“We distinguish the inspired statement of truth from the inspired statement of error.” – 1 John 4:6.
[From ws 4/19 p.14 Study Article 16: June 17-23, 2019]
Another cherry-picked verse fragment taken completely out of context and misapplied as the theme text.
Please read the scripture in its full context. Both 1 John 3 and 1 John 4 are talking about showing love to one another and thereby pleasing God and Christ. Back in the 1st Century the early Christians had gifts of the spirit, which included prophecy, speaking in tongues, teaching and evangelising. However, it seems by the time the Apostle John wrote this letter late in the first century the demons were attempting to imitate the Holy Spirit. John therefore, gave them a few simple tips on how to make sure their “gift” was not from the demons.
Notice how the Beroean Study Bible reads:
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you will know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and is already in the world at this time. 4 You, little children, are from God and have overcome them, because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. That is why they speak from the world’s perspective, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. That is how we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.”
The main test was simple. Did their spirit of prophesy, for example, confess or speak in agreement with the fact that Jesus had come in the flesh? John had first hand knowledge that Jesus had come in the flesh. Those who were God fearing truly would listen to John and his companions. This identified them as having the spirit of truth. Those not confessing Christ had the spirit of deception. John then continued talking about love, the second test.
Where does this article on the resurrection stand with regard to confessing the Christ? After all, Jesus Christ said to Martha in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life”. Therefore, the article would surely highlight Jesus often. Yet, a search of the article reveals Jehovah is mentioned 16 times and God, 11 times for a total of 27 times. However, Jesus is mentioned 5 times and Christ 5 times—a total of 10 times. Why is Jehovah mentioned 3 times as often as Jesus? Are they trying to emulate or become the Antichrist? Oddly, Satan gets mentioned 22 times! We leave you our reader to come to your own conclusion.
How did the Apostle John say we could identify “inspired error”? Was it not by what people did not believe and did not teach about Jesus?
The actual article contains very little of substance and is very general in content.
However, the following points were worth mentioning.
Paragraph 13 suggests, “If you are unsure about a certain custom or practice, go to Jehovah in prayer, asking in faith for godly wisdom. (Read James 1:5.) Then follow up by doing research in our publications”.
We would concur with “go to Jehovah in prayer”, but do not waste time researching in the Organization’s publications. They do not have a large or exhaustive selection of funeral customs and their origins. You would be better served by searching online encyclopaedias for customs relevant to your country or the nationality involved. Then you can research the origins of the specific custom. Then you can make a conscience-based decision, using a Bible-trained conscience and Bible principles instead of blindly following someone else’s opinion should the custom happened to be covered in a publication of the Organization.
This is how you will “train your “powers of discernment,” and these powers will help you to “distinguish both right and wrong.”—Heb. 5:14” (Par.13). Following their suggestion to “consult the elders in your congregation” is a means of keeping you under their control because of becoming dependent on them. It also encourages mental laziness.
Interestingly, paragraphs 6 and 20 make no mention of the first resurrection, but only the earthly resurrection. (Witnesses view this as the earthly resurrection of the righteous, but really, after the first resurrection, only the resurrection of the unrighteous follows). The JW distortion of the two resurrection hopes (Acts 24:15) cause unnecessary distress at times; certainly among Jehovah’s Witnesses married couples. This happens more frequently than one might anticipate; the author knows of two couples to which this happened and nearly a third. The upsets occur when one spouse claims to be anointed and the other spouse looks forward to the hope of everlasting life on earth.
In conclusion, for the most part a reasonable article, with the exceptions mentioned above.
Hi all, Perhaps I could draw this discussion to a close before it gets heated. I stand by what I wrote in my article. While there is no definitive proof gifts of the spirit stopped by the end of the first century, that is what I personally understand from my reading of the scriptures and early church father writings. Neither is there definite proof they continued. Joel said that Holy Spirit would poured out in the last days. It was in the last days of the Jewish system of things. Whether there is another last days and another fulfillment of… Read more »
I have no desire to get into off-site discussions Tadua, or to transmit information off-site. I feel most readers who read what I wrote about this matter understand what I wrote. But yes, some people need to hear or read something more than once, or hear that thing presented in a different way, in order to understand what they heard or read. My whole argument is based on a type of quid pro quo, which is brought out at 1 Corinthians chapter 13. It reads that thing called “perfect” or “complete” MUST come before the “gifts of the spirit” are… Read more »
When was 1 Corinthians 13:10 fulfilled? The Biblehub Greek Interlinear reads as follows for 1 Corinthians 13:10. “When however should come the perfect the in part will be done away.” The word translated as “perfect” is “teleion”. Please see https://biblehub.com/greek/5046.html . You will notice its meaning is “having reached its end, complete, perfect”, used as “complete in all its parts, (b) full grown, of full age, (c) specially of completeness of Christian character. The word is an adjective derived from “telos” meaning “consummated goal, mature” from going through the necessary stages to reach the end-goal. So logically we have to… Read more »
When was 1Corinthians 13:10 fulfilled? Thank you for re-entering the conversation through providing research on the subject Tadua, and not attacking me as a personality like some on this site have done instead of presenting scriptures to back their claims. Your idea assumes God is more concerned in scripture about the end of the Jewish system than the end of this world, and the establishment of his Kingdom over it. He is not. Let me more accurately phrase that. You are assuming your scriptures speak to that point instead of the latter point. Even though the ancient Jews were concerned… Read more »
Christ begins speaking of Jerusalem’s tribulation; then (after speaking of that tribulation) he speaks of a time period when false Christs attempt to mislead Christians (Matthew 24:23-28), followed by his statement that “after that tribulation” (Mark 13:10) the heavenly signs are seen, and Christ comes, and is seen. The words “after that tribulation,” as Mark phrased it, could mean thousands of years, but the way Matthew reports Christ’s words couldn’t mean thousands of years. Matthew recorded his words like this, starting at vs 29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not… Read more »
Compare the phrase “end of the age”that Christ used in Matthew 13:39, and what he meant by that phrase, to how the apostles used the same phrase at Matthew 24:3. Both Christ and the apostles associated the phrase with Christ’s second coming. So naturally when Christ answered THAT QUESTION he was speaking of a worldwide ending, instead of the isolated event in Jerusalem. But before giving that answer Christ gave another answer, to the question the apostles first asked, “Tell us, when will these things be?” (the destruction of the temple). The time period covered in Christ’s answer to that… Read more »
Tadua, Here is another clue to the identity of “this generation,” recorded at Matthew 24:34. Look at vs 36 of Matthew 24, which is a statement Christ made immediately after citing “this generation.” And remember he is continuing in his answer to the questions recorded at Matthew 24:3 . “concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son of Man, but only the Father.” vs 36 He starts that statement by speaking of a specific time period. And Christ labels that time period as being “that day and hour,” in response to the… Read more »
Messenger, With all that education you say you have, you stayed in the Org how long? How many years did the WT still trick you, even with your education? 2+2 does equal 4, you are right about that, but that’s about all you’re right about as far as I’m concerned. Since you will not give Althia a direct answer with all your so called wisdom to such a simple question, NO, you don’t have any special gift of the Spirit, I’ll answer it for you. A lot of your comments here are longer than the article you are commenting on,… Read more »
A simple solution Psalmbee, don’t read what I write. Is anyone making you? If so, why do you allow that? And I find it interesting that you feel you can tell me what to do, and much more interesting that you feel I will do what you say. Thus my pseudonym is messenger, not God. And even God doesn’t make you believe what he says, does he? It’s your choice. As for you believing anything I write, that’s not a concern of mine at all. I only work for God to spread his message. You decide what you want to… Read more »
Messenger, I didn’t at anytime tell you what to do, I simply made a six line post that you added words to. I’m sorry that you may feel like you didn’t get any ice cream, but hey, that’s the way it is sometimes. I have an honest attitude, and the truth hurts, but at least it’s the truth. I really didn’t want an answer from you, but I know you can’t help yourself from trying to always get the last word. The floor is yours to have the last word now, so go ahead and make it something good please.… Read more »
And you see no hypocrisy in that salutation?
“Honesty knows no hypocrisy”, in case you didn’t know.
Hello all and especially to Messenger. With regards to my post Messenger I think you missed the point I was making, although I thought I made it abundantly clear both by explicitly requesting you provide an example and by referring to examples that are common to all. That is we can argue till the cows come home unless there is a specific case in point that we can adjudicate on to determine if any manifestation is really of the good spirit kind. My examples that you referred to as crazy are actually accepted and embraced by millions and millions of… Read more »
Hello Alithia, There are reasons I choose not disclose the information you asked for. If you are a paid teacher, and a contracted teacher not a substitute teacher, and if you have held that position for years, then you know half of our job is assessing students, not just what they know, but the level of their abilities also. I do that a thousand times a day, five days a week, for half of the days each year. As in my school district teachers work 182 days a year. My own abilities as determined by my college and university educators… Read more »
I don’t go to the Kingdom Hall to give talks anymore Alithia. But I used to give them there every week. My own opinion of the Theocratic Ministry School book’s information is that it teaches public speaking at a beginner’s level. I don’t write papers like that, nor did I give talks at the Hall applying those sort of elementary scenarios, except that some of those steps I did in my head without thinking about it as an assigned task. The way I write papers, and the way I wrote those talks I used to give at the Hall, is… Read more »
Hello Messenger and love to all others too. As promised Messenger I will respond to your question of Tadua around the idea of people today possessing miraculous gifts of the spirit as our brothers had in the first Century. And why we could safely conclude these miraculous abilities have ceased. I want to take a different approach to begin with. Firstly you have not replied as to whether you have any of these special gifts, and if you have which ones? You have not stated as requested if you know of any others you are closely familiar with who possess… Read more »
Alithia, from the other side of this planet, may I say well put and constructed. At 1 Corinthians 13:8-9, we should note that the word for gifts is not in the original language. Also, for the expression “shall be done away with”, the Greek is “katargeo” , translated “fail” in the KJ, and literally “will be made ineffective” in the Kingdom Interlinear. Vines does not like the use of “fail” and suggests “reduce to inactivity” first. I am not sure whether what I have said above is particularly important. What I did note, however, is all those things, prophecies, tongues,… Read more »
Alithia, You argue like the atheists do on JWSurvey, who cannot back up their points with facts, or relate any facts that are relevant to proving assertions. So they relate facts, like you do, that do not prove their (your) points, but are diversions to THE POINTS they (you) claim to be proving. You pointed to some people who might have been insane, or at the very least were people that everyone, at least on this site, will not take as legitimate examples of God having contacted. That was your WHOLE argument to prove God does not contact people today.… Read more »
Hello Tadua, Your quote, “Back in the 1st Century the early Christians had gifts of the spirit, which included prophecy, speaking in tongues, teaching and evangelising.” How would you know if these gifts of the Spirit existed in the first century but no longer exist today? And I am assuming that is your belief, not just because of your statement, but also because of what you were taught as a JW, and because of what other JWs that read on this site believe, because of what they were taught. According to the scriptures in your article God works with individuals… Read more »
I need to make a correction to my last comment. The Bible is not silent on the matter as I stated, and I should not have stated that. Acts chapter 2 reads: 17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. 19 I will… Read more »
I do not think anyone can categorically state the gifts totally disappeared after the first century, although the weight of evidence gives indications that it did. As the Apostle Peter indicated in Acts the prophecy of Joel had a fulfillment in his days, which were the last days of the Jewish system. We have no clear scriptural backing to state it would be the same in a later “last days”. There cannot be “last days” today if we do not know when Jesus will return. According to Jesus parable in Matthew, true christians would be wheat among weeds, so by… Read more »
Hello Messenger and all from Alithia. The bible is not silent on this matter in fact it is vocal and explicit in the fact that these miraculous demonstrations of the “gifts of Holy Spirit” will cease. More on this when I have time on the week end. Messenger do you have any of these gifts? Do you know anyone else who has any of these gifts? What gifts are they and can you give a brief description, especially if you feel you have one or more of these gifts? I get the impression you may have a “gift”. Love from… Read more »
Hello Alithia. I didn’t comment on whether the Bible states the gifts of the Spirit will be done away with. I think most here already know the scriptures state that. What I asked Tadua is how would he know IF THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT HAVE ALREADY DISAPPEARED? And I stated I am only assuming that might be his belief. I take it Alithia that most who read from this site are presently or have been Jehovah’s Witnesses. Most of those who comment seem to be fairly knowledgeable about what WT teachings are, and so they probably know WT teachings… Read more »
The ones referred to at 1Tim 4:1 speaking false inspired utterances and in the scriptures in 1John chapter 4 are people not demons. Teachings come from demons yes, but spoken by men and women. And in 1 John he is not telling readers to determine if assertions are false simply on the basis of whether they acknowledge Christ as coming in the flesh. He also included if the person asserting the expression was listening to the spiritual teachings of John and that group that started the Christian congregation. ” Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God… Read more »
Hi Messenger I am interested in why you come to the conclusion that “the ones referred to at 1 Timothy 4:1 … and in 1 John 4 are people not demons”. 1 Timothy 4:1 in an interlinear Bible says “But the Spirit expressly states that in later times some will depart from the faith giving heed to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” which I believe proves exactly the point I was making. It means that some would take notice of deceitful spirits rather than the Holy Spirit. Satan and the demons love to corrupt everything good. One only has… Read more »
The LAST DAYS spoken of in scripture is not necessarily referring to a time period proceeding the end of the Jewish system of things. Once Christ died the days for this present system were numbered. That’s how I view the Bible’s Last Days. Not that there are two periods, and I don’t believe the apostles were referring to the Jewish system at all but to the whole worldly system with that reference. 2 Peter 3-“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is… Read more »
Hi Tadua. Interesting thought on 1 John 4 about the demons imitating the holy spirit. Neither Barnes notes nor Calvin’s commentaries indicate that the WT view is actually wrong, in this case. Mind you there may be other helpful references. Can you point me in the direction to support what you have said ? I agree that the word is spirit, as it also is at 1 Tim 4:1 and many other places. We also must consider verses 2-3 in 1 John, which certainly would go better with the idea that the demons were speaking. Indeed most teachers of God’s… Read more »