NWT Reference Bible
This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.
For the past 60 years, this is the version of John 17:3 that we as Jehovah’s Witnesses have used repeatedly in the field ministry to help people understand the need to study the Bible with us so as to gain everlasting life. This rendering has changed slightly with the release of the 2013 edition of our Bible.
NWT 2013 Edition
This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
Both renderings can support the idea that everlasting life depends on acquiring knowledge of God. That is certainly how we apply it in our publications.
At first glance, this concept would seem to be self-evident; a no-brainer as they say. How else are we going to be forgiven our sins and granted life eternal by God if we don’t get to know him first? Given the logical and noncontroversial nature of this understanding, it is surprising that more translations do not align with our rendering.
Here’s a sampling:
International Standard Version
And this is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent—Jesus the Messiah.
New International Version
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
International Standard Version
And this is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent—Jesus the Messiah.
King James Bible
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Byington Bible (published by WTB&TS)
“and this is what the eternal life is, that they should know you, the only true God, and the on whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”
The foregoing renderings are pretty typical as can be seen by a quick visit to http://www.biblehub.com where you can enter “John 17:3” into the search field and view over 20 parallel renderings of Jesus’ words. Once there, click on the interlinear tab and then click on the number 1097 above the Greek word ginóskó. One of the definitions given is “to know, especially through personal experience (first-hand acquaintance).”
The Kingdom Interlinear renders this “This but is the everlasting life in order that they may be knowing you the only true God and whom you sent forth Jesus Christ.”
Not all translations disagree with our rendering, but the majority do. What is more important is that the Greek appears to be saying that ‘everlasting life is for knowing God’. This is in line with the thought expressed at Ecclesiastes 3:11.
“…Even time indefinite he has put in their heart, that mankind may never find out the work that the [true] God has made from the start to the finish.”
Even though we may live forever we will never get to fully know Jehovah God. And the reason we were given everlasting life, the reason time indefinite was put into our heart, was so that we could continually grow in knowledge of God through “personal experience and first-hand acquaintance.”
It would appear therefore that we are missing the point by misapplying the Scripture as we do. We imply that one must first get knowledge of God to live forever. However, following that logic to its conclusion forces us to ask just how much knowledge is required to gain everlasting life? Where’s the mark on the ruler, the line in the sand, the tipping point at which we have acquired enough knowledge so that we can get everlasting life?
Of course, no human can ever fully know God,[i] so the idea we communicate at the door is that a certain level of knowledge is needed and once achieved, then everlasting life is possible. This is reinforced by the procedure through which all candidates must pass to be baptized. They must answer a series of some 80+ questions that are found divided into three segments in the Organized to Do Jehovah’s Will book. This is designed to test their knowledge to make sure that their decision to be baptized is based on accurate knowledge of the Bible as taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
So pivotal is our understanding of John 17:3 to the concept on which we base our Bible education work that we had a 1989 study book titled You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth which was replaced in 1995 by another study book titled Knowledge That Lead to Everlasting Life.
There is a subtle but important distinction between the two ideas of 1) “I want to get to know God so I can live forever;” and 2) “I want to live forever so that I can get to know God.”
It is clear that Satan has a far more extensive knowledge of God than any human can hope to acquire in a lifetime of study and personal experience. Additionally, Adam already had everlasting life when he was created and yet he did not know God. Like a newborn child, he began to acquire knowledge of God through his daily association with his heavenly father and his study of creation. If Adam had not sinned, he would now be 6,000 years richer in his knowledge of God. But it wasn’t lack of knowledge that caused them to sin.
Again, we’re not saying that getting to know God is unimportant. It is vastly important. So important in fact that it is the very goal of life. To put the horse in front of the cart, “Life is there so that we can know God.” To say that “Knowledge is there so that we can get life”, puts the cart in front of the horse.
Of course, our situation as sinful humans is unnatural. Things were not meant to be this way. Therefore, to be redeemed we have to accept and put faith in Jesus. We have to obey his commands. All of that does require getting knowledge. Still, that is not the point Jesus is making at John 17:3.
Our overemphasis and misapplication of this Scripture has led to a sort of “paint by numbers” approach to Christianity. We are taught and have come to believe that if we accept the teachings of the Governing Body as “the truth”, attend our meetings regularly, go out in field service as much as possible, and stay within the ark-like Organization, we can be pretty much assured of everlasting life. We don’t need to know everything there is to know about God or Jesus Christ, but just enough to get a passing grade.
Too often we sound like sales people with a product. Ours is Everlasting Life and the Resurrection of the Dead. Like sales people we are taught to overcome objections and to push the benefits of our product. There is nothing wrong about wanting to live forever. It is a natural desire. The hope of the resurrection is crucial as well. As Hebrews 11:6 shows, it isn’t enough to believe in God. We have to also believe that “he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” Nevertheless, it is not a sales pitch full of benefits that will draw people in and hold them. Each must have a real desire to know God. Only those “earnestly seeking” Jehovah will stay the course, because they do not serve for selfish goals based on what God can give them, but rather out of love and a desire to be loved.
A wife wants to know her husband. As he opens his heart to her, she feels loved by him and loves him all the more. Likewise, a father wishes his children to know him, though that knowledge grows slowly over years and decades, but eventually—if he’s a good father—a powerful bond of love and genuine appreciation will develop. We are the bride of Christ and children of our Father, Jehovah.
The focus of our message as Jehovah’s Witnesses distracts from the idyllic image portrayed in John 17:3. Jehovah made a physical creation, formed in his image. This new creature, male and female, was to enjoy everlasting life—a never-ending growth in knowledge of Jehovah and his firstborn Son. This will yet come to pass. This love for God and his Son will deepen as the mysteries of the universe gradually unfold before us, revealing even deeper mysteries within. We will never get to the bottom of it all. More than this, we will come to know God better and better through first-hand acquaintance, such as Adam had, but recklessly lost. We cannot imagine where it will all take us, this everlasting life with knowledge of God as its purpose. There is no destination, but only the journey; a journey without end. Now that is something worth striving for.
Hi Eric, this is true, we were selling a product and not really for the cheap price!
Everlasting / Eternal LIFE is a quality of Life (Zoe Life) . This Life is God’s own Life/substance/divine nature/Spirit that is also in the person of the Word aka Jesus. John 5:26, 1 John 1:1-3.
John17:3….KNOW God …A Nature has an affinity to its own Nature (not mere head knowledge/information) and it’s motivation is evident and experienced in what it can achieve in pots of clay, that otherwise are just that ! 2 Peter 1:3-12, 2 Timothy 2:13, 1 Peter 1:3-16
Here are my thoughts on john 3:17:
Knowing god here has nothing to do with knowledge. It has to do with knowing him like a newborn knows his mother. Everlasting life is promised to those who come to know God through Christ, and requires one to be born again. Once anointed, they know God as a Father.
Well the horse could go here for a start for a refreshing drink.
I love this post and the comments about everlasting life and knowing Jesus. As JWs we are never really taught to know Jesus. I think that’s why many are depressed. I didn’t really come to know Jesus until I began reading the bible without the help of WT publications. Once I came to know Jesus I became happier and was no longer feeling guilty about not perfectly meeting the millions of rules that are imposed upon us. Instead I was only concerned about following Jesus explict commands. If we came to know Jesus we wouldn’t be so demanding and judgemental… Read more »
Sargon I feel EXACTLY like you and hid it so long I developed DEEP depression. My depression was so deep my head hurt, back hurt, and I didn’t even want to leave the bed sometimes. I thought for years it was only me that had such questions and I in somehow was “spiritually weak” and rejecting the GB so disapproved somehow to God. However, like you said the more I just simply read just the bible and not use the publications which seemed to change every year and confuse me even more and talk with other Christians (and not to… Read more »
I think our views are differing slightly, but I am also a layperson and not sure. I will outline my thoughts as clearly as I can for what they are worth. I don’t believe it is a black and white issue, I don’t think an absolute understanding is central to Christian faith, so while it is a complete tangent, I think it is interesting to consider? “Do you think that if Adam and Eve even after being disobedient that they could have eaten from the tree of life and kept living?” Honestly I do think that is what the bible… Read more »
I have had some discussions on the forum about the use of the word “interpretation”. Perhaps I can use my answer to your question to better explain my position on that word as well. Without engaging in interpretation, I can tell you that Jehovah blocked access to the tree of life so that Adam and Eve could not live to time indefinite. What that means (the definition of interpretation) I cannot say for sure because Jehovah did not inspire Moses to tell us what he meant. So I will engage in my own interpretation, but that is really just my… Read more »
Yes as you say, while is interesting to think about, it is impossible for us to determine if the properties were truly physical or a symbolic. I was just trying to put that thought out there, that we really cannot be sure if Adam and Eve were already eternal. My thoughts on the reason for the tree of life and your thoughts on the validity of “perfection” certainly throw a double sided spanner in the works for me!
I’m going out on a bit of a limb here, but I don’t believe that “everlasting Life” and “eternal” are completely synonymous in the Bible. If you have the latter, you have the former (in a sense), but having the former doesn’t in any way imply you have the latter. I’ll explain. Adam had everlasting life–conditionally. His everlasting life depended on eating and drinking and breathing. It also depended on obedience to Jehovah. If he had continued doing all those things, he could have lived forever. If he stopped any one of them, he would have lost everlasting life. So… Read more »
Agreed in principle that the word “eternal” does not strictly apply to us even though we can be given everlasting life. I think though this is a distinct situation from that of the fallen angels. Although destruction awaits, it apparently must be executed, so in a sense they do already have unending life as a possession, whereas we do not. As you correctly say we are subject to eating and drinking and breathing and poisons and a myriad other things. We age because our cells are designed to do so and scientists are only just beginning to unlock the secrets… Read more »
Good point about the life of angels. There are so many unknowns.
While we’re speculating, how about if the eye-opening effect of eating the forbidden fruit was simply a built-in effect of disobeying God? What I mean is, when you do something you know is wrong, your conscience produces a powerful psychological effect which I’m guessing is chemical. Why not the eye-opening effect as well? For that matter, why not the accelerated dying effect?
I’m not sure what the implications might be for the tree of life.
I agree with you, anderestimme, that it is likely that the eating of the “forbidden fruit” merely triggered a feeling of guilt, something they had never experienced, and thus they knew good and evil for the first time.
That is possible, but I wonder why the bible provides a specific additional detail that they also realised they were naked? which then prompted God to ask the question – “who told you, that you were naked?” So here too I am left with the same question as with the tree of life. If the account is indeed symbolic in all these details, then why provide the details?
I don’t understand the premise of your question.
“it is likely that the eating of the “forbidden fruit” merely triggered a feeling of guilt” I appreciate your view. I was just asking, if that is the case, then why provide the additional conversation regarding their nakedness? Being naked does not trigger guilt. The account specifically says “7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid. 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the… Read more »
I see your point, Joel. Yes, I’ve wondered about that too. When I was a kid, we left the dog inside too long while away. When we got him, he ran away from us when he usually ran to meet us. We found him cowering in the corner because he had peed and he knew he wasn’t supposed to. I put this forward only as an illustration. Whether a dog has some form of rudimentary conscience or whether this was the result of conditioned behavior, I cannot say. But it was obvious that he knew he had done wrong and… Read more »
I enjoyed your comment, and it makes sense. Of note is that the context also seems to that knowledge now is required of Jesus and his father as necessary for receiving ever-lasting life. The following scriptures seem to prove that some knowledge is needed now: Note: My use of “Word” is understood by me in two different ways: 1. The expressed or manifested mind and will of God 2. Someone’s promise or assurance that can be relied on John 17: 6 “I have made your name manifest to the men whom you gave me out of the world. They were… Read more »
Hi Joel 🙂 I agree with you in part. The bible does not state the first pair had everlasting life from the start. However, the scriptures state that Adam and Eve were forbidden from eating only the tree of knowledge of good and bad. All the other trees they could partake of. (Gen 2:9, Gen 3:1-3, Gen 1:29) I don’t see any reason why they would not have been partaking from the tree of life up until they were blocked access by God because of their disobedience. Being forbidden from partaking of this tree any longer, to me, is symbolic… Read more »
You may well be right of course, but I would ask, that if they had already eaten of the tree of life, why would eating of it once more, apparently obligate God to revoke their sentence and once again sustain their life? If they had already eaten of the tree of life, then was it the case that they would have eaten from it continually? If so, then again, why would eating from it once more provide them with eternal life, despite their sinful state? I completely agree that God is the source of life. I believe this is reiterated… Read more »
I understand what you are saying….I am wondering are we saying the same thing ? To help me understand better…. Do you think that if Adam and Eve even after being disobedient that they could have eaten from the tree of life and kept living? I am not so sure. At Gen 3:22 “ Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” Now … I should preface this by… Read more »
I appreciate the point about everlasting life affording us the opportunity to know God but I don’t think that is the point being made at John 17:3. Nor do I think that the NWT’s renderings of that verse have been the best. The old rendering was very misleading as it gave one the singular impression of an intellectual exercise of taking in knowledge being the requirement for eternal life. The Greek text, however, does not speak about knowledge but about knowing. Yes, there is a significant difference. Taking in knowledge is speaking about an academic, intellectual, theoretical-study exercise. Knowing, however,… Read more »
Jude There are a couple of considerations here. One is the translation of the bit that now reads “their coming to know you” in the NWT 2.0, which is what you appear to be trying to address. But the primary point of Meleti’s article (as per the title) is what relationship is being conveyed between the “knowing” and “life eternal” in the text. You said that you don’t think that “everlasting life affording us the opportunity to know God … is the point being made at John 17:3”, but it appears you’ve only expounded your view by dealing with the… Read more »
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. This viewpoint is something I have read on other Christian sites and I am inclined to agree. Doesn’t the idea of God wanting us to know him sound much more than simply studying to take in knowledge and more knowledge. Of course knowledge is an important part of who we are and God in omniscient, but God wants us to know that he is first and foremost love, not knowledge. It made me think about other expressions: Keep seeking as for hid treasure He becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him Fear God and… Read more »
Doesn’t the article and discussion about whether Adam was perfect reflect the point you are making? If we treat the eating from the tree as something that would have happened when humans reached that point, as opposed to something that they lost and were therefore denied after previous access had been granted, then all those thoughts tie together.
Yes and that was a great eye opening article. I agree that if you can take the view that the bible does not mention perfection, then it might follow that Adam and Eve did not necessarily already possess eternal life. That’s not to say it wasn’t a given as long as they were obedient, but I don’t think we can know for sure that they were already granted eternal life. We have eternity in our hearts by design, but I’m not sure we have eternity by design. I really believe that the eternity requires Gods sustenance.
I don’t know if the tree of life was symbolic of life or if one had to eat its fruit to keep living. I tend to think the former, because the tree of the knowledge of good and bad was symbolic. That is, the tree existed, but eating its fruit didn’t magically impart knowledge of moral issues. However, all that is separate from the point I was making. Adam was created to live forever. He was sinless and only if he sinned would he die. So his life was everlasting, but conditional on obedience. It wasn’t conditional on having a… Read more »
Yes, this is a tricky one. I would not really imply “magical” as such, but I do think that clearly something very real changed for them when they ate of the fruit. I think the tree of life would have given them life literally, perhaps via the covenant it represented. It is on the next point I am not certain – Adam was meant to live forever, but I do believe everything in the physical universe was created to die, which contrasts with spiritual creation. Eternity is in our hearts, but we absolutely require Gods power to sustain us, because… Read more »
I love “but God wants us to know that he is first and foremost love, not knowledge”. While in 2 Timothy 3:16 talks about the bible being beneficial for teaching and setting things straight I think some just focus primarily on getting dates, times and meanings right and loose focus on the enjoyment and thousands of examples of love, justice, and mercy from God. While we take up the torture stake being a Christian knowing death or hardship might be reality his teachings were NOT to be a burden meaning to me K.I.S.S. While even angels want to peer into… Read more »
In the October 15, 2013 Watchtower on page 27, under the sub-heading Knowing The Only True God, with reference to John 17:3the following is written:- 7 According to Greek-language scholars,the Greek expression translated “taking in knowledge” can also be translated “should keep on knowing” or “should continue knowing.” The two meanings are complementary, and both are important. The footnote to John 17:3 in the Reference Bible gives the alternative rendering “their knowing you.”Thus, “taking in knowledge” refers to an on going process that results in theprivileged state of “knowing” God. Knowing the greatest Person in the universe, however, involves much… Read more »
I appreciate your thoughts very much. I don’t agree with all you’ve said, but I won’t comment on it here so as not to take the discussion off topic. Instead, at the end of January, Apollos and I are going to discuss our differing views on the nature of Christ which will undoubtedly include the issue of prayer and worship. There will be a lot of opportunity for all to get into the discussion then and I’m confident we can look forward to an encouraging and instructive discussion.
I would also like to thank you for your well thought out comments. I appreciate your extensive scriptural citations and hope that readers will take the time to examine these, as I think much of what you say is well supported.
As Meleti wrote, we look forward to a wider discussion of this topic soon.
Miken phenomenal comment! I appreciate you taking the time to research and lay the groundwork for the idea of the necessity and appropriateness of developing a relationship with Christ. Very well written! I have always admired the ability of others to formulate and translate thoughts into written form in a well organized manner. I definitely can learn from that (Proverbs 27:17) 🙂
Again we are at the mercy of translators who split the same word in Greek (proskyne′ō) into two English words, “worship” and “obeisance,” depending on the translator’s religious bias. Can translators be religiously biased? Show me anyone who isn’t. Not only that, but translators must have consensus with those employing them. Even if they don’t, they are given the mandate to smooth over the English road by filling in those nasty Greek potholes with religiously acceptable interpretations.
Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament by Jason David BeDuhn devotes a chapter to “proskyneo” and who the modern English word “worship” doesn’t serve to translate it in every instance. It is a worthwhile read.
Yes I have the book. And I also recommend it. While it does fall slightly short in some areas of reasoning, but hey! Give the guy a break! He was interpreted by his critics as not to have been sufficiently scholarly to be such a scholar.
I once thought of writing a book too but then thought better since anything I wrote would likely be critiqued similarly by all whose religious bias told them otherwise.
I have to agree that it’s a very good book and it certainly helped me appreciate many of the challenges in translating the individual texts he uses as examples, as well as the important overall point that is being made about bias. Having looking into some of the Bible texts in even more detail since my first reading of the book I can see that we still have to tread very carefully. Because the NWT is made to look very favorable compared to the other translations there is such a temptation from a JW standpoint to accept BeDuhn’s work as… Read more »
Wasn’t BeDuhn’s point that proskyneo simply means obeisance, and whether such obeisance is an act of homage or an act of worship is determined by the context? Is there something controversial about that that I’m not getting?
I’m not sure if your comment was directed at me even though you made it as a reply to Meleti. If so, I wasn’t talking about proskuneo specifically. I was just generally agreeing that it’s a good book, and then making an observation about how some people have treated it (myself included).
Actually it was Meleti’s response to my reference to translators who resort to making interpretations of proskyne′ō based on their own religious bias. Thus, when they read proskyne′ō, their decision to write “worship” or “obeisance” is based on their beliefs coupled with those employing them which is largely governed by the institution that oversees translation. And since the Bible is still the world’s bestseller, there is major competition to make its bias sufficiently acceptable to the buying population.
At least that’s my biased opinion 🙂
Are you saying that if I am translating from Greek to English, I should always render proskyne′ō as “worship”? If yes, then would you also agree that were we translating from English back to Greek, we would always render “worship” as proskyne′ō?
Not sure whether you are addressing this to me but from my prospective I have enough trouble fathoming just one direction of translating. Although Greek will always be Greek to me, I do have a sneaking hunch that a Greek would have the same challenge when it comes to Hebrew.
I was. You see, worship nowadays has pretty much only one meaning. proskyne′ō does not have only one meaning. So while you could always translate worship today as proskyne′ō, you cannot simply do the reverse. You have to decide which meaning is intended by the writer or speaker. Even if it were possible to completely eliminate bias, the translator would still be saddled with a decision, i.e., to determine what English term would correctly render the meaning from the Greek.
From Ancient Hebrew Word Meanings Worship ~ shahhah By Jeff A. Benner “In our modern western culture worship is an action directed toward God and God alone. But this is not the case in the Hebrew Bible. The word shehhah is a common Hebrew word meaning to prostrate oneself before another in respect. We see Moses doing this to his father in law in Exodus 18:7. When the translators translate the word shehhah they will use the word “worship” when the bowing down is directed toward God but as “obeisance” or other equivalent word when directed toward another man. There… Read more »
Hi Meleti another great thought provoking essay. I’ve been musing on this verse for some time. I had come to understand this verse in a different way that the Society explains, but not in the way you have outlined here. My thoughts were more on the line of not ‘HEAD’ knowledge, as the Society teaches, but a PRACTICAL knowledge of love. So our knowing God, would be to learn to love by studying Jesus’ example and to PRACTICE this love in our everyday life. Thus in short, we are to learn to love; so for example, not whether we believe… Read more »
Thank you for adding that research to our understanding of this verse. This alternate interpretation of John 17:3 certainly has merit in my opinion. I’m finding an unexpected but not surprising richness in Jesus’ words. So much meaning packed into a single verse! To add to our understanding, consider: (1 Timothy 6:12) . . .Fight the fine fight of the faith, get a firm hold on the everlasting life for which you were called. . . (1 Timothy 6:19) . . .in order that they may get a firm hold on the real life. One cannot hold on to something which is not present. Christians who… Read more »
Excellent article and very noteworthy that we have been putting the cart before the horse. I have always been enthralled with science and the understanding of not only how the universe works, but also of how infinitely vast it is. I can’t help as my own infinitesimal knowledge of it expands (ever so slightly), I can’t help be more and more in awe of the qualities of its creator. I can’t help but think about Ecclesiastes 3:11, and believe that understanding the universe is part of understanding our Creator. The other part is understanding Him of course is in His… Read more »
It was the Lord Jesus, who taught us how to know God.
Before that the Jewish nation, did not really know God at all, and Jesus indeed had conveyed this fact to them.
And yes I believe that you are correct that to really know God, involves us going on a long eternal journey towards him so that we can really get to know him and in doing so, become perfect as he is perfect.
It is also a journey that transcends inter-dimensional boundaries of time and space, but that is entirely another subject altogether.
Again we are confronted with boxcar thinking on the WT train to Kingdom Come. The more I read my Bible WITHOUT JW reference points, the greater I love Jehovah and Christ. Why? How can this be? I’m really not sure except when I read what Paul wrote in Hebrews 6:1-3, I feel deep within myself a freedom in Christ that I once only had a glimmer of before my studies began in our publications: “For this reason, now that we have left the primary doctrine about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying a foundation again, namely,… Read more »
Sorry this is a bit off topic. During my study of revelation I wondered why we teach that the great growd are subject to double jeopardy. We say that the “144, 000” who prove faithful until death or who are faithful through the tribulation are rewarded with eternal life. However, those of the “great crowd” or other sheep who prove faithful through the exact same tribulation or until death do not receive eternal life, but must once again prove themselves worthy at the final test? This seems unfair. Why do the 144, 000 get to pass Go and collect $200… Read more »
To me, this is just one more nail in the doctrine’s coffin.
Sargon, my thoughts exactly. The whole notion of so called anointed Christians in the way the Society explains is a nonsense. Another stupid WT fabrication to make us distinct. Utter tosh.
Another point I find strange is the significance of the scrolls that persons are judged based on. The idea that God would reveal new laws for persons to live by during the thousand year reign seems uncomfortably reminiscent of going back to a situation akin to the mosaic law period. The bible tells us that the purpose of the Law was to point to Christ and that laws are given, not for righteous people but for unruly people. Does God consider Armageddon survivors to be unrighteous and unruly people that he needs to reveal a whole new law system to… Read more »
So according to your current teaching, the wicked dead get the option to die in peace in their sleep and never be raised up to be held to account for their actions. But just you happen to be an unrighteous person alive when Armageddon comes, and boy are you gonna get a taste of God’s wrath! What ridiculous lopsided justice our current teaching paints God as meting out where a person is made to suffer or escape God’s wrath based solely on what period of time he happens to be alive in!
Correction: the first sentence in the above comment should say: “So according to OUR current teaching”
But if we accept God’s word for what it says – that all will be raised up at the end of the thousand years and judged based on what they did in their lifetime, all of these issues are resolved. God gets to vindicate his sovereignty to everyone and all wicked people are held accountable for their wicked deeds.
Hey Jude, after reading Rev chapter 18-21 I’m not sure everyone gets killed at Armageddon. I think only the kings of the earth and their armies. This is in harmony with 2 Thes 1:6-10. These wicked ones undergo everlasting destruction (second death lake of fire) along with the beasts. Chapter 20 of Revelation makes it appear that the nations will continue to exist under the rule of Christ and his holy ones for 1000 years. Then Satan will be released and final judgment will occur. The Bible says that this is when the rest of the dead are judged as… Read more »
Can’t answer all the questions, but I wanted to agree with what you wrote about Armageddon. In private conversations I have been surprised to find that some JW’s have recognized that this is what the Bible actually says, in spite of the complete annihilation interpretation that we are constantly taught.
Sargon I’m on the fence about your statement. One one hand I’ve always felt that our teaching about who will be saved at Armageddon was never based off the bible and rather on teachings of select men. Instead of being like God and not desiring any to die most all religions, and a lot of it’s members, seem to look forward to people dying or paint God as more of a harsh demanding God and less of a loving God which the bible states God is love. This in turns will turn off MANY in developing a relationship with God… Read more »
I enjoyed reading your comments mdnwa. I agree with you that we will all be accountable before our judge Jesus. But does this occur at Armageddon? I’m no longer sure. Compare Matthew 25:31-46 with Revelation 20:11-15. In both of these instances Jesus is shown to be sitting on his throne of judgement. It seems to me that this occurs after the 1000 years. If we prove faithful to death or endure through the great tribulation we can receive the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4 5). Only Christians who obey Christ and endure will receive this reward. Matthew 25 also makes it… Read more »
Another excellent article. These discussions satisfy our spiritual need more than the increasingly basic teachings we recieve each week at the watchtower study. In harmony with your comments, I feel the entire purpose of eternal life and being adopted as sons of God is so that we can begin to know the wonders of the Father. Jesus mentioned that he came to reveal the Father. I look forward to one day experiencing this to the fullest extent. This is the real life Paul spoke of, true knowledge.