Jehovah's Witnesses

WHO IS Jesus Christ? Is He God?

(Continued from page 69)

Page 5 continued - Awake! April 22, 2005

WBTS statement: A short time afterward, Jesus' disciple Stephen was killed by religious persecutors. As they were about to stone him, Stephen was granted a vision. He stated: "Look! I behold the heavens opened up and the Son of man standing at God's right hand." (Acts 7:56) Jesus, "the Son of man," was thus seen by Stephen in a role supportive to God in heaven - "at God's right hand" - even as he had been 'alongside God' before he came to earth. - John 17:5.

[Orthodox Christian Reply:  The WBTS attempt to prove that Jesus returned to heaven 'in a role supportive to God in heaven' - in doing so they ignore all the Scripture that declares Jesus was equal to the Father!  Again, there is not one Scripture that says that Jesus was 'in a role supportive to God in heaven' or 'alongside God' - and they use the phrase "at God's right hand" deceptively!  As we explained in the long section on the humanity and deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, He was fully the Son of Man and the Son of God and therefore, as the Perfect Redeeming Saviour, returned to demonstrate to the whole of heaven (Revelation 5:6) the marks on His body which showed He had fulfilled the New Covenant in His blood (Matthew 26:27-28).  Christ Jesus retains these marks in His glorified human body (Revelation 5:6: 'Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain') for eternity "at God's right hand".  The WBTS also hope that their readers will not recognize that the 'right hand' reference would be recognized by ancient readers as a position of power equivalent to that of the One they were 'alongside'!  Note that we proved earlier that Jesus shares the glory of the Father and this makes Him equally God for He will not share His glory with another ('god' or anyone else!]

Page 5 continued - Awake! April 22, 2005

WBTS statement:  Later, after Stephen's execution, Jesus made a miraculous appearance to Saul, better known by his Roman name, Paul. (Acts 9:3-6) When Paul was in Athens, Greece, he spoke of "the God that made the world and all the things in it." He said that this God, the "only true God," will "judge the inhabited earth in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and he has furnished a guarantee to all men in that he has resurrected him from the dead." (Acts 17:24, 31) Here the apostle Paul described Jesus as "a man" - yes, lesser than God - whom God had restored to life in heaven.

[Orthodox Christian Reply:  There is not one phrase in Scripture that describes Jesus as 'lesser than God' - and even those verses that the WBTS try and use to teach that the Father was 'greater' do not support their position!  As the long section on the humanity of Jesus showed, He was fully man and fully God for good reason.  We have also proved that when the WBTS write 'God had restored [Jesus] to life' the Bible actually teaches that it was God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit who resurrected Jesus!]

Page 6 - Awake! April 22, 2005

WBTS statement:  The apostle John too described Jesus as subordinate to God. John said that he had written the Gospel so that readers might come to believe that "Jesus is the Christ the Son of God" - not that he was God. (John 20:31) John also received a heavenly vision in which he saw "the Lamb," who in his Gospel is identified as Jesus. (John 1:29) The Lamb is standing with 144,000 others, who John says "have been bought [or resurrected] from the earth." John explains that the 144,000 have the Lamb's "name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads." - Revelation 14:1, 3.

Could "the Lamb" be
the same as "his Father"? Clearly not. In the Bible they are distinct. They even have different names.

[Orthodox Christian Reply: The WBTS strive to prove that Jesus is 'inferior' or 'lesser' than God and here seek to substantiate their claim that 'John too described Jesus as subordinate to God.'  The 'subordinat[ion]' of Jesus does not prove for a moment that He is 'lesser' than God any more than the fact that a private in a human army is subordinate to a general - both are equally human beings, but one holds a higher rank than the other.  In the case of the godhead, the Son and the Holy Spirit are subordinate to the Father - as explained more fully later - but all three share the identical attributes of God! We will also deal with the emphasis on John 1:1, and other verses, later.  But here we note that the WBTS has the gall to claim that John's Gospel declared that ' "Jesus is the Christ the Son of God" - not that he was God. (John 20:31)'!  They could have mentioned that - three verses earlier (John 20:28) - Thomas had made the utterly emphatic declaration to Jesus, admitting that He was literally: 'The Lord of me and the God of me'!  Not a little 'god', but fully God!  The Greek language is utterly emphatic and the WBTS have given this word-for-word translation which even they have then translated:

'My Lord and my God!'

So, even though they have had to admit the truth about Jesus in their
KIT, in this Awake! they are willing to lie to casual readers and others who are ignorant about the truth of Thomas' witness to the true identity of Jesus.

The fact that the 144,000 have the '
Lamb*s "name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads." - Revelation 14:1, 3' merely shows that the WBTS do not understand the Trinity that they try to argue against when they say: 'Could "the Lamb" be the same as "his Father"? Clearly not. In the Bible they are distinct. They even have different names.'  Orthodox Christians who know Scripture do not claim that the Son is 'the same' as the Father.  The Father and Son are distinct persons and have unique names but they also share some names, or titles, as the WBTS have already shown, e.g. Mighty God, Saviour, Redeemer, Rock - and the tetragrammaton which they chose to translate 'Jehovah'!]

Page 6 continued - Awake! April 22, 2005

Name of the Lamb and of the Father

WBTS statement: As we have just seen, the name given to God's Son, the Lamb, is Jesus. (Luke 1:30-32) What about his Father's name? It appears in the Bible thousands of times. For example, Psalm 83:18 says: "You, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth." Sadly, God's name, Jehovah, has been replaced in many Bible translations by the terms "LORD" and "GOD," often spelled in all capital letters. The capitals are supposed to distinguish Jehovah from others called gods or lords. [*See for example, Psalm 110:1 in the King James Version and *Peter quoted this verse - Matthew 22:42-45; Acts 2:34-36].  Yet, in many Bible translations, the Divine Name has been restored to its rightful place.

The English-language
American Standard Version (1901) is a notable example of a Bible translation that has restored God's name, Jehovah, to its rightful place. Its preface observes: "The American Revisers, after a careful consideration, were brought to the unanimous conviction that a Jewish superstition, which regarded the Divine Name as too sacred to be uttered, ought no longer to dominate in the English or any other version of the Old Testament, as it fortunately does not in the numerous versions made by modern missionaries." [** See the article "Should We Use God's Name?" on page 31 of this magazine.]

[Orthodox Christian Reply: The WBTS have made an issue out of restoring 'God's name, 'Jehovah', to its rightful place.'  Do they have good grounds for their claims that the name should be 'restored'?  Let us look at the facts as revealed by an extensive study by orthodox, evangelical Christians at Reachout Trust:

The Name of YHWH

The tetragrammaton (abbreviated to tetragram) is the name for the four Hebrew letters that are used to make up the name 'Jehovah' which is taken by Jehovah's Witnesses to be the 'true name of God.

However, for good reason, it is widely accepted that 'Jehovah' is
an invention and an almost certain mispronunciation of the tetragram.  The accurate translation and pronunciation is unknown and may be 'Yahweh' or any one of a variety of other variations.  Contemporary Jehovah's Witnesses may be upset to learn that 'Jehovah' is an anglicized form which came into use through the work of 'trinitarians.'

The WBTS's
Aid to Bible Understanding (1971 Edition, page 884-885) deals with this matter under the heading:  The pronunciations "Jehovah" and "Yahweh"

By combining the vowel signs of
'Adho•nay* and 'Elo•him* with the four consonants of the Tetragrammaton the pronunciations Yeho•wah* and Yeho•wih* were formed. The first of these provided the basis for the Latinized form "Jehova(h)".  The first recorded use of this form dates from the thirteenth century C.E.  Raymundus Martini, a Spanish monk of the Dominican Order, used it in his book Pugeo Fidei of the year 1270. ... Hebrew scholars generally favour "Yahweh" as the most likely pronunciation... Since certainty of pronunciation is not now attainable, there seems to be no reason for abandoning in English the well-known form "Jehovah" in favour of some other suggested pronunciation ... In English the name "Jehovah" identifies the true God, transmitting this thought more satisfactorily today than any of the suggested substitutes.

Page 885 of the
WBTS Aid to Bible Understanding has a reproduced form of the respective page from Martini's book with the comment:

The form "Jehova" can be traced to the "Pugeo Fidei" of 1270 C.E.  In this copy, it appears in the fourth line from the bottom

So, although the WBTS admits that neither the spelling nor the pronunciation of the tetragrammaton is known, they still insist on emphasising it.  Say you had a best friend called Timothy - yet insisted on deliberately calling him Tomithy - and then you told all his other friends to call him this, too!  Do you think this would please him?  Alas for the WBTS, it appears they have even followed in the footsteps of the Papal Roman Catholic cult in trying to install an un-Scriptural name into the text of the Bible and the thoughts of men!

Is 'Jehovah' a Correct Pronunciation?

Here are just a few of the many quotations on this subject. However, these are enough to show the clear agreement that there is amongst scholars on whether we can pronounce YHWH as 'Jehovah'.

The form Jehovah arose out of a misunderstanding which in turn arose out of the reluctance of pious Jews to pronounce the Divine Name... Instead they uttered the
adonay, my Lord. In the M[asoretic] T[ext] the Divine Name was written with the consonants of YHWH and the vowels of adonay... THE FORM JEHOVAH IS THUS A MALFORMATION giving what is virtually a transliteration of a word which is in the text of the Heb[rew] O[ld] T[estament], but which was never actually used as a word. (New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol.2, 1976, p. 69.)

To give the name JHVH the vowels of the word for Lord (Hebrew Adonai) and pronounce it
Jehovah, is about as hybrid a combination as it would be to spell the name Germany with the vowels in the name Portugal--viz., Gormuna. THE MONSTROUS COMBINATION Jehovah is not older that about 1520 AD (J. B. Rotherham, The Emphasized Bible, p. 21.)

JEHOVAH: A mispronunciation (introduced by Christian theologians but almost entirely disregarded by the Jews) of the Hebrew 'YHWH
*, the (ineffable) name of God... THIS PRONUNCIATION IS GRAMMATICALLY IMPOSSIBLE;  it arose through pronouncing the vowels of... 'Adonay' with the consonants of...YHWH*... 'Jehovah* is generally held to have been the invention of Pope Leo X*s confessor, Peter Galatin. (The Jewish Encyclopedia. Vol. 7, pp. 87--88.)

In the Hebrew we have four consonants that are placed together, denoting the name of God. They are Y H V H. We do not have the letter 'J
* in the Hebrew alphabet. The name 'Jonah* that you know in Hebrew is 'Yonah*. When the translators saw this name, they could not pronounce it. No Hebrew can pronounce it today. The way we pronounce it is 'ADONAI*, meaning Lord. Here is what is done. The Y was changed to J seeing as we don*t have a J letter. Then we inserted vowels e, o and an a and came up with 'Jehovah*. But there is no such name. The Lord said to Moses when he asked who shall I say sent me, say 'I AM* has sent me. 'I Am What I Am*, 'I Shall Be What I Shall Be*. 'I Will Be What I Will Be*. THERE IS NO SUCH NAME AS JEHOVAH. (Rabbi Michael Esses, Letters.)

Jehovah... repr[esentingl Heb[rew] YHWH (given the vowels of
adonai 'my lord* to indicate substitution of latter word in reading, HENCE ERRON[EOUS]. (The Concise Oxford Dictionary, 1981, p. 538.)

Jehovah is a Christian transliteration of the tetragrammaton long assumed by many Christians to be the authentic reproduction of the Hebrew sacred name for God but now recognized to be a
LATE HYBRID FORM NEVER USED BY THE JEWS. (Webster*s Third New International Dictionary.)

The use of 'Jehovah' may be acceptable to the
WBTS and others, even if it is not the best, and the WBTS acknowledges this fact too:

Hebrew scholars generally favour yahweh as the most likely pronunciation... Since certainty of pronunciation is not now attainable, there seems no reason for abandoning in English the well-known form 'Jehovah' in favour of some other suggested pronunciation (INSIGHT, Vol. 2, p. 7).

However, this is not the most significant aspect.  There are three claims made by the
WBTS regarding the use of 'Jehovah' in the New Testament and the early church which are of prime importance.

The three articles, published by the Society, that are mainly referred to are the
WBTS Aid to Bible Understanding, pp. 882-94; INSIGHT, Vol. 2, pp. 5-20; NWT, with references, 1984, pp. 1561-66; and KIT, pp. 10-15.

The claims these articles make are:

1. The tetragram is found in the early Greek translation of the Old Testament, known as the Septuagint (abbreviated to LXX)

2. Jesus and His followers in the early church would pronounce the tetragram every time they came across it.

3. The tetragram was originally to be found in the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament but sometime during the second or third centuries it was removed by copyists who didn't  appreciate, or developed an aversion for, the divine name.

If these claims are true then the Society have a case using the name of 'Jehovah'.  But if they  are false then there are no grounds for re-introducing the name by guesswork.

Claim 1: the tetragram is found instead of a Greek word in the LXX

This is truth, but not the whole truth, and in any case here the Society contradicts itself.  They base their case almost entire on the discovery of a part copy of the LXX called 'P.  Fouad Inv.  No. 266' which is pictured in a number of their publications. This is dated first or second century BC and contains parts of Deuteronomy 18:5-32:19.  It is written in square Hebrew characters on a scroll. 
Most Christian manuscripts would have been written in codex (book) form and so this is almost certainly of Jewish origin. The WBTS conclusion is that because this one copy of the LXX contains the tetragram then all copies must have, especially the ones that Jesus read.  But in an earlier WBTS publication we read:

'Jehovah' does not occur in the Septuagint version, that name being represented by the Greek words for 'the Lord' (Equipped, p. 53).

It is noteworthy that the Deuteronomy fragments were first published in 1944 and
Equipped for Every Good Work didn't come out until 1946.  A case of 'new light' being a little late? 

There were many versions of the LXX and some used by the Jews would have had the four Hebrew letters but those used by the Christians did not have any special wording at all.
Most, if not all, of the versions that the Society quote are of Jewish origin and therefore the scribes, translating or copying, would be simply keeping to their traditions by using the tetragram.  We should also note that the Society have carefully avoided mention of another portion of the LXX called 'P.  Ryl.  GK. 458' dated middle second century BC.  Scholar C. H. Roberts points out in Two Biblical Papyri, p. 44, 'it is probable that kyrios was written in full.'  In other words, this version probably did not contain the tetragram.

However, although the Society do not mention the above copy they do, in
NWT, refer to nine other copies (see below Number 1 is the P. Fouad Inv.  No. 266 already mentioned) of the LXX in order to bolster their case, yet only one (Number 5) is dated before Christ, and that does not strictly contain the tetragram.  This fact is vital when they are seeking to prove that Jesus would have read and pronounced the tetragram in the synagogue.  Only BC manuscripts could prove this.  Any written by Jewish scribes after Christ would simply show the desire to keep old traditions.  We will look at this evidence to see what the Society's case is.

Number 2 - LXXVTS10a

Dated the end of the first century.  The review in Supplements to Vetus Testamentum Vol.  X, 1963, pp. 170-78, declares it to be a 'recession of the ancient LXX', i.e. it was a revision.  It also says that its wording was literal to the Hebrew - thus showing the reason for the revision is to harp back to the old Jewish traditions.

It is helpful here to note F. F. Bruce's explanation as to why there were many Jewish revisions of the LXX harping back to old traditions:

There were two main reasons why the Jews lost interest in the Septuagint.  One was that from the first century AD onwards the Christians adopted it as their version of the Old Testament... Another reason for the Jew's loss of interest in the Septuagint lies in the fact that about AD 100 a revised standard text was established for the Hebrew Bible by Jewish scholars... any version in another language which was to be fit for Jewish use
must conform to it (The Book and the Parchments, 1953, p.145-6).

(Continued on page 71)

Orthodox Christian Reply:  The WBTS attempt to prove that Jesus returned to heaven 'in a role supportive to God in heaven' - in doing so they ignore all the Scripture that declares Jesus was equal to the Father! 

So, although the WBTS admits that neither the spelling nor the pronunciation of the tetragrammaton is known, they still insist on emphasising it.

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