QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
On September 13, 2013, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“I have a question. Are there any brothers in Florida around my area? Those who have learned the truth of the sonship? If so, where? If you can’t tell me, I understand.”
To the author, you ask a very good question. However, we have not as yet provided a means to introduce brothers through this website. It seems that some with impure motives could take advantage of that freedom and cause problems for those who attend meetings at Kingdom Halls. We would hate to be a party to that. So, we are trying to find a way to make that possible without compromising our brothers’ privacy. When we figure that out, we will let you know. And we are certainly open to suggestions.
In the meantime, you can find such brothers on your own or you can develop them yourself. That is what the ministry is all about. As you put yourself out there, you will become a magnet to other like minded brothers and sisters. In the article Defending Our Living Hope, we shared the experience of a congregation of 345 partakers. What we did not share is that this brotherhood of like minded sons of God grew out of our contact with one individual.
Here is how it happened. Our brother was volunteering at a homeless shelter and met a young man who had been undergoing various trials. After learning more about the young man’s circumstances, our brother shared with him the sacred secret of sonship and discovered he was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. The young man was directed to the website and he was so inspired by the information that he shared the website with his mother. She, in turn, shared it with her Congregation Coordinator; the Congregation Coordinator shared it with the body of elders, and the rest is history.
In another experience, our brother shared the hope and the website with a man who owned a video rental store. About a month later, the man moved to Mexico for family reasons, and began sharing the website with others. Within a few months, his efforts grew into an association of brothers and sisters numbering close to 100. He writes us occasionally with thrilling updates of the faith of those new sons of the kingdom.
Both of these fellowships grew from speaking to one individual. We are certain that many of the visitors here can attest to the value of making one meaningful contact. These types of experiences can be duplicated anywhere. This is the intent of the Christ. He said:
“You will receive power when the holy spirit arrives upon you, and you will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth.”
– Acts 1:8
This directive was fulfilled principally through the scattering of the brothers from Jerusalem. They went off individually or as families in different directions, some traveling as far as Africa. And these lone brothers, or lone Christian families, developed fellowships in the communities in which they found themselves.
The true ministry is not just fellowshiping. It involves reconciling others to God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20) Thus, true harvesting comes through ‘pioneering’ new areas where the good news has not yet penetrated. And not just geographically, but spiritually. Your own community is likely virgin territory to the sacred secret of sonship!
We were pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to start conversations about sonship with even strangers. The good news, as Jesus taught it, is so appealing to the spirit when it is unencumbered with proselytizing to a particular religious group. In other words, when you share the good news and allow the listener to decide how they choose to respond to it, you will have so much more success than if you told them they had to come to your church or change to your religion in order to be saved. As Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, the Father is not looking to see at which ‘mountain’ you worship. He is looking for those who worship with spirit and truth:
“Jesus said to her: ‘Believe me, woman, The hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you people worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, because salvation originates with the Jews. Nevertheless, the hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshipers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for, indeed, the Father is looking for suchlike ones to worship him. God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.”
– John 4:21-24
A fellowship is a base for mutual encouragement. Until you develop a fellowship, we are here for you. However, the real ministry is out in the field:
“Then he said to his disciples: ‘Yes, the harvest is great, but the workers are few. Therefore, beg the Master of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.’”
– Matthew 9:37-38
The good news begins as a small mustard seed. Once the seed is planted, it takes on a life of its own and grows into a large tree where many will find shelter. Perhaps you might be able to plant seeds and to spark a fire of sonship in your area. If you do, please share your experiences with us so we can post them for the encouragement of the entire fellowship. And, of course, if you have any suggestions on how we can discreetly introduce visitors of like minds, please do not hesitate to share those ideas with us.
In the meantime, as we often say, there is a large field under cultivation. Pick a spot!
On September 12, 2013, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“Hey brothers! I was just following up on a further question about obeisance versus worship. There's a scripture in the [New Testament] where someone does "obeisance" to either Peter or Paul and he says "rise, I myself am just a man". Why would Peter (or Paul) tell them this unless this was an act devoted to worship and not merely just an act of respect? Either the Society has placed the wrong word here or obeisance must have a higher importance than just respect. Your thoughts? Hope all is well!"
To the author, it is good to hear from you again. We will address your specific question below, but first, the question you ask gives us an opportunity to explain something very important.
You know that the Bible writers were not scholars. They were ordinary common place men who were writing to the best of their ability. They were not giving a lesson in theology; they were conveying a message to their audience. Their message was inspired of God, but it is not the infallible word of God. Jesus is the word of God. (John 1:1,14) We discuss this in much more detail in the article Is The Good News Really From God?
As such, we do not believe it is necessary to dissect each individual word used by the writers as a means to gain an understanding of its meaning. It is likely the words were used and understood according to the common usage of the day rather than the way a scholar or linguist might use or understand it.
Think of how many times you, or someone you know, has used the wrong word while trying to convey a certain meaning. The listener understood exactly what was meant because of the context. However, if those words were recorded, someone of a later generation might not clearly understand the meaning. And if they looked up the misplaced word, they might come away with a far different meaning that what was intended. Remember slang and colloquialisms are not uniquely modern creations!
Here is a crude example: Suppose someone wrote “After work, I’m going to the crib.” A person of the 21st century would understand that to mean the person was going home after they left their place of employment. But if those words were read 2,000 years from now, a debate might arise as to whether that was proof that infants in the 21st century had jobs!
Really, it is not at all unusual that the same word is used to convey two different meanings. The key is to consider the word in the context of the surrounding words – looking for the substance of what was being communicated. This way, you will have much greater success at understanding the original writer or speaker’s intent.
Accordingly, if indeed your goal is to understand the meaning of the word used in the scripture you are concerned about, we believe it would be much better for you to consider the context of the scripture rather than seeking the etymology or lexicology of one word. And then make sure the understanding you take away is consistent with the plain and open teachings of Jesus.
To your question, the scripture you are referring to states:
“As Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell down at his feet and did obeisance to him. But Peter lifted him up, saying: “Rise; I myself am also a man.”
– Acts 10:25-26
The context reveals that Cornelius, an Italian army officer, was a very devout man who “made many gifts of mercy to the people and made supplication to God continually.” (Acts 10:2) Prior to meeting with Peter, an angel appeared to him with instructions to summon Peter to his presence. The account says that Cornelius was frightened but he obeyed. (Acts 10:3-8) When Peter arrived, Cornelius thought to give Peter great honor. Imagine what you would have done if you were in Cornelius’ shoes. And angel appeared to you and told you to see a certain man. You would expect this man to be someone of unusual importance so when he arrived, you would likely grant him unusual honor. Thus, we can see that the ‘obeisance’ done to Peter, whether we refer to it as worship or undue respect, it was inappropriate. Peter let Cornelius know that he would not accept such an extreme gesture. We believe this is the meaning we should take away from the verse.
So you see, we were able to respond to your question without resorting to etymology or lexicology. But since you already knew the meaning, your question about the word ‘obeisance’ arises as purely an academic exercise. For our part, we refrain from those matters since they merely “furnish questions for research rather than a dispensing of anything by God in connection with faith.” (1 Timothy 1:4) Please keep this in mind as you continue your study of the Bible.
Our suggestion to you is to be more concerned with meanings and values than with lexicology and etymology. One does not need to be a Biblical scholar to understand the plain and open teachings of Jesus.
On September 6, 2013, we received the following inquiry:
“Hello, could you tell me if you are a breakaway from the organization or are these just new scrolls now being understood, also what does Elaia Luchnia mean, thank you.”
To the author, thank you for your email and for visiting our site. We suspect others have asked one or two of these questions, so we respond privately and publicly.
You asked: “Could you tell me if you are a breakaway from the organization.” No, we are not a breakaway group, nor are we encouraging such. We are simply working to uplift the spiritual conversation worldwide among all followers of Christ Jesus by showing from the Bible that we are all sons of God and heirs to the kingdom of the heavens.
“You are all, in fact, sons of God through your faith in Christ Jesus.”
– Galatians 3:26
“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery causing fear again, but you received a spirit of adoption as sons, by which spirit we cry out: “Abba, Father!” The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children. If, then, we are children, we are also heirs: heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ, provided we suffer together that we may also be glorified together.”
– Romans 8:15-17
We were tutored by the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society for over 30 years. Thus, we have a special fondness for the worldwide association of Jehovah’s Witnesses, though we recognize that their message is a bit off track. But we do not believe the solution lies in leaving the organization or forming a new sect, and we are definitely not seeking followers after ourselves. It is our hope that when our brothers realize their true relationship with Jehovah, they will be spiritually built up so that they can be bright lights to others in the congregation as sons of God, not slaves to men.
You asked: “Are these just new scrolls now being understood.” You will notice that the support for every article on our site is the Bible. Our thinking is that before our generation is ready for any new scrolls, we must first understand the old one. So much of Christ’s original teachings have been submerged under so much manmade dogma that Christianity as a whole has lost its way. There is a need to return to the authentic, actual, plain and open teachings of Jesus. Once the superfluous baggage of the ideas of man are stripped away from Christ’s teachings, perhaps then our generation will be ready for new scrolls.
And you asked: “What does Elaia Luchnia mean.” At the end of most of our articles, we sign off “Elaia Luchnia” which means “olive trees and lampstands.” It is taken from the 4th chapter of Zechariah where the prophet speaks of Two Witnesses. We chose that designation because there are indeed two of us and we are certainly bearing witness to the Father and his Christ, and are trying to be a source of illumination to the congregations and to the world. Practically every Christian picks a name from the Bible that serves to identify what they do. So have we. And, before you ask, we know that the book of Revelation makes reference to Two Witnesses, but whether we are part of the symbolic drama of Revelation is a matter far beyond our knowledge.
We hope we have sufficiently responded to your questions. However, if you have any other comments or questions about any of the information on our site, please do not hesitate to write us again.