Saturday, August 16, 2008

Re: Jesus is not Jehovah ... such a thing is unthinkable

Pam

Thanks for your comment under my post "Main reasons why Jehovah's Witnessism is false." As mentioned, I am responding

[Above (click to enlarge): "Jesus is Yahweh" wheel, in Cetnar, W.I. & J., "Questions for Jehovah's Witnesses," Bill & Joan Cetnar: Kunkletown PA, 1983, Reprinted, 2001, back cover]

to it here in a separate blog post. Actually in two separate posts because of length. Your words are bold to distinguish them from my response.

>Mr. Jones,
>
>Jesus is not Jehovah. For any serious student of the Bible to say such a thing is....unthinkable.

To a committed Jehovah's Witness, who therefore is not a "serious student of the Bible," but a "serious student of" what the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society tells him/her the Bible means (my emphasis below):

"Because the Bible is an organization book .. Jehovah ...has made understanding the Bible today dependent upon associating with his organization ..." (The Watchtower, October 1, 1960, p.668).

"From time to time, there have arisen from among the ranks of Jehovah's people those who ... say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively ... But, strangely, through such `Bible reading,' they have reverted right back to the ... doctrines that ... Christendom's clergy were teaching ..." (The Watchtower, August 15, 1981, p.29)

"... God's Word continues to serve as a light to our path ... But Jehovah God has also provided his visible organization ... to help Christians ... understand ... the Bible .... Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication ... we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do...." (The Watchtower, December 1, 1981, p.27)

"... opposers ... may also question the need for an organization to direct the minds of God's people ... some central, organized body of men giving direction. They will declare that all one needs to do is to read the Bible." (The Watchtower, March 1, 1983, p.25).

that the pre-incarnate Jesus of the New Testament is Jehovah of the Old Testament is "unthinkable." But to a "serious student of the Bible," who is free to read the Bible for himself, without being told by an organisation what it must mean, as I, an evangelical Christian am, it is not only thinkable, but abundantly evident, that Jesus is Jehovah!

I don't want to here preempt my eventual posting a separate page under: "6. Each person of the Trinity is Jehovah: Father (Isa 63:16), Son (Jn 8:58 NASB) and Holy Spirit (2Cor 3:17). In particular, Jesus is Jehovah ... ," of my "Main reasons why Jehovah's Witnessism is false," so I am here giving only one of many lines of evidence that Jesus is Jehovah:

Jesus claimed to be Jehovah. Jesus stated to the Jewish religious leaders that, "Before Abraham came into being, I AM [Gk. ego eimi]" (Jn 8:58. The Interlinear Bible). Yet ego eimi are the very words in the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint (LXX), that Jehovah (Heb. Yahweh) used of Himself as His unique self-designation (my emphasis below):

"... John 8:58 deliberately echoes Yahweh's `I am' statements in Isaiah 40-55. ... which the LXX renders as ego eimi (Isa. 41:4; 43:10; 46:4; 52:6; compare with Deut. 32:39)." (Bowman, 1989, p.120).

"Perhaps the strongest claim Jesus made to be Yahweh is in John 8:58, where he says, `Before Abraham was, I am.' This statement claims not only existence before Abraham, but equality with the `I AM' of Exodus 3:14. The Jews around him clearly understood his meaning and picked up stones to kill him for blaspheming (cf. John 8:58 and 10:31-33)." (Geisler, 1999, p.129).

"John 8:58, `Jesus said unto them ... Before Abraham was [born], I am' ... In comparing this with the Septuagint translation of Exodus 3:14 and Isaiah 43:10-13, we find that the translation is identical. .... 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 ... to stone Him... [for] blasphemy." (Martin & Klann, 1953, p.52).

"[Jn 8:]58. Before Abraham was ... `before Abraham came into existence or was born.' I am (ego eimi). Undoubtedly here Jesus claims eternal existence with the absolute phrase used of God. The contrast between ... entrance into existence of Abraham ... and ... timeless being ... is complete." (Robertson, 1932, pp.158-159).

My challenge to you Pam, and any other Jehovah's Witness reading this, is to check out prayerfully the verses in my post, Jesus is Jehovah!, on my CED blog (before I created this Jesus is Jehovah! blog), and/or in my daily Bible study, "Jesus is Jehovah!"

>Jesus himself distinguished between himself and his Father, Jehovah. Luke 4 shows him applying Isaiah 61:1 to himself (Jehovah anointed him, Jehovah sent him), ....

Your fallacious assumption here is that if the "Father" is "Jehovah" then Jesus cannot be "Jehovah." But it ignores what I stated, that: "6. Each person of the Trinity is Jehovah: Father ... Son and Holy Spirit." Even the Watchtower's New World Translation states, in the verse I cited, 2Cor 3:17, shows that the Holy Spirit is Jehovah:

"Now Jehovah is the Spirit; and where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom." (my emphasis)

That this "spirit of Jehovah" is the Holy Spirit is evident in the same letter (NWT) where Paul calls Him the "the holy spirit" (2Cor 13:14; 6:6); "his [Christ's] Spirit" (2Cor 1:22); the "Spirit of a living God" (2Cor 3:3); "the Spirit" (2Cor 3:6,3:8,18; 5:5); "the [one] spirit" (2Cor 11:4). Cf. "one spirit" (1Cor 12:9,13; Eph 2:18; 4:4; Php 1:27 NWT).

It is interesting that you say of "Luke 4" where Jesus applies "Isaiah 61:1 to himself" that "Jehovah anointed him, Jehovah sent him" when it actually is "Jehovah's spirit" [Gk. pneuma kuriou "spirit of Lord" - Kingdom Interlinear Translation] (my emphasis below):

Lk 4:16-18 NWT 16 And he [Jesus] came to Naz´a·reth, where he had been reared; and, according to his custom on the sabbath day, he entered into the synagogue, and he stood up to read. 17 So the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed him, and he opened the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18 "Jehovah's spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor, he sent me forth to preach a release to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away with a release,

who Isa 61:1-2 NWT says was upon Jesus:

1 The spirit of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah is upon me, for the reason that Jehovah has anointed me to tell good news to the meek ones. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to those taken captive and the wide opening [of the eyes] even to the prisoners; 2 to proclaim the year of goodwill on the part of Jehovah and the day of vengeance on the part of our God; to comfort all the mourning ones;

And the context makes it clear that this "Jehovah's spirit" who was "upon" Jesus was the Holy Spirit:

Lk 3:21-22 NWT 21 Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized and, as he was praying, the heaven was opened up 22 and the holy spirit in bodily shape like a dove came down upon him, and a voice came out of heaven: "You are my Son, the beloved; I have approved you."

Lk 4:1,18 NWT 1 Now Jesus, full of holy spirit, turned away from the Jordan, and he was led about by the spirit in the wilderness ... 14 Now Jesus returned in the power of the spirit into Gal´i·lee.

The same author Luke, in Acts 5:3,9 NWT, makes it even more clear that "the holy spirit" and "the spirit of Jehovah" are one and the same (my emphasis below):

3 But Peter said: "An·a·ni´as, why has Satan emboldened you to play false to the holy spirit and to hold back secretly some of the price of the field? ... 9 So Peter said to her: "Why was it agreed upon between YOU [two] to make a test of the spirit of Jehovah?

So without realising it (because of the Watchtower Society's interpretive `straitjacket' on your Jehovah's Witness mind) you have actually partly made my point, that the Holy Spirit is Jehovah!

>and Psalm 110 and Psalm 2 show Jehovah and His Son to be different. Jehovah speaks to David's Lord, the Messiah. ...

Christians agree that "Jehovah and His Son" are "different." But again the Watchtower's fallacious assumption is that Jehovah is only the Father and that the Son (and the Holy Spirit) are not Jehovah.

By "Psalm 110", I presume you are referring to Psalm 110:1 , which says (NWT):

The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is: "Sit at my right hand Until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet."

Jesus in Mt 22:42-45 NWT makes it clear that the "my Lord" is "Christ", i.e. Himself:

41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together Jesus asked them: 42"What do YOU think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" They said to him: "David's." 43 He said to them:"How, then, is it that David by inspiration calls him `Lord,' saying, 44 `Jehovah said to my Lord:"Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies beneath your feet"'? 45 If, therefore, David calls him `Lord,' how is he his son?"

This only seems to be a problem to Jehovah's Witnesses with their preconceived Unitarian view of God that they read into the Bible, not read out of the Bible. But it is no problem at all for Christians with their biblical Trinitarian view of God, which they read out of the Bible, in which, as I had already stated, "6. Each person of the Trinity is Jehovah: Father ... Son and Holy Spirit." So the answer to this apparent problem, is that Jehovah the Father is talking to Jehovah the Son (my emphasis below):

"Psalm 110:1 ... Jehovah's Witnesses ... argue ... that the Lord Jesus must be a mere created being, since Jehovah God is addressing a person distinct from himself. ... Knowledgeable Christians who read this verse will grasp that God the Father is speaking to the Son. " (Reed, 1986, pp.35-36).

"... Psalm 110 shows God, the Father in heaven, talking to the Son (also God) upon the earth." (Reed, 1986, pp.36-37).

"Psalm 110:1-Jehovah and `My Lord'. ... This verse makes perfect sense within the scope of trinitarian theology. .... Scripture not only teaches that the Messiah would be the Son of David in terms of His humanity, it also teaches that He is God ... Here we have the first person of the Trinity speaking to the second person of the Trinity." (Rhodes, 1993, pp.161-162).

As for "Psalm 2 show Jehovah and His Son to be different," agreed that "Psalm 2 is properly classified as a Messianic psalm because of the usage of it in the New Testament. This psalm is quoted seven times by the apostles, and in each instance it is applied to the Messiah. [Acts 4:24-28; 13:33; Heb. 1:5; 5:5; Rev. 2:27; 12:5; 19:15]" (Smith, 1993, pp.154-155). But as with Ps 110 above, it is" the first person of the Trinity," Jehovah the Father, "speaking to the second person of the Trinity," Jehovah the Son:

"... Psalm 2 is a messianic psalm-that is, it is a psalm that deals with the Messiah, Jesus Christ. ... the `Son' ....is not a reference to an earthly king ... but is a reference to the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ." (Rhodes, 1992, pp.140-141. (My emphasis).

>Jesus also prays to his Father, Jehovah, when he was on earth

See above on the Watchtower's fallacious assumption that the "Father" only is "Jehovah,"when the Bible teaches that not only the Father, but also the Son and the Holy Spirit are each called "Jehovah."

And actually this is false that "Jesus ... pray[ed] to ... Jehovah, when he was on earth." The Biblical evidence is that Jesus never prayed to "Jehovah" and nor did He teach His disciples to pray to "Jehovah". Jesus in the Bible only ever prayed to "Father" and He taught His disciples to pray to "Father" also (my emphasis below):

"Did he [Jesus] begin his own prayers with the expression `Jehovah God,' as the Witnesses do? Not at all! ... Jesus taught his disciples to pray to `our Father,' not to `Jehovah God.' ... Many of Jesus' own personal prayers are also recorded in the Bible, and in these he sets the same example: `Father...' (John 11:41, NWT). `Abba, Father, ...' (Mark 14:36, NWT). `Father...' (John 17:1, NWT)." (Reed, 1986, pp.52-53).

"The Watchtower Society has taught its followers that they must address all their prayers to `Jehovah God,' ... Many of Jesus' prayers are recorded. Did He pray to `Jehovah God?' No, the pattern Jesus set is this: `Abba, Father ....' - Mark 14:36 NWT. `Father ...' - John 11:41 NWT. `Father ....' - John 17:1 NWT. `You must pray, then, this way: 'Our Father...' - Matthew 6:9 NWT. The pattern Jesus set was to address God as `Father.' In fact, even the New World Translation does not contain any examples of Christ praying to `Jehovah'...." (Reed, 1996, p.182-183)

This is inexplicable in a devout Jew as Jesus was, unless Jesus is Jehovah!

>No, Jesus is certainly not Jehovah,

See above. Jesus certainly is Jehovah! And what's more, Jesus warned that if you do not believe that He is I AM (Gk. ego eimi - no "he"):

Jn 8:24 NWT Therefore I said to YOU, YOU will die in YOUR sins. For if YOU do not believe that I am [he], YOU will die in YOUR sins."

that is, that Jesus is Jehovah (my emphasis below):

"The real problem [for Jehovah's Witnesses] in the verse [John 8:58] is the verb Ego Eimi. .... This usage occurs four times (Jn 8:24, 58; 13:19; 18:5). In these places, the term is the same used by the Septuagint at Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 43:10; and 46:4, to render the Hebrew phrase `I (am) He.' .... The phrase then is a claim to full and equal deity. ... He is Jehovah!" (Martin & Klann, 1953, p.53).

"Jesus Is Yahweh ... .. in John 8:24 (NASB) Jesus declared, `Unless you believe that I am [I AM or ego eimi] He, you shall die in your sins.' The original Greek text for this verse does not have the word he. The verse is literally, `If you do not believe that I AM, you shall die in your sins.'" (Rhodes, 1993, pp.62-63).

"[Jn 8:]24. For except ye believe ... `For unless ye come to believe.' That I am he ... with no word in the predicate after the copula eimi. ... `that I am' ... in the absolute sense as the Jews ... used ... of Jehovah .... Jesus seems to claim absolute divine being as in 8:58." (Robertson, 1932, p.146).

then "YOU will die in YOUR sins".

Quotes referenced above are hyperlinked to the full quote in the `tagline' below (emphasis original italics, emphasis bold mine).

Continued in "neither does the Bible `clearly' show that hell-fire is real."

Stephen E. Jones.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & TheShroudofTurin


"Jesus as Jehovah in John 8:58 Among biblical scholars a growing consensus has formed behind the opinion that John 8:58 deliberately echoes Yahweh's `I am' statements in Isaiah 40-55. The NWT obscures the parallels in Isaiah by rendering them `I am the same One' or `I am the same'; but the Hebrew in each case reads simply ANI.HU (literally, `I [am] he'), which the LXX renders as ego eimi (Isa. 41:4; 43:10; 46:4; 52:6; compare with Deut. 32:39)." (Bowman, R.M., Jr., 1989, "The Jehovah's Witnesses, Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of John," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, Reprinted, 1995, p.120).

"Jesus Claimed to Be Yahweh. Yahweh (YHWH; sometimes appearing in English translations as `Jehovah' or in small capital letters as `LORD') is the special name given by God for himself in the Old Testament. It is the name revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14, when God said, `I AM WHO I AM.' Other titles for God may be used of humans, such as Adonai ('Lord') in Gen. 18:12, or false gods, such as elohim ('gods') in Deut. 6:14. Yahweh, however, only refers to the one true God. No other person or thing was to be worshiped or served (Exod. 20:5), and his name and glory were not to be given to another. Isaiah wrote, `This is what the LORD says.... I am the first, and I am the last; apart from me there is no God' (Isa. 44:6) and, `I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another, or my praise to idols' (42:8). Jesus claimed to be Yahweh. He prayed, `And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was' (John 17:5). But Yahweh of the Old Testament said, `my glory will I not give to another' (Isa. 42:8). Jesus also declared, `I am the first and the last' (Rev. 1:17)- precisely the words used by Jehovah in Isaiah 42:8. He said, `I am the good shepherd' (John 10:11), but the Old Testament said, `Yahweh is my shepherd' (Ps. 23:1). Further, Jesus claimed to be the judge of all people (Matt. 25:31f.; John 5:27f.), but Joel quotes Jehovah as saying, `for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side' (Joel 3:12). Likewise, Jesus spoke of himself as the `bridegroom' (Matt. 25:1) while the Old Testament identifies Jehovah in this way (Isa. 62:5; Hos. 2:16). While the Psalmist declares, `The LORD is my light' (Ps. 27:1), Jesus said, `I am the light of the world' (John 8:12). Perhaps the strongest claim Jesus made to be Yahweh is in John 8:58, where he says, `Before Abraham was, I am.' This statement claims not only existence before Abraham, but equality with the `I AM' of Exodus 3:14. The Jews around him clearly understood his meaning and picked up stones to kill him for blaspheming (cf. John 8:58 and 10:31-33). The same claim is made in Mark 14:62 and John 18:5-6." (Geisler, N.L., 1999, "Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics," Baker Books: Grand Rapids MI, p.129. Emphasis original).

"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., 1953, "Jehovah of the Watchtower," Bethany House Publishers: Bloomington MN, Reprinted, 1981, p.52).

"The real problem [for Jehovah's Witnesses] in the verse [John 8:58] is the verb Ego Eimi. Dr. Robertson, who is quoted as authoritative by the NWT (p. 775), states that eimi is `absolute.' [Robertson, A.T., "Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research," B&H Publishing, 1947, p.768] This means there is no predicate expressed with it. This usage occurs four times (Jn 8:24, 58; 13:19; 18:5). In these places, the term is the same used by the Septuagint at Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 43:10; and 46:4, to render the Hebrew phrase `I (am) He.' The phrase occurs only where Jehovah's Lordship is reiterated. The phrase then is a claim to full and equal deity. The incorrect and rude rendering of the NWT only serves to illustrate the difficulty of evading the meaning of the phrase and the context. The meaning of the phrase in the sense of full deity is especially clear at John 13:19, where Jesus says that He has told them things before they came to pass, that when they do come to pass the disciples may believe that Ego Eimi. (I AM). Jehovah is the only one who knows the future as a present fact. Jesus is telling them beforehand that when it does come to pass in the future, they may know that `I AM' (Ego Eimi), that He is Jehovah!" (Martin & Klann, 1953, p.53).

"Psalm 110:1 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. (KJV) Jehovah's Witnesses ... open their New World Translation and read the same verse: `The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is... .' They go on to argue (1) that the New World Translation is a superior Bible to use, because it does not have the Lord talking to himself; and (2) that the Lord Jesus must be a mere created being, since Jehovah God is addressing a person distinct from himself. To answer the first argument, it is only necessary to look at the text more closely. It does not say that `the Lord' was talking to `the Lord.' Most translations render the Hebrew tetragrammaton YHWH as `the LORD' (all capital letters), who is talking to the psalmist's `Lord' (both capital and small letters), the Messiah. .... Knowledgeable Christians who read this verse will grasp that God the Father is speaking to the Son. The second Witness argument-that Jesus cannot be God because `the LORD' spoke to him- is also a faulty one. The New Testament records many conversations between Jesus and the Father, but this does not disprove the deity of Christ. The Bible reveals that the Father is God (John 6:27, etc.) and that the Son is God (Isa. 9:6, John 20:28, etc.), yet there is only one God (1 Cor. 8:4)." (Reed, D.A., 1986, "Jehovah's Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, Thirty-first printing, 2006, pp.35-36).

"In explaining to Witnesses the fact that Psalm 110 shows God, the Father in heaven, talking to the Son (also God) upon the earth, it may help to invite them to turn to Genesis 18 and 19 in their own New World Translation. There it says that `Jehovah appeared to him' [Abraham] as `three men' or angels (18:1-2). Abraham addressed the three as `Jehovah' (18:3). Two of them left Abraham and went toward the city of Sodom, but Abraham continued to address the remaining individual as `Jehovah' (18:22, 19:1). When the other two reached Sodom and spoke with Abraham's relative Lot, he addressed the two of them as `Jehovah' (19:18). And, when the city of Sodom was destroyed, the New World Translation says at Genesis 19:24: `Then Jehovah made it rain sulphur and fire from Jehovah, from the heavens ... .' So, unless the Witnesses want to claim that there is more than one Jehovah, they will have to admit that God can be in more than one place at the same time, and that he can hold simultaneous conversations with different people in different places. This should make it easier for them to grasp that the Father can talk to the Son, without calling into question the deity of Christ." (Reed, 1986, pp.36-37).

"Matthew 6:9 `You must pray, then, this way: "Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified."' NWT) Jehovah's Witnesses point out that God's name must be sanctified, and thus they `prove' that we must use the name Jehovah, in order for our prayers to be heard by God. But is that what Jesus taught? Did he begin his own prayers with the expression `Jehovah God,' as the Witnesses do? Not at all! While expressing concern in the prayer that God's name be sanctified or hallowed (treated as sacred or holy), Jesus taught his disciples to pray to `our Father,' not to `Jehovah God.' He said, `You must pray, then, this way: "Our Father... ."' Many of Jesus' own personal prayers are also recorded in the Bible, and in these he sets the same example: `Father, I thank you...' (John 11:41, NWT). `Abba, Father, all things are possible to you...' (Mark 14:36, NWT). `Father, the hour has come ...' (John 17:1, NWT). .... It is obvious that Jesus' words at Matthew 6:9 definitely do not teach a need to use the name Jehovah in prayer." (Reed, 1986, pp.52-53).

"Prayer The Watchtower Society has taught its followers that they must address all their prayers to `Jehovah God,' using this modern transliteration of the ancient Hebrew Tetragrammaton. (You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, pages 44 and 228) However, is that what Jesus taught? The four Gospels record sufficient details of Jesus' earthly life for us to follow Him as our exemplar in the matter of prayer. Many of Jesus' prayers are recorded. Did He pray to `Jehovah God?' No, the pattern Jesus set is this: `Abba, Father, all things are possible to you.' - Mark 14:36 NWT. `Father, I thank you.' - John 11:41 NWT. `Father, the hour has...' - John 17:1 NWT. `You must pray, then, this way: 'Our Father...' - Matthew 6:9 NWT. The pattern Jesus set was to address God as `Father.' In fact, even the New World Translation does not contain any examples of Christ praying to `Jehovah'-in spite of the fact that the name `Jehovah' is inserted by the translators in hundreds of verses." (Reed, D.A., 1996, "Answering Jehovah's Witnesses: Subject by Subject," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, Second printing, 1998, p.182-183).

"Refuge in the Son (Psalm 2) In his excellent volume, Christology of the Old Testament, E. W. Hengstenberg soundly demonstrates that Psalm 2 is a messianic psalm-that is, it is a psalm that deals with the Messiah, Jesus Christ. In this psalm, we find a reference to Christ's acting in the role of Savior. The psalmist writes: `Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him' (Ps. 2:11-12, italics added). Hengstenberg provides convincing evidence that the `Son' in this verse is not a reference to an earthly king, as some have supposed, but is a reference to the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ." (Rhodes, R., "Christ Before the Manger: The Life and Times of the Preincarnate Christ," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1992, pp.140-141).

"Jesus Is Yahweh ... The Septuagint provides us with additional insights on Christ's identity as Yahweh. The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament that dates prior to the birth of Christ. It renders the Hebrew phrase for `I AM' (God's name) in Exodus 3:14 as ego eimi. On a number of occasions in the Greek New Testament, Jesus used this term as a way of identifying Himself as God. For example, in John 8:24 (NASB) Jesus declared, `Unless you believe that I am [I AM or ego eimi] He, you shall die in your sins.' The original Greek text for this verse does not have the word he. The verse is literally, `If you do not believe that I AM, you shall die in your sins.'" (Rhodes, 1993, "Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah's Witnesses," Harvest House: Eugene OR, Reprinted, 2006, pp.62-63).

"Psalm 110:1-Jehovah and `My Lord'. ... Psalm 110:1 in the New World Translation reads, `The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is: `Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet' (emphasis added). The Jehovah's Witnesses say that since Jehovah is speaking in this verse, and since the `Lord' is a distinct person from Jehovah, then Jesus must not be God Almighty. Reasoning from the Scriptures explains that in Matthew 22:41-45 Jesus claims that He Himself is the `Lord' referred to by David in this psalm. They therefore conclude that Jesus is not Jehovah, but is the one to whom Jehovah's words were spoken. ["Reasoning from the Scriptures," 1989, p.198] ... This verse makes perfect sense within the scope of trinitarian theology. In the broader context of Matthew 22:41-46, we find Christ `putting the Pharisees into a corner' by asking them a question relating to the person of the Messiah. He asked, `Whose son is he?' (Matthew 22:42). They responded, `The Son of David.' Their answer was correct since the Old Testament thoroughly established the Davidic lineage of the Messiah (2 Samuel 7:14). But their answer was also incomplete. Scripture not only teaches that the Messiah would be the Son of David in terms of His humanity, it also teaches that He is God-and it is the latter fact that Christ wanted the Pharisees to acknowledge. Christ, of course, anticipated the Pharisees' half-answer. That's why in the next verse He quoted a Davidic psalm: `The LORD says to my Lord: `Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet' (Matthew 22:43; cf. Psalm 110:1). Now, the words `my Lord' are a reference to David's Messiah. This divine Messiah is invited to sit at the right hand of `the LORD' (God the Father). Here we have the first person of the Trinity speaking to the second person of the Trinity. [Reymond, R.L., "Jesus. Divine Messiah," Presbyterian & Reformed: Phillipsburg NJ, 1990, p.105]" (Rhodes, 1993, pp.161-162).

"[Jn 8:]24. For except ye believe (ean gar me pisteusete). Negative condition of third class with ean me and ingressive aorist active subjunctive of pisteuo, `For unless ye come to believe.' That I am he (hoti ego eimi). Indirect discourse, but with no word in the predicate after the copula eimi. Jesus can mean either `that I am from above' (verse 23), `that I am the one sent from the Father or the Messiah' (7:18, 28), `that I am the Light of the World' (8:12), `that I am the Deliverer from the bondage of sin' (8:28, 31f., 36), `that I am' without supplying a predicate in the absolute sense as the Jews (Deut. 32:39) used the language of Jehovah (cf. Isa. 43:10 where the very words occur hina pisteusete - hoti ego eimi). The phrase ego eimi occurs three times here (8:24, 28, 58) and also in 13:19. Jesus seems to claim absolute divine being as in 8:58." (Robertson, A.T., 1932, "Word Pictures in the New Testament: Volume V: The Fourth Gospel & the Epistle to the Hebrews," Broadman Press: Nashville TN, p.146).

"[Jn 8:]58. Before Abraham was (prin Abraam genesthai). Usual idiom with prin in positive sentence with infinitive (second aorist middle of ginomai) and the accusative of general reference, `before coming as to Abraham,' `before Abraham came into existence or was born.' I am (ego eimi). Undoubtedly here Jesus claims eternal existence with the absolute phrase used of God. The contrast between genesthai (entrance into existence of Abraham) and eimi (timeless being) is complete. See the same contrast between en in 1:1 and egeneto in 1:14. See the contrast also in Psa. 90:2 between God (ei, art) and the mountains (genethenai). See the same use of eimi in John 6:20; 9:9; 8:24, 28; 18:6." (Robertson, 1932, pp.158-159).

"Psalm 2 is properly classified as a Messianic psalm because of the usage of it in the New Testament. This psalm is quoted seven times by the apostles, and in each instance it is applied to the Messiah. [Acts 4:24-28; 13:33; Heb. 1:5; 5:5; Rev. 2:27; 12:5; 19:15] The Church Fathers regarded the psalm as Messianic as did Jewish expositors even after the Jews' rejection of Jesus, which might have tempted them to seek another interpretation. It is thus clear who the central figure and subject of this psalm is. The king who in this psalm is the object of fiercest hostility from man and the highest honors from God was not David himself, but the Messiah, he in whom prophecy and history of the old world were to find their goal. ... Psalm 2 pictures God's anointed king ruling upon Mt. Zion in spite of the efforts of Gentile rulers to overthrow him. What historical background, if any, prompted the writing of this psalm cannot be determined. ... The psalm is personal Messianic prophecy. The New Testament so interprets it (Acts 4:25-27; 13:33). The titles anointed one (Christ) and son of God which are used in this psalm were applied by the Jews of Jesus' day to the coming Redeemer (John 4:25; 1:49). Taken in its most literal sense the psalm fits perfectly with what is known of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth." (Smith, J.E., 1993, "What the Bible Teaches About the Promised Messiah: An In-depth Study of 73 Key Old Testament Prophesies About the Messiah," Thomas Nelson Inc: Nashville TN, pp.154-155).

"Not that one literally seals the Bible but that he could become responsible for its continuing as a sealed book if he did not offer people Bible-study aids and call back and help them to gain understanding. Why is this so? Because the Bible is an organization book. It was produced by God's spirit bearing along men of faith who were, every last one of them, associated with God's organization-either the typical or the Christian organization. Jehovah is a God of unity and harmony. He wants his earthly servants united, and so he has made understanding the Bible today dependent upon associating with his organization, even as in the days of Jesus and his apostles only those who came in touch with God's organization received an understanding of the Scriptures." ("The Bible Spread by Jehovah's Witnesses," The Watchtower, October 1, 1960, p.668).

"From time to time, there have arisen from among the ranks of Jehovah's people those who, like the original Satan, have adopted an independent, faultfinding attitude. They do not want to serve `shoulder to shoulder' with the worldwide brotherhood. (Compare Ephesians 2:19-22.) Rather, they present a `stubborn shoulder' to Jehovah's words. (Zech. 7:11, 12) Reviling the pattern of the `pure language' that Jehovah has so graciously taught his people over the past century, these haughty ones try to draw the `sheep' away from the one international `flock' that Jesus has gathered in the earth. (John 10:7-10, 16) They try to sow doubts and to separate unsuspecting ones from the bounteous `table' of spiritual food spread at the Kingdom Halls of Jehovah's Witnesses, where truly there is `nothing lacking.' (Ps. 23:1-6) They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such `Bible reading,' they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom's clergy were teaching 100 years ago, and some have even returned to celebrating Christendom's festivals again, such as the Roman Saturnalia of December 25!" ("Serving Jehovah `Shoulder to Shoulder'," The Watchtower, August 15, 1981, pp.28-29, p.29).

"No matter where we may live on earth, God's Word continues to serve as a light to our path and a lamp to our roadway as to our conduct and beliefs. (Ps. 119:105) But Jehovah God has also provided his visible organization, his `faithful and discreet slave,' made up of spirit-anointed ones, to help Christians in all nations to understand and apply properly the Bible in their lives. Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do.-Compare Acts 8:30-40." ("The Path of the Righteous Does Keep Getting Brighter," The Watchtower, December 1, 1981, pp.26-31, p.27).

"Consider some of the other `twisted things' used to mislead God's people today. On occasion opposers will question the various teachings that Jehovah's people hold in common. Often this becomes a debate about words, just as it was in the first century. (1 Timothy 6:3, 4) They may also question the need for an organization to direct the minds of God's people. Their view is, God's spirit can direct individuals without some central, organized body of men giving direction. They will declare that all one needs to do is to read the Bible. But Christendom has been reading the Bible for centuries. And look at the indistinct trumpet call coming from Christendom today! See the confusion and misunderstanding as to the true message contained in God's Word! What a contrast this is to the foretold peace and unity among true Christians who not only read the Bible but search out and zealously apply its teachings!-Ephesians 4:3-6." ("What Is Our Position Toward Opposers of the Truth?," The Watchtower, March 1, 1983, pp.21-26, p.25).

11 comments:

Voice of Reason said...

If Jesus is Jehovah, how can you be saved?

Remember that the high priest is not the God that the sacrifice is offered to.

Stephen E. Jones said...

Voice of Reason

>If Jesus is Jehovah, how can you be saved?
>
>Remember that the high priest is not the God that the sacrifice is offered to.

As per my response to your similar comment under my post "Jesus is Jehovah!" on my CreationEvolutionDesign blog (before I started this blog):

Your fallacy is thinking that if Jesus is Jehovah then the Father cannot be Jehovah.

But see point 6 of "Main reasons why Jehovah's Witnessism is false" on my Jesus is Jehovah! blog:

6. Each person of the Trinity is Jehovah: Father (Isa 63:16), Son (Jn 8:58 NASB) and Holy Spirit (2Cor 3:17). In particular, Jesus is Jehovah: "I AM" (Jn 8:58 NASB. Gk. ego eimi, "I am" - no "he"). But Jehovah is "I AM" (Gk.
ego eimi in LXX of Ex 3:14; Isa 41:4; 43:10; 46:4; 52:6; Dt 32:39).

So the short answer is that when Jesus offered Himself as a once for all sacrifice for sin to God through the Holy Spirit (Heb 7:27; 9:14), it was Jehovah the Son, offering Himself to Jehovah the Father through Jehovah the Holy Spirit.

Stephen E. Jones

Salty said...

God is eternal and everywhere all the time. I don't need a building or a group of deacons to worship him or read his word.
But thank you for your thoughtful posts. Clearly you love God's word.

Stephen E. Jones said...

Salty

>God is eternal and everywhere all the time. I don't need a building or a group of deacons to worship him or read his word.

This reminds me of what I read the other day about "the Lone Ranger Christian mentality":

"I have been troubled for a long time by the Lone Ranger Christian mentality of so many in the evangelical community. This is the attitude that `all I need is Jesus and the Bible, and since the church is so full of problems and hypocrites, I am perfectly fine without it. I can take my Bible to the top of the local mountain on Sunday morning, have my evangelical Quiet Time, and be fully equipped for the work of the kingdom, free from the pestiferous church people who just get in my way.' One problem with this attitude is that most of these Lone Rangers rarely get to the top of the mountain (we live in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia) on Sunday morning anyway. Instead they sleep in, read the paper, and sip their coffee. They miss out on the Word of God coming through preaching, which Paul suggests has a special power beyond what comes simply by reading the Bible on our own (Rom. 10:8, 17). That Word has the added advantage of coming through another person, and so it often challenges our own presumptions and prejudices. The Lone Rangers also avoid the threat of being challenged by fellow believers at church, whether in Sunday school lessons or simply over coffee. They forego the comfort and encouragement we often need when going through crises. When I think of how Christ has grown me over the years, nearly every enlargement of my vision of God has been through hearing a sermon, or studying a book with other believers, or being challenged or comforted by others in the church. I know from experience that when I have been absent from fellowship for a while, usually because of travel or other necessity, I have been more tempted to stray off the narrow path. This has reminded me of why we see no Lone Rangers in the New Testament, and why instead all the believers we see there are active in local churches." (McDermott, G., "The Keys of the Kingdom: An Evangelical Response," in Millet R. & McDermott, G.R., "Claiming Christ: A Mormon-Evangelical Debate," Brazos Press: Grand Rapids MI, 2007, pp.152-153).

>But thank you for your thoughtful posts.

Thank you for your thanks.

>Clearly you love God's word.

Yes, I do, including the command in God's word:

Hebrews 10:25: "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day [of the Lord] approaching."

Stephen E. Jones

Edward Albright said...

I wrote to Bill Cetnar in the late 80s about that pie chart and how wrong it is. Maybe I ought to post those letters here.

That is wrong because you can not take titles from different eras and contexts and apply them singularly.

It is that simple.

It is true that the Bible is an organizational book and people can not do things alone.

Jesus said to go and make disciples. Those disciples would make more disciples, etc and on and on. Would those disciples just be on their own or would they be a group organized in crongregations?

Stephen E. Jones said...

Edward

Thanks for your comment.

>you can not take titles from different eras and contexts and apply them singularly.

You would have to cite at least one, and preferably several, Bible verses which clearly stated that, rather than just give your mere unsubstantiated opinion.

Absent that, it is reasonable to assume that the same names and titles applied to Yahweh in the OT, when they are applied to Jesus in the NT, have the same meaning.

For example, the Jews realised, that when Jesus called Himself "I AM" in Jn 8:58, he was claiming to be the "I AM" of Isa 43:10; Dt 32:39; Ex 3:13-14 (and Cetnar could have added Isa 41:4 & 46:4), i.e. Yahweh:

"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

which is why the Jews "picked up stones to stone him" because, as Jn 10:31-33 states, they regarded Jesus as committing "blasphemy" because He was "claim[ing] to be God."

"Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?"
"We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."

And unless Jesus WAS God, i.e. Yahweh in human flesh, the Jews would have been RIGHT!

Stephen E. Jones

Stephen E. Jones said...

Signtopia

Apologies but I mistakenly deleted your comment. I have reproduced it below.

>Seems as if Pam Tolliver has vanished.

A Google search on "Pam Tolliver" reveals there are comments by her defending JWism on another blog dated 27 November 2008.

If that is her real name, it is to her credit that she uses it. Most JWs hide behind a cloak of anonymity, presumably because the Watchtower does not approve of JWs reading anti-JW evidence.

>Have you heard from her at all since you probably overloaded her with the goods?

I assume that "overloaded her with the goods" is meant to be a compliment, not a criticism?

No, I have not heard from Pam Tolliver, either before or since her comment of 12 August 2008, that I am responding to in a series of posts.

I am still to complete that series with a response to her claim that: "There is no literal place of fiery torture for lost souls."

Maybe she will respond then to what she regards are the main points I made? In which case I will probaly counter-respond in another post or series of posts.

Stephen E. Jones

Voice of Reason said...

"If that is her real name, it is to her credit that she uses it. Most JWs hide behind a cloak of anonymity, presumably because the Watchtower does not approve of JWs reading anti-JW evidence."

I would disagree here. Witnesses have more fear of antiWitness and other opposers causing harm. There are those that do cyberbullying of Witnesses and call the Kingdom Halls and harrass the Witnesses, thinking that they will get them in trouble with the elders but the elders don't want to hear things from apostates and don't care about that.

Stephen E. Jones said...

Voice of Reason

Thanks for your comment.

>I would disagree here. Witnesses have more fear of antiWitness and other opposers causing harm.

What is there REALLY to "fear? I am a Christian and have posted under my real name on the Internet for ~14 years and I don't "fear" any "harm" and nor has there been any "harm," in any REAL sense, done to me.

>There are those that do cyberbullying of Witnesses

Even if that were true, so what? Most of us who post on contentious issues on the Internet have experienced SOME degree of "cyberbullying" (even those who post under pseudonyms), but that is not REAL bullying.

And why is Pam Tolliver, a WOMAN, not afraid of such "cyberbullying"?

>and call the Kingdom Halls and harrass the Witnesses,

How CAN they do that with only their name and not their address? It would only be if someone locally knew the name and that the person was a JW. But because JWs tend to be isolated socially, that would be VERY rare for a non-JW to do it. More likely it would be a local JW who noticed it and reported it to their elders.

>thinking that they will get them in trouble with the elders

Why would they even THINK that if it was not true that the WT disapproves of JWs reading anti-WT material on the Internet?

>but the elders don't want to hear things from apostates and don't care about that.

You contradict your point that JW's "fear" being harassed in this way, because if the elders "don't care about that" then it would not REALLY be harassment and JWs would all KNOW that.

I note that YOU, "Voice of Reason," don't post under your real name but hide under a cloak of anonymity!

I invite you to: 1) start posting under your real name (as Pam Tolliver does); and 2) disclose to the elders in your kingdom hall that you read anti-WT information on the Internet and see what their response is.

Stephen E. Jones

Signtopia said...

Voice of Reason commented: "There are those that do cyberbullying of Witnesses and call the Kingdom Halls and harrass the Witnesses, thinking that they will get them in trouble with the elders but the elders don't want to hear things from apostates and don't care about that."

I am sure that there may well be a few people that are cyberbullies, but I seriously doubt that it is to the extent that it happens on a daily basis. More likely once or twice a year. If those "cyberbullies" are indeed "apostates" as you imply, I would have to ask the question.....WHY would a former JW call a Hall knowing full well that nobody is there except at certain times. Personally, I have called Halls myself and presented very specific questions for anyone that would answer the phone. Oddly, the JWs online would try to negate whatever those that answered the phone would say by suggesting that whoever answered the phone "might be an apostate"...or "unbaptised".....I have heard all of the excuses. I would bet that the phone calls that you refer to are regarding people that actually know each other.

Stephen E. Jones said...

Signtopia

>am sure that there may well be a few people that are cyberbullies ...

Why would JWs, OF ALL PEOPLE, "fear ... cyberbullies" who might recognise them online if they used their real name?

JWs actually go around IN PERSON from door to door, often in their own local areas, and so they can be, and no doubt occasionally ARE, bullied IN REAL LIFE.

So what most JWs REALLY "fear" if they were to use their real name online is their OWN REAL-LIFE BULLIES, their kingdom hall's elders and behind them the utimate BULLY, the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, i.e. the "evil slave" in Mt 24:48 who "beat[s] his fellow slaves"!

Stephen E. Jones