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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Addressing The Claim That The New World Translation is "Biased"

Some have made claims similar to the quote found in p. 65, Understanding Jehovah's Witnesses, Baker Book House, 1991, that, "the NWT is filled with faulty translations designed to make the Bible fit Jehovah's Witness doctrine. It is therefore legitimate to say ... that the NWT is doctrinally biased."

Ususally what many of these opposers apparently mean by "doctrinally biased" is that the NWT translates passages that may have more than one possible interpretation in a way that does not support the trinity doctrine (or certain other "orthodox" doctrines of modern Christendom). Just because they support some of these doctrines (particularly the trinity doctrine) does not make them true. Jehovah's Witnesses have determined through proper, honest scholarship that a number of these teachings are actually unscriptural additions by scholars and philosophers made hundreds of years after the deaths of Christ and his Apostles. - See the HIST; CREEDS; ISRAEL; IMAGE; etc. study papers.

For Jehovah's Witnesses to choose honest alternate translations and interpretations which refute these unscriptural doctrinal additions or questionable translations may make them biased, in a sense, but it certainly does not make them dishonest or guilty of "faulty translations"!

Being "biased" does not necessarily make a person dishonest or unscholarly. Being biased against illegal drug usage and drug pushers does not make you a villain. Being biased against abortion or biased against having children out of wedlock or adultery, etc., does not automatically make you wrong, dishonest, unscholarly, or evil! We are all biased in many ways and often in good, proper ways.

All Bibles are doctrinally biased in their translations. For example, it is doubtful that you will easily find one for sale today which is not strongly biased toward a trinity doctrine. That is, when more than one honest rendering exists for a particular verse, these Bibles will purposely choose the one which best presents evidence for a trinity. This is solely because of the tradition of a three-persons-in-one-God trinity doctrine which was officially begun by the Roman Catholic Church in the 4th century A. D. (hundreds of years after the deaths of Christ, his Apostles, and the inspired Bible writers) and continues down to today in 99% of the churches of Christendom.

This trinitarian doctrinal bias is not based on proper Scriptural evidence (see the IMAGE; PRIMER; I-AM; etc. study papers). It is not based on proper historical evidence (see ISRAEL; HIST; and CREEDS study papers). It is not just "doctrinal bias," it is unsupported doctrinal bias.

So for the NWT to be virtually the only Bible to be consistently translated with its properly-supported bias for a single-person God is certainly not dishonest or false!

Additional Reading:
Is The New World Translation Biased and Unscholarly? (In Defense of the NWT)

Robert Hommel's Comments on the New World Translation (Bible Translation and Study)

Index of Links and Pages that Defend the New World Translation (Defending the NWT)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Why is Jesus Called "Eternal Father" at Isaiah 9:6?

"Eternal Father" could mean that the Messiah is one who has been given eternal life and through him God has brought eternal life to many others. (We might make the comparison that the Heavenly Father has brought men to life in this world through their earthly fathers.) This would be intended in a clearly subordinate sense and not to take anything away from the ultimate honor, glory, worship, etc. due the Most High God and Father in heaven - Jehovah.

At any rate, even trinitarians do not confuse the two separate persons of the Father and the Son. They do not say the Son is the Father. They say the Father and the Son are two separate individual persons who are equally "God".

Therefore, since we obviously cannot take "Eternal Father" in the literal sense to mean that Jesus is the Father, we cannot take the rest of that same name (esp. `Mighty God') in its literal highest sense and say that Jesus is Mighty God, etc., either.

Rotherham has rendered "Eternal Father" as "father of progress," and the New English Bible translates it: "father of a wide realm."

The above-mentioned Bible translations by trinitarian scholars which apply the words in the name at Is. 9:6 in a subordinate sense directly to Jesus clearly show that they do not believe this scripture implies an equality with Jehovah the Father.


Also, Bible scholars have interpreted the MEANING of this name with the understanding that it (as with many, if not most, of the other Israelites' personal names) DOES NOT APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE MESSIAH (as we can see with "Elijah," "Abijah," etc.) but is, instead, A STATEMENT PRAISING the Father, Jehovah God.

Personal names in the ancient Hebrew and Greek are often somewhat cryptic to us today. The English Bible translator must fill in the missing minor words (especially in names composed of two or more Hebrew words) such as "my," "is," "of," etc. in whatever way he thinks best in order to make sense for us today in English.

For instance, two of the best Bible concordances (Young's and Strong's) and a popular trinitarian Bible dictionary (Today's Dictionary of the Bible) differ greatly on the exact meaning of many Biblical personal names because of those "minor" words which must be added to bring out the intended meaning.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, for example, says the name "Elimelech" (which is literally just "God King") means "God of (the) King." Young's Analytical Concordance says it means "God is King." Today's Dictionary of the Bible says it means " God his king" - p. 206, Bethany House Publ., 1982.

Those missing minor words that the translator must supply at his own discretion can often make a vital difference! - For example, the footnote for Gen. 17:5 in The NIV Study Bible: The name `Abram' "means `Exalted Father,' probably in reference to God (i.e., `[God is] Exalted Father')."- Brackets in original.

Therefore, the personal name at Is. 9:6 has been honestly translated as:

"And his name is called: Wonderful in counsel is God the Mighty, the everlasting Father, the Ruler of peace" - The Holy Scriptures, JPS Version (Margolis, ed.) to show that it is intended to PRAISE the God of the Messiah who performs great things through the Messiah.

Also, An American Translation (by trinitarians Smith and Goodspeed) says:

"Wonderful counselor is God almighty, Father forever, Prince of peace."

Of course it could also be honestly translated: "Wonderful Counselor and Mighty God is the Eternal Father of the Prince of Peace."

And the Tanakh by the JPS, 1985, translates it:

[a]"The Mighty God is planning grace;
[b] The Eternal Father [is] a peaceable ruler."

This latter translation seems particularly appropriate since it is in the form of a parallelism. Not only was the previous symbolic personal name introduced by Isaiah at Is. 8:1 a parallelism ("Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz" means [a]"quick to the plunder; [b] swift to the spoil" - NIV footnote) but the very introduction to this Messianic name at Is. 9:6 is itself a parallelism: [a]"For unto us a child is born; [b] unto us a son is given." It would, therefore, be appropriate to find that this name, too, was in the form of a parallelism as translated by the Tanakh above.

So it is clear, even to a number of trinitarian scholars, that Is. 9:6 does not imply that Jesus is Jehovah God.

For much more, see:

Isa. 9:6 "Mighty God, Eternal Father" (Examining the Trinity)

Isa. 9:6 - NWT (Defending the New World Translation)

NAME - “Jesus,” “Immanuel,” and Is. 9:6 (Examining the Trinity)

BOWGOD (God and gods) (Examining the Trinity)

Does Isa. 9:6 prove that Jesus is God? (Search For Bible Truths)

One God in Three? (Pastor Russell; Heading: "No Trinity in the “Old Testament”')

How does the Codex Sinaiticus render Is. 9:6? (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)

How is translated Isaiah 9:6 in old Aramaic Targums? (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)

Or see the Scripture Index.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Was Charles Taze Russell Buried Under a Pyramid?

Russell is NOT buried under a pyramid. The pyramid was built in the middle of the cemetery.

The pyramid was erected after his death by J.A. Bohnet a Bible Student. The monument was built in the middle of the WTS plot in the cemetery. It was to be a marker of sorts for the Bible House family (those who worked at the headquarters in Pa). The pyramid contains a cross, crown and wreath symbol, scripture quotes, an open book which has names of Bible Students who died and were buried in the cemetery

Russell and the early Bible Students thought that God had directed the building of the Great pyramid by Hebrews as a secondary way to confirm the Bible's chronology.

This was not a belief that the Bible Students made up, but was commonly taught in many mainstream Churches which they had just come out of. It took them time to discern what was true and what was myth. In the 1800s some religious scholars felt that the Great Pyramid was built by the Hebrews under God's direction. They believed that biblical texts such as Isa 19:19-20 foretold that the Pyramid contained clues to the interpretation of Biblical prophecies that would be understood in the end times.

But Witnesses corrected their wrong understandings while other religions continue to believe obvious myths associated with the cross and holidays. And there are still theologians and accepted members of mainstream churches who still teach Pyramidology, numerology, and mix "New Age" metaphysics with no repercussions from their respective organizations.

Jehovah's Witnesses have never hidden the fact that they had incorrect beliefs due to ignorance, but we regularly study our history. But, the Bible shows that God allows his servants to gradually understand (Pro. 4:18; Jn 16:12) just as the prophets and Apostles had to gradually learn and change their understandings (Dan. 12:8, 9; 1 Pet. 1:10-12; Acts 1:6, 7; 1 Cor. 13:9-12).

So, concern with past beliefs which were incorrect is a waste of time and distracts from the real issue. That is, a FAILURE to correct false doctrine or actions when presented with solid evidence would be proof that a religion or an individual is not God's organization or a Christian.

It is hypocritical and it's illogical to address past beliefs which have been changed in order to cast doubt on current teachings of any religion. What someone taught years ago has no bearing on the accuracy of what is taught now.

Rejecting current beliefs based on past misunderstanding is just plain unintelligent.

(This is an answer provided by Bar_Anerges to a question at Yahoo Answers.)

Also see:

The Watchtower and the Great Pyramid, then and now (Pastor Russell)

Charles T. Russell and "Pyramid Chronology" (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Do Jehovah's Witnesses Observe Lent?

What is Lent?

Lent (Latin: Quadragesima, "fortieth") is an observance in the liturgical year of many Christian denominations, lasting for a period of approximately six weeks leading up to Easter. In most Western denominations Lent is taken to run from Ash Wednesday to Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) or to Easter Eve.

Do Jehovah's Witnesses Observe Lent?

No, Jehovah's Witnesses do not observe Lent or Easter. Jehovah's Witnesses only formally celebrate the one event that Jesus commanded his followers. The memorial of his death (1 Cor. 11:23-26).

Notice the following excerpt from the article, Fasting—Does It Draw You Closer to God? (w09 4/1 pp. 27-29; Watchtower Online Library):

The 40-day fast of Lent is said to commemorate the 40-day fast of Christ. Yet, Jesus never commanded his disciples to commemorate his fast, nor is there any evidence that they did so. The first reliable mention of the 40-day fast before Easter is thought to be in letters of Athanasius, dated 330 C.E.

Since Jesus fasted following his baptism and not before his death, the fact that some religions observe Lent in the weeks preceding Easter may seem strange. However, a 40-day fast in the early part of the year was common among ancient Babylonians, Egyptians, and Greeks. The “Christian” custom was evidently borrowed from them.

For more, see:

Lent (INDEX; Watchtower Online Library)

Do Jehovah Witness give up stuff for Lent like Catholics do? (Y/A)

Why Don't Jehovah's Witnesses Celebrate Easter? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Why Don't Jehovah's Witnesses Celebrate St. Valentine's Day?

Jehovah's Witnesses only formally celebrate the one event that Jesus commanded his followers. The memorial of his death (1 Cor. 11:23-26). They also celebrate other events which are referred to favorably in the Scriptures such as marriages, anniversaries, the birth of a baby, graduations and many other happy occasions.

But why don't Jehovah's Witnesses celebrate St. Valentine's Day? Because Jehovah's Witnesses take their worship very seriously and insist upon keeping their worship of God undefiled (James 1:27), there are two main reasons why Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate St. Valentine's Day:

1.) Pagan ceremonies honoring pagan gods are mixed in with St. Valentine's Day's origins.

2.) The Bible makes it clear that there is to be no veneration or adoration of Saints as intercessors with God. Our approach to the Father can only be through Jesus. (John 14:6, 14; 1 Tim. 2:5)

St. Valentine's Day - It's Pagan Associations

It would be wrong to incorporate anything used for pagan worship, into our worship or related activities. Holidays, for example, are "Holy Days" and are a part of "worship", by their very name.

Notice what the publication How It Started had to say about St. Valentine's Day on pages 46-47:

"Ancient Romans placed great stress upon holidays that fell about the middle of the shortest month of the year. Dedicated to the goddess Juno, who was the wife of Jupiter, these festivals stressed love, courtship, and marriage.

"That was appropriate since Juno, queen of heaven, was regarded as the special protector of women in `critical times of life.'....

"When Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire by edict of Emperor Constantine, religious leaders immediately started trying to do away with pagan festivals. Many of them had been observed for so many centuries that they resisted all frontal attacks, so there were many efforts to bring about change in a more subtle fashion. One of the most effective was a substitution of a Christian [?] observance for a pagan one, with special ceremonies held on or near the date of the long-established holiday.

"Since the martyrdom of St. Valentine was celebrated on February 14, it made sense to stress homage to the man who was said to have been stoned to death on that day in A. D. 269. For that reason the name of a man about whom no written records exist came to be attached to the day formerly dedicated to Juno."

And The World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 20, 1973 ed. on page 204 says this:

"Valentine's Day comes on the feast of two different Christian martyrs named Valentine. But the customs connected with the day ... probably came from an ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia which took place every February 15. The festival honored Juno, the Roman goddess of women and marriage, and Pan, the god of nature."

Some would say that it's wrong to pay such homage to dead men, whether "Saints" or not, but certainly it's incredibly wrong to mix in pagan ceremonies honoring pagan gods in the process.

"What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? .... `Therefore come out from them and be separate,' says the Lord. `Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you ...' says the Lord Almighty." - 2 Cor. 6:16, 17, NIVSB. [NIVSB f.n.: "agreement...between the temple of God and idols. There can be no reversion to or compromise with the idolatry they have forsaken for the gospel (cf. 1 Th. 1:9)."]

Additional Reading:
What is the origin of Valentine’s Day? (rs p. 176-p. 182; Watchtower Online Library)

Can the Pagan Customs of Christmas Really Be MADE Acceptable to God? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Can a Pagan Holiday Be Made Christian? (Official Website of Jehovah's Witnesses)

Should We Venerate "Saints as Intercessors" With God?

Notice what Peter's response was to a certain situation in the account of Acts 10:25, 26, JB:

"As Peter reached the house Cornelius went out to meet him, knelt at his feet and prostrated himself. But Peter helped him up. `Stand up,' he said `I am only a man after all!'"

Peter did not approve of such adoration when he was personally present. He understood what Jesus clearly stated in John 14:6, 14 that our approach to the Father can be only through Jesus and that our requests are to be made in Jesus' name:

"Jesus said: `I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it.'" (JB)

1 Tim. 2:5: "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (NASB)

Note what Martin Luther wrote concerning the reverence of Roman Catholic Saints:

"The pity is that we are so blind that we do not leave the devil alone to play his tricks in his own way; rather, we support him and multiply them. I wish people would leave the saints in peace, and not mislead humble folk. What spirit was it that gave the pope authority to canonize saints? Who tells him whether they are holy or not? .... God is just in judging us with His wrath and in allowing the devil to lead us hither and thither, to institute pilgrimages, ... to set about canonizing saints and other foolish things." - p. 458, Martin Luther, Selections From His Writings, Dr. John Dillenberger, Anchor Books, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1961.

Additional Reading:
Should I Pray to Saints? (Official Website of Jehovah's Witnesses)

The Bible’s Viewpoint Is It Appropriate to Pray to “Saints”? (Official Website of Jehovah's Witnesses)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why Jehovah's Witnesses Are Not False Prophets - Does the Watchtower Society Really Claim to be an INSPIRED Prophet?

Most anti-Jehovah's Witness writers who falsely accuse the Watchtower Society of being a "false prophet" use a study article for Jehovah's Witnesses found in the April 1, 1972 Watchtower Magazine as a proof. They choose this because, in spite of the multitudinous evidence to the contrary, it is the only one they can find where it seems to say that Jehovah's Witnesses consider themselves a "prophet."

But does the Watchtower Society really claim to be an inspired prophet, receiving information directly (and therefore perfectly) from God?

The Watchtower has said:

"We have not the gift of prophecy." - January 1883, page 425.

"Nor would we have our writings reverenced or regarded as infallible." - December 15, 1896, page 306.

"[the fact that some have Jehovah's spirit] does not mean those now serving as Jehovah's witnesses are inspired. It does not mean that the writings in this magazine, The Watchtower, are inspired and infallible and without mistakes." - May 15, 1947, page 157.

"The Watchtower does not claim to be inspired in its utterances, nor is it dogmatic." - August 15, 1950, page 263.

"The brothers preparing these publications are not infallible. Their writings are not inspired as are those of Paul and the other Bible writers. (2 Tim. 3:16) And so, at times, it has been necessary, as understanding became clearer, to correct views. (Prov. 4:18)" - February 15, 1981, page 19.

No, as the preface to every Watchtower magazine for the year 1972 (including, of course, the April 1, 1972 issue which had the article, "They Shall Know That a Prophet Was Among Them") says:

"No, `The Watchtower' is NO INSPIRED PROPHET, but it follows and explains a Book of prophecy ....— Which Book? The Sacred Bible of the Holy Scriptures, written by inspiration in the name of the creator of heaven and earth, the only living and true God."

C. T. Russell wrote in an October 1, 1907 WT article:

"A dear Brother inquires, Can we feel absolutely sure that the Chronology set forth in the Dawn-Studies is correct? - That the harvest began in 1874 and will end in A.D. 1914....?"

"We answer," Russell continues, "as we have frequently done before in the Dawns and Towers and orally and by letter, that we have never claimed that they were knowledge, nor based upon indisputable evidence, facts, knowledge; our claim has always been that they are based on faith. We have set forth the evidence as plainly as possible and stated the conclusions of faith we draw from them....

"Many have examined these evidences and have accepted them; others equally bright do not endorse them....

"We neither urge nor insist upon our views as infallible, nor do we smite or abuse those who disagree; but regard as `brethren' all sanctified believers in the precious blood.

"On the contrary, it is those who differ who smite us and speak evil of us .... They are our critics who always claim the infallibility. We go humbly onward following the Apostle's example and words, `We believe and therefore speak,' whether others hear or forbear to hear. Is not this in accord with the Spirit of Christ? ....

"But some of those who come to a trifling point on which they disagree seem to imagine that the entire harvest work must be overthrown, or at least stopped, until they get their little jot or tittle satisfactorily adjusted." ....

"If, therefore, dearly beloved, it should turn that our chronology is all wrong, we may conclude that with it we have had much advantage everyway. If the attainment of our glorious hopes and present joys in the Lord should cost us such disappointment as our friends fear, we should rejoice and count it cheap!"

And in the Jan. 1, 1911 WT, Russell wrote:

"Suppose that our chronological calculations (never set forth as infallible) should prove to be fallible and in error. Our conclusion would merely be that the error could not be very great ....

"If, then, it should prove eventually that the crisis of earthly government will not be reached by the end of 1914, should we not be very faithful anyway, and remember that had it not been for that alarm clock which helped awaken us from the worldly stupor, we might not have been sufficiently awake to appreciate and enjoy the wonderful spiritual blessings which daily crown our lives?"

Something Other Than an Inspired Prophet Was Meant by the Word "Prophet"

So, how would a Witness who has read the preface to his Watchtower magazine, which clearly shows `The Watchtower' is not an inspired prophet, understand the 1972 article "They Shall Know That a Prophet Was Among Them"? Why, obviously something other than an inspired prophet was meant by the word "prophet" in that article, and what could be more obvious than that it was the basic meaning of the word as used by the ancient Bible writers that was intended, as `The Watchtower' has explained for many years in its reference works?

Notice how this Jan. 1, 1971 Watchtower magazine explains it, for example.

"Jehovah's people today .... are having a share in the fulfillment of the prophecy, `your sons and your daughters will certainly prophesy.' (Joel 2:28) Not that these prophesy in the sense of foretelling events under inspiration, but rather in that they are making public proclamation of the inspired dreams and visions long ago recorded. They prophesy in the sense of being God's spokesmen. That this is one of the meanings of `prophesy' is apparent from the fact that Jehovah God appointed Aaron to be prophet to his brother Moses. Aaron did not foretell things to Moses, but he served as Moses' spokesman or mouthpiece - Ex. 7:1. - p. 32. (Compare WT, Oct. 1, 1961, p. 593.)"

Watchtower Society's Use of Quotation Marks Show Different Meaning For the Word "Prophet"

But to make it even clearer and less liable to misunderstanding, The Watchtower Society wrote the word in such a manner in that 1 April 1972 WT article that everyone should have known that "prophet" was being used in a special sense.

You see, quotation marks have a number of uses. There are two times when quotation marks are used around a single word (such as "prophet"). One is when you are talking about it as a word. For example: The word "is" was used as a verb in the last sentence. Or: we have discussed the fundamental meaning of the word "prophet." Another use for quotation marks around a single word is when the writer is indicating that he is using that word in a special sense, different from how the reader might ordinarily understand it.

The Handbook of Effective Writing, Moore, 1966, p.145, explains it:

"Double quotation marks are used to enclose ... a word used in an unusual way."

And The Guide and Handbook for Writing, Griggs-Webster, 1964, p. 487, says:

"Use quotation marks to indicate a word used in a different sense than someone else has used it."

For example, the Watchtower Society has also taught the importance of Christian women being "daughters" of Sarah. - p. 264, Life Everlasting in the Freedom of the Sons of God (Also see p. 162: "bride," "wife," "rock-mass"). Persons with no regard for truth (ravening wolves in sheep's clothing) could take such statements and insist that the Watchtower Society teaches that you must be a physical Jew (or at least a literal physical descendant of Sarah) in order to be a Christian woman. This is obviously untrue and the use of quotation marks around "daughters" helps show that the Watchtower Society intended a figurative meaning: that Christian women are to be similar to Sarah only in certain respects! (1 Peter 3:6)

In the 1 April 1972 Watchtower article in question the word "prophet" was enclosed with quotation marks at least 12 different times when the word was applied to the Watchtower Society. E.g.,

"He had a "prophet" to warn them. This "prophet" was not one man, but was a body of men and women.... Today they are known as Jehovah's Christian witnesses." - p. 197.

The quotation marks alone tell the reader that "prophet" as applied to Jehovah's Witnesses in that article is not to be understood as an inspired Biblical prophet but in a different sense.

It is intellectually (and morally) very dishonest to accuse the Watchtower Society of being a false prophet in the complete Biblical sense of an inspired prophet (including inspired prediction of future events) if the accuser is aware of that society's teaching on the subject (or even understands the common meanings of quotation mark use).

The Watchtower Society Has Always Taught That the Miraculous Gift of Prophesying to Foretell Future Events Ended With the Death of the Last Apostle

The Watchtower Society has also taught (from the beginning, I believe) that the miraculous gifts of the spirit (including the gift of inspired prophecy) were no longer given to earthly men after the death of the last Apostle.

Examine these statements found in the Aid book and a 1971 Watchtower magazine:

"Evidently, with the death of the apostles, the transmittal of the gifts of the Spirit ended, and the miraculous gifts of the spirit ceased altogether as those having received these gifts passed off the earthly scene." - - - - "Prophesying was a greater gift than speaking in tongues .... the particular ones having the miraculous gift of prophesying were able to foretell future events, as did Agabus." - Aid, pp. 655, 656.

1971 Watchtower, pp. 502, 503, 504: Speaking of the first century miraculous gifts of the spirit -

"The gift of `prophesying' included, besides speaking the magnificent things of God, the inspired ability to speak accurately of things to come. This inspired foretelling of events seems to have been generally limited, however, to things that affected the congregation at that time, enabling it to meet the foreseen situation, as in the case of the famine in the time of Emperor Claudius, foretold by the Christian prophet Agabus." - - - - "Are the miraculous gifts of the spirit necessary for the congregation to carry on its work and to maintain its cleanness, uprightness and unity? No, such gifts are not needed...." (p. 503) - - - - "Inspired prophesying today would be superfluous. The prophecies written in the Bible being complete as a guide to the congregation today, nothing needs to be added. Accordingly, since God's Word provides a perfect guide, there is no need to have the gift of discernment of prophecies in a miraculous sense, for there are no inspired prophets now authorized by God." (p. 504)

In other words, the Watchtower Society believes there ceased to be miraculous gifts bestowed when the "Church" reached "maturity" around 100 A.D. The "Church" was firmly established by this time and all the inspired scriptures had already been written and transmitted to the congregations. (1 Cor. 13:2, 8-11)

Others have taught this very same belief. Even W. E. Vine, "recognized as one of the world's foremost [NT] Greek scholars" and a favorite of many in orthodox Christendom, affirms the following quotation: "With the completion of the canon of Scripture prophecy apparently passed away, 1 Cor. 13:8, 9." - p. 893, Vine.

The Society has always taught this understanding. Even Russell taught it in his WT articles (e.g., WT Sept. 15, 1911). Since they have always believed that no Christian for the past 1800 years at least has been able to predict future events infallibly by direct inspiration, how could anyone honestly accuse them of being false prophets in that sense?

For more, see:

PROPHET (Insight-2 pp. 694-698; Watchtower Online Library)
The Greek pro·phe′tes literally means “a speaker out [Gr., pro, “before” or “in front of,” and phe·mi′, “say”]” and thus describes a proclaimer, one who makes known messages attributed to a divine source. (Compare Tit 1:12.) Though this includes the thought of a predictor of the future, the fundamental meaning of the word is NOT that of prediction. (Compare Jg 6:7-10.)

Have Jehovah's Witnesses ever claimed to be an INSPIRED prophet? (Search For Bible Truths)

Does the Watchtower Society really claim to be an inspired prophet? (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)

The Problem with "False Prophecy" Polemics (Bible Translation and Study)

The Churches, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Question of Unfulfilled Prophetic Expectations (Jehovah's Witnesses United)

Are Jehovah's Witnesses False Prophets? (From God's Word)

Dates (1914; 1975) (Search For Bible Truths)

'False Prophet' Claim and Jerusalem 607 B.C.E. (Search For Bible Truths)

The Destruction of Jerusalem - 607 B.C.? (Search For Bible Truths)

Are Jehovah's Witnesses False Prophets? (From God's Word)

Why so many False Alarms? (Pastor Russell)

Has The Watchtower Society Ever Claimed to be Infallible? (Search For Bible Truths)

Was Nathan a False Prophet? (Jehovah's Witnesses Stand Firm)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Do Jesus and Jehovah Share the Same Title of "Alpha and Omega"?

Some trinitarians attempt to prove their "Jehovah is Jesus" idea by pointing to Rev. 1:8 where God is clearly called "Alpha and Omega" and then saying that Jesus claims the same title at Rev. 22:13. They point to Rev. 22:16 in the KJV as proof that it is Jesus who is claiming to be the Alpha and Omega of verse 13. Since Jehovah is clearly Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8), they say, and Jesus is Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22:13), then Jesus IS Jehovah!

As you probably know, the original Bible writers didn't use any punctuation or capitalization and frequently ran the words of one speaker right into those of another speaker without any warning or indication. Eerdmans 1978 edition of Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible, for example, warns Bible readers:

"The language of the MESSENGER frequently glides into that of the SENDER ..." and, "what a SERVANT says or does is ascribed to the MASTER." - "Hints and Helps to Bible Interpretation" - Preface.

There is another thing that helps show the originally-intended meaning here. Although it is very common that the words of one speaker slide right into those of another speaker (e.g., Is. 10:4, 7), it also happens that sometimes the writer identifies the new speaker. As we see in Daniel, for example, Daniel nearly always identifies himself as the new speaker when he uses the words "I, Daniel" whenever it might be confusing to the reader (especially after a different person has been speaking) - Dan. 7:15, 28; 8:15, 27; 12:5.

If we then examine Revelation (which is recognized as being similar to, patterned after, and frequently referring to, the Book of Daniel), we find that John also uses this technique. "I, John" identifies a new speaker in every instance John uses it: Rev. 1:9; 22:8. So Rev. 1:9 is merely the statement of a new speaker.

Now look again at Rev. 22:8-16.

John is identified as the speaker in 22:8. The angel speaks in (:9). The angel apparently continues speaking in (:10). The angel may be still speaking in (:11) --- or it could be John or even someone else (as implied in verse 10 in the NAB,1970 ed.).

Now is the angel still speaking in (:12) or is it God, or is it Jesus, or even John?

There is simply no way of telling who the speaker is from any of the early Bible manuscripts. It's entirely a matter of translator's choice. Some translators have decided it is the angel who continues to speak, and they punctuate it accordingly.

So the NASB, JB, and NJB use quotation marks to show that these are all words spoken by the angel.

However, the NKJV, NEB, REB, RSV, and NRSV show by their use of quotation marks that someone else is now speaking in verse 12.

Most Bibles indicate that the person who spoke verse 12 (whether God, angel, Jesus, or John) also spoke verse 13 ("I am Alpha and Omega").

So the big question is: Is it clear that the speaker of verses 12 and 13 continues to speak? Some Bibles indicate this. But other highly respected trinitarian translations do not!

The RSV, NRSV, NASB, NEB, REB, NKJV, and NAB (1991 ed.) show (by quotation marks and indenting) that Rev. 22:14 and 15 are not the words of the speaker of verses 12 and 13 but are John's words. (The Jerusalem Bible and the NJB show us that the angel spoke all the words from verse 10 through verse 15.)

Then they all show Jesus as a new speaker beginning to speak in verse 16.

So, if you must insist that the person speaking just before verse 16 is the same person who is speaking in verse 16, then, according to the trinitarian NEB, RSV, NKJV, and NASB Bibles, you are saying John is Jesus! (According to the JB and NJB you would be insisting that the angel is Jesus!)

Remember, "I, John" indicated a new speaker in Revelation.

So Rev. 22:16 - "I, Jesus" also introduces a new speaker. This means, of course, that the previous statement ("I am the Alpha and Omega") was made by someone else!

Even the KJV (and NKJV) translators have shown by their use of the word 'his' ('His' in the NKJV) in verse 14 that they didn't mean that Jesus was the same speaker as the Alpha and Omega. The speaker of verse 13 is Almighty God. The comment in verse 14 of these Bibles (as literally translated from the Received Text) explains the importance of doing "His Commandments" (not "My Commandments")! Therefore, the speaker of verse 14 is obviously not God as clearly stated by those Bibles which were translated from the Received Text, e.g., KJV; NKJV; KJIIV; MKJV; Young's Literal Translation; Webster Bible (by Noah Webster); and Revised Webster Bible.

So we can easily see that there is no reason to say Jesus spoke the words recorded at Rev. 22:13 (or the above-named trinitarian Bibles would surely have so translated it!) and, in fact, the context really identifies the speaker as being the same person who spoke at Rev. 1:8, God Almighty, Jehovah, the Father.

The only other use of the title "Alpha and Omega" confirms this understanding.

"And He who sits on the throne said, `Behold, I am making all things new.' .... And He said to me, `It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. .... He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.'" - Rev. 21:5-7, NASB.

"Revelation 21:6, 7 indicates that Christians who are spiritual conquerors are to be `sons' of the one known as the Alpha and the Omega. That is never said of the relationship of spirit-anointed Christians to Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke of them as his `brothers.' (Heb. 2:11; Matt. 12:50; 25:40) But those `brothers' of Jesus are referred to as `sons of God [the Father].' (Gal. 3:26; 4:6)." - pp. 412-413, Reasoning from the Scriptures, WBTS, 1985.

So Rev. 21:6, 7 confirms the understanding that the Alpha and Omega is the Father, not Jesus.

Furthermore, The only one "seated on the throne" in Rev. is the Father, Jehovah alone. (See, for example, Rev. 4 & 5 where the "Lion that is of the tribe of Judah," the lamb [the Son] approaches the one seated on the throne!)

In short, there is no reason, other than a desire to support the trinity tradition, to believe that Jesus is being called "Alpha and Omega" in Rev. 22. And there is good evidence to believe that it is his Father only who uses this title for himself.

For more, see:

ALPHA AND OMEGA - Links to Information (INDEX; Watchtower Online Library)

ALPHA AND OMEGA (Insight-1 pp. 80-81; Watchtower Online Library)

Alpha and Omega: To whom does this title properly belong? (rs p. 405-p. 426; Watchtower Online Library)


"Elijah's" response to Answerbag question concerning Alpha and Omega (Answerbag)

Exposing the False Reasoning Behind Trinity 'Proof'-Texts (Search For Bible Truths)