Friday, August 14, 2009

The Achilles’ Heel of Jehovah’s Witnesses Theology


Jehovah’s Witnesses theology centers on the Deity referred to in the Old Testament by the name of Jehovah, Jesus Christ being one of the main players (perhaps even the main player) in that elaborately constructed theology. It hinges on the assumption that Jehovah and Jesus are two different beings. That assumption is so central to JW theology that if it can be proved conclusively from the Bible that Jesus Christ is in fact the same as Jehovah, it has the effect of destroying their elaborately constructed theology from the foundation up. It brings the whole structure crashing down. The biblical proof that Jesus Christ of the New Testament is the same as Jehovah of the Old Testament, however, is indisputable. Here are some references:


Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple … (John 8:58-59.)

The expression “I am” is the standard trademark of Jehovah in the Old Testament, with which the Jews were familiar; hence their taking offence at His remark, and trying to stone Him, implying that He had committed blasphemy by identifying Himself with Jehovah. Here Jesus informs us that He is in fact Jehovah.

And [the Israelites who came out of Egypt] did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them: and that rock was Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:4.)

The “Rock” referred to by Paul in the Old Testament signified Jehovah, thus implying that Jesus of the New Testament was in fact Jehovah. In the following scriptures “LORD” is a direct translation of the Hebrew “Jehovah”:

For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour … (Isaiah 43:3.)

This verse becomes more meaningful in the light of the quotations from Zechariah given below.

And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD [Jehovah] said unto me, cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was priced at of them … (Zechariah 11:12-13.)

According to Matthew 27:9, this verse is a prophecy of the betrayal of Jesus Christ; yet it is Jehovah who is speaking, thus identifying Jesus with Jehovah.

In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I [LORD, Jehovah] will seek to destroy all nations that shall come against Jerusalem. And I [LORD, Jehovah] will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me [Jehovah] whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him … (Zechariah 12:8-10.)

By all accounts, this is an indisputable prophecy of the Second Coming of the Savior (see Revelation 1:7); and the identification of Jesus with Jehovah is undeniable. Jesus [Jehovah] is returning as the “Savior” of the Jews at His Second Coming in the last days, and they shall look upon Him Whom they have pierced.

Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his [LORD, Jehovah’s] feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in twain in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west … (Zechariah 14:3-4.)

Again, this is an indisputable prophecy of the Second Coming of the Savior, identifying Jesus with Jehovah.

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise up unto David a righteous branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgement and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Jeremiah 23:5-6.)

This is another obvious and well-known prophecy of the coming of the Savior, who is named here THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS! “LORD” is a translation of Jehovah. In other words, this future king, the Savior, Jesus Christ, who will be born of the house of David, and will reign over Israel, shall be called JEHOVAH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS! I think that these references are pretty conclusive that Jesus of the New Testament is the same as Jehovah of the Old Testament. It presents a serious challenge to JW theology which I don’t think they have an answer for.

4 comments:

Dan said...

You post these criticisms without supporting your assertions. The fact is that many scholars disagree with your interpretation of John 8:58. Here is one who is a highly respected Greek scholar who disagrees with you. in fact read footnote #1 for his opinion of those who make this argument.

The first page of this article can be viewed for free at the Expository Times Web site at http://ext.sagepub.com/cgi/pdf_extract/107/10/302

It is larger than 4096 characters so I will give this link, the first paragraph of the article and the conclusion.

"I am" in John's Gospel The Expository Times, 1996, page 302 BY K. L. MCKAY, MA, FORMERLY OF THE AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITY

It has become fashionable among some preachers and writers to relate Jesus' use of the words "I am" in the Gospel according to John, in all, or most, of their contexts, to God's declaration to Moses in Exodus 3:14, and to expound the passages concerned as if the words themselves have some kind of magic in them. Some who have no more than a smattering of Greek attribute the "magic" to the Greek words ego eimi. [1] I wish briefly to draw attention to the normality of the Greek in all such passages, and the unlikelihood of the words ego eimi being intended to suggest any special significance of this kind.

(...)
It's translation of Exodus 3:14 follows the sense (as understood by the Jewish translators) rather than the exact form of the Hebrew: ego eimi ho wn ... Ho wn apestalke me, which translates into English literally as 'I am the being one',' [8] and 'the being one has sent me'.

Now the words ego eimi here are the emphatic pronoun and the copula as in most of the passages cited above; and ho wn represents a relative clause which in its first occurrence would be hos eimi and in its second occurrence would be hos esti, [9] but the most natural translation into English of both would be 'the one who is (who really exists)',' [10] the verb having its basic meaning (and being so accented), and not being a mere copula In neither is there any possibility of inserting an emphatic ego.

So the emphatic words used by Jesus in the passages referred to above are perfectly natural in their contexts, and they do not echo the words of Exodus 3:14 in the normally quoted Greek version. Thus they are quite unlikely to have been used in the New Testament to convey that significance, however much the modern English versions of the relevant passages, following the form of the Hebrew words, may suggest it.


Footnotes:
[1] I have seen one such speaker try to impress his audience by writing the words on a blackboard, only to demonstrate that he was ignorant of even the simplest details of Greek.
[8] As Noth mentions in a footnote.
[9] Cf. the Vulgate translation of 14b: Qui est misit me ad vos.
[10] English has lost the full range of inflections, and the relative pronoun is now treated as if it were always third person.

Dan said...

You criticize Jehovah's Witnesses for identifying Jehovah as the Father of Jesus Christ. However that was the view of Joseph Smith. Later LDS theology changed. What do you have to say about this?


"We believe in God the Father, who is the Great Jehovah and head of all things, and that Christ is the Son of God, co-eternal with the Father." [The "Times and Seasons" Vol. 3 p.358 (15th Nov. 1841) - Joseph Smith]

Dan said...

You said:
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise up unto David a righteous branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgement and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Jeremiah 23:5-6.)

This is another obvious and well-known prophecy of the coming of the Savior, who is named here THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS! “LORD” is a translation of Jehovah. In other words, this future king, the Savior, Jesus Christ, who will be born of the house of David, and will reign over Israel, shall be called JEHOVAH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS! I think that these references are pretty conclusive that Jesus of the New Testament is the same as Jehovah of the Old Testament. It presents a serious challenge to JW theology which I don’t think they have an answer for.

Dan:
You should have asked before making this statement. The Halot Hebrew lexicon says of that phrase in this verse: —b. sedeq with meaning 4: in the names of kings yhwh(´ädönäy) sedeqnû > Yahweh is our salvation Jr 236 3316.

This is a verbless clause and very common in Hebrew. This lexicon is used by seminaries and is not a publication of the WTB&TS. I quote it as a hostile witness

Thus in Hebrew this phrase cannot be forced to mean that Jesus is Jehovah. Joseph Smith also would not have approved :)

jsday187 said...

You're wrong. Jehovah is actually an Anglicized form of the latin Iehovah. Iehovah being derived from the hebrew tetragrammaton wich tranliterated into latin letters is YHVH (or YHWH) which when latinized is rendered as IHVH. Add vowels sounds of another latinized hebrew name of God, Adonai, and it becomes IAHOVAH or IEHAVAH. Anglicized it is rendered as JEHOVAH.

Yahweh has always been the hebrew name of, yes, God The Father.

The fact that Jesus is in turn called that name himself is just evidence that He is in fact equal and of one substance with The Father. God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten NOT made.