QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
On August 19, 2012, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“Thank you for this site. I have a query after much searching. We are told the Lord Jesus returned in 1918 era. On his return he told the saints the Society were the only true Christians in their beliefs. Yet at that point in time the Society were believing that Jesus returned in 1874!! Am I correct in my assumption?”
To the author, thank you for your inquiry and your words of appreciation. It means a great deal to us. As for your question, we believe your question could better be answered by the Society since these dates and interpretations originate with them.
Please note also, that we refrain from answering questions pertaining to the fulfillment of prophecy because, frankly, we have not yet been given any information that would make our comments of any value. I hope you understand. However, we can remind you what is written in the book of Revelation:
"Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, and those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief because of him. Yes, Amen.”
– Revelation 1:7
Given the confusion about Jesus’ return, it does not appear that ‘every eye’ saw him return in the 1918 era. Thus, we consider the 1918, 1914, or 1874 interpretations as inconsistent with actual events.
We do know that the Society points to the parable at Matthew 24:45-47 as the basis for their assertion that all of Jesus’ belongings on earth were given to the Society at Christ’s return in either 1914 or 1918. What the Society has done, which we believe is an error, is to turn Jesus’ parable (which is not an allegory) into a prophecy.
A parable is an illustration used to make a certain point. An allegory is an illustration where every element has a specific meaning. Jesus did not give allegories; he gave parables. It is also important to note that Jesus’ parables were not prophecies. They were object lessons on how to apply Jesus’ teachings and how to live our lives. So in looking at the parables of the masters’ return in Matthew 24:45-47 and Matthew 25:14-17, we ask ourselves “What is the point Jesus was trying to make?”
We believe the point of both parables is simply that the master would reward his faithful servants when he arrives. The one who was faithful in his use of the ‘talents’ was given more talents. The one who was faithful in feeding the domestics was given more responsibility over the household. The point is that those who are faithful will be rewarded. All will reap what they sow. We see no other prophetic implication.
Like you, we find it unlikely that Jesus would have designated the very small number of people associated with the then-known Bible Students, out of millions of Christians worldwide, as the only true Christians on earth. Especially since hindsight reveals they did not have accurate beliefs at that time, as is evidenced by their frequent re-interpretation of prophecy and repeated doctrinal changes.
Instead, it appears to us that the Society was a fledgling association that was finding its way. As with any babe, it would stumble and fall many times. Even now, it does not yet appear that the Society is fully upright. We hope to effect a positive change in its stature by encouraging a return to the unfiltered, plain and open teachings of Jesus.
We hope this response was sufficient. If not, please feel free to contact us again.
On August 3, 2012, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“Do you believe that the Father is part of a trinity?”
To the author, thank you for your inquiry. This question arises in response to an article we published “Heavenly Contemplations – Part III – Unfolding the Universe.” As a preliminary matter, as the title indicates, the ideas proffered in the article are for our individual contemplation. So a better question is: “Do YOU believe that the Father is part of a trinity” in light of what we present in the article, including the Bible references? The article is not meant as doctrine or dogma, just food for thought. It is the freedom allowed all sons of God (Romans 8:21) – freedom of thought and speech being implicit in that relationship.
“So he remained for an entire two years in his own hired house, and he would kindly receive all those who came in to him, preaching the kingdom of God to them and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with the greatest freeness of speech, without hindrance.”
– Acts 28:30-31
“[This was] to the end that now to the governments and the authorities in the heavenly places there might be made known through the congregation the greatly diversified wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose that he formed in connection with the Christ, Jesus our Lord, by means of whom we have this freeness of speech and an approach with confidence through our faith in him.”
– Ephesians 3:10-12
“Beloved ones, if [our] hearts do not condemn [us], we have freeness of speech toward God.”
– 1 John 3:21
When we exercise our freeness of speech with love and wisdom, we have nothing to fear:
“And we ourselves have come to know and have believed the love that God has in our case. God is love, and he that remains in love remains in union with God and God remains in union with him. This is how love has been made perfect with us, that we may have freeness of speech in the day of judgment, because, just as that one is, so are we ourselves in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love throws fear outside, because fear exercises a restraint. Indeed, he that is under fear has not been made perfect in love. As for us, we love, because he first loved us.”
– 1 John 4:16-19
As such, we encourage all of our visitors to have an open mind, especially toward heavenly and divine things of which we can only speculate without a further divine revelation. We are ever mindful of the counsel:
“Keep your minds fixed on the things above, not on the things upon the earth.”
– Colossians 3:2
Having said that, we will answer your question, while exercising our great freeness of speech.
We certainly believe Jesus is not a part of a Trinity. Our reading of the Bible makes that pretty clear to us. But the question of whether the Father is a part of a Trinity is another matter. Many of our Christian brothers firmly believe that the Father is. Whereas, our reading of the Bible does not provide an answer to that question either way.
Our point is: Why would we condemn a doctrine as false when we have no basis to do so? We think it far wiser to remain open, or at the very least neutral, under circumstance like these. We see no harm in remaining open or neutral since we have found nothing in the Bible that conflicts with the doctrine, so long as we remove Jesus Christ from the equation.
On the other hand, we see tremendous benefit in remaining at least neutral, namely Christian unity. A lot of the schisms, sects and divisions in Christianity exist because of misunderstood or unprovable ideas and theories. Accordingly, those who base their belief systems on the Bible should be cautious in this regard.
Remember the first century Jews. They based their belief system on not only the Law of Moses, but also on the burdensome, unauthorized teachings of their scribes. And it is these extra, man-made teachings that caused the majority of the Jews to reject the Christ. Jesus pointed attention to this error when he said:
“You hypocrites, Isaiah aptly prophesied about you, when he said, ‘This people honors me with their lips, yet their heart is far removed from me. It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they teach commands of men as doctrines.’”
– Matthew 15:8-9
Thus, we see the need to remain open, or at least neutral, when it comes to matters we cannot prove right or wrong. And so we do.
We hope we have adequately answered your question.