Stumper Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses, #32

The NWT translates the Greek word “esti” as “is” in almost every instance in the New Testament (Mt 26:18, 38, Mk 14:44, Lk 22:38, etc.). See Greek-English Interlinear. Why does the NWT translate this Greek word as “means” in Mt 26:26-28, Mk 14:22-24, and Lk 22:19? Why the inconsistency in the translation of the word “esti”? If the NWT was consistent and translated the Greek word “esti” as “is” in these verses, what would these verses say?

Apparently most translations render Jesus’ words to say “this is my blood,” which Jesus said in reference to a cup of wine that he was holding in his hand and which he then passed among his apostles to inaugurate what has since come to be called the Lord’s evening meal.  And there’s nothing wrong with that rendering. That is what it says in Greek.

However, there is an implied meaning, it being self-evident what Jesus intended his apostles to understand that the wine symbolically stood for his blood. In context, Jesus said: “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (NIV)

But apparently it is not self-evident to everyone that Jesus meant that the wine was merely a symbol of his blood that was going to be sacrificed to God, since multitudes of Catholics have been taught that otherwise ordinary wine or even Welch’s grape juice in a cup, is miraculously transformed into the blood of Christ when it is consumed as part of the ceremonial Eucharist. This carryover from Dark Ages superstition is given a fancy, high-sounding name. They call it transubstantiation.

But to put things in perspective, Jehovah’s Witnesses do well to keep in mind that the very same people who believe in such absurdities also teach their children that Easter bunnies lay eggs; that an obese man in a red suit slides down the chimneys of millions of households every Christmas carrying an enormous sack stuffed with toys, and many other fanciful tales.

But if people would merely use their minds to think instead of believing the nonsense that their priests and clergymen tell them, they would be better off.

If we are to believe that on the occasion of the so-called last supper the glass of wine that Jesus held up and said “this is my blood” was actually his blood, then thinking persons ought to wonder why Jesus even had to die. Worded differently: If the apostles were going to literally drink his blood and eat his flesh on that very occasion, why did Jesus go ahead and pour out his lifeblood to the death? Why didn’t Jesus just let them have the magical blood and spare himself the agony? Not only that, but in saying “this is my blood” he went on to say “which is poured out.” If the wine in the cup that Jesus told his disciples to drink actually was the Lord’s blood, how could it be poured out in sacrifice to God if the apostle’s drank it? It would probably be easier for a Catholic to explain how rabbits lay eggs.

It is worth noting that the unbelieving Jews of Jesus’ took Jesus’ symbolism literally too, much like modern Catholics. The end result was not good. 

On an occasion prior to the last supper, Jesus told the Jews that he was the bread that came down from heaven – the true manna. Then Jesus went on to elaborate, saying to them: “Most truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life, and I will resurrect him on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in union with me, and I in union with him.”

The result was that many of the Jews found Jesus’ speech shocking. But why? Because they took him literally! However, Jesus explained to them that he was not speaking literally, when he said to them: “It is the spirit that is life-giving; the flesh is of no use at all. The sayings that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (John 6)

In explaining that his sayings “are spirit” and not flesh, spiritually attuned people understand that Jesus was not advocating vampirism or cannibalism. Literally consuming transubstantiated blood and flesh will never impart everlasting life or bring one into union with Christ. Believing that Jesus came down from heaven to do his Father’s will is what is required. Living the life of Christ is what leads to life. 

This is another instance where the questioner betrays that it is in fact he that has been stumped, not Jehovah’s Witnesses. Unfortunately, hundreds of millions of Catholics are going to find out too late that the Eucharist juice they have been given by their priests has no life-giving power whatsoever.

Here is a link to a Watchtower article, entitled: The Eucharist—The Facts Behind the Ritual


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