[A Review of the November 15, 2014 Watchtower article on page 3]
“He was raised up.”—Mt 28:6
Understanding the value and meaning of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is of course vital for us to keep our faith. It is one of the elemental or primary things that Paul spoke about to the Hebrews, urging them to move past these things to the deeper truths. (He 5:13; 6:1,2)
This is not to suggest that there is anything wrong in reviewing the importance of the Lord’s resurrection as we are doing here in this article.
Peter and the other disciples had all abandoned Jesus because of fear of man—fear of what men could do to them. Even after witnessing the resurrected Jesus on numerous occasions they were still unsure what to do, and were still meeting in secret until the day that holy spirit filled them. The proof that death held no mastery over Jesus, combined with the newfound awareness from the spirit that they like him were untouchable, gave them the courage they needed. From that point on, there was no turning back.
As with many of us, the religious authority of that time immediately tried to silence them, but they did not hesitate to answer back, “ We must obey God are ruler rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) When confronted by similar persecution from within the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, may we have similar courage and take a corresponding stand for truth and obedience to God over men.
It can take time for us to see the truth, to come to a spirit guided understanding of Bible truth that is unfettered by human dogma and fear of man. But recall that the holy spirit wasn’t given to the apostles alone, but came upon every Christian, male and female, on Pentecost. The process continued from there on. It continues today. It is that spirit that cries out in our heart, declaring that we too are sons and daughters of God; ones who must live in the likeness of Jesus, even to death, that we may share in the likeness of his resurrection. It is by that same spirit that we cry out to God, abba Father. (Ro 6:5; Mk 14:36; Ga 4:6)
Why Jesus’ Resurrection Was Unique
Paragraph 5 makes the point that Jesus’ resurrection was unique to all previous ones in that it was from the flesh to the spirit. There are those who disagree and contend that Jesus was resurrected in the flesh with some type of “glorified human body”. Having reviewed the texts used to support that theory, you may find them lacking in convincing evidence. Each can easily be understood in the context of Jesus raising a fleshly body when he saw fit, doing so not to deceive the disciples into thinking he was something he was not, but rather to exhibit the nature of his resurrection. Sometimes the body he used had the wounds from his execution, even a hole in his side big enough for a hand to enter. On other occasions he was not recognized by his disciples. (John 20:27; Luke 24:16; John 20:14; 21:4) A spirit cannot be perceived with human senses. When Jesus took on a human body, he could manifest himself. The angels in Noah’s day did the same thing and were as humans, even able to procreate. Nevertheless, they had no right to do so, and were thus in violation of God’s law. Jesus however, as the Son of man, had the right to take on flesh as well as the right to exist in the spirit realm from whence he had come. It follows that if Christians are to share in the likeness of his resurrection, we too shall possess the lawful right to manifest ourselves in the flesh—a necessary ability if we are to assist the billions of unrighteous resurrected ones to a knowledge of God.
Jehovah Demonstrates His Power Over Death
I have always found it heartwarming that Jesus appeared first to women. The honor of being the first to witness and report on the resurrected Son of God goes to the female of our species. In a male-oriented society such as exists today, and existed even more so in that day, this fact is significant.
Jesus then appeared to Cephas, and then to the twelve. (1 Co 15:3-8) This is intriguing because at that point in time there were only eleven apostles—Judas having committed suicide. Perhaps Jesus appeared to the original eleven and Matthias and Justus were both with them. Perhaps, this was one of the reasons those two were put forward to fill the vacancy left by Judas’ death. (Acts 1:23) This is all conjecture, of course.
Why We Know that Jesus Was Resurrected
I would submit that this subtitle is ill-conceived. We do not know that Jesus was resurrected. We believe it. We have faith in it. This is a significant difference the writer seems to have overlooked. Paul, Peter and the others mentioned in the Bible knew Jesus was resurrected because they saw the evidence with their own eyes. We have only ancient writings to base our belief on; the words of men. We have faith that these words are inspired of God and are therefore beyond dispute. But all that is still a question of faith. When we know something we do not need faith, because we have the reality. For now, we need faith and hope and of course, love. Even Paul, who saw Jesus’ blinding manifestation and heard his words and had visions from our Lord, only knew partially.
This is not to say Jesus was not resurrected. I believe that with all my soul and my whole life course is based on that belief. But that is faith, not knowledge. Call it faith-based knowledge if you like, but true knowledge will only come when the reality is upon us. As Paul so aptly said, “when that which is complete arrives, that which is partial will be done away with.” (1 Co 13:8)
Three of the four reasons given in paragraphs 11 thru 14 for believing (not knowing) that Jesus was resurrected are valid. The fourth is also valid, but not from the viewpoint from which it is presented.
Paragraph 14 says, “A fourth reason why we know that Jesus was resurrected is that we have evidence that he is now ruling as King and is serving as Head of the Christian Congregation.” He was the head of the Christian congregation from the first century and has been ruling as king since then. (Eph 1:19-22) Nevertheless, the implication which will not be missed by those attending this study is that there is “evidence” that Jesus has been ruling since 1914 and this is further evidence of his resurrection.
It seems we cannot pass up any opportunity to plug our over-extended doctrine of the 100-year rule of God.
What Jesus’ Resurrection Means for Us
There is a quote in paragraph 16 that we do well to dwell upon. “One Bible scholar wrote: “If Christ is not raised,…Christians become pathetic dupes, taken in by a colossal fraud.”[A]
There is yet another way for Christians to become pathetic dupes. We could be told that Jesus was resurrected, but that his resurrection is not for us. We could be told that only a select few will enjoy the resurrection spoken of at 1 Corinthians 15:14, 15, 20 (referenced in the paragraph) and that promised by God through Paul at Romans 6:5.
If, by using artfully contrived type/antitype relationships, an individual were able to convince millions that they have no opportunity to share in the likeness of Jesus’ resurrection, would that not amount to “a colossal fraud”, turning those millions of sincere Christians into pathetic dupes? Yet, this is precisely what Judge Rutherford did with his historic two-article series in the August 1 and 15, 1934 Watchtower issues. The leadership of our Organization down to the present day has done nothing to set the record straight. Even now that we have disavowed the use of made-up, non-Scriptural types and antitypes, referring to them as ‘going beyond what is written’,[B] we have done nothing to undo the fraud perpetrated by the gross misuse of that practice as exhibited repeatedly by Judge Rutherford and others who followed in his footsteps with still more concocted types/antitypes. (See w81 3/1 p. 27 “Overwhelming Credentials”)
The title of this study article is: “The Resurrection of Jesus—Its Meaning for Us”. And just what is its meaning for us? There is something offensive about an article that purports to strengthen our faith in Jesus’ resurrection while denying millions of us the very opportunity to share in it.
[A] Apparently this quote comes from this 1 Corinthians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) by David E. Garland. It is an annoying custom of our publications not to give due credit by providing references for the quotes used. This is likely because the publishers do not wish to be seen as endorsing publications that do not originate from our presses, for fear that the rank and file may feel entitled to venture outside of the carefully regulated spigot used to disseminate our truth. This could lead to the much dreaded threat of independent thinking.
[B] David Splane speaking at the 2014 Annual Meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses; w15 3/15 p. 17 “Questions from Readers”.
Just got home from today’s PT and WT study—brain drained again by contradiction. Why am I there? To please the good wife. Which kinda gets like Job trying to reason with his wife who thought the God he worshiped was dead enough to her that he should curse his God and die. Now as to my predicament. I need to appear sane while deluged with an insanity that pays no heed to contradiction throughout this particular study that presents a incongruous dogma promulgated down through the many congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Paragraph 16 of today’s Watchtower study, “The Resurrection of… Read more »
Hi, Why would Jesus be resurrected, when he gave his life for others? How possibly could he ever take it back (or receive it back) when it was the price paid to save another’s? This is not about some power source he taps back into after a job well done, while the saved can now also stay plugged in and simultaneously avail themselves of that power. Who ‘killed’ the Old Testament in the early history of apostate Christianity? I ask you. Who ignored the relevant types and prefigurements of the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures to JWs), given prominent attention here… Read more »
If that was the case Dieter G then it has already happened. Jesus was resurrected wasn’t he? He was seen by his apostles and other disciples before ascending to Heaven and told them he would come again, which is what we are all waiting for isn’t it? He will not be resurrected to live as a human man again to be sure, but how does that preclude him from appearing on Earth again as materialized angels have frequently done? No one would argue that certain types and anti-type don’t exist in scripture. The point is we can’t just make them… Read more »
This is a better WTS quote Dieter G. “A simple calculation of these jubilees brings us to this important fact: Seventy jubilees of fifty years each would be a total of 3500 years. That period of time beginning 1575 before A.D. 1 of necessity would end in the fall of 1925, at which time the type ends and the great anti-type must begin. What, then, should we expect to take palace? In the type there must be a full restoration; beginning of restoration of all things. The chief thing to be restored is the human race to life; and since… Read more »
Angels materialized in the service of God. But to do so to satisfy their own selfish desires away from God’s will is what brought them into sin.
Beautiful article as always. It is offensive that Jesus is treated like the substitute teacher SMH
“angels in Noah’s day did the same thing and were as humans, even able to procreate. Nevertheless, they had no right to do so, and were thus in violation of God’s law”
I disagree :/http://discussthetruth.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=532&start=20#p8767
What do you think?
Hi Meleti I just read your article on ‘Orphans’. Breathtaking and exactly my sentiments. Before reading your article I had come to the same conclusions (especially of John 17:3) but you have expressed this basic truth in an awesome manner. I know we don’t see eye to eye on everything (ie Jesus’ pre-human existence) but the fact you write such wonderful truths make me appreciate that ‘we’ (I speak for myself) can and must look beyond those few things that we don’t agree on and be in unity with the essentials – aka our sonship, our future as Christians in… Read more »
Thank you for sharing that. I’m sure that given time, we can resolve our differences as well.
Meleti, could you please elaborate on your comment, “It follows that if Christians are to share in the likeness of his resurrection, we too shall possess the lawful right to manifest ourselves in the flesh—a necessary ability if we are to assist the billions of unrighteous resurrected ones to a knowledge of God.”
As I said, it’s conjecture at this point. Nevertheless, if one reads scriptures like Mt 26:29 and Rev. 21:1-4 with this thought in mind, it does seem to fit. But we simply cannot say for sure either way. That is to say, the organization’s view that anointed Christians will rule remotely from heaven evidently never leaving nor abandoning their spiritual state is also conjecture and in my opinion, one which is harder to justify from either a logical or a Scriptural perspective.
Thanks, Meleti. I appreciate your candor and honest analysis of how various scriptures could be interpreted. It helps me appreciate that the Christ can use any man or woman to reveal certain aspects of truth. After all, doesn’t the spiritual man examine all things through the holy spirit, and yet, is not examined by anyone?
Quite true. We have an ecclesiastical hierarchy that pushes the idea of trickle-down dispensation of the holy spirit, but the idea Paul shared with us in Romans chapter 12 shows a very different scenario at work in the Christian Congregation.
Can you imagine an anointed one having close family members who have the earthly hope and dying and being resurrected to heaven never, ever, ever to be reunited with his family members who are on earth? Those family members never get to see their anointed relative ever again. To them its as if he was never resurrected. But in stark contrast those of the earthly hope get to be reunited with their other close relatives of the earthly hope. Why would Jehovah break up a family of faithful worshippers like that by permanently separating the earthly hopers from the anointed… Read more »
An excellent line of reasoning.
Meleti, I knew a member of the old anointed who believed the very thing you are saying. Perhaps in the future this teaching will be amended.
Well, the laudable abandonment of types and antitypes leaves the anointed/other sheep distinction hanging, without a leg to stand on. It remains to be seen whether, having talked the talk, the GB will be able to walk the walk. I have to admit to being very skeptical about ‘this teaching being amended’, but I would love to be wrong on that.
Of course, if the organization abandons the idea that the anointed will never again be with their other-sheepish family members, there might be a few anointed brothers who will actually be disappointed:)
Thanks Meleti, I can see that is can be most beneficial to meditate on the offer Christ made and his subsequent resurrection. But that is not what this article actually does, for many of the reasons mentioned already. Par. 11-14 are most peculiar. We believe in His resurrection because we believe the bible. Not because the organisation tells us what to believe, but because it is written in the bible. This is not only valid for a JW but for every Christian in earth. Further, His resurrection was not to give JW’s strength to preach (par. 15). It might give… Read more »
Perhaps its not us that should be offended . I know this though that our king is not going to be very happy .to hear his words contradicted. . Its just that as appealling the message may be its just not the one that jesus preached . Kev
A false teaching is only offensive if you realize it’s false. I find the doctrine of ECT (eternal conscious torment) offensive, but the millions who believe it’s God’s will obviously don’t. You may, like me, have a great fondness for the idea of living forever in paradise, in perfect health and free of the bonds of sin. Certainly, there’s nothing offensive about that. But what I personally find offensive is how the interpretation ‘other sheep = earthly subjects of the kingdom’ is put forth as gospel despite a lack of solid scriptural basis, and to the point that you can… Read more »
Anderestimme, you may be right about Matthew 5:3 and 5:5. If so I am sure Jehovah will in his due time cause that to become a welcome teaching. Until then I wait.
With deep respect,
I agree whole-heartedly on the point that we do not know that Jesus was resurrected but that we believe it. (Romans 10:9) We do not even know that God exists and we’re not required to. We’re only required to believe that he exists. (Hebrews 11:6) If we say we know God exists or that we know Jesus was resurrected then we cannot say we have faith in God’s existence or in the resurrection of Jesus, because knowing a claim to be true renders faith in the said claim as obsolete.
“If we say we know God exists or that we know Jesus was resurrected then we cannot say we have faith in God’s existence or in the resurrection of Jesus”….
I never thought of it that way. Thank you
I have been confused about something and hope someone here could supply the answer to a question I have had. The writer above wrote, “There is something offensive about an article that purports to strengthen our faith in Jesus’ resurrection while denying millions of us the very opportunity to share in it.” But weren’t we all baptized with that very understanding? Were we kept in the dark about this? Did we not already know of the paradise hope before our baptism? Did we not accept it and rejoice in it? Did we not accept the scriptures upon which it is… Read more »
Thank you for your comment Laura. To understand the reason behind that statement, I would recommend you read the article “Orphans“. However, to give you a short answer: Jehovah’s Witnesses are not taught to share in the resurrection of Jesus. We are taught that we cannot share that resurrection. We are denied the hope of ever sharing in that resurrection because we are denied the hope of becoming sons of God. That we willingly accept this deceit as fact and even rejoice in the hope of the resurrection does not free those who teach us this falsehood from liability and… Read more »
I think I understand what you are trying to say. But I still feel there is no reason to be upset with the Organization for continuing to teach something we once agreed with. Jehovah if he chooses can cause the Organization to become whatever he deems is good or necessary. The Organization, though imperfect, teaches what Jehovah and Jesus say is good for our time for these last days. I copied this from a footnote in the article you linked to, “At the five day elders school I attended, we spent a considerable amount of time on the Reference Bible… Read more »
HI Laura, you said the following: ” Jehovah if he chooses can cause the Organization to become whatever he deems is good or necessary. The Organization, though imperfect, teaches what Jehovah and Jesus say is good for our time for these last days.”. I can agree that the Father can shape any organisation into something He wants it to be. But you are assuming the following: – The Father (Jehovah) actually wants an organisation on earth – the WBTS is the organisation Jehovah wants. – The WBTS is actually being used by Jehovah to teach on earth. Can you provide… Read more »
Menrov, Jehovah’s Witnesses are fulfilling (Daniel 12:4) . . .“And as for you, O Daniel, make secret the words and seal up the book, until the time of [the] end. Many will rove about, and the [true] knowledge will become abundant.” We are fully committed to the increase of scriptural knowledge in this time of the end. We may not have everything just right all the time but we are out there around the world doing as Daniel said would be done in the time of end. I copied your statement, “Finally, you said that it is alright that the organisation continues… Read more »
An interesting analogy Laura. A rain cloud is what it is and it would be wrong to blame it for raining. It is only doing what it must do by nature. Likewise, a rock has the nature of a rock and if you stub your toe on it you can hardly blame it for being hard. I take your point. Like your cloud and your rock, you are suggesting that the organization is merely doing what it does by its nature, which historically has been to deceive us. We can hardly blame it anymore than a Catholic can blame his… Read more »
May I ask are you saying you believe the Governing Body does not believe its own other sheep teaching and is therefore deceiving everyone? If they believe it they are not deceptively attempting to deceive people by teaching it. Is that not correct?
The human capacity for self-delusion is enormous. It would be wrong for me to venture on their motives. I do know that the case has been made many times over the years by many brothers at all levels of the organization. I also know that those who have chosen to speak up have been punished often with disfellowshipping. When Jesus spoke up to the Pharisees and exposed their false teachings did they really believe him? Did they say in the hearts, We know we are wrong but we’re going to do it anyways? The Bible says that often those who… Read more »
I recognize that like all men the Governing Body is subject to error and even perhaps self-deception. Jesus and his Apostles acknowledged that while ignorance does not excuse sin, a sin committed in ignorance is forgivable. (Luke 23:34) . . .“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.. . . (Acts 3:17-19) . . .And now, brothers, I know that YOU acted in ignorance, just as YOUR rulers also did. 18 But in this way God has fulfilled the things he announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer. 19 “Repent, therefore, and turn around so as to… Read more »
Not at all! Your thoughts are most welcome. You have expressed yourself honestly and respectfully and that is appreciated. Iron sharpens iron, so we appreciate and need those who might differ with us in some way to help us make sure of ourselves and of how we are walking. (Eph. 5:15) I did not mean to imply that the Governing Body is condemned,for judgment is up to the Lord. In fact, I have wondered about how these verses might apply when Jesus returns: “. . .Then that slave who understood the will of his master but did not get ready or do… Read more »
Hi Laura, thanks for your reply. Unfortunately you did not answer my questions. You made a reference to Dan. 12:4 and applied it to JW’s. I believe this is not the place to extensively discuss this topic (Dan. chapter 12). I just like to highlight the message in this verse. It talks about KNOWLEDGE to become abundant. Question is, what knowledge? Is it the knowledge that has been revised (often many times) or even been dismissed by the organisation? Or the knowledge about upcoming events that did not happen? I agree that the organisation spreads a lot of information but… Read more »
Menrov, my aunt studied and came into the truth in her 50’s. All her life previous to that she spent as a sincere Catholic believing what she was taught. When she started her study she was dumbfounded to learn that the Trinity was not something taught in the Bible. For my aunt this was knowledge she had never known. She felt she had for the first time in her life come to know God and Jesus as they truly were. Deep in her heart she had always felt discomfort when kneeling before a stature of Mary and believing the wine… Read more »
I also downloaded the WT study article and went over it looking for and reference to Romans 6:1-7. As far as I know, this passage is the most complete in explaining the “meaning” Christ’s resurrection has for Christians in this life.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I found no reference to that passage (although there were a couple of “near misses” with Romans 5:12 & 6:23 cited in paragraph 19.
You are correct, Bobcat. It is most telling that in an article intended to explain the meaning of Christ’s resurrection, no mention is made Romans 6:1-7. I would venture to say that the reason for this is that the passage is clearly intended for those we like to refer to his anointed Christians. I believe this is the same reason why we use the Hebrew Scriptures so often in our articles when looking for examples to follow, or when trying to find a basis for some doctoral teaching. It is just too difficult for us to use the Greek Scriptures… Read more »
Yes romans 6 does answer the question presented in the theme.
But the problem is it doesn’t take the study in the direction that our religious teachers want it to go. It seems to me that they have their own message for the R and F in this case the importance of preaching the paradise earth hope.
The problem is with the watchtower it has its own agenda puts it forth in paragraph form and then uses selected verses from the bible to add wieght to their message its not the best bible study method to follow when is the watchtower going to study the bible in verse by verse study format. And let it speak for itself. Kev
Good article. It causes one to think.
The “scholar” reference on page 16 is (as you stated), the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the NT – 1 Corinthians (David E. Garland, p. 703). I believe you are right about the WT motives for not sourcing their quotes. They have a stake in being the ‘one and only source for all your spiritual needs.’ They wouldn’t want anyone to find out that these commentaries are a huge treasure chest of Bible analysis.