Treasures from God’s Word and Digging for Spiritual Gems
The Kingdom of the Heavens has drawn near? (Matthew 1-3)
Matthew 3:1, 2 – (preaching, Kingdom, Kingdom of the heavens, has drawn near)
Interestingly, the reference says: “The Greek word basically means ‘to make proclamation as a public messenger.’ It stresses the manner of the proclamation: usually an open, public declaration rather than a sermon to a group.”
The Greek word means properly ‘a herald, to announce a message publicly and with conviction’.
So we have to ask the question, can going from door to door, or standing by a cart, be counted as preaching by the above definition. Door-to-door is private, standing by a cart is silent, not verbally announcing a message. In the first century, the early Christians went to the marketplaces and the synagogues and other public places.
“Kingdom”, “Kingdom of the Heavens”
The study Bible references claim that most of the 55 occurrences of ‘Kingdom’ in Matthew refer to God’s heavenly rule. Please try a word search on the NWT Reference edition for ‘kingdom’ and read the extracts shown, especially the ones from Matthew. You will find there is no support for the claim that “most of them refer to God’s heavenly rule”. The phrase “kingdom of the heavens” does not state where the kingdom is, merely its origin or the source of the power behind the kingdom.
To illustrate, when Judah was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar it became part of the kingdom of Babylon, or the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar. Neither description indicates where the location of the kingdom literally was, rather it describes the source of the power ruling. Judah was not in Babylon it was under Babylon.
Similarly, as Jesus said to Pilate in John 18:36, 37 “my kingdom is no part of this world, … my kingdom is not from this source”. The source was from Jehovah God, from heaven, rather than from men, rather than from earth. None of the scripture extracts from the word search indicate clearly that the “’Kingdom of God’ is based in and rules from the spiritual heavens”. The 5 cited scriptures (Matthew 21:43, Mark 1:15, Luke 4:43, Daniel 2:44, 2 Timothy 4:18) do not support this interpretation either.
Matthew 21:43 states “the kingdom of God will be taken from you [Israel] and given to a nation [Jewish and Gentile Christians] producing its fruits.” No reference to heaven here, both natural Israel and spiritual Israel were then on earth.
Mark 1:15 says “The appointed [opportune] time has been fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has drawn near. Be repentant you people and have faith in the good news.” These were Jesus words indicating the kingdom of God with him as king would soon begin ruling, which he did once Jehovah had accepted his ransom sacrifice and “given him all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18)
Luke 4:43 records Jesus words, “Also to other cities I must declare the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this I was sent forth.” Again, no reference to the location.
Daniel 2:44 says, “the God of heaven [source] will set up a kingdom [power] … It will crush and put an end to all these [manmade] kingdoms”. The first part of the verse states “And in the days of those kings”, referring to the previous three verses. Those verses discuss “the fourth kingdom, it will prove to be strong like iron” which is accepted by all Bible scholars as referring to Rome. To Jesus’ disciples in the first century, they would have understood this to mean that God would set up a kingdom [under Jesus Christ] in the days of the fourth kingdom of the prophecy, Rome, which the Bible record shows he did. (For a further discussion on this see: How Can We Prove When Jesus Became King.)
All, but the 2 Timothy reference, clearly refer to earthly events. As for 2 Timothy 4:18, it refers to “his [Jesus] heavenly kingdom”, which many wrongly interpret as ‘in heaven’. However, ‘heavenly’ does not refer to a physical location, but rather to it’s procedence. It shows its contrast with earthly or human rule. For instance, Hebrews 6:4 speaks of the “heavenly free gift”. (NWT) Not a free gift in heaven but a free gift which comes from heaven, from God.
Furthermore, the king of that “Kingdom of the Heavens” is Jesus Christ. He acknowledged this in John 18:37. That was why he came into the world, to become a king, claiming the legal right as per Ezekiel 21:26, 27. It is therefore not referring to “God’s heavenly rule”, but Jesus’ heavenly rule with God’s backing and power behind him.
All this is confirmed by the accurate reference comment on “has drawn near” which says: “Here in the sense that the future Ruler of the heavenly Kingdom was about to appear.”
Jesus, The Way (jy Chapter 2) – Jesus is honoured before his Birth.
Another refreshingly accurate summary.
The annual report letter was read tonight. In the UK the peak publishers were around 137,500. Last year’s yearbook shows the previous service year peak was 138,261. The average pubs were not mentioned. I wonder why??
Anyone else get country specific average or peak publishers?
Interesting. We just got the bits where there was some sort of increase, and no comment on the memorial partakers.
Thank you Tadua for the analysis.
I pulled the data about 2017 and 2016 from jw.org, did some dirty scripting and now here’s some stats at http://www.enif.ee/~ok/stats.html .
Of note. It was announced last night that our convention, usually held in a large events dome that the Organization has rented every year since the early 1980’s will now be held at our much smaller assembly hall. It was pressed home that this was a loving provision that we would be having a much more personal, intimate convention this Summer. I’m wondering if this means they’ll finally do a daily accounts report for this Regional Convention? For the first time ever? Our last single day assembly cost us 18,000$ in expenses for a building we built and they pay… Read more »
Hello JA,Please see on Youtube,ExJW Critical Thinker(s);In a(past/older)video he perfectly reveals-why the sudden $-increase in’expenses’…Most insightful.
Those of us still attending meetings will find it an interesting challenge to bring out some thoughts about the use of Jehovah’s name in the NT (it is shorter) without getting into trouble.
It will also be interesting to see which bits the WTBS avoid commenting on.
Do you believe Jehovahs name should not be in the new testament?
It’s is certainly highly questionable to add back God’s name if he has seen fit not to preserve it in any extant manuscripts, especially as the NWT have done. In doing so they have certainly been over zealous and this will be highlighted over the coming months. The adding back of Jehovah’s name in the gospels seems reasonable and helpful. The context, text, etc give some justification, but this is often not the case with the book of Acts onwards. These instances will be highlighted in the relevant CLAM review, concentrating on those obviously wrong or highly questionable so that… Read more »
To Tadua, …“highly questionable?”
I believe there is something about , “I testify to everyone who hears the words of prophecy in this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.”
You are remembering revelation 22:18 “I am bearing witness to everyone that hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone makes an addition to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this scroll“
Amen to that, although strictly in context it seems to be referring specifically to the book of Revelation. ( where incidentally they have made replacements of Lord with Jehovah and thereby changed the understanding and meaning of the text and therefore Rev 22:18 indeed becomes applicable. Eg Revelation 22:6 see Revelation 22:16 and Revelation 1:1-3)
Are you referring to God’s actual name or to what we refer to him as?
A bit of a sticky wicket, …eh?
The NWT, imho, is nothing more that an enlarged/expanded reasoning book if you will.
It’s one thing to interpret the scriptures publicly but altogether another thing to intentionally misprint original text to shore up that interpretation.
Insertion of the Tetragrammaton where it is not found is just one of many examples.
Undeserved kindness instead of kindness and active force instead of Holy Spirit are two more.
The GB did a bad, bad thing!
(Sung to the tune from Chris Isaac’s, “I did a bad, bad thing.”)
For the sake of decent translating, Jehovah’s name (let us not get fussy about the spelling) should either (a) appear where the quotation in the Hebrew scriptures used the name, with a brief footnote explaining this fact (such as Text = Lord) or (b) the word Lord should be accepted, as this is what is in the available manuscripts, but the footnote should state HS (or OT) Jehovah.
It is not rocket science, is it ?
Your (B) option would be the most correct / honest approach, allowing the reader to make up their own mind. But even if they did (a) it would be clearer than it is now.
Hi Leonardo, Based upon my count of the Hebrew text, there are 78 clear places where the NT quote comes from a Hebrew quote. Others might make it more. Off these 78 there are 5 places where ven the NWT leave it as lord as it refers to Jesus. The 1984 ref nwt in 1 peter 2:4 gives an explanation and 3:15. So it is best to leave it as lord and offer a footnote explanation or reference. I think like all translations the nwt has good points and just like all translations issues of bias. My view is the… Read more »
In my opinion, nothing should be “added back” or changed in the Bible text except when the change is proved to be correct. Now when proved is proved, is another topic. Masoretes, though they made some doctrinal changes to the OT text, they carefully preserved it in later centuries by keeping meticulous and careful copying practices. And now they are praised for that even by the jw.org. Here’s a (contrived) example. 1Kings 7:26 says that Solomon’s Sea could hold 2,000 baths of water, while 2 Chronicles 4:5 says it could hold 3,000 baths. Parallel verses, clear contradiction. Little math tells… Read more »
Matt. 3:1 In those days John the Baptist came into the wilderness of Judea proclaiming, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” 3 For he is the one about whom the prophet Isaiah had spoken:
If John said, announced, or proclaimed that the kingdom of heaven is near, was he referring to near as being very close, couple of days or at most a few years away, or to say…1914?? And was he referring to a visible kingdom or invisible ….???
Would be nice to ask those 2 question during the meeting…..hmm…. back room??
Back room it is then, might see you there!!
Starting in the book of Matthew and focused on the life of Jesus, the question is still asked, in Digging for Spiritual Gems:
What has this weeks bible reading taught you about Jehovah? You would think the question should be: What has this weeks bible reading taught you about our Lord and Saviour, Christ Jesus? How SAD!!!
Haha you noticed that too. I was about to comment on that. It is sad. I was hoping they would figure this one out since we have progressed to the New Testiment. Oops, Christian Greek Scriptures.
Kyaecker,even though we have been thru the Christian Greek Scriptures before in the TMS, it will be very interesting considering it fully awake seeing how they will replace Jesus with Jehovah to keep the brother and sisters minds fixed solidly on Jehovah.