Cults

Jehovah's Witnesses

WHO IS Jesus Christ? Is He God?

(Continued from page 71)


This alone shows that the WBTS can put no weight into a theory that they have turned into fact.
  However, even more relevant, as we shall see later, is that if this theory was true then, as Doug Mason concludes (Jehovah in the New World Translation):

If the nomina sacra were of Jewish Christian origin as Roberts argues so convincingly for, and  Howard fails to counter, then the Tetragram would have been removed by AD 50 or AD 70 at the latest, well before the NEW TESTAMENT was recognized as Scripture ... [and] all changes or decisions such as those regarding  the Tetragram or the creation of the nomina sacra, would have been made under the control of the pure apostolic church.  (p.59)

Even accepting Howard's theory then it is impossible to argue, as the WBTS attempt to do, that the manuscripts were altered in the second or third centuries.

The
KIT, p. 1137, claims to have another piece of evidence to prove that the tetragram appeared in the Christian Greek Scriptures:

Matthew's Gospel account was first written in Hebrew rather than in Greek, as is indicated by Jerome, of the fourth and fifth centuries CE.

The
KIT account continues with Jerome's description of Matthew's Gospel in Hebrew.  What they do not tell, or perhaps do not know, is that in his work 'Evangelium Secundum', Jerome rejects this text as being the Gospel of Matthew and identifies it with the apocryphal work of the Gospel to the Hebrews.  Early scholars thought that this or similar manuscripts were the original of the Gospel of Matthew but many modern scholars now reject this theory:

It is generally not difficult to discover when a Gr[eek] book of this period is a translation from the Heb[rewl or the Aram[aicl.  That our Mat[thew] was written originally in Gr[eek] appears, among other things, from the way in which it makes use of the O[ld] T[estament], sometimes following the LXX, sometimes going back to the Heb[rew]
(International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, 1978, Vol. 3, p. 2010).

These facts show again that there is no proof for the claims of the Society.

A Greater Problem

However, there is a greater problem.  If the divine name has been removed from the Scriptures, why did God allow it?  And if He allowed it, has He ordained the WBTS to reverse the position?  First, what is the WBTS view about the New Testament Scriptures?:

But with these various families, and the many variations of texts within each family, the Scriptures have come down
ESSENTIALLY THE SAME AS THE ORIGINAL WRITINGS.  The many variations are mainly minor and immaterial. They are to be expected in the light of so much recopying.  By careful study and comparison of manuscripts the ERRORS OF ANY CONSEQUENCE HAVE BEEN IRONED OUT and we enjoy today an authentic Bible text (Equipped, p. 63; more or less reprinted in the WBTS Aid to Bible Understanding, p. 1107 and INSIGHT, Vol. 2, p. 314).

Appreciation of the reliability of the Bible is greatly enhanced when it is realized that, by comparison, there are only very few extant manuscripts of the works of classical secular writings, and none of these are original, autograph manuscripts.  Though they are only copies made centuries after the death of the authors, present-day scholars accept such late copies as sufficient evidence of the authenticity of the text... Manuscripts and versions of the Greek Christian Scriptures bear
UNASSAILABLE TESTIMONY TO THE MARVELLOUS PRESERVATION AND ACCURATE TRANSMISSION OF THAT PORTION OF GOD'S WORDS (WBTS Aid to Bible Understanding, p. 1110 and INSIGHT, Vol. 2, pp. 317-8).

We conclude from this that they accept all these manuscripts as proof of the accuracy of God's Word today.
But careful examination reveals regrettable twisting of the facts by the Society, depending on which "facts" they wish to prove, e.g.:

However the papyrus manuscripts brought to the light of day during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries fill in what was once a blind spot in the chain of preserved Scripture copies.
THEY BRIDGE OVER THE GAP OF THE SECOND AND THIRD CENTURIES (Equipped, p. 58).

Sometime during the second or third centuries CE,
THE TETRAGRAMMATON (YHWH, OR JHVH) WAS ELIMINATED (KIT, p. 10).

You can only come to two conclusions from these statements:

1.
You can't have it both ways.  If Bible manuscripts are accurate then the name could not have been removed.

2. As already seen if the tetragram were removed it would have been midway through the first century and could not have occurred during the second or third centuries.

So, with the non-existent evidence that the name was removed from the New Testament, we need to take a close look at the scholarship of the Society which 'puts it back in'.  But just before we do let's summarize our findings so far.

1.
Hebrew versions of the LXX have the tetragram in one form or another.
2.
Not one Greek manuscript of the New Testament has ever been found containing the tetragram.
3. Some
Jewish translators of the Scriptures returned to the traditions of their forefathers and added the tetragram to their works.

Scholarship

When you read the Society's
KIT or NWT you recognise 'J' references.  These are the translations cited by the WBTS as giving them authority to 'replace' the name of 'Jehovah' in the Greek Scriptures.  But do these translations really give such authority?

J2, which was written 'AGAINST Christianity' was revised as 'J3' and later as 'J4'.  J7 was revised as 'J8' and later, in part, as 'J10'.  The
London Jewish Society (formerly The London Society for Promotion of Christianity among the Jews, now known as The Church's Ministry among the Jews) published J11, J13 and J16, while translators who helped prepare these publications also prepared J14 and J15.  This demonstrates a degree of commonality between J11, J13, J14, J15 and J16.  The extent of the WBTS's 'support' is reduced even further when it is recognized that only 9 of the 19 Hebrew translations relate to the whole of the Greek Scriptures; included in these 9 are J7 and J8 which are related, and also J11, J13, J14 and J16, which are also related (Doug Mason, Witnessing the Name, 1981, p. 31).

This shows the weakness of the
'J' evidence, and it becomes further diluted when you discover that the oldest translation is 1385, the next 1537 and from there on up to 1981! 


Even accepting Howard's theory then it is impossible to argue, as the WBTS attempt to do, that the manuscripts were altered in the second or third centuries.

Here we discover the heart of the Society's deception. They praise these manuscripts, of 'great importance', admit that they are accurate and prove conclusively that the Bible is reliable - but then reject them for insignificant works of biased men in order to try and uphold their own "doctrinal bias" (something they readily warn others against!).

Most are by Jewish authors who have a reason for putting the name back in. The authority of these 'J' references is accepted by the WBTS and astonishingly placed above acceptance of some of the oldest New Testament manuscripts.  We'll look at this in more detail presently, but first what do the WBTS say about these manuscripts?

Biblical papyri OF GREAT IMPORTANCE were among papyrus codices found in Egypt about 1930....three contain portions of fifteen books of the Christian Greek Scriptures....The international designation for Biblical papyri is a capital 'P' followed by a small number....Quite noteworthy is P46 (
WBTS Aid to Bible Understanding, 1108-9 and INSIGHT, Vol. 2, pp. 315-6).

This article describes various finds of biblical manuscripts and ends with the earlier comment that we can be sure that we have an accurate Bible because of these finds.  They also quote Sir F. Kenyon:

The interval then between the dates of original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed.  Both the
authenticity and general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established (The Bible and Archaeology, p. 288-89).

Here we discover the heart of the Society's deception. They praise these manuscripts, of 'great importance', admit that they are accurate and prove conclusively that the Bible is reliable - but then reject them for insignificant works of biased men in order to try and uphold their own "doctrinal bias" (something they readily warn others against!).

The WBTS's 'replacing' of the name of 'Jehovah' in New Testament 237 times is accomplished by:

1. The fourth-century Vatican manuscripts (B), widely held to be the oldest and best partial manuscript of the New Testament, being
rejected 221 times in favour of questionable translations at least 10 centuries and in some cases even 15 centuries later.

2. The fourth-century Codex Sinaiticus
P containing all the New Testament, being rejected all 237 times in favour of the newer translations.  Twenty-eight times a 19th or 20th century translation is preferred.

3. The fifth-century Codex Alexandrinus (A), nearly complete New Testament, being
rejected 213 times, and over 20 times in favour of 19th or 20th century translations.

4. The fifth-century Codex Ephraemi resciptus (C) which contains almost half of the New Testament being
rejected 16 times.

5. The 5th or 6th century Bezae Codices (D) containing the Gospels, Acts and a fragment of 3 John being
rejected 14 times.

6. P45, containing portions of the Gospels and Acts, being rejected 3 times,
once in favour of a 1981 translation!

7. P46 dating from the third century, containing nine of Paul's Letters and the Book of Hebrews, is called 'quite noteworthy' by the
WBTS but still rejected 14 times in favour of translations up to sixteen centuries later.

This should cause any honest Bible student to be concerned at the scholarship of the Society - but there are one or two further notable points.  In 1 Corinthians 7:17 all of the above manuscripts are rejected in favour of absolutely no 'J' evidence at all (although, in 1950, they claimed it was supported by J7 and J8).  Since the WBTS cannot allow the Lord Jesus Christ to be equated with God the Father they replaced 'Jehovah' despite having no evidence.

Clearly there are times in the New Testament where it would be inappropriate, as far as the
WBTS are concerned, to put 'Jehovah'.  Here, all of a sudden, they accept the original manuscripts over their 'J' translations.  This obviously has nothing to do with scholarship but the desire of the Society to put over their biased views to try and hide the FACT that the Bible clearly equates the Lord Jesus Christ with the name 'Jehovah' and proves that He is equally and fully the Almighty Deity of the Scriptures. Here are further extensive proofs of this fact:

Romans 10:9

9 For if you publicly declare that ''word in your own mouth,'' that Jesus is Lord, and exercise faith in your heart that God raised him up from the dead, you will be saved.  (
NWT)

J12-14, 16-18, 22
all contain the Hebrew phrase ha' adhon which the NWT, p.1568, tells us is limited 'exclusively to 'Jehovah' God'.  But we find the translators prefer the manuscripts P A B because they have Lord.  Again, the WBTS cannot bring themselves to declare Jesus is  'Jehovah' in the NWT - and hence they fail the test of 1 Corinthians 12v3 - for "no one can say Jesus is 'Jehovah' (JHVH), accept under the influence of the Holy Spirit"!

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

16 because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel''s voice and with God's trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first. 17 Afterward we the living who are surviving will, together with them, be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we shall always be with [the] Lord.  (
NWT)

Three times here there is a change, so that Jesus' coming is seen as Jehovah's coming. 
In verse 16 and the first instance in  verse 17 of J7, 8, (13, 14) the manuscripts read 'Jehovah', and in the second instance of verse 17 J7, 8, 13, 14, 24 we read 'Jehovah'. This evidence was widely accepted before but now they prefer P A B.

2 Timothy 1:18

18 May the Lord grant him to find mercy from Jehovah in that day. And all the services he rendered in Eph´e
qsus you know well enough.  (NWT)

This must have given the translators a headache because 'the Lord is to grant mercy from the Lord.' There is no problem if  you accept the clear biblical revelation of the Trinity, but to the
WBTS one must be the big God, 'Jehovah', and the other the little god, Jesus.  However, a secondary problem comes in because,  according to the WBTS explanation of John 1:1, when the definite article ho is found then the object must be the God 'Jehovah', and when it isn't found it refers to the little god Jesus.  Yet if you do that here it appears that 'Jehovah' is subservient to Jesus and so ho kyrios becomes the little god Jesus and kyriou becomes the God 'Jehovah'.  This clear twisting of their own teaching is additional to the fact that ho kyrios in J7, 8, 13, 14, 16 is 'Jehovah' and the kyriou in J7, 8, 13, 14, 16-18, 22-24 is also 'Jehovah'.  If the WBTS had been really honest they would have had to translate this verse, 'May 'Jehovah' grant him to find mercy from 'Jehovah' in that day.'


1 Peter 3:15

15 But sanctify the Christ as Lord in YOUR hearts, always ready to make a defense before everyone that demands of YOU a reason for the hope in YOU, but doing so together with a mild temper and deep respect.  (
NWT)

This is probably the most clearly deliberate mistranslation because, firstly, it is an Old Testament quotation and therefore, under the "rules" of the WBTS translation committee, should be translated 'Jehovah'.  Secondly, J7, 8,11-14,16,17, 24 all say 'Jehovah' and so, according to WBTS's rules of translation', should have been chosen instead of manuscripts P A B C. We would then read 'But sanctify 'Jehovah' as Lord in your hearts...'

A.M. Stibbs, in his commentary on 1 Peter, says:

14....Peter here follows some of the phrases and ideas of Isaiah 8:12-13: 'Neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.  Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear'...it is a plea....to reverence 'Jehovah' and to take refuge in Him....15.  In the Greek the reading 'Christ' instead of
God is to be preferred.  Language referring to 'Jehovah' in Isaiah 8:13 is explicitly applied to Jesus, thus claiming for Him, and particularly for Him as 'the Christ' ... worship as God (pp. 134-35).

Revelation 16:5

5 And I heard the angel over the waters say: ""You, the One who is and who was, the loyal One, are righteous, because you have rendered these decisions, 6 because they poured out the blood of holy ones and of prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. They deserve it."" 7 And I heard the altar say: ""Yes, Jehovah God, the Almighty, true and righteous are your judicial decisions."" (
NWT)


J7, 8, 13, 14, 16 read, 'You, 'Jehovah'', but the
WBTS prefer the 'You' of P A C. However, we should read, 'You, 'Jehovah', the One who is and was...'

New evidence

The 1984
NWT with references has new 'J' references too, bringing the total to 27 all together.  However they have done nothing to add to the case.  In fact, two of them were published after 1950 and the rest range from 1533 to 1900 (this century!).  We also have to remember that even if the WBTS found 600 new ones instead of 6, it would prove nothing.  Unless the name appeared in the original texts it makes no difference whatsoever.


                                                                                                       
(Continued on page 76)

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