Chapter 5. Teaching about man

Autor's: Włodzimierz Bednarski
Szymon Matusiak

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Chapter 5. Teaching about man


Immortal soul


When the doctrine of the immortal soul was introduced?


Fourth century


By the fourth century, the false doctrine of the Trinity had infiltrated the congregations. During this same period, the idea of an immortal soul was being adopted. (Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand! 1988, 2006 p. 30).


Third century


Indeed, the evidence we have seen, of the cult of the dead and of the martyrs and of the idea of an immortal soul, is eloquent testimony, not of faith based on the teachings of Jesus, but rather of the strong pagan influence already present among apostate Roman Christians in the second to the fourth centuries of our Common Era. (Awake! August 8, 1995 p. 20).


Second century


The vast majority of the churches of Christendom still teach such doctrines as immortal soul, Trinity and others, which filtered into apostate Christianity from the second century C.E. from Greek philosophy. (The Watchtower May 15, 1978 p. 27).


First century


Why, then, were many first-century Jews, such as the Zealots at Masada, so convinced of the immortality of the soul? (The Watchtower August 1, 1996 p. 5).


Both the Essenes and the Pharisees adopted the Grecian doctrine of the immortality of the soul. Differing from them in not believing in an afterlife were the Sadducees. (The Watchtower September 15, 1983 p. 16).


Clement of Rome, of the first century C.E. (...) He wrote:

“Let us set before our eyes the illustrious apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labours; and when he had at length suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. Owing to envy, Paul also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects.” (The Watchtower November 1, 1972 p. 670).


The First Letter of clement to the Corinthians, section 5, reads: “. . . Let us place before our eyes the good Apostles. Peter, by unjust envy, underwent not one or two but many labours; and thus having borne testimony unto death he went unto the place of glory which was due to him. Through envy, Paul obtained the reward of patience. Seven times was he in bonds; he was scourged; was stoned. He preached both in the east and in the west, leaving behind him the glorious report of his faith. And thus, having taught the whole world righteousness, and reached the furthest extremity of the west, he suffered martyrdom, by the command of the governors, and departed out of this world, and went to the holy place, having become a most exemplary pattern of patience.” (The Watchtower March 1, 1966 p. 154).


Who originated the teaching of the immortal soul?


Satan introduced the doctrine of the immortal soul


(...) at Genesis 3:4: “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die .” Thus it is seen that the serpent (the Devil) is the one that originated the doctrine of the inherent immortality of human souls. (“Let God Be True” 1952 pp. 74-75).


Satan did not introduce the doctrine of the immortal soul


Satan, as the father of the lie (...) However, it does not seem that we can construe his remarks to Eve as teaching the immortality of a soul separate and distinct from the body, but rather that he led her to believe that even in the flesh she would not die at all. (The Watchtower September 15, 1957 p. 575).


Satan introduced the doctrine of the immortal soul


The Bible also exposes the chief instigator of the immortal soul and reincarnation doctrines; he is Satan the Devil, “the father of the lie.”—John 8:44; compare Genesis 3:4. (The Watchtower November 15, 1990 p. 28).


The Bible does not specify who introduced the doctrine of the immortal soul

Reasonably, then, who invented the idea that a spirit part of man survives the death of the body? As we have already seen, this is not what God’s Word says. (Reasoning From the Scriptures 1989 p. 101).


The evildoer in paradise and punctuation


Punctuation introduced in the fifteenth century


That makes the text appear as though Jesus positively said to the thief : 'You shall go to paradise today.' There were no punctuation marks in those days. Such marks were first used in the fifteenth century. (Heaven and Purgatory 1931 p. 25).


Punctuation introduced in the sixteenth century C.E.


The solution lies in correct punctuation. Jesus was on that day telling the repentant evildoer that at some future time he would be in Paradise. That is in harmony with the rest of the Scriptures. But may one change the punctuation? Most certainly. Why? Because punctuation was unknown when the Bible was written, it being systematized first in the sixteenth century of our Common Era. So it is up to the Bible translator to supply the punctuation, and reason would indicate that any text that can be punctuated in more ways than one be punctuated so as to make the text in harmony with the rest of the Bible (Awake! June 8, 1973 p. 7).


Punctuation introduced in the fourth century C.E.


(...) Origen quoted Jesus as saying: “Today you will be with me in God’s Paradise.” In the fourth century C.E., church writers argued against placing a punctuation mark after “today.” (The Watchtower October 15, 1991 p. 29).


Punctuation introduced in the ninth century C.E.


Not until the 9th century C.E. did such punctuation come into use. Should Luke 23:43 read, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (RS), or should it be, ‘Truly I say to you today, You will be with me in Paradise’? (Reasoning From the Scriptures 1989 p. 288).


Lazarus and the rich man


Lazarus symbolizes “the Gentiles of earth” and rich man represents “the nation of Israel”


The rich man symbolizes or represents the nation of Israel. The beggar, Lazarus, symbolizes or represents the Gentiles of earth who for a long time were without God and without hope, and who desired to be in harmony with God. (Hell—What Is It? Who Are There? Can They Get Out? 1924 p. 31).


Lazarus symbolizes “the people of good will (...) »great multitude«”, while rich man represents „evil servant, the man of sin”


RICH MAN : The “evil servant”, “the man of sin,” “the son of perdition,” (...) BEGGAR LAZARUS: The people of good will, who are also pictured by Jonadab and Jonathan and others, and who seek the Lord, and which class ultimately form the “great multitude”. (The Watchtower December 15, 1939 p. 371).


Lazarus symbolizes the poor people “of Jews then and of Christendom now”, and the rich man represents a class of privileged Jews then and a similar class of people now


Since Jesus uttered his words directly to the Jews, the rich man pictures first a class among them with privileges and advantages like those described. In the final application of the parable in our own day, he pictures a similar class now, the counterpart of that in Jesus’ day. (...) The beggar Lazarus therefore pictures the poor people, of the Jews then and of Christendom now. (The Watchtower February 15, 1951 pp. 114, 118).


Lazarus symbolizes the “faithful remnant of the »body of Christ«” since A.D. 1919 (1918), and the rich man represents “the ultraselfish class of the clergy of Christendom”


By this parable Jesus uttered a prophecy which has been undergoing its modern fulfillment since A.D. 1919. It has its application to two classes existing on earth today. The rich man represents the ultraselfish class of the clergy of Christendom, who are now afar off from God and dead to his favor and service and tormented by the Kingdom truth proclaimed. (...) Lazarus depicts the faithful remnant of the “body of Christ” (“Let God Be True” 1952 p. 98).


The earlier edition of the above book contains the year 1918 instead of 1919 (See „Let God Be True” 1946 p. 79).


Lazarus symbolizes the “the common people who accepted God’s Son,” and the rich man represents “self-important religious leaders”


The rich man in the illustration stood for the self-important religious leaders who rejected Jesus and later killed him. Lazarus pictured the common people who accepted God’s Son. (You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth 1989 p. 88-89).


Paradise from 2 Corinthians 12:4


Paradise from 2 Corinthians 12:4 is an earthly paradise


Which is in the [midst of the] Paradise of God. — “(...) It is this same Paradise of the future on this earth that our Lord referred to when addressing the penitent thief, and that is elsewhere referred to as 'the third heaven' — ‘new heavens and a new earth.’ (2 Cor. 12:2, 4; 2 Pet. 3:13.)" — Z. '01-198. (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 27).


Paradise from 2 Corinthians 12:4 is a “spiritual paradise” (teaching since 1949)


12:1-4—Who “was caught away into paradise”? (...) What the apostle envisioned was likely the spiritual paradise enjoyed by the Christian congregation in “the time of the end.”—Dan. 12:4. (The Watchtower July 15, 2008 p. 28).

See The Watchtower June 15, 1949 pp. 187-190.


Paradise from 2 Corinthians 12:4 is “physical, spiritual and heavenly” (teaching from 2015)


We find Paul’s vision described at 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 (Read.) What Paul saw in a supernatural vision was referred to as a revelation. It involved a future event, not something that existed in his day. When Paul “was caught away to the third heaven,” what “paradise” did he see? The paradise that Paul spoke about would have a physical, a spiritual, and a heavenly fulfillment, all of which will coexist in the future. It can refer to the physical, earthly Paradise yet to come. (Luke 23:43) It can also refer to the spiritual paradise that will be experienced to the full in the new world. Additionally, it can refer to the blessed conditions in heaven in “the paradise of God.”— Rev. 2:7. (The Watchtower July 15, 2015 p. 8).


Paradise from Revelation 2:7


Paradise from Revelation 2:7 is an earthly paradise


Which is in the [midst of the] Paradise of God. — “(...) It is this same Paradise of the future on this earth that our Lord referred to when addressing the penitent thief, and that is elsewhere referred to as 'the third heaven' — ‘new heavens and a new earth.’ (2 Cor. 12:2, 4; 2 Pet. 3:13.)" — Z. '01-198. (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 27).


Paradise from Revelation 2:7 is in heaven (teaching probably since 1949)


2:7—What is “the paradise of God”? Since these words are addressed to anointed Christians, the paradise here must refer to the paradisaic heavenly realm—the very presence of God himself. (The Watchtower January 15, 2009 p. 31).

See The Watchtower. June 15, 1949 pp. 189-190.




Heart understood literally


The Bible does not speak of a symbolic or spiritual heart in contradistinction to the fleshly or literal heart, just as it does not speak of a symbolic mind, and thus we do not want to make the mistake of viewing the literal heart as merely a fleshly pump as does orthodox physiology today. Most psychiatrists and psychologists tend to overcategorize the mind and allow for little if any influence from the fleshly heart, looking upon the word “heart” merely as a figure of speech apart from its use in identifying the organ that pumps our blood. The heart, nevertheless, is intricately connected with the brain by the nervous system and is well supplied with sensory nerve endings. The sensations of the heart are recorded on the brain. It is here that the heart brings to bear on the mind its desires and its affections in arriving at conclusions having to do with motivations. In reverse flow, the mind feeds the heart with interpretations of the impulses from the senses and with conclusions reached that are based on the knowledge it has received, either at the moment or from the memory. There is a close interrelationship between the heart and the mind, but they are two different faculties, centering in different locations. The heart is a marvelously designed muscular pump, but, more significantly, our emotional and motivating capacities are built within it. Love, hate, desire (good and bad), preference for one thing over another, ambition, fear—in effect, all that serves to motivate us in relationship to our affections and desires springs from the heart. (The Watchtower March 1, 1971 p. 134).


Heart understood in symbolic way (teaching since 1984)


But let us look beyond the literal heart of living tissue. As used in the Bible, the heart stands for the seat of motivation and also of the emotions. This is the figurative heart, which actually means our innermost self. At 1 Peter 3:4 it is described as “the secret person of the heart” (NW), “the hidden person of the heart” (Revised Standard Version), “your inner self” (New International Version). So it is with ‘all the heart’ that we are under command to love Jehovah God. (The Watchtower September 1, 1984 p. 12).

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