Friday, May 16, 2014

New World Translation: Bible Topics page criticism

The following are from the New World Translations of the Holy Scriptures, 1984, reprinted in 2006, from the section at the back called "Bible Topics for Discussion" p.1652 and on.

The following BLACK text is from the NWT, whereas the BLUE are my comments.

1. Ancestor Worship
  • Ancestors are dead, unconscious.....   Ec 9:5, 10
Here is what the NWT says in the verses cited:
For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing at all, nor do they have any more reward, because all memory of them is forgotten--Ecclesiastes 9:5
 The JW's and the groups share an ancestry with like the Seventh Day Adventists like to point to this verse to "prove" the dead are not "conscious." However, they typically quote the verse as simply "the dead know nothing," however, just before it says that "the living know THAT THEY WILL DIE," this is the knowledge spoken about.  The "living know they will die" and because of this they can have some form of reward and perhaps even repent if needed, but the dead, since they are already dead, their fate is sealed and there is nothing they can do to change that, nothing they can prevent anymore. In fact, a famous Jewish Hebrew Bible commentator--Rashi on this writes:
 “For the living know that they will die” and perhaps their hearts will return on the day of death and they will repent of their ways, but after they die, they do not know anything, and they have no more reward for the actions that they do from their deaths and onwards, for whoever toils on the eve of the Sabbath will eat on the Sabbath.—

Now verse 10 in the NWT,
Whatever your hand finds to do, do with all your might, for there is no work nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom in the Grave, where you are going.--Ecclesiastes 9:10
Again, its simply telling people to work now, since there's nothing they can do once their dead and that now during life they can do works pleasuring to God like verse 7 has:

Go, eat your food with rejoicing, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart, for already the true God has found pleasure in your works.--Ecclesiastes 9:7
 Again, here is RaShI:
“for there is neither deed, etc. in the grave” for your merit after you die, and if you did so, you have no reckoning in the grave to worry about. The verse is transposed, [to be explained]: for there is neither deed nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave for the wicked, nor reckoning for the righteous, when the wicked give their accounting. So is it expounded in the Midrash (unknown). And one who interprets it without transposing it, according to its apparent meaning, interprets חֶשְּׁבּוֹן as an expression of “thought,” what he can still do to free himself from judgment.—
Furthermore, the witch of Endor incident with King Saul is evidence always used against soul sleepers, because the Sacred Writers refers to the dead Samuel addressing the living Saul, though typically soul sleepers want to insist its actually a demon, despite the fact it says it is Samuels speaking.

3. Baptism
  • A. A Christian requirement
  •       Only for those old enough to be taught....................Mt 28:19, 20; Ac 2:41 
The Jehovah Witnesses are taking from the Baptists on this point, just as they did about Jesus being Michael. First, Matthew 28:19
Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.--Matthew 28:19-20 NWT

I assume the JW reasoning is that they must be taught before being baptized. First, in order to start a new religion, you first must get converts, and only adults can convert, so it would not be reasonable to see a mention of infants here. Second, this is no clear condemnation of infant baptism, so why is it used? Furthermore, this verse says to convert nations, not part of them, by excluding their children, and as mentioned before why shouldn't children excluded from a covenant?

The second proof text is:
So those who gladly accepted his word were baptized, and on that day about 3,000 people were added.--Acts 2:41 NWT
Again, this verse just shows that they gained converts from adults and that those adults were baptized. It is not making a law concerning baptism, just stating what happened, nor is it excluding that their children would also be baptized.
In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not administered by hand, by stripping off the carnal body, with the circumcision of Christ. You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.--Colossians 2:10
We see here St Paul linking circumcision and baptism, circumcision was the sign of the covenant in the Old testament as in Genesis 17, and Baptism is a sign for the new, in the Old Covenant children could enter a Covenant, so what wouldn't they likewise be able to in the New Covenant? 

Immersion in water is proper way.................................................Ac 8:38,39; Joh 3:23

  Here is what the NWT says for Acts 8:38-39 that's used.
With that he commanded the chariot to halt, and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. When they came up out of the water, Jehovah’s spirit quickly led Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him anymore, but he went on his way rejoicing.--Acts 8:38-9 NWT
Nothing in this verse talks or alludes to full immersion being a requirement. Its just simply stating an event. From this verse if we were to make facts into rules concerning baptism let us likewise make being an Ethiopian and eunuch a requirement for baptism, or that the person performing the baptism must be in the water too. As for the next proof text:
But John too was baptizing in Ae′non near Sa′lim, because there was a great quantity of water there, and people kept coming and were being baptized;--John 3:23 NWT
This proof text says even less than the first, it only says people came to John and were baptized! It makes no mention of age, or says immersion was REQUIRED. Furthermore, its much easier to baptize a large number of people in a river than with cups, or in bath tubs. Also, this was John's baptism, not Christ's since people that were baptized by John had to be rebaptized when they became Christian as seen in Acts 19:1-3, so what does this verse have to prove?

B. Does not wash sins away
  • Jesus was not baptized to wash away sins............................1 Pe 2:22, 3:18
I have no idea why this section is here about Jesus' baptism since no one believes Jesus sinned, so I cannot understand their logic. Just because Jesus's baptism did not forgive sins, does not mean it does not forgive other peoples! Interesting though, is that 1 Peter 3:21 says "baptism saves you now."

Jesus' blood washes away sins..............................1 Jo 1:7

I have seen this logic before--from a Baptist once again (no surprise). Here is what the verse says:
However, if we are walking in the light as he himself is in the light, we do have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin--1 John 1:7
The reasoning is generally since BLOOD washes away sins, therefore baptism cannot! Why not apply this reasoning to faith, grace, repentance--would anyone say THOSE do not save, but the blood does, wouldn't that be a false dichotomy?  Furthermore, Christ said:
for this means my ‘blood of the covenant,’ which is to be poured out in behalf of many for forgiveness of sins.--Matthew 26:28 NWT
So Christ here says His blood is poured out for the forgiveness of sins, and then we see St Peter saying something similar....
Peter said to them: “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins--Acts 2:38 NWT

Interesting, both verses say "for the remission of sins" but one mentions blood and the other baptism, to the JW this is a dilemma, since ONLY the blood washes away sin. We also have St Paul's baptism mentioning baptism washing away sins
And now why are you delaying? Rise, get baptized, and wash your sins away by your calling on his name.--Acts 22:16 NWT
By the way, they added the "by" in at "by your calling on his name."

5. Blood
  • A. Transfusions violate sacredness of blood
  • Noah was told blood was sacred, was the life ..........Gen 9:4, 16 
Jehovah Witnesses are known for their foolish views of blood transfusions, sometimes they or their children will die as a consequence, they even have lawyers to prevent doctors from administering it, so only court orders can save the child's life, or driving 100s of miles to a facility that feels sorry for JWs and has artificial blood or some other means to save their lives. However, this verse forbids eating animal blood, eating it states, it was not concerned with anything else.  Here is what Genesis 9:4 says
 Only flesh with its life—its blood—you must not eat.--Genesis 9:4 NWT
This is a strange translation, it almost makes it sound like the prohibition is more about not eating a living animal, or not mixing blood with meat.  The JW interpretation of this verse seems to go contrary to the spirit of the section which is about not killing people/saving lives, the JW interpretation makes this deadly, when the Bible is concerned with keeping life.  Here is what Genesis 9:16 says
 And the rainbow will occur in the cloud, and I will certainly see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of every kind on the earth.”--Genesis 9:16 NWT
This verse doesn't even mention blood, or eating, or transfusions, not sure why its cited, perhaps a typographical error? 
  • Law covenant prohibited feeding on blood .................Lev 17:14; 7:26,27
These verses do forbid EATING it, but it that the same as getting a transfusion? No. Jehovah Witnesses want to take this verse well beyond its meaning. Jews do not read these verses as condemning blood transfusion, in fact Jews believe receiving a blood transfusion can be a commandment if its will save your life. If a Jehovah Witness dies as a result of needing a blood transfusion that they refuse--they consider them a martyr! Whereas, others would considers would consider someone killing you for your faith an act of martyrdom.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, in the passage where it says Samuel's spirit came and talked with Saul, the NWT puts quotation marks around "Samuel" throughout the passage to give the impression it's not really Sam. Just laughable.