Earlier this week, I was thinking about my Mormon missionaries. They “dropped” me and I figured I was done with them. Yesterday (March 17th), I had a set of Mormons stop out at the house. Unfortunately, I was at work and didn’t interact with them. However, they left a card and I’m sure I’ll have to interact with them at some point in the near future. I’d really like to finish going through Doctrine and Covenants but I’ll have to start all over with these guys and see how it goes from there.
Howdy and we were back in the swing of things “full force” today. I was honestly figuring that we’d get through the rest of the chapter (five and a half pages) but it didn’t work out in the least bit. Let’s get started.
They arrived a half hour late due to weather conditions and had to be back at the hall for a 1:30 PM meeting with the circuit overseer. Their first question was, “where are the kids?” Me, “they are upstairs and I’m not going to complain or say anything in the least bit.” The custodian’s husband then relayed how he was actually up a tad late this morning. He spoke about his mother in law (currently living with him and his wife) and how quiet he had to be.
Essentially, when the heat kicks on, he makes his coffee and moves around. When the heat goes off, he has to be extra quiet. That was over when the custodian herself started coughing and her mom got up to attend to her (the custodian and husband are in their 50s or 60s). The elder just got a fresh hair cut and we joked there isn’t very much to cut off since he’s nearly bald.
So I asked about the purpose in the circuit overseer is and his role. The elder started explaining (it was to be the custodian’s husband leading today which didn’t happen) and he said that Paul the Apostle was essentially a circuit overseer. The Governing Body directed Paul to make the trips and visit new places. I just sat there already trying to keep a face of disbelief from showing. I thought of this verse when he said this: Acts 13:2 (NWT) As they were ministering to Jehovah and fasting, the holy spirit said: “Set aside for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
Please take a moment and look at what happens, the “active force” that the Jehovah’s Witness believes the Holy Spirit is spoke directly. He (the Holy Spirit is a person the Bible teaches) calls out for Saul (name hasn’t been changed over completely) individually. This is a sharp contrast to where the elder said it was the Governing Body who called for Saul/Paul.
I still find it interesting that this organization has to legitimize itself by equating various present day offices to what occurred back in the days of the bible.
Regardless, he explained that the circuit overseer goes out, encourages the Kingdom Halls and will visit a house when there is a need. Since he’s not entirely familiar with the people in the local hall, they will go with an elder who’s assigned to a particular individual. He went on further to explain that although everyone has an assigned elder, they can talk to another elder is necessary. I thought how much everything in this organization is essentially prescribed regardless of situation. The custodian’s husband said, well, I’m assigned to the elder and he knows me quite well (I wrote previously how they’ve lived with one another previously).
Side note, at this point, I have a kid coming down crying. I had to attend and we continued. We spoke briefly about our society raising a feel good culture of kids that can’t handle adversity. This led into a brief discussion regarding suicide. I spoke how people are using social media to carry out one more final earthly act with an audience. We then spoke about “sad” music, the elder spoke along the lines of Motown songs and the custodian’s husband spoke about some bluegrass music.
From there, we moved into the material. The first paragraph we talked about was the eleventh one on page 79. I was asked by the elder (he went off the “script”) and asked how did Satan fall? I was taken in mind to Isaiah 14:12-14 which says (NWT), How you have fallen from heaven,
12 O shining one, son of the dawn!
How you have been cut down to the earth,
You who vanquished nations!
13 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to the heavens.
Above the stars of God I will lift up my throne,
And I will sit down on the mountain of meeting,
In the remotest parts of the north.
14 I will go up above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself resemble the Most High.’
I explained that it was pride that caused him to fall immediately. I was able to tie this back to Genesis where the pride arose in his heart after some period of time (scripture isn’t clear) and he wanted to be like God since he wasn’t content with his place at the top of the created beings “pecking order.”
This led to the question from me that had us go around a few times for me to try and nail down an answer. The bold scripture is Revelation 12:7-9 (NWT):
7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled
8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them any longer in heaven.
9 So down the great dragon+ was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.
I asked them about this verse in relation to Hebrews 1:1-3 (NWT):
1 Long ago God spoke to our forefathers by means of the prophets on many occasions and in many ways.
2 Now at the end of these days he has spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things.
3 He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power. And after he had made a purification for our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
So my question to them was, “can you rectify this for me? A fight is a somewhat equal playing field. However, Jesus in Hebrews upholds ‘all things by the word of his power’” (Emphasis mine).
The custodian’s husband looked a tad bit confused and the elder did at first. I went back through and explained the verses again. I really wanted to hone in on verse three where Jesus upholds all things whether visible or invisible.
At this point, he asked about the word “world” and what it actually means. I have in my bible a Strong’s Dictionary of the Old and New Testament and read him the definition. He then gave a partial from the JW Library App and what the organization says. The one I use was decidedly longer and more encompassing. He attempted to say essentially that Hebrews 1:1-3 are the past and don’t really apply. I openly disagreed and said that’s not the case and applies today.
By saying “all” this was a not so subtle way of saying Jesus is almighty which the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society says is not the case even though they’ve changed this view:
[Say] Saying Even so, Lord God Almighty.— The Lord Jesus.— Rev. 1:8; John 5:22; Matt. 28:18.
The Finished Mystery. 1917 p. 240
Clearly, Jesus is not God Almighty.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. February 1, 2009 p. 7
Side note, if upholding “all things” doesn’t make one almighty, what does?
They looked a little bewildered to I offered an explanation. Since the custodian’s husband is really into cars, I went with that this example. In Revelation 12, imagine we are there. Instead of having two people, there’s two 1967 Camaros with 350 big block engines, 4:10 gears connected to a Muncy transmission going to have a drag race. We obviously couldn’t know which one would have won. Comparing that to Hebrews, imagine that 1967 Camaro going against a Model-T Ford. There’s no comparison between the two.
Regardless, we’ve established that at times, we speak the same words but have different meanings. So we freely ask each other for clarification. At the end, the elder answered by simply saying, “I’m not sure but Jehovah allowed it to happen.”
I allowed it to go since I was able to openly state Jesus was “almighty” which goes against the quote above in the February 1, 2009 Watchtower. Again, I’m surprised but they didn’t argue that point either when I said the word in connection with Jesus.
Jumping forward to paragraph 15, one thing they said in connection leading up to this is that “they are not there to correct or criticize anyone in relation to what they believe about the Bible.” Again, I let this go since I get directly questioned and they attempt to “correct” me at times. Openly wondering-do they really think about what they state at times? Regardless, he tried to correct later on.
One of the questions he asked was, “is everything in Revelation to be taken literally?” Me, “Of course not. There are some things that are literal and others that are symbolic. John is writing from the perspective of a first century Christian and he’s writing about things that are in the future and trying to describe things in the spiritual realm while writing for a material world audience.”
He then said how there’s no way to know what the “locusts” mentioned in Revelation are. I let it go but I remembered this doctrinal teaching from the Society. Here’s some views on how the Watchtower viewed the locusts:
9:7. And the [shapes] LIKENESSES of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle.- The battle-cry of the old-time Methodist was “All at it, and always at it”.
The Finished Mystery. 1917 p. 158
That the Lord made no mistake in selecting the Locust as a symbol of the Methodist system of blindly following leaders is clear from the following extract from the works of a traveller: "While sojourning in Syria I was told that the whole country round Mt. Lebanon was dismayed one year by the news that a vast army of marching locusts was coming from the eastern desert.
The Finished Mystery. 1917 p. 296
Is this just a prophecy about “a nation” of locusts, a locust swarm, invading Judah? No, there is more to it than that. At both Joel 1:6 and Revelation 9:7, God’s people are represented by locusts. The modern-day locust army is none other than the military force of Jehovah’s anointed locusts, now joined by some 5,600,000 of Jesus’ “other sheep.” (John 10:16) Are you not glad to be part of this great throng of Jehovah’s worshipers?
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. May 1, 1998 p. 9, 10
This is reinforced in Revelation! It’s Grand Climax at Hand, 1988, 2006 edition page 144 says, The release of those locusts, the John class, was actually a defeat for Christendom’s clergy, who had schemed and plotted to kill the Kingdom work for good and who now rejected God’s Kingdom.
Notice in the early days of Rutherford, it was Methodists. Then they were “upgraded” to be the Jehovah’s Witnesses (anointed only) themselves.
So either the elder doesn’t know about the organization’s doctrinal stand or he’s trying to simply “fleece” me which isn’t working. My simple question was merely this:
“I know you may not be able to answer, but how does the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society determine what parts of Revelation are literal and what parts are symbolic?” The response I got was essentially one where, “the Society takes time to research and nothing is added from outside the bible itself that’s not openly stated.” There’s a verse in Proverbs that talks about this. I let him try to find it and I said, “Proverbs 4:18” (this is the default verse to cover for every mistake ever made). He thanked me for it and the custodian’s husband commended me for my memory.
Again, I let it go knowing full well that there are many things where the Society “goes beyond what’s written” in direct violation of I Corinthians 4:6. He also informed me that the “heavenly Jerusalem” is nothing more than the angels as well.
This led him to asking about the world being destroyed by “fire” in Revelation and why does “Christendom” refer to it. He kept referring Psalms 37:29 and Isaiah 11:6-9. I referred to Genesis 9 where the rainbow was used to establish a covenant that God would never flood the earth with water again. However, nothing is said about fire.
I answered him and said, “on one hand, the Society is teaching you to look solely at those verses while the not a spokesman for the majority of Christianity yet “we” look at Revelation and see fire. He then asked about what happens to Satan at the end. These were my exact words, “he’s cast into the lake of fire, where the beast and false prophet are to be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10). So they tried to correct me and say, “if one goes into a fire, they are destroyed.” He totally didn’t listen to the word or meaning of “torment.” However, I let him roll with it even though he’s not “there to correct me at all.”
From here, we started wrapping things up. I had offered to feed them but I had no food ready to go for them in the house. The elder said that he is going to have to meet with the circuit overseer for an hour and a half on top of the regular meeting. He will discuss “elder level” things.
So we set our next meeting for April 1, 2017. Please continue to pray for these gentleman and their families that something is occurring internally.