[Above: Early Christian ΙΧΘΥΣ (ICHTHYS) symbol, the Greek word for "fish" and an acrostic on the first letters of "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Saviour" in Greek. "The use of the Ichthys symbol by early Christians appears to date from the end of the 1st century AD" - Wikipedia. This is hard evidence (pun intended!) that early Christians, many of whom were Jewish, worshipped Jesus as their God and Saviour.]
Because your comment and my reply may be of wider interest to readers of my blog (also it is about more than one of my blog's posts), yet may otherwise be missed as a comment, I have decided to reply via a new post (in fact a two-part post because of its length), with the heading being what I take to be a major point in your comment, in your own words.
>... I am myself one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and I see that while you have many problems with our beliefs, you at least have the interest to investigate and discuss these differences, which is not all that common. :)
Thanks, and agreed that it is not common that Christians take the time and trouble to investigate JW beliefs and then discuss their differences with JWs. Partly this is because: 1) the average Christian has enough problems grappling with his/her own beliefs, without becoming an expert on other religions' (including cults') beliefs; 2) JWs are highly trained to conduct their particular arguments on doorsteps, whereas Christians are not; and 3) in my experience of over 40 years discussing with JWs who knock on my door (with one recent exception), little or nothing Christians say seems to make even the slightest difference to JWs.
>I was especially interested in the title of your blog, "Jesus is Jehovah".
I chose that name because it is positive (i.e. as a Christian I could post positive evidence and arguments supporting the deity of Christ) rather than only negative things against JW-ism.
Also, because it is a particularly sharp argument against JW-ism, since if Jesus is Jehovah, then not only would JW-ism be wrong, but then JWs would be unwittingly bearing witness to a counterfeit idol that the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society has constructed.
>... I sincerely believe that Jesus is not Jehovah, but that he is Jehovah God's Son.
This illustrates one of the problems of Christians discussing their differences with JWs; they use the same words, but with different meanings. What JWs mean by "God's Son" is that Jesus is a son of God in the sense that angels are sometimes called "sons of God" (e.g. Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7 KJV), i.e. Jesus is Michael the archangel:
"The foremost angel, both in power and authority, is the archangel, Jesus Christ, also called Michael. (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Jude 9) Under his authority are seraphs, cherubs, and angels." ("The Truth About Angels," The Watchtower, November 1, 1995).
But what Christians mean by "God's Son" is that Jesus is of the same nature as God, just as a human son is of the same nature as his father. That is, Jesus is the Word, who "in the beginning" already "was God" (Jn 1:1 NIV). The Gk. is kai theos en ho logos, "and god was the Word," as in JW's Kingdom Interlinear Translation - KIT). Not "a god" as in JW's New World Translation (NWT).
That is, Jesus is not merely a son of God, but "the Son of God" (Mt 26:63; Jn 1:34, 49; 11:27; 20:31; Acts 9:20; Heb 4:14; 6:6; 10:29; 1Jn 3:8; 4:15; 5:5,10,12,20; Rev 2:18. NWT [Gk. ho uios tou theos or ton uion tou theos, "the Son of the God" - KIT, capitals original]. Hereafter, unless otherwise indicated, all Greek quotes are from the KIT and all other Bible quotes are from the NWT.
Jesus' claim that "I am God's Son" (Jn 10:36 - Gk. Uios tou theou eimi, "Son of the God I am" - KIT, capitals original)" is explained by Him to be the equivalent of "I and the Father are one." (Jn 10:30 - Gk. ego kai ho pater en esmen, "I and the Father one(thing) we are") and the Jews recognised this as a claim by Jesus to be God, in the sense of Jehovah Himself, because they attempted to stone Him for blasphemy (Jn 10:31-32), which would only be lawful if it involved abuse of "Jehovah's name" (my emphasis):
Lev 24:16 So the abuser of Jehovah's name should be put to death without fail. The entire assembly should without fail pelt him with stones. The alien resident the same as the native should be put to death for his abusing the Name.
See also the `tagline' quote below by Walter Martin, that "Hebrew law on this point states five cases in which stoning was legal ... (2) Cursing (blasphemy), Leviticus 24:10-23 ... the only legal ground the Jews had for stoning Christ ... was the second violation, namely, blasphemy."
>So if you'd be so kind and patient with me, I'd like to explore one of your proofs from the diagram located in your first post to this blog.
I presume you mean my second post, "Jesus is Jehovah! (JiJ): Contents"because it has a diagram (wheel) "Jesus is Yahweh" (see below), whereas my first post, "Introduction to my Jesus is Jehovah! blog (JiJ)" does not.
>As a proof meant to support the conclusion that "Jesus is Yahweh", scriptures are provided in which Jesus is referred to with the title "Savior" and these are matched with scriptures in which Yahweh/Jehovah is referred to as "Savior".
The Old Testament compared with New Testament scriptures are (ASV):
I will discuss all these verses in this first part of this two-part post.
The first, Ps 106:21:
They forgot God their Savior, The Doer of great things in Egypt,
establishes that God is Savior, which presumably is common ground between Christians and JWs.
>My question is, does the fact that both Jesus and Jehovah are each called "Savior" necessitate the conclusion that Jesus is Jehovah? Could one not, on this evidence, come to the valid conclusion that both Jesus and Jehovah are Saviors? I.e. Jesus is a Savior, Jehovah is a Savior, but Jesus is not Jehovah?
No, because both Jehovah in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament claim (or it is claimed of each) to be the only Savior, in the same sense. In the second of those verses, Hos 13:4, Jehovah says, in that when He brought Israel out of Egypt, there was "no God" and but Him and "no saviour":
"But I am Jehovah your God from the land of Egypt, and there was no God except me that you used to know; and there was no savior but I."
My Interlinear Bible translates this verse as, "there is no saviour besides Me" (my emphasis):
"Yet I am Jehovah, your God from the land of Egypt; and you shall know no other gods than Me, for there is no saviour besides Me."
In Isa 45:21b, Jehovah, in the form of a rhetorical question, states that "besides" him "there is no other God" and as "a Savior, there" is "none excepting" Him (my emphasis):
"Is it not I, Jehovah, besides whom there is no other God; a righteous God and a Savior, there being none excepting me?" .
The Interlinear Bible renders this:
"Is it not I, Jehovah? And there is no God other than me, a just God and a Saviour; there is none except Me." (italics original)
In Isa 43:11, Jehovah states that, "besides me there is no saviour" (my emphasis):
"I-I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior."
Yet in Acts 4:12, the Apostle Peter, preaching to in Jerusalem to Jewish religious leaders (who therefore already believed in Jehovah), stated of "Jesus Christ" (Acts 4:10) that, "in none other is there salvation" and "neither is there any other name" (which includes the name "Jehovah") "under heaven ... wherein we must be saved." (my emphasis):
"And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved."
"And everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah [Kuriou] will be saved."
Note that in the Gk. of Acts 2:21, it does not have "Jehovah," even though there are "Greek transliterations of the name" (Heb. YHWH), "the original text of the Christian Greek Scriptures do not contain the divine name" ("Aid to Bible Understanding" - see `tagline' quote). As in the KIT the Gk. translated literally into English reads:
"And it will be everyone who if ever should call upon the name of Lord he will be saved."
And in the context, at the end of the same Peter's speech, "the Lord" is revealed to be "Christ, this Jesus":
Acts 2:36. Therefore let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made him both Lord [Kurion] and Christ, this Jesus whom YOU impaled."
"For if you publicly declare that `word in your own mouth,' that Jesus is Lord [Kurios ], and exercise faith in your heart that God raised him up from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation. For the Scripture says: `None that rests his faith on him will be disappointed.' For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for there is the same Lord over all, who is rich to all those calling upon him. For `everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah [Gk. Kuriou - KIT] will be saved.'"
Jude 25 teaches that the "only God" is "our Savior" but "through Jesus Christ our Lord [Kuriou]":
"to [the] only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, might and authority for all past eternity and now and into all eternity. Amen."
Yet in Jude, a short letter of only 25 verses, the same Gk. root word for "Lord," [Kurios and its cognates], is translated by the NWT as "Lord Jesus Christ" or "Jesus Christ our Lord" (vs. 4, 17, 21, 25) , 25), and "Jehovah" (vs. 5, 9, 14):
Jude 4. My reason is that certain men have slipped in who have long ago been appointed by the Scriptures to this judgment, ungodly men, turning the undeserved kindness of our God into an excuse for loose conduct and proving false to our only Owner and Lord [Kurion], Jesus Christ.
Jude 5. I desire to remind YOU, despite YOUR knowing all things once for all time, that Jehovah [Kurios], although he saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterwards destroyed those not showing faith.
Jude 9. But when Mi´cha•el the archangel had a difference with the Devil and was disputing about Moses' body, he did not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms, but said: "May Jehovah [Kurios] rebuke you."
Jude 14. Yes, the seventh one [in line] from Adam, E´noch, prophesied also regarding them, when he said: "Look! Jehovah [Kurios] came with his holy myriads,
Jude 17. As for YOU, beloved ones, call to mind the sayings that have been previously spoken by the apostles of our Lord [Kuriou] Jesus Christ,
Jude 21. keep yourselves in God's love, while YOU are waiting for the mercy of our Lord [Kuriou] Jesus Christ with everlasting life in view.
Jude 25. to [the] only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord [Kuriou] be glory, majesty, might and authority for all past eternity and now and into all eternity. Amen.
Note in the first of the above (v.4) that Jude called Jesus "our only Owner and Lord" (Gk. ton monon despoten kai kurion). That means that everywhere that Kurios and its cognates appeared in Jude's letter, including where the NWT translated as "Jehovah" that same Gk. word for "Lord," Jude intended Jesus to be understood, i.e. to Jude the "Lord Jesus Christ" is Jehovah Jesus Christ!
Note also the `tagline' quotes below that, instead of Kurios, "Lord" in v.5 above, in fact Iesous, "Jesus" is "the best attested reading among Greek and versional witnesses ... and some significant church fathers." That is, v.5 should read, as per the NIV margin:
Jude 5 NIV mgn. Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that Jesus delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. (my emphasis)
This is further proof that the New Testament Christians understood Jesus to be the incarnated Jehovah of the Old Testament!
See also `tagline' quote by Prof. Larry Hurtado, that the early Christian apologist, Justin Martyr (AD 100–165) argued that "Old Testament ... manifestations of God ... are ... as manifestations of the `preincarnate' Son of God." But "Justin did not originate the basic idea that the preincarnate Jesus could be found active in certain Old Testament passages," he "was ... building upon a line of christological argument already available," including in "New Testament references"!
Continued in part #2. See also `tagline' quotes below (emphases in italics are original, bold emphases are mine).
"John 8:58, `Jesus said unto them ... Before Abraham was [born], I am' (KJV). In comparing this with the Septuagint translation of Exodus 3:14 and Isaiah 43:10-13, we find that the translation is identical. In Exodus 3:14, Jehovah, speaking to Moses, said, `I AM,' which is synonymous with God. Jesus literally said to them, `I AM Jehovah' (I AM), and it is clear that they understood Him to mean just that; for they attempted, as the next verse reveals, to stone Him. Hebrew law on this point states five cases in which stoning was legal, and bear in mind that the Jews were legalists. Those cases were: (1) Having a familiar spirit, Leviticus 20:27; (2) Cursing (blasphemy), Leviticus 24:10-23; (3) False prophets who lead to idolatry, Deuteronomy 13:5-10; (4) Stubborn son, Deuteronomy 21:18-21; and (5) Adultery and rape, Deuteronomy 22:21-24 and Leviticus 20:10. Now, the only legal ground the Jews had for stoning Christ (and actually they had none at all) was the second violation, namely, blasphemy." (Martin, W.R. & Klann, N., "Jehovah of the Watchtower," , Bethany House Publishers: Bloomington MN, Reprinted, 1981, p.52)
"Greek transliterations of the name by early Christian writers point in a somewhat similar direction with spellings such as Iabe' and Iaoue', which, as pronounced in Greek, resemble Yahweh. ... In view of this evidence, it seems most unusual to find that the extant manuscript copies of the original text of the Christian Greek Scriptures do not contain the divine name in its full form. The name therefore is also absent from most translations of the so-called `New Testament.'" ("Aid to Bible Understanding," , Watchtower Bible & Tract Society: Brooklyn NY, Second edition, 1971, pp.885-886).
"The Epistle of Jude ... In this short letter of only twenty-five verses Jude refers to Jesus no less than six times by name and always in conjunction with one or more additional titles: `Jesus Christ' (vs 1 [twice]), `our Lord Jesus Christ' (vss 17, 21), `Jesus Christ, our Lord' (vs 25), and `our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ' (vs 4). All ascribe to Jesus both the messianic investiture and Lordship, while the contexts in which they occur suggest that for Jude Christ's was a station not below the Father himself insofar as divine status is concerned. For if it is in God the Father that the called are loved, it is in or for Jesus Christ that they are kept (vs 1). If they are to keep themselves in the Father's love, they are no less to wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to grant them eternal salvation (vs 21). If it is the Father who is to be glorified for the final salvation of the called, it is through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, that such praise is to be mediated (vs 25). If it is the Father who is the `only God' (vs 25), it is Jesus Christ who is `our only Master and Lord' (... ton monon despoten kai kurion) (vs 4). And if Jude sees himself as a servant, it is as a servant of Jesus Christ (vs 1) precisely because it is Jesus Christ who is `our only Master and Lord' (vs 4)." (Reymond, 2003, R.L., "Jesus, Divine Messiah: The New Testament and Old Testament Witness," Mentor: Fearn UK, 2003, pp.482-483).
"There is some debate, it must be admitted, as to whether the full title in verse 4 refers only to Christ ('our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ') or to both the Father ('the only Master') and to Jesus ('our Lord Jesus Christ'). Many commentators argue that the latter is the more likely interpretation, but mainly on apriori theological grounds. In my opinion, two factors militate against this view in favor of the former interpretation. First, both nouns ('Master' and `Lord') stand under the regimen of the single article before `Master,' suggesting that they are to be construed together as characterizations of the same person. While it is certainly true that ... kurios `Lord' ... does not require the article, it is also true that had Jude intended to refer both to God the Father and to Jesus, he could have made that intention explicit either by placing `our Lord' after `Jesus Christ' as he does in verse 25, or by employing a second article before `our Lord Jesus Christ' as he does in the other two places where he refers singly to Jesus by that title (vss 17, 21). Second, 2 Peter 2:1, with a similar statement, evidently refers to Jesus as the Master. These two factors place it beyond all reasonable doubt that Jude intended to describe Jesus as both our Master and our Lord. Since it is doubtful that the two titles are a pleonasm or tautology, what did Jude intend to imply by the former title? In addition to the fact that Jesus is `our Lord,' Jude by this title highlights the fact that Jesus is the `Owner' of Christians by virtue of his messianic work with the right that inheres in such ownership to command and to expect his followers' immediate and humble response." (Reymond, 2003, p.483).
"But there is still more that Jude implies about Jesus. For in addition to the six direct references to Jesus by name, there is sound reason to think that he may well have had Jesus in mind when he refers to `the Lord' in verses 5 and 14. Consider the latter context first. Can there really be any doubt, regardless of who the referent is in 1 Enoch 1:49, that Jude intended to refer to Jesus in verse 14 when he wrote: `Behold, the Lord will come ... elthen, an aorist with prophetic (future) intention] with his myriad holy ones' (see Matt 16:27; 25:31; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; 1 Thes 3:13; 2 Thes 1:7-10)? In light of consentient Christian testimony, no other referent will suffice. But then, this being so, Jude here ascribes the divine prerogative of eschatological judgment to Jesus." (Reymond, 2003, pp.483-484).
"In the former verse (vs 5), apart from the fact that `Jesus' may well be the original reading instead of `Lord,' even with the reading `the Lord,' there is every reason to believe that Jesus may still have been Jude's intended referent. Consider the following facts. First, there is no question that Jude employed `Lord' to refer to Jesus four times (vss 4, 17, 21, 25). Second, we have just seen that the almost certain referent of `Lord' in verse 14 is Jesus. And third, this occurrence of `Lord' in verse 5 comes hard on the heels of Jude's certain reference to Jesus in the immediately preceding verse as `our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.' So it is not only possible but also virtually certain that it is to Jesus, in his preincarnate state as the Yahweh of the Old Testament, that he ascribes, first, the deliverance of Israel from Egypt and then the destruction of those within the nation who rebelled; second, the judgment of the angels at the time of their primeval fall; and third, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. And if all this is true, Jude was clearly thinking of Jesus Christ in terms that encompass the Old Testament Deity. But however one interprets this last verse, it is apparent from the others that, for Jude, Christ was the sovereign Master and Lord of men, who at his coming will exercise the prerogative to dispense eschatological salvation and judgment as the Savior and Judge of men. There can be no doubt, in light of these facts, that for him Christ was divine." (Reymond, 2003, p.484).
"'In the former verse (vs 5), apart from the fact that `Jesus' may well be the original reading instead of `Lord,' ... Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 725-26, explains with respect to the reading ... ho kurios, in the UBS Greek New Testament that `a majority of the Committee was of the opinion that the reading ... Iesous ... was difficult to the point of impossibility, and explained its origin in terms of transcriptional oversight.' But Metzger himself and Allen Wikgren affirm that `Critical principles seem to require the adoption of ... Iesous, which admittedly is the best attested reading among Greek and versional witnesses [e.g., A, B, 33, Vulgate, and some significant church fathers]. Struck by the strange and unparalleled mention of Jesus in a statement about the redemption out of Egypt (yet compare Paul's reference to ... Christos, in 1 Cor 10.4) copyists would have substituted ... [ho] kurios or ... eo theos.' In short, Iesous, is both the best supported reading textually and undoubtedly the hardest of the variant readings-canons of criticism which, when both are true of a given reading, normally carry the field." (Reymond, 2003, pp.484-485).
"The third approach to finding (and demonstrating) Jesus in the Old Testament is just as bold, and indeed, may well appear still more bizarre to many moderns. The focus here is on a number of Old Testament passages that narrate manifestations of God (the technical term for such a scene is `theophany'). In this approach these events are presented as manifestations of the `preincarnate' Son of God. Yet again, Justin gives us the most examples from our period of concern. In Dialogue 61.1 Justin makes the general claim to his Jewish dialogue partners that Jesus can be identified in terms of a number of Old Testament manifestations of God. That is, he asserts that `in general the Old Testament theophanies were appearances of the Son, not the Father.' `I shall give to you testimony from the scriptures, my friends, that before all created things God begat from himself a Beginning [arche], a certain rational power [dynamin logiken], who is also called by the Holy Spirit `the Glory of the Lord,' and sometimes `Son,' and `Wisdom,' and `Angel,' and `God,' and `Lord,' and `Word'; and he once called himself `Captain' [archistrategon] when he appeared in the form of a man to Joshua the son of Nun ... The Old Testament allusions here are: `Beginning' (Gen. 1:1, `in/by the beginning' taken as a reference to the Son as the divine agent of creation); `Glory of the Lord' (e.g., Exod. 16:7; etc.); `Son' (e.g., Ps. 2:7); `Wisdom' (Prov. 8:22-36; Ps. 104:24 [103:24 LXX]); `Angel [of the Lord]' (e.g., Gen. 31:11-13); `God' (e.g., Gen. 32:28-30); `Lord' (e.g., Gen. 18:1; 28:13); `Word' (Ps. 33:6 [32:6 LXX]); `Chief Officer' (Josh. 5:14). By `rational power' Justin refers to this divine figure's chief function as expression of the will/mind of God, which is also, of course, conveyed particularly in the epithets `Word' and `Wisdom.'" (Hurtado, L.W. , 2005, "Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity," Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, pp.574-575).
"However, in Justin (and the Christian tradition he reflects) it is not simply or primarily an academic debate over what one might make of biblical texts. Instead they explore certain theophanic accounts to confirm and celebrate Jesus' divine status for themselves, and to persuade others to embrace him as divine. For the early Christian handling of these Old Testament texts that Justin exemplifies, the prior and essential basis is the belief that the historic Jesus was the incarnate form of the preexistent and divine Son/Word of God, through and with whom God created all things. This belief certainly goes back early into first-century Christianity, as attested by such passages as 1 Corinthians 8:4-6, Philippians 2:6-8, Colossians 1:15-17, Hebrews 1:1-3, and John 1:1-2 [NIV]. Given this belief, it was not so strange for early Christians such as Justin to look for references to the preincarnate Jesus/Son/Word in their Scriptures." (Hurtado, 2005, p.576).
"In fact, the conviction that one could find Old Testament passages in which the preincarnate Jesus was manifested is reflected in first-century Christian texts. Most obviously, of course, the New Testament references to Jesus as the one through whom God created all things (1 Cor. 8:4-6; John 1:1-2; Col. 1:15-17) all reflect such a reading of Old Testament statements about the creation of the world. Furthermore, Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 10:4 [NIV] that the rock from which Israel drank in their wilderness trek `was Christ' must surely be taken as asserting that in his preincarnate mode Jesus was the divine figure who engaged Israel in the Exodus narrative. Also, whether the original reading in Jude 5 [NIV] referred to `Jesus' or `the Lord,' it is a good bet that this verse likewise portrays the preincarnate Jesus rescuing Israel from Egypt. Further, as we noted in an earlier chapter, John 12:41 [NIV] asserts that the divine figure seen by the prophet in Isaiah 6:1 [NIV] was `the Lord' Jesus. These references to passages in Exodus and Isaiah exhibit first-century christological interpretations of Old Testament theophanic passages." (Hurtado, 2005, pp.576-577).
"So Justin did not originate the basic idea that the preincarnate Jesus could be found active in certain Old Testament passages. ... Justin was essentially building upon a line of christological argument already available. He reflects an approach to the Old Testament that had been a feature of devotion to Jesus during the first decades of the Christian movement. In turn, his programmatic finding of the preincarnate Jesus in Old Testament passages is probably one of the traditions that helped shape Irenaeus's idea that Jesus is the full and final manifestation of the divine Logos who has been active throughout human history." (Hurtado, 2005, p.577).