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The suggested answers provided to all questions below are based on and in harmony with the views of the original Watchtower Bible and Tract Society when under the guidance of Pastor Charles Taze Russell.  Comments will often include a link to Pastor Russell’s own explanation.  However, in any case, we leave your conclusions to your own personal study, prayer, conscience and the influence of the Holy Spirit.

829 comments to Questions

  • seeker

    Is there any bible student gatherings near Ohio. Or near Florida or the Carolinas?

  • LizBeth

    @Maria & Jaqueline
    I was under the impression that JW’s abstaining from secular holidays was because of their pagan origins.

    This is fron orginofchristmas.com
    Origin of Christmas – The Traditions and Controversies
    For today’s Christian, the origin of Christmas is, and should be, the birth of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible. Nothing more and nothing less. However, most of what we witness on December 25th each year has absolutely nothing to do with that blessed day, which probably occurred in late summer or early fall about 2,000 years ago. In fact, most of the customs and traditions of Christmas actually pre-date the birth of Jesus, and many of them are downright deceptive in their meaning and origin. Here are a few examples:

    The date of December 25th probably originated with the ancient “birthday” of the son-god, Mithra, a pagan deity whose religious influence became widespread in the Roman Empire during the first few centuries A.D. Mithra was related to the Semitic sun-god, Shamash, and his worship spread throughout Asia to Europe where he was called Deus Sol Invictus Mithras. Rome was well-known for absorbing the pagan religions and rituals of its widespread empire. As such, Rome converted this pagan legacy to a celebration of the god, Saturn, and the rebirth of the sun god during the winter solstice period. The winter holiday became known as Saturnalia and began the week prior to December 25th. The festival was characterized by gift-giving, feasting, singing and downright debauchery, as the priests of Saturn carried wreaths of evergreen boughs in procession throughout the Roman temples.

    Variations of this pagan holiday flourished throughout the first few centuries after Jesus Christ, but it probably wasn’t until 336 AD that Emperor Constantine officially converted this pagan tradition into the “Christian” holiday of Christmas.

    Since the bible says regarding false religion (including ancient pagan religion) at Rev 18:4, 8 “And I heard another voice out of heaven say: “Get out of her, my people, if YOU do not want to share with her in her sins, and if YOU do not want to receive part of her plagues. That is why in one day her plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because Jehovah God, who judged her, is strong.” It’s obvious we should have nothing to do with it.

    • Jacqueline

      Hello Liz,
      I agree with you, JW do feel that the origin and the paganism of some of the holidays are objectionable.
      But they are not consistant. Birthdays versus Wedding Anniversary celebration for instance.
      That is why I chose not to try and give an explanation for their belief. It might have changed since I last attended in August of 2009.
      There is however a booklet printed by JW that answers Maria’s questions. I don’t have perhaps the latest one. Also for me personally I couldn’t celebrate most holidays, all of my family are witnesses. I don’t really have a desire to celebrate, being reared a witness all of my life for over 60 years. However in Maria’s case I think she should have the opportunity to see what the witneses say on the matter. It will answer her question. I do know what they say, but it might have changed. I will not enrich the commercial giants pockets personally. I do however wrap and give gifts to my family and grandchildren on special events in their lives and just for fun. Nice hearing from you.

  • Peter K. (admin)

    SweetPeas – Thanks for sharing. I think we can all sense that your comments reflect some deep personal trials, experiences and learning that have elevated your character to wiser judgment, more patience with others and submission to Jehovah’s will in the learning experiences He brings to you. However, although in a sense the journey is alone, in a healthy body (Church), “every joint supplies” (Eph 4:16)

    Rom 15:1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2 Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. NASV

    My prayer is that you may find more joy, strength and encouragement from your brethren in Christ.

  • SweetPeas

    I think all of us are imperfect and striving to do our best as we know how and that Almighty God Jehovah cares for us deeply. I think each individual’s personal journey through life causes many injuries (figuratively speaking) and in our natural inclination to self-preserve we do what we think is best at the time. Only Jehovah God knows all of our vulnerabilities and each individual’s challenges, some of which, we may never surpass. It helps so much to not take things, anything, personally, and to keep one’s perspective and humility. Humility is not Humiliation. Never forget that. The humble one will be exalted. In the end, my journey is alone with myself and my Creator; as it is for every one. Peace.

  • Peter K. (admin)

    Maria – Here is a translation of Jacqueline’s comments:
    Hola Maria y bienvenida,
    Lo creas o no tu pregunta es una de las más difíciles de contestar. Si tratamos, por ejemplo, para explicar por qué los testigos no celebran cumpleaños. Los cumpleaños se menciona en la Biblia dos veces y alguien perdido allí la vida en cada ocasión.
    Génesis 40:20 Faraón, el cumpleaños de los oficiales administrativos y el jefe de los panaderos fue ejecutado.
    Matt 14:9-11 Herodes, el cumpleaños de AOS y Juan el Bautista fue decapitado.

    Según el, Äúgoverning cuerpo, la Unión Africana, debemos prestar atención a las inclinaciones de Jehová que estas escrituras demuestra que está en contra de la celebración de los cumpleaños.

    No se dan cuenta, no ven el momento, se trataba de José y cómo él pasó por muchas pruebas a fin de prepararlo para el trabajo futuro de ser un primer ministro que preserve a Israel en una época de hambruna y en última instancia, el linaje de Jesús fue la ingesta.
    Él no estaba hablando acerca de la celebración de cumpleaños.

    En cuanto a Juan, él fue uno, Äúlesser uno en el reino, la Unión Africana, porque tenemos la noticia de su muerte antes de que Cristo pagó el rescate.
    Él no estaba hablando de cumpleaños.
    Así que ya ves si trato de explicar por qué los testigos no celebran días de fiesta, voy a parecer ridículo.

    Romanos capítulo decimocuarto sin embargo me impediría la celebración de fiestas ahora, porque todos mis familiares son testigos y no voy a poner una piedra de tropiezo ANTES DE MI HERMANO.

    El órgano rector enseña que porque somos diferentes en todo, desde todo el mundo, que demuestra que somos Dios, la gente administrativos y operacionales. Por lo tanto, es más acerca de ser diferente a la realidad de la esclavitud posible y el costo de las vacaciones y la codicia comercial, etc
    Personalmente, no respalda ni condenar lo que otros hacen en relación a la celebración de las fiestas. Gal.4 :8-10 está hablando del código de la ley, pero como nunca he celebrado días festivos lo aplico a mí. El sitio web oficial de los testigos, o de un testigo que viene a tu puerta, cualquiera de ellos sería capaz de darle un pequeño folleto que explica su posición sobre las vacaciones.

    Espero sinceramente me ayudó de alguna manera a responder a su pregunta. Fui testigo de 61yrs y ese es mi punto de vista sobre el tema. Una vez más ¡BIENVENIDO!

    Gracias, En Cristo

  • Jacqueline

    Hello Maria and WELCOME,
    Believe or not your question is one of the most difficult ones to answer. If we tried for instance to explain why witnesses do not celebrate birthdays. Birthdays are mentioned in the bible twice and someone lost there life on each occasion.
    Gen. 40:20 Pharaoh’s birthday and the chief of the bakers was executed.
    Matt 14:9-11 Herod’s birthday and John the baptist was beheaded.

    According to the “governing body”, we should listen to the leanings of Jehovah that these scriptures proves he is against celebration of birthdays.

    They fail to realize, they miss the point, it was about Joseph and how he went through many trials to prepare him for the work ahead of being a prime minister that would preserve Israel in a time of famine and ultimately Jesus lineage was intake.

    Concerning John, He was a “lesser one in the kingdom”, because we have the report of his death before Christ paid the ransom.
    He was not talking about birthdays.
    So you see if I try to explain why Witnesses do not celebrate holidays, I will sound ridiculous.

    Romans 14th chapter however would stop me from celebrating holidays now, because all of my relatives are Witnesses and I WILL NOT PUT A STUMBLING BLOCK BEFORE MY BROTHER.

    The governing body teaches that because we are different in everything from everyone else, that proves we are God’s people. So it is more about being different than about the reality of the possible enslavement and expense of holidays and commercial greed etc.
    I personally do not endorse or condemn what others do in regard to celebration of holidays. Gal.4:8-10 is speaking of the law code, but since I never celebrated holidays I apply it to me. The official website of the witnesses, or a witness coming to your door, either would be able to give you a little booklet that explains their position on Holidays.

    I sincerely hope I helped in some way to answer your question. I was a witness for 61yrs and that is my view on the subject. Again WELCOME!

    Thank you, In Christ

  • María Vázquez

    ¿ Porqué los testigos de Jehová no festejan las fiestas patrías ?
    Translated: Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses not celebrate the holidays in their country?

  • LL

    On point number 4, Bro. Peter, I’ve got to respond. I don’t think that because Eve was deceived, that that implies that women are more easily deceived than men. Obviously, she was, but I don’t see how that verse could force a generality.

    That said, however, I’d like to give the woman’s perspective on why she shouldn’t teach in the Church. The Lord set up the hierarchy of God over Christ over man and man over woman for the order and structure in the Church. What a forum for discipline and humility! We are privileged to be living examples of the relationship between Christ and the Church. As women, we adopt and maintain a submissive character and demeanor in order to demonstrate the submissiveness of the Church to her Bridegroom. By daily living this example, all are blessed. Certainly the woman is blessed because she has the opportunity to remind herself constantly of the beauty of the Bridegroom’s watchcare over the 144,000 of the Little Flock. The brothers are blessed because they must learn to lead as Christ did, with great humility and gentleness.

    The members of the Church are also told to submit one to another (1 Pet. 5:5). I think this must be very much more difficult for men who must learn to submit to all, yet lead when so elected.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share.

  • Peter K. (admin)

    Great questions. Everyone is welcome to contribute their answers. Let me start.
    First of all you said “scripturally speaking.” This is getting us off to a great start because you want answers from the Bible. I hope I succeed in doing this, but that is for you to judge.

    1. Can a Christian drink Alcohol
    The Bible tells us not to associate with a drunkard (1 Cor 5:11) and that drunkards won’t inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:10). But the Bible permits us to drink wine as long as we don’t get drunk. Jesus drank wine and was falsely accused of being a drunkard (Luke 7:34). He drank wine at the last supper (Mark 14:23). As a matter of fact, Jesus’ first miracle was to turn water into wine (John 4:46). The Apostle Paul advised Timothy to drink wine for his stomach’s sake. (1 Tim 5:23). There’s more scriptures we could look at, but hopefully this is sufficient to answer your question.

    2. Can a Christian marry more than one wife
    Not legally according to the law, but what about according to the Scriptures?

    In Matt 19:5, Jesus quoted Jehovah’s original intent from Genesis saying, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Then Jesus continued in verse 6 saying “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” So according to Jesus, Jehovah’s original intent in marriage was that one man and one woman be joined together as one flesh. In the new testament, we do not see examples of a Christian man marrying more than one wife. The Apostle Paul instructed that elders and deacons should be the husband of only one wife (1 Tim 3:2,12).

    So we feel that the best advice and highest ideal of one husband, one wife and common children produced from that one union.

    Why then do we have examples of polygamy (more than one wife) in the Old Testament? First notice that many of these types of marriages turned into soap operas in terms of the jealousy and fighting that resulted as in the competition between Sarah and Hagar or between Leah and Rachael. But that being said, notice that Jehovah never endorsed Polygamy, however he did permit it.

    Why did Jehovah permit Polygamy? In Biblical times, a woman could not go out on her own and earn a living. In order to avoid a meager life, she had to depend on the financial resources of a husband. It seems to me that Jehovah might have permitted polygamy so that more woman would have better options for living a decent life under the care, protection and wealth of a husband of means. I don’t have a direct scriptural statement on this, but this reasoning makes the most sense to me.

    3. Are Women among the 144,000 chosen and anointed Christians
    There is no scripture in the Bible that excludes women from the 144,000. All new creatures in Christ Jesus (male and female) are running in the same race for the same prize (144,000) – 1 Cor 9:24. Women labored with the Apostle Paul in the Gospel (Phil 4:3), just like men. In Gal 3:28, Paul says, “…there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

    4. Is the ordination of women as church leaders, shepherding both male and feamale adherents a biblical practice
    This is a very controversial topic, so I do not expect everyone to agree with my comments, and I will keep them brief. In the Old Testament you have the example of Deborah being a prophetess and a judge. However in the New Testament, there is no example of a woman holding the office of Elder, Pastor or Shepherd of the flock. All the Apostles, Elders, Pastors, etc. were men.

    We read in 1Ti 2:11-3:1 – “11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint. 3:1 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.” (NAS95)

    The point of this passage is that in the context of teaching the Church, women are not to be the teachers, but are to receive instruction. This does not mean that a women cannot comment in a Bible study, testimony meeting or other group discussion activity. Women are only not permitted to speak in the Church if they are not wearing a head covering – 1 Cor 11:5 – otherwise they should not speak. The head covering is a sign of acknowledging the authority of the messenger (Pastor) 1 Cor 11:10.

    Paul’s point in 1 Tim 2:14 about the women being “deceived” is his teaching that a woman might be more likely to be emotionally swayed, which on average would make a man better suited to be an objective spiritual leader.

    5. Can a Christian bow the knees to man in worship?
    No. I hope these scriptures will help.

    Mt 4:8-10 – “8 Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9 and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”” (NAS95)

    Mt 23:1-11 – “1 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 3 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. 4 “They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. 5 “But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6 “They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. 8 “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 “Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11 “But the greatest among you shall be your servant.” (NAS95)

  • Jonadab

    No sentiments, Scripturally speaking:
    1. Can a Christian drink Alcohol
    2. Can a Christian marry more than one wife
    3. Are Women among the 144,000 chosen and anointed christians
    4. Is the ordination of women as church leaders, shepherding both male and feamale adherents a biblical practice
    5. Can a christian bow the knees to man in worship

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