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Monday, August 29, 2011

Countering the Trinitarian 'Proof'-Text Gen. 19:24 ("Jehovah rained down fire ... from Jehovah")

"Then the LORD rained down upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven." - KJV.

This trinitarian 'proof'-text seems too ridiculous to even bother with, but some trinitarians appear to be serious about it.  It goes this way: when we read Gen. 19:24, we find there are two different persons who have the only personal name of God, "Jehovah," (or "LORD" in some mistranslations).  Therefore these two different persons with God's personal name show the "plural personality" of that one God.
Even if we assume this to be a correct translation, it seems obvious that it can be honestly interpreted as a simple repetition of the same person's name.  That is, the very same person who produced the brimstone and fire, Jehovah, is also the one who rained it down upon these cities.
The explanatory note by trinitarian Dr. Young in Young's Concise Critical Bible Commentary, Baker Book House, for this verse states: "JEHOVAH...JEHOVAH, i.e. from Himself."
If that is the correct explanation, then this scripture might provide a somewhat parallel example: "And King Solomon gave to the Queen of Sheba all that she desired, whatever she asked besides what was given her by the bounty of King Solomon." - 1 Kings 10:13, RSV.  (Cf. KJV.)  Even though this is a very literal translation of the original manuscripts and the one personal name of King Solomon is actually used twice, we surely don't believe there were two different persons making up the one King Solomon!  Wouldn't we interpret this as Dr. Young (and others) have done with "Jehovah" above?   That is obviously how the Living Bible, NIV, MLB, NASB, etc. have interpreted it.   ("King Solomon gave her everything she asked him for, besides the presents he had already planned." - LB.)
Another honest explanation for Gen. 19:24 given by trinitarian scholars themselves is that the use of the phrase in question ("from the LORD out of heaven") is in doubt.  The very trinitarian New American Bible, 1970 ed. (Catholic) encloses the last part of Gen. 19:24 in brackets: "the LORD rained down sulphurous fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah [from the LORD out of heaven]."  And the preface to the NAB tells us: "Doubtful readings ... appear within brackets." - p. 45, St. Joseph Edition.
That is why these trinitarian Bible translations have actually omitted that doubtful portion: NEB, REB, AT, Mo, LB, and GNB.  (E.g. "then the LORD rained down fire and brimstone from the skies on Sodom and Gomorrah." - New English Bible.)  And others, like the NJB, have rendered it "[Jehovah] rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire of his own sending."  Certainly no trinitarian Bible translation would do this if it could possibly be used as honest trinitarian evidence!

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Friday, August 26, 2011

How Accurate is The New World Translation?

Concerning it's accuracy, the New World Translation has been found to be "one of the most accurate English translations of the New Testament currently available" and is "the most accurate of the [8 major] translations compared." -Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament by Jason BeDuhn, associate professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Also the comments made by Professor Benjamin Kedar of Israel can be found by clicking on the link below and scrolling to the last sub-heading, "Why the Harsh Criticism?":

Recommended Links to Information and Quotes Praising and Supporting the New World Translation: Scholarly Quotes on the New World Translation (From God's Word); Advantages of the New World Translation (Jehovah's Witnesses United); Advantages of the NWT (In Defense of the NWT); The New World Translation (Pastor Russell)

Accusations Against The New World Translation Hypocritical 

Some have hypocritically accused the New World Translation Bible of inaccuracies, bias, and written by those with poor credentials. When, in reality, what kind of credentials do the writers of most every other modern Bible have? And yet these copyists allowed the insertion the title "LORD" instead of the divine name in most of the nearly SEVEN THOUSAND instances in their 'translation' of the Hebrew Scriptures. Not only is this inaccurate, but it is a purposeful, blatant misuse of God's Name! (Ex. 20:7) The NWT is accurate in that it uses God's Name in all instances found in Scripture. (For the subject of God's Name in the N.T., see the "Jehovah" in The New Testament Category.)

Also, (unlike the NWT) most of these other translations used were made by those who were influenced by the pagan philosophies and unscriptural traditions that their religious systems had passed down from long ago as well as other influences. For just one instance, the majority of Bible scholars (including Trinitarian ones) freely admit that 1 John 5:7 in the King James Version is spurious. But Trinitarian scholars and copyists felt compelled to ADD it to the Holy Scriptures because of their trinitarian biases.
(Also see: How Can You Choose a Good Bible Translation?; w08 5/1 pp. 18-22; Watchtower Online Library)

For more, see:

A “Remarkably Good” Translation (w04 12/1 p. 30; Watchtower Online Library)

Comments by Greek Scholars (g 11/07 pp. 12-14; Watchtower Online Library)

The “New World Translation”—Scholarly and Honest (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Have Their Own Bible? (JW.ORG)

Have Jehovah’s Witnesses Changed the Bible to Fit Their Beliefs? (JW.ORG)

Why Have We Produced the New World Translation? (JW.ORG)

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

NWT FAQs (Defending The New World Translation)

(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why does the New World Translation 'add' the words, within square brackets, "the angel of" at Zechariah 3:2?

All Bible translations add words to make the intended meaning of the original language clear to the readers of another language. Some Bibles indicate the added words in footnotes. Some, like the King James Version, frequently signifies these additions by italicizing such added words. The New World Translation usually indicates added words with brackets [ ].

In the case of Zechariah 3:2, the New World Translation is not the only Bible to add "the angel of" or its equivalent here.

A New Commentary on Holy Scripture explains their reason why:

"[v]2. the Lord. Read the angel of the Lord, as the speech that follows seems to require."- SPCK, London, reprint 1946 (1st pub.1928).

Another footnote, this one belonging to The Revised English Bible (1989) reveals why it reads at Zechariah 3:2 "The angel said to Satan." The footnote states: "3:2 angel: prob[able] r[ea]d[in]g, so Syriac; Heb[rew] LORD." (Additions in square brackets aim to aid in better understanding.)

This is similiar to what we can read in the footnote to this verse in the Reference Edition of the New World Translation (1984): "2* "The angel (messenger) of Jehovah," Sy[riac]; MLXXVg, "Jehovah."

Other translations that render this passage the same way as the New World Translation:

"The angel of the Lord said to Satan," (Good News Translation)

"The angel of Yahweh said to Satan," (The Jerusalem Bible; Scroll down)
"And the angel of the LORD..." (New American Bible)

"The LORD rebuke you," the Angel of the LORD said..." (The Holy Bible, An American Translation; W.F. Beck)
"The messenger of Yahweh..." (vs.1) (The Emphasised Bible; J. B. Rotherham)
"Then [the messenger] of Jehovah..." (2001 Translation – An American English Bible)

"So the angel of the LORD said...." (The Bible, An American Translation; Powis-Smith and Goodspeed)

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Friday, August 12, 2011

The New World Translation and the use of "Other" at Col. 1:16

"Other" at Col. 1:16:

"For through [Jesus] all things were created in heaven and on earth" - MLB.

"by means of [Jesus] all [other] things were created" - NWT.

The use of the word "other" by the New World Translation at Col. 1:16 makes many trinitarian "scholars" very upset. The accusation is perfectly clear: they are claiming that the NWT has dishonestly added to God's Word. But what is the truth about words added to the original text?

Well, the KJV also adds words at many places in the scriptures and frequently signifies these additions by italicizing such added words. In fact all Bible translations add words to make the intended meaning of the original language clear to the readers of another language. The NWT usually indicates added words with brackets [ ] and does so at Col. 1:16, 17 with ["other"]!

Yes, all Bible translators supply needed words in accordance with their own under-standing of what meaning the Bible writer actually intended. Any serious Bible student knows this elementary fact. You can see that the KJV translators (and NIV, NKJV, TEV/GNB, Beck, etc.) added the word "other" at Acts 5:29 (and rightly so) even though it is not actually written in the original text (also compare KJV at Job 24:24). Were they, then, dishonestly, blasphemously adding to God's Word? Of course not!

The Bible writers very often excluded the subject (and others) when using the term "all" (and "every"). This is a common usage even today. For example, the police sergeant making an arrest of a criminal group might say: "Everyone in this room is under arrest!" Obviously the sergeant does not include himself (nor his captain who is with him) even though he says "everyone"! Or "the criminal tied up everyone in the room before stealing the gems."

Here is the most recent example that just presented itself a few minutes after I was re-reviewing this study paper in 2004:

Jun 5, 5:47 PM (ET)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Ronald Reagan, the cheerful crusader who devoted his presidency to winning the Cold War, trying to scale back government and making people believe it was "morning again in America," died Saturday after a long twilight struggle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 93.


"Reagan lived longer than any U.S. President, ...."

But to be accurate we must remember that Reagan was one of those U.S. Presidents! Obviously the AP writer did not mean to imply that Reagan hadn't ever been President. We all understand that what he meant was "Reagan lived longer than any other President." [added 5 June 2004, emphasis added.]

This also applies to the word "all" as used in the early Greek manuscripts of the Bible. For example, the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament by Kittel and Friedrich (abridged in one volume by G.W. Bromiley) tells us of this word in the ancient Greek translation of the OT (the Septuagint): "In many passages, of course, the use is rhetorical". And in the NT this esteemed work tells us of the word "all" that it is often "used in the NT simply to denote a great number," not literally "all." -pp. 796, 797, Eerdmans, 1992 reprint.

And Dr. Young wrote in the foreword ("Hints and Helps to Bible Interpretation") of his well-known Bible Concordance:

"Some particles such as ALL, are frequently used for SOME or MOST, e.g., Matt. 3:5; 26:52 [even King David?]; 1 Cor. 6:12; Col. 3:22" Young's Analytical Concordance of the Bible, Eerdmans, 1978 reprint.

(Also see p. 97, vol.1, The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Eerdmans, 1984; examine Isaiah 44:24)

The highly regarded NASB (and NEB; REB; NIV; JB; NJB; NKJV; ETRV; BBE; NLV; MKJV; MLB; Darby; Beck; and Young's) translate Is. 45:14 - "There is no other God." The word "other" is not in the Hebrew OT manuscripts and has been added by the translators (and rightly so)! The NWT renders it "there is no [other] God." RSV and NRSV have also added "other" and also another, similar phrase: "there is no other, no god besides him."

And we find NEB; REB; NJB; NAB ('91); GNB; and LB (for example) have honestly added "other" at Ezek. 31:5 to show that a certain tree towered above "all other trees" whereas KJV, NASB, RSV (for example) have it towering "above all trees." Since it does not tower above itself, the Bible writer obviously excluded it from the phrase "all trees" (even though it is also a tree itself and a part of "all trees") just as Col. 1:16 excludes Jesus from all other things.

In Matthew 10:22, Jesus tells his followers: "and you will be hated by all because of my name." - NRSV. Certainly, Jesus didn't mean that his true followers would be hated by Jesus himself or God. And most certainly he didn't mean they would be hated by themselves! (Remember, the subject - as in 1 Cor. 1:16 - is most often understood to be excluded from the "all" statements.)

The Moffatt translation, An American Translation, The Common Bible, The Amplified Bible, and translations by C. B. Williams, and Beck all add "other" after "all" at 1 Cor. 15:24 (e.g. "when he will put an end to all other government, authority, and power" - C. B. Williams, The New Testament in the Language of the People, Moody Press, 1963). Although the NWT does not happen to add "other" at that scripture, its translators (as well as every other Jehovah's Witness on earth) would whole-heartedly agree that those who have added "other" there have done so properly and that the original Bible writer so intended the meaning! And conversely, at Jn 2:10 the NWT has added "other," and, although most [other] translations do not add it, I'm sure most people would agree that, whether actually written in the scripture or not, context demands such an understanding: "Every other man puts out the fine wine first..."

Again, at 1 Cor. 6:18 the respected trinitarian Bibles NIV, NASB, NEB, REB, AT, GNB, TEV, JB, NJB (among others) have added "other" to the text. And the NWT agrees whole-heartedly! And at Matt. 6:33 JB, AT, GNB, TEV, and Beck (Lutheran scholar) have added "other" (NEB has added "the rest"), and, again, the NWT agrees. Or how about Luke 13:2:

"all the other Galileans" - NIV, Luke 13:2

"all other Galileans" - NASB

"all other Galileans" - NAB ('91)

"all other Galileans" - NRSV

"all other Galileans" - NKJV

"all the other Galileans" - RSV

"anyone else in Galilee" - NEB and REB

"than any other Galileans" - JB

"than all other Galileans" - NJB

"any other Galileans" - AT

"everyone else in Galilee" - CEV.

"all other Galileans" - TEV.

"all other Galilaeans" - BBE

"other people from Galilee" - GodsWord

"all the other Galileans" - ISV NT

"the rest of the Galileans" - Moffatt

When Gen. 3:20 tells us that Eve "was the mother of all living," does that really make her the mother of Adam? of all animals? of all plants? of angels? of God? So, although the literal Hebrew says "all," we know from the teachings of the rest of the Bible that this is a severely qualified "all," and it would be perfectly honest to add some qualifying word or phrase ("all other humans" - after all, she, although the subject, wasn't her own mother, or Adam's).

Notice also God's words to Noah at Gen. 6:17, "I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens" - NIV. Since the rest of the Bible shows that Noah did not die in that flood, this scripture could honestly be rendered "to destroy all [other] life." Noah knew God was using a qualified "all" which did not apply to himself and so should we!

When the angel of Jehovah told his mother about Ishmael that "His hand will be against every man, and every man's hand will be against him," She did not think by this that Ishmael's own hand would be against himself. As usual the "every" or "all" excepted the one who was the subject.

Another good example of honest adding can be seen in reference to another too literal interpretation of "all." Romans 3:23 says literally, "All have sinned" -- but, obviously, Jesus, the Father, and myriads of faithful angels have not sinned! So some Bibles (including TEV and NAB [1970 ed.]) have honestly qualified this "all" by adding to this scripture and translated it "All men have sinned." You may notice also that they haven't even bothered to indicate that the word "men" has been added.

Also in Romans we find the very same words used by Paul in Col. 1:16 (ta panta) - "He [God] didn't spare His own Son but gave him up for all of us - He will certainly with Him give us everything [ta panta]." - Ro. 8:32, Beck (Lutheran). Obviously, the "everything" that is given to Christians does not include God or Jesus, or even fellow created Christians. It certainly would not be improper to translate this as: "He will ... give us all [other] things." In fact, notice these trinitarian Bible translations:

"... how can he fail to lavish every other gift upon us?" - REB.

" ... will he not with him also give us everything else?" - NRSV

"... won't he also surely give us everything else?" - Living Bible.

"... will he not also give us everything else along with him?" - NAB ('91)

"... will He not with Him graciously give us everything else?" - CBW.

Since ta panta does not include all created things in this scripture, it certainly does not have to mean all created things in Col. 1:16!

Even the Seventh-day Adventists themselves admit: "It is also very clear that in Genesis 9:3 the word 'every' tacitly excludes the unclean animals and those whose flesh might be poison to man, as some creatures are today." - Signs of the Times, Feb. 1976, p. 28. Here they admit that "every" (or "all") must sometimes be qualified! But if the NWT does something similar it has "obscured" or "mutilated" God's Word!

Yes, Col. 1:16, 17 needs a qualified "all" as the teaching of the rest of the Bible testifies. It is similar to Hebrews 2:8 in this respect.

At Heb. 2:8 we read: "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him." However, it would certainly be honest and proper for a translator familiar with the teachings of the rest of the Bible (e.g. 1 Cor. 15:27) to add the qualifying words to this scripture that were understood and intended by the original writer. E.g., "Thou hast put all [other] things in subjection...;" or even, "Thou hast put all things [except the Father and yourself] in subjection..." - see 1 Cor. 15:27.

Similarly, we find Paul saying at Phil. 2:9 that God exalted Jesus and "bestowed on him the name above all names." - NEB. But, obviously, his name is not above the name of the God who exalted him. Nor can it be above his [Jesus'] own name. Therefore, it is not wrong to add "other" and render this as "God ... gave him the name which is above all other names" as did the translators of JB; NJB; NAB (1970); AT; GNB/TEV; LB; CBW; Beck (NT); ETRV; and NLV.

Paul continues in Phil. 2:10, "So that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth...." But, obviously, the Father in heaven does not bend his knee, and Jesus certainly does not bend his knee to himself! This, too, should be a qualified "every knee"! (And analyze 1 Pet. 4:7)

So how accurate is Martin when he says the translators of the NWT have made a "dishonest rendering of Col. 1:16, 17, and 19 by the insertion of the word "other"?

Well, let's look at Col. 1:17 itself: "And he is before all things." - KJV. This is the literal wording and what Martin wants.

But look at what these (other) trinitarian translations have added to this verse:

"He is before all else that is..." - NAB ('70).

"He was before all else began..." - LB.

"Before anything was created, he existed" - JB.

"Christ was there before anything was made." - ETRV.

Since it is obvious that Christ did not exist before himself, nor before the Father, these two, at least, have to be excluded from "all things." Therefore, the very trinitarian NAB and LB above have properly added "else" to this scripture. This is the same thing as writing "before every [other] thing"!

And the trinitarian Jerusalem Bible has added "created" and the trinitarian ETRV has added "was made" for the very same reason.

Certainly it is not wrong from a grammatical viewpoint (nor is it a "dishonest rendering") to add "other" as the NWT has done at Col. 1:16, 17 (and the LB and the NAB have done with "else" at Col. 1:17) and so many trinitarian translators have done in other similar situations. Whether it is doctrinally correct as Rev. 3:14, Prov. 8:22-30, 1 John 4:9 ("only-begotten"), and Col. 1:15 ("firstborn of all creation") suggest is a matter for all honest-hearted persons to discover but not a reason for falsely accusing someone of dishonestly rendering God's Word!

[If above reasoning is refused, consider John 10:29: "My greater than all" -KJV.

Then the Father is greater than the Son and greater than the Holy Spirit and "greater even than Himself???"

The Living Bible says, My Father "is more powerful than anyone else," which still means He is greater than the Son and greater than the Holy Spirit [if it were really a person], but, of course, shows He is not greater than Himself. The NRSV also uses "else" here.]

[[Note to self: analyze the following:

Eph. 3:9 "... God who created all things." - NRSV, NASB, etc.  (Obviously he didn't create Himself).

(NKJV) Hebrews 3:4 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things [panta] is God.

(NASB) Hebrews 3:4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things [panta] is God.

And, Rev. 4:11 "For you [the Father seated on the throne] created everything" - CBW. (But, literally, panta -"all" or "all things" - would have to include the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!).]

For more, see:

Does the New World Translation Add Words to Colossians 1:16, 17? (Bible Translation and Study)

Why does the New World Translation employ the word "other" in verses 16, 17 and 20? (IN Defense of the NWT)

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Did Jehovah's Witnesses Really Believe That God's Throne Dwelled in the Alcyone Star System in the Pleiades Group?

On occasion, opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses have on offered this eons-old quote to try and discredit them:

"Alcyone, the central one of the renowned Pleiadic Stars... Alcyone, then, as far as science has been able to perceive, would seem to be the 'midnight throne' in which the whole system of gravitation has its seat, and from which the Almighty governs his universe..." - Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. III, 1891, p 327 and Reconciliation, 1928, p. 14

Some astronomers of that time long ago (1891) calculated that the Pleiades group of which Alcyone is the brightest was the center of our universe and the source of all gravitational attraction. Astronomers felt that the Pleiades were veiled by an unusual amount of "nebulous matter, a cosmical fog." The Bible uses the direction "north" often in referring to God and His actions. The Bible Students at that time and theologians from other religions assumed that all this gave evidence that God's throne or dwelling was in this system.

Note that even armed with the best astronomical data at the time, the quote above still does not make absolute statements (i.e. " far as science has been able to perceive", and "...would seem to be".)

Just like all other religions of the time, the early Bible Students were simply using the scientific knowledge of their day and trying to relate it to what the Bible says regarding God and His heavenly dwelling.

Just one example: All religions used to believe that the Earth and heavenly bodies were held up by an invisible "fluid" called "ether." But now everyone has changed this view as more accurate scientific information has become available.
So is it really fair to go back more than a hundred years to a religion's roots and point out everything that was wrong, especially if it has corrected it's understandings? These claims against Jehovah's Witnesses are hypocritical because they fail to tell others that EVERY religion has changed it's beliefs and practices over the same time period.

The very fact that critics of Witnesses constantly resort to such ridiculous arguments only proves that they realize that they have no real evidence against their beliefs now.

Additionally, is it really fair to say that this disproves what Jehovah's Witnesses believe now?

Jehovah's Witnesses have always been willing to change any belief in order to harmonize better with increased knowledge of Scriptural teaching. On the other hand, most other religions have proved that they will not change MAJOR doctrines such as the Trinity, the immortal soul, and hell fire even though their own scholars admit these beliefs are not taught in Scripture.

While Witnesses still adjust minor understandings of prophecy and periphery beliefs, major doctrines will not be changed. This is because the doctrinal knowledge has increased tremendously, so any recent changes have not been to doctrine but simple refinements in knowledge.

For those who wish to learn more about Jehovah's Witnesses, instead of relying on unreliable sources, you may wish to visit THE source at the Official Website of Jehovah's Witnesses:

The Home Page of the Official Web Site of Jehovah's Witnesses

Search The Online Library of the Jehovah's Witnesses Official Web Site

Jehovah's Witnesses FAQs

Questions Often Asked by Interested People

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