Must Know Who God Is
(Sacrifice To God)
Israel was God's Chosen people - most of them "knew" they were saved because of Jehovah's favor. So why were so many of Jehovah's chosen people destroyed by God at Sinai?
When Moses didn't come back down the mountain [after 40 days - NIVSB f.n.], the people went to Aaron. "...make us a god to lead us, for this fellow Moses who brought us here from Egypt has disappeared; something must have happened to him." ....
Aaron melted the gold [the Israelites gave him], then molded and tooled it into the form of a calf. The people exclaimed, "O Israel, this is the god that brought you out of Egypt!"
When Aaron saw how happy the people were about it, he built an altar before the calf and announced, "Tomorrow there will be a feast to Jehovah !" - Ex. 32:1-6, Living Bible.
These were Jehovah's very own people, but they knew Moses must be dead and, no one among the Israelites could replace him. Therefore, they selected another leader who represented Jehovah to lead them. They were still giving the ultimate honor to Jehovah alone, they reasoned, but were merely letting him act through an intermediary who wouldn't leave them or die like they thought Moses had. They were still faithful to Jehovah, they reasoned. They felt good about it. They were saved!
Was this reasoning (which seemed so reasonable to them) really acceptable to God? Was their "faith" enough to save them? 
Jehovah told Moses what had happened and then said:"Now let me alone and my anger shall blaze out against them and destroy them all." It was only through the intercession of the good, loyal Moses that all other Israelites were not destroyed. As it was there were still thousands who died that day. They were the ones who, even with a second opportunity, could not (or would not) discern the truth about the only true God!
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Associated Press Religion Writer George W. Cornell wrote the following information as quoted in a feature article of the Ketchikan Daily News, October 21-22, 1989 issue.
(AP) - Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics, the nation's two largest denominations, generally have been regarded as doctrinally far apart, but their scholars find they basically agree.
Despite varied terminology and some real differences, "we do share a basic understanding of what it means to be followers of Jesus Christ by the grace of God," says their joint report.
After 10 years of periodic discussions, the Baptist-Catholic dialogue group, quoting Ephesians 4:5, concludes, "We not only confessed but experienced `One Lord, one faith and one baptism.'"
The Joint report admitted that the "primary source of our knowledge of God" is the Bible, but the most essential, basic agreement between these two churches at the opposite ends of the spectrum of Christendom was expressed this way:
Dealing with such topics as Scripture, salvation, spirituality, church and ministry, grace, missions and eschatology [end of time], the team agreed "that the ultimate authority and object of faith is the triune God [the Trinity]" - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
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Trinitarians and non-trinitarians both say that it is of essential importance (and means eternal life) to know exactly who their God is! But, of course, 99% of the churches of Christendom teach to their billion (or more) members that God is three persons (as in the above news article): God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit!
That is why, as trinitarian spokesman Dr. Walter Martin tells us, the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches have consistently denied membership to those religions which do not recognize the trinity and worship Jesus Christ as God. - p.14, The Kingdom of the Cults, 1985 ed.
Even the Ketchikan Ministerial Association (KMA) - whose extreme variance of teachings among its members (as found in nearly all Ministerial Associations) denies 1 Cor. 1:10, 13; and Eph. 4:5 anyway - still uses the TRINITY doctrine as the basis for membership or exclusion. - See The Ketchikan Daily News article by W. D. Haan - 18 Oct.1985. (Also see 29 Sept. 1985 article.) If a minister accepts the trinity doctrine (whether he ever actually teaches it openly or not), he is allowed membership in the KMA. The "cults" that the KMA attacks are religions that do not accept the trinity as officially and completely established by the Roman Church's Council in 381 A. D.
The Roman Catholic Encyclopedia says:
"[The Trinity is] the central doctrine of the Christian religion."
The Encyclopedia Americana, 1957, v. 14, p. 739:
"[The belief that Jesus is God] is thus the central doctrine of Christianity and ... vital to its existence."
Trinitarian NT scholar Daniel B. Wallace agrees:
"the central doctrine of Christianity is that Jesus is God." - p. 111, Selected Notes on the Syntax of New Testament Greek, Wallace, 3rd ed., 1981.
Prof. Arthur Bowser, a "born-again Christian," writes:
"All born-again believers assert it [the trinity] as a cornerstone of the Christian faith." - p. 22, WEJWSK.
The well-known writer and defender of Christendom, Louis Cassels, writes in his 1965 book, What's The Difference?, p. 34, that the belief that Jesus is "God Incarnate" is the very "linchpin of the Christian faith."
And the Apostle John tells us that Jesus said in prayer to the Father in heaven:
"And this is eternal life: for men to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, whom you sent." - John 17:3, TEV.
And, conversely, the Apostle Paul tells us that Jesus will appear from heaven
"with a flaming fire, to punish those who do not know God .... They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction." - 2 Thess. 1:7-9, TEV.
And in the OT we see the same thing
"And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind; for Jehovah searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. - 1 Chronicles 28:9, ASV.
"Seek ye Jehovah, all ye meek of the earth ... it may be that ye will be hid in the day of Jehovah's anger." - Zeph 2:3, ASV.
Dr. Walter Martin, well-known "cult-buster," Baptist minister, and staunch defender of the "orthodox" trinity doctrine (and a key element in the KMA's 1985 attack on "cults"), tells us:
"our main concern ought to be the centrality of the Christian faith, and that is the [trinitarian] doctrine of God. If you are right in every area of your theology and you are wrong on the doctrine of God, you are wrong enough to lose your soul for all eternity. This teaching [the trinity] .... is of primary importance." - quoted from his commercial cassette tape recording, "Jehovah's Witnesses, Jesus Christ and the Trinity" (1975?) - cf. Kingdom of the Cults, 1985, pp. 84, 113.
With this in mind, then, we will look at Heb. 13:15 and Ex. 22:20. First, however, we should examine Hebrews 5 (and 8:1) for the necessary background.
Heb. 5:1, 4, 5, 10, and 8:1 -
"Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God [compare 1 Tim. 2:5], to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins." And, "No one takes this honor upon himself, he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. so Christ Jesus also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But ...." "...was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek." [And,] "The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the majesty in heaven [as the Bible writer has been referring to Ps. 110 throughout the book of Hebrews in referring to Melchizedek and Christ (110:4), so also he is here referring to Ps. 110:1 - see most reference Bibles]." - NIV.
So the writer of the book of Hebrews has plainly identified Jesus as our high priest (who represents us and offers sacrifice for us to God) who sat down at the right hand of God.
Heb. 13:15 - "through [dia] Jesus [as our high priest], therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that confess his name." - NIV.
Exodus 22:20 -
"He that sacrificeth unto any gods, save unto Jehovah only, shall be utterly destroyed." - American Standard Version (ASV) - See also The Living Bible; Young's Literal Translation; Byington's Bible in Living English; King James II Version; and NIV footnote.
Therefore, if we make the Christian "sacrifice of praise" to God (as we must) through Jesus our High Priest (as we must), we must make certain that it is only to the "only true God" (John 17:3) Jehovah, or we may expect the loss of eternal life (`utterly destroyed'). - Ex. 22:20; 2 Thess. 1:8, 9; John 17:3.
This Christian "sacrifice of praise" to God can only be accomplished by one who has an accurate knowledge of God. Therefore, this "sacrifice" demonstrates one's knowledge of God through "the fruit of lips that confess his name." - Heb. 13:15 (compare Hosea 6:3, 6, ASV).
The Bible calls God's angels "gods" (elohim, Heb.; theos, Gk)!
God himself called his human Israelite judges and kings "gods," and He even literally called Moses "a god" (Ex. 7:1, KJV and Interlinear Hebrew-English Bibles).
But certainly He will not allow us to render sacrifices (including the Christian "sacrifice of praise" to God) that are due the most high, only true God unto any of these "gods" no matter how righteous or praiseworthy these individuals may be!
Even if you became sincerely convinced by the scriptural "reasoning" and influence of all those around you that the righteous "god" Moses, for example, was equally God with the Father (Jehovah - Is. 63:16 ASV) and gave "a sacrifice of praise" to (not through) Moses (as being God), you would still be in line for "utter destruction"! It wouldn't matter that Moses was a good, righteous person, a savior of Israel. Or that God chose him and worked through him. And it wouldn't matter that you had been sincerely, whole-heartedly convinced by those you love and respect (Matt. 15:6-9, 14; Matt. 23:13, 15; Hosea 4:1, 6; Matt. 10:36-39).
Four times in his "sacrifice of praise" to God (Ps. 86) he (David) "confesses His name" (Jehovah's). Notice this part of David's sacrifice of praise to God:
"Give ear, O Jehovah, unto my prayer .... thou art great and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O Jehovah: I will walk in thy truth: Unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with my whole heart; and I will glorify thy name for evermore." - Ps. 86:6, 10-12 ASV.
David's sacrifice of praise in this Psalm tells us Jehovah alone is God. But is Jesus that "Jehovah only," that "God alone," (Ex. 22:20) to whom we must sacrifice (Heb. 13:15)?
Psalm 110 itself tells us the answer. As the inspired writer of the book of Hebrews himself tells us: Jesus our High Priest (and the High Priest of God cannot be that God whom he serves) "is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty [Jehovah] in the heavens." - Heb. 8:1, NRSV (or "at the place of greatest honor next to God himself" - Living Bible). This clearly refers to Psalm 110:1 (as even trinitarian reference Bibles show and as Heb. 10:12, 13 confirms).
Examining Ps. 110:1, we see that only one person is named Jehovah - and he is not Jesus who sits at the right hand of Jehovah!:
"Jehovah saith unto my Lord [Jesus] sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool" - ASV.
Since we have a multitude of descriptions of the fulfillment of Ps. 110:1 in the NT, we should examine them all and see exactly who is Jehovah God and who is not.
Some background shows: The Most High God is Jehovah alone (Ps. 83:18). Jehovah is often called the Father (but he is never called the Son, the Firstborn, the Only-begotten, the Christ or Messiah, etc. - even many personal names of Israelites in the Bible actually said "Jehovah is the Father": "Abijah,' `Abiah,' `Joab,' etc. - but they never said anything remotely like `Jehovah is the Son' [or the Messiah, the Firstborn, etc.]!) - Deut. 32:6 ASV; Ps. 89:26, 27 (compare Heb. 1:5 and Ps. 2:7 ASV); Is. 63:16; Is. 64:8; Jer. 31:7, 9 ASV.
The God of the Israelites has always been the Father alone (also known by his personal name of Jehovah) as shown above. It is also shown in the NT when the Jews say to Jesus: "'we have one Father, even God.' Jesus said to them, `If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on my own initiative, but He sent Me.'" – NASB.
Jehovah, the only Most High God (and the only true God) is the Father of Jesus - Luke 1:32; John 17:1, 3 ("Father,.... This is eternal life: to know thee who alone art truly God" - NEB). The God of the heavenly resurrected Jesus is his Father - Eph. 1:17; Rev. 1:6; Rev. 3:12. Jesus' Head is his GOD in the very same sense that man's head is Jesus! - 1 Cor. 11:3.
Even the trinitarian The Encyclopedia of Religion admits that, in the Holy Scriptures at least,
"`Father' is not a title for the first person of the Trinity but a synonym for God." - 1987, Vol. 15, p. 54.
Now let's look at the descriptions of the fulfillment of Ps. 110:1 (Jesus is to sit at the right hand of Jehovah until his enemies are made his footstool):
(1) Jesus sat down at the right hand of God - Acts 2:33-36; Ro. 8:34; Heb. 10:12, 13; 1 Pet. 3:22.
(2) Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father - Eph. 1:17, 20; Rev. 3:21.
Jesus is obviously not the same person whom he sat beside! He sat down at the right hand of a single individual who alone has the only personal name "Jehovah" and who also has the exclusive title "the Most High God" and is Jesus' (and our) Father in heaven! Jesus is not even somehow equal to the person he sat beside. The highly respected (and highly trinitarian) The NIV Study Bible tells us in a footnote for Ps. 110:1,
"right hand....thus he [Christ] is made second in authority to God himself. NT references to Jesus' exaltation to this position are many (see Mk 16:19...Acts 2:33-36; ...Heb. 10:12-13)." [Compare the NIVSB footnote for Mark 16:19] - "right hand of God. A position of authority second only to God's." - The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1985.
If Jesus is not Jehovah God (as all clear evidence proves he is not), and yet we continue giving "a sacrifice of praise" unto him as being Jehovah God (and that is precisely what is being done by any who accept or condone, even passively, the "orthodox" trinity doctrine), then we certainly do not know the only true God (John 17:1, 3 - cf, Jer. 10:10, ASV 1 Thess. 1:9, 10; 2 Thess. 1:8, 9) nor are we obeying the commands of God -
"He that sacrificeth unto any god [whether a righteous individual or a false god], save unto Jehovah only [through our High Priest, Jesus Christ - Heb. 13:15], shall be utterly destroyed." -Exodus 22:20, ASV.
"...if thou shalt forget Jehovah thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish." - Deut. 8:19, ASV.
Therefore, even though we may have grown up in this tradition and have been taught it, and even though we may sincerely believe with all our hearts (Jer. 17:9; Prov. 28:26, NASB; 2 Tim. 3:13-17) that we are God's people, we may well finally discover "there is no truth ... nor knowledge of God in the land"; and "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:1, 6 ASV); and that we are not worshiping God "in TRUTH" as we MUST - John 4:24; and
"the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Our fathers have inherited nought but lies .... and they shall know that my name is Jehovah." - Jer. 16:19, 21 ASV.
So, even though we may sincerely believe with the strongest faith possible that we are doing everything as Jesus commanded (and all those many around us whom we trust, like, and respect are doing the same), we may find that he rejects us, and that we are not among the few who have even found the narrow way that eventually "leadeth unto Life" - Matt. 7:21-23; Matt. 7:14. (No matter how sincerely you believe the liquid you are drinking is pure water, if your neighbor has put even one tiny drop of cyanide into it you will die anyway.)
Of course, before you can find the narrow way that leads to eternal life, you must actively and diligently seek it through proper study -
"if thou seek her [knowledge, wisdom] as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures: then shalt thou understand the fear of Jehovah, and find the knowledge of God." - Prov. 2:4, 5 ASV.
Conversely, of course, if 3 persons are really Jehovah and we do not give the "sacrifice of praise" equally to all 3 equal members as being the Most High God and "confess his [their?] name[s]," then we still wouldn't know God (Jn 17:3; 2 Thess. 1:8, 9) and might still suffer the tragic consequences of being "destroyed for lack of knowledge"!
All trinitarians, at this point, are professing publicly (by their willing membership in organizations that teach that particular "knowledge of God," if nothing else) an acceptance of the trinity doctrine. Such an acceptance, whether open or not, is actually "a sacrifice of praise" to two other persons as being equally God with the Father.
At least one of us has to be tragically wrong! Shouldn't every trinitarian search the scriptures together with us "as for hid treasures" to find the "knowledge of God"?
The only personal name of God ("Jehovah" - English form; or "Yahweh" - possible Hebrew form) has a meaning similar to "He Will Be" or "He Will Prove to Be." Although "Jehovah" (like the only personal name of the Messiah, "Jesus") has become the standard English transliteration for God's only personal name, the transliteration "Yahweh" may be closer to its actual Hebrew pronunciation (just as "Yeshua" is much closer to the way Christ actually pronounced his own name rather than the modern English form, "Jesus.") - but see the PRONOUNCE study paper. For the usage "Yahweh" see the Roman Catholic Jerusalem Bible. The totally false translation "LORD," however, found nearly 7000 times in most trinitarian translations has no justification and is not only not a "sacrifice of praise" to God's name but is, in reality, a profanation of God's name - Ezekiel 39:7, 8 RSV.
"Of primary significance is the name of Yahweh [Jehovah], which he himself made known in his revelation (Gen. 17:1; Exod. 3:14 [and 3:15]; 6:2...). One of the most fundamental and essential features of the biblical revelation is the fact that God is not without a name: he has a personal name, by which he can, and IS to be, invoked." - p. 649, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Vol. 2, Zondervan, 1986. (Also cf. p. 813, sect. d., New Bible Dictionary, 1984, Tyndale House Publ.)
"You shall not MISUSE the name of Yahweh [Jehovah] your God, for Yahweh will not leave unpunished anyone who MISUSES his name." - Ex. 20:7, NJB (also NRSV, NIV, NEB, REB, GNB, NLV, ETRV).
Mercenary considerations and tradition (Mt 15:6-9) are cited by Bible translators as some of the reasons for this profaning of God's name. This is typified by a letter from the Executive Secretary for the Committee of the popular New International Version. When asked why the NIV translators had actually removed God's name in all 7000 instances where it ocurred in the original OT manuscripts and substituted LORD in its place, Edwin H. Palmer, Th.D. responded:
"You are right that Jehovah is a distinctive name for God and ideally we should have used it. But we put 2 ¼ million dollars into this translation and a sure way of throwing that down the drain is to translate, for example, Psalm 23 as, `Yahweh [or Jehovah] is my shepherd.' Immediately, we would have translated for nothing. Nobody would have used it. Oh, maybe you and a handful [of] others. But a Christian has to be also wise and practical. We are the victims of 350 years of the King James tradition. It is far better to get two million to read it - that is how many have bought it to date - and to follow the King James [tradition], than to have two thousand buy it and have the correct translation of Yahweh [or Jehovah]. . . . It was a hard decision, and many of our translators agree with you."
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"Jehovah ...: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations." - Ex. 3:15 ASV - also see The Living Bible; The New English Bible; Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible; Modern Language Bible (MLB); Byington's The Bible in Living English; King James II Version; Darby Translation; The New World Translation.
"Fill their faces with shame; that they may SEEK THY NAME .... yea let them be put to shame and perish: that men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth." - Psalm 83:16, 17, 18 - King James Version (compare Young's; Byington's; King James II Version; ASV; NWT).
"O Jehovah..., thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth .... that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art Jehovah, even thou only" - Is. 37:15, 20 ASV (Hezekiah's "sacrifice of praise" to God.)
"Father,.... this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God [`Jehovah' - Jer. 10:10 ASV] .... I have manifested thy name .... I have made known to them thy name [`Jehovah' - Ps. 22:22, 23 ASV]" - John 17:1, 3, 6, 26 RSV (Jesus' "sacrifice of praise" to God).
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Note: Although Watchtower Society (WTS) research and scholarship is usually at least the equal of (and often superior to) that of other sources, I have tried to rely most heavily on other sources in Christendom itself (preferably trinitarian) or my own independent research to provide evidence disproving the trinitarian `proof' being examined in this paper. The reason is, of course, that this paper is meant to provide evidence needed by non-Witnesses, and many of them will not accept anything written by the WTS. They truly believe it is false, even dishonest. Therefore some of the information in this paper, all of which helps disprove specific trinitarian "proofs," may be in disagreement with current WTS teachings in some specifics. Jehovah's Witnesses should research the most recent WTS literature on the subject or scripture in question before using this information with others. – RDB.
1. The New Bible Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1984, Tyndale House Publ., tells us that this golden calf was intended to either actually represent Jehovah or, possibly, to act as "a pedestal over which he was enthroned." - p. 504. This is confirmed by Hastings' A Dictionary of the Bible: "`a molten calf' is fashioned ... before which an altar is built, and to which, as a symbol of Jehovah ... divine honors are paid." - p. 341, Vol. 1, Hendrickson Publ., 1988 printing.
2. "The whole narrative of the golden calf (Ex.32) reveals the extent of the contrast between the religion which stemmed from Mt. Sinai and the form of religion congenial to the unregenerate heart. These religions, we learn are incompatible .... it is a most significant thing that when Israel turned to idolatry it was always necessary to borrow the trappings from the pagan environment .... whenever the kings of Israel and Judah lapsed into idolatry, it was by means of borrowing and syncretism." - New Bible Dictionary, p. 504, Tyndale House Publ. So Israelites didn't reject their God completely, but continued to "worship" him by adding (or reverting to) pagan customs in God's name. They "made" these additions to God's pure worship clean and holy to Jehovah (or so they believed). But it was never acceptable to Jehovah who demanded pure, unspotted worship.
3. - Ps. 8:5, NEB, REB, NAB (see Ps. 8:6 footnote in the St. Joseph ed.), JB, NJB. Also see NIVSB f.n. for Gen. 16:7; The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, p. 132, Vol. 1 and p. 1265, Vol. 2 (1984 printing); Young's Concordance (Preface: "Hints and Helps to Bible Interpretation," #65); Strong's Concordance (#430, Heb.); The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon, p. 43, Hendrickson Publ., 1979. Also Ps. 97:7 footnote in the NAB, St. Joseph ed., 1970.
4. Ps. 45:6; 82:6; John 10:34, 35; (and see NIVSB f.n.'s for Ps. 82:1; 45:6; and NAB, St Joseph ed., f.n. for Jn 10:34); also see p. 77, Vol. 2, Dr. William Barclay's The Gospel of John (The Daily Study Bible Series); New Bible Dictionary (pp. 1133-34); Young's (preface) and Strong's (#430, Heb.) Concordances; Thayer, p. 288; Robertson (Word Pictures), v. 5, pp. 188-9.