Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Spiritual Paradise--Present or Future?

"...just knowing certain truths, and even living by them, doesn't make for a spiritual paradise. Having organizational unity and order is not what makes for a spiritual paradise either. What makes for a spiritual paradise is the absolute absence of any corrupting influence or stumbling block of any kind. Such a condition did not exist in the first-century congregation, and neither does it exist today. The only time a spiritual paradise has ever existed on earth was that brief moment in the Garden of Eden before the Devil misled humans into rebellion. Since that time, no such paradise has existed" These are the words of a modern day self proclaimed 'prophet' who has been 'enlightened' with 'the truth about The Truth'. But are his words based on the Biblical evidence? Or just empty twisted words used to support his views that the restoration of God's people has not yet occurred and is yet future. A careful examination of the Bible prophecies and the words of the Apostle Paul will help us recognize the truth about this cleverly concocted 'truth about The Truth'.

Devastated Land Becomes a Paradise

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that we do currently live in a spiritual paradise. This belief is based on the prophecies of the restoration of God's people. We have previously shown, in accord with the WT publications and the Bible, that the restoration of God's people occurred according to the fulfillment of Isaiah 61 in the first century and that the prophetic parallel took place after the arrival of the King, Jesus Christ, in 1914.

From Isaiah 61:4 comes this prophecy fulfilled upon God's restored people: "And they must rebuild the long-standing devastated places; they will raise up even the desolated places of former times, and they will certainly make anew the devastated cities, the places desolate for generation after generation." Do we find similar worded prophecies in the God's word?

Indeed we do. Please take note of Ezekiel 36:33 “This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said, ‘In the day of my cleansing YOU from all YOUR errors I will also cause the cities to be inhabited, and the devastated places must be rebuilt. 34 And the desolated land itself will be cultivated, whereas it had become a desolate waste before the eyes of every passerby. 35 And people will certainly say: “That land yonder which was laid desolate has become like the garden of E´den, and the cities that were a waste and that were laid desolate and that were torn down are fortified; they have become inhabited.” 36 And the nations that will be left remaining round about YOU will have to know that I myself, Jehovah, have built the things torn down, I have planted what has been laid desolate. I myself, Jehovah, have spoken and I have done [it].’

Ah, 'long-standing devastated places', 'the desolated places of former times', 'the devastated cities', 'the places desolate for generation after generation' have 'become like the garden of Eden'. Just as the garden of Eden could be called a paradise literally speaking, in like manner the devastated land of God's people, now spiritually restored, is like a paradise, that is a spiritual paradise. This is what the scriptures say. Any cleverly twisted words and reasonings cannot altar God's word. Is this description of a spiritual garden of Eden or paradise in agreement with the writings of the first century Christians? Let us see.

Spiritual Paradise of the Early Christians

The aforementioned self proclaimed prophet made this bold statement as if it were truth beyond any doubt: "Did such a spiritual paradise exist in the first century among those spirit-anointed apostles and disciples? No" He goes on to reason, "it is evident by reason of the fact that first-century Christians were plagued with all sorts of moral and spiritual problems, the same as we are. They had problems with sexual immorality, sectarianism, and apostasy; there was dissension and disputes about what was correct teaching, and so forth. Some congregations were troubled with petty jealousies, hatreds, and backbiting. There were treacherous, animalistic men who sought to prey upon the innocent vulnerable ones. Paul spoke about the spiritual dangers he faced from false brothers who sneaked into the congregations to spy upon the brothers, and from the satanic charlatans in Corinth whom Paul sarcastically dubbed the super-fine apostles. Those are hardly the conditions of a spiritual paradise." Is this reasoning in accord with the scriptures or is it misleading faulty twisted reasoning meant to undermine the faith of those having doubts? Is his dogmatic statement that there was and is no spiritual paradise among the anointed followers of Christ really in accord with the Bible writers of the first century? And is perfection a requisite for the existence of a spiritual paradise?

Paul makes the connection between the Christian congregation in his day and the restoration prophecy of Isaiah 49. At 2 Cor 6:2 he quotes from the Isaiah prophecy and applies it to the restoration and salvation of God's people in his day. For detailed explanation see:

But of great interest concerning the spiritual paradise is Isaiah 49:10, 11: "They will not go hungry, neither will they go thirsty, nor will parching heat or sun strike them. For the One who is having pity upon them will lead them, and by the springs of water he will conduct them. 11 And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways themselves will be on an elevation."

No hungering, no thirsting, no scorching heat: Life in paradise is well described here and ties in with Revelation 7:15-17 in describing the blessings brought upon the great crowd, "That is why they are before the throne of God; and they are rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple; and the One seated on the throne will spread his tent over them. 16 They will hunger no more nor thirst anymore, neither will the sun beat down upon them nor any scorching heat, 17 because the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them, and will guide them to fountains of waters of life. And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.”

But please take note too of the elevated highways mentioned in verse 11 of Isaiah 49. You are no doubt reminded of the description of paradise and the spiritually elevated Highway of Holiness mentioned in Isaiah 35. Notice specifically Isaiah 35:8,9, "And there will certainly come to be a highway there, even a way; and the Way of Holiness it will be called. The unclean one will not pass over it. And it will be for the one walking on the way, and no foolish ones will wander about [on it]. 9 No lion will prove to be there, and the rapacious sort of wild beasts will not come up on it. None will be found there; and the repurchased ones must walk [there]." By connecting his day to the restoration prophecy of Isaiah 49 where the elevated highways were foretold, it is clear then that the Apostle Paul connected Christians in his day to walking on that spiritually elevated Highway in the spiritual paradise of God's people. No it was not necessary for the Christians in the first century to reach perfection before the prophecy could be fulfilled upon them, anymore than it was necessary for the Jews to reach perfection in 537BCE in order for the restoration prophecies to be fulfilled upon them.

Additionally, please look at what the Apostle Paul said at Ephesians chapter two as regards the spiritual condition of the anointed: "Furthermore, [it is] YOU [God made alive] though YOU were dead in YOUR trespasses and sins, 2 in which YOU at one time walked according to the system of things of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit that now operates in the sons of disobedience. 3 Yes, among them we all at one time conducted ourselves in harmony with the desires of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and the thoughts, and we were naturally children of wrath even as the rest. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, 5 made us alive together with the Christ, even when we were dead in trespasses—by undeserved kindness YOU have been saved— 6 and he raised us up together and seated us together in the heavenly places in union with Christ Jesus,..."

Paul is speaking about the spiritual condition of the anointed ones even before they receive their heavenly reward. God raised them 'together in the heavenly places' even while they are still on earth. Certainly their being raised up to heavenly places while still on earth, even in the imperfect flesh, constitutes a spiritual paradise indeed!

Did Paul believe that perfection must be obtained before a spiritual paradise can exist? No, the Apostle Paul does not agree with the reasoning of the 'prophet/watchman'. How about you? Who do you believe? The Apostle Paul, specifically chosen by Jesus Christ and used by Jehovah God as a writer of much of the Holy Bible? Or the reasoning and baseless statements of a self proclaimed watchman/prophet who has shown himself guilty of double speak and copying the works of others while proclaiming it his own? Please see and

The Spiritual Paradise Described by Isaiah 11

You are probably very familiar with Isaiah 11:6-9. There it says, "And the wolf will actually reside for a while with the male lamb, and with the kid the leopard itself will lie down, and the calf and the maned young lion and the well-fed animal all together; and a mere little boy will be leader over them. 7 And the cow and the bear themselves will feed; together their young ones will lie down. And even the lion will eat straw just like the bull. 8 And the sucking child will certainly play upon the hole of the cobra; and upon the light aperture of a poisonous snake will a weaned child actually put his own hand. 9 They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea."

The very fact that it here mentions that the 'earth will be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah' forces even denouncers of the existence of a spiritual paradise today to acknowledge that this is indeed talking about a spiritual paradise. Only humans on earth can have actual knowledge of Jehovah. But they are not willing to go down quietly. Notice the argument made by one such denouncer:

"Consider the context of the verses in question. The preceding verses reveal how Edenic conditions will come about. Isaiah 11:3-5 reads: “And he will not judge by any mere appearance to his eyes, nor reprove simply according to the thing heard by his ears. And with righteousness he must judge the lowly ones, and with uprightness he must give reproof in behalf of the meek ones of the earth. And he must strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the spirit of his lips he will put the wicked one to death. And righteousness must prove to be the belt of his hips, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.” Please notice that spiritual paradise comes about as a result of the Messiah judging mankind in righteousness. The effect of his judgment will be that he will put the wicked to death and save the righteous. Spiritual paradise follows Christ’s judgment."

But is this in harmony with what the Apostle Paul and the other prophecies have said about restoration and spiritual paradise? Furthermore, is this actually what the prophecy is saying? An examination of the entire chapter shows otherwise. Lets look at verses 10-12:

"And it must occur in that day that there will be the root of Jes´se that will be standing up as a signal for the peoples. To him even the nations will turn inquiringly, and his resting-place must become glorious.
11 And it must occur in that day that Jehovah will again offer his hand, a second time, to acquire the remnant of his people who will remain over from As·syr´i·a and from Egypt and from Path´ros and from Cush and from E´lam and from Shi´nar and from Ha´math and from the islands of the sea. 12 And he will certainly raise up a signal for the nations and gather the dispersed ones of Israel; and the scattered ones of Judah he will collect together from the four extremities of the earth."

Please note what happens 'in that day' when the spiritual paradise comes about: 1. 'the nations will turn inquiringly' 2. 'Jehovah will again..acquire the remnant of his people' 3. and gather the dispersed ones of Israel' 4. 'the scattered ones of Judah he will collect together'

From this we see that it is not the death of the wicked ones that brings about the spiritual paradise but rather the collecting of God's people together which is now taking place. Of course, ultimately, the death of the wicked ones will take place when Jesus does 'strike the earth with the rod of his mouth' and the spiritual paradise will then be perfect in every way. But until that time he must fill the earth with knowledge of Jehovah by collecting his people together into a spiritual paradise.

It should not be surprising that in harmony with his other writings Paul once again bears this out at Romans 15:9-12 by actually quoting from Isaiah 11:10: "9 and that the nations might glorify God for his mercy. Just as it is written: “That is why I will openly acknowledge you among the nations and to your name I will make melody.” 10 And again he says: “Be glad, YOU nations, with his people.” 11 And again: “Praise Jehovah, all YOU nations, and let all the peoples praise him.” 12 And again Isaiah says: “There will be the root of Jes´se, and there will be one arising to rule nations; on him nations will rest their hope.”

Yes here once again Paul shows us that the gathering of people of the nations into his organization is in fulfillment of the prophecy about restoration and paradise as found in Isaiah 11. According to Paul it by no means must wait to be fulfilled after the destruction of the wicked for it had a fulfillment in his day. Again we asked, will you believe the Bible writer Paul or some self proclaimed 'prophet' who has proven himself unable to properly interpret the scriptures?

Spiritual Paradise Today

Does Isaiah 11 and 49 have fulfillment for our day? Yes indeed it does. As we have seen above, Revelation describes those exact paradise-like spiritual conditions as being poured out upon the great crowd in the Lord's Day. In particular verse 16, "They will hunger no more nor thirst anymore, neither will the sun beat down upon them nor any scorching heat," provides ample proof that the same spiritual paradise prophecies that were applied to God's people in the first century should also be applied to God's people in these last days. Of course ultimately in the New World the paradise will reach perfection both literally and spiritually.

Yes, prophecy, history, and the facts all show that Jehovah's Witnesses are indeed today living in a spiritual paradise like no others. While imperfect, they nonetheless are a worldwide brotherhood of Kingdom truth proclaimers, united by love regardless of race, color, nationality, and social status. Unlike the false religious spiritually desolate wastelands of this world, anyone found trying to wickedly sully the spiritual paradise of God's people, whether by works of the flesh or apostasy, are promptly removed so as to maintain the spiritual paradise-like condition.

The would be 'watchman/prophet' himself is a testimony to that fact because currently he finds himself outside the spiritual paradise of God's people. Verbally beating and trying to mislead Christ's brothers and supporters is simply not tolerated in God's spiritual paradise.