Glen T. Winstein

Subtitle

 

 

  Winstein--41

  Rev.2:12-14
  Rev.2:20-22
  Rev.2:24,25

  Discounting the JWs leaders' blood transfusion ban on the JWs leaders' own
    terms

  The end of the last mission for "Half-Life 2" and credits
  Last song: "Tracking Device" (HL1_sonf25_remix3) by Kelly Bailey
  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThX2IVhJTiQ

  Rev.2:12-14

  Some teachers in Pergamum claim to be true to the Lord, but they hold to the
teaching of Balaam, a man who made such claims yet who, when he saw he couldn't
curse the sons of Israel, "kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before
the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of im-
morality" (NASB) so God would curse them.
  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=revelation%202;&version=31;
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Revelation

****

  Num.22:1-6; 25:1-5; and 31:16

  Balaam is faithful to God and the sons of Israel in Num.22-24, where, follow-
ing the instructions of God, Balaam wouldn't curse the sons of Israel as Balak
wanted him to.  But Balaam somehow persuaded Balak, the king of Moab, to have
the women of Moab seduce men of Israel to fornicate and eat idol feasts, even
be idolaters, for the (false) "god" Baal of Peor (Num.31:16) (Num.25:1-5).

  Numbers doesn't explain why Balaam made an about-face on the matter.  2 Peter
2:15 and Jude 1:11 give Balaam as a greedy false teacher, and Num.22-24 indi-
cate that Balak thought Balaam could be paid to prophesy what Balak wanted him
to.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balaam

  Nehemiah 13:1,2--Balaam was hired to curse Israel, but God turned it into a
blessing.

  Micah 6:5--remember what Balak plotted and Balaam answered, and what happened
from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the saving acts of the Lord.

  Joshua 13:22--the people of Israel killed Balaam.

  Joshua 24:2,9,10--God (recounting things of the past) says Balak fought
against Israel tried to get Balaam to curse the people of Israel, but God
wouldn't listen to Balaam, so Balaam blessed them and God delivered them from
his hand.
  
  Balaam saw that the sons of Israel were impossible to curse, let alone be con-
quered by Balak, as long as they were true to God and living under God's pro-
tection.  So he helped Balak bring about their downfall by telling Balak to lure
the sons of Israel from God with the daughters of Moab, who'd lead them to im-
morality and idolatry.

  2 Peter 2:15 Balaam loved gain from wrongdoing.

  Jude 1:11 Wrongful men become greedy in Balaam's wrong-headed way and perish.

****

  As mentioned above, Rev.2:14 indicates that there were some teachers in Per-
gamum who were similar to Balaam "who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling
block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit
acts of immorality."  As shown before, Paul could eat things offered to idols in
Corinth and might only abstain if someone was around who thought he was endors-
ing idolatry.  So here it would be symbolic of actual idolatry (or more general-
ly going against God's word in whatever way).  If those teachers persist, they
could garner Jesus' harsh disapproval.

  A segment of "The Last Judgment" by Michelangelo, 1534 to 1541

  Rev.2:20-22

  The church in Thyatira tolerates Jezebel, a "prophetess" who encourages Chris-
tians to commit fornication and eat things offered to idols.  This seems to be
another OT reference like the one about Balaam and is probably intended to car-
ry the same interpretation about those who commit "acts of immorality and eat
things sacrificed to idols."  Jezebel and those she misleads are condemned un-
less they repent.

****

  1 Kings 21:25,26; 2 Kings 9:22; and others

  If "Jezebel" is used symbolically in Rev.2:20 to refer to the Jezebel of 1
Kings 21:25,26; 2 Kings 9:22; and others, then it would imply she likewise en-
couraged idolatry (including idolatrous eating of things offered to idols),
fornication, and other sins.

  Jezebel was a queen of Israel married to king Ahab.  She got Ahab to worship
her (false) "god" Baal.  Temples to Baal opened is Israel and she had the pro-
phets killed.  Jehu got her servants to kill her by defenestration (they threw
her out of a window).

****

  Rev.2:24,25

  The rest of the flock in Thyatira is told "I place no other burden on you"
(like the phrase of Acts 15:28) but to hold fast (to their faith) till Jesus ar-
rives.

****


  Discounting the JWs leaders' blood transfusion ban on the JWs leaders' own
terms


  The JWs leaders' case in banning the medical use of blood can be discounted
by the strength of the more common interpretations of various verses, notably
the case that the four rules of Acts 15 were meant to reassure Jewish law fol-
lowers that they wouldn't have to avoid socializing with Gentile Christians.
But the JWs leaders' weaker case can also be discounted on their own terms:

  Blood transfusions aren't processed by the body the same as eating blood.
Whole blood is transfused into the body intact, whereas when someone eats blood,
the body uses the amino acids and iron and only some parts of it enter the
bloodstream.
 
  The similarity between transfusing and eating something depends on the thing
in question.  The similarity is greater with alcohol than with blood, so the JWs
leaders' example of the similarity between drinking and transfusing alcohol as a
reason to see eating and transfusing blood as similar is misleading.

  Eating and transfusing blood are analogous in the sense of resemblance in some
particulars between things otherwise unlike, like a horse and a cow or an orange
and an apple.  As the research by George W, Crile shows (p.14a), the similarity
between eating and transfusing blood is slight at best.

  The JWs leaders' stance isn't that "abstain" at Acts 15:29 is an absolute.
They hold it only sustains bans as found elsewhere in scripture, as the "because
of the Jews" view does, except it interprets various verses differently.  Due to
the JWs leaders' stance on Paul's writings about food, the JWs leaders hold that
"things offered to idols" are permissible as food when far enough away from an-
other's idolatrous use of them ("Insight on the Scriptures," 1988, Vol.1,
"IDOLS, MEATS OFFERED TO," pp.1172, 1173).

  The JWs leaders apply that reasoning to "abstain from...blood" and don't see
it as an absolute.  The medical use of minor fractions of blood is permitted
since the similarity to whole blood is small enough, and an even bigger excep-
tion is that something around half the blood in animal meat can remain when the
meat is used as food.  (As opposed to the Jewish view, which interprets the ban
on eating eating animal blood as an absolute, the JWs leaders use a near-gener-
alization for it.  Animal slaughter removes about half, not guaranteeably more
than half, of the blood.  Neither view sees Mosaic law as giving a method of
preparing the meat further or cooking to determine their interpretation.)

  Applying the JWs leaders' reasoning to the comparison of eating and transfus-
ing blood, transfusing blood is so slightly similar to eating blood that trans-
fusing blood can't be banned on the grounds of a rule against eating.

  Applying the JWs leaders' reasoning to their stance on Gen.9:1-6, particularly
that they claim that the "blood" "life" symbolism caused God to require humans
to refrain from eating human blood, it's just an eating ban, so even if seen as
sustained at Acts 15:29, transfusing blood is only slightly similar to eating
blood so transfusing blood can't be banned on the grounds of a rule against eat-
ing.  

  Otherwise, the JWs leaders' stance on the human blood of that passage is typi-
cal in seeing it as requiring capital punishment for killing a person.  ("Re-
quire" the blood of man at Gen.9:5 in the NWT is also translated "demand an ac-
counting for" in other translations--that God requires human life to be seen as
only rightfully taken by God or as God requires, so in v.6 someone is required
by God to hold someone who kills a person without God's permission accountable
and use capital punishment on them.)
 
  (The JWs leaders' interpretation of Gen.9:1-6 and that it was binding on the
whole world thereafter, not dropped for the world as most people forgot about
it except as adapted and altered by whatever subsequent covenant, is refuted by
Deut.14:21, which contradicts the JWs leaders' stance that the whole world was
given a ban of eating animal flesh with blood, and the fact that Christians
don't have a set of Noahide rules for people who don't believe in the meaning of
the crucifixion of Jesus, etc., to find God's favor with.

  (Orthodox Jews see Gen.9:1-4 as banning the eating of a live animal and have a
set of Noahide rules for non-Jews without contradiction at Deut.14:21, but
that's not my focus here.)

  Likewise, human blood isn't given as permitted food in Mosaic law, but eating
blood is only slightly similar to a blood transfusion, so that wouldn't ban a
blood transfusion.

  That leaves the JWs leaders ban of the medical use of blood to hinge on their
interpretation that the "pour and bury" verses of Mosaic law apply not just to
the blood of slaughtered animals but that any blood removed from a person should
be disposed of, and that the JWs leaders' stance on those was sustained by "ab-
stain from...blood."

  (The JWs leaders make exception to their own stance on the disposal of human
blood in a couple of ways.  Their reasoning about the allowance of something
slightly similar to something banned leads them to allow the medical use of mi-
nor blood fractions, and not disposing of a minor blood fraction is okay since
only most of the blood needs to be disposed of.)

  But it can be shown that the Mosaic law "pour and bury" verses are about the
blood of animals slaughtered for food.

  Since that's all the JWs leaders' stance of banning the medical use of blood
hinges on, even a sympathetic view of their stance is so slightly similar to a
strong case for a Biblical transfusion ban that the JWs leaders should allow
the medical use of blood.