Saturday, May 16, 2015

Watchtower vs. Bible---Enoch: Living or Dead?

The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Jehovah Witnesses, believe that the Prophet Enoch mentioned in Genesis 5 died.  This is an attempt to defend the idea no human went to heaven before Christ ascended (almost always quoting John 3:13). Here is what the Watchtower said September 15, 2001:
“God Took Him”
Enoch was apparently in mortal danger when “God took him.” (Genesis 5:24) Jehovah did not allow his faithful prophet to suffer at the hands of rabid enemies. According to the apostle Paul, “Enoch was transferred so as not to see death.” (Hebrews 11:5) Many say that Enoch did not die—that God took him to heaven, where he kept on living. However, Jesus plainly stated: “No man has ascended into heaven but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man.” Jesus was the “forerunner” of all who ascend to heaven.—John 3:13; Hebrews 6:19, 20. 
So, what happened to Enoch? His being “transferred so as not to see death” may mean that God put him in a prophetic trance and then terminated his life while he was in that state. Under such circumstances, Enoch would not experience the pangs of death. Then “he was nowhere to be found,” apparently because Jehovah disposed of his body, even as he disposed of Moses’ body.—Deuteronomy 34:5, 6. 
Enoch lived 365 years—not nearly as long as most of his contemporaries. But the important thing for lovers of Jehovah is that they serve him faithfully to the end of their days. We know that Enoch did that because “before his transference he had the witness that he had pleased God well.” The Scriptures do not disclose how Jehovah communicated this to Enoch. Nevertheless, before Enoch died, he was given assurance of God’s approval, and we can be certain that Jehovah will remember him in the resurrection. --Enoch Walked With God in an Ungodly World, w01 9/15 pp. 29-31
 Here the Watchtower contradicts the Bible out right. It quotes Hebrews 11:5 which says Enoch was "transferred so as not to see death" then claims it means God "put him in a prophetic trance then terminated his life while he was in that state." Which does not make sense at all, how is God killing you "not seeing death"? Then it goes on say he did not "experience the pangs of death." Seemingly, equating "transferred so as not to see death" as meaning "he died painlessly." Again, how this is even remotely suggested by the text of Hebrews? What makes this interpretation even more absurd is the little background story the Watchtower concocted in the prior paragraph, which says Enoch was in "mortal danger" (i.e. people wanted to kill him) from his "rabid enemies", which they say is why "God took him."

To simplify the Jehovah Witness explanation, it is, Enoch was about to be killed by his enemies, so God gave him some sort of Divine lethal injection, so God rather than Enoch's enemies would kill him!  Apparently, 'God' thought, "Hey, they can't kill him, he's my friend, if anyone kills him, it's should be me!"

The Jehovah Witness explanation would be reasonable if we did not have Hebrews 11:5, or if Hebrews 11:5 said instead, "Enoch was transferred so as not to see death AT THE HANDS OF HIS ENEMIES." But, even it does not explain "transferred."

Let's go to the book of Genesis to see why its not reasonable to think Enoch died when it says "he was taken."
This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; 2male and female created he them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. 
3And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth: 4and the days of Adam after he begat Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters. 5And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died
6And Seth lived a hundred and five years, and begat Enosh: 7and Seth lived after he begat Enosh eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters: 8and all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died
9And Enosh lived ninety years, and begat Kenan. 10and Enosh lived after he begat Kenan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters: 11and all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years: and he died
12And Kenan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalalel: 13and Kenan lived after he begat Mahalalel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters: 14and all the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died. 
15And Mahalalel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared: 16And Mahalalel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters: 17and all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died.

18And Jared lived a hundred sixty and two years, and begat Enoch: 19and Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 20And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died. 
21And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: 22and Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 23and all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: 24and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

25And Methuselah lived a hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech: 26and Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters. 27And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.
28And Lamech lived a hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son: 29and he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us in our work and in the toil of our hands, which cometh because of the ground which Jehovah hath cursed. 30And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters: 31And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died. 
32And Noah was five hundred years old: And Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Genesis 5:32 is where Noah's story starts, and Noah death is mentioned in Genesis 9:29.  What we see is Genesis 5 is a genealogy where each patriarch DIES (in case you missed the subtle "and he died" at the end of their section), with the exception of Enoch who "was not; for God TOOK HIM." If Enoch died, it would have said so, just as the text said so with his fathers and sons.  We also have testimony that the Jews at the 2nd temple believed Enoch was bodily take to heaven (he did not ascend, but was taken) in this piece of Scripture that the Catholic Church and early Christians accepted:
Few have ever been created on earth like Enoch,
    for he was taken up from the earth.
 --Sirach 49:14
Going, back to Hebrews 11:5 the phrase "not see death" is used elsewhere in the Bible, including Luke 2:26 which reads in the Jehovah Witness "New World Translation":

Furthermore, it had been divinely revealed to him by the holy spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Christ of Jehovah--NWT, Luke 2:26
The meaning here is he would not die, not one would suspect "not see death" would mean "be killed in a trance." That would render the verse into nonsense.

The Watchtower insists John 3:13 teach Christ is the first to go to heaven. The NWT of John 3:13 reads:

Moreover, no man has ascended into heaven but the one who descended from heaven, the Son of man.--John 3:13 NWT
The explanation of the Christian church was that it is saying no one "ASCENDED," and not "no one entered" or "was carried" etc. Ascend suggests having the power to achieve it by your own power, which no one but God has. Enoch was "transferred" and "taken," not "ascended." Elijah was also "taken" according to 2 Kings 2:1, "When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind..." The only time it appears that humans might have "ascended" is in Revelation 11:12 where the two witnesses, after being resurrected (again?) are told to "ascend" and they are provided a cloud which they hop on that takes them to heaven.

After the three and a half days, spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell upon those who saw them. 12  And they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them: “Come up here.” And they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies saw them--Revelation 11:11-12 NWT
 Of course, the Watchtower said this has already happened as of a period between 1914 and 1919:
At the end of their preaching in sackcloth, these anointed ones were symbolically killed when they were thrown into prison for a comparatively shorter period of time, a symbolic three and a half days. In the eyes of the enemies of God’s people, their work had been killed, causing those opponents much joy.—Rev. 11:8-10.
However, true to the words of the prophecy, at the end of the three and a half days, the two witnesses were brought back to life. Not only were these anointed ones released from prison but those who remained faithful received a special appointment from God through their Lord, Jesus Christ. In 1919 they were among those who were appointed to serve as a “faithful and discreet slave” to care for the spiritual needs of God’s people during the last days.—Matt. 24:45-47; Rev. 11:11, 12. -- Watchtower, November 2014, Questions from Readers
But this is another absurd interpretation all together that exaggerates what happened in the early 20th century. The Bible does not call people being taken to heaven as "ascension" unless this cloud that lifts them up is to be counted. Going on, part of the reason the Watchtower does not say this is actually Moses or Elijah (or any other OT figure) is because they deny anyone from the times before Christ will be in heaven, despite Hebrews 11:16 saying about the Old Testament patriarch that:
But now they are reaching out for a better place, that is, one belonging to heaven. Therefore, God is not ashamed of them, to be called on as their God, for he has prepared a city for them--Hebrews 11:16 NWT
Of course the NWT translates it as goofy as a possible to give the impression that its only a place that heaven controls, not heaven itself! Despite the fact the NWT translates the same exact Greek word as "heavenly" in Hebrews 3:1 and 6:4, not including the only other time it appears in the NT--1 Corinthians 15:49.

Conclusion: The Watchtower has to jump through hoops to support its doctrine that Enoch died (creating a fictional story of God putting him in a trance to kill him)!

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