Monday, January 4, 2016

Symbolic Death by means of the "world"

A QUESTION I RECEIVED:
"Dear Pearl,
You teach that the deaths which the faithful suffer in the Book of Revelation, are symbolic. You teach that being disfellowshipped from the Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, fulfills that symbolic death. What scriptural proof do you have, to assert such an interpretation? I do know that those inside the Congregations do view those disfellowshipped as spiritually dead. But do you have a scripture to prove that being killed in Revelation, can be interpreted as being disfellowshipped by the Watchtower?"
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MY RESPONSE:
Thank you for pointing out this missing piece of the puzzle, when it comes to the interpretations which I teach, and the opportunity to fill it in by means of scripture.
Fearing the congregational "death" of expulsion, is not new to Christians.
Those who confessed the truth of Christ in the first century, faced the same threat (John9:22; 7:13; 12:42-43; 9:17,24-25,28-33,34-35).
Jesus made plain, that his genuine and faithful followers, would face a future time when this threat would be common practice......

"They will put you out of the "synagogues(Greek for "congregation"/"to lead together"); yes, *the time is coming* that anyone who kills you will think that he offers God divine service." (John16:2)

Luke 21:12,17 put it this way...
"But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison (Luke21:24; Rev.13:10,7; Col.2:8), and you will be brought before kings (Rev.9:7) and governors ("Governing Body" Mark10:42-45), and all on account of my name...Everyone will hate you because of me." (1John4:20; 2:11) (John13:34-35; Matt.25:37-40,41-46) (Matt.24:11-13)

Mark also mentions the "hatred" that prompts the expulsions, and how prevalent it would become against Christ's faithful brothers...
"You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved." (Mark13:13)
Would this hatred be coming from strangers?

"When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit. 12 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. 13 You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved." (Mark13:11-13)

When we are thrown out of the Congregation
(meaning of Greek "synagogue"), we are being cast out and hated by a "world"... (lit. Greek: "cosmos" = harmonious, self-inclusive system of thought/present age-system-arrangement-embellishment LINK)
...to which we once belonged.
Jesus helps to clarify who it is that persecutes us.....

"Remember what I told you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If THEY persecuted me, THEY will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also." (John15:20)

Who are "THEY" who persecuted Jesus?
Ps.119:161 clarifies that it was "rulers".... leaders.
Were these secular rulers who persecuted Jesus?
Although the secular authorities were used to execute Jesus, they were not the source of his persecution.
The scriptures sort out the blame for us...

"6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, "Crucify! Crucify!" But Pilate answered, "You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him."
11 Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin." 12 As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, "If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.
15 But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" "Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked. "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered." (John19:6,11-12,15)
(See Acts 3:14-15)
Clearly, the "leaders" that were responsible for the persecution and death of Jesus, were the religious leaders of God's people.
Ps.119:161; Isa.66:5 ... Jesus' brethren.
Jesus told us, that if they persecuted him, they will persecute us also.

Jesus explained this in an additional way....
(see John15:18-20) >>>
<<< He said that he was no part of the "world"...
(Greek: "cosmos" = harmonious, self-inclusive system of thought/present age-system-arrangement-embellishment)
...that persecuted him (John17:14,16). Jesus overcame that "world" (John16:33), as we also must (1John5:4-5; 5:19; 2:13-14).
Because we are no part of that world, the world will "hate" us as it did Christ.
Who is the "world"
(Greek: "cosmos" = harmonious, self-inclusive system of thought/present age-system-arrangement-embellishment)
that Jesus was referring to?
In speaking to the religious leaders (who later killed him),
Jesus said...
"But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world." (John8:23)

The apostle John makes this "world" even clearer, at 1John4:1,4-6.
Can you see there, that the "world" is where false prophets speak falsehood? Those who belong to their world, "listen to them".
The "world" that persecuted Christ (and will also persecute us) is where Jesus was sent to, by God (1John4:9). Where was that "world" to which God sent Jesus?
Scripture tells us, at John1:9,11 and Matt.15:24.
The "world" into which Jesus was sent, was the realm of God's nation at that time.

We have learned that the "world" (Greek: "cosmos" = harmonious, self-inclusive system of thought/present age-system-arrangement-embellishment) into which Jesus was sent, was God's own wayward Nation, dominated by false prophets and their teachings.
Those who accept such teachings, belong to that world, and are loved by their own (John15:19). Yet Jesus made clear to the faithful, that they were to be no part of that world of falsehood and rebellion against God's will (Deut.32:5-6; Heb.10:39).
As a result of Christ's disciples lack of conformity, the world would HATE them, and persecute them as they did Christ (John15:19).
In "a time to come", such hatred would become prolific (Matt.24:11-12; 2Tim.3:1,3,5; 1Tim.4:1), even displayed by beloved family members. The expulsion of the faithful from the congregation would be motivated by a misguided service to God (John16:2), and a resulting hatred by everyone. This would occur in the time of the end, because that is how long such victims would need to endure (Mark13:13; Matt.16:27).

Now, to get back to the symbolic death.
Can you see that those thrown out of the Congregation, are "hated" by those expelling them? (Isa.66:5; John15:18,24)
Although you agree that from the perspective of "Jehovah's Witnesses" those expelled, are considered spiritually dead...
what of God's perspective...
and as you ask... where in God's Word, is being the target of such hatred qualified as a death?

"Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." (1John3:15)
Can you see that God himself views hatred among his people, as equal to murder? The "world" lead by false prophets and their hateful doctrine, is displayed by a cutting off, even by beloved family members. For this reason, such condoning family members are seen as surrendering the faithful over, to be killed (Mark13:12-13; 2Tim.3:1,3,5). Despite that "death", they would still have to "endure until the end", after their "death" (Col.3:1-3; 2:20 a).
For this reason, those "killed" can still speak, and ask how long the end will take to arrive (Rev.6:9-11).

God considers hatred, the same as murder (1John3:15).
Those who hate are guilty of murder in His estimation... and those hated, as murdered.

"No murderer has eternal life", but those who endure in love (Matt.5:21-22,44; 25:40; John13:34-35; 8:51; 14:21; Rom.13:10; Gal.5:14; Matt.7:12), do live eternally...
 "We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death" (1John3:14).
So,
these previous scriptures speak, NOT of a physical life or death, but a spiritual one.
After all, that is the only life that should matter to us (John12:24-25) and the only life that matters to God (Matt.22:32; Luke20:38; John6:63) (Mark 8:35 -LINK).
If God's beloved faithful are slandered and publicly charged and sentenced as losing their spiritual life (by those who hate them); then God considers that hateful condemnation as a murder (1John3:15,12; John16:2).
(Rom.1:25,28-32; Eze.22:6-9,25; 11:6; Ex.20:16; Lev.19:16)
(Hab.2:12; Nahum3:1; Matt.23:28-36; Rev.17:6; 18:4,20,24)
(Hosea5:2; 2:10; 6:9; Jer.11:9; 7:9-10; Eze.7:23; 11:6; Rev.11:8; 6:9-10)

(Luke12:1; 1John4:20; Matt.5:20-26,20; 7:21-23; Luke16:11-12,1-2) (LINK)

We are told by the (original Greek -link) of Rev.1:1 (LINK), that the scroll to follow is written entirely in allegory and symbolism.
The symbolic "death" it depicts, is interpreted by 1John3:15. (Luke6:22-23; John16:2)

I hope these scriptures address your question. If not, please follow up.
In Christ,
Pearl
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