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Saturday, February 15, 2014

AO - Alpha and Omega Speaker Confusion

AO  (an RDB File)


SPEAKER CONFUSION TRICK


(Rev. 22:13; Is. 48:16; Rom. 9:5)
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1. ALPHA AND OMEGA (Rev. 22:13)


Rev. 1:8 - I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord [Jehovah], which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.


* * * * *
Rev. 22:8-16

(:8) And I John saw these things and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
(:9) Then saith he unto me, see thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
(:10) And he [probably the angel still speaking] saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
(:11) He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
(:12) And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
(:13) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and the last. [see the TC study for "First and Last."]
(:14) Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
(:15) For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
(:16) I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. - King James Version.

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There are only three places in the entire Bible where the title "Alpha and Omega" is used: Rev. 1:8; Rev. 21:6; Rev. 22:13. "Alpha and Omega" as found at Rev. 1:11 in the KJV and NKJV is recognized as spurious by most knowledgeable modern Bible scholars:


Virtually all modern translations do not include in Rev 1:11 the following words that are in the KJV version of that verse:


"Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and,"

This wording at the beginning of the KJV's version of Rev. 1:11 is not found in virtually any NT Greek texts, nor is it mentioned, even as a footnote, in nearly all modern translations or in Bruce Metzger's definitive A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition, New York: United Bible Societies, 1994.



There are only three pre-ninth century Greek MSS which attest to this passage [Rev. 1:11], and all three of them omit the phrase "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last." In addition, many later MSS and versions also omit. Hodges and Farstad's "Majority" text omits, and Robinson and Pierpont's "Byzantine/Majority" text omits. Thus whether one bases one's text largely on pre-ninth century MSS, or whether one bases one's text on the Majority of Greek MSS, either way, this phrase should be omitted.

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Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible



Revelation 1:11. I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last; and--The oldest manuscripts, omit all this clause.
 
http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/jamieson-fausset-brown/revelation/revelation-1.html
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The Adam Clarke Commentary

Revelation 1

Verse 11." I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and
"This whole clause is wanting in ABC, thirty-one others; some editions; the Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Slavonic, Vulgate, Arethas, Andreas, and Primasius. Griesbach has left it out of the text." - http://www.studylight.org/com/acc/view.cgi?bk=65&ch=1


The truth of the above can be observed by merely examining most Greek NT texts, most Trinitarian Bible translations, or most ancient Greek manuscripts of the NT .

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Some (e.g. Martin, p. 92, Kingdom of the Cults, 1985) attempt to prove their "Jehovah is Jesus" idea by pointing to Rev. 1:8 where God is clearly called "Alpha and Omega" and then saying that Jesus claims the same title at Rev. 22:13. They point to Rev. 22:16 as proof that it is Jesus who is claiming to be the Alpha and Omega of verse 13. Since Jehovah is clearly Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8), they say, and Jesus is Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22:13), then Jesus IS Jehovah.


Although one might make a case for the "title confusion trick" (see the TC study) here (e.g., Jehovah is the only savior (yasha, - Hebrew) - Is. 43:11, ASV - and Ehud is a savior (yasha, - Hebrew) - Judges 3:15, ASV - therefore Ehud must be Jehovah), it is most likely that this is simply an example of the "speaker confusion trick."


Usually the "speaker confusion trick" works best when a Bible which does not use quotation marks (such as the KJV) is examined.


As you probably know, the original Bible writers didn't use any punctuation or capitalization and frequently ran the words of one speaker right into those of another speaker without any warning or indication. Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible, for example, warns Bible readers:


"The language of the MESSENGER frequently glides into that of the SENDER ..." and, "what a SERVANT says or does is ascribed to the MASTER." - "Hints and Helps to Bible Interpretation" - Preface.


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Example of Speaker Confusion Trick: "John is Alpha and Omega"


To see how easy it is to use the "speaker confusion trick" let's "prove" that John is the Alpha and Omega [1] of Rev. 1:8.

We are instructed by John in the introduction of his Revelation (Rev. 1:1) that we will be hearing this revelation from God which he gave to Jesus Christ and which was sent through his angel to his servant John. So, it is God's revelation, Jesus' revelation, the angel's revelation, and John's revelation, and we will be hearing the words of all of them from time to time.


At Rev. 1:6-7, John is obviously speaking:


...hath made us kings and priests unto God .... [The KJV continues in Rev. 1:8] I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (1:9) I JOHN, who also am your brother....


Notice, since the KJV doesn't use quotation marks at all (they hadn't yet been invented in 1611), you are free to mentally insert them whenever and wherever you wish (as was the case in the original manuscripts and their copies for centuries thereafter). Therefore, you may interpret the whole statement of Rev. 1:8 as being the words of the Lord, or you may decide that the Lord's actual words end at "the beginning and the ending," and that the rest of the words in Rev. 1:8 are descriptive words added by John.


If you look at Rev. 1:8 in The Jerusalem Bible, RSV, NRSV, NEB, and REB, you will find that their trinitarian translators have decided that only the first part of Rev. 1:8 is spoken by God, and they use quotation marks to show that.


If you look at Rev. 1:8 in the NASB, NAB (1970), NAB (1991), NJB, and the NIV, however, you will see that their trinitarian translators have decided that all of Rev. 1:8 was spoken by the Lord God, and they use quotation marks to show that meaning.


But to use the "speaker confusion trick" to "prove" that John is the Lord Almighty we would point to the fact that John was definitely speaking at Rev. 1:7, and then (by using our own punctuation or the KJV's lack of quotation marks) we merely say that John continued speaking in Rev. 1:8 and identified himself as "the Lord," "Alpha and Omega," and "the Almighty"!! Finally we would point to Rev. 1:9 and say that John continues speaking and positively identifies himself as "John, also" or, in other words, "John, in addition to [his titles of Rev. 1:8]"!!


So if modern Bible translators belonged to (or at least worked for) churches that taught that John was equally God ("Johnitarians"?), they would simply have punctuated this scripture in a way that showed that. For example they might put quotation marks starting at verse 8 and ending after verse 9.


There is another thing that helps show the intended meaning here. Although it is very common that the words of one speaker slide right into those of another speaker (e.g., Is. 10:4, 7), it also happens that sometimes the writer identifies the new speaker. As we see in Daniel, for example, Daniel nearly always identifies himself as the new speaker when he uses the words "I, Daniel" whenever it might be confusing to the reader (especially after a different person has been speaking) - Dan. 7:15, 28; 8:15, 27; 12:5. If we then examine Revelation (which is recognized as being similar to, patterned after, and frequently referring to, the Book of Daniel), we find that John also uses this technique. "I, John" identifies a new speaker in every instance John uses it: Rev. 1:9; 22:8. So Rev. 1:9 is merely the statement of a new speaker.



Is Jesus the 'Alpha and Omega' in Rev. 22?


Now look again at Rev. 22:8-16. (The SC trick doesn't work nearly as well here, but some trinitarians insist on using it anyway.) John is identified as the speaker in 22:8. The angel speaks in (:9). The angel apparently continues speaking in (:10). The angel may be still speaking in (:11) --- or it could be John or even someone else (as implied in verse 10 in the NAB, 1970 ed.).


Now is the angel still speaking in (:12) or is it God, or is it Jesus, or even John? There is simply no way of telling who the speaker is from any of the early Bible manuscripts. It's entirely a matter of translator's choice. Some translators have decided it is the angel who continues to speak, and they punctuate it accordingly. So the JB, and NJB use quotation marks to show that these are all words spoken by the angel.


However, the RSV, NRSV, NASB, NEB, REB, NKJV, NAB (1991 ed.), ISV, 21st Century King James Version, and TEV show by their use of quotation marks that someone else is now speaking in verse 12. Most Bibles indicate that the person who spoke verse 12 (whether God, angel, Jesus, or John) also spoke verse 13 (“I am Alpha and Omega”).

Now the big question is: Is it clear that the speaker(s) of verses 12 and 13 continues to speak? Some Bibles indicate this. But other highly respected trinitarian translations do not! 


The ESV; ISV; LEB; MEV; MOUNCE; NAB (2010 ed.); NASB; NEB; NKJV; NLT; NRSV; REB; RSV; 21st Century King James Version, TEV; and WE show (by quotation marks and indenting/paragraphs) that Rev. 22:14 and 15 are not the words of the speaker of verses 12 and 13 but are John’s words.  (The Jerusalem Bible; the NJB; and Moffatt show us that the angel spoke all the words from verse 10 through verse 15.)


 Then they show Jesus as a new speaker beginning to speak in verse 16.

So, if you must insist that the person speaking just before verse 16 is the same person who is speaking in verse 16, then, according to the trinitarian ESV; ISV; LEB; MEV; MOUNCE; NAB (2010 ed.); NASB; NEB; NKJV; NLT; NRSV; REB; RSV; 21st Century King James Version, TEV; and WE , you are saying John is Jesus!!! (According to the JB and NJB you would be insisting that the angel is Jesus!) 
 
And, just as the use of "I, John" indicated a new speaker in Revelation 1:9, so does the only other such usage in that same book. Yes, Rev. 22:16 - "I, Jesus" also introduces a new speaker. This means, of course, that the previous statement ("I am the Alpha and Omega") was made by someone else!




Even the KJV translators have shown by their use of the word "his" in verse 14 that they didn't mean that Jesus was the same speaker as the Alpha and Omega. The speaker of verse 13 is Almighty God. The comment in verse 14 of these Bibles (as literally translated from the Received Text) explains the importance of doing "His Commandments" (not "My Commandments")!  Therefore the speaker of verse 14 is obviously not God as clearly stated by those Bibles which were translated from the Received Text (TR), e.g., KJV; NKJV; KJ21; KJIIV, MKJV; GNV; World English Bible; Young's Literal Translation; Webster Bible (by Noah Webster); and Revised Webster Bible.  Lamsa's translation (Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern Text) also uses "him."



  
So we can easily see that there is no reason to say Jesus spoke the words recorded at Rev. 22:13 (or the above-named trinitarian Bibles would surely have so translated it!) and, in fact, the context really identifies the speaker as being the same person who spoke at Rev. 1:8, God Almighty, Jehovah, the Father.


The only other use of the title "Alpha and Omega" confirms this understanding.
"And He who sits on the throne said, `Behold, I am making all things new.' .... And He said to me, `It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. .... He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.'" - Rev. 21:5-7, NASB.


"Revelation 21:6, 7 indicates that Christians who are spiritual conquerors are to be `sons' of the one known as the Alpha and the Omega. That is never said of the relationship of spirit-anointed Christians to Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke of them as his `brothers.' (Heb. 2:11; Matt. 12:50; 25:40) But those `brothers' of Jesus are referred to as `sons of God [the Father].' (Gal. 3:26; 4:6)." - pp. 412-413, Reasoning from the Scriptures, WBTS, 1985.
So Rev. 21:6, 7 confirms the understanding that the Alpha and Omega is the Father, not Jesus.


In short, there is no reason, other than a desire to support the trinity tradition, to believe that Jesus is being called "Alpha and Omega" in Rev. 22. And there is good evidence to believe that it is his Father only who uses this title for himself.



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2. "I Am Coming Soon"


Often those who use the "Alpha and Omega" argument point out that Jesus says "I am coming soon" (NIV and RSV) in Rev. 22:20. (Jehovah's Witnesses agree.) Then they point to the same words in Rev. 22:12 ("I am coming soon") and tell us that Jehovah spoke these words here. (Jehovah's Witnesses agree.) But, these trinitarians say, this is more proof that Jesus is Jehovah!


If God is the Father alone, a separate person from Jesus (as Jehovah's Witnesses believe), and if he will not literally, physically come to earth (as Jehovah's Witnesses believe), then how can He be saying at Rev. 22:12 "I am coming soon" (as Jesus also says at Rev. 22:20)? Because Jesus is Jehovah, say these trinitarians, and it is Jehovah/Jesus speaking in these scriptures, saying he is to come!


But the very trinitarian NIVSB tells us the following:


"Because God reigns over all things and is the Lord of history, Israel lived in hope (as the prophets announced) of the 'coming' of God - his future acts by which he would decisively deal with all wickedness and establish righteousness in the earth." - Ps. 96:13 f.n. And, "The LORD is coming. An OT expression describing the Lord's intervention in history [see Ps 18:9; 96:13; 144:5; Isa 26:21; 31:4; 64:1-3]." - Micah 1:3 footnote.


So we see that when the angel spoke to Mary, "The Lord is with you" - Luke 1:28, he obviously did not mean God had literally come to earth (compare Judges 6:12). When John the Baptist's father said, "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and redeemed his people." - Luke 1:66-68, NIV, he certainly did not mean the angel he was speaking to was literally God. He meant that God was now operating from heaven to help righteous mankind. When Moses was described as having God with him (Josh. 1:5), it meant God in heaven was helping him. When Joshua told the Israelites "God is among you" (Josh. 3:10), he was saying God was helping them!  And God Himself is quoted as saying: “do not be afraid, for I am with you; do not be alarmed, for I am your God. I give you strength, truly I help you, truly I hold you firm with my saving right hand.” - NJB.   (See the IN/WITH study.)


The trinitarian Nelson's Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament, p. 64, 1980 ed., tells us about God "coming":


There are three senses in which God is said 'to come. 'God 'comes' through an angel (Judg. 6:11) or other incarnated being [such as Jesus]....


Secondly, God promises to `come' to the faithful wherever and whenever they properly worship Him (Exod. 20:24)....


Finally, there is a group of prophetic pictures of divine 'comings.' This theme may have originated in the hymns sung of God's `coming' to aid His people in war (cf. Deut 33:2).
So when God "comes" to earth, he is often operating through some other person. When Moses came back to Egypt to help his people, God "came" to help them (through Moses). When Jesus came in the flesh to earth to help mankind, God "came" (through Jesus). And when Jesus "returns" from heaven, God "comes"! If Jesus is "coming soon" to do God's will, then, by the very same act, God will "come" also (not literally, but through Jesus).
We can see the truth of this by looking at Rev. 1:8 and Rev. 1:4, 5.


"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. - Rev. 1:8, RSV.


We know this is the Father alone because only he is called `the Lord God' and `Almighty' in holy scripture. Notice that the Father (not the Son) in this verse is described as one who is to come. And, again, these 2 verses show the same thing:


Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness...." - Rev. 1:4, 5, RSV.


Again there can be no doubt that this is the Father alone (not the Son) who is said `to come.' He is clearly separated from the Christ and his holy spirit [2] in this verse. Therefore, the sense in which he will `come' must be as described above. And so it is clear that God will "come" and Jesus Christ will come, but they are still two different individuals!



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 3. Isaiah 48:16


Another example of "speaker confusion" I have seen attempted by certain anti-Watchtower trinitarians is found at Is. 48:16 in the KJV.



Is. 48:16 - Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD [Jehovah], and his spirit, hath sent me. - KJV.


Commenting on this scripture some trinitarians will say: "The speaker of Is. 48:16 is Jehovah as identified by context in the first part of the verse and as shown by his identification in verse 17 where he continues to speak. But notice that Jehovah, who is speaking, says: `The Lord GOD [Jehovah] ... hath sent me.' Therefore there must be at least two persons who are Jehovah!"


The answer to such "proof" is obvious: "speaker confusion." Isaiah, like most other Bible writers, often interspersed the conversation of one person with statements by others and often doesn't identify the new speakers. Very often they appear to be comments by Isaiah himself.

That this is very likely the case here is shown, not only by context, but by these modern trinitarian Bible translations: The RSV and the NIV Bibles show by quotation marks and indenting that Isaiah himself made the final comment in Is. 48:16.

Quotation marks in NLT, ESV, TEV, Holman Christian Standard Bible, New Century Version, and THE MESSAGE also show the last part of Is.48:16 to be a new speaker.

The NAB (1970 and 1991 versions) also indicates a new speaker there, and, in the St. Joseph edition of the NAB, a footnote for Is. 48:16 tells us that the final statement was made by Cyrus! And the very trinitarian Holy Bible: Easy-to-Read Version, World Bible Translation Center, 1992, comes right out and says at Is. 48:16,

" 'Come here and listen to me! ... from the beginning, I spoke clearly, so that people could know what I said.' Then Isaiah said, `Now the Lord [Jehovah] my master sends me and his Spirit to tell you these things.' "

The New English Bible (NEB), The Revised English Bible (REB), and the Bible translation by Dr. James Moffatt (Mo) consider the last statement of Is. 48:16 to be spurious and leave it out of their translations entirely.

Certainly these trinitarian translations would have rendered this scripture (and punctuated it accordingly) to show a two-Jehovah meaning (or given such an alternate rendering in the footnotes) if their trinitarian translators had thought there was even the slightest justification for such an interpretation! (Also analyze Jer. 51:19 - Jacob is the former of all things - Jehovah of hosts is his name, according to this trinitarian-type "speaker confusion" reasoning!)

"The prophet himself [Isaiah], as a type of the great prophet, asserts his own commission to deliver this message: Now the Lord God (the same that spoke from the beginning and did not speak in secret) has by his Spirit sent me, v. 16." - Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible, Isaiah Chapter 48 verse 16.
…………………

Commentary by A. R. FAUSSET
“16. not . . . in secret -- (Isa 45:19). Jehovah foretold Cyrus' advent, not with the studied ambiguity of heathen oracles, but plainly.
from the time, &c.--From the moment that the purpose began to be accomplished in the raising up of Cyrus I was present.

sent me--The prophet here speaks, claiming attention to his announcement as to Cyrus, on the ground of his mission from God and His Spirit.”
http://www.blueletterbible.org/commentaries/comm_view.cfm?AuthorID=7&contentID=2614&commInfo=6&topic=Isaiah&ar=Isa_48_16 
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"And, like almost every other prophecy of Christ in the Old Testament, it is subject to all kinds of interpretations. Calvin and many other scholars have seen it as a prophecy of the sending of Isaiah. Barnes agreed with this, stating that, 'The scope of the passage demands, it seems to me, that it should be referred to the prophet Isaiah.'

….

"Jamieson, noting that Isaiah, not Christ, is the author of the passage, stated that, 'Isaiah here speaks not in his own person so much as in that of the Messiah, to whom alone, in the fullest sense, the words apply.'" - Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament, Is. 48:16.

 
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3a.    Zechariah 2:10-15

This is virtually the same ‘proof’ as that of Is. 48:16 above.

Here is how it was presented to me (in blue) and my response.
“So who was the Jehovah that sent Jehovah in Zechariah 2:10, 11...It was Jehovah who declared this...are you saying Jehovah (the only God...the Father) was sent to tabernacle with us, by Jehovah (the only God...the Father)? Please answer this...YHVH declared it. He was being sent by YHVH...which one is the Father or both or is one the Word (who would also be YHVH but not the Father)? Please exegete this passage…”

This is the same as the Trinitarian argument that Is. 48:16 shows two different persons as Jehovah.

Similarly, we may note that various Trinitarian scholars have shown by quotation marks and use of parentheses that the “sent me” passages in Zechariah also do not refer to Yahweh.

The Jerusalem Bible uses parentheses to separate these passages from the words spoken by Yahweh.

The New Jerusalem Bible uses quotations marks to show where Jehovah’s words start and end. The passages in question are not included.

An American Translation (Smith-Goodspeed) also uses quotation marks to show Jehovah’s words. The passages in question are not included in them.

The Good News Bible also uses quotation marks to show that YHWH did not speak the words in the passages including “sent me.”

The Bible: A New Translation (Dr. James Moffatt) uses both quotation marks and Parentheses to separate the words of Yahweh from those of the "sent me" passage.

The Contemporary English Version shows Yahweh speaking in Zech. 2:6-7. The rest of Zechariah 2 are the words of the prophet.

The Easy-to-Read Version also shows Jehovah speaking in Zech. 2:6-7, but all the parts that refer to knowing the prophet was sent by Jehovah are spoken by the prophet.

Remember Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, for example, informs Bible readers:
“The language of the MESSENGER frequently glides into that of the SENDER, e.g. Gen. 16:10 …Zech 2:8-11.” and, “what a SERVANT says or does is ascribed to the MASTER.” - “Hints and Helps to Bible Interpretation” - Preface.

The original manuscripts had no punctuation and this has to be added by the translator as he sees fit.

The point is that these were translated by Trinitarian scholars for a (mostly) Trinitarian readership! They certainly would not have taken a real Trinitarian ‘proof’ and neutralized it!
This was followed by this response (in blue) followed by my answer:

“The absolutely non-Trinitarian Masoretic Text has this in verses 14, 15 and literally reads in English... "14 'Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. 15 And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people, and I will dwell in the midst of thee'; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.”
This quote is from JPS, 1917 (Margolis). If you are going to quote from a source, you should identify it.

First, the Masoretic Text has YHWH (Yahweh/Jehovah) instead of ‘LORD.’

Second, the JPS, 1917 translation you quote says:

(2:12) For thus saith the LORD of hosts who sent me after glory unto the nations which spoiled you: 'Surely, he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. (2:13) For, behold, I will shake My hand over them, and they shall be a spoil to those that served them'; and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me. (2:14) 'Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. (2:15) And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be My people, and I will dwell in the midst of thee'; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.

Notice the quotation marks this translation uses for Yahweh’s words (highlighted in red). They start at the end of verse 12 and end at ‘that served them’ near the end of verse 13. Then again they start at the beginning of verse 14 and end at ‘midst of thee’ in verse 15. The words following these quotes are the words of the prophet.


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4. Isaiah 44:6



Is. 44:6 is not really a "speaker confusion" example (although it's like the above "proof" in other ways). It's a "pronoun confusion" trick. It's extremely poor, but some trinitarians are actually desperate enough for "evidence" to use it anyway. Is. 44:6 in the American Standard Version (ASV) says, "Thus saith Jehovah [the LORD - KJV], the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Jehovah of hosts...." The "proof" here, according to a few trinitarians, is that there are two `different' Jehovahs [LORDs] mentioned! And one is the redeemer of the other!


The trick here is that these trinitarians pretend the pronoun "his" refers to Jehovah when it actually refers to Israel. The following trinitarian Bibles, however, actually translate it correctly (e.g., "Thus says the LORD, Israel's King and redeemer, the LORD of hosts" - NAB): NIV, JB, LB, GNB, REB, NJB, and Moffatt. And the trinitarian Bibles which use capitalized pronouns for God ("Me, My, He, His," etc.) also show, by their lack of capitalization, that "his" refers to Israel in this scripture: "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts" - NASB (see also MLB, Beck, and Young translations).



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5. The Psalmist is "God"


Also notice how a dishonest person can "prove" the psalmist is God at Ps. 46:10, 11 by using the "speaker confusion trick."


Psalm 46:10 - Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth (:11) The LORD [Jehovah] of hosts is with us ... - KJV.


Quotation marks used in the RSV (and others) clear up any possible question about this passage. Obviously two different speakers' words have been run together in the original text.


Another example could be that found at Hebrews 1:7, which, in quoting Ps. 104:4, says that He, God, spoke these words: "God makes his angels winds" - TEV - when it is clear that the psalmist actually spoke them. (The same thing can apply to Deut. 31:6, 8 as quoted at Heb.13:5. What was actually said by Moses at Deut. 31 appears to be spoken by God himself as quoted at Heb. 13:5 - NIV, NEB, TEV, GNB, LB.)


Remember the comment quoted from Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible: "what a SERVANT says or does is [often] ascribed to the MASTER."


And we mustn't forget that "All scripture is inspired by God" - 2 Tim. 3:16, RSV (therefore, in a sense, God "spoke" all scripture).


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6. Ro. 9:5


The final example in this study, while not strictly a "speaker-confusion" trick, is so closely related that it will be included in that category anyway. It is really a confusion of subjects rather than speakers that we find in some trinitarian interpretations of this scripture.
Ro. 9:5 - " ... Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen." - KJV.
This is the scripture that A Catholic Dictionary calls


"the strongest statement of Christ's divinity in St. Paul, and, indeed, in the N[ew] T[estament]."


The Jerusalem Bible (Roman Catholic) renders it, like the equally trinitarian KJV, in such a way as to make Christ appear to be God: "Christ who is above all, God for ever blessed! Amen."


And the very trinitarian The NIV Study Bible, 1985, in a note for Ro. 9:5, calls it:


"One of the clearest statements of the deity of Jesus Christ found in the entire NT, assuming the accuracy of the translation (see NIV text note)."


Highly-regarded trinitarian NT scholar, F. F. Bruce writes concerning Ro. 9:5:


"God who is over all be blessed for ever. The relation of these words to those which precede is disputed. RSV takes them as an independent ascription of praise to God, prompted by the mention of God's crowning his many blessings on Israel by sending them the Messiah (similarly NEB, GNB)."


Bruce then gives reasons for and against such an understanding and concludes with:
"It is, on the other hand, impermissible to charge [accuse] those who prefer to treat the words as an independent doxology with Christological unorthodoxy. The words can indeed be so treated, and the decision about their construction involves a delicate assessment of the balance of probability this way and that." – p. 176, The Letter of Paul to the Romans, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Revised Ed., Eerdmans Publ., 1985.


However, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology is forced to acknowledge that even if such a trinitarian rendering of the Greek were accurate,
"Christ would not be equated absolutely with God, but only described as being of divine nature [see the DEF study.], for the word theos has no article. But this ascription of majesty does not occur anywhere else in Paul. The much more probable explanation is that the statement is a doxology [praise] directed to God." - Vol. 2, p. 80, 1986.


Trinitarian scholar John L. McKenzie also admits:


"Paul's normal usage is to restrict the noun [`God'] to designate the Father (cf 1 Co 8:6), and in Rm 9:5 it is very probable that the concluding words are a doxology, `Blessed is the God who is above all.'" – p. 318, Dictionary of the Bible, Macmillan Publ., 1979 printing.


The trinitarian United Bible Societies (UBS) makes the same admission:


"In fact, on the basis of the general tenor of his theology it was considered tantamount to impossible that Paul would have expressed Christ's greatness by calling him `God blessed for ever'." And, "Nowhere else in his genuine epistles does Paul ever designate ho christos [`the Christ'] as theos [`God' or `god']." - p. 522, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, United Bible Societies, 1971.


The UBS has therefore punctuated their NT Greek text in such a way as to show the separateness of Christ and God at Ro. 9:5.

We also find in the trinitarian The Expositor’s Greek Testament (Vol. two, p. 659): “I agree with those who would put a colon or a period at σάρκα [sarka - ‘flesh’], and make the words that follow refer not to Christ but to the Father.”  

Even A Catholic Dictionary admits the possibility that the scripture in question is really a doxology directed to God and not to Jesus:


"There is no reason in grammar or in the context which forbids us to translate `God, who is over all, be blessed for ever, Amen.'"


And this statement is from the very same trinitarian reference work that calls Ro. 9:5 "the strongest statement of Christ's divinity" in the entire New Testament!! If this is the "strongest" such statement, where does that put the rest of the trinity "proof"?


Illustrating the high probability that the last part of Romans 9:5 is directed as a doxology to the Father, not to Jesus, are these translations of Ro. 9:5 found in trinitarian Bibles where the statement in question is not directed to Jesus:


The Revised Standard Version (RSV), 1971 ed. - "... of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen." - See p. 165, So Many Versions? (SMV), Zondervan, 1983.


The New American Bible (NAB), 1970 ed. - "... from them [Israelites] came the Messiah (I speak of his human origins). Blessed forever be God who is over all!"


The New American Bible (NAB), 1991 ed. - "[From the Israelites], according to the flesh, is the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever, Amen."


The New English Bible (NEB), 1961 ed. - "... from them, in natural descent, sprang the Messiah. May God, supreme above all, be blessed forever!"


Revised English Bible (REB), 1989 ed. - "... from them by natural descent came the Messiah. May God, supreme above all, be blessed forever!"


An American Translation (AT), 1975 printing - "... and from them physically Christ came - God who is over all be blessed for ever!"


Today's English Version (TEV), 1976 ed. - "Christ, as a human being, belongs to their race. May God, who rules over all, be praised forever!"


The Living Bible (LB) - "...Christ was one of you ... he who now rules over all things. Praise God forever!" - Tyndale House Publishers, 1971.


The Bible, A New Translation, (Mo) by Dr. James Moffatt, 1954 - "[From the Israelites] (so far as natural descent goes) is the Christ. (Blessed for evermore be the God who is over all! Amen.)"


New Life Version (NLV) - "Christ himself was born of flesh from this family and He is over all things. May God be honored and thanked forever." - Victor Books, 1993.


Not only can Ro. 9:5 be interpreted as having two different statements about two different subjects (1. Jesus came to earth as an Israelite, and, 2. Bless God who is over all.), but that is almost certainly the meaning intended by Paul (compare Ro. 15:5, 6; Ro. 16:27; 2 Cor. 1:3; Gal. 1:3-5; Eph. 1:3; 1 Tim. 1:16, 17).


Why, even the NIVSB, which called Ro. 9:5 "One of the clearest statements of the deity of Jesus Christ found in the entire NT" (see above), also gave the following in a footnote for Ro. 9:5 as proper alternate translations of this verse:

"Or Christ, who is over all. God be forever praised! Or Christ. God who is over all be forever praised!"


But some trinitarians have, instead, run these two separate statements of Jesus and God together in such a way as to give the impression that they both refer to the same subject: Jesus. The technique is identical with that of the "speaker confusion trick" we have been examining, and neither is acceptable as proper evidence for a "Jesus is God" faith!

[Added 4/2011 thanks to ‘Yahoel’ : “The use of the word eulogetos, ‘blessed,’ which never occurs in the New Testament in reference to Christ. If we refer eulogetos to God, our passage [Ro. 9:5] accords with the doxologies Rom. i. 25; 2 Cor. i. 3; xi. 31; and Eph. i. 3. …. [This] strongly favors the reference of the eulogetos to God. It alone seems to me most decisive.” (pp. 361-362) - Ezra Abbot, The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel. (emphasis added.)]



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7. RE- applications


Occasionally we find an OT scripture originally applied to one person that is re-applied to another, different individual in the NT. For example, some scriptures originally applied to King David have been re-applied to Jesus in the NT. This is obviously a re-application and in no way could be construed that King David IS Jesus! - Also examine the re-applications of Ps. 2:9 (Rev. 2:27); Is. 49:6 (Acts 13:47; Matt. 5:14); Ps. 45:6, 7 (Heb. 1:8, 9) - "Probably refers to Solomon as a type of Christ." - footnote for Ps. 45:1 in the NASB Ref. ed.

 There are a very few OT scriptures originally applied to Jehovah which are re-applied to Jesus in the NT. We can understand these as a new application of the old scripture (like the King David/Jesus re-applications) or, possibly, as Young's Concordance explains: "what a SERVANT says or does is ascribed to the MASTER."


Fortunately for our modern understanding, the large majority of OT Scriptures applied to Jehovah and quoted in the NT are not re-applications but retain their original application. Therefore, if a trinitarian points out these few re-applications, it would be well to go through all NT quotes of OT scriptures applying to Jehovah (Ps. 110:1 is used frequently, for example). Then the student will see how rare any apparent Jehovah/Jesus re-applications really are (much rarer than even King David/Jesus re-applications).


From posting on "Reasoning From Scripture" by Catz777:



[Note Hosea 11:1 in the Hebrew Scriptures; both in the Hebrew Masoretic manuscripts and in the Greek Septuagint manuscripts the reference is made to the nation of Israel. However, at Matthew 2:15 in the Christian Greek Scriptures, Hosea 11:1 is applied to Jesus Christ. Are trinitarians to suggest that Jesus is therefore in substance identical to Israel? (See f.n. for Matt. 2:15 in NIVSB.)

Note Malachi 4:5, 6, in the Hebrew Scriptures prophecies that the prophet Elijah would come before the fear-inspiring Day of Jehovah. The Christian Greek Scriptures at Matthew 17:10-13 identifies "Elijah" with John the Baptist. And the words are those of the Lord Jesus Christ! There could hardly be a more direct way to clearly express complete identity than to say that John the Baptist is Elijah the Prophet! However, John was neither the resurrected or recreated prophet; however, he did the same spiritual restoration work as Elijah. Are trinitarians to suggest that John is in substance Elijah the prophet? If so, then how are they to explain John's own statement that he was not Elijah at John 1:19-21? (It would be good to note that John's father, the priest Zechariah, was told by the angel Gabriel that "many of the sons of Israel will [John] turn back to Jehovah their God. Also, [John] will go before him with Elijah's spirit and power" to do a spiritual restoration work. Clearly Gabriel had opportunity to identify John as Elijah if that was the case instead of saying John was merely coming with Elijah's spirit and power. Would trinitarians desire to contradict an angel of God? – Luke 1:11, 14-19.)]


There is no proper scriptural evidence for a belief in the trinity. There is no clear statement (in scripture or in Hebrew or Christian writings before the 3rd century A.D. - see CREEDS study) such as "The only true God is composed of three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."


Since God demands that Christians know him (John 17:1, 3; 2 Thess. 1:8; Ps. 79:5, 6; Jer. 10:25; Jer. 16:19-21, ASV), and he would not obscure information which is essential to eternal life ("I have never spoken to you obscurely" - Is. 48:16, The Jerusalem Bible - "The Lord ... not wanting anyone to perish" - 2 Peter 3:9, NIV - "God is Love" - 1 John 4:8.), such information concerning the exact identity of the only true God must be clearly and abundantly supplied in the Holy Scriptures.


That is not to say that such information has not been somewhat obscured by men who have improperly translated and improperly interpreted parts of Holy Scripture. Because of such attempts by men to obscure God's clear statements, it is necessary to


"Search for [understanding] as for hid treasures: then shalt thou understand the fear of Jehovah, and find the knowledge of God. For Jehovah giveth wisdom; out of his mouth cometh knowledge" - Prov. 2:4-6, ASV.


And although such clearly-stated knowledge of God which can lead to eternal life can be found by all those willing to spend a little time and effort looking for it, it will not be found (or acknowledged) by the majority: "Few are they that find it" - Matt. 7:14.


The clearest (and most repeated) message of the Bible is (in those relatively few English translations which honestly attempt to translate God's personal name) that Jehovah (or `Yahweh' in one possible Hebrew form - see PRONOUNCE study) alone is God, and He alone is the Most High (Is. 37:16, 20; Ps. 83:18), and He alone is the Father and the only true God (Is. 63:16, ASV; Jer. 10:10, ASV; John 17:1, 3).


Although Watchtower Society (WTS) research and scholarship is usually at least the equal of (and often superior to) that of other sources, I have tried to rely most heavily on other sources in Christendom itself (preferably trinitarian) or my own independent research to provide evidence disproving the trinitarian `proof' being examined in this paper. The reason is, of course, that this paper is meant to provide evidence needed by non-Witnesses, and many of them will not accept anything written by the WTS. They truly believe it is false, even dishonest. Therefore some of the preceding information, all of which helps disprove specific trinitarian "proofs," may be in disagreement with current WTS teachings in some specifics (especially when I have presented a number of alternates). Jehovah's Witnesses should research the most recent WTS literature on the subject or scripture in question before using this information with others. – RDB.


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NOTES

I have seen references to the "aleph taw" found in OT Hebrew manuscripts and left 'untranslated' in all Bibles. Some Trinitarians have selected a verse where this usage is found in connection with God or the Messiah and claim that this is falsely left untranslated and should be translated as "the Alpha and the Omega," or the "first and the last," or "Jesus."

But “Aleph Taw” (or “Aleph Tav” in modern Hebrew -sometimes transliterated into English as “et”) is not meant to be translated into English.
1.
"[Alef Taw], the definite direct object indicator, is never translated. When standing independently, it is rendered [in this source] with three asterisks (***, e.g., Gen. 1:1)." – p. xxvii, The NIV Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament, Vol. 1, Zondervan Publ., 1979.


“In this article, we’re going to look at a part of Hebrew grammar that beginning students often want to know. There’s a particle in Hebrew (אֵת) that isn’t translated into English. This particle indicates that a ‘direct object’ is ahead in that sentence.” -

‘Aleph Taw’ is also transliterated into English as ‘et’ by some:

 http://www.uvm.edu/~gbavly/lsn9/lsn9.html  


“the Hebrew word et (את, aleph tav) is not at all "mysterious" or "untranslatable;" in fact, I remember learning its meaning during the second week of introductory Hebrew. It is a very common word used to identify the direct object (as well as a few other less common functions). English identifies the direct object by the noun's position in the sentence; languages like Greek, Latin and German identify the direct object by changing the ending of the noun; and Hebrew marks the direct object with the word.
http://torahresourceblog.com/the-untranslatable-et/

"Aleph tav works roughly like our word "to" in the sense that it is very common (11,000 occurrences in the OT) and serves more of a grammatical function than a meaning function.” - http://eutychusnerd.blogspot.com/2009/10/few-people-asked-me-about-nature-of.html   


 
 It is found numerous times throughout the Hebrew Scriptures and is often used with someone other than God or the Messiah! For example, in Gen. 13:11 it is associated with Lot (and indicates that he chose the whole plain). At Gen. 14:16 it is used with Abram (not God). Gen. 17:26 uses this same indicator with Ishmael (not God). And so it goes throughout the Hebrew scriptures.


'Alef Taw' as used in this manner has absolutely nothing to do with "first and last," "alpha and Omega," "beginning," "Jesus," etc., and any serious Hebrew OT scholar (even beginners) should be aware of this!

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2.

"Vs. 4-8 [Revelation 1:4-8]: .... The Father is first named; he is described as the Jehovah who is, and who was, and who is to come, eternal, unchangeable. The Holy Spirit is called the seven spirits, the perfect Spirit of God, in whom there is a diversity of gifts and operations." - Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible by Matthew Henry, Condensed Version.


"Seven was a sacred number in the Jewish church: but it did not always imply a precise number. It sometimes is to be taken figuratively, to denote completeness or perfection. By these seven spirits [Rev. 1:4], not seven created angels, but the Holy Ghost is to be understood." - John Wesley's Notes on the Whole Bible, The New Testament.


"God Himself appears here as the administrator of the world, even when addressing the assembly; and Christ as man coming under Him to this purpose, the Holy Ghost being noticed as the direct agent of power in the sevenfold perfection in which it is exercised." - Discussion of Rev. 1:4 in Darby's Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, Part 2: New Testament by John Nelson Darby (p. 1160, Library of Ages version).


Under the heading of Rev. 1:4 Godbey writes: "Seven spirits mean the Holy Ghost". - Commentary on the New Testament,Vol 1., "Revelation: Treating of the Second Coming of Jesus and Restitution" by Rev. W. B. Godbey, A. M.

"[The inspired writer of the Book of Revelation] probably refers to the Spirit of God under the symbolism of the seven spirits (Rev. 1:4; 4:5)" - p. 706, Vol. 3, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Zondervan Publ., 1986.

(Cf. the f.n. for Rev. 1:4 in The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Oxford University Press, 1973; p. 1414, Vol. 3, The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Eerdmans Publ., 1984 printing; and p. 299, Today's Dictionary of the Bible, Bethany House, 1982.)

2 comments:

Timitrius said...

An excellent article. You have covered most of the Trinitarian "proofs" related to the "speaker confusion trick", however I think maybe you have left one out.

Revelation 22:6 echoes 1:1 and says that Jehovah God sent the angel to John, but 22:16 says that Jesus sent the angel. Thus, Trinitarians argue that Jesus IS Jehovah.

I feel that the reference to Jehovah AND Jesus is Revelation 1:1 and the concept of messenger/sender ambiguity must be relevant here. How would you best explain the concept that the angel was sent by BOTH Jehovah and Jesus?

tigger2 said...

Surely most would admit that Jesus’ angels are also Jehovah’s angels. Jehovah (Jesus’ Father and his God) is over all and Most High (Ps. 83:18 and Luke 1:32). It is no more difficult to understand than the fact that the Captain’s soldiers are also the General’s soldiers. If the General commanded that the Captain send his soldiers to a certain place, they have been sent by both the General and the Captain.

It’s like scripture telling us that Jehovah gave the Israelites the Law and then also saying Moses gave the Israelites the law (John 7:19).