The farmer answered: 'God knows everything.
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He knows whether I shall go to heaven or to hell. If He knows that I shall go to heaven, why to heaven I shall go; if He knows that I shall go to hell, I shall go to hell. What then does it matter what I do or say? God knows whether they shall bear a good crop or not. If He knows that they will bear a good harvest, the harvest will be good, whether you plough the land or not. If he knows that they will be unfruitful, why unfruitful they will be.
Why then should you waste time ploughing? By His foreknowledge, God already knows who will be saved and who will be damned. Through this foreknowledge, God has "chosen the ones to be saved" based on their faith, humility, and obedience. Only a feeble mind would consider such virtues "pointless" simply because God knows who possesses them. Yet, the Watchtower maintains, "the Scriptures reveal that there are situations in which God chooses not to foreknow the outcome. Just before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, he declared: 'I am quite determined to go down that I may see whether they act altogether according to the outcry over it that has come to me, and, if not, I can get to know it.
This text clearly shows us that God did not foreknow the extent of the depravity in those cities before he investigated matters. Remember that God is here in dialogue with Abraham, and that Abraham attempts to intercede on behalf of Sodom, just as the Saints in Heaven intercede and "pray for us sinners. He shows us how to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" Mt.
Also take note that the language used in this passage is how God revealed himself to Abraham, for at the end of the conversation, "Yahweh went away. Just as God is not constrained by a burning bush Ex. God already knew the fate of Sodom and He never says anything to the contrary. We only change our mind because of imperfection, yet God is Perfect. Who are we to question His will that we "pray for those who persecute [us]" or His will that Abraham plead for Sodom.
The Watchtower's position also creates problems in logic. They say "that there are situations in which God chooses not to foreknow," yet they do not describe the method which God uses to make this choice. How does God decide which events He will foreknow and those He will not?
In making this choice He must have criteria, yet knowledge of the criteria already suggests foreknowledge. For example, the Watchtower asserts that "God exercised his foreknowledge to reveal the succession of world powers," and "God can see certain events. Would He not need to foreknow the events which were to take place in Sodom and Gomorrah in order to make His decision not to foreknow those same events? The answer to this question, according to Watchtower logic, is as impossible to define as the riddle about whether the chicken came before the egg, or the egg before the chicken.
The only solution is to admit that God knows all things at all times, including our destiny. But what is that destiny for the ones chosen to be saved? The Watchtower cites Scriptural passages which they feel imply that the earth will last forever, and that the righteous will always inhabit it. However, one must be careful to read the quoted passages in context. Often they refer to the return of the Jews from the captivity of Babylon and Egypt.
Other times, as in Psalms 67 and 72, they refer to blessings bestowed upon the king. In contrast, the Bible proclaims that His Kingdom is not of this world Jn Neither will ours be. What makes us Christians is our belief that God became Man.
He only lived among us for a short time, after which He died to pay the ransom for our sins. This is a major point of contention with Jehovah's Witnesses who proclaim that Jesus is none other than Michael the Archangel. This will be discussed later in the book. However, this point is particularly relevant when interpreting Revelation 3, 4. I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as bride dressed for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice call from the throne, 'Look here God lives among human beings.
He will make his home among them; they will be his people, and he will be their God, God-with-them. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness or pain. The world of the past has gone' Rev The Watchtower chooses to interpret the above passage as a reference to a renewed earth where there will be no death or sadness, and God will live among them.
However, there are several problems with such an interpretation. First, cross reference this passage to Matthew's account of the nativity Mt Here, Immanuel is the name used to describe the child Jesus, meaning God-with-us. Surely in Jesus, God does live among human beings. Second, the holy city, the new Jerusalem, is a metaphor used by Jews and early Christians to describe heaven.
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This is particularly evident in an account given in the letter to the Hebrews Hb In this account, Abraham's descendants, which are "as numerous as the stars" are looking forward to "their heavenly homeland" since God has "founded the city for them. The story of Abraham and his descendants is also relevant to the question of time, which was discussed above.
We know that salvation only comes through Christ Jesus as we are reminded in the famous passage of John How then could God have founded the city of heaven for them unless Christ died for our sins for all time. For an infinite God this is possible; for one constrained by time, only those alive after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ can be saved, as only they will know who he is.
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Yet this is what the Watchtower proposes. Before Christ, nobody could even hope for a "heavenly homeland. After Jesus describes how one must be "born again" through baptism before he can enter the kingdom of God, Nicodemus asks, "How is that possible?
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In reply, Jesus notes, "In all truth I tell you, we only speak about what we know and witness only to what we have seen and yet you people reject our evidence. If you do not believe me when I speak about earthly things, how will you believe me when I speak about heavenly things? The point he is making here is not that nobody has ever gone to heaven, but that among those living, nobody has seen heaven, and therefore nobody, Nicodemus included, can understand it.
Quoting Saint Gregory the Great, Saint Francis de Sales supplements Jesus' point with the following parable: "Picture a pregnant woman who is put into prison, where she remains until the time of her delivery. She even gives birth there and is then condemned to pass the remainder of her life in the dungeon and to bring up her child there. As he grows older his mother desires to give him some idea of things in the outside world, for having lived only in continual darkness he has no idea of the light of the sun, the beauty of the stars, or the loveliness of nature.
Since the mother wants to teach him all these things, they lower a lamp or a lighted candle to her. With this she attempts to make him conceive, as best she can, the beauty of a bright day. She tells him: 'The sun and the stars are made like this and spread out a great light. They trusted their Lord Ps. Continuing on, the Watchtower proclaims that the earth was made for man, and that the earth will last forever, even though Paul reminds the Philippians that "they will be lost But our homeland is in heaven Phil Remember Lot's wife Lk Over and over, scripture tells us to set our eyes on God who has prepared the city of heaven, the new Jerusalem, for a multitude as numerous as the stars in heaven cf.
Hb Those who set their eyes on the riches of this world will only find death. Of course Witnesses will deny that they are coveting the things of this world. The transformed earth will be vastly different from the one of today, since there will be no hoarding or greed. In fact, what they are describing is a perfect socialist utopia.
In developing countries, the ranks of the Jehovah's Witnesses are swelling in alarming numbers. The poor of those countries are buying into a dream of a life that they cannot hope to attain in their present state. They are told that in the last days when the angels of God come to execute His judgement, only Witnesses will survive.
Afterwards, they will be free to take what is left behind from wealthy Catholics, Protestants, Atheists, and others, who will not survive the final judgement. In the meantime, these hard working peasants will send what little they have to support the multimillion dollar publishing empire which the Watchtower has established in Brooklyn, New York. Watchtower books are filled with beautiful colour illustrations of the paradise on earth. Happy smiling faces are waiting to greet those wanting to convert.
If you were told that these people had already lived thousands of years, would you believe it? To back up their claims about this, yet undiscovered, fountain of youth, they cite Job There Elihu, Job's young and proud friend, tells Job that "his flesh will recover it's childhood freshness, he will return to the days of his youth.
In his despair, Job was counseled by four sages. The last and youngest to speak was Elihu.
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