Bible Students and the Bible. A Brief History Before the Modern Era
If you have been hurt by the actions of another organization and you are looking for information to prove that organization wrong you will doubtless find such information here. However that is not the purpose of this website. Jesus foretold a time of spiritual awakening in the illustration of the 10 virgins. He explained that there would come a time when people wake up to the reality of the end times and realize that the primary purpose of Christianity is to proclaim the death of the Christ and the fact of Christs’ return. Only when Christ returns will true clarity return as we get a full understanding of various aspects of his teachings. Until that time it is sadly the case that we face a Christian situation that is less than ideal with so many different conflicting teachings. The purpose of this website is to provide clarity and make it easy to return to the basic teachings of Christ.
In the 1860’s and 1870’s and beyond, a number of organizations sprang to life based around the Bible and interpretation of scriptures. Some groups called themselves Bible Students. As time passed these split into other groups, retaining the Bible Student identity while looking at matters differently.
What is amazing is that these ideas and beliefs were developed PRIOR to the discoveries of the most amazing Biblical discoveries in the modern ere. For example consider two of the most amazing discoveries.
For example. The Dead Sea scrolls were discovered in 1947. Some shepherds stumbled upon a cave in a rugged dry western side of the Dead Sea. What they discovered was the greatest archaeological find of the twentieth century. Over the next few years, other similar remote caves in the area were found. The discoveries kept coming. Over 800 fragmentary documents, mainly consisting of Hebrew writings on leather (with a few on parchment), including fragments of 190 biblical scrolls. Most of these are small, containing no more than one-tenth of a book; however, a complete Isaiah scroll has been found. Almost every Old Testament book is present. Can you imagine the wealth of discoveries that came with this? These have confirmed the accuracy of the Bible texts and shed light on the communities directly associated with Bible texts at the time of preservation. The scrolls date to the second and third centuries BC with some from the first century BC. There is still much work to do in connection with these scrolls.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is another remarkable discovery that has been unraveled fully. In 1872, George Smith announced he had discovered an Assyrian account of a flood among tablets stored in the British Museum. These were from excavations of mid-seventh-century-BC Nineveh. Called the Epic of Gilgamesh, the story comprises 12 tablets, with one tablet containing a tale of a great deluge.
The hero of the flood, a man named Utnapishtim, relates an episode to Gilgamesh. He explains how the god Ea warned him about an approaching judgment and told him to build a boat to save his life from the arriving flood. Amazingly, the story told is in many respects almost identical to the biblical narrative of Noah in Genesis 6–9.
Bible Students Emerge But With Faulty Reasoning
Using somewhat flawed reasoning, some Bible Students reasoned that Christ had returned invisibly in 1874 and that in 1914 he would bring on the war of Armageddon. When war began in Europe they were doubtless encouraged. However we know that there was no Armageddon. The world is still here. Other predictions followed and the groups of Bible Students broke into their groups. Some changed their name in order to create a distinction between the past and current thinking and between themselves and other religious groups.
There is so much more that we know today
It is doubtful that any list created could list all of the false predictions and miss steps taken in good faith to try to work out scriptural ideas and try to interpret the scriptures somehow.
Enter the 24 Elders
This site is a totally fresh look. The difference is 150 years of discoveries and the benefits of technologies and documents that were simply not available in the 1860’s and 1870’s. We now know so much more and are not constrained by Victorian thinking and the distortions of past generations. We also have seen how organizations make false predictions based on Bible texts and then rewrite history when their ideas are shown to be inaccurate.
What we have in common with the earlier Bible Students is that we have profound respect for God and are ultimately concerned to lift the veil of His purpose and his wonderful personality. Additionally we are not interested in building some organization. We are very keen to associate with like minded people.
Organizations often lead to political infighting. In time a focus on position and money matters becomes very important. Then you have organizational policies and precedents and before you know it the traditional experience overrides the realities of honest discovery. That is not the way with genuinely humble Bible Students.
We are keen to let the scriptures speak.
For us, we ask several questions.
What do the scriptures actually say?
Is there something obvious in what is being said?
What did the writer believe?
What does the context say?
Does this fit the overall pattern of scripture?
What does God’s Spirit indicate?
With prayerful consideration we then decide whether this should appear on the web site. And if it does then you know that we have genuinely weighed the matter prayerfully and in a way that honors the author of the Bible. Jehovah.
We are not beholden to any religion
We are not beholden to any religion. It is the Bible that is truly important. What does it say? How can it’s pages provide us with modern day wisdom? And what does God’s spirit reveal? There is so much yet to discuss here.
We are not interested in criticizing any religion.
It is not our place to argue with any religions ideas or beliefs. We are interested in explaining the truth. If you are searching for truth then you have come to the right place.
Yes We Use God’s Name
And yes, we use God’s name. Jesus speaking to Jehovah in prayer said. John 17:26 “. and I made known your name to them, and will make it known, that the love you had for me may be in them, and I in them.”
Jesus used God’s name and the Bible manuscripts used in the first century contained that name in the Tetragrammaton form. It is clear that the correct pronunciation of the name differs from the way that it is expressed today but that God in His wisdom made no provision to preserve the accurate pronunciation. So we are happy to let people argue about that one. Yahweh or Jehovah or some other form? Since Jehovah is the most widely used version we stick to this until some conclusive evidence arises to show another way of looking at this. [Interestingly there are some pretty good arguments that the name has three syllables which Jehovah meets which is also one of the reasons for this choice.]