Who are the “other sheep” of John 10:16?

Tjesus-good-shepherdHE Jehovah’s Witnesses have been taught to believe that in the resurrection, those who died faithful to God are included in the ‘other sheep’ and will receive the “resurrection of the righteous” (“just” KJV) mentioned in Acts 24:15. (The Watchtower 2/15/95 p. 11 par. 12)  Those of the ‘other sheep’ who are alive today, some of whom survive through Armageddon without needing a resurrection, are referred to as the ‘great crowd’.  (The Watchtower 4/15/95 p. 31 Questions From Readers).  These views are based around the following text.

“And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.” (Joh 10:16 NWT)

The Bible speaks of the church as Jehovah’s flock (Acts 20:29; 1 Pet 5:2).  Up until the conversion of Cornelius, the Gospel invitation had NOT been made available to the gentiles.  But that changed suddenly about AD 36.  Of the conversion of Cornelius’ household, we read in Acts 10:45, “And the faithful ones that had come with Peter who were of those circumcised were amazed, because the free gift of the holy spirit was being poured out also upon people of the nations.” NWT.

The gentile Christians could not be invited until after the 70 weeks (Dan 9:24) for Israel were completed (AD 36).  Of that final week [a day = a year], we read “And he must keep the covenant in force for the many for one week” Dan 9:27 NWT).  That covenant was Jehovah’s 70 weeks agreement with Israel.  It was in the last half of the 70th week, three and a half years after the cross, that the great work was done amongst the Jews.

Applying the “other sheep” to the new gentile converts is the evident meaning and it would take strong additional scriptural evidence to convince the honest student otherwise.  There is no direct indication in the Bible that these “other sheep” are referring only to true Christians who will not be part of the Little Flock.  Without further compelling evidence, insisting on a different interpretation is building a doctrine from a scripture taken out of context.  This reminds us of the Catholic Church misapplication of Matt 16:18 which says, “You are Peter, and on this rock-mass I will build my congregation, and the gates of Ha’des will not overpower it.” (NWT)  Based on an unsupportable misapplication of this text, the Catholic Church believes that the papacy represents an “unbroken” line of apostolic succession from Peter to the present day.

God’s Plan of the Ages

chartSOME do not believe that God exists and hence are unable to accept  the idea that there is an orderly and coordinated divine Plan of the Ages concerning mankind. But many who doubt the very existence of God have not given the matter sufficient intelligent thought. When the facts are seriously considered, it is almost impossible not to believe in a Supreme Creator.

Effects must be produced by competent causes. Everything that exists must have been made by someone. If a thing has beauty, symmetry and intricacy of design, it must have been produced by a superior intelligence. We reach this conclusion by pure reasoning. It is not necessary to see the Supreme Creator to believe he exists.

The evidence that God exists is overwhelming. Everything around us proves it. Every tree, plant and flower amazes us. Intricate in design, exquisitely beautiful in form and texture, each speaks of a wisdom and skill above the human. It is absurd to boast of human skill and ingenuity yet attribute to mere chance the regularity, uniformity and harmony of nature. The very fact that there are dependable and unvarying laws of nature presupposes an intelligent lawgiver.

There are some truly amazing attributes possessed by the animal creation that are beyond human wisdom. The snake has an infrared sensor so responsive it can –detect temperature changes of one thousandth of a degree. The hornet navigates accurately even on cloudy days by sensing the polarization of light. A bird flies thousands of miles from a tree branch in your back yard, and returns to the same branch through stellar navigation. Such powers have been exercised by the lower animals for untold ages. Men have only recently understood these amazing characteristics and are seeking,  sometimes vainly, to –duplicate them scientifically. This is certainly proof of an intelligent creator far superior to the human.

The greatest masterpiece of all earthly creation is the human being itself. It is –extremely complicated and exhibits God’s handiwork in every respect. Man has mental attributes far above the animal creation. He has moral and ethical qualities totally lacking in the lower animals.

By using deductive reasoning we can prove that God exists and we can also determine what he is like. It is self-evident that the highest and grandest thing created cannot be superior to its maker but must of necessity be inferior to it. Since the grandest earthly creation of God is man, since man is endowed with the characteristics of justice, love and wisdom, it follows that God, the creator of man, must possess these attributes to a far wider and grander degree. We know what God is like because of the things he has created. We know he is just, benevolent, wise and powerful–much more than we are. It must be so. Without seeing God with our eyes, we see him with our minds. We instinctively love and seek to worship such a great and wonderful God.

How can we know God’s plan for humankind? Again we use deductive reasoning. It is logical to suppose that such an infinitely wise and good being as God, who made man mentally capable of realizing that he exists, would then be moved by his love and justice to supply the wants of man’s nature by giving him some revelation concerning himself and his plan for mankind. Where do we find such a revelation? We find it only in the Bible. This book was written over a period of many centuries by men inspired by God’s spirit.

They faithfully recorded what God wanted to reveal to mankind. We can identify the Bible as God’s word because it is the only ancient record that explains to the satisfaction of every reasonable mind such important subjects as:

How the earth was prepared for man’s habitation, describing the various geological events preceding the appearance of life.

The exact order in which the various forms of vegetation and animal life appeared upon the earth, facts confirmed by the latest scientific findings.

How man was created perfect and designed to live forever, and how he fell from perfection into sin and death.

Why evil is now permitted.

How man was redeemed from death, as a result of which the dead will be raised, and all the willing and obedient of mankind be restored to perfection, to live everlastingly in health and happiness upon the earth.

The Bible also contains prophecies of future events and tells when they will take place. Written thousands of years ago, it foretells and accurately describes present conditions, and locates where we now are in relation to God’s plan, and reveals what we can expect in the immediate future.

But if man was created perfect and designed to live forever, why is he in such an imperfect condition today? He suffers diseases, pain, calamities, sorrows, and all manner of evils, and dies an early death.

Why? The Bible tells us how God required the first man, Adam, to be obedient to him to continue to live. This was an entirely just requirement. Do we not expect obedience from our children? God purposely made the test of obedience very easy. He simply designated a certain fruit tree and asked Adam not to eat of it. Adam failed the test. God thereupon withdrew his favor from him and Adam began to die. It was after Adam had sinned against God that he brought forth his children. Thus they were all born imperfect, “born in sin and shapen in inquity.” (Psalms 51:5) The human race began to degenerate and has fallen steadily ever since. This accounts for present day conditions. It was Adam’s sin of disobedience that is the cause of all human miseries.

But God did not leave mankind in such a hopeless condition. Being loving as well as just, he provided a way to redeem man from death.

He provided a ransom:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.”– John 3:16

“Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”–1 Timothy 2:5,6

Ransom means “corresponding price” or “equivalent price.” Suppose a man is captured and held by an enemy who demands the payment of a certain sum for his –release. That sum represents the value of the man–his price or ransom. When Adam disobeyed God and was condemned to death, a perfect man’s life was forfeited. To redeem Adam’s life and thus release him from death, another perfect man’s unforfeited life must be yielded up in offset, in the place and stead of the forfeited life. This is the ransom price for Adam.

God arranged for this price to be provided. Jesus was born a man, but unlike other men, he was perfect because God was his father. He was the equivalent of Adam before Adam sinned. He sacrificed his perfect human life; he died without deserving to die in the place of Adam who deserved to die. God accepted his sacrifice as the ransom price for Adam. Thus Adam and all his race who inherited death through him, were redeemed and will live again. Then will be fulfilled the prophecy: “I will ransom them from the power of the grave. I will redeem them from death.” (Hosea 13:14) We read, “there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” (Acts 24:15) Every man who has ever lived, the good and the bad, will b e raised from death during God’s kingdom under Christ, soon to be fully established on earth. It will be a benevolent but firm kingdom, ruling in absolute justice and equity. Then will be fulfilled the prophecy, “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”– Jeremiah 31:34

Many prophecies of the Bible indicate that this kingdom is near. The signs are numerous and unmistakable.

True Freedom

question-mark-manSIN AND ERROR

DO YOU KNOW:

That many who think that they are truly free are actually in bondage? That besides some in physical slavery, many are in real figurative bondage to drugs, illicit sex, alcohol, tobacco, witchcraft, Satanism, false religions, gambling, gluttony, sports, business, professions, etc., from which as figurative balls and chains they are unable to free themselves?

That man and woman were created by God to live forever on earth (Genesis 1:27, 28; 3:22) in true freedom from fear, hunger, want, sickness, old age, etc., and were to multiply and fill the earth with people living together in joy, peace, happiness, brotherhood and good will?

DO YOU KNOW:

That God made Adam and Eve lower than angels, with dominion over earth and the lower animals (Genesis 1:28; Psalms 8:4- 8), and told them they could eat fruit of the trees of the garden except one, and that if they ate of it they would surely die (Genesis 2:16, 17; 3:1- 5)?

That when they sinned by eating of this fruit, they lost their true freedom and fell into “the bondage of corruption,” into sin and death (Romans 5:12- 19; 8:20, 21), and that all their children, the human family, including you and me, were  born in sin and “shapen in iniquity,” under the death sentence (Psalms 51:5), without true freedom?

That God in His infinite Wisdom and Love made a great Plan, in which His only begotten Son, the mighty Logos, became human, “the man Christ Jesus,” and willingly laid down His life as a Ransom- price for Adam and all mankind, who  descended from him (Matthew 18:11; Romans 5:6- 8; John 1:14; 3:14- 17; Philippians 2:5- 11; 1 Timothy 2:4- 6; Hebrews 2:9- 14; 1 John 2:2)?

That God in His great love has arranged that any of us who recognize and are truly sorry for our sins and imperfections because of heredity through Adam and our own fault, can anywhere and anytime tell this to God in prayer and ask for  and receive forgiveness and justification (making right) and freedom from bondage to dead works through faith in Jesus and His great Ransom- sacrifice for us (Acts 4:10- 12; 16:31; 20:21; Romans 4:25; 5:1; Galatians 2:16; #Ep 2:8-10)?

That we are to accept our Jesus as Lord (Ruler or Controller) as well as Savior, in dedication, or consecration, to do God’s will to the best of our ability (Acts 2:36; 10:36; Hebrews 10:7)?

DO YOU KNOW:

That after we thus accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior we are “made free” from the bondage of sin and we become “servants of righteousness”- that “being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:18, 22, 23)?

That “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1)?

That as we begin “walking in newness of life” with Jesus Christ and progress, we will soon no longer be in bondage to drugs, alcohol, illicit sex, tobacco, gambling, witchcraft, Satanism, false religions, etc. (Romans 6:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17)?

That as God’s people were at one time in cruel bondage to Pharaoh in Egypt and were freed by Moses, So we were in cruel bondage to Satan, sin, error, selfishness and worldliness, but have freedom from their domination through our Lord Jesus, the great antitypical Moses?

That Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word [as its hearers, leaners, and obeyers], then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:32, 36; 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18)?

That it is necessary for those of us who are Jesus’ free “disciples indeed,” to “stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” in which we formerly were (Galatians 5:1), or some other deceptive entanglements?

DO YOU KNOW:

That Satan and his servants will promise us greater liberty if we follow their ways, but that “they themselves are the servants of corruption,” who will seek to entangle and enslave us again in the pollutions of the world, in our old bad habits, etc., like figurative balls and chains, and to cause us to return like a washed sow to wallowing in the mire (2 Peter 2:19- 22)?

That for those who in this time of evil and crookedness (Philippians 2:15, 16) hold on to their true freedom in Christ, and serve “as shining lights” in this present evil world, “holding forth the word of life,” God has special great favors in reservation in His coming “new heavens and new earth wherein dwells righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13)?

That these great Divine favors are far above God’s favors for mankind in general, that will be given to them in Christ’s 1,000- year Kingdom, when the whole groaning creation will be delivered ‘from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God,” and receive their Kingdom reward of everlasting life on earth (Romans 8:19- 23; Revelation 21:2- 4; 22:3)?

Spiritual Israel, Then Natural Israel

David's Star on Torah ca. 2001

The Oath-Bound Promise to Abraham the Hope of Jews, Christians and all Mankind. “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s Seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Gal. 3:29

The issues of life, death and a hereafter are all in the power of the Lord. He took counsel of none of us, and holds Himself fully responsible, declaring that all of His purposes shall be accomplished, and that His Word that has gone forth shall not return to Him void, but shall accomplish that which He pleases.

Isa. 40:10, 11. He owed us nothing in the beginning, and will be under no obligations to us in the end. God gave our race life in Adam, but, as he had foreseen, they lost it by disobedience and came under the penalty death.

A ray of hope came with the giving of the Oath-Bound Promise to Abraham, which declared “In thy Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Gen. 22:18.

ASSURANCE OF ALMIGHTY’S OATH

Doubtless Abraham and all of his family, Israel after the flesh, drew a certain amount of blessing and encouragement from this Covenant or promise and the oath of the Almighty,which doubly sealed it, and which gave double assurance of its certainty of accomplishment; but the Apostle Paul intimates that God’s special design in giving that Covenant and in binding it solemnly with an oath, was to encourage Spiritual Israel to give us a firm foundation for faith. He says (Heb. 6:13-18), “That by two immutable things (two unalterable things), in which it was impossible for God to lie, we (the Gospel Church) might have a strong consolation, (we) who have fled for refuge (to Christ), to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” The context show distinctly that the Apostles and the early Christian Church drew comfort from the Oath-Bound Covenant, and clearly implies that this same comfort belongs to every true Christian down to the end of this age.

God well knew that, although 3,000 years from His own standpoint would be but a brief space, “as a watch in the night,” nevertheless to us the time would appear long, and the strain upon faith would be sever; hence the positive statement and the still more deliberate oath that bound it. We cannot but wonder at such condescension upon the part of the great Creator that He would stoop to His fallen creatures and, above all, that He should condescend to give His oath on the subject.

Our Lord Jesus was the great heir of the Abrahamic promise, and the faithful of His consecrated people of this Gospel Age are declared to be His joint-heirs in that promise, which is not yet fulfilled. For its fulfillment, not only the Church is waiting, as the Bride or fellow-members of the Body of Christ, to be participants with the Lord in the glories implied in the Promise, but additionally, the whole creation (the entire human family) is groaning and travailing in pain together waiting for the great fulfillment of that Oath-Bound Promise or Covenant. Romans 8:19-23.

Those who follow the Apostle’s argument and realize that all true Christians are still waiting for the fulfillment of this Promise, will be anxious to know what are the terms of this Covenant which is the hope of the world, the hope of the Church, and the object of so much solicitude and care on the part of God, in that He would promise and then back His Word with an Oath.

We Answer–that every Christian should know what this promise is, since it lies at the very foundation of every Christian’s hope.

How can this hope be an anchor to our soul in all the storms and trials and difficulties of life, in all the opposition of the world, the flesh and the Adversary, if we do not know what the hope is, if we have not even recognized the promise upon which this hope is based?

THE SEED WHICH WILL BLESS ALL

The Apostle Paul referred to this very promise, declaring that the Seed of Abraham mentioned therein is Christ. All Christians agree to this, although they have not distinctively and properly associated it with the declarations of the Promise. But the Apostle makes clear to us that in saying that Christ is the Seed of Abraham, he had in mind not only the Lord Jesus as the Head of the Body, the Head of The Christ, but also the overcoming saints of this Gospel Age as the Body of Christ. This he distinctly states in many places, for instance Gal. 3:16-29.

Here he declares the matter expressly, saying: “if ye be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s Seed, and heirs according to the Promise.” “The Seed of Abraham” is the Gospel Church, with her Head, the Lord Jesus; as the Apostle states again saying: “We brethren, as Isaac was (typified by Isaac), are the children of promise.” (Gal. 4:28.) It follows that the Seed of Abraham mentioned in the promise is not complete and will not be until the full close of this Gospel Age in the Harvest time of which we now are.

But what a wonderful thought is involved in this plain interpretation of the Divine Word! It is big with hope for Spiritual Israel, the Spiritual Seed, and no less, it means a blessing for the natural seed, fleshly Israel, and ultimately the Millennial blessings to all the families of the earth. Let us examine these three hopes, which Center in the Oath-Bound Covenant the Anchor to the Soul.

THE CHRISTIAN HOPE

Now what hope and interest has the Church of Christ in this promise made to Abraham? To us belongs the very cream of the promise, “the riches of God’s grace.” The promise implies the greatness of the Seed of Abraham, which Seed is Christ and the overcoming Church. This greatness is so wonderful as to be almost beyond human comprehension. The overcomers of this Gospel Age who “make their calling and election sure” in Christ, are to be joint-heirs with Him in the glorious Millennial Kingdom which is to be God’s agency or channel for bringing about the promised blessings the blessing of all the families of the earth. Be it distinctly noted that the Promise to Abraham divided his “Seed” into two parts, (first) “as the stars of Heaven,” (second) “as the sands of the seashore.” From this it is apparent that there was to be a Heavenly, spiritual seed as well as the Natural, earthly seed. Through the Spiritual Seed, during the Messianic Reign, the whole world is to be blessed.

The great blessing of forgiveness of past sins, and even the blessing of being awakened from the sleep of death, would profit mankind but little, if the arrangements of that future time the Millennial Age were not on such a scale as to permit a thorough recovery from present mental, moral and physical weaknesses.

Hence we are rejoiced to learn that in that time Satan will be bound, every evil influence and every unfavorable condition will be brought under restraint, and the favor of God through the knowledge of God will be turned upon the people—“The knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep.” Blessing, aye, favor upon favor, blessing upon blessing, is the Lord’s arrangement and provision! All shall know Him from the least unto the greatest, and none shall need to say to his neighbor or his brother, “Know thou the Lord?” Isa. 11:9; Jer. 31:34.

The prophets spoke repeatedly of these blessings due to the world in the future. Mark how Joel tells that, as during this Gospel Age, the Lord pours out His Spirit upon His servants and hand-maidens, so after these days, in the Millennial Age, He will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. There will be world-wide blessing through the knowledge of the Truth. Mark how Moses, the Prophet, spoke of these coming blessings, and told how God would raise up a greater Lawgiver than Himself, a greater Teacher, a better Mediator, and under the better Covenant of the Lord, would bring blessings worldwide! Mark again how he represents the Atonement for the Sins of the whole world in the Atonement Day sacrificial arrangements! Mark how again he typifically foretold the blessings of the Millennial Age, representing them in Israel’s “Year of Jubilee,” in which every man went free and every possession was returned to its original ownership, thus representing the blessings of the future, man’s release from the servitude of sin and Satan, and the return to him of all that was lost through Adam. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Micah, have spoken of these coming times, so that the Apostle Peter, pointing to the future, could truthfully declare that the coming Times of Restitution of all things have be spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:19- 21.

HOPE FOR JEWS AND OTHERS

The second class to be blessed under this Abrahamic Covenant is Natural Israel. We are not forgetting that the Jews were a stiffnecked and rebellious people; that they slew the prophets and stoned the Lord’s ministers and caused the crucifixion of our Redeemer. Nevertheless, the Scriptures clearly hold for the that after they have had a period of chastisement, which they have been undergoing as a nation since our Lord’s crucifixion, and after Spiritual Israel shall have been glorified in the Kingdom, then a blessing from the Lord will come upon Natural Israel; they shall be saved or recovered from their blindness, and, as the Prophet declares, they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced and shall mourn for Him because the eyes of their understanding shall be opened. We rejoice, too, that the promise is clear and distinct that the Lord will pour upon them the “spirit of prayer and the supplication.” (Zech. 12:10.) See also Romans 11:25-32.

But if God is to have mercy upon the natural Israelite, whom He declares to have been stiff-necked and hard-hearted and rebellious, would it surprise us that the Divine, benevolent intention should be to also bless others than the Jews others who had not  in the past the favors and privileges of this favored nation, and whose course, therefore, was less in opposition to the Light? It should not surprise us. And so we find in this great Oath-Bound Covenant a blessing for all nations all peoples.

POOR, IMPERFECT CREATURES

“We make God’s Love too narrow By false standards of our own.”

Do not misapprehend us. We are not teaching that heathen and imbeciles and unregenerate in general shall be taken to Heaven, where they would be utterly out of harmony with their surroundings and require to be converted and to be taught. Such an inconsistent view we leave to those who are now claiming the heathen will be saved in their ignorance. We stand by the Word of God that there is no present salvation without faith in Christ Jesus, and that the heathen and the imbecile have neither part nor lot in the salvation of the present time. We stand by the Scriptures which say that salvation at the present time is only for the Little Flock, who, through much tribulation, shall enter the Kingdom. We stand by the Scriptures which say that this Kingdom class now being developed is the Spiritual Seed of Abraham under the Lord, their Head, their Elder Brother, the Bridegroom.

The period in which opportunity will be granted to man is in the Scriptures termed the Day of Judgment a thousand-year day, the Millennial Day. It will be a day of trial, a day of testing, a day of proving the world to see whether, with a full knowledge of God and of righteousness, which He requires, they will choose righteousness in preference to sin, choose life in preference to the Second Death everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His Power.

Thank God for that wonderful judgment, the trial day for the world, secured for all through the precious blood of Christ. “When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” Isa. 26:9.

What Can a man Believe?

question-markWHAT can a man believe? A historian observed concerning the days of the French Revolution that it was “the best of times and the worst of times.” This expression quite aptly describes the religious situation In the world today. There has never been more religious freedom than there Is currently In the non- totalitarian world. Devotees of all faiths are allowed to proclaim their understanding of the Bible far and wide—over television, over the radio, by means of the printed page, and through personal witness work among their friends and neighbors.

On the other hand, there has never been So much confusion pertaining to the Christian faith as at the present time. From this standpoint It is undoubtedly “the worst of times” the world has ever experienced.

Certainly we have not yet reached that era when the “path of righteousness” is made So plain that “wayfaring men, though fools,” need not err therein. (Isaiah 35:8) Is there any certain way that a sincere, humble Christian might know with reasonable certainty that what he believes and serves is the truth?

The Apostle Paul gave good advice to the brethren at Thessalonica when he wrote, “Prove all things, hold fast that which Is good,” or as the New World Translation states, “Make sure of all things; hold fast to what Is right.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) This was wise counsel in Paul’s day, and it is equally appropriate and Important In these “last days,” when our  “adversary the Devil” Is still going about as a “roaring lion” seeking whom he may devour by false doctrines and otherwise.

There is only one way to “make sure of all things,” we believe, and that is to prove, or test, them by the Infallible Word of God, the Holy Bible.

Sincere Christians have been saying this for centuries. Teachers of the Bible in all denominations insist that this should be done, but It Is seldom hilly practiced. Each group has its textbooks, Its “quarterlies,” and in these, only those portions of the Holy Bible are cited which it is thought are In agreement with the views of the group In question. Quite generally, however, the students using these helps conclude that they are becoming acquainted with the entire testimony of the Holy Bible with respect to the topics studied.

So If we are to “make sure of all things” a most Important consideration is to “make sure” that we are using the entire Bible, not just those portions which have been Interpreted for us. Recently we came across an example of what we mean In this respect. In a publication designed to be a help to Bible study we noticed that a number of texts from the Holy Bible were quoted in an effort to disprove the restoration of natural Israel to the Promised Land and to favor with God. One of the texts quoted was Romans 11:7,8, which reads, “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained It, and the rest were blinded (according as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.”

From reading this passage the student was expected to get the impression that the unbelieving Israelites of Jesus’ day were Irrevocably and forever cast off from divine favor. But what a different impression is left in the mind when Paul’s full lesson on the topic is considered! Beginning with verse 25 of the same chapter, we read: “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise In your own conceits; that blindness In part Is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come In. And So all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is my covenant with them when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: even So have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief that he might have mercy upon all.”—Ro 11:25- 32

It is equally important to make sure that the translation of the Scriptures we are asked to use Is true to the Hebrew or Greek text. We know how many have been held In fear of eternal torment through mistranslations of the Hebrew word Sheol, and the Greek words hades and Gehenna. The King James translation of the Holy Bible is not the only faulty one.

We recently saw a translation of Romans 5:18 and of 1 Timothy 2:4 which uses the expression “all kinds of men” In these texts, which, as written by the Apostle Paul, So unequivocally state that Jesus died to ransom all mankind from death. There are no words at all in these Greek texts to warrant the use of the expression “all kinds of men.” A glance at the word- for- word translation In the Emphatic Diaglott will prove this to every earnest seeker after truth.

Yes, it Is important that we prove all things by the pure Word of God, regardless of the source of our information.  Almost without exception the contradictory beliefs now being proclaimed to a confused world have one thing in common, which is the use of fear as a method of making converts. It may be fear of eternal torture, fear of death in Armageddon, or fear of something else. The Grace of Jehovah endeavors to exalt the love of God.