(Continued from page 72)
As so often with the WBTS they claim 'new light.' Some of the names of the original 'J' references have changed and there have also been many changes to the support too. Doug Mason worked out that out of the 237 occurrences of 'Jehovah' the 'J' supports have changed in 148 of them - a change rate of 62%. Is this really careful and scholarly work by the WBTS? Were they right before or are they right now? Can their work really be trusted? The evidence all says 'No.'
This brief look at the biased way the Society restore the name shows that their scholarship cannot be trusted. Since the claims of the WBTS have no substance and are shown to be false we need to make some conclusions based on Scripture.
We've seen that the Old Testament revelation included the tetragram but the New Testament does not; so what revelation do we receive of God in the New Testament? Over a hundred times in the Gospels alone we read 'Father'. This is the New Testament revelation. The remote 'Jehovah' of the Old Testament has become the close intimate Father of the New. The personal name of God has been changed because of the new relationship - we do not call Him by His personal name, but by the intimate, affectionate name, Abba Father, that glorious secure family relationship which can be approximated to the caring terms we use with our own earthly fathers - such as "Papa".
We see that, in John 17:6, 26, Jesus claimed that He had made the name known. However, we have already shown that there is no evidence that Jesus pronounced the tetragram so what was he talking about? The WBTS Aid to Bible Understanding itself gives much of the answer:
For an individual to know God's name signifies MORE THAN A MERE ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE WORD ... It means actually knowing the person ... This is illustrated in the case of Moses ... (he) was privileged ... to 'hear the name of Jehovah declared'. That declaration was NOT SIMPLY THE REPETITION OF THE NAME 'JEHOVAH'.... When Jesus Christ was on earth he 'made his Father's name manifest' to his disciples (John 17:6,26). Although having earlier known that name and being familiar with God's activities as recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures, these disciples came to know Jehovah in a far better and grander way....CHRIST JESUS PERFECTLY PRESENTED HIS FATHER, doing the works of his Father and speaking, not on his own originality, but the words of his Father (WBTS Aid to Bible Understanding, p. 1202 and INSIGHT, Vol. 2, pp. 466-7).
In other words it wasn't so much what Jesus said but what He did that made the name known. Time and time again Jesus said He did the will of His Father, spoke the words of His Father, did what He saw His Father doing. Not 'Jehovah', but His Father. This is the New Testament record. There is no removal of the name - it was never there. If Jesus was who the WBTS say He was then He should have used 'Jehovah' hundreds of times but He never did - He used My Father. That is our relationship today.
The WBTS itself says in Reasoning from the Scriptures:
... how would it be possible to identify the true God....Only by using His personal name....1 Corinthians 8:5-6 (p. 197).
It is incredible that here, in one of the passages of scripture used by the WBTS and others to try and prove that Christ is a "little god" (we can easily show that this is NOT the meaning of 1 Corinthians 8:5-6), in the NWT we read: "....there is actually to us one God THE FATHER..."
Think about the conclusiveness of this statement - "to US" there is "ONE GOD" (no little god or gods!) - and His name is "THE FATHER."
To those who know their Bibles there is an obvious question to answer of Isaiah 9v6:
6 For there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (NWT)
9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. (NASB)
Chapters 7-12 of Isaiah comprise the fifth major section of the book and constitute a single unit sometimes referred to as "The Book of Immanuel." The name Immanuel appears three times in this section, in verses 7:14, 8:8 and 8:10, but the unit as a whole deals with various facets of the Messiah. The two verses discussed here deal specifically with the Messiah*s origin, both human and divine.
Human Origin - Isaiah 9:6a
Isaiah 9:6a emphasizes the humanity of Messiah (His Messiahship is shown in verse 7). Isaiah sees a Son, given by God and being born into the human world; specifically, the Jewish world. The phrase "unto us a son is given" in the Old Testament emphasizes a unique gift of God. This is the same Son as in Psalm 2:
7 "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 9 'You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.' " 10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. 11 Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling. 12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! (NASB)
These verses cannot possibly be applied to King David who, while a great king, was certainly never given authority over all the nations by God (v8), nor did he ever rule the uttermost ends of the earth. These verses speak of the Messiah who will rule over the entire world. Among the titles given to the Messiah is the term 'Son of God' which is applied twice in Psalm 2, in verse 7 and 12. This phrase 'Son of God', in the singular, is uniquely applied to the Messiah and should not be confused with the phrase 'sons of God', Hebrew: benei elohim, in the plural, which is applied in the Hebrew scriptures to angels, either fallen or un-fallen, e.g.: Genesis 6:2-4
Divine Origin -- Isaiah 9:6b
In 9:6b, this son is given four names, each one having two parts. Each of these names is applicable to God; three of them exclusively so:
2. Wonderful Counsellor (Pele-Yoeitz)
In some translations a comma is placed between these two words making them two separate names. The word "wonderful" is in the construct state and should be taken together with "counsellor." There are some words in Hebrew which are used only of God and never of men. One example is barah meaning "to create". This is used only of God and what God does; it is never used of what man does. Another word like this is pele, rendered here in English as "wonderful." In English, "wonderful" may be freely used of many things, but in Hebrew it is reserved exclusively for that which is divine.
2. Mighty God (El-Gibbor)
Obviously only used of the One True God and never used of man or false gods.
3. Eternal Father (Avi-Ad)
Literally: Father of Eternity. The Son who is to be born will be the Father of Eternity, meaning that He is the source of eternal life. Clearly this is to be no mere man or a false god.
4. Prince of Peace (Sar-Shalom)
This is the only one of the four names which can be used of man and God.
Furthermore, these four names are ALL USED ELSEWHERE in the Book of Isaiah and in each case they are used of God, never of man.
1. Wonderful Counsellor
This can be found in Isaiah 25:1, "...I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things, [even] counsels of old ..." and in Isaiah 28:29, "This also cometh forth from Jehovah of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel..." (both in the ASV). In both cases it clearly refers to God.
2. Mighty God
This is found in the very next chapter in Isaiah 10:21 '..... to the mighty God.' There are many liberal theologians who object to the concept of Messiah as a God-Man. When they translate verses such as Isaiah 9:6 they are forced to interfere with the text in order to justify their own presuppositions. In the New English Bible (NEB), for example, an entire phrase - completely absent in the Hebrew text - is inserted to make Isaiah 9:6 read, "in battle he will be Godlike." This is an impossible translation. In the Hebrew there are only two words, El Gibbor, which mean "God Almighty." Furthermore, when exactly the same words appear in Isaiah 10:21, the NEB then translates them correctly as "...the mighty God." Clearly there is no integrity in such inconsistent translation.
3. Eternal Father
This can be compared with Isaiah 63:16b, '.... thou, O Jehovah, art our Father; our Redeemer from everlasting is thy name' (ASV). The same words used in Isaiah 9:6 as a proper name are seen within this sentence where they are clearly used of God.
4. Prince of Peace
Isaiah 26:3 says, "The steadfast of mind Thou wilt keep in perfect peace..." The object and subject of the sentence is God Himself. Again in Isaiah 26:12, the work of peace is attributed to God: "Lord, Thou wilt establish peace for us..." As stated above, the fourth name, "the Prince of Peace," is sometimes used of men in the Hebrew text. If we limit our attention to the book of Isaiah, however, then the work of peace is the work of God only.
The Rule of the King - Isaiah 9:7
Isaiah 9:6 presents us with a Being who is both God and man. Isaiah 9:7 shows us that this person is the Messiah of Israel: He is to sit upon the throne of David. Verse 7 is a reaffirmation of the Davidic Covenant, which is studied under 1 Chronicles 17:l0b-14 in The Writings section. In the Davidic Covenant, God promised David four things:
1. An eternal house or dynasty
2. An eternal kingdom
3. An eternal throne
4. An eternal son
Isaiah 9:7 further confirms that David*s house, kingdom and throne will be maintained eternally by the everlasting Son who also shares the identity of the 'Eternal Father'? Orthodox Christians have no difficulty in accepting that the Lord Jesus Christ is called 'Eternal (or Everlasting) Father' in Isaiah 9:6 to show that He is Eternal just as the Father is Eternal.
This view is supported by many Scriptures but, since the WBTS simply cannot accept this truth, they came up with this fantastic statement which we challenge them to support from Scripture:
"In such a way the heavenly Father of Jesus Christ will become the heavenly Grandfather of the restored human family." [Worldwide Security Under the "Prince of Peace " 1986; p. 169]
When you read the ridiculous proposal that the Lord Jesus Christ will become the heavenly Father some time in the future and God the Father 'will become the heavenly Grandfather' you surely must recognize their 'doctrines of demons!' (1 Timothy 4:1)
We can now bring the subject to a close. We've seen that there is no case for the name (YHWH) being removed and that the Scriptures, as we have them today, are correct. We can now answer one final question, 'When the New Testament talks of 'the name' what does it mean?' The following Scriptures are just some that give the answer:
Acts 1:8 - witnesses to the name of Jesus
Acts 2:38 - baptized in Jesus
Acts 3:6 - healed in Jesus
Acts 4:12 - salvation only in Jesus
Acts 9:12 - suffer for Jesus
Acts 11:26 - called Christ ones.
The Old Testament revelation was YHWH ('Jehovah'); the New Testament is Jesus. The Old Testament was outward obedience to 'Jehovah' in sacrifices; the New Testament is knowing Jesus in the heart. The Old Testament saints were to be witnesses of YHWH ('Jehovah'); the New Testament saints are to be witnesses of Jesus. Today we are privileged to be in the New Testament covenant and we need to live in the glorious free family relationship given to us.The Trinity - Whose Teaching?
Here is a quote from Knowing the Scriptures by A. T. Pierson, 1910, which talks about the name of 'Jehovah':
Were this great name always reproduced in the English and especially in the New Testament quotations from the Old, it would prove that our Lord Jesus Christ is absolutely equal and identical with the Father, for passages which, in the Old Testament contain the name, 'Jehovah', are so quoted and applied to Him in the New as to demonstrate Him to be JEHOVAH-JESUS, one with God of the Eternal Past, Himself God manifested in the flesh....Hebrews 1:10....'Prepare ye the way of Jehovah' (Matthew 3:3 from Isaiah 40:3). 'Jehovah our Righteousness' (Jeremiah 23:6; Romans 3:1; 1 Corinthians 1:30). Most complete and conclusive is Revelation 1:8,11,17,18....Rabinowitz said, 'What questioning and controversies the Jews have kept up over Zechariah 12:10: 'They shall look upon Me whom they pierced.' They will not admit that it is Jehovah whom they pierced, hence the dispute about the word 'whom' but this word is simply the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet - Aleph, Tav. Filled with awe and astonishment, I open to Revelation 1:7-8 and read these words of Zechariah as quoted by John....and then heard the glorified Lord saying 'I am the Alpha and Omega.' Jesus seemed to say: 'Do you doubt who it is whom you pierced? I am the Aleph, Tav - the Alpha and Omega - Jehovah the Almighty' (pp. 93-95).
Page 6 continued - Awake! April 22, 2005
WBTS statement: What, then, about the teaching that Jehovah and Jesus are, in effect, the same God, as the Trinity doctrine proclaims? In its issue of April-June 1999, The Living Pulpit magazine defined the Trinity this way: "There is one God and Father, one Lord Jesus Christ, and one Holy Spirit, three 'persons'... who are the same or one in essence... ; three persons equally God, possessing the same natural properties, yet really distinct, known by their personal characteristics." [# The Athanasian Creed, formulated a few hundred years after the death of Jesus, defined the Trinity this way: "The Father is God: the Son is God: and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods: but one God."]
Where did this complex Trinity teaching originate? The Christian Century, in its May 20-27, 1998, issue, quotes a pastor who acknowledges that the Trinity is "a teaching of the church rather than a teaching of Jesus." Even though the Trinity is not a teaching of Jesus, is it consistent with what he taught?
[Orthodox Christian Reply: The WBTS set out from the beginning to plant the idea, in the unwary mind, that 'Trinitarians' believe that Jesus and 'Jehovah', the Father, are the 'same' person, and to try and convince them that they are not 'the same God' - the One True God - which is a truth we can easily prove from Scripture. With respect to the doctrine of the Trinity, we have already affirmed that God exists in three persons, and each is fully God, and there is one God. Again, in their attempts to try and disprove orthodox belief, the WBTS repeatedly affirm that they believe in pagan polytheism - that there is a 'Big God' ('Jehovah') and a 'little god' (Jesus). This is crass error on their part!
We will set out to prove that, although the Bible does not feature the word Trinity, it is a term that believers have found helpful in briefly expressing all the ramifications of the biblical concept that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, yet there is only one God. This is certainly not 'complex' in the way they try and prove and is found in the ' teaching of Jesus [and] is consistent with what he taught'!
This is not a totally comprehensive analysis of the 'Trinity' but we will expand on some points as necessary.
First, to deal with the standard opening of the WBTS. We know that the word 'Trinity' is not found in the Bible. Is this relevant to the argument? No, for neither are words such as theocracy and substitution - or many other words that are widely used today in religious circles - to be found in the Word of God. But these words are used to summarise a doctrine or belief, so the question to be answered is: Can the doctrine be found in the Bible?
We are certain that the Bible clearly teaches the doctrine of the 'Trinity' in two ways: by asserting and implying the personality and Godhood of each of the three members - the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit - separately, and by mentioning the three together in such a way as to express their equal deity. Those who claim that the 'Trinity' is too mysterious and against human reasoning should consider the many other totally mysterious subjects just as much believed in this scientific age - such as the belief in God. Who can understand the Divine essence? Who can explain the God who must always have existed and obviously had no beginning? How can we explain how God can be omnipresent - alike in every place at the same time? Actually, we know that those groups who try and explain away the 'Trinity' and the Deity of Jesus soon begin to deny some of the attributes of God, such as the omnipotence and omnipresence of God.
We understand that the Bible says God is Spirit (John 4:24: 'God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth'), but how God exists in His Godly attributes is beyond the power of reason to comprehend. Should we give up believing in God because in His nature He transcends our reason? It is appropriate that those who doubt that God could exist in any form He chooses are answered by the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:35-38; cf. Matthew 19:26):
35 The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.'
38 'I am the Lord's servant,' Mary answered. 'May it be to me as you have said.' Then the angel left her.
It is ironic that those who doubt God can exist as a 'Trinity' are answered early in the Gospel accounts where the 'Trinity' of Father, Son and Holy Spirit are shown to have operated together in the Virgin Birth! Mary, a true servant of God had no trouble accepting that 'nothing is impossible with God' and acquiesced in faith: 'May it be to me as you have said.'
Simple reasoning must acknowledge that an Infinite being must know more than a finite being. If God reveals in His Word that He exists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - or that He will walk the earth as a Man at any time - should we not accept it? Surely those who declare that God cannot do that are claiming to know more than Him? Human reasoning has a certain (God given!) realm within which we can operate but, when we stretch our tiny minds too far - like Job's Comforters - and presume to judge how and why God does things, we soon discover our total weakness and inadequacy. Spiritual things can only be explained by Divine revelation and that is why we go to the Bible, God's revealed Word, to find out what it has to say about the important subject of the 'Trinity'.
The teaching of three persons in one Godhead is not going to be easily understood, and even less easily proved by mans' logic. God's Word is meant to be understood by mankind through the power of the Holy Spirit, yet there are many 'trinities' which exist all around us and some people find it useful to consider these when trying to explain the wonder of the Godhead, e.g.:
Man is made up of body, soul, and spirit; electricity produces light, feeling, and heat; an equilateral triangle has three equal angles and three equal sides.
(Continued on page 74)