It Really Does Seem Like a Big "Duh!"

As much as Bethel tries to convey the point that Jesus wasn't smart-mouthing his parents when he asked "Why did you have to look for me? Did you not know I must be in the house of my father?" so that kids in the Kingdom Hall do not start smart-mouthing their parents, it really does seem like a big 'Duh!' And he was right. They should have known.

Especially in view of the study note on Luke 2:46: "Historians say some of the foremost religious leaders would customarily remain at the temple after festivals and teach at one of the spacious porches there. People could sit at the feet of those men to listen and to ask questions."

Where did his parents think he was going to be? Off in some alley shooting dice with the delinquints? They knew of his miraculous birth, even if he did not at that time. Holy spirit is said to descend upon him 'like a dove' after being baptized, presumably recalling to him all his heavenly past.

He begins to minister in accord with what is revealed at his baptism and his relatives think he has gone nuts. "...they went out to seize him, for they were saying: "He has gone out of his mind." (Mark 3:21) But not his parents. They knew, so they should have known then, when he was 12.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

They ask Jesus a question and he takes so long to answer that you figure he has forgotten all about it.

The exchange is found at Matthew 15:1-20.  First he asks a counter question- a Strawman! - it would be called today (but wasn't then). He addresses their motive - an adhominem attack! - it would be called today (but wasn't then).
 
(the handwashing has nothing to do with hygiene - it is a ceremonial thing and involves washing up to the elbow)
 
Then the scoundrels who asked the question storm off and the disciples tell Jesus that they were upset. He tells them not to worry about it.
 
Then he seemingly veers off on another topic over what it is that defiles a man- what comes out of his mouth or what goes into it. It is what goes out: foul things that he may say. Only then does he finally answer the question - 20 verses later - and the ones that demanded he answer are no longer around to hear it!
 
Wash hands
 
Then there came to Jesus from Jerusalem Pharisees and scribes, saying: "Why do your disciples overstep the tradition of the men of former times? For example, they do not wash their hands when about to eat a meal.”
 
In reply he said to them: “Why do you overstep the commandment of God because of your tradition? For example, God said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Let the one who speaks abusively of his father or mother be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother: “Whatever I have that could benefit you is a gift dedicated to God,” he need not honor his father at all.’ So you have made the word of God invalid because of your tradition. You hypocrites, Isaiah aptly prophesied about you when he said: 'This people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far removed from me. It is in vain that they keep worshipping me, for they teach commands of men as doctrines.’” With that he called the crowd near and said to them: “Listen and get the sense of it: It is not what enters into a man’s mouth that defiles him, but it is what comes out of his mouth that defiles him.”
 
Then the disciples came and said to him: “Do you know that the Pharisees were stumbled at hearing what you said?” In reply he said: “Every plant that my heavenly Father did not plant will be uprooted. Let them be. Blind guides is what they are. If, then, a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Peter responded: “Make the illustration plain to us.” At this he said: “Are you also still without understanding? Are you not aware that whatever enters into the mouth passes through the stomach and is discharged into the sewer? However, whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and those things defile a man. For example, out of the heart come wicked reasonings,r murders, adulteries, sexual immorality, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man; but to take a meal with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”  (Matthew 15:1-20)
 
photo: Mark Turnauckas
Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Did the Bible Writer Malachi have Teenagers?

Either Malachi had teenagers or all teenagers have read Malachi. How else can you explain his style of writing?

Everything is a challenge. Malachi is the last Bible book – a short job of just four chapters:

“I have shown love to you people,” says Jehovah. But you say: “How have you shown us love?”

And if I am a master, where is the fear due me?’ Jehovah of armies says to you priests who are despising my name.” But you say: “How have we despised your name?

“‘By presenting polluted food on my altar.’ ‘And you say: “How have we polluted you?”’

“You have made Jehovah weary with your words. But you say, ‘How have we made him weary?’

Return to me, and I will return to you,” says Jehovah of armies. But you say: “How are we supposed to return?”

“Will a mere human rob God? But you are robbing me.” And you say: “How have we robbed you?”

“Your words against me have been strong,” says Jehovah. And you say: “How have we spoken against you among ourselves?”

Enough already! Everything is challenged! Everything is hurled back in his face.

Malachi is the last book of the Hebrew scriptures. Just for kicks, turn the page. Find yourself in the gospels and roll that attitude onto Mary, mother of Jesus. (Luke 1:26-28)

"In her sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to…Mary. And coming in, the angel said to her: “Greetings, you highly favored one, Jehovah is with you.”

“In what way is he with me?” she shoots back.

“Forget it!” comes the reply. “There is my servant Ethel. She’ll do fine.”

Whatever is wrong with Mary - not smart-mouthing the angel?

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

There Has to Be a Limit to Insolence

Either Malachi had sulky kids or all sulky kids have read Malachi. How else can you explain his style of writing?

Everything is a challenge. Malchi is the last Bible book – a short job of just four chapters:

“I have shown love to you people,” says Jehovah. But you say: “How have you shown us love?”

And if I am a master, where is the fear due me?’ Jehovah of armies says to you priests who are despising my name.” But you say: “How have we despised your name?

“‘By presenting polluted food on my altar.’ ‘And you say: “How have we polluted you?”’

“You have made Jehovah weary with your words. But you say, ‘How have we made him weary?’

Return to me, and I will return to you,” says Jehovah of armies. But you say: “How are we supposed to return?”

“Will a mere human rob God? But you are robbing me.” And you say: “How have we robbed you?”

“Your words against me have been strong,” says Jehovah. And you say: “How have we spoken against you among ourselves?”

Enough already! Everything is challenged! Everything is hurled back in his face.

Malachi is the last book of the Hebrew scriptures. Just for kicks, turn the page. Find yourself in the gospels and roll that attitude onto Mary, mother of Jesus. (Luke 1:26-28)

"In her sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to…Mary. And coming in, the angel said to her: “Greetings, you highly favored one, Jehovah is with you.”

“In what way is he with me?” she shoots back.
“Forget it!” comes the reply. “There is my servant Ethel. She’ll do fine.”

I mean, there has to be a limit to insolence.

Geishaboy500

photo: geishaboy500

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Sometimes God Strikes Them With Hemorrhoids

It appears that the St. Petersburg branch facility confiscated by the government from Jehovah's Witnesses will be awarded to a medical research group, reports Vademec.ru. It is worth $15 million dollars.

It is not the same, but when the Philistines made off with the ark, they ended up with hemorrhoids. No, it is not likely to happen. A branch building is not the ark. But one can always dream.

The one conceivably valid reason for banning the New World Translation in Russia is that it employs the word "piles" at 1 Samuel 5:6 - a euphemism. What in the world are piles? It is in no other translation that I can see. Nor does the NWT avoid unpleasantries elsewhere. I can't figure it out.

The American Standard Version says God smote them with "tumors." The King James Version says "emerods."

The old Wycliffe Bible removes all doubt: "Forsooth the hand of the Lord was made grievous upon [the] men of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and he smote Ashdod and the coasts thereof in the privier part of [the] buttocks/in the more privy part of their tail ends."

Should they stock Preparation H in the new medical building? And will the move come back to bite Russia? It certainly bites us. It has been observed that it provides a powerful caution to anyone wanting to invest there. Aggravate the government and they will take your property.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Babylon Will Rise Again

What do you do when you spy the woman of wickedness trying to climb out of the ephah jar? (Zech 5:7)

You grab the brazen hussy by the scruff the neck and boot her back down into the jar from where she came. (taking care in these volatile times that you do not get accused of harassment) Then you summon the two with wings to ship her back to Babylon.

Maybe it was a reminder to the Jews who had just come from there to check their own ephah jars - or even their shoes, lest they had tracked something in. 

Incidentally, present at our meeting was an Iraqi man who has responded to the Arabic group. The actual  Babylon means something to him, unlike to anyone else. He says it is the site of a festival each year, with music and food. Also that there is the slogan everyone knows: 'Babylon will rise again.'

Hanging gardens

On Facebook, one of my countless friends said: "Hussein's rebuilt Babylon was smashed to bits in the first gulf war. A Syrian brother told me the local Iranian word on the street was basically "Why did they bomb Disneyland?"

 
Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Crocodiles Eating Straw Just Like Bulls

There are people who say - more people than not - that it is more likely for your dog to pour himself a breakfast bowl of Cheerios than for a lion to eat straw like a bull. They are not really built that way.
 
That's why I like how the brothers didn't go there last night with the God's Kingdom Rules book. Discussing the return of the Jews from Babylonian exile and how they would be encouraged by Isaiah's prophesy about the animals, it said: "The lion would eat straw in the sense that it would not devour the Jews' cattle."
 
They didn't have to do it. They could have said "God will supply them with bales of hay in order to feed the lions."
 
Will it be literal someday? Who knows? But I like that our people can spot a metaphor when they see one. They know (unlike some religionists) that when someone cries crocodile tears, it does not mean that they are a crocodile.
 
Crocodile tears
 
 
Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Ever Had a Day Like This?

Ever had a day like this?

"It will be like a man who flees from a lion and is confronted by a bear,
And when he enters his house and leans his hand against the wall, a snake bites him"- Amos 5:19

We are watching my daughter's dog at the moment. So far it has not bit me.

 

 Lion bear

photo: vid305.com

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

When Life is Treating You Good, Pull Closer to God

Just between me and you, I find Hosea to be a little tough slogging, Bible-reading-wise. And I'm not sure I could be so big as Hosea letting God be my matchmaker. I mean, he usually helps you out. One can easily enough get stuck with a 'wife of fornication' on his own without needing divine help.

But I did take something away from Hosea 10:1

"Israel is a degenerate vine yielding its fruit. The more his fruit increases, the more he multiplies his altars. The better his land produces, the more splendid his sacred pillars."

So when life is treating you good, you ought pull closer to God and not away from him.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Ralph Kramden is the Antitypical Nebuchadnezzar

They don’t do antitypes at Bethel—maybe it is that too many have blown up in their face—but that doesn't mean I don't do them. Ralph Kramden, the hefty loud-mouthed bus driver of the 'Honeymooners' TV show, is the antitypical Nebuchadnezzar.

Each show opens with him blustering. Each show he is totally humiliated. Each show he is contrite at the end. And each new show he totally forgets the lessons learned from the one before. So it is with Nebuchadnezzar.

And what is it with Nebuchadnezzar and the magic-practicing priests? He picks a fight with them right out the clear blue sky. Read it in chapter 2 of Daniel:

"Then the king said to them: “I have had a dream, and I am agitated because I want to know what I dreamed.” The Chaldeans replied to the king in the Aramaic language: “O king, may you live on forever. Relate the dream to your servants, and we will tell the interpretation.” The king answered the Chaldeans: “This is my final word: If you do not make the dream known to me, along with its interpretation, you will be dismembered, and your houses will be turned into public latrines."

Why? What did they do? They are yanked out of bed to learn they must tell the king, not only what his dream means, but what it is! Now they will have to sit each in his house, without arms or legs, as people stop by to pee on their couch. There's bad blood between the king and them, somehow. He is fed up with them, I think. They are always playing him for a sucker with their air of religious mystery, and he has had about all that he can take.

We're used to quoting Daniel 1:20 to show how, after a short trial period in which the Hebrew captives subsisted on vegetables, the king found them "ten times better than all his magic practicing priests." We're used to saying it is because of God's blessing that Daniel was elevated so high. Maybe so, but I'll bet it is also a reflection of what he thought of the priests. It was a pretty low bar they set—it wasn’t that tough on Daniel and his chums to clear it.

....

So the king gave the order to summon the magic-practicing priests, the conjurers, the sorcerers, and the ChAleena’s to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. Then the king said to them: “I have had a dream, and I am agitated because I want to know what I dreamed.” The Chaldeans replied to the king in the Aramaic language: “O king, may you live on forever. Relate the dream to your servants, and we will tell the interpretation.” The king answered the Chaldeans: “This is my final word: If you do not make the dream known to me, along with its interpretation, you will be dismembered, and your houses will be turned into public latrines. But if you do tell the dream and its interpretation, you will receive from me gifts and a reward and great honor. So tell me the dream and its interpretation.” They answered a second time: “Let the king relate the dream to his servants, and we will tell its interpretation.” The king replied: “I am well-aware that you are trying to gain time, for you realize what my final word is. If you do not make the dream known to me, there is only one penalty for all of you. But you have agreed to tell me something false and deceitful until the situation changes. So tell me the dream, and I will know that you can explain its interpretation.” The Chaldeans answered the king: “There is not a man on earth who is able to do what the king demands, for no great king or governor has asked such a thing of any magic-practicing priest or conjurer or Chaldean. What the king is asking is difficult, and no one exists who could tell the king this except the gods, who do not dwell among mortals.” At this the king flew into a violent rage and gave the order to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.

 

William_Blake_-_Nebuchadnezzar_(Tate_Britain)

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)