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Smita, * a 35-year-old woman in Dhaka, Bangladesh, had the reputation of being a loving and caring person. People knew her as a hardworking and happy young wife who wanted to help others know what she had learned about God. How shocked her family and friends were when Smita suddenly contracted an illness that claimed her life in less than a week!

 

James and his wife, a young couple in their 30’s, had a reputation similar to that of Smita. One springtime, they went to visit their friends on the West Coast of the United States. They never returned to their home in New York. While away, they were involved in a fatal automobile accident, leaving a tremendous void in the lives of their loved ones and coworkers.

 

You do not have to look far to see that evil and suffering abound today. Wars kill civilians as well as soldiers. Crime and violence victimize innocent people. Deadly accidents and crippling illnesses occur irrespective of a person’s age or status in life. Natural disasters wipe out communities indiscriminately. Prejudice and injustice are widespread. Perhaps you have personally suffered as a victim.

 

It is only natural to ask questions like these:

 

  • Why do bad things happen to good people?

  • Is God to blame for such things?

  • Are calamities random occurrences, or are they man-made?

  • Could it be Karma, that is, the result of one’s actions in a past life, that causes personal suffering?

  • If there is an almighty God, why does he not protect good people from harm?

  • Will life ever be free of evil and suffering?

 

To answer those questions, we need to understand the answer to these two basic questions: Why do bad things happen at all, and what will God do?

 

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A CONVERSATION WITH A NEIGHBOR

Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Believe in Jesus?

The following is a typical conversation that one of Jehovah’s Witnesses might have with a neighbor. Let us imagine that a Witness named Anthony has come to the home of a man named Tim.

BELIEF IN JESUS ESSENTIAL

Anthony: Hi, Tim. It’s good to see you again.

Tim: It is good to see you too.

Anthony: I brought the latest issues of The Watchtower and Awake! for you. I think you will really enjoy the articles in these magazines.

Tim: Thank you. Actually, I’m glad you came by today because there is something I want to ask you.

Anthony: Sure, what is it?

Tim: The other day, I was speaking with a coworker. I told him about the pamphlets you gave me and how interesting they are. But he said that I shouldn’t read them because Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in Jesus. Is that true? I told my coworker that I would ask the next time you visited.

Anthony: Well, I’m glad you asked me. It’s good that you are going straight to the source. After all, what better way is there to find out what a person believes than to ask the person himself?

Tim: That’s what I figured.

Anthony: The truth is, Jehovah’s Witnesses most certainly believe in Jesus. In fact, we feel that exercising faith in Jesus is vital to salvation.

Tim: I thought you did, but when my coworker said that you don’t believe in Jesus, it made me curious. I guess you and I never really discussed it before.

Anthony: May I show you some Bible verses that highlight the importance of exercising faith in Jesus? These are verses that Jehovah’s Witnesses often use in their ministry.

Tim: OK.

Anthony: A good place to start is with Jesus’ own words recorded at John 14:6. These words are part of a conversation that Jesus had with one of his apostles. We read: “Jesus said to him: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” According to that verse, what is the only way to approach the Father?

Tim: Through Jesus.

Anthony: Correct. And Jehovah’s Witnesses firmly believe that. Let me ask you this: From what you know about God’s requirements, when a person prays, in whose name should he offer the prayer?

Tim: In the name of Jesus.

Anthony: I agree. And that’s why every prayer I offer is said in Jesus’ name. The same is true of all the prayers of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Tim: That’s good to know.

Anthony: Another scripture we might consider is John 3:16. That verse is so important that it has been called the Gospel in miniature. The idea is that if you could take everything that was written about Jesus’ earthly life and ministry and boil it down to one verse, this would be it. Maybe you would like to read this scripture.

 Tim: OK. It says: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.”

Anthony: Thank you. Are you familiar with this verse?

Tim: Yes, I’ve heard it a lot, and I often see it quoted on signs and billboards.

Anthony: It is a famous verse. Looking at it carefully, notice what Jesus said. He said that God’s love makes it possible for humans to enjoy everlasting life—but only if we do what?

Tim: Exercise faith.

Anthony: Yes. Specifically, faith in the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. And this point—that faith in Jesus opens the way to everlasting life—is made right here on page 2 of the magazine I brought you. Regarding the purpose of The Watchtower, it says that among other things, this magazine “promotes faith in Jesus Christ, who died so that we might gain everlasting life and who is now ruling as King of God’s Kingdom.”

Tim: Well, there you go. Right in your own magazine is proof that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in Jesus.

Anthony: Precisely.

Tim: So, then, why do people say that you don’t believe in Jesus?

Anthony: There are probably a number of reasons why people say that. In some cases, people say it simply because they have heard other people say it. Or they may have been taught this misconception by their minister.

Tim: I’m just thinking here—maybe some people say that you don’t believe in Jesus because you call yourselves Jehovah’s Witnesses, not Jesus’ Witnesses.

Anthony: That could be a reason too.

Tim: Why do you talk about Jehovah so much?

“I HAVE MADE YOUR NAME KNOWN”

Anthony: For one thing, we believe that it is important to use God’s personal name, Jehovah—just as his Son, Jesus, did. Consider what Jesus said in prayer to his Father. It’s recorded at John 17:26. Would you please read that verse?

Tim: Sure. “I have made your name known to them and will make it known, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in union with them.”

Anthony: Thank you. Notice that Jesus said he had made God’s name known. Why do you suppose he did that?

Tim: Hmm. I’m not sure.

Exercising faith in Jesus is vital to salvation

Anthony: Well, maybe we could look at another scripture that sheds light on the matter. I am thinking of Acts 2:21. There we read: “Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” Now, I’m sure you would agree that if calling on the name of Jehovah is a requirement for salvation, Jesus was no doubt aware of this requirement.

Tim: Yes, of course.

Anthony: So the salvation of his followers is one reason why it was important to Jesus that they know and use God’s name. And it’s one of the main reasons why we talk about Jehovah so much. We feel that it is important to make known God’s personal name and help others call on that name.

Tim: But even if people don’t know God’s name or use it directly, they still know who they’re talking about when they refer to God.

Anthony: That may be true. Even so, by telling us his personal name, God has made it easier for us to draw close to him.

Tim: What do you mean?

 Anthony: Think of it this way: We didn’t need to know Moses’ personal name. We could have known him simply as the man who parted the Red Sea or the man who received the Ten Commandments. Likewise with Noah—why know his name? He could have just been referred to as the man who built an ark and saved his family and the animals. For that matter, even Jesus Christ could have been known simply as the one who came from heaven and died for our sins. Right?

Tim: I suppose so.

Anthony: But God made sure that we knew the personal names of those individuals. There’s nothing that adds that special touch like a personal name. Even though we have never met Moses, Noah, or Jesus, just knowing their name makes these men more real to us.

Tim: I never thought of it that way before, but that makes sense!

Anthony: And that’s another reason why Jehovah’s Witnesses use God’s personal name so much. We want to help people build faith in Jehovah God as a real Person whom they can draw close to. At the same time, we place great emphasis on the role that Jesus plays in our salvation. Perhaps we could read one more scripture that drives home this point.

Tim: Sure.

Anthony: Earlier we read John 14:6. Remember, Jesus said that he is “the way and the truth and the life.” Let’s go back a few verses and notice his words found at John 14:1. Would you please read what Jesus said in the last part of that verse?

Anthony sharing a verse from the Bible with Tim

Tim: OK. It says: “Exercise faith in God; exercise faith also in me.”

Anthony: Thank you. Would you say, then, that true faith is an either-or matter? Is it a question of belief in Jesus versus belief in Jehovah?

Tim: No. Jesus said we need both.

Anthony: That’s right. And I am sure you would agree that it’s not enough just to say that we have faith in God and in Jesus. Really, we need to live our lives in a way that backs up that claim.

Tim: Definitely.

Anthony: But just how does a person demonstrate that he truly has faith in God and in Jesus? Maybe we can discuss that question another time. *

Tim: I would like that.

Do you have a particular Bible subject that you have wondered about? Are you curious about any of the beliefs or religious practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses? If so, do not hesitate to ask one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He or she will be pleased to discuss such matters with you.


Sell Art Online
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Mosaic

http://byron-walker.artistwebsites.com/featured/mosaic-byron-fli-walker.html

A figurative art painting. During production my intentions were to keep it soft and fluid and bright while not forcing it being that each subject matter is unique, yet throughout the process things took another direction.(which happens sometimes) ‘Aesthetics’ kept suggesting texture, chisels and sculpture thus resulting in an Art Nouveau style in the likeness of a Tiffany lamp, hence the name Mosaic.

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Memorial of Jesus’ Death

You are warmly invited to meet with us to observe the anniversary of Jesus’ death. Find a meeting location near you.

http://www.jw.org/apps/E_FRNsPnPBrTZGT?txtAction=SEARCH_MEMORIAL

You Are Invited

On the night before he died, Jesus instructed his disciples to commemorate the sacrifice that he was about to make. He told them: “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”—Luke 22:19.

In 2014, the anniversary of Jesus’ death falls on Monday, April 14, after sundown. Jehovah’s Witnesses invite you, your family, and your friends to come on that date to listen to a brief talk explaining why Jesus’ death is so important.

This free event will take place at a location near you.


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COVER SUBJECT | DOES DEATH END IT ALL?

The Sting of Death

Death is an uncomfortable subject. Many people prefer not to talk about it. But sooner or later, we must confront it. And the sting of death is sharp and painful.

Nothing can fully prepare us for the loss of a parent, a spouse, or a child. A tragedy may strike unexpectedly or unfold relentlessly. Whatever the case, the pain of death cannot be eluded, and its finality can be devastating.

Antonio, who lost his father in a road accident, explains: “It is like somebody sealing up your house and taking away the keys. You cannot return home, even for a moment. You are left with only your memories. This is the new reality. Although you try to deny it—since it seems so unfair—there is nothing you can do.”

When faced with a similar loss, Dorothy, who became a widow at the age of 47, resolved to find some answers. As a Sunday-school teacher, she never felt that death ended it all. But she had no clear answers. “What happens to us when we die?” she asked her Anglican minister. “No one really knows,” he replied. “We will just have to wait and see.”

Are we condemned merely to “wait and see”? Is there any way we can know for sure whether death ends it all?


THE WATCHTOWER DECEMBER 2013

APPEARED IN

 DRAW CLOSE TO GOD

“Look! I Am Making All Things New”

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Do you desire good health and a long life for yourself and your family? Do you long to live in a world where pain, suffering, and death will be things of the past? Such a world is not a figment of the imagination. On the contrary, a righteous new world will soon be a reality, for Jehovah God has purposed it. Note how the fulfillment of his purpose is described at Revelation 21:3-5.—Read.

“[Godwill wipe out every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 21:4) What kind of tears will he wipe out? Neither tears of joy nor the tears that protect our eyes. God’s promise refers to tears caused by suffering and sorrow. God will not merely dry off such tears; he will wipe them out completely by removing the causes of unwanted tears—suffering and sorrow.

“Death will be no more.” (Revelation 21:4) What has caused more unwanted tears than the enemy death? Jehovah will release obedient humans from the grip of death. How? By eliminating the real cause of death: sin inherited from Adam. (Romans 5:12) Jehovah will lift obedient humans to perfection on the basis of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. * Then the last enemy, death, will be “brought to nothing.” (1 Corinthians 15:26) Faithful humans will be able to live as God purposed for them to live—forever in perfect health.

“Neither will . . . pain be anymore.” (Revelation 21:4) What kind of pain will be no more? All the mental, emotional, and physical pain that has resulted from sin and imperfection and made life miserable for countless millions will be no more.

A life without tears, death, and pain will soon be a reality. ‘But where?’ you may ask. ‘Is God’s promise perhaps about life in heaven?’ No. Consider why not. First, the promise is introduced with the words “the tent of God is with mankind,” and mankind lives on earth. (Revelation 21:3) Second, the promise describes a world where “death will be no more”—a world where death once existed but will cease to exist. Death has never existed in heaven, but it has had a long existence here on earth. Clearly, then, God’s promise of a better life will be fulfilled right here on earth.

God will dry up the rivers of tears that have flowed because of suffering and sorrow

Jehovah wants us to believe his promise of a righteous new world. Right after describing the blessings to come, he guarantees his promise, saying: “Look! I am making all things new.” Then he adds: “These words are faithful and true.” (Revelation 21:5) Why not learn more about how you and your loved ones can be among the happy worshippers who will see God’s promise become a glorious reality?