Category: Bible Verses (page 1 of 4)

Anatomy of a Proof Text: Ezekiel 18:4

Rich Ez 18_4Jehovah’s Witnesses often quote Ezekiel 18:4: “Look! All the souls—to me they belong. As the soul of the father so also the soul of the son—to me they belong. The soul who sins is the one who will die.” (Watchtower’s 2013 New World Translation)

To a Jehovah’s Witness, this verse proves that at death, human beings are not conscious of anything; rather, they go out of existence completely unless and until Jehovah decides to resurrect them.

They don’t seem aware that they are making a lot of intermediate assumptions in order to arrive at that conclusion.

Here are some of those assumptions: Continue reading

Interpreting Ecclesiastes in Context

Rich book EcclIn last week’s post, I discussed how to respond to six words from Ecclesiastes 9:5, the Watchtower’s primary proof text for its teaching that the dead have no conscious existence until the resurrection: “… the dead know nothing at all…” (all quotes will be from the Watchtower’s own 2013 New World Translation)

My recommendation was to have them read the rest of verse 5 and all of verse 6 to see if the passage expresses God’s viewpoint or merely the perspective of a man who is looking on this life as all there is: “… the dead know nothing at all, nor do they have any more reward, because all memory of them is forgotten. Also, their love and their hate and their jealousy have already perished, and they no longer have any share in what is done under the sun.”

I also suggested that you look at Ecclesiastes 1:2 and ask the same question with regard to the book of Ecclesiastes as a whole: “‘The greatest futility!’ says the congregator, ‘The greatest futility! Everything is futile!’”

Sometimes Witnesses will persist in ignoring the context and insist that “the dead know nothing at all” is  truth revealed by God. If that happens, I recommend that you have them look at other passages in Ecclesiastes to see if they express Jehovah’s viewpoint. Here are several passages you can use for this purpose. Beware of overkill, though. Only use as many of them as necessary to make the point. Continue reading

Discussing Ecclesiastes 9:5 with Jehovah’s Witnesses

Rich Eccl 9_5When discussing what happens to a person after death, Jehovah’s Witnesses will refer you to Ecclesiastes 9:5: “the dead know nothing at all…” (Watchtower’s 2013 New World Translation). Some Witnesses have memorized an earlier version: “the dead… are conscious of nothing at all…” (NWT).

If you try to get them to focus on the context, they usually say, “But the Bible says right here…” and then repeat those words like a mantra. They consider that partial sentence to be the definitive declaration of the state of the dead—all other Bible passages are required to be interpreted to conform to it.

How can we get them to look at that verse in context? Continue reading

The Great Pyramid: From “God’s Stone Witness” to “Satan’s Bible”

Satan's BibleAfter decades of proclaiming the Great Pyramid of Gizeh as “God’s Stone Witness” which verified its end times prophecies, the Watchtower reversed itself completely and denounced the Pyramid as “Satan’s Bible.” Continue reading

The Great Pyramid: “God’s Stone Witness” to 1914

God's Stone Witness“Pastor” Russell (Charles Taze Russell, 1852-1916), the founder of what eventually became the Watchtower Society, believed that Jesus returned invisibly and spiritually in 1874. This was to be the beginning of a 40-year harvest period which would end in 1914 with God’s complete overthrow of the nations of the world.

In his 1889 book, The Time is at Hand (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. II, 1908 edition), pp. 98-99), Russell wrote:

True, it is expecting great things to claim, as we do, that within the coming twenty-six years all present governments will be overthrown and dissolved; but we are living in a special and peculiar time, the `Day of Jehovah,’ in which matters culminate quickly; and it is written, `A short work will the Lord make upon the earth.’… In view of the strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished at the end of A.D. 1914 (emphasis added).

He was convinced that measurements (in inches) of the main passageway of the Great Pyramid of Gizeh confirmed these end-times prophecies. In his 1881 book, Thy Kingdom Come (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. III (1903 edition), pp. 313-314), he called the pyramid, “God’s stone witness.” Continue reading

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