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Bible Translation challenge issued to Jehovah's W.

Written by: White, James    Posted on: 04/25/2003

Category: Cults / Sects / Non Christian Religions and Topics

Source: CCN

Message 5515                                  DATE/TIME: 04/13/89 23:13 From  : JAMES WHITE                        -- RECEIVED -- To    : BC BLAD Subject: AN OPEN CHALLENGE Folder : K, "Kingdom Int. Truth/Lies?"


POINT  OF DEBATE:  The Watchtower Society's publication  entitled, "The  Kingdom  Interlinear Translation of  the  Greek  Scriptures" omits  a word from the text of John 14:14 which directly bears  on the issue of the Deity of Christ.  In that the Watchtower  Society is  willing to deliberately alter the text of Sacred Scripture  to suit its own preconceived theological teachings, we can reject the claims of that Society to be "Jehovah's only organization" and can identify  that group as opposing the work of Jesus Christ and  the proclamation of the Gospel.

RELEVANT  DATA:  The text of the verse in  question  is  provided below  in  transliteration,  just as it is found  in  the  Kingdom Interlinear: 

14.  ean      ti      aitesete      *me*  en  to  onomati     if ever  anything  you should ask  *me*  in  the  name

  mou    touto      poieso. of me    this      I will do.

  The  above  provides the Greek text in  transliteration,  and  the Society's  own "literal" rendering beneath.  The Greek  term  "me" (the  accusative  singular  form of "ego")  is  especially  marked because it is the term in question.  Note closely the  translation of  the New World Translation that is given in the column  to  the right of the interlinear Greek text:

14 If YOU ask anything in my name, I will do it.

The  term "you" is capitalized to show that the pronoun  in  Greek (here  contained in the second person plural ending "ete"  on  the verb "aiteo") is plural rather than singular.     PLEASE  NOTE:  The literal translation of the  Greek  is  as follows:  "If  you will ask *me* anything in my name, I  will  do it."  It  is clear to see that the first occurrence of  the  word "me"  in  the  Greek  has  been  omitted  from  the  New  World Translation's rendering.  Why?     It  is my allegation that the Society has deleted  this  word from  its  translation (despite its clear presence  in  the  Greek text)  for  a very simple reason--the context of this  passage  is Jesus'  "going to the Father."  The verb "aitesete" is  future  in form.  Jesus is speaking of the time *following* His resurrection.  How,  then, can a person ask *Jesus* for anything when  Jesus  has been  resurrected *unless* it is in prayer?  Clearly this  passage teaches  prayer *to Jesus*.  The Society teaches its  people  that they  cannot  pray *to* Christ, for only God can  receive  prayer, and, since Jesus is Michael the Archangel in their teaching,  they must  needs alter the very Word of God for the sake of  their  own teachings!     Now,  finally, please note this as well: there is  a  textual variant in this verse in the Greek manuscripts.  The term "me"  is not  included  in  a minority of the textual  tradition.  It  is, however,  included  in  the earliest  papyri  manuscript  of  this section,  P66, as well  as  in Codex Sinaiticus,  Codex  Vaticanus, Codex W, Delta, Theta and 060, Family 13, minuscules 28, 33,  700, 892,  1230, 1242, 1646, as well as many lectionaries and  part  of the  Byzantine tradition.  The reading is rated with a "B" in  the United  Bible Society's text.  The King James Version, basing  its translation on the older (and far less accurate) Stephen's text of 1551,  does not have the term "me" because that text, based  on  a small  spectrum  of the Byzantine tradition,  lacks  the  reading.  However,  *all*  modern  Greek texts that take  advantage  of  the entire  body of manuscript evidence contain the term,  and  modern translations, following those texts, contain it as well.  However, also  note this - the Society to my knowledge has never  explained the  absence of the term "me" in the NWT by appealing  to  textual evidence.  They chose to use the Westcott-Hort text of 1881 as the basis of their translation.  They give no citation that this  term is disputed.

CHALLENGE:  I  challenge "Bc Blad" or Larry Kelly  or  any  other representative of the Watchtower Society to give logical,  factual reason  for the translation of the Westcott-Hort Greek text  found in  the Kingdom Interlinear that is given to us in the  New  World Translation.  Why does the NWT delete the term "me"?

I await the response, and request that any Christians who join  me in this challenge state their support.

James White =====================================================================

Message 5768                                  DATE/TIME: 04/24/89 15:55 From  : JAMES WHITE To    : BC BLAD Subject: Another Challenge #1 Folder : K, "Kingdom Int. Truth/Lies?"


In recent days I  have  challenged  any and all representatives of the Watchtower  Bible  and  Tract  Society to respond  to a  challenge  in regards to  the rendering of  John  14:14  in  the Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, published by that Society. I have not,  at the time  of  this writing,  received  any  response  to that challenge,  outside of the continued insistance that the Society would never do such  a thing  as pervert or change  the  Bible.  Not one  of Jehovah's Witnesses has as yet had the  courage or fortitude to answer even a challenge  that strikes at the most basic level of  the honesty of the Watchtower.

There are,  of course,  many other instances of dishonesty represented in the  Watchtower's  publications,  particularly in  the  "New  World Translation".  I have  had many  Witnesses tell me  that they believed implicitly  that the  New World  Translation (hereafter  "NWT")  is  a modern,  scholarly  translation  -  indeed,  that  it  is  the  *most* scholarly and *unbiased* translation available.

Given that most Jehovah's  Witnesses are  probably  honest individuals who simply labor under the deception of a  false religious system that demands absolute loyalty to the teachings of men rather than God (read that "cult"),  it would be a service to such individuals to be able to demonstrate the fact that the NWT perverts and twists the Word of God. To  demonstrate that  this is  so,  I enter into  evidence to  further challenges to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society:

#1:  The  Watchtower  Bible  and  Tract  Society  has  purposefully mistranslated  Colossians 2:9 in a vain  attempt to hide the  Biblical teaching of the Deity of Christ.

#2: The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has purposefully hidden the usage of the term "Jehovah"  or "Yahweh" when it applies to the person of Jesus Christ  in their supposed "reinsertion"  of the "Divine Name" into the New Testament.  That is, the Society has been inconsistent in replacing the Greek  term "kurios"  in verses that are quotations from the Old Testament that use the term "Yahweh" in the original Hebrew.

In order to substantiate the first allegation,  I  here  give  you the rendering of Colossians  2:9 as found in a  modern,  non-Witness Bible version:

Col  2:9 For in Christ  all the fullness of  the Deity lives in bodily form, (NIV)

In another version it reads,

Col  2:9 for in him dwelleth all the fulness of  the  Godhead  bodily, (ASV)

However, in the New World Translation it is rendered,

Col  2:9 because it  is in him  that all  the  fullness  of the divine quality dwells bodily.

The mistranslation presented  by the Society  is in reference  to  the Greek  term  "theotetos."  This  term  is  rendered  in older  English versions as "Godhead" but in more modern versions (NIV, NASB, etc.) as "deity"  or "Deity."  The Kingdom Interlinear,  1969 edition,  used to give as the "literal"  rendering  of the Greek text "godship"  but the 1985 edition  of  the  KIT  has changed this  "literal"  rendering  to "divinity."

To give us some information concerning this Greek term,  I submit  the following information:

There really are no translational difficulties presented by Colossians 2:9. There are no textual variants to worry about, and the meanings of the  various  words  are  pretty  clear.  However,  two  of the words, "theotetos" and "somatikos" do need further elaboration.

The Greek of the passage reads as follows:

"hoti en auto katoikei pan to pleroma tes theotetos somatikos,"

The clause opens with the idea of purpose,  "hoti",  forming the basis of Paul's warning in verse  8.  The  rest of  the  phrase  is  so very expressive in the Greek language that a brief  look at it is certainly in order.

The  first consideration has to do with the phrase "en auto katoikei". "In Him is dwelling" is the literal translation. The verb, "katoikei", is  in the present  indicative  active third person singular.  One can easily see a gnomic present, but a regular descriptive present is also quite possible.  If one were to take  this as a regular present,  Paul would be  referring to the  glorified resurrection  body of  the  Lord Jesus as the place of residence of the "fulness of Deity."  This seems the  best  sense  in  light  of  the  context  of  a  polemic  against gnosticism.

"Katoikei" is itself descriptive in meaning. Kenneth Wuest wrote:

The compound verb  was  used of the  permanent residents of  a town as compared  with  the  transient  community.  The verb is in the present tense, showing durative action. The translation reads: "Because in Him there  is continuously and permanently at home all the fulness of  the Godhead in bodily fashion." (1)

Hence,  the  fact of the indwelling of  Deity  in Christ is not  as an alien presence, but as an inhabitant in his own home.

The phrase "pan to pleroma"  was significant to the Gnostic readers of this work--it steals their own terminology from them. Its significance in combatting gnosticism is of great importance in  understanding this passage.

"Tes theotetos"  truly is the central word of this verse.  The meaning as rendered  by the New American Standard Bible seems to  be the best: Deity.  Most  would  be  familiar  with  the  King  James  rendering, "Godhead,"  though the meaning of this word is more obscure  than that of "Deity."

The Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich and Danker lexicon renders the word "deity, divinity,  used as an abstract noun for "theos"." (2) Thayer's lexicon says,  "deity,  i.e.  the state of being God,  Godhead:  Col.  ii. 9." Thayer is here giving us  Grimm's words.  However,  he then goes on to provide  some  important information  on  his  own,  "[SYN.  "theotes, theiotes:  theot".  deity differs from "theiot".  divinity, as essence differs from  quality or attribute;"  (3) This bit  of  information is vital.  The word under consideration here,  "theotes", is not the same word  as is found  at  Romans  1:20,  "theiotes".  This  difference is striking and purposeful.  One  cannot translate "theotes"  as a simple quality or  attribute -  it  refers instead to the actual  essence  of deity,  not  simply to its attributes.  The  most extensive passage on this  important  idea  is  found  in  Trench's  "Synonyms of  the  New Testament":

...yet  they  ("theiotes"  and "theotes")  must  not  be  regarded  as identical  in  meaning,  nor even as two different forms  of  the same word,  which in process  of  time have separated off from one another, and acquired different shades of significance.  On the contrary, there is a real distinction between them,  and  one which grounds itself  on their  different  derivations;  "theotes"  being  from  "theos",  and "theiotes",  not from "to theion",  which is nearly  though  not quite equivalent  to "theos",  but from the adjective "theios"...But in  the second passage (Col. ii.9) St. Paul is declaring that in the Son there dwells all the fulness of absolute Godhead;  they were no mere rays of divine glory which gilded Him, lighting up his person for a season and with a splendour not his own; but He was, and is, absolute and perfect God;  and  the Apostle  uses "theotes"  to express this essential  and personal Godhead of the Son;... (4)

The reader is encouraged to read all of Trench's presentation.

Kenneth Wuest expanded on this idea in  discussing the significance of "theotes" at Colossians 2:9:

The  Greek  is very strong  here.  One could  translate,  "For in  Him corporeally  there  is  permanently  at home  all  the  fulness of the Godhead."  That  is,  in our Lord Jesus in His incarnation and  in the permanent possession of His human body now glorified, there resides by nature and permanently the fulness of the Godhead.  The word "Godhead" is from our second word "theotes".  The word expresses Godhead in  the absolute sense.  It is not merely divine  attributes  that are in mind now,  but the possession of the essence of deity in an absolute sense. The Greek Fathers never use "theiotes"  but always "theotes"  as alone adequately  expressing  the  essential Godhead  of  the three  several Persons in  the  Holy Trinity.  The  Latin  Christian writers were not satisfied with divinitas which was in common use,  but coined the word "deitas"  as the  only  adequate  representative  of  the  Greek  word "theotes". (5)

The concept here put forth is  striking.  It is impossible to conceive of  a  higher  view  of  Christ.  This  statement,  however,  is  not inconsistent with Paul's overall theology. Benjamin B. Warfield, while discussing Paul's conception of Christ, wrote:

...we are told not only that (naturally) in Him all the fulness dwells (Col.  i.19), but, with complete explication, that "all the fulness of the Godhead dwells in him bodily"  (Col.  ii.9);  that is to say,  the very Deity of God,  that which makes God God, in all its completeness, has its permanent home in Our Lord,  and that in a  "bodily  fashion," that is,  it  is in Him clothed with a body.  He who looks  upon Jesus Christ see, no doubt, a body and a man; but as he sees the man clothed with  the body,  so  he sees  God Himself,  in all the fulness of  His Deity, clothed with the humanity. (6)

There is little need to  further elaborate  on the obvious meaning  of "theotetos".  Let it suffice to  say that such scholars as Alford (7), Nicoll (8) and A. T. Robertson (9) all view it in similar manner. Even a cursory glance at how some of the major translations render the word bear this out:

RSV: For in him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily...

NIV:  For  in  Christ  all  the fullness of  the Deity lives in bodily form...

NEB: For it is in Christ that the complete being of the Godhead dwells embodied...

Barclay:  For  it is in  Christ that godhead  in all its  completeness dwells in bodily form.

Amplified:  For in Him the whole  fullness  of  Deity  (the  Godhead), continues to dwell in bodily form -  giving complete expression of the divine nature.

What does all  of this  relate to us today?  Can  Paul's attack on  an ancient heresy called gnosticism have any relevance now?  It certainly can,  and  it most assuredly does!  Most of the modern  heresies  find their roots in  the Church's ancient foes ("So,  there is  nothing new under the sun."  Eccl.  1:9). Arianism and gnosticism is still rampant today. Paul's sharp words in laying down the standard by which to test all teaching must be  clung to with never weakening  resolve  today as never before!  Does a certain group or teacher admit and proclaim that all the  fulness of Deity  dwells in Christ Jesus bodily?  If they  do not,  they  are placed by Paul right  alongside "philosophy and  empty deception."  This passage  continues  to  speak  today,  and  it  will throughout eternity.  May it shed its bright light on the Church until Jesus comes again!

1. Wuest, "Word Studies", vol. 1., "Ephesians and Colossians," p. 201. See also,  James Hope Moulton, George Milligan, "The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament",  (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1930) p.  338. 2. Bauer,  "Greek-English Lexicon," 2nd ed., p. 358. 3. Thayer,  "The New Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon",  p. 288. 4. Richard C.  Trench,  "Synonyms of the New Testament",  (Grand Rapids:  Wm.  B. Eerdmans Publishing Company,  1953),  pp. 7-8. See also the discussion by  Bishop Lightfoot,  "Colossians",  pp.  181-182.  5.  Wuest,  "Word Studies",  vol. 3, "Treasures from the Greek New Testament, pp. 75-76. 6. Benjamin B.  Warfield,  "The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield", (Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1981), vol 2:184. 7. Alford, "New Testament for  English  Readers",  vol.  3:1296.  8. Nicoll,  "Expositor's Greek Testament", vol. 3:523. 9. Robertson, "Word Pictures", vol. 4:491.

Given the above information,  it seems clear that the  NWT translation of Colossians 2:9 is utterly insupportable from the scholarly sources. Therefore,  it  would seem that the Society is guilty of attempting to hide from the readers of the NWT the eternal fact  that the fulness of Deity dwells in Jesus Christ.

In regards to the second accusation: Rod Bias is far more capable than I at providing full documentation of  this charge.  My small knowledge of this  field is indirectly  derived from Rod's  work  in the 1970's. However,  one short demonstration of the Watchtower's inconsistency in their supposed "re-insertion"  of the "divine name"  into the  text of the New Testament should be sufficient to substantiate the above given charge.

Psalms  102:25-27 In the  beginning you  laid the foundations  of  the earth,  and the heavens are the work of your hands.  They will perish, but you remain;  they will all wear out like a garment.  Like clothing you  will change them and they will be discarded.  But  you remain the same, and your years will never end. (NIV)

This beautiful passage from  Psalm 102 is clearly addressed to Jehovah God,  as  seen  in verses 1  and 21. No  one  would argue  this  fact. However, notice the following:

Heb  1:10-12 also says,  "In  the  beginning,  O Lord,  you  laid  the foundations of the earth,  and the heavens are the work of your hands. They  will perish,  but  you remain;  they  will  all wear out  like a garment.  You will roll them up like a robe;  like a garment they will be changed.  But you remain the same,  and your years will never end." (NIV)

This  passage,  found  in  the  prologue of Hebrews,  is about  *Jesus Christ.*  Here the writer of Hebrews quotes  directly  from  the Psalm about  Jehovah  and  applies  these words to  the  Lord  Jesus Christ, showing  us that the writer  of Hebrews recognized that the Lord Jesus shares the one name "Yahweh" with the Father, something that Jehovah's Witnesses utterly deny.

Now,  according  to the Witnesses,  they "restore"  the "divine  name" whenever the Greek term "kurios" is used as a substitute for it in the New Testament.  Now,  the Greek term "kurios" appears in Hebrews 1:10. The NIV translates it "O Lord."  Now,  if the NWT were consistent with its own stated practices, it would translate the passage, "O Jehovah." But it does not.  It reads "O Lord"  just as the NIV.  Why? The reason seems obvious - if the NWT were to follow its own rules, it would have to identify the Lord Jesus,  who is here described,  as Jehovah!  This they will not do, hence they break their own rules.

Though many  examples like  this could be cited (and I hope  that  Rod will  provide  us with  further  citations),  it  seems clear that the Society is desperately hoping that its  followers will not discover  a truth so startlingly revealed by the  Scriptures -  that is that Jesus Christ  shares  the "divine name"  with the Father--Jesus  is  Yahweh! Compare these two passages below for further confirmation:

Isaiah 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne,  high  and exalted,  and  the  train of  his robe filled the temple.  Isaiah 6:9 He said,  "Go  and  tell this  people:  "`Be  ever hearing,  but  never  understanding;  be  ever  seeing,  but  never perceiving.'  Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes.  Otherwise they  might see with their eyes, hear with their ears,  understand with their  hearts,  and turn and be healed." (NIV)

John 12:38-41 This  was  to fulfill the  word of  Isaiah  the prophet: "Lord,  who  has believed our message  and to whom has the  arm of the Lord been revealed?"  For this reason they could not believe, because, as  Isaiah  says elsewhere:  "He  has blinded their eyes and  deadened their hearts,  so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn-- and I would heal them." Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him. (NIV)

These  two passages,  when seen together,  tell us  something that the Witnesses don't believe and the Society doesn't want us to know:  John quotes  from Isaiah  chapter  6, and  then  states,  "Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus'  glory and spoke  about him."  But when we  read Isaiah 6:1,  and  read  Isaiah'  own words,  who does  he  tell  us he actually saw?  Jehovah God!  In fact,  the NWT renders the Hebrew term "Adonai"  in Isaiah  6:1  as  "Jehovah"!  Hence,  Isaiah says  he  saw Jehovah's glory,  while John says he saw Jesus'  glory! Clearly, then, Jesus is Jehovah!

As before,  I invite any  representative of  the Watchtower Bible  and Tract  Society  to  submit  a  reasonable,  Biblical  reply  to  this information. I await a response.


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