Treasures from God’s Word and Digging for Spiritual Gems – “Go make Disciples – Why, Where and How?” (Matthew 27-28)

Matthew 28:18 – Jesus has wide ranging authority (w04 7/1 pg 8 para 4)

Does Matthew 28:18 say “Jesus has wide ranging authority”? What do you think?

All translations say “all authority”. The Greek word here translated “all” means ‘the whole. Every part of, all’, not “wide ranging”!

Perhaps the organization uses “wide ranging authority” because they do not want to draw attention to the fact that Jesus had all authority from very soon after his resurrection (within a few days, possibly immediately). This contradicts their teaching that he became King in 1914 as that would imply he gained extra power, which is impossible according to this verse. Colossians 1:13, which they cite in support of enthronement in 1914 actually states exegetically that  “He [God] delivered us [the disciples] from the authority of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his [God’s] love”. So they were already in the Kingdom, and Jesus was already King.

Now the organization would have us believe that this is a kingdom only over his disciples, but John 3:14-17 says “For God loved the world so much he sent his only-begotten son” and then gave his Son having proved faithful until death, “all authority”, “in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life” by means of “the  Kingdom of the Son of his love” in allowing Jesus to die as a ransom for our sins once for all time. (Hebrews 9:12, 1 Peter 3:18)

Finally 1 Peter 3:18 confirms that Jesus “is at God’s right hand, for he went his way to heaven; and angels and authorities and powers were made subject to him.”

Matthew 27:51 – What did the tearing in two of the curtain signify? (curtain) (nwtsty)

According to the study note it “also signifies that entry into heaven itself is now possible.”  But does it or is this an eisegetical interpretation? The study note also cites Hebrews 10:19-20 in support of this which says “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way opened for us through the curtain of His body,” (Berean Study Bible).

Now we know that Jesus sacrifice brought an end to the need for the yearly sacrifice on the Day of Atonement when the High Priest entered the Most Holy. (Exodus 30:10) We also know the curtain split in two at the time of his death, leading the Most Holy to be no longer separate from the Holy. (Matthew 27:51) This action also fulfilled the prophecy in Daniel 9:27 because the sacrifices were no longer required by God, having served their purpose by pointing to the Messiah, Jesus.

The whole of Hebrews 9 is good to read as it discusses the legitimate type and anti-type of the temple sanctuary and Jesus. Verse 8 tells us “Thus the holy spirit makes it plain that the way into the holy place had not yet been made manifest while the first tent was standing. [The Temple]” Verse 24 shows that Christ did not enter the Holy Place, but into Heaven to appear before God on our behalf. That was how the type was fulfilled. So, is there a basis for extending this fulfillment to Christians, the brothers of Christ? I could not find any scriptural or logical reason for doing so. (If perhaps any reader can do so, then we look forward to your scriptural research).

Proceeding on the premise that there is no basis for extending this fulfillment, then how can we understand Hebrews 10:19-20? To help understand, let us reason on the following. What did symbolically partaking of Christ’s blood and his body mean? According to John 6:52-58 whoever fed on his flesh and drank his blood would gain everlasting life and be resurrected at the last day. Without Jesus offering his sacrifice then life everlasting was not attainable, neither was the opportunity to become perfect sons of God (Matthew 5:9, Galatians 3:26). As only perfect humans could approach God directly as did perfect Adam, and only the High Priest could approach God directly in the Most Holy with the offering imputing righteousness to him, so now as Romans 5:8-9,18 says “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Much more, therefore, since we have been declared righteous now by his blood, shall we be saved through him from wrath. … likewise also through one act of justification the result to men of all sorts is a declaring of them righteous for life.”

It was now possible for imperfect humans through Christ’s sacrifice to have the possibility of coming into an approved state with God. Furthermore the role for these ones in the future is foretold to be “priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10 BSB).

It would therefore make sense that the tearing of the curtain in two, made the way possible for true Christians to become perfect sons of God and thereby gain direct access to God in the same way as Jesus and Adam were able to. There is no indication it is anything to do with location, but rather it was to do with status before God, as Romans 5:10 says, “For if, when we were enemies [of God],we became reconciled to God through the death of his son, much more, now that we have become reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

Talk – Did Jesus die on a Cross? (g17.2 pg 14)

Another fine example of organization eisegesis.

The ‘New Jerusalem Bible’ is picked as supporting the interpretation required (which is that Jesus did not die on a cross) because it is translated as “Jesus was executed ‘by hanging on a tree’ Acts 5:30”.  A quick review of Biblehub.com reveals that out of 29 English translations, 10 use ‘cross’ and 19 use ‘tree’. It is a case of ‘he said, they said’, and while a majority use ‘tree’ this still does not exclude what we understand as a cross. However, if we want to be picky, was Jesus nailed to the tree or hung with a rope from the tree? Actually it seems he probably was hung on the tree with nails. (John 20:25) As discussed in a recent CLAM review, why is it so important as to what structure Jesus died on? If he died on a cross, what of it? What does it change? Nothing. What is important however, is that we don’t use it as a symbol, nor use the symbol in worship.

To show how eisegetical the view is, have a look at Matthew 26:47. It says discussing Judas that he “came and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs from the chief priest and older men of the people.” The article says “The word xylon used at Acts 5:30 is simply an upright pale or stake to which the Romans nailed those who were thus said to be crucified.”

Now look at Matthew 26:47 and what do we find? Yes, you guessed it. “xylon”. So to be consistent it should be translated “with swords and stakes (or upright pales)” which of course makes no sense.  (See also Acts 16:24, 1 Corinthians 3:12, Revelation 18:12, Revelation 22:2 – all of which have xylon)

So, clearly the word xylon should be translated according what wood object fits the context. Also the Lexicon (seen end note) cited to support this understanding dates from 1877 and seems to be an isolated understanding—presumably because a later dated reference, that supports the conclusion they require, cannot be found; otherwise they would surely cite it.

Another piece of the puzzle is highlighted in Matthew 27:32 where it talks about Simon of Cyrene being pressed into service to carry the stauron (or crosspiece?) of Jesus.[i]

So piecing the information together, it appears there were pointed stakes or sometimes just tree’s (xylon = piece of wood/tree, item of wood) to which a cross piece (stauron) was added for execution, and it was this stauron rather than the combined stake and crosspiece, that the one being executed was made to carry.

This would make Jesus words in Mark 8:34 understandable, if it was the crosspiece. A crosspiece can (just about) be carried by a man. A stake or pole or tree or torture stake or full cross would be too heavy for almost anybody to carry. Yet Jesus said “If anyone wants to come after me, let him disown himself and pick up his stauron and follow me continually.” Jesus never asked anyone to do the impossible.

So where xylon is found in the Greek text, it should usually be translated stake or tree, and where stauron is found, it should usually be translated as cross-piece or timber, but when they are used in the context of execution, the translators of many Bibles have reasonably put “cross” for the readers to understand better the mechanism of execution, although it has blurred the slightly different use of the words. It is well documented that some kind of cross was the favoured way of execution for the Phoenicians and the Greeks, and then the Romans adopted it.

So quite why the organization makes such a pedantic argument against Jesus being put to death on a cross is strange, unless it is an attempt to differentiate themselves from the rest of Christendom; but there are far better and clearer ways of doing that.

Video – Continue without letup – Publicly and Making Disciples

Around the 1-minute mark, the elder directed the brother to the April 2015 Kingdom Ministry. “He emphasised that the goal of public witnessing is not just to place literature but to direct people to JW.org!” Yes, you heard it right!

Not to the Christ. Not even to Jehovah, and clearly, not to the Bible, but to the Organization.

Jesus, The Way (jy Chapter 16) –Jesus shows Zeal for True Worship

Nothing for comment.

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[i] Strong’s concordance – A long established book defines stauros as an upright stake, hence a cross. However, Helps Word-Studies defines it as the crosspiece of a Roman cross. For more information, including Bullinger’s Critical Lexicon being alone in its understanding see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stauros.

Tadua