Yesterday, the elder and custodian’s husband were originally scheduled to come out. I had received a message earlier in the week that the custodian’s husband had something come up that was going to essentially take up the entire weekend. So we ended up rescheduling. In the interim, I was invited to come on out to their annual memorial. Personally, I have always been conflicted on attending. It’s a great way to get a “bible study” started with a Witness. However, I was assigned overtime so that at least made it easier to not attend. One person who I personally know who’s familiar memorial attendance is Keith Walker from Evidence Ministries. It’s a great way to get a conversation started. He had a great series with a Jehovah’s Witness Elder that you can see here.
Going back to the purpose of writing, I wanted to talk briefly about “Resurrection Sunday” as some within Christianity call it. I’ve stated here before that the Watchtower Society doesn’t teach the whole truth when it comes to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, I’ve addressed it in the context of “What Does the Bible Really Teach?” It will be mentioned again here but after hearing the speaker in church today, I wanted to add some more information in as well.
The central tenet of Christianity is based on I Corinthians 15. Looking specifically at verse 14 it says (New World Translation): But if Christ has not been raised up, our preaching is certainly in vain, and your faith is also in vain. This is something that Witnesses and mainstream Christians can agree upon 100%. However, it will quickly diverge. The Watchtower takes I Peter 3:18 and “spiritualizes” the resurrection. Let’s look at that verse and examine a bit. It says (New World Translation) For Christ died once for all time for sins, a righteous person for unrighteous ones, in order to lead you to God. He was put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.
The major point of “contention” is the last sentence where it speaks about “being made alive in the spirit.” Let’s change the wording around a bit. Being made “alive” in the Watchtower's "mind" means being made “into.” So let’s just say you like me is made “alive” by bacon (I love it). Being made "alive" this way is totally different then being made “into” bacon. It’s a simple difference and if you are a Witness, hopefully you can see the difference.
With that in mind, let us take a look again at what Jesus himself said. There are two passages where He discusses what will happen Himself. John 2:19-21 and Luke 24:36-43. I’ll let you read them but again (I’ve discussed previously), we have in John Jesus essentially declaring:
John 2:19-He would know how many days have passed which directly contradicts how the organization views Ecclesiastics 9:5, 10. He is saying “I” which connects to Romans 4:24 and 6:4 and some other verses which say “God” raised Him from the dead.
John 2:21-He was declaring his physical body was going to rise which again contradicts how the organization views I Peter 3:18.
Verse 36, 37: Appears in their midst. The body made alive in the spirit has extra “ability” since these verses imply He appeared out of nowhere.
Verses 38-40 Jesus states that He has a physical form. He openly states that he is NOT a spirit.
Verses 41-43 He eats in front of them. To my knowledge, there are no verses in the Bible where a spirit actually eats food. If I’m wrong, please feel free to contact me.
Essentially here’s the overarching question regarding Jesus’ words verses those of the Society, who is the ONE telling the truth?
Looking a little more at some things associated with the resurrection, let’s look some passages. I wish to start in Matthew 27:62-66
The next day, which was after the Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together before Pilate,
63 saying: “Sir, we recall what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I am to be raised up.’
64 Therefore, command that the grave be made secure until the third day, so that his disciples may not come and steal him and say to the people, ‘He was raised up from the dead!’ Then this last deception will be worse than the first.”
65 Pilate said to them: “You may have a guard. Go make it as secure as you know how.”
66 So they went and made the grave secure by sealing the stone and posting a guard.
In these verses we have the Pharisees calling Jesus a liar because he was an “imposter” accord to them. Essentially, the Pharisees are telling the truth like the Society if we are to believe them. Here’s yet another question, why is it they were concerned with the physical body of Jesus? If Jesus was to be raised spiritually, there was no need to seal the grave, it would happen regardless. They heard Jesus’ words and elected to not believe Him. Even they knew something that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society “elects” to essentially “ignore” this portion of scripture as well.
The narrative continues in Matthew 28 and I’ll talk about some of the verses here.
Starting in verse 3: His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow.
4 Yes, out of their fear of him, the watchmen trembled and became as dead men.
The one spoken above in the verses is an angel and the New World Translation renders the Roman guards as “watchmen.” The other individuals present in this scene are Mary Magdalene and another Mary. Having women here is important. Why you may ask? Simple-put yourself back in the first century. Women were not “qualified” to say much of anything in a court of law. This article here explains more.
The angel speaks to the women. The Roman guards were like “dead men” which means they didn’t move but they were present and told everything. When they left and travelled, Jesus appears and gives them a command in verses nine and ten.
Verses 11-15 are very interesting (New World Translation):
11 While they were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened.
12 And after these had gathered with the elders and had consulted together, they gave a considerable number of silver pieces to the soldiers
13 and said: “Say, ‘His disciples came in the night and stole him while we were sleeping.’
14 And if this gets to the governor’s ears, we will explain the matter to him and you will not need to worry.”
15 So they took the silver pieces and did as they were instructed, and this story has been spread abroad among the Jews up to this very day.
The Romans were no “friend” of Jesus and were assigned to stay at the tomb. I feel they are told why they are there (I’ll explain in a moment). Regardless, they saw with their own eyes and heard everything that the angel said. They went first and reported to the chief priests what happened and not those in their chain of command. This leads me to believe they were told the situation. These Roman soldiers were motivated by money. Not dissimilar in the prophetic verse of Psalm 22:18 fulfilled in Luke 23:34. Their complicity was bought with silver and helped spread a false narrative. The truth concerning the resurrection of Jesus changed many. Jesus’ visible resurrection changed James for one.
John 7:5 says (New World Translation): His brothers were, in fact, not exercising faith in him.
This would include James.
I Corinthians 15:7 (New World Translation) After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
Seeing his half-brother physically resurrected changed him instantly. He is then led by the Holy Spirit to write the book of James and identifies himself in the first verse of this epistle. Side note, I believe (no quote as I’m going off memory) that the Society teaches Jesus only appeared to those who believed in Him. James was an unbeliever initially but seeing Jesus changed him. How would he fit into the narrative of the Society?
Take a look under notes in this article for numbers three and five which were written by early historians documenting this historical event.
I’d like to contrast this with just two quotes from the Watchtower itself and it’s use to “nullify” the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let’s go on back to 1930:
“Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”-Acts 2:24
Some content that this is proof that in the resurrection the soul and body will be reunited; but we know that there can be no existence without an organization and that a human organism cannot have a place in the kingdom of God. We also know that Jesus was raised out of death with a glorious body. Others have said that the text proves that the flesh body of Jesus is preserved somewhere. That would be equivalent to saying that the body of Jesus is a mummy somewhere. Satan has cause some of his servants to be embalmed and made mummies and thereby preserved for the evident purpose of disputing the effect of death and contradicting Jehovah’s decree. The more reasonable explanation of the above scripture is that God dissolved the body of Jesus into the dust and it was not permitted to take the course of decay common to dead bodies.
The Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. April 15, 1930 p. 118, 119
Yes, it is as the apostle Peter later said: “This Jesus God resurrected.” (Acts 2:32) God made Jesus alive with a body like the one Jesus had before he came to earth. He was resurrected with a spirit body like the angels have. (1 Peter 3:18)
Learn From the Greatest Teacher. 2003. p. 203
Essentially, Jesus is a liar based on the two quotes because according to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society’s teaching, Jesus said the WRONG thing.
So you are left with a question, was Jesus right when His words were recorded under inspiration or is the Watchtower right when it came along in 1879? I trust you’ll make the right decision today.
The next meeting has been rescheduled to April 29th.