Saturday, June 26, 2010

How could the JWs get away with this?

The New World Translation (NWT) Bible published by the Jehovah’s Witness is a cheap clone of the original Bible translations. It is designed to force the Bible to conform to the JW’s doctrine and not the other way around.
Take for example the verse John 1:1.
Most of the Bible scholars and publishers agreed that the verse treated here was rightly translated and should end with “and the Word was God.” But when we read it from the NWT, John 1:1 ends in “and the Word was a god.” JWs believe that Jesus was only an archangel, a small, insignificant god, a son of God who was created by Him BUT unfortunately this doctrine of JWs is continually trampled upon by the “and the Word was God” of the said verse. This phrase in the Bible is their perennial enemy, their Enigma and the primary “thorn in the throat” that have to be dealt with at all cost. Their elders and leaders agreed to take a decisive action, even the bravest of angels were afraid to thread. They have to change John 1:1 unobtrusively so as not to take much notice. They experimented, brain-stormed and came up with a subtle and supposedly a ‘perfect twister’: add one single letter word “a” between ‘Jesus was’ and ‘God.’ But to their surprise, this didn’t make any significant impact to upgrade the deity of God the Father over Christ Jesus. They had to take another desperate action: “decapitalize” the last word of John 1:1 and voila! They have now created a Bible that sides with them and supports their doctrine.
How could the JWs get away with this?

Was Jesus Christ the Lord God who spoke in the Old Testament?

Was Jesus Christ the Lord God who spoke in the Old Testament?

If Jesus was the Word, the Logos, the Spokesman (John 1:1), and the Implementer (John 1:3) then He must be the One spoken of in Isaiah 66:2a and Isaiah 44:24.

If Jesus Christ is the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega in Revelation 1:17-18 then He was the Lord in Isaiah 44:6b, Isaiah 48:12.

If Jesus Christ is our Savior like what Titus 1:4b and 3:6 tells us, and then He was the Savior, the Redeemer in Isaiah 43:3, 11, 14. Isaiah 47:4, Isaiah 48:17, Isaiah 49:26b, Isaiah 60:16.

If life and light were in Him and came from Him according to John 1:4, then He was the everlasting light in Isaiah 10:17, Isaiah 60:19, 20.

If Isaiah wrote in 41:4b and 43:10, “I, the LORD…I am he” and Jesus said in John 8:24b (KJV) “…for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins,” then we may surmise that the LORD in Isaiah and Jesus is one and the same. Genesis 3:13-15 gives additional weight to this conjecture.

Genesis 1:26. Then God (Hebrew - Elohim, plural) said, “Let US make man in OUR image, in OUR likeness….
Genesis 1:1 also used the Hebrew plural noun Elohim to indicate that there was a “more than one co-equal Persons” in the Godhead where the Spirit of God is the first to be named as one of those Persons in verse 2 which later identified as the HOLY Ghost or the Holy Spirit elsewhere in the Scripture (cf. John 14:26 and John 15:26)

God, Elohim, or the Co-equal Persons in the Godhead spoke and it was done. Only God can create, hence God is called in particular ktistes and ktizo in Greek and bara in Hebrew meaning the Creator and the Maker.

At this point we may conclude that John 1:1-3 was perfectly translated in original intended meaning that:
1) Jesus was, is and will be God. He is not an insignificant god but Mighty God and Creator. (cf. Isaiah 9:6-7a)
2) Being Co-Equal Persons in the Godhead, Jesus and the Eternal Father are eternally with each other from the past and to the future.
3) Jesus, being the Logos, the Spokesperson of the Godhead, was the One who spoke and things came into being as recorded in the Old Testament. He was with God the Father in the beginning and He (Jesus) was the One who created all things.
4) As identified and described by these verses and elsewhere in the Bible, God is one and there is only one God composed of Co-Equal Persons namely:
a) God or the Eternal Mighty God who became God the Father.
b) Logos, the Word, the Spokesperson who became God the Son and sometimes called Son of man, Jesus the Christ, the Emmanuel, the Messiah, the Anointed One,
c) The Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit. He is also called as the Comforter, the Teacher and the Helper.

John 1:14, 1:18, John 20:27-28, Romans 9:5, Mark 5:6-10, support the deity of Jesus Christ and heavily highlighted in the Book of Titus.
1) God is our Savior (Titus 1:3).
2) …Christ Jesus our Savior (Titus 1:4b). Note that the word Savior is in singular indicating that Jesus is the only Savior provided by God the Father.
3) … while we wait for the blessed hope --- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). Jesus here is called great God and Savior. Note: there is a coma after “great God and Savior” and followed by “Jesus Christ.” It indicates that the writer either tried to specify who really was the great God and Savior or tried to describe who really Jesus Christ was. Jesus Christ was the blessed hope every Israelite was waiting for and the glorious appearing of the Word, the God who “became flesh and lived among us” is confirmed in John 1:14.
4) …God our Savior appeared, he saved us, NOT because of righteous things we have done, BUT because of His mercy (Titus 3:4-5a). See also 2 Timothy 1:9-10.
5) …He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior (Titus 3:5a-6)
Now we can safely reckon that Jesus Christ is Great God and Savior.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Faith and Works. What does James intend to mean?

James 2:14, "What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?"

James is the first general letter within the epistolary literature that relates a teaching and explaining a truth.

Faith - Greek (pistis)- faithfulness, steadfastness, assurance, belief, fidelity, them that believe.

Work - Greek (ergon)- deed, business, involvement, doing, labor, work (trade).

Save - Greek (sozo) - keep sound, heal, make whole, preserve, do well, save one's self.

In other words - with the same intended meaning - If a man says "I believe and have faith in God that He will supply your needs" but does not get involved in helping, or doing business of helping -- can that faith, can that belief makes him a kept-sound person, a done well person or a person of good standing and reputation?

James 1:21 "Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility received the word implanted which is able to save your souls."

Greek word "psuche", flesh soul, earthly life is used in the word "souls". And the intended meaning here is: If you apply (practice) the Word of God you have received, it will make you a good (well being, wholesome, sensible) man. Your life here on earth will be a good example and the best testimony of goodness (of well done work of service).

Faith is the foundation and the content of God's message.
Hope is the attitude and focus.
Love is the action (the work).

Love is giving; giving is love (James 2:15).
"Work" is intend to mean love, or expression of love in James 2:17. (See 1 Corinthians 13.)

From this, we may conclude that James is NOT talking here about eternal salvation of our souls nor how to be saved by faith or work or the combination of these two. He is talking about being good and caring as our expression of our love to other people specially those in needs in this life as a testimony of God's love for mankind.

The author addresses his writing to the first century Jewish Christian communities (who are already saved) residing in Gentile communities outside Palestine.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Interpretive Paper on Matthew 28:19-20 (New American Standard Bible)

28;19. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."

28:20. "Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always even to the ends of the age."

This is the last concluding part of a narrative.

The main purpose of the Gospel of Matthew is to prove to his readers that Jesus is their Messiah. He does this primarily by showing how Jesus in His life and ministry fulfilled the Old Testament (OT) Scriptures. The text being treated follows a major section (Chapters 26:1 - 28:10) where the suffering of Jesus in the hands of Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers, His death on the Cross and His resurrection are depicted. The work of God in Christ for man's redemption is finished, From then on, it rests with His people as they strive in the power of the Holy Spirit. The King sends forth His emissaries. The passage prior to the text being treated: "All authority
has been given unto Me" suggests a timeless aorist tense encompassing all the past and future.

In compliance with Jesus' instructions, the Eleven came to mountain in Galilee. Along the way, others joined them so that above five hundred were assembled there (cf. 1 Cor. 15:6). The mountain is not specified. It could be the one on which Jesus delivered His "Manifesto" (cf. Matt 5-7). Sometime during the forty days between the resurrection and the ascension, the event took place. Matthew does not recorded the ascension but closes His Gospel with the Great Commission.

It is maintained that the hostility between the Christians and Jews had ceased by the time that Matthew wrote his Gospel. The book of Matthew was composed during the last decades of the first century, when Jews and Christians alike were faced with task of re-articulating their self-understanding in the light of the destruction of the temple and the Holy City, Jerusalem. Regardless of where the book of Matthew was written (Syrian Antioch or one of the larger settlements in Galilee are the two setting most often proposed), the story of Jesus that Matthew tells seems were suited to clarify the identity, vocation, practices of the community in transition and distress.

Lexical and Grammatical Studies:

Go - This is participle, not an imperative. Literally "going" or "as you go."

Make disciple (or disciples) - This is the only imperative in the Commission. This is suggestive of the new birth (cf. Matt 11:29). They were to go purposefully.

All nations - Both Jews and Gentiles. Plant the flag of the King in their hearts.

Baptizing - This is another participle. After initial discipling (discipling is a life long process), comes baptism. Lead them to an open declaration of allegiance to Him.

Name - This refers to authority. Father...Son...Holy Spirit. Not trine immersion, but one in the name of the Trinity.

Teaching - It refers to process of instructions after the new birth and baptism.

Observe - Means to practice, to keep, to apply, to watch, to hold fast, to preserve (tereo) what they have seen and heard from the King.

I am with you - "I" is stated and so emphatic. "I" the risen Christ, am with you (Immanuel, Matthew 1:23).

Always (or all the way) - Suggesting long period of time.

The end of the world - Literally, the consummation of the age.

The duty imposed upon all Christians and the means of fulfilling that duty is set forth. Evangelism does not end with conversion or baptism. The doctrine taught here is mission or evangelism in its larger sense. Evangelism is more than winning a person to Christ. It is only the beginning. True evangelism involves regeneration (new birth), growth in grace, discipleship, knowledge and service or sanctification. It extends through out one's life and through every generation.

The evangel does not strive alone, but is assured of the presence and power of the Risen King through His Spirit.

Before the Messiah was born, God has chosen Him to bring the light of the Gospel (the message of salvation) to the world. Christ offered salvation to all nations and His apostles began their missionary movements to take this Gospel to the ends of the Earth (Isaiah 49:6). Note: Isaiah 49:6 sometimes called "The Great Commission of the OT" and is quoted by Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:47).

God's arm is often associated with redemption and salvation to all nations and all the ends of the Earth (Isaiah 52:10).

Part of Christ's mission on earth was to demonstrate God's righteousness and to be light for the Gentiles (to the nations). Through Christ, all people have the opportunity to share in His mission. God calls us to be servants of His Son demonstrating God's righteousness and binging His light. What a rare privilege it is to help the Messiah fulfill His mission. But we must seek His righteousness (Matthew 6:33) before we demonstrate it to others and let His light shine before we can be lights ourselves (Isaiah 42:6).