Thursday, April 30, 2009


Judges 5:3-5
"Listen, you kings; give ear, you high officials: I to Jehovah, yes, I, will sing. I shall make melody to Jehovah, Israel’s God. Jehovah, at your going forth from Seir, at your marching out of the field of Edom, Earth rocked, heavens also dripped, clouds also dripped with water. Mountains flowed away from the face of Jehovah, this Sinai away from the face of Jehovah, Israel’s God."

Job 37:3-6
"Under the whole heavens he lets it loose, and his lightning is to the extremities of the earth. After it a sound roars; He thunders with the sound of his superiority, and he does not hold them back when his voice is heard. God thunders with his voice in a wonderful way, doing great things that we cannot know. For to the snow he says, 'Fall earthward,' and to the downpour of rain, even to the downpour of his strong rains."

Psalm 24:7-10, Recovery Version
"Lift up your heads, O gates; and be lifted up, O long enduring doors; and the King of Glory will come in. Who is the King of Glory? Jehovah strong and mighty! Jehovah mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates; and lift up, O long enduring doors; and the King of Glory will come in. Who is this King of Glory? Jehovah of [Armies]--He is the King of Glory!"

Psalm 36:5-7
"O Jehovah, your loving-kindness is in the heavens; Your faithfulness is up to the clouds. Your righteousness is like mountains of God; Your judicial decision is a vast watery deep. Man and beast you save, O Jehovah. How precious your loving-kindness is, O God! And in the shadow of your wings the sons of men themselves take refuge."

Psalm 44:4-8
"You yourself are my King, O God. Command grand salvation for Jacob. By you we shall push our adversaries themselves; in your name we shall tread down those rising up against us. For it was not in my bow that I kept trusting and it was not my sword that was saving me. For you saved us from our adversaries, and those intensely hating us you put to shame. In God we will offer praise all day long, and to time indefinite your name we shall laud."

Psalm 97:1-6
"Jehovah himself has become king! Let the earth be joyful. Let the many islands rejoice. Clouds and thick gloom are all around him; righteousness and judgment are the established place of his throne. Before him a very fire goes, and it consumes his adversaries all around. His lightnings lighted up the productive land; the earth saw and came to be in severe pains. The mountains themselves proceeded to melt just like wax on account of Jehovah, on account of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens have told forth his righteousness, and all the peoples have seen his glory."

Psalm 136:1-7, 23-26
"Give thanks to Jehovah, O you people, for he is good...
Give thanks to the God of the gods...
Give thanks to the Lord of the lords...
To the Doer of wonderful, great things by himself...
To the One making the heavens with understanding...
To the One laying out the earth above the waters...
To the One making the great lights...
Who during our low condition remembered us...
And who repeatedly tore us away from our adversaries...
The One giving food to all flesh...
Give thanks to the God of the heavens...
For his loving-kindness is to time indefinite."

Psalm 145:1-6
"I will exalt you, O my God the King, and I will bless your name to time indefinite, even forever. All day long I will bless you, and I will praise your name to time indefinite, even forever. Jehovah is great and very much to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. Generation after generation will commend your works, and about your mighty acts they will tell. The glorious splendor of your dignity and the matters of your wonderful works I will make my concern. And they will talk about the strength of your own fear-inspiring things; and as for your greatness, I will declare it."

Psalms 147:1-7
"Praise Jah, you people, for it is good to make melody to our God; for it is pleasant—praise is fitting. Jehovah is building Jerusalem; the dispersed ones of Israel he brings together. He is healing the brokenhearted ones, and is binding up their painful spots. He is counting the number of the stars; all of them he calls by their names. Our Lord is great and is abundant in power; His understanding is beyond recounting. Jehovah is relieving the meek ones; He is abasing the wicked ones to the earth. Respond to Jehovah with thanksgiving, you people; make melody to our God on the harp."

Nahum 1:2-7
"Jehovah is a God exacting exclusive devotion and taking vengeance; Jehovah is taking vengeance and is disposed to rage. Jehovah is taking vengeance against his adversaries, and he is resentful toward his enemies. Jehovah is slow to anger and great in power, and by no means will Jehovah hold back from punishing. In destructive wind and in storm is his way, and the cloud mass is the powder of his feet. He is rebuking the sea, and he dries it up; and all the rivers he actually makes run dry. Bashan and Carmel have withered, and the very blossom of Lebanon has withered. Mountains themselves have rocked because of him, and the very hills found themselves melting. And the earth will be upheaved because of his face; the productive land also, and all those dwelling in it. In the face of his denunciation who can stand? And who can rise up against the heat of his anger? His own rage will certainly be poured out like fire, and the very rocks will actually be pulled down because of him. Jehovah is good, a stronghold in the day of distress. And he is cognizant of those seeking refuge in him."

Revelation 4:8-11
"And as for the four living creatures, each one of them respectively has six wings; round about and underneath they are full of eyes. And they have no rest day and night as they say: 'Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is coming.' And whenever the living creatures offer glory and honor and thanksgiving to the one seated upon the throne, the one that lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before the One seated upon the throne and worship the One that lives forever and ever, and they cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 'You are worthy, Jehovah, even our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created.'

Revelation 15:3-4
"Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity. Who will not really fear you, Jehovah, and glorify your name, because you alone are loyal? For all the nations will come and worship before you, because your righteous decrees have been made manifest."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What About...Luke 23:43?

*"Jesus answered him, 'Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.'"-Luke 23:43, Today's New International Version*

The New World Translations renders this verse: "And he said to him: 'Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.'"

Many people criticize this rendering based off of the comma placement. If most Bible's like the TNIV are correct then the thief (and Jesus) went to "paradise" that same day. If the NWT is correct then the thief was in "paradise" later. Where the comma is placed changes the entire meaning of the sentence.

The first thing that any person who wants to determine where the comma goes has to keep one thing in mind--Koine Greek did not have a comma. Yes, every single comma in your New Testament was added by the translators. When it comes to Luke 23:43, bias dictates where someone puts the comma.

The basic belief of most so-called Christians today is that when someone dies they immediately go to heaven. The thief, having repented of his sins, would have gone to heaven that same day. Their doctrine requires that.

Is it true that Jesus went to heaven that same day? Did the thief go to heaven that same day? Which rendering agrees with the basic teachings of the Bible?

First of all, what does the Bible say? The King James Version says at Acts 2:31, "He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. Other Bible translations say that he was not left in "hades." (New American Standard Bible, English Standard Version) Obviously, when Jesus died, he was in hell, or hades, not heaven. The Bible says that he was in "hell" for three days.-Luke 24:7; Acts 10:40

Second, Jesus said that only those who were "born again" could "see the Kingdom of God." (John 3:3) Being born again involved being "born from water and spirit." (John 3:5) So, these people had to be baptized in water, and then be baptized in the holy spirit. When did the baptism with holy spirit take place?-Mark 1:8

Jesus Christ died on the Passover. 50 days later, on Pentecost, the Bible reports that the disciples "were all together at the same place, and suddenly there occurred from heaven a noise just like that of a rushing stiff breeze, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting. And tongues as if of fire became visible to them and were distributed about, and one sat upon each one of them, and they all became filled with holy spirit and started to speak with different tongues, just as the spirit was granting them to make utterance. (Acts 2:1-4) So, it wasn't until 50 days after Jesus died that the first ones were "born again", or "born from water and spirit." The repentant thief was already dead, not having been born again. He could not have been in heaven that same day.

Third, Christ is called the "firstborn from the dead." (Revelation 1:5) Since the Bible speaks of other resurrections before Jesus, this statement must mean something different. (1 Kings 17:17-23; 2 Kings 4:17-37) What this statement means is that Christ was the first person to be raised up from death and then have an ascension to heaven. Another place in the Bible says that Christ is the "firstfruits", the first to be resurrected to heaven, but then "afterward those who belong to the Christ during his presence." (1 Corinthians 15:23) It wasn't until the presence of Christ that others would be raised to heavenly life.-1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

All of the Biblical evidence points to the fact that the man did not go to heaven that same day and so the comma should go after today, backing up the rendering in the New World Translation and a few other Bible translations.

Just so all fears can be dispelled, let us look at the context to see if it is at all revealing.

"But one of the hung evildoers began to say abusively to him: 'You are the Christ, are you not? Save yourself and us.' In reply the other rebuked him and said: 'Do you not fear God at all, now that you are in the same judgment? And we, indeed, justly so, for we are receiving in full what we deserve for things we did; but this man did nothing out of the way.' And he went on to say: 'Jesus, remember me when you get into your kingdom.' And he said to him: 'Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.'"-Luke 23:39-43

Even the context supports the NWT. How? The thief says to Jesus, "Remember me when you get into your kingdom." When did Jesus "get into [his] kingdom?" Was it upon his ascension to heaven?

The Scriptures do not teach that. In a major prophecy (quoted about two dozen times in the NT, more then any other prophecy) in the book of Psalms we read, "The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is: 'Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.'" (Psalm 110:1) The New Testament writers indicated that Jesus sat at the right hand of his Father after his ascension to heaven. " on the right hand of God." (Romans 8:34) How long is he to be at the right hand of God? The book of Revelation, a book of prophecy that takes place "in the Lord's day" shows that Jesus did not get into his kingdom until that time.-Revelation 1:10; 12:5, 10

All of this proves that neither the thief (nor Jesus) entered into heaven that same day, as many so desperately want to believe. However, it is wrong to ignore what the Bible teaches, even on a matter as seemingly insignificant on this. Really, wouldn't it please yourself, and more importantly, God, to embrace Bible Truth? There is nothing more important.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Powerful Reasoning Against the Trinity

It is amazing the sheer numbers of people who believe in the Trinity. The Trinity teaching is that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the holy spirit is God but they are not three god's, but one God. That is the basic idea.

As you read this, it is my hope that you will open your mind and consider the all of the Scriptures presented and how they apply to the basic teaching of the Trinity.

Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in the Trinity. Why, many ask, since it is such a wide-spread belief?

Many times throughout Scripture, The Father indicates His supremacy and superiority over all other beings--animate or inanimate. He says through Moses the prophet, "See now that I--I am He and there are no gods together with me." (Deuteronomy 32:39) Further, in Isaiah the prophet he says, "Does there exist a God besides me? No, there is no Rock. I have recognized none." In another place it says, "Is it not I, Jehovah, besides whom there is no other God...For I am God and there is no one else."--Isaiah 44:8; 45:21-22

Jehovah makes it clear that He is the only One there is, even saying, "Men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth." (Psalm 83:18, King James Version) In the book of Exodus, when Moses was about to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, he asked God a question. Looking at that conversation will be of interest. I am going to quote it from the New Living Translation. In Exodus 3:10, Jehovah tells Moses to go and speak to Pharaoh about releasing the Israelites. Moses shows anxiety over this but Jehovah explains that He will be with Moses. (Exodus 3:11-12) Moses then ask another question. It is this part of the conversation that I want to follow.

"Moses protested, 'If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, "The God of your ancestors has sent me to you," they will ask me, "What is his name?" Then what should I tell them?' God replied to Moses, 'I Am Who I Am. Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.' God also said to Moses, 'Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you. This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations." (Exodus 3:13-15) Regarding God's "Eternal Name", another Bible translation says, "Jehovah...this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations." (American Standard Version) In explanation of the second half, His Name a memorial, the Contemporary English Version says, "It is the name that people must use from now on." Obviously, God wants His Name, Jehovah, (or, Yahweh as some people put it) to be used "from now on." Does your personal copy of the Bible use the name Jehovah or Yahweh? Look at Psalm 83:18. Does it say Jehovah, Yahweh, or LORD? That will determine if your Bible has followed the command of God.

The taking out of the Divine Name has led to confusion over the years, some even claiming that God does not have a Name, in effect, contradicting the words of God Himself! They do this in an attempt not to discredit Jesus Christ, who they believe is Almighty God. I have spoken to these people and been aghast as they've done it.

I realize that when speaking to someone about the Trinity, the Old Testament is not a good place to start off. Since the doctrine of the Trinity involves the Son of God, Jesus Christ, it is essential to look in the New Testament to really find out if this doctrine is Biblical.

As one of Jehovah's Witnesses, I have read the Bible numerous times, from numerous translations including the New International Version, New Living Translation, Today's English Version, and the King James Version, etc. I have found that each translation is valuable in many ways.

One of the very first Scriptures that I like to look at in reference to the Father and the Son (whether or not they are equal) is found at Mark 10:17-18. We read, "And as he was going out on his way, a certain man ran up and fell upon his knees before him and put the question to him: 'Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit everlasting life?' Jesus said to him:'Why do you call me good? Nobody is good, except one, God.'" Consider: If Jesus Christ was God Almighty, what was the point of this statement? Why would Jesus, a perfect man (1 Peter 2:22), take away from himself by saying that he was not good but only God was? Many people have questioned this before.

The reason that this was done is very simple. "No one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone." (James 1:13, New International Version) However, read what the Bible says concerning Jesus Christ. "We have one [a High Priest], who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin." (Hebrews 4:15, NIV; Matthew 4:1-11) Jesus Christ never sinned, not once. However, the Bible reveals that he was tempted, something that could never happen with God. That is why Jesus said that only God was good, because no one is good in comparison of God.

I think that as Christians, we can both believe that no one can tell God, the Master of the Universe, what to do. If we tried to, He wouldn't listen to us. No one can tell God what to do, right? Is this the same with the Christ? "He that disregards me [Christ] and does not receive my sayings has one to judge him. The word that I have spoken is what will judge him in the last day; because I have not spoken out of my own impulse, but the Father himself who sent me has given me a commandment as to what to tell and what to speak." (John 12:49) He again says, "as the Father has given me commandment to do, so I am doing." (John 14:31) Why would Jesus say all of these things if he was God Almighty? Would God say these things?

Obviously, we know that God Almighty would not claim that someone told Him to do something and that He did it. Nobody has the authority to tell Jehovah what to do. It would mean that He is not the "Most High" as the Bible calls Him. (Psalm 7:17) God can do "all things" (Ecclesiastes 11:5; Isaiah 44:24, Young's Literal Translation) On the other hand, Jesus "cannot do a single thing of [his] own initiative." (John 5:30) Obviously, the things that Jesus Christ said makes it clear that he cannot be his Father. In fact, Jesus even said, "The Father is greater then I am."-John 14:28

Jesus Christ being God was not something that the Apostles believed. Peter said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matthew 16:16) John said, "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God." (John 20:30) There is not one instance in the Bible where someone says that Christ is God, only the Son of God.

Some people say that just because Jesus Christ is called the Son of God, it doesn't necessarily mean that he is not God. However, we can see that Jesus is the Son of God in the most literal of terms because both Paul and Peter wrote, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3) Jesus Christ has a God, who is his Father. He said to Mary Magdalene not to cling to him because he is not yet ascending to "my Father and your Father and to my God and your God."-John 20:17, see also Psalm 89:26

It is not in doubt that Jesus Christ is inferior to the Father. The Bible says, "The head of every man is the Christ; in turn the head of a woman is the man; in turn the head of the Christ is God." (1 Corinthians 11:3) Christ's head, Jehovah God, and the holy spirit all appeared at the same time in two instances. "After being baptized Jesus immediately came up from the water; and, look! the heavens were opened up, and he saw descending like a dove God’s spirit coming upon him. Look! Also, there was a voice from the heavens that said: 'This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.'” (Matthew 3:16-17) Another instance is in the book of Acts.-Acts 7:55-56

Finally, the last convincing piece of evidence will happen at what Paul calls "The End." The Apostle wrote, "After that the end will come when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having put down all enemies of every kind. For Christ will be King until he has defeated all his enemies, including the last enemy--death. This too must be defeated and ended. For the rule and authority over all things has been given to Christ by his Father; except, of course, Christ does not rule over the Father himself, who gave him the power to rule. When Christ has finally won the battle against all his enemies, then he, the Son of God, will put himself also under his Father's orders, so that God who has given him the victory over everything else will be utterly supreme."-1 Corinthians 15:24-28, The Living Bible

This Scripture is crystal clear. Christ is inferior to the Father, Jehovah God, and will be ruled by Him, following His orders.

There are numerous other Scriptures that support the Jehovah's Witnesses in their beliefs that "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God." If you would like to have more information, you can contact Jehovah's Witnesses. Also, more Scriptures that and arguments that support Jehovah's Witnesses point of view can be found here and here. Again, I hope you have an open mind so that Jehovah can open your heart, as He did at times in the past.-Acts 16:14

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Messiah, Pt. 4: We Have Found the Messiah

We now come to the point where we have reviewed some of the more outstanding prophecies concerning the Messiah. And yet, one prophecy has been saved until now. The 70 Weeks of Years (or, 483 Years prophecy). What is this prophecy?

"And you should know and have the insight that from the going forth of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Leader, there will be seven weeks, also sixty-two weeks. She will return and be actually rebuilt, with a public square and moat, but in the straits of the times."-Daniel 9:25

The command to rebuild Jerusalem was issued in 455 B.C.E.[1] This is found in the book of Nehemiah 2, which says in part, "If to the king it does seem good, and if your servant seems good before you, that you would send me to Judah, to the city of the burial places of my forefathers, that I may rebuild it." After receiving permission, the king sends official letters with Nehemiah so that Nehemiah can get help and not be stopped with his building. (Nehemiah 2:1-8) So, if we calculate 483 years from 455 B.C.E., we fall on 29 C.E., the exact year that Jesus of Nazareth was baptized in the Jordan River. In those days, the B'rit Hadashah (New Testament) tells us, "the people were in a state of expectancy." (Luke 3:15, Complete Jewish Bible) They knew that the Messiah was due to arrive. Was the baptism of Jesus of Nazareth of any significance? It is.

Many people throughout the world look to Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah. Are they unreasonable for that? Let us look at some of the things that Jesus Christ did in his lifetime to see if these fulfilled the many prophecies mentioned in the Tanakh.

His Early Life

Two thousand years ago, a young child was born, just like in the prophecy at Isaiah 9:6. Jesus Christ, that child, was born in the city of Bethlehem, David's city. This wasn't something that his mother worked very hard to accomplish, she was more or less forced to be in that city. How did she come to be there?

"A decree went forth from Caesar Augustus for all the inhabited earth to be registered...and all people went traveling to be registered, each one to his own city. Of course, Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to David’s city, which is called Bethlehem, because of his being a member of the house and family of David, to get registered with Mary, who had been given him in marriage as promised, at present heavy with child. While they were there, the days came to the full for her to give birth."-Luke 2:1-7

So, events were manuevered for Jesus of Nazareth to be born in the exact city that Micah prophesied. Another event that happened when Jesus was a young child is also of interest. Knowing the prophecies concerning the Messiah, King Herod was afraid that he was close to being overthrown. So, what happened?

Well, Herod wanted to kill the young boy, even lying to some men so that they would inform him of where the child was. (Matthew 2:8) However, an angel commanded those men not to reveal the whereabouts of the boy. (Matthew 2:12) An angel then appeared to Joseph, the childs father, and commanded him to run into Egypt. This fulfilled a prophecy in Hosea, where Matthew quotes, "Out of Egypt I called my son."-Matthew 2:15; Hosea 11:1

The Bible continues to report, "Herod, seeing he had been outwitted by the astrologers, fell into a great rage, and he sent out and had all the boys in Bethlehem and in all its districts done away with, from two years of age and under, according to the time that he had carefully ascertained from the astrologers." (Matthew 2:16) This fulfilled the prophecy at Jeremiah 31:15.

His Ministry

In the book of Malachi, it is prophesied about the Messiah that he will have a forerunner, that Elijah will come first. (Malachi 3:1; 4:5) Isaiah says that this one will prepare the way before the Messiah, crying out as a voice in the wilderness. (Isaiah 40:3) Mark reports that this was Yochanan the Immerser [John the Baptizer]. (Mark 1:2-4) Further, the light that was supposed to shine in Naphtali and Zebulun also came through the person of Jesus Christ. The Bible reports, "Further, after leaving Nazareth, he came and took up residence in Capernaum beside the sea in the districts of Zebulun and Naphtali." (Matthew 4:13) This fulfilled Isaiah 9:1-2.

Throughout his life, the Messiah preached, even saying that this was the very reason that he was sent forth. (Luke 4:43) He began this preaching ministry after the spirit of God came upon him. (Matthew 3:16-17) This fulfilled Isaiah 61:1-2.

Perhaps one of the most amazing things that the Messiah was supposed to do was heal many people. (Isaiah 35:5-6) This was being accomplished, for he himself said, "The blind are seeing again, and the lame are walking about, the lepers are being cleansed and the deaf are hearing, and the dead are being raised up, and the poor are having the good news declared to them."-Matthew 11:5

The prophecies concerning the life and ministry of the Messiah are numerous. We could discuss many, many more but we now come to the last stage the life of Jesus--His death.

His Death

Isaiah the prophet was inspired to write in detail about the suffering and death of the Messiah. However, one verse that stands out above all the rest is Isaiah 53:5. How was the mysterious prophecy fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ?

Well, Jesus Christ himself said, "The Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many." (Matthew 20:28) As humans, we are all sinners with death as a just punishment for that. (Romans 5:12) However, since the Messiah was a perfect man, he was able to die and pay back what Adam lost--perfection and everlasting life!-1 Corinthians 15:22

When Jesus Christ was executed, many things happened at his death. He was spit upon and slapped, just like it was prophesied in the Tanakh. (Matthew 26:67) The last prophecy that had to be fulfilled during the last day of the Messiah was the one David wrote at Psalm 69:21. David said that they would try to give the Messiah vinegar to drink. John tells us that this is what happened. "After this, when Jesus knew that by now all things had been accomplished, in order that the scripture might be accomplished he said: 'I am thirsty.' A vessel was sitting there full of sour wine. Therefore they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a hyssop stalk and brought it to his mouth. When, now, he had received the sour wine, Jesus said: 'It has been accomplished!' and, bowing his head, he delivered up his spirit." (John 19:28-30) John then mentions two other prophecies that Jesus fulfilled: Psalm 34:20 and Zechariah 12:10. Before, these prophecies were not understood by the Jews.-John 19:36-37

All of the prophecies, down to the smallest, most insignificant one, was fulfilled through Jesus Christ. If you put your trust in him, would you be a loner? No. Two people in the first century, Andrew and Nathanel, both realized that Jesus was the Messiah, Andrew even saying, "We have found the Messiah!" (John 1:41) Nathanel was a little more skeptical to begin with.

"Now Philip was from Bethsaida, from the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him: 'We have found the one of whom Moses, in the Law, and the Prophets wrote, Jesus, the son of Joseph, from Nazareth.' But Nathanael said to him: 'Can anything good come out of Nazareth?' Philip said to him: 'Come and see.' Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said about him: "See, an Israelite for a certainty, in whom there is no deceit." Nathanael said to him: 'How does it come that you know me?' Jesus in answer said to him: 'Before Philip called you, while you were under the fig tree, I saw you.' Nathanael answered him: 'Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are King of Israel.'" (John 1:44-49) Like Andrew and Nathanael, you too can come to realize that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Son of the Most High God, Jehovah.

In all of the world, millions of Jehovah's Witnesses are preaching the Good News of the Kingdom, just as Jesus commanded. (Matthew 29:19-20) We are doing this with the aid of the holy spirit. (Acts 1:8) If you would like to learn more about the Messiah Jesus Christ and the One who sent him, Jehovah's Witnesses would be glad to help you.

[1] Insight on the Scriptures Vol. 2 pg. 900 pp. 4-6

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Messiah, Pt. 3: By His Wounds We are Healed

We have looked at the fascinating circumstances surrounding the birth and ministry of the promised Messiah. The Scriptures teach that he is to be a great man who does many things for the people living in his time period. Someone like this that is described will not be easily forgotten.

However, more important then any event surrounding the Messiah's birth or even his life will be as important as what the Bible says about the ending of his life. The entire 53rd chapter of Isaiah tells us a great deal about this Messiah. Let us examine it verse by verse.

"He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not."-Isaiah 53:3, New International Version

The Messiah will be a good man. The second part of this series showed us that without a doubt. However, he will be rejected. People will hide their faces from him, not even wanting to acknowledge him.

"Truly our sicknesses were what he himself carried; and as for our pains, he bore them. But we ourselves accounted him as plagued, stricken by God and afflicted."-Isaiah 53:4

This special man will take all of our problems and carry them for us. Will we be grateful? No. We will feel that all of these bad things are happening to him because he deserved them. We will think that God is punishing him for all of his sins.

"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."-Isaiah 53:5, Today's New International Version

This is one of the most beautiful passages in all of Scripture. We are wrong to think that what happens to him is because he deserved it. The prophet Isaiah shows us that we--you, I, even Isaiah himself, are the reasons that the Messiah will suffer these things. We are sick with sin. The Messiah's beatings take that sickness away and make us whole.

"Like sheep we have all of us wandered about; it was each one to his own way that we have turned; and Jehovah himself has caused the error of us all to meet up with that one."-Isaiah 53:6

"My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold." (Jeremiah 50:6, NASB) We have been led astray. While the prophet Jeremiah is speaking of overseers of the flock leading us astray, we can even say that sin is what has done this. We have followed off after our own selfish longings. But everything we have done, Jehovah God is putting that in front of the Messiah to make amends for.

"He was hard pressed, and he was letting himself be afflicted; yet he would not open his mouth. He was being brought just like a sheep to the slaughtering; and like a ewe that before her shearers has become mute, he also would not open his mouth."-Isaiah 53:7

This gives us more insight into the sufferings of the Messiah. We will be beat. He will even be spit upon. (Isaiah 50:6) The Messiah will be beaten so badly and disfigured so horribly that people will not even want to look at him. (Isaiah 52:14-15) He will be beaten like this but miraculously "the bones of that one; not one of them has been broken."-Psalm 34:20

"Because of restraint and of judgment he was taken away; and who will concern himself even with the details of his generation? For he was severed from the land of the living ones. Because of the transgression of my people he had the stroke. And he will make his burial place even with the wicked ones, and with the rich class in his death, despite the fact that he had done no violence and there was no deception in his mouth."-Isaiah 53:8-9

Another translation renders "restraint" as "oppression". He will be so oppressed and have so much judgment heaped upon him that he will die. His final fate is that he will be killed--murdered. Why can we say that he was murdered? Due to the fact that "he had done no violence and there was no deception found in his mouth." His death will not be deserved. Also, another aspect of the Messiah's death is revealed here. He will be buried among the rich, something that does not seem possible considering the way he was thought of and treated.

The rest of Isaiah's heartbreaking prophecy speaks of the Messiah's sacrificial death and how his death will bring us all back to a right standing with our God. Can we not all agree that the Messiah's death will bring wondrous results to all man? (Isaiah 53:10-12) There are, though, more prophecies that are more specific in what to look for in the Messiah when he gets here.

1. The Messiah will be betrayed by a friend.-Psalm 41:9
2. The Messiah will be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver.-Zechariah 11:12
3. The Messiah will be accused by false witnesses.-Psalm 35:11
4. The Messiah will be mocked and told to beg for salvation.-Psalm 22:7-8
5. The Messiah’s enemies will pierce his hands and feet.-Psalm 22:16
6. The Messiah will be given vinegar and gall to drink.-Psalm 69:21
7. The Messiah’s clothes will be divided and gambled for.-Psalm 22:17-18

All of these things must be fulfilled by one man. They, like all the prophecies regarding the Messiah, are very specific.

We may think that this is the end of the Messiah, but it isn't. The Messiah will be resurrected. "For you will not leave my soul in Sheol. You will not allow your loyal one to see the pit." "However, God himself will redeem my soul from the hand of Sheol, for he will receive me."(Psalm 16:10; 49:15) This certainly is good news that this special man, this "Anointed One", will not stay dead.

Many people have claimed to be the Messiah throughout history. One of the most well-known is the man Jesus Christ. In the last chapter of this series we will see if these claims are well-founded or not.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Messiah, Pt. 2: The Spirit of...Jehovah is Upon Me

With the knowledge that the Messiah is to be born, we are shocked that there is really no information about his life growing up. Evidently, that is not the important part. Why? The works of the Messiah as an adult are what will change the world, according to the Tanakh.

However, this development--the coming of the Messiah--is not without event beforehand. The Prophet Isaiah tells us of someone is to come before the Messiah. "A voice cries out: 'Clear a road through the desert for Adonai! Level a highway in the Aravah for our God!' " Malachi calls this one Elijah. (Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1; 4:5) Obviously, the coming of the Messiah is important. It is so important that someone is preparing the way for him when he comes.

Now, it isn't till after this that the Messiah is commissioned to spread Good News. What Good News is this? Again, Isaiah tells us: "The LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn." (Isaiah 61:1-2) Surely, this is very Good News that the Messiah is to preach to the world. The Scriptures also tell us that when the Messiah would speak to people, he would use parables, explaining the riddles of long ago. (Psalm 78:2) How would he manage all of this?

The Power of the Messiah

The Scriptures say that the Messiah is to have the spirit of God upon, directing him and using him. He would be anointed with this spirit. (Isaiah 11:2; 61:1) This spirit that he is anointed with will help him to proclaim the Good News that he was sent to declare. His words will be so powerful that many great ones will adore this one. "The kings of Tarshish and of the islands—tribute they will pay. The kings of Sheba and of Seba—a gift they will present."-Psalm 72:10

The Messiah will be a wonderful person that is truly worthy for us to follow. He will command our attention and draw us to him with our words--the rich and powerful, poor and helpless alike. His ministry will show him to be a tender and compassionate person, meek to the extreme. (Isaiah 40:11; 42:2-3) From the way that the Messiah is presented in the Scriptures, he will be a truly compassionate person, kindhearted and one having a knowledge of our needs. He will also be powerful! How?

Moses was a very powerful person. He performed many powerful signs, as anyone who has read the Torah will know. Moses had a type of communication with God different from any person before or after him on this earth. Yes, Isaiah and Daniel had wonderful visions of God in heaven, but the relationship with Moses was much more intimate. Still, there was one statement made by the prophet Moses that should draw our attention, a very important statement concerning the promised Messiah.

"The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him...I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him."-Deuteronomy 18:15, 18

The Messiah will be a prophet like Moses. He will speak the very words of God and we will all be commanded to listen to his voice. Obviously, the spirit from God that rest upon the Prophet-Messiah will give him this power. So far, from the things that we have seen about the Messiah, he is someone that we must follow, for he will have the Spirit of God on him and he will speak the words of God.

In fact, we are commanded to follow this Messiah, for he is called a son. Psalm 2:7, 12 say, "You are my son; I, today, I have become your father...Kiss the son, that He [God] may not become incensed and you may not perish from the way, for his anger flares up easily. Happy are all those taking refuge in him." If we do not obey this son, the very anger of God could come upon us. It is that important that we do everything that he says.

The Messiah Brings Light to Israel

Finally, there are two more prophecies about the Messiah's life that are important to look at. One is a rather obscure prophecy at the beginning of the prophet Isaiah that portends great things for two of the tribes of Israel. "However, the obscureness will not be as when the land had stress, as at the former time when one treated with contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali and when at the later time one caused it to be honored—the way by the sea, in the region of the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people that were walking in the darkness have seen a great light. As for those dwelling in the land of deep shadow, light itself has shone upon them." (Isaiah 9:1-2) The people from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun will be priviliged to have a "great light" shine upon them from the Messiah. At first they were in darkness, treated with contempt, but now they are honored. What joy for the people of those tribes!

Not only, though, will Naphtali and Zebulun be blessed, but all those in contact with the Messiah will have a blessing. As stated above in Isaiah 61:1-2, the Messiah will bring blessings to all.

You may ask, 'how can the Messiah, a man, accomplish all of these things? Is there anything else, besides his having the spirit of God, that will make him so effective? Yes. While having the spirit of God in him, there is something else that sets the Messiah apart from all other men. What is it? The Messiah will be a perfect man!-Isaiah 53:9

While the birth and life of the Messiah are to be truly magnificent, what exactly else is in store for him? Put simply, the Messiah has to die! There are more outstanding Scriptures chronicling the death of the Messiah then any other type in the Tanakh. In the next part of this series, this is what we will explore.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Messiah, Pt. 1: There Has Been a Child Born to Us

Many people today are looking for the promised Messiah. Due to this, I am presenting a four part series focusing on four aspects of the Messiah's life: Prophecies concerning his birth and childhood, his adulthood and ministry, his death, and finally, looking to see if anyone fulfills those prophecies.

To the Muslims, Jesus Christ was one of the four great prophets along with Moses, King David, and Muhammed. To Christians, Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Son of God, the Holy One of Israel. To Jews, he was a criminal imposter, deserving of the death that he died.

While different Christian groups have different ideas as to who Jesus is, they all have one belief in common. Jesus is the Messiah promised in the Tanakh. He came to earth to die for all of our sins. He fulfilled every single prophecy uttered in the Law, Psalms, and Prophets. We must all put our faith in Jesus to get to the Father. Are they all deluded? This question will be answered in the light of Scriptures in this four part series.

Whose Son is the Messiah?

The Tanakh is a collection of books (thirty-nine to be exact) that contain the very words of God Almighty. (2 Samuel 23:2; Zechariah 7:12) The Tanakh contains many prophecies, or events fortold by God put into writing by men. (Isaiah 44:26-28; Daniel 8:3-6) Many of the prophecies recorded where prophecies of the coming of the Messiah.

The first prophecy recorded in the Scriptures is at Genesis 3:15. This prophecy points to the Messiah. It reads, "And I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel." This was spoken to the serpent who misled Adam and Eve. Most Christians believe this to be Satan the Devil. After Adam and Eve fell, God immediately put into motion a plan to send a Messiah to bruise the head of this serpent.

Another prophecy about the Messiah is given to Abraham, the father of Israel. God promises that "by means of [Abraham's] seed, all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves." (Genesis 22:18) Even before that prophecy was told to Abraham, God had already promised that the Messiah would come through Isaac, one of Abraham's sons. (Genesis 21:12) Isaac had two sons also, Jacob and Esau. Jacob then had twelve sons, one of which was named Judah. Jacob, on his deathbed, prophecied over his sons and uttered even yet another prophecy. The Messiah would come through his son Judah!-Genesis 49:1, 10

In just one book of the Scriptures, we find that the Messiah is to come through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and then Judah. In another book of the Tanakh, one obscure to many, we find a small geneaology. This geneaology starts with one of Judah's sons, Perez, and goes all the way to the second King of the united kingdom of Judah and Israel. The list ends with King David."Now these are the generations of Perez: Perez fathered Hezron, Hezron fathered Ram, Ram fathered Amminadab, Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon, Salmon fathered Boaz, Boaz fathered Obed, Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David." (Ruth 4:18-22, English Standard Version) Why would this be important?

Prophecy indicates that the Messiah would come through the line of Jesse and ultimately, King David. (Isaiah 11:1, 10; Psalm 132:11) The Messiah is to be of the royal family of the King of Israel! That is why it was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "For a child is born to us, a son is given us; dominion will rest on his shoulders, and he will be given the name...Wonder of a Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace in order to extend the dominion and perpetuate the peace of the throne and kingdom of David."-Isaiah 9:6-7, Complete Jewish Bible

Major Prophecies Concerning the Messiah's Birth

In the Twelve, particularly the prophet Micah, we are given more information concerning the coming Messiah. Micah tells us the city in which he is to be born. The city is called Bethlehem Ephrathah. (Micah 5:2) The fact that the city is given two names is interesting. Why? In Israel, there were two cities called Bethlehem. One of the Bethlehem's was in the territory of Judah while the other was in the territory of Zebulun, to the far north. How would we differentiate between the two? Micah did that far us!

By calling the city, not just Bethlehem, but saying "Bethlehem Ephrathah", Micah gives us the guiding clue to locating the city. The Bethlehem in southern Israel had originally been called Ephrathah before its name was changed. Even more startling, this city was the very city that King David was born in! (1 Samuel 16:1; 17:12) The Messiah was to be born in the very city of his father.

Three more prophecies concerning the birth of the Messiah are also mentioned. One of them tells us that there is to be national disaster for Israel, using the heartbreaking words, "A voice is heard in Ramah, lamenting and bitter weeping. It is Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no longer alive." (Jeremiah 31:15, Complete Jewish Bible) Another prophecy states that the Messiah would be called out of Egypt. (Hosea 11:1) How could the Messiah be called out of Egypt if he was born in Bethlehem?

Yet another prophecy indicates something far-fetched. The prophet Isaiah tells us: "Therefore Adonai himself will give you people a sign: the young woman will become pregnant, bear a son and name him 'Immanu El [God is with us]." (Isaiah 7:14, CJB) What is remarkable about a "young woman" becoming pregnant or even distinguishable from all the other women who ever lived in Israel?

The Hebrew word used in Isaiah 7:14 for "young woman" is "'almah", which literally means "maiden". However, in the context of the Tanakh, this literally means "a young woman of unsullied reputation". The Greek Septuagint (or, LXX) version of the Tanakh uses the Greek word "parthenos" because of the this. (The LXX was the version of choice for many years in the synagouges) The Hebrew word meaning "virgin" (which many Bibles use for "'almah" in modern Bible translations) is actually the Hebrew word "bethulah'". While the word for virgin is not used, the idea of a young woman with virginity intact is the idea being presented by Isaiah.

The details of the Messiah's birth are few in the Tanakh. These are the few things that the Scriptures do mention. From this we find that the Messiah will be a descendant of King David, therefore, of royal blood. He will be born in Bethlehem, the very city that David was born in, and his mother will be a virgin. Those are interesting requirements for someone only proving that the Messiah will be a truly unique person.

(In the next part of this series, we will look at the prophecies that speak specifically of the life of the Messiah.)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Memorial Reading for Thursday, April 9, 2009

Luke 22:7-65; Mark 12:12-16

Nisan 14, 33 C.E.
The day of the unfermented cakes now arrived, on which the passover victim must be sacrificed; and he dispatched Peter and John, saying: "Go and get the passover ready for us to eat." They said to him: "Where do you want us to get it ready?" He said to them: "Look! When you enter into the city a man carrying an earthenware vessel of water will meet you. Follow him into the house into which he enters. And you must say to the landlord of the house, 'The Teacher says to you: "Where is the guest room in which I may eat the passover with my disciples?"' And that man will show you a large upper room furnished. Get it ready there." So they departed and found it just as he had said to them, and they got the passover ready.

At length when the hour came, he reclined at the table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them: "I have greatly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it again until it becomes fulfilled in the kingdom of God." And, accepting a cup, he gave thanks and said: "Take this and pass it from one to the other among yourselves; for I tell you, From now on I will not drink again from the product of the vine until the kingdom of God arrives."

Also, he took a loaf, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them, saying: "This means my body which is to be given in your behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me." Also, the cup in the same way after they had the evening meal, he saying: "This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in your behalf.

"But, look! the hand of my betrayer is with me at the table. Because the Son of man is going his way according to what is marked out; all the same, woe to that man through whom he is betrayed!" So they started to discuss among themselves the question of which of them would really be the one that was about to do this.

However, there also arose a heated dispute among them over which one of them seemed to be greatest. But he said to them: "The kings of the nations lord it over them, and those having authority over them are called Benefactors. you, though, are not to be that way. But let him that is the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the one acting as chief as the one ministering. For which one is greater, the one reclining at the table or the one ministering? Is it not the one reclining at the table? But I am in your midst as the one ministering.

"However, you are the ones that have stuck with me in my trials; and I make a covenant with you, just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.

"Simon, Simon, look! Satan has demanded to have you men to sift you as wheat. But I have made supplication for you that your faith may not give out; and you, when once you have returned, strengthen your brothers." Then he said to him: "Lord, I am ready to go with you both into prison and into death. But he said: "I tell you, Peter, A cock will not crow today until you have three times denied knowing me."

He also said to them: "When I sent you forth without purse and food pouch and sandals, you did not want for anything, did you?" They said: "No!" Then he said to them: "But now let the one that has a purse take it up, likewise also a food pouch; and let the one having no sword sell his outer garment and buy one. For I tell you that this which is written must be accomplished in me, namely, 'And he was reckoned with lawless ones.' For that which concerns me is having an accomplishment." Then they said: "Lord, look! here are two swords." He said to them: "It is enough."

On going out he went as customarily to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed him. Having come to the place he said to them: "Carry on prayer, that you do not enter into temptation." And he himself drew away from them about a stone’s throw, and bent his knees and began to pray, saying: "Father, if you wish, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, let, not my will, but yours take place." Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. But getting into an agony he continued praying more earnestly; and his sweat became as drops of blood falling to the ground. And he rose from prayer, went to the disciples and found them slumbering from grief; and he said to them: "Why are you sleeping? Rise and carry on prayer, that you do not enter into temptation."

While he was yet speaking, look! a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was going before them; and he approached Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said to him: "Judas, do you betray the Son of man with a kiss?" When those about him saw what was going to happen, they said: "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?" A certain one of them even did strike the slave of the high priest and took off his right ear. But in reply Jesus said: "Let it go as far as this." And he touched the ear and healed him. Jesus then said to the chief priests and captains of the temple and older men that had come there for him: "Did you come out with swords and clubs as against a robber? While I was with you in the temple day after day you did not stretch out your hands against me. But this is your hour and the authority of darkness."

Then they arrested him and led him off and brought him into the house of the high priest; but Peter was following at a distance. When they lit a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter was sitting in among them. But a certain servant girl saw him sitting by the bright fire and looked him over and said: "This man also was with him." But he denied it, saying: "I do not know him, woman." And after a short time another person seeing him said: "You also are one of them." But Peter said: "Man, I am not." And after about an hour intervened a certain other man began insisting strongly: "For a certainty this man also was with him; for, in fact, he is a Galilean!" But Peter said: "Man, I do not know what you are saying." And instantly, while he was yet speaking, a cock crowed. And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter, and Peter recalled the utterance of the Lord when he said to him: "Before a cock crows today you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Now the men that had him in custody began to make fun of him, hitting him; and after covering him over they would ask and say: "Prophesy. Who is it that struck you?" And they went on saying many other things in blasphemy against him.

Now on the first day of unfermented cakes, when they customarily sacrificed the passover victim, his disciples said to him: "Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the passover?" With that he sent forth two of his disciples and said to them: "Go into the city, and a man carrying an earthenware vessel of water will encounter you. Follow him, and wherever he goes inside say to the householder, 'The Teacher says: "Where is the guest room for me where I may eat the passover with my disciples?"' And he will show you a large upper room, furnished in preparation; and there prepare for us." So the disciples went out, and they entered the city and found it just as he said to them; and they prepared for the passover.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Keep Doing This in Rememberance of Me

On the night before he died, Jesus Christ instituted the Lord's Evening Meal, using only leftover unleavened bread and burgundy wine. Many people celebrate this weekly, monthly, or annually. Jehovah's Witnesses celebrate it once a year on the exact day in which Christ instituted it, Nisan 14, which falls on April 9th this year. You are invited to attend.

The Memorial of Christ's Death

After Jesus and his disciples ate the passover meal, the following scene happened. "He took a loaf, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them, saying: 'This means my body which is to be given in your behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me.' Also, the cup in the same way after they had the evening meal, he saying: 'This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in your behalf.'"-Luke 22:19-20

Many people throughout the world are familiar with this. You may have done this many times, using various substitutes for the bread and the wine. Have you ever thought about what this really means why it is so important to use true unleavened bread and burgundy wine? Let us see.

Unleavened Bread--The Body of Christ

In the Scriptures, leaven, a substance added to bread dough or alcoholic beverages to aid in fermentation, is often used in the Bible to picture sin or corruption. Jesus said, "Watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." (Matthew 16:11) Jesus was employing symbolism on his part to make a point: The Pharisees actions were not always in line with they're teachings, and sometimes they even taught falsehoods. These were as leaven fermenting the pure teachings handed down by Moses.

On another occasion, Jesus said, "Keep your eyes open, look out for the leaven...of Herod." (Mark 8:15) Here, Jesus was exposing the hypocrisy and political treachery of the party followers of Herod.-Mark 3:6

The Apostle Paul, in his first letter to the congregation in Corinth had this fine council. "Do you not know that a little leaven ferments the whole lump? Clear away the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, according as you are free from ferment. For, indeed, Christ our passover has been sacrificed. Consequently let us keep the festival, not with old leaven, neither with leaven of badness and wickedness, but with unfermented cakes of sincerity and truth."-1 Corinthians 5:6-8

All of this occurs in certain context. Paul is here speaking of corrupting influences in the congregation and removing them. (1 Corinthians 5:1-2, 11-13) His above statements are his way of saying that if a wicked person is not removed from the congregation, it could have a corrupting effect on the rest of the congregation. There should be no leaven (sin) so that the entire congregation will not be corrupted.

So, it is obvious that, when different churches use things like crackers or pieces of bread bought at the store, they are not truly appreciating the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who had no leaven, or sin, in his body. Only unleavened bread should be used to picture our sinless Lord and Savior. Anything else is degrading to his sacrifice.

Red Wine--The Blood of Christ

During the Lord's Evening Meal, Jesus Christ used red wine as a fitting symbol of his perfect blood. Many on this occasion believe that using grape juice is sufficient, but this is not the case. Only true wine is a fitting symbol of the blood of our savior. Jesus called it the "product of the vine." (Matthew 26:29) This was seven months after the grape harvest and so it is not in doubt that this was fermented juice of the vine, not mere grape juice.

Concerning the blood of our savior, the Apostle Peter wrote, "But it was with precious blood, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, even Christ’s." (1 Peter 1:19) The wine used was a pure burgundy wine. While many wines have some type of imperfections in them, burgundy wine has very little--a fitting picture of the "precious blood" of our savior.

The Lord's Evening Meal--Who Partakes?

In the world of Christendom today, everyone present at the communion celebration partakes of the bread and the wine. Would it be surprising that only a small number of people are supposed to have this privilege? Yes, it goes hand-in-hand with what Christ Jesus said as he presented the emblems.

As Christ was presenting the wine, he said these words, "This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in your behalf." (Luke 22:20) Those who partake of the wine are part of the new covenant. What is the new covenant? Jesus Christ said, "I make a covenant with you, just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel." (Luke 22:29-30) Yes, those who partake of those emblems are saying that Christ has made a covenant with them "for a kingdom".

A little earlier in his ministry Jesus told only a few people these words, "Have no fear, little flock, because your Father has approved of giving you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32) With these words Jesus Christ revealed that the number of people inheriting that kingdom would be "little". It was revealed to the Apostle John how many people it would be.

"And I saw, and, look! the Lamb standing upon the Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads...And they are singing as if a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one was able to master that song but the hundred and forty-four thousand, who have been bought from the earth." (Revelation 14:1, 3) Yes, only 144,000 people are bought from the earth. What is their job?

Speaking to Jesus the four living creatures and the 24 elders sing, "You were slaughtered and with your blood you bought persons for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 1and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth." (Revelation 5:9-10) These 144,000 were bought from the earth and are to "rule as kings forever and ever."-Revelation 22:5

If these are to rule as kings in heaven, will they have subjects? Yes, for after John spoke of the 144,000 in Revelation 7:1-8, he then spoke of a "a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb...These are the ones that come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Revelation 7:9, 14) The Bible says that they are to live on the earth forever.-Psalm 37:11, 29; Matthew 5:5

Is this a "bad" fate for the great crowd? Not at all! I am of the great crowd and I couldn't be more excited. I cannot wait until Jesus Christ and the 144,000 begin their rule over the earth after the "god of this world" is done away with along with all of the wicked people. (2 Corinthians 4:4, New American Standard bible; Revelation 20:10; Psalm 37:10; Proverbs 2:22) The world is going to be a peaceful paradise!

Remembering the Death of Christ

The death of Jesus Christ is the most important event in human history. Ultimately, that is what we come to remember. However, we also have to remember the One who sent him and the love He showed. Why? "For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life."-John 3:16

In the Garden of Eden, Jehovah told Adam and Eve that if they ate from the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Bad" that they would die. Satan contradicted this saying it was not true. (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-5) Believing this lie, Eve, and then Adam, partook of the fruit. This caused all of us to be sinners with death in view. We were separated and lost.-Genesis 3:6; Romans 5:12

The death of Jesus changed all that. "He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed...for he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." (Isaiah 53:5, 12, New International Version) Jesus died so that we might have everlasting life. This is why remembering his death is of the utmost importance. We show that we appreciate his sacrifice when we come together at the Lord's Evening Meal.

Another thing that the death of Jesus did was answer an accusation that Satan raised. In the book of Job we find out that Satan said that man only serves Jehovah when it is convenient for him to do so or when it only benefits him in some way. While originally applying this only to Job, he took it farther and included all humans in the challenge. (Job 1:9-11; 2:4) That is why Jehovah pleads with us: "Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me."-Proverbs 27:11

At the beginning, Adam and Eve were perfect humans who ended up not remaining faithful. Since then, no human ever remained perfectly faithful to God. So Satan insisted that no man--perfect or imperfect--could be faithful. Jesus answered that challenge perfectly. He never sinned, even tempted to the extreme. (Matthew 4:1-11; Hebrews 4:15, New International Version) He proved that a perfect man could keep integrity towards God. Yes, he proved the one taunting Jehovah wrong and made His Father's heart rejoice.

All of this is kept in mind by Jehovah's Witnesses when we gather to meet for the annual Lord's Evening Meal. You are warmly invited to come gather with them in your area so that you too can remember what Jesus Christ did for us and all that entailed.-Matthew 20:28

Memorial Reading for Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Luke 22:1-6; Mark 14:1-2, 10-11

Nisan 12, 33 C.E.
Now the festival of the unfermented cakes, the so-called Passover, was getting near. Also, the chief priests and the scribes were seeking the effective way for them to get rid of him, for they were in fear of the people.-Luke 22:1-2

Now the passover and the festival of unfermented cakes was two days later. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to seize him by crafty device and kill him; for they repeatedly said: "Not at the festival; perhaps there might be an uproar of the people."-Mark 14:1-2

Nisan 13, 33 C.E.
But Satan entered into Judas, the one called Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve; and he went off and talked with the chief priests and temple captains about the effective way to betray him to them. Well, they rejoiced and agreed to give him silver money. So he consented, and he began to seek a good opportunity to betray him to them without a crowd around.-Luke 22:3-6

And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went off to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. When they heard it, they rejoiced and promised to give him silver money. So he began seeking how to betray him conveniently.-Mark 14:10-11

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Memorial Reading for Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Luke 20:1-47

Nisan 11, 33 C.E.
On one of the days while he was teaching the people in the temple and declaring the good news, the chief priests and the scribes with the older men came near, and they spoke up, saying to him: "Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority." In reply he said to them: "I will also ask you a question, and you tell me: Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?" Then among themselves they drew conclusions, saying: "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say, 'Why is it you did not believe him?' But if we say, 'From men,' the people one and all will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet." So they replied that they did not know its source. And Jesus said to them: "Neither am I telling you by what authority I do these things."

Then he started to tell the people this illustration: "A man planted a vineyard and let it out to cultivators, and he traveled abroad for considerable time. But in due season he sent out a slave to the cultivators, that they might give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. The cultivators, however, sent him away empty, after beating him up. But he repeated and sent them a different slave. That one also they beat up and dishonored and sent away empty. Yet again he sent a third; this one also they wounded and threw out. At this the owner of the vineyard said, "What shall I do? I will send my son the beloved. Likely they will respect this one."When the cultivators caught sight of him they went reasoning with one another, saying, "This is the heir; let us kill him, that the inheritance may become ours." With that they threw him outside the vineyard and killed him. What, therefore, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these cultivators and will give the vineyard to others."

On hearing this they said: "Never may that happen!" But he looked upon them and said: "What, then, does this that is written mean, 'The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstone'? Everyone falling upon that stone will be shattered. As for anyone upon whom it falls, it will pulverize him."

The scribes and the chief priests now sought to get their hands on him in that very hour, but they feared the people; for they perceived that he spoke this illustration with them in mind. And, after observing him closely, they sent out men secretly hired to pretend that they were righteous, in order that they might catch him in speech, so as to turn him over to the government and to the authority of the governor. And they questioned him, saying: "Teacher, we know you speak and teach correctly and show no partiality, but you teach the way of God in line with truth: Is it lawful for us to pay tax to Caesar or not?" But he detected their cunning and said to them: "Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?" They said: "Caesar’s." He said to them: "By all means, then, pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God." Well, they were not able to catch him in this saying before the people, but, in amazement at his answer, they said nothing.

However, some of the Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came up and questioned him, saying: "Teacher, Moses wrote us, 'If a man’s brother dies having a wife, but this one remained childless, his brother should take the wife and raise up offspring from her for his brother.' Accordingly there were seven brothers; and the first took a wife and died childless. So the second, and the third took her. Likewise even the seven: they did not leave children behind, but died off. Lastly, the woman also died. Consequently, in the resurrection, of which one of them does she become the wife? For the seven got her as wife."

Jesus said to them: "The children of this system of things marry and are given in marriage, but those who have been counted worthy of gaining that system of things and the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. In fact, neither can they die anymore, for they are like the angels, and they are God’s children by being children of the resurrection. But that the dead are raised up even Moses disclosed, in the account about the thornbush, when he calls Jehovah 'the God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of Jacob.' He is a God, not of the dead, but of the living, for they are all living to him. In response some of the scribes said: "Teacher, you spoke well." For no longer did they have the courage to ask him a single question.

In turn he said to them: "How is it they say that the Christ is David’s son? For David himself says in the book of Psalms, 'Jehovah said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.' David, therefore, calls him 'Lord'; so how is he his son?"

Then, while all the people were listening he said to the disciples: "Look out for the scribes who desire to walk around in robes and like greetings in the marketplaces and front seats in the synagogues and most prominent places at evening meals, and who devour the houses of the widows and for a pretext make long prayers. These will receive a heavier judgment."

Monday, April 6, 2009

Objects of Hatred

In the last few days of his ministry, Jesus made a statement that provides convincing evidence that Jehovah's Witnesses are God's people that are led by His holy spirit. What was this? Where in the Bible is it located?

The statement that Jesus made is contained in Matthew 24, in his explanation about the end of the system of things. After speaking about earthquakes and wars and famines, he said, "Then people will deliver you up to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be objects of hatred by all the nations on account of my name." (Matthew 24:9) Who else can this Scripture apply to? Let us reason.

After speaking to trinitarian Christians, I walked away astounded at how they take that Scripture and claim it applies to them! How so? One "Christian" said, "In China, 'Christians' are either deported and killed. In Muslim nations, they can be killed our basic rights taken away. In African nations, there can be much hostility towards people who deviate from the faith they were raised in and convert to Christianity. We as 'Christians' are hated in many places."

On the surface, that can sound convincing. However, it is not enough. Look at Christ's statement again. He said that true Christians would be "objects of hatred by all the nations" on account of his name. It is not true that those "Christians" are hated by all the nations on account of the name of Christ.

Jehovah's Witnesses are.

No matter which country Jehovah's Witnesses go to, they are hated. In countries like China, we are killed or deported. In Muslim countries, we are killed, deported, or basic rights are taken away. In African countries, we face hostility upon conversion. And, unlike other "Christians", the list does not stop there. In Russia, they are trying to ban Jehovah's Witnesses. In many countries where "Christianity" flourishes, like Guam, France, and Mexico, Jehovah's Witnesses are hated and mistreated.

Other religions can not say this. Catholics hate Jehovah's Witnesses. Protestants hate Jehovah's Witnesses. Everyone hates Jehovah's Witnesses. Many otherwise tolerant countries hate Jehovah's Witnesses for our stance on war and politics. No other peoples are hated as Jehovah's Witnesses are hated. In fact, in one nationwide poll in the United States of America, Jehovah's Witnesses were voted as the least favorite religious group.

Ask yourself: Why are Jehovah's Witnesses so hated? It is all on the basis of Jesus' name! How? In Jewish countries we are hated because we believe in Jesus. In Muslim countries we are hated because we proclaim Jesus and no one else. In "Christian" countries, we are hated because we do not hold up the false doctrine of the Trinity. Yes, we teach the truth about Jesus, he is not Almighty God and so we are hated. If we taught the Trinity, we would be accepted.

In so-called tolerant countries, we are hated for our stance on militaristic and political affairs--all due to what Jesus said to true Christians. "Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword." (Matthew 26:52) And in another place he says, "My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source."-John 18:36

As Jehovah's Witnesses, we know that if Jesus was a king in this earthly system of things, we would be subjects of that kingdom. Even if Jesus died and descendent's replaced him, it would still be a kingdom truly in Jesus' name and we would fight. However, Christ kingdom is not part of this world. There is no kingdom or government on earth that is an expression of that Kingdom. If we chose to fight for our respective countries, we would no longer be subjects of the Kingdom of God. For this reason, we are hated by so-called tolerant countries, even if they are "Christian".

No matter where you go, we are hated only because of our views of Jesus and his teachings. No other groups can say that. Mormons are hated for more then just their views on Jesus. Sacred Name groups and KJV-Only groups are, too. Any other religion that I can think of that is hated is not hated only for their views on Jesus Christ. We are the only group that fits that description at Matthew 24:9. For that we are glad! Why?

"Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against you for my sake. Rejoice and leap for joy, since your reward is great in the heavens; for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to you."-Matthew 5:11-12

If you would like to learn more about Jehovah's Witnesses, we will be happy to help you! Yes, the above does not sound appealing but without persecution and hatred, you can not be sure your religion is the true one. Also, Paul's words to Timothy are important to factor in. "All those desiring to live with godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted."-2 Timothy 3:12; Acts 14:22

Memorial Reading for Monday, April 6, 2009

Luke 19:45-48; Matthew 21:18-19; 21:12-13

Nisan 10, 33 C.E.
And he entered into the temple and started to throw out those who were selling, saying to them: "It is written, 'And my house will be a house of prayer,' but you made it a cave of robbers."

Furthermore, he went teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the principal ones of the people were seeking to destroy him; and yet they did not find the effective thing for them to do, for the people one and all kept hanging onto him to hear him.

While returning to the city early in the morning, he got hungry. And he caught sight of a fig tree by the road and went to it, but he found nothing on it except leaves only, and he said to it: "Let no fruit come from you anymore forever." And the fig tree withered instantly.

And Jesus entered into the temple and threw out all those selling and buying in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. And he said to them: "It is written, 'My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a cave of robbers."

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Memorial Reading for Sunday, April 5, 2009

Luke 22:29-44

Nisan 9, 33 C.E.
And when he got near to Bethphage and Bethany at the mountain called Mount of Olives, he sent forth two of the disciples, saying: "Go into the village that is within sight of you, and in it after you pass in you will find a colt tied, on which none of mankind ever sat. Loose it and bring it. But if anyone asks you, 'Why is it you are loosing it?' You must speak in this way, 'The Lord needs it.'" So those who were sent forth departed and found it just as he said to them. But as they were loosing the colt the owners of it said to them: "Why are you loosing the colt?" They said: "The Lord needs it." And they led it to Jesus, and they threw their outer garments upon the colt and set Jesus upon it.

As he moved along they kept spreading their outer garments on the road. As soon as he got near the road down the Mount of Olives all the multitude of the disciples started to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice concerning all the powerful works they had seen, saying: "Blessed is the One coming as the King in Jehovah’s name! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest places!" However, some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to him: "Teacher, rebuke your disciples." But in reply he said: "I tell you, If these remained silent, the stones would cry out."

And when he got nearby, he viewed the city and wept over it, saying: "If you, even you, had discerned in this day the things having to do with peace—but now they have been hid from your eyes. Because the days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification with pointed stakes and will encircle you and distress you from every side, and they will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you, because you did not discern the time of your being inspected."

The Great Tribulation, Pt. 2

In the second part of my dream, things were a little jumpy, not staying in one situation nor having a logical bridge to the next situation. I want to believe that they are two parts of the same dream but could be two different dreams entirely with the same premise. In this one, we are again in about the second day of the Great Tribulation...


In the dream, I walked into a local Christian bookstore, wanting to see how they were reacting. Interestingly, it seemed to be more of a Christian flea market, where people from different "Christian" denominations and "Christian"-based religions can come together to sell their favorite Bible translations and church publications.

After walking in, I saw all the people throwing their Bible's into trashcans, where fires were lit. One group was destroying NLT's, another NIV's, and even another KJV's. One other group, a Sacred Name group, was not burning their Bible's, which were the Zikarown Say'fer Bible. They were trying to give theirs to other people. I took on of the pocket size Bible's (roughly the size of our NWT's) and slipped it into my pocket. I remember being happy that I had a Bible, since all of the New World Translations were either stashed away or confiscated.

There were four more Zikarown Say'fer Bible's in the bin when the group burning the NLT's grabbed them and threw them into the fire...

After this the scene changed, getting even weirder.

...Evidently, some kind of curfew had been enforced and I was not allowed to leave the Christian flea market. The police officers provided blankets and pillows so that we could sleep on the ground. The police officers were posted in the outside entryway so that we could not leave.

One young man next to me, who was part of the Sacred Name group, sighed and pulled out his copy of the Bible and started reading it. Another man who had been burning the NLT took one look at him, got up, and informed the police officers at the door of what was going on. They came in and looked in the direction that the young man was pointing--and thought that he was pointing at me.

As the two police officers walked closer I leaned up, not knowing what to do because I didn't want to bring attention to the person next to me. I started to pull out my Bible to give to them but the young man who had originally pulled out the Bible jumped up and started to run. One of the police officers ran after him.

By this time, everyone in the room was standing up. The police officer grabbed me and started feeling my pocket's, finding the Bible. He smiled and hit me. I smiled back, grabbed the Bible and ran, jumping over blankets and pillows scattered on the floor. He wasn't so lucky, tripping over a tangle of blankets and giving me the opportunity to escape.

When I got outside I saw the original young man get into a car and I jumped in with him.

"It's better if we split up." He said, "Do you still have your Bible?"

I nodded and he said, "Get in another car."

I got out and slipped into Dodge Nitro. "I don't know how to start it. The keys aren't in here."

The young man got out of the car, came to mine, and started it for me. He went back into his car and started driving off. I followed him but the young man who told on us came flying into the parking lot. The one who helped me start my car hit him...

The scene changed at this part again.

...The young man and I were in an interrogation room, waiting for someone to come in. While we were waiting, we started to talk.

"What's your name?" He asked me.

"Shawn. And yours?"


"It's a shame that we ended up getting our Bible's taken." I said.

Before we could continue, the door opened and someone on crutches and covered in bandages came into the room. It was the young man who got hit by the car!

"So, Shawn and Brett. Thanks for what you did, by the way. I realized that religious people are nuts. I can't believe that I ever believed in the Bible!" He smiled.

"I know that you two are stubbornly holding onto your religious beliefs. What religions are you?"

"I'm part of the Assemblies of Yahweh, based off of Deuteronomy 23:8 where it says, 'The children of the third generation that are born unto them shall enter into the assembly of Yahweh. (Zikarown Say'fer Bible)"

He looked at me. "Which religion are you?"

"I'm one of Jehovah's Witnesses, based off of Isaiah 43:10 where it says, 'You are my witnesses,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'even my servant whom I have chosen.'"

"It doesn't matter which religion either of you are from. We are all three of us going to die right now." He pulled out a device and continued, "This is a bomb. As soon as I release this lever, we're going to blow up. Even now, this building is being evacuated."

Brett jumped over the table and held the other guys arms together while I grabbed the device. He then grabbed one of the crutches and hit him over the back of the head. The guy was knocked unconscious. Brett grabbed the device from me and told me to run. I nodded and left the room. As I ran towards the exit, I saw the two Bible's on a desk. I grabbed both of them and kicked the doors open. I ran across a parking lot and through a field before ducking down.

The building blew up...

Another jump from scene to scene.


The next thing I know I am at home. We were watching the news on television, which was changing back and forth between riots due to the ban on religion, vandalism of places of worship, and a story about a very dangerous form of leprosy which struck out of nowhere and seeming at random. The worst thing about it was that the victim died within two minutes of the first signs.

Two of my family members came down with the leprosy...

And I woke up for good. That was a crazy dream. I wish it hadn't ended abruptly. Oh well.

The thing is, Jesus Christ warned us of a Great Tribulation that was coming, followed by his return were he would finally destroy the wicked. We should all be alert for that and watch the signs. Which signs? I will write about that later. In the meantime, you can read about this Great Tribulation from the Organization that is being used by Jehovah through His holy spirit. You can read about it here. It is the prayer of all Jehovah's Witnesses that when that time comes, you will have the knowledge that you can survive it.