Friday, 23 August 2013

The False Alarm Effect

 What about the changes in dates and teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses, surely that proves that they can not have the "truth" and that God is not backing them?  The article bellow looks at some of the "things" happened in the 1st century Christian community

This next part was sent to me some time ago. I do not know the author but it has some interesting examples. 
It is called  “The False Alarm Effect”


Because of changes in understanding different parts of the sign that Jesus spoke, some may have lost their sense of urgency. Some may feel that the Great Tribulation may be a little further down the track. So, they may feel that it is a good time to settle down, work a little harder, buy that new house, new car, or do those renovations, miss the odd meeting or spend a little less time in the field service. Not that there is anything wrong in these things. But, if we are putting these things in front of kingdom interest, then they can become wrong, as we are often told. If that is the case then there is a little warning here, that we could be going to sleep.

In the year 328 B C E . Alexander the Great was on the banks of the Hydasbes River in India, and there he was fighting the minor Rajah Porus, and this Rajah had a cavalry of elephants. Now Alexander knew that he could not defeat these elephants with horses. So he staged a series of mock attacks over a period of about three weeks, while he had his spies on the hills looking down to see what the Rajah would do. Slowly, slowly, slowly they became lulled into thinking that he was never going to attack. As you can imagine it required a little while for them to get the elephants ready for a battle, so then after a while they stopped getting the elephants ready at all. Now the spies saw this and reported it to Alexander, and he turned one of those mock attacks into a real attack, and the Rajah was defeated.

Do you know what happened? He, the Rajah, had fallen victim to what is called "the false alarm effect." If Alexander the Great knew of this psychological ploy, do you not think that the great Field Marshall, Satin the Devil could use that against us? Well he can. Some allow that similar line of reasoning to overcome them by referring to the state of watchfulness by the faithful and discreet slave, of the anointed brothers, as if they had given us false alarms through the years or over the last 100 years or so.

For example, what did the anointed expect to happen in 1914? The expectation of the anointed was that they would all go to heaven. What did they expect to happen in or about 1925? They expected the resurrection of the ancient worthy ones. Some of us might remember 1975? Some expected the end of the system.

Now some may complain that the change view regarding "the generation" has caused a similar putting off, of the Great Tribulation, and say "it is another false alarm, what else are we going to change?"

This view is not correct because Christ commanded a state of watchfulness on the part of the faithful and discreet slave, so they are looking for Bible truth to bring to us and in light of that (or as a consequence of that), the necessary changes will be made. It is true that some expectations have proved incorrect, but that does not mean that the changes of view put the Great Tribulation further down the track. In fact it could be even closer than we might have first imagine. Think of what happened in the first century.

At 32 CE Jesus spoke to his apostles about the Kingdom. They thought that the kingdom was based upon a government, the capital being Jerusalem and the king to stand where King David used to be. They expected the Messiah to set up this government. How do we know this? because in Acts 1:6 after Jesus resurrection (in 33 CE), the apostles asked "Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?" (NWT)

NOTE: I have put numbers in brackets these refer to some texts shown at the end of this example to demonstrate the Biblical Basses for the example. We will also have to use our scriptural knowledge to fill in some gaps

The year is still 32 CE. Imagine now that you are a Jew and two of the seventy (1) come to your village and they preach about Jesus and The Kingdom (2). Now place yourself there. You are not Just a Jew you are a Nationalistic Jew. You know the prophecies about the coming Messiah. You love being a Jew, you are looking for the Messiah and want to be free of the Romans and you ask them.
"Who is the king of this Kingdom?" What answer are you going to get? They will answer “  Its Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth.”(3)

Where is this Kingdom going to operate from?" Their answer will be “  on earth.” (4)

What is it going to do?" They will say “ It going to overthrow the Romans and lift this burden of us.” (5)
Now it is at least 2 years latter. Sometime after Jesus had died. You are the same Jew and the same two disciples come to village. Now you ask them exactly the same questions. What is the response will you now get?

"Who is the king of this Kingdom?" It will still be Jesus. (3)

Where is this Kingdom going to operate from?" Now it has changed the answer will be”in Heaven” (6)

What is it going to do? is it going to overthrow the Romans?" No it is not.

For the Jews that are not followers of Jesus, and have heard this change in teaching what would they think? Hey you followers of Jesus why do you change what you tell us?” Now for the Christians back there, that was a changed view. So what you were a Christian then, would you say, "I wish the apostles would get it right,. Who knows just where this kingdom will be and what it will do?. How do we know we are following the right messiah ..... perhaps we should look for a new messiah! “ There was a change in thought or  nderstanding, but the underlining teaching was the same, Jesus is the promised Messiah sent to bring relief for mankind. The followers of Jesus did not abandon the apostles but the congregations continued to grow.
Now it is say the year 34 CE, or there abouts. You are not a Jew now you are a Greek, your wife is a Jewess and a Christian and you see that this new sect has changed her attitudes a little bit, she has become a better person and you like it .You like the congregation and you like the people and what they are preaching and you think you will join. Now what would your wife tell you?

"I am sorry darling you cannot, it is only for Jews." (7)

Now lets go to 36CE. I am still a Greek and my wife comes home from the meeting and says. "  Darling I have got good news, one of our head men has had this dream about the sheep, he saw a sheet come down with all sorts of animals in it, anyway the thing is you can become a Christian now." (8) Now how would the cynic Greek view this?... "I knew that they would have to change this rule because they would never get enough people from just Jews."

But did the congregations view it that way? Saying, "Oh! We changed it because we need more followers." No, they did not. It was clearing up of things in Jehovah's line of purpose of things.

Now move on to 46CE. you are the same Greek, same Jewish wife and you are still not a Christian.

You've decided that I want to take your religion more seriously, and you say to your wife "
hey! Look I want to join." What would she say to me now? She says, "well you have to get circumcised." You say, "What! at my age?" (9)

49 ce comes along. Your wife comes home and says, "
darling I've got good news again. The older men in Jerusalem had a council meeting and have ruled against requiring circumcision, for the believers from the nations." what is your reaction Well ! I am glad I didn't join a few years ago.

Lets go back to just after Jesus had been resurrected. I want to look at an account where the Apostle Peter misunderstood something that Jesus has said and what some could intemperate as a “prophecy” went out to all the followers of Jesus. From Peters words it was believed that the apostle John would never die until Jesus returned. John 21:20 -25 “20 Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, who had lain close to his breast at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?" 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?" 22 Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!" 23 The saying spread abroad among the brethren that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?" 24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true. 25 But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Do you see the changes that took place, now what would the early Christians think? False reasonings, or just enlightenment on God's purpose of things. So did these drastic changes in direction make the brothers in the first century feel that the congregation was not teaching what is right? No it did not, they knew the association of Christians were on the right track. They just had to adjust their thinking in line with what was being directing. For they knew that they had sufficient evidence that, that was the truth.

An illustration regarding the evidence we have, is one, which it is liken to a pregnant woman. Who goes to the doctor and after discussion, the doctor says "Yes, you are going to have a baby on the 6 day of January." She tells her husband, and they think it is great so they start making preparations for the day. They buy a pram and start making a babies room they don't care if it's a boy or a girl so they make it look real pretty. Then two weeks before the day they are all excited, getting ready for the big event. The bag is all packed and ready, then along comes the sixth of January and there is no baby, in fact there is not any labour pains. What would you think if this woman said, "Right? It didn't come, I am selling the pram and dismantling the room." What would you think of this woman? You would obviously think she was silly, because the evidence is there, she grown fat, bigger etc.

What is the point of all the above. Well we learn from Gods word that everything we read in the Bible is for our instruction for us to benefit from in some way (
Rom 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. RSV ). We also know that all of the Bible is inspired from God and beneficial for us (2 Tim 3:16 “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” RSV).

What I learn is that even though the early Christians had Jesus to teach them and then the inspired Bible writers, they on occasion got things wrong. Did God look disapprovingly on them for misunderstanding and getting this wrong? No the first century congregations flourished and grew. So just because a group today makes mistakes in understanding of prophecy and some minor teachings does not distract from the basic truths of the Bible.

That is where JWs differ from most Christian denominations. We have to determine what are the basic teachings of the Bible and Christianity.

That is the benefit of forums like this one. But discussing the Bible in a dignified manner onlookers can read both sides of an argument and judge for themselves what are the basic truths of the Bible.

1) Luke 10 :1, "After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. "AV)

2) Luke 10:9 ".. and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you."AV)

3) Luke 1:32-33 "2 He will be great and He will be called Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give Him the throne of His forefather David; 33 and He will be King over the House of Jacob for the Ages, and of His Kingdom there will be no end." (WEY); Matt. 2: 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, "He shall be called a Nazarene." (NKJV) Matt 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."(NKJV)

(4) Acts 1:6 “6 So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, will you at this time restore the the kingdom to Israel?" - During his ministry Jesus had to correct his disciples about some aspects of his Kingdom. Some showed that they wanted prominent positions in his kingdom. See Matt 20:20-28

5) Luke 24: 18- 21 “ 18 ""Are you a stranger lodging alone in Jerusalem, that you have known nothing of the things that have lately happened in the city?"....... 21 But we were hoping he was the one who was to come and set Israel free…. "Yes, and as if that were not enough, it’s three days since all this happened;” (WEY) –

NOTE : Even after the resurrection of Christ the disciples thought Jesus was going to restore the kingdom in right then Acts 1:6

6) Acts 2:30-35 “30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (AV)……. Luke is here recording for our benefit that Jesus is to sit at Gods right hand , in the heavens and be King. A clearer understanding of Gods Kingdom via his Son Jesus is being understood. That is “new light” that changed the way the followers of Jesus thought and taught.

7) Matthew 10:5,6 “ 5 These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (RSV)
Acts 10:28,29 “ 28 and he said to them, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit any one of another nation; but God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me (RSV)

8) Acts 10:30- 11:17 First gentile Cornelius This is a large section so I have not copied it in. Please take the time to review itActs 13:46,47 "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth.’ (RSV)

9) Acts 15:1, 5 “1 And certain having come down from Judea, were teaching the brethren―‘If ye be not circumcised after the custom of Moses, ye are not able to be saved” ... 5 But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up, and said, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to charge them to keep the law of Moses." (RSV)

10) Acts 15 :6 – 31 “6 The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. 7 And after there had been much debate,.... 13 After they finished speaking, James replied, "Brethren, listen to me. 14 Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, as it is written, 16 ‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the dwelling of David, which has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up, 17 that the rest of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, 18 says the Lord, who has made these things known from of old.’ 19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God,... 30 So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch; and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they read it, they rejoiced at the exhortation.” (RSV)

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