Watchtower, the Church, and the Nazis
Climategate and the Limits of Science

The Divine Name and the New Testament

 

 

When you are preparing your English translation of the Bible, it's perfectly acceptable to use God's name Jehovah in the Old Testament. Nobody who knows anything will you any grief about this. You can do it nearly 7000 times. That's how often the four consonant tetragrammaton appears in the original Hebrew.
 
Using God's name in the New Testament is a different matter. It is a bolder move, not without controversy. At first glance, it would seem that you ought to be able to do it without fuss. At second glance, it begins to seem that you have no right to do it at all. At third glance - you get the green light once again, and using God's name is okay. It's solid.

The New World Translation, the Bible most frequently used by Jehovah's Witnesses, uses the Name in both Old and New testaments. Many translations use the name in the OT, but as far as I know, only the NWT, among English translations, use it in the NT. (there are foreign language translations that do so) Believe me, Witnesses take heat for it. Critics constantly grouse that they've "written their own Bible," inserting favorite words without justification, simply because it fits their doctrine.
 
At first glance, why would you not use the name Jehovah in the New Testament? As any Bible reader knows, the New Testament is packed with direct quotes from the Old Testament. So, if the Name appears without controversy in an Old Testament verse, why should it not also appear when that verse is lifted and inserted into the New Testament?
 
But at second glance, it's not quite so simple as that. Ancient manuscripts of the Old Testament [Hebrew] contain the divine name, but ancient manuscripts of the New Testament [Greek] do not. Maybe you think they should, but they don't. That's strange - why would a direct quote pick up every word except the divine name? Nonetheless, as a translator, you have to translate what is, not what you think ought to be.
 
But at third glance, the picture changes again. Those NT writers didn't take their quotes directly from the Hebrew Scriptures. Starting around the 3rd century BC, Greek became the dominant language in that part of the world. Therefore, the Hebrew Old Testament was rendered into Greek in a translation that came to be known as the Septuagint, since it was produced by seventy scholars (actually 72). For the most part, New Testament writers took their OT quotes from this translation, not directly from the Hebrew writings.

Now, the Septuagint doesn't contain the divine name, either - that is, the Septuagint as we have it today. Instead, where you might expect to find God's name, you find kyrios, a Greek word that means lord. However, numerous early fragments have been found that do contain the divine name. Thus, it appears that the same sentiment (that the Name is too sacred to pronounce) which caused it to disappear in latter Hebrew manuscript copies also caused it to disappear in latter Septuagint manuscript copies!

Quite obviously, New Testament authors did not consult latter Septuagint versions - ones produced centuries after their deaths. They used the early versions, and these versions include the Name. The New World Translation (Large Print Version, with References) contain numerous examples, in an appendix, of early Septuagint inclusions of the name. So the translation is on firm ground to use it in the NT, even though few Bibles do.
 
George Howard of the University of Georgia writes this in Journal of Biblical Literature (Vol. 96, 1977, p. 63): "Recent discoveries in Egypt and the Judean Desert allow us to see first hand the use of God's name in pre-Christian times. These discoveries are significant for New Testament studies in that they form a literary analogy with the earliest Christian documents and may explain how NT authors used the divine name. In the following pages we will set forth a theory that the divine name, YHWH [alas, Howard uses the Hebrew characters, but I don't know how to do that on the keyboard!] (and possibly abbreviations of it), was originally written in the NT quotations of and allusions to the Old Testament and that in the course of time it was replaced mainly with the surrogate abbreviation for Kyrios, "Lord" [Again, he uses the Greek characters]. This removal of the Tetragram[maton], in our view, created a confusion in the minds of early Gentile Christians about the relationship between the 'Lord God' and the 'Lord Christ' which is reflected in the MS tradition of the NT text itself." [bolded print mine]
 
Not only did the removal of the Tetragrammaton create that confusion, but isn't its proper restoration, now that it is clearly found in the earliest Septuagint manuscripts, resisted by Trintitarians so as to continue that confusion?
 
Hmmmm....well...(I hear it all the time)...isn't it awfully suspicious that it's the Jehovah Witness Bible that uses Jehovah in the New Testament? Doesn't that mean they're writing their own doctrines into the Bible? No, it doesn't. What it means is that Witnesses love the divine name and so they highlight facts that are not highlighted (if not actually buried) by those who don't love the name. Since the name appears some 7000 times in the entire Bible, it's hard to argue that God doesn't want it known. Especially in view of .....
 
...that men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth. Ps 83:18 (Old Testament)
 
or
 
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Matt 6:9-10 (New Testament)
 
In fact, should not Christians be identified with that name?
 
[Peter] hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. Acts 15:14    [all verses taken from the King James Version]
 
In spite of this, most churches today are moving in the opposite direction! Check this out in the Boston Globe:
 
The Vatican, saying the name of God deserves more reverence, earlier this summer instructed that Catholics stop using the word Yahweh in worship, a step that is expected to affect a number of hymns, according to the Catholic News Service. And now comes Christianity Today, the evangelical magazine, talking with Protestants about the issue. One of several perspectives reported in the article: "Protestants should be following their lead, said Carol Bechtel, professor of Old Testament at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. 'It's always left me baffled and perplexed and embarrassed that we sprinkle our hymns with that name,' she said. 'Whether or not there are Jewish brothers and sisters in earshot, the most obvious reason to avoid using the proper and more personal name of God in the Old Testament is simply respect for God."
 
That's fine with us. Let the Name be associated with those who strive to keep His worship uncontaminated with non-Christian teachings - teachings like Trinity, hellfire, and so forth.

Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. (Isa 26:2)

Perhaps its well that those who so misrepresent God don't even attempt to use his name. In fact, no one knows it's exact pronunciation....all we know are the consonants, the vowels are educated conjecture. I've even heard it suggested that perhaps Jehovah maneuvered matters that way precisely to assuage the concern Jews would later voice....that the name is too sacred to be pronounced by imperfect lips. That doesn't entirely make sense to me, since the name was pronounced accurately at one time. But....people go from bad to worse, and maybe God saw fit to take the proper pronunciation off the table for a time. I'm not sure if I buy that, but it could be.
 
[Edit: 4/25/10; see also here and here.]

*********************

 

Tom Irregardless and Me      No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash 

 

Comments

Jason Chamberlain

I hope you understand that you are basing your argument on the presupposition that the JW's have this right. Is it also possible that the preponderance of manuscripts do not have the divine name because the NT writers considered κυριος to be the same as YHWH and the same as Jesus? That is part of the traditional explanation, as I understand it.

What you've suggested seems similar to the idea endorsed by KJV-only folks about the trinitarian passage in 1John 5:7-8 that has extremely poor manuscript support. However, because it supports a key doctrine they swear by it.

Incidentally, what are the manuscripts used as the original language basis for the NWT? Is the NT revised based on the NA26/UBS4 and is the OT based on the MT found in BHS? I'm just curious about the foundation for it.

TJ

What I find silly is that some people associate *any* use of God's name as distinct *disrespect* for it/God. If that were truly the case, the Bible 'disrespects' God, as you pointed out, nearly 7,000 times. And Jesus must not have really been such a good guy, purposefully spreading such disrespect:

"Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said...I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world...and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17:1,6,26; NASB)

God's name, rich with meaning, deserves its rightful place in the Bible and in Christian worship.

Mike.e

This is probably one of my favorite topics. And contrary to popular opinion, there are many of "us" who are in full agreement that the Tetragrammaton or some transliteration of the divine name should be in the Hebrew Scriptures.

However, I cannot bring myself to agree that it should be included in translations of the Christian Scriptures, nor was it ever there to begin with.

Though I have some strong disagreements with Jason BeDuhn, I think he is spot on in his appendix of his book "truth in translation" where he discusses this very issue. His point is that, whether or not we might think that the divine name should be in the Christian Scriptures, the only solid historical evidence we have to go by is the manuscript tradition. That is, when scholars form a translation, they must go by the best manuscripts that we currently posses. And as you pointed out, not one of them contain the Tetragrammaton.

So as much as me or you would like to think it is there, the evidence just doesn't support the idea. Much more could be said, but I just thought i'd share my two cents.

tom sheepandgoats

Mike.e and Jason (TJ siding with me): I acknowledged including the Name in the NT was a bolder move than its inclusion in the OT. I also acknowledged it is not without controversy. Nonetheless, as stated, I believe it to be solid.

NT writers took their quotations from the Septuagint, and copies of that translation that existed when they wrote their books/letters did contain the Divine Name. Again, as stated, ten examples of such are included in an appendix in the Large Print with References edition of the NWT. Only in later XII copies was the name replaced with 'kyrios.'

The situation is not at all like 1 John 5:7. True, supporting manuscripts in either case are not abundant. The difference, though, lies in their quality. The 1 Jn 5:7 supporting manuscripts are later ones. The Name supporting manuscipts are early ones. We all know early is preferable to later, since it is closer to the original writing, and less time has elapsed for errors to creep in.

As for "I hope you understand that you are basing your argument on the presupposition that the JW's have this right."....anybody translating the scriptures supposes their scholarship is correct. In the past century, there has appeared about one new English translation of the scriptures each year. All contain their own scholarship. All suppose their scholarship is correct.

tom sheepandgoats

jason: In the main, the master text used for the New World Translation NT is Westcott and Hort. It is compared and sometimes supplemented by any number of sources, such as Nestle-Aland, Merk, UBS, Coptic versions, various papyri such as Chester Beatty P45, P46, P47 and Bodmer P66, P74, P75.

The OT uses BHK, BHS, as master text, similarly compared and supplemented with various other sources.

TJ

Putting the divine name in the NT is indeed bold, and I don't hold it against translations that don't use it there (how they treat it in the OT is another matter).

But such arguments as BeDuhn's seem to only approach the text from a strictly legalistic method. Usually I agree with this method, as it tempers bias. The treatment of the divine name, however, is a special case, a fact to which even the modern avoidance of it testifies.

We have external evidence that there was a distinct campaign before, during, and after Jesus' time to remove the divine name from copies of scripture that continues to this day. And we also have internal evidence that Jesus and his disciples used his Father's name often (see my post above).

So while we don't find God's distinct, personal name in the copies-of-copies of the NT autographs handed down to us, that doesn't mean we have to set aside common sense for a cold, mechanical approach.

tom sheepandgoats

I also received the following email:

In response to what you have written, I would say the following.
~~~~~~~~

With regard to the practice of including some form of the God's Divine Name within the "New Testament," little is it known that, for centuries, different individuals as well a many a Bible Translation Society did and do continue to regularly practice such.

For this, you may wish to examine the record as contained with the following website:

https://tinyurl.com/yep6ccc

This might also be of interest:

https://tinyurl.com/yd6dko5

TJ

Hi Tom,

Anthony Byatt lists 44 English translations of the NT that employ some form of the divine name on pages 159-163 of the book 'Your Word is Truth' (Golden Age Books, 2004). And I know of at least one other that he doesn't list, so there's at least 45 English versions that use God's name in some places of the NT.

And it is *very* common for Hebrew versions of the NT to use the tetragrammaton (God's name). Even such a version produced by the United Bible Societies uses it.

The NWT finds support from these Hebrew versions for *every* place it uses "Jehovah" in its version of the NT.

Jason Chamberlain

Tom,

If the inspired authors of the NT thought that the LXX was a good translation to quote, then who are we to say that the LXX got it wrong? I'm not saying that the LXX is on par with the original manuscripts, but it does serve as a tremendous witness to the originals.

tom sheepandgoats

The LXX is not the original OT. It is a translation of that Hebrew writing into the Greek. We may be talking past each other. I don't think there's anything wrong with NT writers taking their OT quotes from the LXX. Nor do I think the LXX got it wrong. That's why, just as in manuscripts of the New Testament itself, I pay the closest attention to early copies of the LXX, not later ones. And those early copies, judging from manuscripts that have been found, do contain the divine name. Subsequent scribes, making hand copies to replace those that wore out, removed the name, likely for reasons already discussed. But it's there in the earliest versions - the versions that existed when those early Christians penned the NT.

Jason Chamberlain

Be careful of a text-critical fallacy. Earlier does not always equal better nor does a greater number of textual witnesses always equal better.

tom sheepandgoats

Still, if the Name is in LXX copies that the NT writers used, and it only disappeared from LXX copies after NT writers had penned their books, it seems safe to suppose that the Name would belong in the NT

Mike.e

Tom, you mentioned the fact that in most cases, the earlier is better, to which I pretty much agree. In comparing this with 1 John 5:7-8, you seem to believe that this is not a valid argument, since with the Divine Name, the NWT is appealing to "older" manuscripts, namely, the LXX. Here's the problem: while there is little question that the early LXX copies contain the Tetra, these are not Christian manuscripts.

What is most important is not so much what the early LXX manuscripts said, but what the Christian writers actually wrote down. You can speculate all day as to what you might think they wrote down, but what matters in the end is our manuscript evidence for the Christian Scriptures.

And the argument that was made earlier is that even a dubious text like 1 John 5:7-8 has better manuscript support than *any* reading of the divine name in the Christian Scriptures.

Here's another problem: how did the divine name get deleted from the manuscript tradition without a shadow of a trace? From what I know about textual criticism and the way in which I defend the reliability of our manuscripts, is that *all* variant readings, even the very earliest, have been retained in our manuscripts. No original reading has been lost. That is, if we have 5 variants for one verse, we know for sure that one of these variants is the correct one.

And any textual critic worth their salt, who believes in a reliable manuscript tradition, will tell you that *if* a variant reading, like 1 John 5:7-8 or the Tetra (which, I argue, is not even a variant possibility) was removed from the manuscript tradition without a shadow of a trace, then we can have no idea what the Bible originally said. In this case, at least 237 words were removed from the manuscripts without a shadow of a trace. And given what I know about the principle of multiple localities and the plethora of manuscripts that we now possess, this just isn't a good option.

tom sheepandgoats

"Here's the problem: while there is little question that the early LXX copies contain the Tetra, these are not Christian manuscripts."

In my view, this statement of yours is at the crux of our disagreement. Of course, they are not "Christian manuscripts." They are the Old Testament - written before Christ appeared in the flesh -how could they be Christian? If it is required that a source be "Christian" for it to be used in penning the New Testament, then it would seem that those first century NT writers had no business quoting the OT, either from a Greek translation like LXX or directly from the Hebrew. But, of course, they did. They did it a lot.

Your statement seems to imply you think the Old Testament should be cut off entirely from the New Testament, since it is not "Christian." Maybe you would not phrase it that way, but what else can be made of your objection to the LXX not being Christian? Perhaps the "best" translation might be one made by scholars with no religious leaning whatsoever - scholars whose principle aim would be to reproduce what the Bible writers actually wrote, with no urge to make those writings conform to this or that doctrinal bias. Would the Name make it into their translation? Hard to say. Maybe. Maybe not. Until NT manuscripts are found that clearly show quotes taken from those LXX copies with the Tetra, including the Name in the NT will be controversial...I've never said otherwise. But to charge that NWT inserts the Name without scholarship is to malign it authors; there clearly is legitimate basis to include the Name, even if it does not represent mainsteam thinking at this point.

Reconstructing a Greek master text is a process of discovery, uncovering things that, until discovered, have "disappeared without a shadow of a trace". Although a few Greek fragments can be dated back to within decades of Jesus' ministry, the vast majority are at least hundreds of years removed from that time. That's plenty of opportunity for translators to become sensitized to new prejudices, such as removal of the name for reasons already given. When the KJV was produced, the only Greek manuscripts available were those produced 1000 years or more after the original writings. By that time, they included what we now know to be the spurious "Trinity" reading of 1 Jn 5:7-8. The original, unadulterated reading had disappeared "without the shadow of a trace." Subsequent manuscript discoveries, however, found the "shadow of the trace," and the proper reading was restored, with the spurious verse relegated to footnote status.

It may be that archeological excavations yet to come will unearth NT manuscripts reflecting quotes that writers lifted from then-contemporary LXX copies. It's fully reasonable to think those copies existed and may yet exist, though finding them after nearly 2000 years can hardly be a snap. Until that happens, there is genuine room for disagreement. No translation is inspired of God, after all. Only the original writings were.

TJ

Mike, you continue to try to argue against the divine name's inclusion in the NT based off of (currently available) manuscript evidence. From that perspective alone, I would agree with you that the argument for it is weak.

But available manuscript evidence is *not* the primary evidence used in support of the name's inclusion. That argument's real strength comes from 1) the premise that the entire Bible was actually inspired by God and 2) that there was a successful movement (like today) to remove God's name from the Scriptures.

The manuscript tradition is, overall, very reliable, allowing for variation but very little fundamental changes to meaning. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls is a case in point of this. Yet, the treatment of the divine name is a *special* case. To ignore this, in the face of all the evidence of superstition surrounding *that one word* throughout history and even today, is to throw common sense out the window.

Even putting that aside, if you believe that both the OT and NT were really inspired by one Author, you don't find it the least bit strange that his name, which appears far more than any other name in the OT, would be almost entirely absent from the NT, even in places where the NT quotes parts of the OT that include the name? I find that position to take far more faith than the view that it was originally present in the autographs.

tom sheepandgoats

TJ: I agree with both your logic and application of scriptures you have applied regarding God's name. However, I also consider it absolutely essential for the name to appear in manuscripts in order for a translator to legitimately put it into the NT. The name appearing in early LXX versions affords the necessary scholarship (not just the logic) behind the its inclusion. It makes it virtually certain that there were early NT Greek manuscripts containing the name, even though these have yet to be found.

Jason Chamberlain

Something else to consider is that the evangelical view is that the NT writers often changed "YHWH" to "kyrios," which is also the same name that Jesus is often given. In other words, from my perspective, this post seems like textual gymnastics to get around the idea that the NT writers considered Jesus to be God.

Along those lines, do you have any examples of what you wrote about from the Pauline corpus? That would be interesting to examine.

rey

In all likely-hood, Marcion actually lived in 40 AD not 140 and was the apostle John Mark, writer of both the gospel of Mark and gospel of John, as well as parts of Matthew and Luke, which were originally one gospel but were separated into four under the reign of Commodus because Commodus fancied himself to be a god who sits between the four winds. The first figure in church history to proclaim there are four gospel is Ireneaus, who works in the palace of Commodus, and who argues that there must be four gospels because there are four winds. Very suspicious.

In all likelyhood, therefore, the gospel (for there was originally only one) taught that Jesus was not born of a woman (Matt 11:11) but descended from heaven already having his body (John 6:51) and that his Father was not the OT god (John 5:37, John 8:44) but a higher better God previously unknown (John 1:18, Mat 11:27) and that Jesus died on the cross to pay the ransom to / purchase us from the lower evil god who intended to burn everyone in hell indiscriminately, and having bought us from the freakish god that would have burned both righteous and unrighteous in hell without distinction, Jesus now judges righteously and saves the righteous (on account of their works) and leaves the unrighteous to the evil god to do with as his pleases (on account of their works).

Marcionism is clearly earlier than Catholicism, and Marcion's gospel and apostolikon came before the "New Testament" and the concept of Jesus as Christ of the Jews, for he was Chrestos (good one) first, and even in Tacitus' mention of him it is spelled that way, impulsore Chresto.

tom sheepandgoats

Rey:

I'm not sure where you get your "in all likelyhood's" from. However, Marcion was indeed a real person. Says Wikipedia (Marcionism):

"Marcionism was denounced by its opponents as heresy, and written against, notably by Tertullian, in a five-book treatise Adversus Marcionem, written about 208. However, the strictures against Marcionism predate the authority, claimed by the First Council of Nicaea in 325, to declare what is heretical against the Church. Marcion's writings are lost, though they were widely read and numerous manuscripts must have existed. Even so, many scholars (including Henry Wace) claim it is possible to reconstruct and deduce a large part of ancient Marcionism through what later critics, especially Tertullian, said concerning Marcion."

Regarding the Council of Nicaea, the position of Jehovah's Witnesses is that the Council occurred long after various apostasied from Jesus' teaching had developed, and it served to cement them into official Church policy.

bar_enosh

Internal New Testament evidence supports the theory that Jesus' disciples would have used the divine Name in their compositions, since Jesus taught them to pray for the sanctification of that name in the Lord's Prayer. It is unlikely that they would follow the intertestimental Jewish practice of hiding the name.

Rabbinic writings from the time of the Mishnah speak of the 'books of the Minim [sectarians] and their divine Names.' Many scholars think these "Minim" were Christians.

An abbreviated form of the Divine name does appear in the book of Revelation in the expression "Hallelu-Yah," the same expression that is found multiple times in the Hebrew Psalms of David.

Jewish Christians (the first kind of Christians) would know that this expression contains God's name, and means more that "Praise the Lord."

Since "all Scripture is inspired of God" and God "changes not," the very fact that the Divine name appears nearly 7,000 times in the Hebrew Scriptures is enough warrant for including it in the Christian Greek Scriptures (especially in quotations from those same Hebrew Scriptures), whether there is currently evidence for the name in Greek texts or not.

The God of the "New Testament" is the same God that is revealed in the "Old."

rey

"However, Marcion was indeed a real person." I didn't say he wasn't. What I meant was that I believe he lives 100 years earlier than what is generally supposed.

tom sheepandgoats

Rey:

Sorry. That statement wasn't meant to be any poke at you. It was really for my sake, not yours. Prior to your comment, I'd not heard of Marcion.

rey

Marcion is the key to understanding the synoptic problem and the development of the canon. It is impossible to explain why Jesus implies he wasn't born in Matthew 11:11 and that he descended from heaven already having his flesh in John 6:51, and the various passages in John that imply that nobody every saw or heard God at all prior to Jesus coming without some knowledge of Marcion.

Statement like that by bar_enosh, that "The God of the 'New Testament' is the same God that is revealed in the 'Old'" are hard to not crack a smile at when you read things like 'No man hath seen God at any time' (John 1:18) and compare it to the OT where people are seeing God all over the place. The same God that was not seen was also seen? Again Jesus tells the Jews they never saw his Father's shape nor heard his voice (John 5:37) but in Exodus 20 the entire nation heard him and in Exodus 24:10 at least the 70 elders "saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone."

Someone has revised Marcion's original gospel and apostolikon into the New Testament quite well to convince us that the two gods are the same. Yet the traces of the fact that this is absurd remain all over. Like Paul's calling Yahweh "the god of this world" in 2nd Cor. 4:4 and speaking of how he blinds his special people the Jews to keep them from being saved by Jesus.

tom sheepandgoats

Rey:

Old Testament people were not seeing God all over the place:

Says God to Miriam: Num 12:6-8...

"Hear my words, please. If there came to be a prophet of yours for Jehovah, it would be in a vision I would make myself known to him. In a dream I would speak to him. Not so my servant Moses! He is being entrusted with all my house. Mouth to mouth I speak to him, thus showing him, and not by riddles; and the appearance of Jehovah is what he beholds

See? Not directly. Through "dreams and visions." Except for Moses. Yet even
with him:

Ex 33:18-23...

"At this he [Moses] said: “Cause me to see, please, your glory.” But he [God] said: “I myself shall cause all my goodness to pass before your face, and I will declare the name of Jehovah before you; and I will favor the one whom I may favor, and I will show mercy to the one to whom I may show mercy.” And he added: “You are not able to see my face, because no man may see me and yet live.”

"And Jehovah said further: “Here is a place with me, and you must station yourself upon the rock. And it has to occur that while my glory is passing by I must place you in a hole in the rock, and I must put my palm over you as a screen until I have passed by. After that I must take my palm away, and you will indeed see my back. But my face may not be seen."

It's personification for our sakes. God doesn't really have a 'face' or a 'palm.' But it seems clear that God's glory is too much for any human to withstand, much as a person knows enough not to look into the sun.

Many verses, such as Col 1:15-17 and John 17:5, indicate that Jesus had a pre-human existance. He is the first creation of God. He is known as the Word. He is God's "master worker," through whom God created all things. When the time came for a special assignment (to be born as a perfect human, so as to be in position to undo the damage Adam did to all mankind), it was his life-force transfered to be born through Mary.

It is the devil, not Yahweh, who is described as the 'god of this world' at 2 Cor 4:4 and in a few other places. How he got to be in that position is described here:

https://tinyurl.com/9wgw34

Thus, it is not hard to account for the points you mentioned without recourse to Marcion, whatever his contributions may have been.

rey

Exodus 24:10 "And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness."

John 1:18 "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."

Did they see God or not? Exodus 24:10 says the 70 elders of Israel saw the God of Irsael. John 1:18 says no man has ever seen God. Who is right? Or are they speaking of different gods?


"It is the devil, not Yahweh, who is described as the 'god of this world' at 2 Cor 4:4 and in a few other places."

Logically this doesn't make much sense. If there is only one God, why would he allow the Devil to blind his special people? But if there are two, and the one that is the respecter of persons and holds the Jews to be his special people blinds his people to keep them from believing in the other God, well then it makes sense.

Besides, Yahweh and the Devil are indicted to be the same being in the Old Testament itself:

2 Sam 24:1 "And again the anger of YAHWEH was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah."

1 Chronicles 21:1 "And SATAN stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel."

Then also in the New Testament, Jesus says in John 8:44 "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."

What was the first lie in the Bible? Genesis 2:17 "in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." For this god who made this statement did not at all intend for Adam to die in the day that he ate the fruit but rather intended to burn all of Adam's descendants in hell for all eternity. Thus, it was a lie. Is this god not, then, the Devil that Jesus refers to who was a liar from the beginning???


rey

I'm not really arguing for a pure identification of Yahweh with Satan, but at the least much of what Yahweh does in the OT as far as commanding genocide and such like is Satan impersonating him.

tom sheepandgoats

Rey:

Does not the wording of Ex 24:10, in itself, suggest a vision?

The verse already quoted, Num 12:6-8, regarding prophets, is the general statement which covers specific examples such Ex 24:10 above, and the one I gave (Ex 33:18-23) regarding even Moses. So no, no man has seen God at any time - verses that suggest this or that man has are to be seen in the light of Num 12 and Ex 33. Sometimes the context of such verses themselves suggest a vision or dream or some combination thereof, and sometimes not. But the general Num 12 is more than adequate to explain verses that appear more specific.

"If there is only one God, why would he allow the Devil to blind his special people?"

In fact, he does, and the reason is given here. 2 Thess 2:9-12 states:

"But the lawless one’s presence is according to the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and portents and with every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth that they might be saved. So that is why God lets an operation of error go to them, that they may get to believing the lie, in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness."

The first lie is Gen 3:4, where Satan assures Eve she will not die as a consequence of disobeying her God. In fact, she did. The dying process began the day of her disobedience, even if it took centuries to become finally realized. Somewhat as a person could be considered dead from the moment they are diagnosed with terminal cancer. Remember, until her disobedience, her destiny was to never die at all, to enjoy everlasting life. If we add to this the verse about 1000 years being but 1 day to Jehovah (2 Pet 3:8) , Gen 3:4 becomes even more literal.

You may know that, long ago, Jehovah's Witnesses saw through 'burning in hellfire.' There is no hellfire. There is only life or death, resurrection or non-resurrection.

It's an easy shot to charge God with genocide regarding certain OT accounts and, I admit, they're not exactly peachy to explain. Still, rather than carry on about how mean God seemed back then, I like to think the lesson to be learned is that we should try to get on his good side. It's not that difficult. And, as regards OT accounts, it's not as if peoples then (or now) had a right to everlasting life. In other words, starting with Adam and Eve, they would all die; it's just a matter of when. There was then (and today) only death and PREMATURE death. Before Adam's disobedience, however, and after, post-Armeggedon, the issues then raised are resolved, (1 Cor 15:21-28) and everlasting life will be the norm, instead of varying degrees of death.

rey

I don't get why a Jehovah's Witness would find Marcionism so offensive. Why wouldn't someone from a cult started in modern American be happy to jump back to a cult that actual has at least a claim to being authentic, I mean **hello** 2nd Century here. Your cult is clearly wrong in that it didn't exist until now. That one is from the early 2nd Century, pre-dating even the New Testament Canon!

tom sheepandgoats

Up till now I had never met someone who believed in Marcionism, and now I see that I still haven't. Nonetheless, I will answer your comment, though you strive to make it as insulting as possible.

There are any number of scriptures that indicate apostacy would begin soon after the death of the apostles and would virtually overrun accurate understanding of the Bible, which would not be fully restored until the final days of this system of things. For example:

1.) Jesus' parable of the wheat and the weeds (Matt 13:24-30):

"Another illustration he set before them, saying: “The kingdom of the heavens has become like a man that sowed fine seed in his field. While men were sleeping, his enemy came and oversowed weeds in among the wheat, and left. When the blade sprouted and produced fruit, then the weeds appeared also. So the slaves of the householder came up and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow fine seed in your field? How, then, does it come to have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy, a man, did this.’ They said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go out and collect them?’ He said, ‘No; that by no chance, while collecting the weeds, you uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the harvest season I will tell the reapers, First collect the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn them up, then go to gathering the wheat into my storehouse."

Leaving no doubt as to the application, vs 36 continues:

And his disciples came to him and said: “Explain to us the illustration of the weeds in the field.” In response he said: “The sower of the fine seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; as for the fine seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; but the weeds are the sons of the wicked one, and the enemy that sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is a conclusion of a system of things, and the reapers are angels."

2.) The parable of the ten virgins (Matt 25:1-11):

"Then the kingdom of the heavens will become like ten virgins that took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were discreet. For the foolish took their lamps but took no oil with them, whereas the discreet took oil in their receptacles with their lamps. While the bridegroom was delaying, they all nodded and went to sleep. Right in the middle of the night there arose a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Be on your way out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and put their lamps in order. The foolish said to the discreet, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are about to go out.’ The discreet answered with the words, ‘Perhaps there may not be quite enough for us and you. Be on your way, instead, to those who sell it and buy for yourselves.’ While they were going off to buy, the bridegroom arrived, and the virgins that were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. Afterwards the rest of the virgins also came, saying, ‘Sir, sir, open to us!’ In answer he said, ‘I tell you the truth, I do not know you."

Using language common to many Bible verses, Christ's followers go to meet the bridegroom [first century] But there is a long delay, during which they fall asleep. When the cry comes "Here is the Bridegroom," towards Christ's reappearance, some are not ready, having long strayed from Christian teaching.

3.) The prophet Daniel received many visions, which are collected in the book bearing his name. Yet they were not to be understood at the time, or even during the time of Jesus' ministry, but only in the "time of the end." ........... "And as for you, O Daniel, make secret the words and seal up the book, until the time of [the] end. Many will rove about, and the [true] knowledge will become abundant." (Dan 12:4)

4.) That the apostasy started nearly before the ink was dry on the NT books can be discerned from several passages. For example:

Jude 3,4: "Beloved ones, though I was making every effort to write you about the salvation we hold in common, I found it necessary to write to exhort you to put up a hard fight for the faith that was once for all time delivered to the holy ones. My reason is that certain men have slipped in who have long ago been appointed by the Scriptures to this judgment, ungodly men, turning the undeserved kindness of our God into an excuse for loose conduct and proving false to our only Owner and Lord, Jesus Christ."

and

2 Thess 3,7: "Let no one seduce in any manner, because it [Christ's 2nd presence] will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction....True, the mystery of this lawlessness is already at work; but only till he who is right now acting as a restraint [likely the apostles, judging from their collective writings] gets to be out of the way..."

Acts 20:29-30: ""I [Paul, speaking to certain first century elders] know that after my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among you and will not treat the flock with tenderness, and from among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves."

Thus, it is not a surprise that true Christianity would be re-established late in human history, as we near the "time of the end." It is what the Bible indicates we should expect. Essentially, true Christianity has been most "recessive" over the centuries. Let's face it: the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Dark Ages, the eager clergy participation ON BOTH SIDES of World Wars I and II, are not exactly evidence of Christ's teachings being applied.

You have used the word "cult." Cult is a more derisive term than "sect," but they are really both little more than name calling. If you don't like someone, they are a sect. If you REALLY don't like them, they are a cult. It's instructive to consider that all of Christianity was termed a "sect" when it first came on the scene. When Paul went into the Roman synagogue to explain the religion he was affiliated with, Jewish leaders told him:

"....But we think it proper to hear from you what your thoughts are, for truly as regards this sect it is known to us that everywhere it is spoken against."

We find this to be the case with the truth today, no less so than in Paul's time. It's derisively called a "sect," [or worse] and it is "everywhere spoken against."

rey

If it makes you feel any better I was being facetious when I called Marcionism a cult. Not so with JWism, however. The parable of the tares explains how although Jesus sowed a pure word in the field the devil would also sow his word in the field. I believe the interpretation given to that parable later on in Matt 13 is itself a tare in the field. For that interpretation makes the seeds into people, whereas all the other parables in this context have the seed being the word. The notion that God sows his people in the world and the devil sows his people in the world is Augustinianism, and is not from Jesus, and therefore the interpretation of the parable is a tare itself. The true interpretation is that Jesus is prophesying the corruption that the apostates would add to the text itself. This is where all theories about the Great Apostacy tend to fail--they fail to recognize that the Apostacy corrupted the Bible itself.

tom sheepandgoats

Well, I dunno. Jesus' parable is genuine, but his explanation a few verses later is a fraud? Why conclude that, other than you don't like the explanation? I mix my illustrations, assigning components various meanings. Why shouldn't Jesus be able to do the same? Verse 31 seems to be yet another application of seed. If Augustinian thought as he did, I suspect he reached his conclusion from that explanation of Jesus, rather than you imagining the explanation was retroactively adjusted to reflect his view.

And there's another slam about being a cult, as if you think the term will stick through repetition!

Look, had you approached me honestly, rather than through this sham about Marcionism, hoping to set me up for a sucker punch, I might have more interest in keeping this conversation going. Given your methods and seeming motive, however, my patience is waning.

rosie

Thank you for the post; I am looking for a list of bible translations that DO use the divine name in the CGS

other than (scroll down)
List of Hebrew versions of the NT that have the Tetragrammaton:
https://jehovah.to/exe/greek/yhwh.htm

James L.

Tom, you said, "as far as I know, only the NWT, among English translations, use it in the NT." The New World Translation is not the only English one to use the name "Jehovah" in the Christian Greek Scriptures. The Emphatic Diaglott by Benjamin Wilson - first published by the Church of God Abrahamic Faith and now published by Watchtower Bible & Tract Society. And, there are a handfull of others.

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