42). The temporal conjunction used here is indefinite, and what is meant to be indefinite is not whether Jesus would enter the kingdom but when this would happen. In other words, the robber is here implying that an indefinite period of time would elapse before Jesus would enter his kingdom (that is, in power), and in his reply Jesus clears up this uncertainty: he would not have to wait "whenever" it would happen, it would happen "today"! This is also reinforced by the verb mnésthéti "remember" in the same verse; this verb implies an indefinite duration of time after which Jesus would "remember" him and his plea. But in his reply, Jesus indicates that no act of remembering is needed; they will actually be together in Paradise today. If we omit the sémeron from the clause, the contrast weakens considerably -- for an act of remembering is not necessarily ruled out by saying "You will be with me in Paradise". So I would argue that the presence of sémeron in the second clause is critical to the contrast between the criminal's request and Jesus' promise.

    There is a third contrast as well, beyond the contrast in the temporal expressions hotan and sémeron, and the verbs mnésthéti "remember" and esé "you will be". That is the fact that the robber mentioned "your kingdom" as destination, while Jesus in his response mentioned "Paradise". Is this meant to be contrastive as well? There is a temporal contrast in that the kingdom in Second Temple Judaism was commonly thought of as a future eschatological reality not yet realized while the Paradise does exist in the present in the heavens. There is also an apocalyptic bent to the robber's request; the allusion to the "kingdom" is likely to the future judgment that the Son of Man would bring to the living and dead when he comes in his glory (cf. Luke 21:27-36), and his request for Jesus to "remember" him and his faith likely assumes this specter of future judgment. Paradise, on the other hand, was in Pharisee Judaism the abode of the OT saints who either do not die (such as Enoch or Elijah) or are taken there immediately after death (such as Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, etc.). Jesus' promise basically reassured the robber that he would not have to wait until Judgment Day -- his faithful words in Jesus' defense (in v. 40-41) saved him and he already has the promise of immediate reward (including fellowship with Jesus) in Paradise.

    There is one more piece of evidence bearing on Luke 23:43 which I think is quite weighty, and this concerns the expression met' emou esé "with me you shall be". As it turns out, there are very similar expressions in Paul's letters and they indicate a fellowship with Christ that occurs immediately after death. In 2 Corinthians 5:1-11, Paul discusses the experience of being clothed in the physical body while longing "to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven" (v. 2), and refers euphemistically to death as being "absent from the body and at home with the Lord". Since being with the Lord or being "absent from the Lord" (v. 6) is dependent on being "at home in the body," it is axiomatic that one goes to be with Christ immediately at death. Then in one of the last epistles of Paul and written at a time when Paul was in prison and facing a prospect of execution, we find an even more explicit statement:

    "For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ (analusai kai sun Khristo einai), for that is very much better, yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake" (Philippians 1:21-24).

    Again, Paul refers to death as bringing him fellowship with Christ, "being with Christ" with no implied delay -- as Paul was quite anxious for this prospect. Finally, we have the early text of Paul in 1 Thessalonians which was written at a time when Paul expected the parousia to happen in his own lifetime, and he referred to an ascension to heaven while still living as resulting in immediate fellowship with Christ: "We who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them [the resurrected dead] in the clouds to meet (apantésin) the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord (sun kurio esometha)" (1 Thessalonians 4:17). In all three cases, Paul expected to be with Jesus upon death or being raptured. Since Luke frequently followed Pauline theology, the use of the expression "be with me" in Luke 23:43 probably has a similar meaning as it did for Paul -- fellowship with Jesus immediately following death.

  • a friend in need
    a friend in need


    In 2Corinthians 12: 3&4 " caught away into paradise ". I'm sure if you refer back to verse 1, you will see that this is a supernatural vision. On the other hand, Jesus was not explaining a vision but outrightly telling the robber that day, that he'd see him in paradise. As backed by other scripture, we know that paradise is an earthly one as only 144,000 annointed ones will be with Christ in the heavenly realm.

    You can go on all you want, analizing scripture to suit you own thoughts, but I prefer to believe that the translators were as knowlegeable as you and then some. They put the comma there, not me.

    seattleniceguy: just keep swimming in harmony with the universe. Now that is profound.


  • frenchbabyface

    a friend in need

    we know
    that paradise is an earthly one as only 144,000 annointed ones will be with Christ in the heavenly realm.

    You can go on all you want, analizing scripture to suit you own thoughts, but I prefer to believe that the translators were as knowlegeable as you and then some. They put the comma there, not me.

    Are you sure ? ... LOL ... (I'm sorry couldn't hold it) ... You don't even know the translators what about them rewriting the scripture to suite there own thoughts !!! ... too late to ask them ... I know

  • LittleToe

    It really does depend on what angle you take it from.
    If you want the Christian one start with Jesus - it seems a pretty loving ideal, regardless of what has been subsequently made of it.
    If you want the Jewish one, skip the NT entirely and read up on some rabbinical writings.
    Others have already expressed some other attitudes to it.

    So when would Jesus be in paradise with the "robber"?
    He gave up a physical body to go to heaven, didn't he?

  • gumby
    On the other hand, Jesus was not explaining a vision but outrightly telling the robber that day, that he'd see him in paradise.

    Your right Afin.....The bible says Jesus, while in the grave, "went and preached to the wicked spirits in tartarus" (about 2 and a half miles from hell). Perhaps he took the robber with him and figured it was paradise compared to a pole behind his backside.


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