Thursday, March 31, 2016

Who Gave Joseph Smith His Vision?

Who Gave Joseph Smith His Vision?
By Sean Killackey
January 17th, 2016

“Jehovah then said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or commanded them or spoken to them. A lying vision and a worthless divination and the deceit of their own heart is what they are prophesying to you.” – Jeremiah 14:14 NWT

In the spring of 1820, Joseph Smith reportedly received a vision from God the Father and Jesus Christ. The content of the vision began a religious movement that is, not only extant, but growing – Mormonism. The revelations given to him over his lifetime are too great to examine in this essay, however, we do well to consider who he claims gave him the vision. If the ones who appeared to him in Sacred Grove are not real, that is, if the Mormon “God the Father” and “Jesus Christ” are unscriptural, we can know that his visions are worthless and toxic.
At first glance, the persons who gave him the vision seem perfectly scriptural; the terminology so far used is correct. However, as shown in previous essays (here, here and here), Joseph Smith taught that Jesus is Jehovah. His claim really amounts to saying that he saw a vision from Jehovah and the Father, which is unscriptural as those same essays show. Therefore, he did not receive a vision from the True God. How can its contents be trustworthy? How can the church he founded be pleasing in God’s eyes?
This matter is of serious concern to Mormons who claim that “the Lord directed him to organize the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.” If Jehovah, the only Almighty God, did not give him this direction, how can the “keys, rights and authority necessary to lead the Church,” given to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles be valid? If it is not valid, how can any authorized successor of Joseph Smith, such as Brigham Young or the modern-day Thomas Monson, exercise any real power? How can they, if they are prophets, be true prophets? If they do not speak from God, by whom do they speak by?

There is no way for them to actually be able to “trace their priesthood[’s] authority back to Jesus Christ” if their founder did not receive a vision from God. The God whom they say gave Joseph Smith his vision, “Heavenly Father,” is not Jehovah to them. As such, the Bible shows him to be non-existant; “Heavenly Father” is a corruption of Jehovah, an imposter and what is no God. (Jeremiah 5:7) That being the case, we are told to flee from such teachings.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Who was Crushed for Our Errors?

Who was Crushed for Our Errors?
By Sean Killackey
January 16th, 2016

“But he was pierced for our transgression; He was crushed for our errors. He bore the punishment for our peace, [a]nd because of his wounds we were healed.” – Isaiah 53:5 NWT

Considering the depth of our sin, the identity of our Savior is crucial to know. Only by knowing who he is, can we be saved by faith in him. All who claim to be Christians will assert that Jesus is him, a fact that is beyond dispute. Mormons, however, claim that Jehovah is, whom they take to be the same as Jesus. If this is not scriptural, however, can they claim to have faith in a real Savior?
According to Doctrine and Covenants 110:4, “Jehovah” said: “I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain.” To Mormons, Jehovah was slain for our sins. They draw upon the references to Jehovah as our only Savior, such as at Isaiah 43:11, to make their Jesus-Jehovah connection. This interpretation by itself is not unreasonable, for Jehovah does says he is our only Savior. However, how does this a priori assumption hold up with the rest of the scriptures?[1] We will also answer this question: why is Jehovah, if he is not Christ, also called our Savior when Christ is our Savior?
Mormons assert that Jehovah is the one who “bore the punishment for our peace.” Does this assertion match the description provided in Isaiah 53? Isaiah says of him: “But we considered him as plagued, stricken by God and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4) At first glance, this might seem to allow the Mormon position. While we naturally connect “God” to “Jehovah,” Mormons assert that “God” often refers to another, whom they call “Heavenly Father.” So, we cannot definitively refute them by this alone. However, the matter soon goes south for them. Isaiah 53:6 reports in no uncertain terms: “Jehovah has caused the error of all to meet up with him.” Therefore, we know that Jehovah, who cannot die, willed the Messiah to die, so that he might raise him again and exalt him after he paid the price for our sins. – Habakkuk 1:12; Isaiah 53:10-12
            Jehovah God, the one whose will it was to send the Messiah, was not met with resistance by Christ. Rather, as Paul says by inspiration: “[W]hen [Christ] comes into the world, he says: “‘Sacrifice and offering you did not want, but you prepared a body for me. You did not approve of whole burnt offerings and sin offerings.’ Then I said: ‘Look! I have come (in the scroll it is written about me) to do your will, O God.’” After first saying: “You did not want nor did you approve of sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sin offerings”— sacrifices that are offered according to the Law — then he says: “Look! I have come to do your will.” He does away with what is first in order to establish what is second. By this “will” we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time.” – Hebrews 10:5-9
            Who is doing the sanctifying? Christ, who stems from the same One as those he sanctifies, the one who acts through him. Who is this One? Jesus says: “Look! I and the young children, whom [the Lord] gave me.” This alludes to Isaiah 8:18, which says: “Look! I and the children whom Jehovah has given me are as signs and as miracles in Israel from Jehovah of armies, who resides on Mount Zion.” Therefore, Jehovah is the One from whom the sanctified stem from, and they are not Jehovah, and from whom the one who sanctifies them stems from. Is he somehow the sanctifier? Hardly.
            These last scriptures do not merely show that Jehovah is the source from which Christ and the sanctified stem as if it is a trivial thing, they show how crucial Jehovah’s involvement in our salvation is. He is the One who willed our salvation, so he sent his Son Jesus (whose name means “Jehovah is salvation”) to fulfill it. Jehovah paid for us with the life of his Son, whom he appointed as “head over all things with regard to the congregation,” and whose head He, Jehovah, is. – Ephesians 1:22; 1 Corinthians 11:3
            Is it any wonder why Jehovah rightly deserves to be called our Savior? He is the ultimate source of our salvation.[2] The one who acts through another can rightly be credited as the one who accomplished it.[3] So, since Jehovah saves us through Christ, just as he made all things through Jesus, Jehovah is our only Savior, yet is not the only one deserving of the title. – Hebrews 1:2
            To conclude let’s ask: if Jehovah is not our Savior in the sense Jesus is, but is the one whose will saves us, how does the Mormon position stand up? They assert that “Heavenly Father” authored “the plan of salvation,” which Jehovah fulfilled. However, the facts show otherwise; Jehovah created the true plan of salvation, which he fulfilled through Jesus Christ. Their plan does from “Heavenly Father,” whom they say is not Jehovah, so their plan does not come from Jehovah’s will. So, by whose will are they being sanctified? There is no other person besides Jehovah whose will can sanctify anyone. And no other Christ but Jesus, Jesus-Jehovah notwithstanding. (1 Corinthians 3:11) The Mormons fail this test, how can they be sanctified if they remain Mormon?

[1] An a priori assumption is one made independent of the evidence, or one made beforehand. Often times such assumptions can be tested by comparing what results the assumption produces to what is actually found in the evidence. If the evidence coincides with the expected results, it would be safe to assume that the assumption is correct. However, if the result is different from what is expected, another explanation must exist.

[2] Insight on the Scriptures (vol. 2), p. 873 notes: “When Jesus was on earth, Jehovah was his Savior, supporting and strengthening him to maintain integrity through his strenuous trials.” This is an important difference in how Jehovah’s position as Savior differs from Jesus’, one that highlight the ultimate sense in which Jehovah God is such.

[3] This is expressed in a fundamental maxim of the law of agency, “qui facit per alium facit per se,” which means, “he who acts through another does the act himself.” It does not preclude the agent from also taking the credit the commissioner has valid cause to claim.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Who is the Most High and His Priest?

Who is the Most High and His Priest?
By Sean Killackey
January 15th, 2016

“[P]raised be the Most High.”– Genesis 14:20 NWT

Melchizedek, Paul tells us, was “king of Salem” and “priest of the Most High God.” Who did he serve as priest for? Who is the Most High? These questions are of utmost importance to truth-seeking people of all kinds, and of special concern to Mormons who desire to approach the Most High and to be saved by the offering given by His High Priest. Only by knowing who one is can we know who the other is.[1]
Doctrine and Covenants 107:2-4 shows that the “Melchizedek Priesthood” is named such out of “respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repletion of his name.” Previously, “it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God.” From this we can deduce that, Jesus, the Son of God, whom they say is Jehovah, is not the Supreme Being, under whom the priesthood is, in Mormon thought. According to Mormon theology, then, Jehovah is not God, but is only the perfect example of one of His priests. Is this true? Is Jehovah our priest?
The Mormon teaching here is not entirely wrong. The idea that Jesus is such a priest is true, yet is Jehovah? Concerning this priesthood, the Scriptures say: “A man does not take this honor of his own accord, but he receives it only when he is called by God, just as Aaron was.” Paul then goes on to relate that “the Christ did not glorify himself by becoming a high priest, but was glorified by the One who said: “You are my son; today I have become your father.” As he also says in another place, “You are a priest forever in the manner of Melchizedek.”” – Hebrews 5:4-6
We have two leads to our question, Paul explicitly tells us that ‘the One who promised thusly’ is both God and the one who exalted Jesus. These passages that Paul cites are not hard to find. Paul first quotes from the “decree of Jehovah’: “You are my son; Today I have become your father.” (Psalm 2:7) Next, from Jehovah’s oath to ‘David’s Lord’: “Jehovah has sworn an oath, and he will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever [i]n the manner of Melchizedek!” Ask yourself, “Who is speaking and who is being addressed?”
If the answer to who is speaking is Jehovah, then can Jehovah be the one addressed? If Jehovah is not the one addressed, can he be the high priest? Psalm 110:1 says: “Jehovah says to my Lord,” so Jehovah is not speaking to himself, but to another. Jehovah is the one bestowing, not the one taking the honor of the priesthood. If this is so, would he not be the Most High? This is what Abraham, the father of all those having faith, thought. He said: “I raise my hand in an oath to Jehovah the Most High, Maker of heaven and earth.” – Genesis 14:22
“[M]en swear by someone greater,” says Hebrews 6:16, a practice is not limited to men. For, Revelation 10:5,6 states: “The angel whom [John] saw standing on the sea and on the earth raised his right hand to heaven, and he swore by the One who lives forever and ever.” This, Isaiah 57:15, says is Jehovah. Who, does Jehovah swear by? “By myself,” answers Jehovah, “since he could not swear by anyone greater.” (Genesis 22:16; Hebrews 6:13) This makes sense if Jehovah is the Most High.
            Therefore, we have shown that Jesus is the High Priest and not Jehovah, and that Jehovah is the Most High and not “Heavenly Father.” This revelations overturns the Mormon doctrine about the modern Melchizedek Priesthood, which is their highest priesthood. Mormons say that Jesus is such a priest, but their concept of Jesus, who holds the real ‘priesthood in the manner of Melchizedek,’ is muddled and unscriptural, how, can their vital priesthood be any different? There is no way, thus every Mormon would benefit from carefully reflecting on this question: who would ordain such a priesthood, which tries to (but cannot) make its holders into “ministers of righteousness?[2]2 Corinthians 11:14,15

[1] If Jehovah is our priest, then “Heavenly Father” would be the Most High. But, if Jehovah is not our priest, then Heavenly Father would not be the Most High, since Jehovah would have to be and nowhere is “Heavenly Father” called Jehovah; “Heavenly Father” would be shown to be an imposter. Therefore, we will examine what the scriptures say about who our high priest is to unravel this issue and add further proof to the teaching that Jehovah is the Most High.

[2] This is not to state that Mormon priests intentionally pursue their worship wrongfully. This last reference is to impress the seriousness of the matter in no uncertain terms.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Mormonism and the Identity Jehovah

Mormonism and the Identity of Jehovah
By Sean Killackey
January 12th, 2016
[Updated: February 5th, 2016]

“May people know that you, whose name is Jehovah, You alone are the Most High over all the earth.” – Psalm 83:18 NWT

Most of Christendom affirms that Jesus is Jehovah. However, what they mean by that differs greatly from what Mormons mean. Though both are wrong, the Mormon concept of God may seem appealing. They say that Jesus is not God, whom they call “Heavenly Father.” This separation is reasonable, for it is clearly shown in the scriptures. Where, then, do Mormons go wrong?
Whereas most who claim to be Christians affirm that Jesus is one of the persons of the tri-personal God, who is Jehovah, Mormons say that he is alone Jehovah. Just as we call him both Jesus and Christ, they call him Jesus and Jehovah. They are but two names for the same person.
Mormons, in addition to saying that Christ is Jehovah, say that Jesus is not to be prayed to. This latter statement by itself is correct, but combined with the notion that Jesus is Jehovah is like saying that we should not pray to Jehovah. This latter statement is contrary to the many exhortations to call on Jehovah in truth. (Psalm 145:18) In fact, Jesus himself prayed to Jehovah, as is recorded in John 17:1-26.[1] Therefore, they, by their own teaching that Jesus is not to be prayed to, ought to conclude that, because of this information, Jesus is not Jehovah. However, if they do, they can no longer be Mormons, for the God they pray to is not Jehovah.
If the Mormon position is contradictory, or violates the scriptures, then it must be abandoned. If it is untenable, it is so because it does not rest upon the sure foundation of God’s true Word. The implication of this is great. If Mormons ask people to test their book by calling on “Heavenly Father,” whom they say is not Jehovah, to confirm its authenticity, yet he is not God, then any “confirmation” given is not from the true God, but is a lie. Further, any book that is supposedly revealed to mankind by “Heavenly Father” is not from the Living God, and any Christ taught by it is not “the Son of the Living God.” – Matthew 16:16

[1] Some may note that “Jehovah” is not used in this prayer, as if this means that Jesus did not pray to Jehovah, but to “Heavenly Father.” However, while Jehovah’s name is not uttered in this prayer, Christ says that he has his Father’s name in him. (John 17:12) This is reminiscent of the angel of Jehovah, of whom Jehovah said, ‘I have put my name in him.’ (Exodus 23:21,22) If both the Father and Jehovah put their name in someone, it suggests at least that Jehovah is the Father (and perhaps that Christ was the angel of Jehovah). Isaiah 63:16; 64:8 and Malachi 2:10 can be marshalled for support as well. Therefore, Jesus, since he prays to the Father, prays to Jehovah, whom he therefore cannot be. Mormons will agree that Jesus is the Son and not the Father. If they do so, they should be carried to the logical conclusion that Jesus is not Jehovah. If they reach this conclusion they must abandon their theology.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 5 (Part Twenty One)


            I bid you fare ware until we meet again. For now, though, our time has come to an end, a time I hope that has proven to be of some benefit to you. I have no definite plans to write a further series, for I have other projects I wish to work on, but I do have a desire to do so. Previously, when I had only refuted in writing fifty contradictions, I was daunted by the sheer size of the work needed to refute the entire list (or amalgamation of lists) I possess. But, now I feel that such a task is not as large. I really do wish to expand this work further.
            I hope that if you find this beneficial, then you will serve Jehovah with all the more zeal. I ask nothing from you, but that you keep me in mind as you do all the brotherhood, encouraging one another as the day draws nearer. Look out for the interests of one another, ready to help them, as I hope I have helped your interests.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 5 (Part Twenty)

Was Jesus Without Sin?
            Jesus, we all know is without sin. Nevertheless, we note that he was baptized with the baptism of John; perhaps, then, he needed to be forgiven for sins. (Mark 1:4) This classical argument needs only be refuted in brief.
Wherein, O skeptic, do the scriptures say that Jesus openly confessed his sins when he came to John? (Mark 1:5) Further, was John’s purpose only to preach baptism in symbol of repentance? If so, why did he testify: “Someone stronger that I am is coming after me, the lace of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with holy spirit?” (Mark 1:7,8 NWT) And: “Behind me there comes a man who has advanced in front of me, for he existed before me,” and “I came baptizing in water so that he might be made manifest to Israel?” (John 1:31 NWT) Clearly, John was also to reveal the Messiah to the people who came to him to seek baptism.
John said that Jesus existed before him, so it would make sense that he, while human, was not always such, therefore, he would not have sin. (John 1:3) To that, Isaiah 53 agrees. That is why it is clear that Jesus was not baptized for the forgiveness of his sins, but to dedicate himself as God’s Anointed One.
The skeptic, though is not satisfied, for he spots “clear” sins on Jesus’ part. The Law, Jesus tells us, says to honor your father and mother. (Mark 10:19) Yet, the skeptic asserts that Jesus failed to do so. Luke 11:27,28 (NWT) reports that a woman cried out: “Happy is the womb that carried you and the breasts that nursed you,” yet Jesus said: “No, rather happy are those hearing the word of God and keeping it!” Apparently the skeptic somehow finds this sinful. But, all that Jesus was highlighting was that greater happiness could be found in serving God, for that is of utmost importance.
The skeptic, going on, cites Mark 10:19, where Jesus said that one must not steal, and Matthew 21:2 where Jesus steals! Mathew 21:2 (WEB) records that Jesus said: “Go into the village that is opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them, and bring them to me.” To the skeptic this is clearly theft. However, two points could be brought to bear against such a notion. First, Jesus simply arranged for the animals to be taken by his disciples for short time; we do not see that Jesus kept if indefinitely. Second, the account in Matthew 21:1-9 does not involve his disciples taking by force, but by the words ‘the Lord needs it.’ So, it is possible that Jesus simply expected the owner to give them to him since he was a prophet and teacher of some renowned – not an uncommon occurrence in those days. Therefore, the idea that Jesus stole is farfetched.
            Now, the skeptic quotes Leviticus 5:1 (NWT), which says: “If someone sins because he has heard a public call to testify and he is a witness or has seen or learned about it and he does not report it, then he will answer for his error,” from which he thinks that Jesus had to refute the charge against him. However, Matthew 27:13,14 (NWT) reports: “Then Pilate said to him: “Do you not hear how many things they are testifying against you?” But he did not answer him, no, not a word, so that they governor was very surprised.” This, the skeptic boldly asserts, must be a sin! But, what the skeptic (intentionally) ignores is that Leviticus refers to those who have to report the sins of others. So, this does not apply to Christ, thus there was no way for him to sin against it.
            Deuteronomy 6:5 (NWT) states: “You must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength.” The skeptic, for some reason, wants us to think Jesus broke this! Why? Because at Mark 15:34 (NWT) he states: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” His inadequate Biblical knowledge notwithstanding, we see that Jesus was literally to some extent forsaken by God, for he did die. Was Jesus, then, meaning this disrespectfully? No, nor was David when that one wrote it about a thousand years before. Psalm 22, a Messianic psalm, was not a rant against God, but a plea to God. It does not end in defeat nor in disrespect. Psalm 22:22 (NWT) states: “I will declare your name to my brothers.” By referencing it, Jesus was respectfully affirming his faith in God.
            The skeptic also goes into a tirade about how Jesus broke the Sabbath. But, he fails to understand that Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath, while he breaking the extra-biblical and therefore non-binding prohibitions of the Sabbath, did nothing that was not actually permitted.
Finally, in desperation, the skeptic launches one last attempt to get the Bible to contradict itself: 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that Jesus was made sin. If he expects this to prove that Jesus himself was actually sinful, he is woefully mistaken. The verse itself (NWT) starts off: “The one who did not know sin,” leaving the skeptic dumbfounded at the harmony of the Bible.

Is Jesus the Only Mediator Between Man and God?
            1 Timothy 2:5 (NWT) declares that “there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus.” However, Romans 8:26 (NWT) says: “the spirit joins in with help for our weakness . . . [pleading] for us with unuttered groanings.” The skeptic is satisfied that he finally found one that worked, but the reason that he fails is self-evident. 1 Timothy 2:5 does not deal with intercessions (as far as prayers is concerned). Only Jesus mediated the covenant between men and God. He alone “gave himself a corresponding ransom for all,” not the spirit, nor anyone else. – 1 Timothy 2:6 NWT

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 5 (Part Nineteen)

Was Jesus an Ascetic?
            The skeptic cites Matthew 4:1,2, which shows that Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights, Matthew 6:19-25, where Jesus commands us not to store up earthly treasures, but heavenly ones, Matthew 8:20, where Jesus says that he has nowhere to lay his head, and Matthew 10:7-10, where Jesus tells his disciples not to take any material possessions with him, as proof that Jesus was an ascetic. Conversely, he cites Matthew 9:10, where Jesus eats, Matthew 9:14, where he explains why his disciples do not fast, and Matthew 11:19, where Jesus says that he eats and drinks, as proof that he was not an ascetic. One cannot be two different things at the same time, so the Bible contradicts itself.
            That is, unless you are able to read the scriptures! Jesus fasted for forty days once on a special occasion – not because he was an ascetic. Greed has always been warned against – he certainly did not demand that we become ascetics, but he did want us to pursue spiritual things first. Jesus did not lack a place to sleep, but he did lack a place of his own; this he lacked for our sake. Jesus did not always forbade the taking of money, rather, he and his disciples carried a money box around. (John 12:6) Also, his choice for Matthew 9:14 is puzzling, for that is about his disciples, not himself, and he says that they will fast for a time after he is gone. So, you decide if he is an ascetic or not.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 5 (Part Eighteen)

Is Jesus a Shepherd or a Sheep?
            He is both in a figurative sense. For, in regards to his protective role and leadership of his disciples, he is “the fine shepherd” that “surrenders his life in [our] behalf.” (John 10:11 NWT) But, in that he is an offering for sin, he is “the Lamb of God.” – John 1:36 WEB

Does Jesus Change?
            Luke 2:7 is one of many verses that notes that Jesus changed. However, Hebrews 13:8 (NWT) says: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever.” So the skeptic is confident that the Bible contradicts itself. However, he has to define “change” and “yesterday” in a way consistent with his view to make this contradiction work; his interpretation is far for solid, though. The skeptic assumes that “yesterday” means “forever in the past,” but it does not need to mean such. For, certainly Paul, the author of Hebrews, knew that Jesus’ position was exalted due to his faithful service, and that he was also made man. Therefore, we recognize that “yesterday” does not stretch into infinity, but must refer back to now to a certain point, but no further. Similarly, “change” is not meant in an absolute sense, for example, if Jesus changes his view on a person, it does not mean Jesus’ himself has changed.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 5 (Part Seventeen)

Is Jesus the Sacrifice or High Priest?
            Hebrews 8:1 (NWT) reports that we have as High Priest one who “has sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” But, since one cannot be both offering and the one offering the offering, Hebrews 9:26 (NWT), which says that Christ did “away with sin through the sacrifice of himself,” must be in error.
            However, such an assumption is never found in scriptures. The skeptic would like us think that it doesn’t have to be, that the law of non-contradiction forces such a conclusion. Apparently the writer of Hebrews was too ignorant to comprehend such a basic principle, for he sees nothing wrong with writing that Jesus is (but was not always) our High Priest and was our offering. But, O skeptic, why should he? He is referring to different times. He knew Jesus died – that is when he was our offering – and that he was raised up to become our high priest; this is perfectly harmonious.

Is Jesus a Lion or a Lamb?
            He is neither a lion nor a lamb; he was a human. Oh wait! The skeptic is not being that hyper-literal. He is however being quite hyper-literal. It is clear that Revelation 5:5 (WEB), which says: “Behold, the Lion who is of the tribe of Judah,” is not meant to be taken literally. Neither is John 1:36 (WEB), which says: “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Where, aside from such a unique reading, does this contradiction arise? Nowhere. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 5 (Part Sixteen)

Is Jesus Blessed or Cursed?
            Galatians 3:13 (NWT) says: “Christ purchased us, releasing us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse instead of us, because it is written: “Accursed is every man hung upon a stake.” Revelation 5:12 (NWT), however, says: “The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy to receive the power and riches and wisdom and strength and glory and blessing.” These, the skeptic concludes, cannot both be true.
            However, such a sentiment is not found in scripture. Rather, this statement is: “For the joy that was set before him he endured a torture stake, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 NWT) The curse was not ever meant to last forever. And, in fact, it was due to the fact that Jesus offered himself as our curse that he was able to be worthy of the blessing that followed, a point brought out in Revelation 5:12.

Is Jesus or Men the Foundation of God’s House?
            1 Corinthians 3:11 (NWT) states: “For no one can lay any other foundation than what is laid, which is Christ Jesus.” However, instead of presenting Jesus as the one foundation (or so the skeptic says), Ephesians 2:19,20 (NWT) says: “So you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens of the holy ones and are members of the household of God, and you have been built up on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.”
            The skeptic is unaware that Paul, writing to the Corinthians, is discussing teachings – all teaching begins on the foundation of Christ; he is not describing what God’s house is built upon. But, in Ephesians 2:19,20, Paul discusses the heavenly citizenship of Christians, that they are built upon the work done by the apostles and prophets. We note that Paul says that Christ is the “foundation cornerstone” in whom “the building, being harmoniously joined together, is growing into a holy temple.” (Galatians 2:20,21 NWT) So, that these passages, while not referring to the same subject, far from contradicting each other actually stress the primacy of Christ.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 5 (Part Fifteen)

Was Jesus Made Higher or Lower Than the Angels?
            Hebrews 1:4 (NWT) states: “[H]e has become better than the angels to the extent that he has inherited a name more excellent than theirs.” However, Hebrews 2:9 (NWT) says: “[W]e do see Jesus . . . made a little lower than angels.” This is “clearly” a contradiction . . . if we ignore the fact that Hebrews 1:4, which, while coming before Hebrews 2:9, describes the glorification of Christ, which comes after the lowering described in Hebrews 2:9a. Therefore, Jesus was both made lower than and then higher than the angels.

Is Jesus the Light of the World?
            Jesus, John 9:5 (NWT) reports, said: “As long as I am in the world, I am the world’s light.” The skeptic, though, foolishly says that this cannot possibly be so, for Jesus said at Matthew 5:14 (NWT): “You are the light of the world.” The skeptic, however, cannot find any scripture that shows that both statements cannot be true; rather, it is clear that Jesus’ followers are also the light of the world on account that Jesus taught them.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 5 (Part Fourteen)

Was Jesus Perfect?
            Jesus was created perfect, but that did not mean he was already suited to be the High Priest. He was perfect as a sacrifice, for, as 1 Peter 1:19 shows, he was without blemish; however, even then, he was not suitable for being our offering until he became the Messiah. Nor, was he suitable as Messiah until he became man.
            The skeptic does not argue concerning those points, but his argument is made along using similar evidence. Arguing on the basis of Hebrews 7:26 (NWT), which says: “For it is fitting for us to have such a high priest who is loyal, innocent, undefiled, separated from the sinners, and exalted above the heavens,” and Hebrews 5:8,9 (NWT), which says: “Although he was a son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. And after he had been made perfect, he became responsible for everlasting salvation to all those obeying him,” he asks, “So was Jesus Perfect when he came to earth or not?”
            It does not cross the mind that being a High Priest requires that Jesus be put to the test fully, that he become like his brothers in all respects. Yes, Jesus was created perfect, born a perfect human, perfect as the Messiah, but these things had to precede his appointment as our High Priest. Hebrews 2:17,18 (NWT), which the skeptic should be familiar with, says: “Consequently, he had to become like his “brothers” in all respects, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, in order to offer a propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the people. Since he himself has suffered when being put to the test, he is able to come to the aid of those who are being put to the test.” What further explain do I need? Jesus was perfect in nature and action, which is what Hebrews 7:26 and 1 Peter 1:19 refer to, however, to say that Hebrew 5:8,9 contradict that is ignorant of what “perfection” is being referred to there.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 5 (Part Thirteen)

Was God’s Covenant With Abraham Absolute?
            Citing Genesis 15:18 and 17:7 the skeptic assumes that God unconditionally gave the Promised Land to Abraham’s descendants. Therefore, God’s reminder that if they abandon him (such as is found at Deuteronomy 31:16,16 or Joshua 23:16), he will forsake them is viewed as incompatible. However, the skeptic fails to see that Genesis 17:7 (NWT) says: “And I will keep my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.” This shows that the covenant involved action, God was to keep it and he would be God to his people; this implied that he, as their God, had rights as patron of Israel. Such a principle is explicitly shown in Genesis 17:9 (NWT), where God says: “As for you, you are to keep my covenant, you and you your offspring after you.” Therefore, we see obedience was the condition upon which God’s covenant with Abraham was made; there is no contradiction.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 5 (Part Twelve)

Is God’s Work Perfect?
            Deuteronomy 32:4 confirms that all of God’s works are perfect. But, is not Cain part of God’s work? (Genesis 4:8) God made man, yet “Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5 WEB) And, why would God make the tree that he commanded mankind not eat from? (Genesis 2:16,17) These points cause the skeptic to conclude that the Bible contradicts itself.
            We, though, see that the skeptic has not proven that God could not create the forbidden tree and it be perfect. Rather, it was an excellent test; it served to see the heart of Adam and Eve and was simple – it served its role perfectly. Further, the sins of mankind aside, we see that “God made mankind upright,” but it was them that went astray. (Ecclesiastes 7:29 NWT) So, any error on their part is not from God.

Was God Satisfied With His Works?
            Genesis 1:31 (NWT) reports that “God saw everything he made, and look! it was very good.” However, at Genesis 6:6 (NWT) we find that “Jehovah regretted that he had made men on the earth.” The skeptics presses this as a contradiction. However, a key requirement for there to be a contradiction is lacking, for these statements do not refer to the same time, nor does the skeptic understand what it means for God to feel regret, so the skeptic is wrong.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 5 (Part Eleven)

Does God Withhold His Blessings?
            Jesus says: “For everyone asking receives, and everyone seeking finds, and to everyone knocking, it will be opened.” (Luke 11:10 NWT) Further, James adds: “So if any one of you is lacking in wisdom let him keep asking God, for he gives generously to all and without reproaching, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5 NWT) Thus establishing in the mind of the skeptic: God is a gumball machine – all your whims will be granted!
            Gumball machines give to you regardless if you are righteous or wicked. However, God is not like that. Isaiah 1:15, Micah 3:4 and James 4:3 all readily acknowledge this fact. The solution to this contradiction is laid out in each of these verses. Isaiah 1:15 (NWT) says: “And when you spread out your palms, I hide my eyes from you. Although you offer many prayers, I am not listening; Your hands are filled with blood.” Micah 3:4 (NWT) reports: “At that time they will call to Jehovah for help, [b]ut he will not answer them. He will hide his face from them at that time, [b]ecause of their wicked deeds.” James 4:3 (NWT) reproves us, saying: “When you do ask, you do not receive because you are asking for a wrong purpose, so that you may spend it on your fleshly desires.” So does Jesus contradict these verses?
            Only if you ground down the specifics of both statements, producing two watered down, supposedly mutually exclusive statements. Keep in mind, though, that even gumball machines withhold their product if you turn the knob, but fail to put the quarter in!