Sunday, August 14, 2011
Questions Often Asked by Interested People
If God is love, why does he permit wickedness?
GOD does permit wickedness, and millions on earth willfully make a practice of it. For instance, they declare wars, drop bombs on children, scorch the earth, and cause famines. Millions smoke and get lung cancer, practice adultery and get sexually transmitted diseases, use alcohol to excess and get cirrhosis of the liver, and so on. Such people do not truly want all wickedness stopped. They only want the penalties for it eliminated. When they reap what they have sown, they cry out, "Why me?" And they blame God, as Proverbs 19:3 says: "A man's own folly wrecks his life, and then he bears a grudge against the LORD." (The New English Bible) And if God stopped their evildoing, they would protest their loss of freedom to do it!
Jehovah's main reason for permitting evil is to answer Satan's challenge. Satan the Devil said that God could not put men on earth who would be true to Him under test. (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-10) Jehovah allows Satan to remain to have opportunity to prove his challenge. (Exodus 9:16) Satan continues to bring woes now, to turn men against God, as he tries to prove his challenge. (Revelation 12:12) However, Job kept integrity. So did Jesus. True Christians do now.—Job 27:5; 31:6; Matthew 4:1-11; 1 Peter 1:6, 7.
I would like to believe in an earthly paradise where people live forever, but isn't that too good to be true?
Not according to the Bible. It seems too good to be true only because mankind has known the bad for so many centuries. Jehovah created the earth and told mankind to fill it with righteous men and women who would care for its plant and animal life and preserve its beauty instead of destroying it. (See pages 12 and 17.) Rather than that promised Paradise being too good to be true, the present sorrowful state is too bad to continue. Paradise will replace it.
How can I answer people who scoff and say that the Bible is a myth and is unscientific?
Faith in these promises is not a matter of credulity. "Faith follows the thing heard." By studying God's Word, its wisdom becomes apparent and faith grows.—Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:1.
Biblical archaeology confirms much of the Bible's historical accuracy. True science harmonizes with the Bible. The following facts were in the Bible long before they were discovered by secular scholars: the order of stages through which the earth passed in its development, that the earth is round, that it hangs in space on nothing, and that birds migrate.—Genesis, chapter 1; Isaiah 40:22; Job 26:7; Jeremiah 8:7.
The inspiration of the Bible is shown by fulfilled prophecies. Daniel foretold in advance the rise and the fall of world powers, as well as the time when the Messiah would come and be put to death. (Daniel, chapters 2, 8; 9:24-27) Today, still other prophecies are being fulfilled, identifying these as "the last days." (2 Timothy 3:1-5; Matthew, chapter 24) Such foreknowledge is not within man's power. (Isaiah 41:23) For more confirmation, see the books The Bible—God's Word or Man's? and Is There a Creator Who Cares About You?, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
How can I learn to answer questions on the Bible?
You must study the Bible and meditate on it, at the same time asking for God's spirit to direct you. (Proverbs 15:28; Luke 11:9-13) "If any one of you is lacking in wisdom," the Bible says, "let him keep on asking God, for he gives generously to all and without reproaching; and it will be given him." (James 1:5) Also, there are Bible study aids worth consulting. Usually help from others is needed, as when Philip studied with the Ethiopian. (Acts 8:26-35) Jehovah's Witnesses conduct Bible studies free of charge with interested people in their homes. Feel free to request this service.
Why do many oppose Jehovah's Witnesses and tell me not to study with them?
There was opposition to Jesus' preaching, and he said that his followers also would be opposed. When some were impressed with Jesus' teaching, religious opposers retorted: "You have not been misled also, have you? Not one of the rulers or of the Pharisees has put faith in him, has he?" (John 7:46-48; 15:20) Many who advise you not to study with the Witnesses are either uninformed or prejudiced. Study with the Witnesses and see for yourself whether your Bible understanding increases or not.—Matthew 7:17-20.
Why do the Witnesses call on people who have their own religion?
In doing this they follow Jesus' example. He went to the Jews. The Jews had their own religion, but in many ways it had turned away from the Word of God. (Matthew 15:1-9) All nations have religions of some kind, whether so-called Christian or non-Christian. It is vitally important for people to hold beliefs that conform to God's own Word, and the efforts of the Witnesses to assist them in doing this constitute a showing of neighbor love.
Do the Witnesses believe that their religion is the only right one?
Anyone who is serious about his religion should think that it is the right one. Otherwise, why would he or she be involved in it? Christians are admonished: "Make sure of all things; hold fast to what is fine." (1 Thessalonians 5:21) A person should make sure that his beliefs can be supported by the Scriptures, for there is only one true faith. Ephesians 4:5 confirms this, mentioning "one Lord, one faith, one baptism." Jesus did not agree with the modern, relaxed view that there are many roads, many religions, all leading to salvation. Instead, he said: "Narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it." Jehovah's Witnesses believe that they have found it. Otherwise, they would look for another religion.—Matthew 7:14.
Do they believe that they are the only ones who will be saved?
No. Millions that have lived in centuries past and who were not Jehovah's Witnesses will come back in a resurrection and have an opportunity for life. Many now living may yet take a stand for truth and righteousness before the "great tribulation," and they will gain salvation. Moreover, Jesus said that we should not be judging one another. We look at the outward appearance; God looks at the heart. He sees accurately and judges mercifully. He has committed judgment into Jesus' hands, not ours.—Matthew 7:1-5; 24:21; 25:31.
What financial contributions are expected of those attending meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses?
Regarding money contributions, the apostle Paul said: "Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7) At the Kingdom Halls and convention auditoriums of Jehovah's Witnesses, no collections are ever taken. Boxes are placed so that it is convenient for any who wish to contribute to do so. No one knows what or if others give. Some are able to give more than others; some may not be able to give anything. Jesus showed the right view when he commented on the treasury box at the temple in Jerusalem and those contributing: It is one's capacity to give and the spirit of giving that count, not the amount of money.—Luke 21:1-4.
If I become one of Jehovah's Witnesses, would I be expected to preach as they do?
When one becomes filled with the knowledge of the promised earthly Paradise under Christ's Kingdom, one wants to share it with others. You will too. It is good news!—Acts 5:41, 42.
Doing this is an important way of showing that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ. In the Bible, Jesus is called "the faithful and true witness." When on earth he preached, saying: "The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near," and he sent out his disciples to do the same. (Revelation 3:14; Matthew 4:17; 10:7) Later, Jesus commanded his followers: "Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, . . . teaching them." He also foretold that before the end, "this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations."—Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20.
There are many ways of declaring this good news. Conversation with friends and acquaintances often opens the way to do so. Some do it by writing letters or by using the telephone. Others mail literature containing material that they think an acquaintance would be especially interested in. Out of a desire to miss no one, Witnesses go from door to door with the message.
The Bible contains this warm invitation: "The spirit and the bride keep on saying: 'Come!' And let anyone hearing say: 'Come!' And let anyone thirsting come; let anyone that wishes take life's water free." (Revelation 22:17) Telling others about the Paradise earth and its blessings is to be done willingly, out of a heart filled with a desire to share this good news.
We are sure that you have other questions about Jehovah's Witnesses and their beliefs. Perhaps some issues are controversial in nature. We would like to answer your questions. Space is limited in this brochure, so we invite you to ask the Witnesses locally. You can do so either at their Kingdom Hall meetings or when they visit you in your home. Or you may send your questions to Watch Tower, using the appropriate address.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Identifying the Wild Beast and Its Mark
DO YOU enjoy solving a mystery? To do so, you look for clues that help you work your way toward the solution. In his inspired Word, God provides the needed clues with regard to the number 666, the name, or mark, of the wild beast of Revelation chapter 13.
In this article, we will look at four main lines of reasoning—vital clues—that will reveal the meaning of the mark of the beast. We will consider (1) how Bible names are sometimes chosen, (2) the identity of the wild beast, (3) what is meant by 666 being "a man's number," and (4) the significance of the number 6 and why it is written in triple digits, namely, 600 plus 60 plus 6, or 666.—Revelation 13:18.
Bible Names—More Than Just Labels
Bible names often have special significance, particularly when given by God. For example, because Abram would become the father of nations, God changed the patriarch's name to Abraham, meaning "Father of a Multitude." (Genesis 17:5) God told Joseph and Mary to call Mary's future child Jesus, which means "Jehovah Is Salvation." (Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:31) In harmony with that meaningful name, through Jesus' ministry and sacrificial death, Jehovah made possible our salvation.—John 3:16.
Accordingly, the God-given number-name 666 must symbolize what God sees as defining attributes of the beast. Naturally, to understand those traits, we need to identify the beast itself and learn about its activities.
The Beast Exposed
The Bible book of Daniel sheds much light on the meaning of symbolic beasts. Chapter 7 contains a vivid tableau of "four huge beasts"—a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a fearsome beast with big teeth of iron. (Daniel 7:2-7) Daniel tells us that these beasts represent "kings," or political kingdoms, that rule in succession over vast empires.—Daniel 7:17, 23.
Regarding the beast of Revelation 13:1, 2, The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible points out that it "combines in itself the joint characteristics of the four beasts of Daniel's vision . . . Accordingly, this first beast [of Revelation] represents the combined forces of all political rule opposed to God in the world." This observation is affirmed by Revelation 13:7, which says of the beast: "Authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation."*
Why does the Bible use beasts as symbols of human rulership? For at least two reasons. First, because of the beastly record of bloodshed that governments have accrued over the centuries. "War is one of the constants of history," wrote historians Will and Ariel Durant, "and has not diminished with civilization or democracy." How true that "man has dominated man to his injury"! (Ecclesiastes 8:9) The second reason is that "the dragon [Satan] gave to the beast its power and its throne and great authority." (Revelation 12:9; 13:2) Accordingly, human rulership is a product of the Devil, thus reflecting his beastly, dragonlike disposition.—John 8:44; Ephesians 6:12.
This does not mean, however, that every human ruler is a direct tool of Satan. Indeed, in one sense, human governments serve as "God's minister," giving structure to human society, without which chaos would rule. And some leaders have protected fundamental human rights, including the right to engage in true worship—something that Satan does not want. (Romans 13:3, 4; Ezr 7:11-27; Acts 13:7) Still, because of the Devil's influence, no human or human institution has ever been able to bring lasting peace and security to the people.# —John 12:31.
"A Human Number"
A third clue to the meaning of 666 lies in its being "a man's number," or as The Amplified Bible puts it, "a human number." This expression could not refer to an individual human, for Satan—not any man—has authority over the beast. (Luke 4:5, 6; 1 John 5:19; Revelation 13:2, 18) Rather, the beast's having "a human number," or mark, suggests that it is a human entity, not spirit or demon, and that it therefore manifests certain human traits. What might they be? The Bible answers, saying: "All [humans] have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) The beast's having "a human number," therefore, indicates that governments reflect the fallen human condition, the mark of sin and imperfection.
History bears this out. "Every civilization that has ever existed has ultimately collapsed," said former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. "History is a tale of efforts that failed, of aspirations that weren't realized . . . So, as a historian, one has to live with a sense of the inevitability of tragedy." Kissinger's honest appraisal testifies to this fundamental Bible truth: "To earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step."—Jeremiah 10:23.
Now that we have identified the beast and discerned how God views it, we are in a position to examine the final part of our puzzle—the number six and why it is written in triple digits—that is, 666, or 600 plus 60 plus 6.
Human rulership has proved to be a failure, well symbolized by the number 666
Six Repeated Three Times—Why?
In the Scriptures, certain numbers have symbolic significance. The number seven, for example, is often used to symbolize that which is complete, or perfect, in God's eyes. For instance, God's creative week comprises seven 'days,' or extended time periods, during which God completely accomplishes his creative purpose regarding the earth. (Genesis 1:3–2:3) God's "sayings" are like silver that has been "clarified seven times," thus perfectly refined. (Psalm 12:6; Proverbs 30:5, 6) The leper Naaman was told to bathe seven times in the Jordan River, after which he was completely healed.—2 Kings 5:10, 14.
Six is one short of seven. Would it not be a fitting symbol of something imperfect, or defective, in God's eyes? Yes, indeed! (1 Chronicles 20:6, 7) Moreover, six repeated three times, as 666, powerfully stresses that imperfection. That this is the correct view is supported by the fact that 666 is "a human number," as we have considered. Thus, the beast's record, its "human number," and the number 666 itself all point to one unmistakable conclusion—gross shortcoming and failure in the eyes of Jehovah.
The portrayal of the beast's deficiencies calls to mind what was said about King Belshazzar of ancient Babylon. Through Daniel, Jehovah said to that ruler: "You have been weighed in the balances and have been found deficient." That very night Belshazzar was killed, and the mighty Babylonian Empire fell. (Daniel 5:27, 30) Likewise, God's judgment of the political beast and of those with its mark spells the end of that entity and its supporters. In this instance, however, God will eradicate not just one political system but every vestige of human rule. (Daniel 2:44; Revelation 19:19, 20) How important, therefore, that we avoid having the deadly mark of the beast!
The Mark Identified
Immediately after disclosing the number 666, Revelation mentions 144,000 followers of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, who have his name and the name of his Father, Jehovah, written on their foreheads. These names identify the bearers as belonging to Jehovah and to his Son, about whom they proudly bear witness. Likewise, those having the mark of the beast proclaim their servitude to the beast. Thus, the mark, whether on the right hand or on the forehead, figuratively speaking, is a symbol that identifies its bearer as one who gives worshipful support to the beastlike political systems of the world. Those having the mark give to "Caesar" that which rightly belongs to God. (Luke 20:25; Revelation 13:4, 8; 14:1) How? By giving worshipful honor to the political state, its symbols, and its military might, to which they look for hope and salvation. Any worship that they render the true God is merely lip service.
In contrast, the Bible urges us: "Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs. His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts do perish." (Psalm 146:3, 4) Those who heed that wise counsel are not disillusioned when governments fail to deliver on their promises or when charismatic leaders fall from grace.—Proverbs 1:33.
This does not mean that true Christians sit back and do nothing about mankind's plight. On the contrary, they actively proclaim the one government that will solve mankind's problems—God's Kingdom, which they represent.—Matthew 24:14.
Jesus Christ will bring perfect rulership to the earth
God's Kingdom—Mankind's Only Hope
When on earth, Jesus made God's Kingdom the main theme of his preaching. (Luke 4:43) In his model prayer, sometimes called the Lord's Prayer, Jesus taught his followers to pray for that Kingdom to come and for God's will to be done here on earth. (Matthew 6:9, 10) The Kingdom is a government that will rule over the entire earth, not from some earthly capital, but from heaven. Hence, Jesus called it "the kingdom of the heavens."—Matthew 11:12.
Who is better suited to be King of that Kingdom than Jesus Christ, the one who died for his future subjects? (Isaiah 9:6, 7; John 3:16) Soon this perfect Ruler, now a mighty spirit person, will hurl the beast, its kings, and its armies into "the fiery lake that burns with sulphur," a symbol of complete destruction. But that is not all. Jesus will also get rid of Satan, something that no human could ever do.—Revelation 11:15; 19:16, 19-21; 20:2, 10.
God's Kingdom will bring peace to all its obedient subjects. (Psalm 37:11, 29; 46:8, 9) Even sorrow, pain, and death will be no more. What a glorious prospect for those who remain free of the mark of the beast!—Revelation 21:3, 4.
* For an in-depth discussion of these verses, see chapter 28 of the book Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand!, published by Jehovah's Witnesses.
# While recognizing that human rulership is often beastlike, true Christians subject themselves to the governmental "superior authorities," as the Bible directs. (Romans 13:1) When such authorities command them to act contrary to God's law, however, they "obey God as ruler rather than men."—Acts 5:29.
Clues to the Meaning of 666
Bible names often say something about the bearer's traits or life, as in the case of Abraham, Jesus, and many others. Likewise, the beast's number-name encodes its characteristics.
In the Bible book of Daniel, the various beasts represent successive human kingdoms, or empires. The composite beast of Revelation 13:1, 2 symbolizes the worldwide political system, empowered and controlled by Satan.
The beast's having "a man's number," or "a human number," indicates that it is a human entity, not a demon. Hence, it reflects human failings resulting from sin and imperfection.
In God's eyes, the number six, being short of the Biblically complete, or perfect, seven, points to imperfection. The mark 666 emphasizes that deficiency by repeating the number three times.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
The end is coming soon. Will you be ready for it? Are you traveling the right road? What will become of those who heard the Truth but did not listen ? Will your pastor or minister save you ?
I feel in my heart and from reading the Bible that i have the truth and we are on the right road. We read and study our Bible on a daily basis. We are also trained to be ministers of the Truth. Its not just a Sunday get together for us, It a life long study of Gods word.
We are even urged to act as Christians every moment of the day. All the others i studied with was nothing like we teach. Some twist the scriptures to be more appealing to people. We are more like a bitter herb and we dont condone misconduct.
But most religions allow gays to worship in their church even condone this misconduct. We do not in anyway condone such behaviors. Fornication is allowed in most churches to. Why are these behaviors allowed in your churches when the Bible teaches that this is not acceptable at all?
We dont allow these things to go on in our place of worship. When someone is found committing a gross sin They are counseled and sometimes disfellowshiped. Do you follow the same guidelines in your place of worship? Do you celebrate pagan holidays? Get your Bibles out and instead of just reading it STUDY IT!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, August 1, 2011
Are Jehovah's Witnesses a cult?
Many think so. But that's not the case.
Its funny all the sites that proclaim we are a cult and false prophets. Ive examined many religions only to find that they were as false as they claim we are. A cult has one leader and uses brainwashing technices on their followers. Most cults are very small in numbers we have over 6 million followers of Jehovah, not an earthly leader. As far as i can see we only abide by Bible teachings. We dont celebrate the heathen customs that most Christians do. You call us a cult because you need to hear its ok to sin go to church on Sunday and everything is cool. I dont remember Jesus ever saying that was the case. Matter of fact He said to repent and sin no more. You say we dont believe in Jesus Thats far from the truth. You people lay judgement on us yet The Bible says Judge not lest you be judged.