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Sunday, April 17, 2011

ISRAEL and God

ISRAEL and God


Israel’s Essential Knowledge of God



All of this study refers to those who were faithful to the Law of Moses up to the time of the death of Jesus and beyond. It is very clearly revealed in the rest of the OT scriptures itself that much (even most) of Israel was apostate in various periods before the time of Christ. This included kings, priests, and much of the populace itself. This correlates with the vast apostasy of much of Christendom during the past 1800 years.

Certainly any worshiper must know his God. This is essential in any religion, but emphatically so in the religion of the God of the Bible. So exactly who is this God?

Israel and Judaism has always taught that God is one person only, Jehovah, the Father. Christendom began teaching in the 4th century A.D. that God is three persons who are all equally the one God.

God does not change (Malachi 3:6). He is the same now as he has always been. He revealed himself to many individuals as recorded in the Bible. So how did the first Bible writer, Moses, reveal God to His Chosen People, Israel? There can be no argument that the first 5 books of the Bible (the writings of Moses) revealed God (through God’s own direction and commandment) as a single person with the personal name of Jehovah.

Then, later, the Book of Joshua was written. Search through it as you may you will not find anything that clearly shows that God is anything other than a single person with the personal name of Jehovah!

These 6 books were the word of God for God’s chosen people for hundreds of years. In fact, if we carefully examine all the Old Testament, we find the same thing: There was never any indication that God was anything but Jehovah, the Father in heaven, the Creator of all.

(“That all the peoples of the earth may know that Jehovah...is God; there is none else.” 1 Ki. 8:60, ASV. “You alone, Jehovah, are the God above all gods in supreme charge of all the earth.” Ps. 83:18, LB. “I am Jehovah and there is no one else. I alone am God.” Is. 45:6, LB.)

For thousands of years this has been the great distinction of the chosen people of the God of the Bible. They have always known that their God is one person only. Not only has the divine word itself (given to them alone) made this clear, but all the other writings, teachings, comments, etc. by their scholars, teachers, etc. throughout the ages have always confirmed this.

How can this be if the trinity doctrine that God is three persons is true? A people must know their God. The God of the Bible was very careful to inform his people of the things that would lead to eternal life and eternal destruction. He made his name known to them alone. God does not change. So how is it that for thousands of years God’s chosen people have always known that God is one person, Jehovah, the Father alone?

How is it that knowledge of God’s “plurality” was never noticed until hundreds of years after Jesus’ death (and many years after the Apostles’ deaths, of course) when Christendom was adopting the trinity doctrine? How come the “evidence” for the trinity in the OT are things that most respected OT Hebrew scholars view with scorn (even most trinitarian Hebrew scholars of Christendom refute their significance)? For example, the insistence by some trinitarians that the OT word for God, Elohim, is plural to indicate the plurality of persons within the “Godhead.” This is not merely ludicrous to respected Hebrew scholars, but an example of downright disgraceful “scholarship”! (See the ELOHIM study.)



The God of Judaism

“Judaism, rejecting alike the Trinity and the Incarnation, believes in a single universal God....” - Britannica, p. 166, Vol. 13, 14th ed.

“Jehovah was recognized by all the Jews as the Highest Master of their Fate, the only True God.” - The Story of Mankind, p. 29, Hendrik Willem Van Loon, 1940, Pocket Book Edition. Cf. Jeremiah 10:10 and Jn 17:1, 3, KJV, ASV, NASB, RSV; Ps. 83:18.

Jehovah was the Father only [never Son, Firstborn, Only-begotten, etc.] to the Jews. - Ex. 4:22; Deut. 32:6; Is. 63:16; 64:8, etc., ASV. Famed first century Jewish Historian Josephus tells us,

“[Moses] represented God as unbegotten [unlike the Son of God, 1 Jn 4:9, KJV, ASV, NKJV, NASB], and immutable, through all eternity.” - Josephus, p. 630, Kriegel Publications, 1978.

And Philo, the famed early-first century Jewish philosopher,

“represents Jehovah as a single uncompounded Being .... the Father and Creator of the universe” - p. xx, The Works of Philo, Yonge, Hendrickson Publishers, 1993.

In Judaism

“God was worshipped as a single personal, universal benevolent force, a loving Father-God whose care was for the well-being of his children, the human race.” - p. 5, The Portable World Bible, The Viking Press.

It is absolutely unbelievable that Jesus and his Apostles taught the trinity or even suggested that Jesus was God Almighty! There is no certain or undisputed scriptural authority for such a belief in New or Old Testament. The writings of the Christians of the first two centuries did not teach such a thing but consistently taught that the Father, alone, was the Almighty God - (See pp. 109-111, A Short History of the Early Church, Boer, 1976, Eerdmans Publ.).

The belief that Jesus is God and that God is three equal persons had to be forced upon most of Christendom starting at 325 A. D. at the Council of Nicaea - see HIST study. But the Jews never changed their knowledge of God. No one but the Father (Jehovah alone) has ever been God for them. The introduction of any other knowledge of God is treated as the worst of blasphemies. And so it was that Jewish writers didn’t even begin attacking Christendom for such a terrible blasphemy until after Christendom began to adopt a God of three equal persons during the 4th century A.D.



First Christians Were Within Judaism

It is certain that the Chosen People with the unique One-Person God would not have tolerated for one second any man in their midst who claimed to be God. Nor would they have allowed anyone to live among them who taught that their one God was “three persons”!

And yet Jesus taught among them as one of them for three and a half years. His Apostles taught among them for another 50-70 years![1]

"The believers in Jesus as the Messiah first preached to fellow Jews, so that the first Christians were pious Jews within the synagogue.” - The Story of Israel, p. 28, Levin, Putnam Publ.

“Henceforth, the group [first century Christians] had to reassure itself of its new identity through weekly celebrations in remembrance of Jesus’ resurrection, even though its worship in the synagogues and the temple was already distinctive.” – p. 85, Christian Beginnings, Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993.

“Except for the belief in Jesus as the Messiah, there was little that was radically contrary to Judaism in the teachings and practices of the Christ sectarians [a sect of Judaism].” - p. 87, The Jews: Biography of a People, Teller, Bantam Books, 1966.

“Consequently, the Early Church was primarily Jewish and existed within Judaism. The development of Christianity within Judaism and its progress to Antioch is described by Luke in the first twelve chapters of Acts.” - p. 59, Christianity Through the Centuries, Cairns (trinitarian), Zondervan, 1977.

“In its earliest phase, the Christian movement had its center in Jerusalem, where it took shape not as a new religion but as a sect or grouping within the parent body of Judaism. .... That they saw themselves simply as Jews, as a renewed Israel, is made clear by the fact that they were faithful both in attendance at the temple and in obedience to the Law; and this being the case, they lived in peace with the religious authorities in Jerusalem.” - p. 23, A History of the Christian Church, 4th ed., Williston Walker (trinitarian), 1985, Macmillan Publ.

“In this period [1st century A. D.] churches were still regarded as synagogues, whose members .... professed monotheism [belief in the one God] in the same terms as did the Jews. They used the Hebrew Scriptures [‘Old Testament’], and they took messianism, the eschatology (even angelology), and the ethics of Judaism for granted...” - pp. 121-122, The Rise of Christianity, W. H. C. Frend (trinitarian), Fortress Press, 1985.

     “The roots of the Christian Church reach back deeply into the history of Israel. ‘Salvation,’ said Jesus, ‘is from the Jews’ (John 4:22). .... The earliest church was wholly Jewish, her Savior was a Jew, and the entire New Testament was probably written by Jews.” ....
     “The baptisms recorded in Acts were all done in the name of Jesus only. It is this confession [only] that distinguished Christians from Jews. Belief in God was assumed [the God of the Jews, YHWH, the Father alone] and was not therefore a matter of special confession. As the gospel spread to the Gentiles, the name of God, especially as Creator, was added.” - pp. 3, 75, A Short History of the Early Church, Boer (trinitarian missionary and scholar), 1976, Eerdmans Publ.

“Jesus of Nazareth was well versed in the religion of his fathers and dedicated ... to worship of ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,’ Jehovah, who was now seen as the one God, omnipotent ruler of the universe and loving father of mankind.... Racially and religiously Christ was born, lived, and died a loyal Jew, He sought merely to ... widen his people’s understanding of the merciful, loving, Father-God whose Lordship was attested by the Jewish spiritual leaders who preceded him.” - The Portable World Bible, The Viking Press, pp. 228, 230.

If there had been any new knowledge of God being understood by this new Christian sect of Judaism, there would have been nothing else ever talked about by the Jews whenever they discussed the Christians. Even the claim that Jesus was the Messiah would have been completely overshadowed! Instead, the Christians remained a sect of Judaism for many years. The falling out between Christianity and Judaism occurred after Bar Kochba terribly persecuted them for not recognizing him as the Messiah and joining in his revolution against Rome.[3]  BUT THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT A DIFFERENT KNOWLEDGE OF GOD! This simply could not be if there was even a rumor that Christians believed anyone but the Father alone (Jehovah) was God! This greatest of all blasphemies in the eyes of the Jews would not have taken second place to anything else!

“It is at this point [after Nicaea, 4th century A. D.] that the gulf between the Church and the Synagogue opens before us in all its depth and significance .... The teaching of the divinity of Jesus Christ is an unpardonable offence in the eyes of Judaism.” - The Jewish People and Jesus Christ, Jakob Jocz.

“Only gradually did the Christian understanding of Christ and the Spirit evolve to the point where it was incompatible with any Jewish understanding of monotheism, and this process was only finalized in the fourth century C.E.” - p. 104, Aspects of Monotheism, “Jewish Monotheism and Christian Theology,” by John J. Collins (Catholic professor of Hebrew Bible at Chicago Divinity School), 1997, Biblical Archaeology Society.

If the trinity or the divinity of Jesus had been taught or believed by the first Christians, the schism between the Jews (who considered such a teaching “an unpardonable offense”) and Christians would have been immediate, irrevocable, and incredibly intense. But that is not what caused problems between the first Christians and the Jews.

The Jewish belief that the parting of the ways came not at Stephen’s martyrdom but after Bar Kochba’s war against Hadrian [132-135 A. D.] is now gaining ground. Previously there had been no event sufficiently striking to sever the ties. Christians frequented the synagogues: they were still a Jewish sect. But Bar Kochba was hailed by Aqiba as the Messiah. This the Christians could not condone and they stood aside. .... The Jews regarded the Christians as renegades: the Christians would not fight for Aqiba’s Messiah. The die had fallen and there was no recalling the past. - Encyclopedia Britannica, p. 167, Vol. 13, 14th ed. [See the 'Bar Kochba and the Christians' study.]

- - - - - - - - - - - -

It was the generation following the destruction of the Temple which brought about a final rupture between Jews and Christians .... In the third rebellion against Rome [132-135 A.D.], when the Christians were unable to accept bar Kochba as their Messiah, they declared that their kingdom was of the other world, and withdrew themselves completely from Judaism and everything Jewish. The alienation process was completed. Judaism and Christianity became strangers to each other .... A wall of misunderstanding and hate was erected by the narrow zealotries of the two faiths. [pp. 152, 153, Jews, God and History, Max I. Dimont, A Signet Book, 1962.][3]

Now examine this essential cornerstone teaching of the Jews since the time of Moses: the Shema of Deut. 6:4, 5 as rendered in the trinitarian Living Bible.

“O Israel, listen: Jehovah is our God, Jehovah alone. You must love him with all your heart, soul, and might.”

Yes, Jehovah, the Father alone (Jn 8:54), was God. God’s chosen people were commanded to love and worship only him.

“I am Jehovah and there is no one else. I alone am God.” - Is. 45:6, Living Bible.

Jesus and his Apostles believed and taught the very same truth (of course they would not contradict the Holy Scriptures): Jesus was asked,

“‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’ Jesus replied, ‘The one that says, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord [Jehovah] our God is the one and only God. And you must love him with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.”’” - Mark 12:28-30, Living Bible.

After Jesus’ death the first writings available to Christians (certainly long before John’s Gospel was written), in addition to the Holy Scriptures (Old Testament) were the Synoptic Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Search them as carefully as you can. You will not find any new knowledge concerning the identity of God Almighty, the only true God. He is still the Father in heaven - -- alone. Can we really believe that thousands of God’s spirit-anointed Christian followers of the first century lived and died without being taught that God is “really” a three-persons-in-one God? In fact, the entire New Testament (including those writings that came much later than the very first Gospels - including the Gospel of John) still do not teach a trinity nor even that Jesus is the only true, almighty God. How can this most essential, cornerstone teaching of Christendom not be in the Holy Bible?

Some might say that just as the identity of the Christ was not revealed until the first century A. D. so the identity of God was not fully revealed until 325 A. D. (or 381 A. D. when the Holy Spirit was added to the creed). At that time a small minority of the Bishops present (but powerfully encouraged and supported by the pagan Roman Emperor with the backing of all his power and authority) decreed at the Council of Nicaea that Jesus was fully God with the Father. - see the HIST study.

Ah, but the knowledge of who the Messiah was simply wasn’t required for salvation until Jesus was on earth. At that time it was revealed with abundant clarity, emphasis, and repetition. (See Luke 2:11; 4:41; Mark 14:61, 62; Matt. 16:16; John 1:41, 42; 4:25, 26; 20:31 for a few of the many straightforward examples.) The knowledge of who God is, however, has always been essential to God’s people and has been known clearly and emphatically from the time of Moses at least (as shown in Deut. 6:4 among many others).

The God who wants no one to be destroyed has clearly and emphatically revealed who he is from the very beginning. Yes, the eternal God who does not change (Malachi 3:6) has been clearly known to his people for thousands of years as Jehovah, the Father! - -

“JEHOVAH .... This is my name forever.” - Ex. 3:15, NEB, ASV, MLB, NIV, RSV. “Jehovah, ... (This is my eternal name, to be used throughout all generations.)” - LB.

It should also be apparent to most people that the identification of the promised Messiah is in no way contradictory to the knowledge previously given to the Jews from the time of Moses up to the time of Jesus!

However, the “revelation” (finally “recognized” long after all scripture had been completed) of three persons being God is a direct contradiction of the knowledge revealed to and understood by the people of God for thousands of years.

If the trinity knowledge is true, God actually misled his people in an essential, life-saving area of knowledge for generation after generation for no reason whatsoever! How incredible that He would have chastised them so grievously for even relatively minor paganisms borrowed from their neighbors and completely ignored such a perversion of the basic, essential knowledge of God! Surely (if the trinity were true) His prophets would have been correcting the single Person “error” for thousands of years!

If Jesus or any of his followers were to have taught a three-in-one God or even that Jesus was God incarnate, the Jews would have driven them out immediately. They certainly would not have been tolerated as a sect of Judaism for so many years as they were. And, if, by some incredible miracle, they had been allowed to live among and teach other Jews, there would have been nothing that would have been talked about more than the incredible, new, most blasphemous conception of God that these people were trying to introduce.

The writings of the Jews of these times would have spoken of very little else in connection with this new sect. And the New Testament would have spent the major portion of its teaching on this “trinity” concept, especially when attempting to communicate with fellow Jews. But there is no such record among the Jews, among the Gentile historians and philosophers, nor in the record of the New Testament, nor in the writings of the Christians of the first two centuries![4] - See the CREEDS study.

This makes the statement about the easy “acceptance” of the new trinitarian “revelation” by the very first Christians found in the highly-praised, highly trinitarian New Bible Dictionary absolutely ludicrous! If not so tragic, it would be laughable:

“What is amazing, however, is that this confession of God as One in Three took place without struggle and without controversy [even without comment] by a people indoctrinated for centuries in the faith of the one God, and that in entering the Christian church [the early first century Jews] were not conscious of any break with their ancient faith.” - p. 1222, second ed., 1984 printing, Tyndale House Publishers (trinitarian).

Yes, this would be more than just “amazing,” if these people really did understand and accept a new Three-in-One God! The complete lack of any struggle, the complete lack of Jewish attacks on this most blasphemous concept imaginable to them, the complete lack of any teaching or defense of this concept by those first Christians, and the complete lack of any contemporary comment on this incredible new teaching all combine to make the trinitarian idea that this concept was known and believed by the first Christians absolutely impossible!

No, the God of the Bible remained, as should be expected, completely unchanged from the time he revealed himself to Moses at the burning bush: “Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Ex. 3:15, ASV, NEB, LB, MLB). This is exactly the same God revealed by Jesus and his Apostles.

“Jesus replied [to the Jews], ‘Your trouble is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and don’t know the power of God.... have you never read in the book of Exodus about Moses and the burning bush? God said to Moses, “I am the God of Abraham, and I am the God of Isaac, and I am the God of Jacob.”’” - Mark 12:24, 26, LB.

Immediately after that statement by Jesus one of the scribes came up to Jesus and asked, “Of all the commandments which is the most important?” And, as we saw above, Jesus answered by quoting that all-important declaration of the identity of the true God that all Jews have held sacred for over 3000 years, Deut. 6:4:

“The one that says, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord [Jehovah] our God is the one and only God. And you must love him with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.’” - Mark 12:28, 29, Living Bible.

This Jehovah is the Father, the only true God (Jn 17:1, 3 - “Father,.... This is eternal life: to know thee who alone art truly God.” - NEB). Jehovah is the God of Jesus (Micah 5:4; 1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 1:17; Rev. 3:12). Jesus is not Jehovah (Ps. 110:1; Acts 2:34-36; Micah 5:4; Is. 53:10; Ps. 2:2; Acts 4:24-29 - see footnote for Micah 5:4 in The NIV Study Bible). Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, but not God Himself.

The footnote for Mark 14:61 in the trinitarian NIVSB tells us that “Son of God” as applied to Jesus here

“would seem not to refer to deity but to royal Messiahship, since in popular Jewish belief [then and now] the Messiah was to be a man, not God.”

Therefore, God’s chosen people (even those many who became apostate) have never known their only true God to be a “multiple person God.” Since the faithful followers of God's word have always worshiped only a single person named Jehovah, their Father in heaven, it puts the burden of proof squarely on the shoulders of trinitarians. Where is the overwhelming, crystal clear proof that somehow all of Israel (from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob to Moses to David to Isaiah to Malachi to Jesus) was always mortally wrong in their knowledge of the very God who revealed himself to them? [See 'Trinity Challenges' study]. The “proof” offered by trinitarians is always specious, vague, and/or ambiguous (see the DAVID and REDEF studies).

- “... the Lord Jesus shall be revealed...in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God....” - 2 Thess. 1:7, 8.



Note: 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 in most studies to rely most heavily on other sources in Christendom itself (preferably trinitarian) or my own independent research and conclusions 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 information in this paper, all of which helps disprove specific trinitarian “proofs,” may be in disagreement with current WTS teachings in some specifics. Jehovah’s Witnesses should research the most recent WTS literature on the subject or scripture in question before using this information with others. – RDB.



..............................................................................



NOTES



1. Nowhere in the scriptures do the Jews ever accuse Christians of worshiping or teaching a false God. Even when the Jews deliberately made up false accusations in an attempt to have them killed, Jesus, Paul, and other Christians were still never accused of teaching a different God from that of the rest of the Jews! (Examine the Gospels and Acts.)

Examples of Christ and His followers Teaching in Synagogues (NASB)
 

Matt. 13:54 -

He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?

Mark 1:21 -
And they went into Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and began to teach.


Mark 6:2 -

When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands?


Luke 4:16 -

And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.


Luke 4:20-22

And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. …. And all were speaking well of Him….”


Lu 6:6 -

On another Sabbath He entered the synagogue and was teaching;


Joh 6:59 -

These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.


Ac 13:14 - 44 -

But going on from Perga, they arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down.
After the reading of the Law and the Prophets the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, "Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it." ….


Ac 14:1 -

In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks.

Acts 17:1 -Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ."


Ac 18:4 -

And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.


Ac 19:8 -

And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading {them} about the kingdom of God.

………………………………..........

Teaching in the Temple


Mt 26:55 -

At that time Jesus said to the crowds, "Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as {you would} against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me.


Mr 12:35 -

And Jesus answering began to say, as He taught in the temple, "How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David?


Lu 21:37, 38 -

Now during the day He was teaching in the temple, but at evening He would go out and spend the night on the mount that is called Olivet.
And all the people would get up early in the morning to come to Him in the temple to listen to Him.


Ac 5:42 -

And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.


2. This was obviously a severe problem for the first Christians as they taught among their fellow Jews in Israel. Acts 4 and 5 shows that the sole problem for the Jewish religious authorities was not any teaching about God but, instead, the teaching about Jesus as the Christ or Messiah! (esp. Acts 4:8-10, 18; 5:40-41; 9:17-23; 18:5-6, 28)
    The final straw was added during the Jewish rebellion against Rome (135 A. D.) when the Christians refused to support the rebellion or acknowledge bar Kochba as the Messiah - p. 594, The History of Christianity (trinitarian), Lion Publishing, 1990; and pp. 152, 153, Jews, God, and History, Max I. Dimont, A Signet Book, 1962; and p. 167, Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 18, 14th ed.


3. “Cochba [bar Kochba] ... tortured and killed the Christians who refused to aid him against the Roman army.” - p. 42, Greek Apologists of the Second Century, Robert M. Grant, The Westminster Press, 1988.

“Another Christian apologist, Justin [Martyr], tells how ... Bar Kochba, the leader of the insurrection, ordered Christians alone to be executed if they would not deny and curse Jesus the Messiah.” - Ibid.

After the war the Jerusalem church, once Jewish, consisted only of Gentiles.” - Ibid.

[See the 'Bar Kochba' study]


4. Some of these earliest Christian writers even wrote specifically to the Jews in an attempt to show the major differences between Christians and Jews and, of course, defend the Christian faith. None of them mention a difference in the knowledge of God!

Two of the earliest Christian writings addressed specifically to the Jews are Tertullian’s An Answer to the Jews written about 198 A.D. and Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho, a Jew written about 160 A.D.

Tertullian’s An Answer to the Jews devotes three-fourths of its pages to examining the question of who is the Messiah. It also discusses the following points: the Law, Circumcision, the Sabbath, and Sacrifices. It does not discuss any different knowledge of God for Jews and Christians!

Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho, a Jew also spends much time discussing who the Christ is and other differences between Christians and Jews. But, again, there is no major discussion of who the One True, Almighty God is! If Christians had really understood God as three different persons at this time, Justin (and Tertullian) would have spent most of his pages defending the Christian knowledge of a three-in-one God against that of the Jews’ one-person God. The fact that this doesn’t happen shows that such an understanding simply did not exist among the earliest Christians. They worshiped the very same God as the Jews: the Father alone!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

TC - Title-Confusion Trick

Note: 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 following 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




TC

Title-Confusion Trick



“Saviour” (Is. 43:11; Luke 2:11) - “First and Last” (Is. 44:6; Rev. 1:17) and 1 Cor. 8:6




Is. 43:11 - “I, even I, am Jehovah; and besides me there is no saviour.” - ASV.

Luke 2:11 - “for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” - ASV.

Some trinitarians will quote the two scriptures above as “proof” that Jesus is Jehovah. After all, not only do both Jesus and Jehovah have the title “Saviour,” but Jehovah says he is the only saviour!

But is “saviour” (yasha in Hebrew, soter in NT Greek) really an exclusive title for Jehovah, or can it properly be applied to other individuals?

If Jehovah is insisting that no one but himself is ever to be called “saviour,” then He and His inspired Bible writers would never call anyone else by that exclusive title.

So, when we read that Othniel (Judges 3:9) and Ehud (Judges 3:15) are both called “saviour” (same Hebrew word translated “saviour” at Is. 43:11 is translated “deliverer” in KJV - compare ASV  - it is also the same Greek word in the Septuagint of Judges 3 as used for Jesus in 1 John 4:14), should we really believe they are both Jehovah because “besides [Jehovah] there is no saviour”? If so, we have a new “trinity”: The Father, Ehud, and Othniel!!

“Mystery” religionists and “plural-oneness God” devotees should be interested in Obadiah 21 also. There they can “prove” that all those saviours are Jehovah. Furthermore, they might “prove” that those saviours are Christians who, therefore, will all be Jehovah! For example, if Jehovah alone is saviour, and Jesus is saviour because he saves (Greek: sosei - Matt. 1:21 and soso - John 12:47) men, then Jesus “must” be God. By this same reasoning, since some followers of Jesus also save (Greek: sosei - James 5:20; 1 Tim. 4:16 and soso - 1 Cor. 9:22) men, then they (the saviours of Obadiah 21?) too, must be God!

(This is very similar to the “Forgiveness” silliness that is sometimes used to “prove” the trinity. - “Only God can forgive sins,” say certain trinitarians, “and Jesus forgave sin, Mark 2:7. Therefore, Jesus must be God!” So, John 20:20-23 “proves” that the disciples also must be God, right?

Also compare "you [God] alone are holy [Gr. hosios: 'loyal' in some translations] - Rev. 15:4, ASV - with the many uses of "holy" (hosios) for other persons and things - esp. Titus 1:8, ASV, (hosios).)

We realize that Jehovah, as the only Almighty and Most High God, is the ultimate Saviour and the only origin of salvation, and, in that sense, and by comparison, there are no others.

However, it is obvious that other individuals can be, and are, saviours in a subordinate sense, if Jehovah so wills it. That means, then, that Jehovah is the only ultimate saviour (or the only ultimate source of salvation), and, in the cases of Ehud and Othniel, for example, Jehovah was saviour through them.

So when we see statements like: “…. Jesus is the savior (gospel), it says that there is no savior other than Jehovah which ties in with Peter saying in Acts 4:10-12 that there is no savior but Jesus”, we know what is intended:

There have been many saviors or deliverers (yasha – Hebrew, and soter – NT Greek) found in scripture who saved others through appointment by or commandment of God. But there is only one most high source of salvation (or only one savior or deliverer [yasha / soter] in the highest sense of the word) – Jehovah, the Father.

Acts 4:10-12 actually says about Jesus, “whom God raised from the dead”: (12) “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by [or ‘through’] which we may be saved.”

“For of all names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.” – JB and NJB.

“There is salvation in no one else! Under all heaven there is no other name for men to call upon to save them.” – LB.

Yes Jesus is our savior and king, but he is our only savior in the sense of being the only one (excluding God in heaven, the source of that salvation, who sent him for this purpose) who gave us the opportunity for eternal salvation. This is explained in John 3:17: “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” - NRSV. God is the source of salvation, Jesus was the instrument.

(It’s like scripture telling us that Jehovah gave the Israelites the Law and then also saying Moses gave the Israelites the law. They were both ‘the Lawgiver,’ but in different senses: Jehovah was the source, and Moses was the instrument. Jehovah gave the law to Israel through Moses.)

The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology also tells us: “Because God is the initiator [source] of salvation, both he and Christ are called soter, saviour ...” - p. 78, Vol. 2, Zondervan, 1986.

Notice what the very trinitarian NIVSB has to say in its introduction to the book of Judges:

“Title - The title ['Judges'] describes the leaders Israel had from the time of the elders who outlived Joshua until the time of the monarchy. Their principal purpose is best expressed in 2:16: ‘Then the LORD [Jehovah] raised up judges who saved them out of the hands of ... raiders.’ Since it was God who permitted the oppression and raised up deliverers [saviors], he himself was Israel’s ultimate Judge and Deliverer [Savior].”[1]

This is well-illustrated at Judges 6:14 where Jehovah commands Gideon to save Israel. But later, the saviour, Gideon, says it is Jehovah who is saving Israel (Judges 6:37).

Those who look for great “mysteries” in every Bible statement and those who look for revelations of a multiple-persons-in-one God could well take these scriptures to “prove” Gideon is Jehovah. But it should be obvious to any objective student that Jehovah saved Israel through Gideon! (See discussion of “through” in the study paper on “Beginning, Wisdom, and Firstborn.”)

With that understanding in mind look at Jude 25. (Unfortunately this verse is one of the thousands which were rendered incorrectly by the King James translators in 1611.) Modern translators correctly render this verse:

“To the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ [compare John 3:17]” - RSV. Also see The Jerusalem Bible.

(Notice the careful distinction at Jude 25 between “the only God” and “Jesus Christ our Lord” - compare John 17:1, 3.) It might be worthwhile to examine Heb. 5:7 also - “Jesus offered up prayers ... unto Him that was able to save him.”

It is clear that, just as Ehud, Othniel, and Gideon were saviors because Jehovah was providing salvation through them, so Jesus, in a much larger sense, is also savior because Jehovah (“the only God”) has provided salvation through him! - Compare 1 Thess. 5:9; 1 Peter 2:2 (modern translations); Rev. 7:10.

The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology also tells us: “Because God is the initiator [source] of salvation, both he and Christ are called soter, saviour ...” - p. 78, Vol. 2, Zondervan, 1986.

It might also be interesting to examine the meaning of Jesus’ personal name. Like the names “Joshua” and “Isaiah,” Jesus’ name literally means “Jehovah is salvation”!

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“ First and Last”



Another interesting example of the “title confusion trick” frequently used by anti-Watchtower trinitarians is the use of “First and Last” at Is. 44:6 and Rev. 1:17. (Actually you might prefer to call this a “description-confusion trick” since Jehovah calls himself Protos kai ego meta tauta - “First and I [am] hereafter” - Septuagint, Is. 44:6; whereas Jesus calls himself ho protos kai ho eskatos - “The First and the last” - somewhat similar descriptions but much different wording or title.

Is. 44:6 - “Thus saith Jehovah, ... I am the first and I am the last; and besides me there is no God .... (:8) Is there a God besides me? ... I know not any.” - ASV.

Rev. 1:17 - “... And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not; I am the first and the last, (:18) and the Living one; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” - ASV.

The trinitarian “proof” goes like this: “since only one can be first (and last), and since Jehovah is ‘first’ (and ‘last’) and Jesus is also ‘first’ (and ‘last’), then they must both be the same one!” Therefore, they say, Jesus must be Jehovah!

The answer is, of course, that there can be many who are “first and last.” We must discover, from context, in what sense they are “first and last.”

For example, in the Biblical understanding of the meaning of the term “first and last” (or “only”), Adam was “the first and last” human created from the dust of the earth. But calling him “the first and the last” would certainly not mean he is Jehovah, and it does not mean he is Jesus (although any devious Bible student could find such “evidence” at 1 Cor. 15:45)!

We could certainly call Jesus “The first and the last” because he was the first and last (only) direct creation by Jehovah himself. The rest of creation from Jehovah came through Jesus (see study paper on “Beginning, Wisdom, and Firstborn” - BWF).

But, instead of speculating on the many ways Jesus could be considered the “first and the last” (only), we need to examine the use of “first and last” in context to discover in what sense it probably was intended originally!

Examining Is. 44:6, 8, we see that “first and last” refers to Jehovah being the only person who is the Most High God:

I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” - NIV.

Compare Is. 43:10, “….Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.” - NASB.

Now if we examine Rev. 1:17, 18, we can see in what sense “the first and last” (only) is intended there. Context shows that it is not (as it could have been) in the sense of the only direct creation by the Father, Jehovah, and it is certainly not in the sense of the only true God (John 17:1, 3), but it clearly refers to the resurrection (the dying and then living again) of Jesus!

Notice that the entire context refers to death and living again: Rev. 1:17:

“I am the first and the last, (:18) and the living one; and I was [or ‘became’] dead, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of death ...” - compare Rev. 2:8 (the only other place Jesus calls himself “the first and the last”).

Jehovah, the Father, uses the expression at Rev. 22:13 - see the study paper on the “Speaker Confusion Trick” (AO) - and makes no reference to dying and living again, apparently intending it as he did at Is. 44:6 - “I am the only God.”

So in what sense is Jesus the first and last resurrected person? Just as he was the first and last (only) of Jehovah’s direct creations (and all other things were created through Jesus), so Jesus was also the first and last (only one) of those resurrected to eternal life who was resurrected directly by the Father (Jehovah) Himself (and all others are resurrected through Jesus who now has “the keys of death”) - see John 6:39, 40; Acts 3:26; Acts 13:30, 33, 38.

* * * * *

Now that the trinitarian “title confusion trick” has been examined, let’s see how well we could answer the following trinitarian charge:

“There is only one Lawgiver and judge, the one who is able to save and destroy.” - James 4:12, NIV (cf. NASB, AT, NEB, TEV).

This one and only Judge is God himself: Heb. 12:23. Therefore, when we read that Jesus is Judge over mankind (2 Tim. 4:1), we have absolute, irrefutable proof that Jesus is God! It is not the Father who judges but the Son (“moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son” - Jn 5:22, NIV)!

So how do you go about answering such a challenge by yourself? Well, a good first step would be to look up all the instances of “judge,” “judged,” “judges,” and “judging” found in a good Bible Concordance.

After finding and examining such scriptures as Acts 10:42; 17:31; and Ro. 2:16 you will have an honest understanding. Such scriptures as 1 Cor. 6:2 will give further enlightenment.

Now that the non-exclusive “title confusion trick” has been examined, it would be illuminating to examine the titles that are obviously exclusive for Jehovah alone and see how many different individuals receive those titles throughout the Bible.

If you will examine all the uses of “The Most High,” “The True God,” and “The Almighty,” I believe you will find that they are only clearly applied to Jehovah (and to the Father who, alone, is Jehovah)! They are never clearly applied to anyone else (including the Messiah and the Holy Spirit)!!!

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‘Unitized Title’ Vs. ‘Title with Identifiers’ (1 Cor. 8:6)



A different kind of “title confusion” involves the interpretation of a single title with its appositive (or identifiers) as being, instead, a single compound (or multi-worded ‘unitized’) title.

For example, if a gangster named Percival Grabonski had the nickname of “Mailman Mike,” we would consider that as an exclusive single, unitized title. We might even say, “There is only one Mailman Mike; he’s unique.” The whole thing (both words: “Mailman” and “Mike”) taken together as a multi-worded, but ‘unitized,’ whole, then, is the title.

However, if we knew a young man named Mike who delivered our mail every morning, we might tell someone, “This town has only one mailman, Mike.” In this case the title is “mailman” alone, and “Mike” is an appositive or identifier added to that title to further identify “mailman.” Since it is not an exact exclusive title, it could even be phrased differently: “Mike is our only mailman;” “only one letter carrier, Mike;” “only one mail deliverer, Mike;” etc. When the writer (or speaker) intends it in this ‘title with appositive’ manner, the phrase may be understood as actually saying: “only one mailman, [and that is] Mike.”

On the other hand, the gangster’s unitized title will not be phrased differently. He wouldn’t be called “Mailman Mike” one time and “Mike the Letter Carrier” or “Mike the Postal Person” the next time. His exclusive, distinguishing unitized title is “Mailman Mike” and that won’t change (even though he may pick up additional, different titles, e.g. “Percy the Purse-snatcher”).

In one case, then (e.g., “mailman, Mike”), we have a single-word title (e.g., “mailman”) followed by a word or words (sometimes even set off by commas in English) which identify that individual. In the other case (e.g., “Mailman Mike”) we have a full title composed of two or more words which must be taken together as a complete unit (“unitized”).

An example of a single title followed by identifiers (appositives) is found at Matt. 23:10, “you have one master, the Christ.” - RSV. It is clear that Jesus is not calling someone “Master-The-Christ” as a unitized title, but, instead, is calling that person their “master” (or “teacher” or “leader” in some translations) and further identifying that person as “the Christ”! In other words the phrase may be understood as actually saying: “one master, and that is the Christ.”

Other trinitarian translations make it very clear what the literal “One is your leader, the Christ” (The Interlinear Bible) at Matt. 23:10 actually means:

“for one is your Leader, that is, Christ.” - NASB.

“for you have only one Leader, and that is Christ.” - CBW.

“you have only one Teacher, and that is Christ.” - Beck.

“your one and only leader is the Messiah.” - GNB and TEV.

“There is only one Leader and He is Christ.” - NLV.

Another significant example (although not a single-word title in this case, the principle is the same) may be seen at Eph. 1:17, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom” - RSV. Not only does this scripture show that the Father is ”the God of” the heavenly glorified Jesus, but it clearly illustrates the usage by Paul of a title (“the God of our Lord Jesus Christ”) followed by an identifier (“the Father of Glory”).

For another example of the single-word title followed by identifiers as might be found in the Bible let’s examine the uses of “King/king.” Since no capitalization was used by the inspired Bible writers, today’s translators capitalize for their English-speaking readers in the way they think best to bring out the meaning they think was originally intended. So the word “king” in the original language may be translated as either “King” or “king” at the translator’s discretion.

David is king:

“...and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.” - 2 Sam. 2:4, KJV.

Christ is king:

“For Christ will be King until he has defeated all his enemies .... For the rule and authority over all things has been given to Christ by his Father; except, of course, Christ does not rule over the Father himself, who gave him this power to rule.” - 1 Cor. 15:25,27, Living Bible.

God is King:

“But the Lord [Jehovah] your God was already your King, for he has always been your King.” - 1 Sam. 12:12, Living Bible.

“And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb [Jesus], saying ‘Great and wonderful are thy deeds, O Lord God [Jehovah] the Almighty. Just and true are thy ways, O King of the ages...’” - Rev. 15:3, RSV.

So, although there are many kings, to Christians there is only one ultimate, most high, supreme King, God himself, Jehovah, the Father. Of course there is also only one king directly and immediately over all men (with no intermediary): Jesus. And there have been various kings on earth over God’s people in the past.

Therefore, since there are many who may be called “king” at various levels, if we wanted to refer to one of them, we should most often use an identifier (appositive) with the word “king.” For example:

(1) “We Israelites have only one king, David.”

The writer would clearly be understood as using the title “king” and further identifying that individual with an appositive. We know it cannot be a single unitized title (“King David”) because the context would make it a ridiculous, senseless statement. Obviously the Israelites at that time had only one “King David”! It would be ridiculous to think that anyone might have believed that they had several “King Davids”! The only other possible interpretation here is that “king” is the title alone which is followed by an identifier (appositive) and, therefore, must mean “we have only one [earthly] king, (and that is) David.”

(2) “We Christian ‘Israelites’ have only one king, Christ.”

The reader would know by this identifier (“Christ”) that the “Israelite” writer was referring to the direct and immediate king over all Christians on earth. And, obviously, it should not be considered as a single unitized two-word title (“King Christ”) since the context would make that ludicrous: Of course there is only one “King Christ” - no one has ever suggested that there are two (or more) “King Christs” (or a multiple-person “King Christ”)! Again the meaning has to be: “we have only one immediate, heavenly king, (and that is) Christ.”

(3) “We Israelites have only one King, the Father.”

The reader would know by this identifier (“the Father”) that the Israelite writer was referring to their heavenly ultimate, Most High King. Again, no one would have considered it as a unitized three-word title (‘King the Father’): Everyone knew that “the Father” was a single Person - no one even considered two or more “King the Fathers”! It obviously would, again, be a single title (“King”) followed by an identifier (appositive): “we have only one Most High King, (and that is) the Father.”

Since the Father alone is God (cf. Jn 17:1, 3 NEB), scripture may, and frequently does, say “God, the Father;” “The Father;” or “God” all interchangeably. They are all the one Person. It is exactly the same reason that scripture may, and frequently does, say “Jesus Christ;” “Jesus;” or “Christ” all interchangeably: they are all one single person.

If, however, “Christ” (like “God” in trinitarian interpretation) could be taken in a multiple-person, free-for-all sense (as can be “interpreted” quite easily using trinitarian-type “evidence” and definitions - see TRIN-TYPE study), scripture could not properly use the above terms so interchangeably.

In that case every use of “Christ” would need its respective identifier: “Christ David;” “Moses, the Christ;” “Christ Jesus;” “Paul, the Christ;” etc. We should rarely, if ever, see “Christ” used without its identifier unless, perhaps, it was referring to all of the persons together in the “Christhead”!

And so it is with “God;” “Father;” and “God the Father.” If the trinity were really true, we should see hundreds of examples of “God” with its identifiers for each of the members of the “Godhead”![2] Since there are hundreds of uses of “God the Father” (“God our Father,” etc.), there must be hundreds of uses of “God the Son” and “God the Holy Spirit” (if the trinity were actually true). And “God” used alone, without identifiers, if ever used at all, must always mean all three together (not merely any one or two of them).

But this is not so. There are hundreds of uses of “God, the Father” because the only person who is God is the Father. There are no uses of “God, the Son” in the entire Bible because the Father is the only person who is God! There are no uses of “God, the Holy Spirit” in the entire Bible because the Father is the only person who is God!

Some of the hundreds of uses of “God, the Father” and its equivalents:

Jn 8:41, 42; Ro. 1:7; 15:6; 1 Cor. 1:3; 15:24; 2 Cor. 1:2, 3; 11:31; Gal. 1:3, 4; Eph. 1:2, 3; 4:6; 5:20; 6:23; Phil. 1:2; 2:11; 4:20; Col. 1:2, 3; 3:17; 1 Thess. 1:1, 3; 3:11, 13; 2 Thess. 1:1,2; 2:16; 1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2; Tit. 1:4; Phm :3; 1 Pet. 1:2, 3; 2 Pet. 1:17; 2 Jn :3; Jude :1; Rev. 1:6 (RSV). Notice how many of these are greetings or blessings wherein the writer wishes to praise those most worthy of praise in his religion. How is it, then, that the Father is so often glorified as God, but we never see this honor for the Son or the Holy Spirit? Does this really make sense if all three are truly and equally God as trinitarians insist?

Okay, finally, here is the point:

1 Cor. 8:5 tells us that indeed there are many gods and many lords (ASV).

However, in verse 6 it tells us there is only one Most High God. “...yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from [ex, literally ‘out of’][3] whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” - 1 Cor. 8:6, NIV - Cf. RSV and NASB.

There is no doubt (and never has been), even by trinitarians, that “God the Father” is only one single person.[4] So if we interpret “God the Father” as a unitized title (as many trinitarians feel they must at 1 Cor. 8:6), we end up with an absurd, meaningless truism (like, “Elizabeth, John’s mother, was female” or “he died when he ceased to live”).

Of course there is only one “God-the-Father”! Who could have possibly thought there were two “God-the-Father”s? What a senseless, useless statement this is if we interpret it as a ‘unitized title’!

And exactly in the same way, if we take the last part of this scripture (“Lord-Jesus-Christ”) as a single unitized title, we again have an absurd, senseless statement: “there is but one Lord-Jesus-Christ.” Since there couldn’t possibly be any doubt by anyone that this single person with the singular personal name (whom everyone knew was a single person) was anything but one person, it would have been ridiculous for Paul to make such a statement. (Unless, perhaps, there had been some significant conclusion such as: “in like manner there is only one baptism and one faith”.)

However, if we interpret it in the way that Paul obviously intended it, the two parallel descriptions are single-worded titles (“God” and “Lord”) followed by identifying appositives (“the Father” and “Jesus Christ”). In this way, and only in this way, do we have a sensible and significant statement: “Although there are many gods, we Christians have only one God, (who is) the Father, and, in like manner, although there are many lords, we have only one Lord,[5] (who is) Jesus Christ.” (One’s “lord” is his master or head - see 1 Cor. 11:3. Sarah’s immediate lord or head, for example, was her husband Abraham, but her God was the Father, Jehovah, who, of course, could also be called her “lord” in the ultimate sense.)

Not only would the trinitarian (unitized title) interpretation be a nonsensical statement, but it would be slighting to Jesus (if he were equally God) and terribly slighting to the Holy Spirit (if “he” were equally God). After all, the term “God” is only used here for the Father. The other two (who trinitarians say are “equally God”) are either given a lesser title (“Lord”) or are not even mentioned at all!

And only the understanding that the phrase “one God, the Father” is speaking of a single title (“God”) with an identifying appositive (“Father”)[6] makes sense with the introduction to it presented in 1 Cor. 8:5: “There are many gods.” To follow this with “yet there is to us only one God-the-Father” (unitized) would not be a contrast to that initial statement at all! It certainly would not preclude other gods “to us”! But “only one God, (and that is) the Father” does provide the required contrast to the introductory “there are many gods... but to us....”

It is obvious, then, that the intended meaning by Paul must be that the only god (in the Most High sense: ‘God’ in modern English) for Christians (as for Jews) is the Father alone![7] This is clearly brought out in the very trinitarian Holy Bible: Easy-to-Read Version, World Bible Translation Center, 1992: “But for us there is only one God. He is our Father.” And the equally trinitarian Holy Bible New Life Version [NLV], Victor Books, 1993, renders it, “But we know there is only one God. He is the Father.”

If we also analyze Eph. 4:4-6 with a critical eye, we find God (as usual) is the Father only (in spite of the fact that Paul is listing nearly everything that a Christian is to hold dear): 4:4 “There is one body [the ‘church’] and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord [Jesus], one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all ….” - NASB.

If Paul is going to list all the most important stuff here, where are “God, the Holy Spirit” and “God, the Son”? Or just “God” which we could at least “interpret” as all of the “persons of the trinity”? Why always “God, the Father” or one person who is “God and Father”? BECAUSE GOD IS THE FATHER ALONE!! In fact, as noted above, the trinitarian NLV actually translates 1 Cor. 8:6 as: “There is only one God. He is the Father.”


Note: 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 information in this paper, 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.


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NOTES



1. The highly respected (trinitarian, of course) The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology also tells us: “In Jdg. 3:9, 15 ‘saviour’ might be taken as a technical term for the judges. At the time of the judges, Yahweh raised up such ‘saviours’ for Israel who rescued them from their enemies (cf. 12:3). ‘Then the LORD [Jehovah] raised up judges, who saved [esosen] them ....’ (Jdg. 2:16). Similarly Ezra, ... commented on Israel’s rebellion thus: ‘... and according to thy great mercies thou [Jehovah] didst give them saviours who saved them [soteras kai esosas] from the hand of their enemies’ (Neh. 9:27). Nevertheless, Jdg 2:18 stresses that it was Yahweh [Jehovah] who is the ultimate source of the saving:

‘Whenever the LORD [Jehovah] raised up judges for them, the LORD [Jehovah] was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge...’.” - p. 218, Vol. 3, Zondervan Publ., 1986.

So, again, Jehovah raised up saviors for Israel, but in the highest sense the only savior was Jehovah himself, the ultimate source of all salvation.


2. Notice how the inspired Bible writers identified even relatively unimportant persons in the Scriptures. Yes, just as writers today, the Bible writers often further identified their subjects so they wouldn’t confuse their readers. More than one individual in the Bible actually shared the same singular, personal name, but the Bible does not continually allow them to be confused!


(1) Judas

- Lk 6:16 (bis)-examine all 12. Why do some have ‘identifiers’ or appositives?

- Acts 1:13 - examine all 11 names. Why do some have identifiers?

- Acts 5:37



(2) Mary

- Mk 15:47

- Jn 19:25

- Acts 1:14

- Acts 12:12



(3) James

- Mt 10:2

- Mt 10:3

- Acts 1:13

- Acts 12:2



Do we ever see in the Bible one name or title which was shared by different persons continually being used with no further identification (or occasional identification of only one of them )? No, only when a person cannot be confused with another of the same name is there no need of further identification. For example, Abel (like Job, Balaam, Cain, Isaac, Moses, etc.) is the only person so named in the Bible, and thus there is no need for identifiers when “Abel” is used. But when confusion could arise, further identification is most often provided with Bible names! - Matt. 23:35 (note Zechariah’s identifier - - why?); James 5:11; Jude 11; Gal. 4:28; Acts 6:11. Certainly the much more important term “God” would not be without identifiers if more than one person really had that title: Jn 1:1; Gal 3:20; 1 Cor 11:3; Acts 10:38; Rev. 1:1; etc. (Likewise, the Bible simply would not allow 7000 uses of “Jehovah” without personal identifiers most of the time if it really referred to more than one person than the Father only!)


3. Ex (or ek) literally means “out of” and, like the title “Father” itself, is used to denote the source or creator of something. (Even today we use this figure of speech: e.g., Edison, the father of the light bulb.) - see BWF 2-4, 20 (#6).



4. From the beginning (4th century A.D.) the trinity doctrine has stated that three persons are equally God. “The Father is one person (only) who is equally God. The Son is one person (only) who is equally God. The Holy Spirit is one person (only) who is equally God. The three persons are the one God.” However, the true, Bible-based doctrine of God is that God is one person only: the Father, Jehovah. But, in any case, all those professing to be Christians believe that God, the Father, is ONE person only!



* * * * * *



I have been considering the context of 1 Cor. 8:6 and think it’s probable that the last half of 1 Cor 8:4 (which introduces the scripture under study) helps set up the proper interpretation of 1 Cor. 8:6 with the common understanding of Judaism (including the new Christian sect of Judaism - see ISRAEL study paper) during the first century : The one true God is a single person (only). It seems to me that the second half of 1 Cor. 8:4 may be more accurately understood as: “no one (oudeis) [is] God if not one [person]” or “only one person is God.”

I have come to this conclusion because in all the uses of oudeis [masc. form] I have examined (certainly all in Paul’s writings) it always refers to a single person. Whereas other forms (e.g. ouden) are most often used of other things.

Compare Luke 18:19 - “No one (oudeis) [is] good but God alone” - RSV, NASB, NIV, NEB, JB, etc. (Literally in W-H text: “No one [oudeis] good if not one the God” which probably should be rendered: “No one [person is] good if not one - the God” or “only one person is good - God.”

We also have the parallel (or comparison) with the first half of 1 Cor. 8:4 - literally “no thing (ouden) [is] an idol in [the] world” is intended to be compared or paralleled by the second half of 1 Cor. 8:4. So when that most-respected (trinitarian scholars have appraised it as the most literally accurate version available today) trinitarian Bible, the NASB, renders the first half as “there is no such thing [ouden] as an idol in the world,” it should have rendered the last half of the parallel as “no person [oudeis] is God if not one [person].”

However, even if I am wrong about this interpretation of oudeis and 1 Cor. 8:4, we still see that 1 Cor. 8:6, by itself, clearly restates the same well-known understanding by first century Jews and Christians. God is no one but the Father alone!

5. Kurios or “Lord” may have many meanings: “I. KURIOS …, properly an adjective signifying having power (kuros) or authority, is used as a noun, variously translated in the N. T., ‘Lord,’ ‘master,’ ‘Master,’ ‘owner,’ ‘Sir,’ a title of wide significance, occurring in each book of the N. T. save Tit. and the Epp. of John. It is used (a) of an owner, as in Luke 19:33, cp. Matt. 20:8; Acts 16:16; Gal. 4:1... (b) of a master, i.e. one to whom service is due on any ground, Matt. 6:24; 24:50; Eph 6:5; (c) of an Emperor or King, Acts 25:26; Rev. 17:14” - W. E. Vine, p. 688.

“The kyrios [kurios] stands over against slave [in other words, a master of a slave] (Matt. 10:24f.; 18:25, 27; 25:19; Lk 12:36 f., 46; Eph. 6:5, 9; Col. 3:22). Kyrios means owner (Mk 12:9; Lk 19:33; Matt. 15:27; Gal. 4:1), or employer (Lk. 16:3, 5).” - p. 513, Vol. 2, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Zondervan, 1986.

Jesus is our ‘Lord’ or ‘Master’ [kurios] in several senses of the word, but most clearly as the one who has “bought” us as slaves in a way no one else ever has: “You [Jesus] are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God” - Rev. 5:9, NIV. Jesus is our “Owner” or “Master” since he bought us (as sheep might be purchased by their owner or as slaves were bought by a master) with his very own life blood. No one else is our Lord in that sense. In that sense of “Lord” Jesus is the “one Lord” all true Christians must have as 1 Cor. 8:6 plainly tells us! This did not prevent Christians from calling other persons “Lord” [kurios] also. Even when it also meant the owner of slaves (Ro. 14:4; Col. 3:22; 4:1) or a judge, king, angel, etc. But in that special sense, Jesus alone is our only “Master” or “Lord”!

Acts 2:36 also tells us: “Therfore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified.” – NASB. Because Jesus “purchased men for God” with his own blood, God has made him our Lord or Master (in that sense of the word).


6. This is a common usage in the Bible, a name or title, followed by the identifier “father,” an appositive. E.g., 1 Ki. 2:12; 2 Ki. 14:5; 23:34; 1 Chron 24:19; Dan 5:11; Matt. 4:21; Lk 1:73; Acts 7:14; [Ro. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; etc. (lit., “peace from God, Father of us, and of Lord Jesus Christ”)]; James 2:21.


7. Even The Encyclopedia of Religion tells us that in the Holy Scriptures “‘Father’ is not a title for the first person of the Trinity, but a synonym for God ....” - p. 54, Vol. 15, Macmillan Publishing Co., 1987. There should be no honest doubt that such scriptures as 1 Cor. 8:6 clearly teach that God is the Father alone!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Echad - 'One'

Note: 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 following 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.




ECHAD (א ח ד)
 
(From the RDB Files)

 Echad (‘Plural’ Oneness) and Yachid (‘Absolute’ Oneness)



I have seen Deut. 6:4 - “YHWH [Jehovah] our God, YHWH [Jehovah] one [Echad,  
  א ח ד  in Hebrew]” - rendered in several ways. (I prefer "Jehovah [is] our God, Jehovah alone.") Some trinitarians misinterpret this. They usually say something like this: “At Deut. 6:4 the word ‘one’ is echad [1] in Biblical Hebrew, which means ‘composite unity’ or ‘plural oneness’.”

The examples that they cite which are supposed to verify this understanding for echad are usually either Gen. 2:24 - “They [two persons] shall be one [echad] flesh,” or Gen. 1:5 - “the evening and the morning were the first (or one) [echad] day,” or Numbers 13:23 - “one [echad] cluster of grapes.”

In addition to insisting that echad means “plural oneness” some of them also insist that, if God had intended the meaning of “absolute oneness” (singleness, only one individual) at Deut. 6:4, he would have used the word yachid (or yacheed).

So let’s examine the intended meanings of echad and yachid and the scriptures cited above.

First, it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to find that some recognized trinitarian authority on Biblical Hebrew had written somewhere that echad means “united or plural oneness.” but I haven’t found one yet!

Here is what I have found written about echad by authorities on Biblical Hebrew:

The only definition given for echad in the very trinitarian New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance is: “a prim[ary] card[inal] number; one”. We find no “plural oneness” there!

The highly respected Biblical Hebrew authority, Gesenius, says that echad is “a numeral having the power of an adjective, one.” He then lists the various meanings of echad as:

“(1) The same,”

“(2) first,”

“(3) some one,”

“(4) it acts the part of an indefinite article,”[2]

“(5) one only of its kind,”

“(6) when repeated [echad ... echad] ‘one ... another’,”

“(7) [K echad] AS one man.” [The initial consonant of this word, “K,”  actually means “as” or “like,” so in this special form the meaning is close to that of a plural oneness. But this is not the form used at Deut. 6:4 !! ]

Gesenius also lists a plural form of the word (achadim) which means “joined in one, united.” This, too, is not the form used at Deut. 6:4 which context shows, instead, to have meaning #5 above. - See Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, #259, Baker Book House. Surely, if God (Jehovah) were really a union of persons, a united one, this form which truly means “united one” would have been used to describe “Him” repeatedly in the Holy Scriptures. But it and all other words with similar meanings were never used for God (or Jehovah)!

By using a good Bible Concordance (such as Strong’s or Young’s) we can find all the uses of echad in the Bible. Unfortunately (due to space limitations), Young’s and Strong’s both list the rare plural form (achadim in Hebrew letters) and the “AS one” (Kechad) form along with the common singular form (echad) without distinguishing among them.

Nevertheless, since both the plural form achadim and the kechad form are used quite rarely (see Ezek. 37:17 and 2 Chronicles 5:13 for examples), we can see that the overwhelming majority of the uses of echad listed in these concordances (over 500) obviously have the meaning of singleness just as we normally use the word “one” today.

If you should find a scripture listed as using echad in your concordance that definitely has the meaning “plural oneness” or “together,” or “as one,” you should check it out in an interlinear Hebrew-English Bible. If the word in question is really the echad form of the word (as at Deut. 6:4), then it will end with the Hebrew letter “d” (similar to '7') in the Hebrew portion of your interlinear. If, however, it is really the plural form of the word (achadim), then it will end in the Hebrew letter “m” (similar to 'D'). And if the word is really Kechad (“AS one”), it will begin with the Hebrew letter “k” (similar to a backward 'C'). Remember, though, that Hebrew reads from right to left (so the LAST letter of a Hebrew word is really the letter at the extreme LEFT.)

Using your concordance along with an interlinear Hebrew-English Bible in this manner, I don’t believe you will ever find echad (as used at Deut. 6:4) literally meaning “plural oneness”!

Further emphasizing the impropriety of this “plural oneness” interpretation of echad are the many trinitarian renderings of Deut. 6:4. In the dozens of different trinitarian Bible translations that I have examined none of them have rendered Deut. 6:4 (or Mark 12:29 in the Greek NT) in such a way as to show anything even faintly resembling a “plural oneness”!!

Even the highly trinitarian The Living Bible, which, being a paraphrase Bible, is able to (and frequently does) take great liberties with the literal Greek and Hebrew meanings in order to make better trinitarian interpretations, renders Deut. 6:4 as “Jehovah is our God, Jehovah alone.” Notice that there’s not even a hint of a “plural oneness” Jehovah!

The equally trinitarian (and nearly as “freely” translated as The Living Bible) Good News Bible (GNB) renders it: “The LORD - and the LORD alone - is our God.” - Compare the equally “free-handed” (and trinitarian) The Amplified Bible.

And even among the more literal trinitarian translations of Deut 6:4 we find:

“The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.” - New Revised Standard Version.


“The LORD is our God, the LORD alone!” - New American Bible.

“The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.” - The Holy Bible in the Language of Today, Beck (Lutheran).

“Yahweh our God is the one, the only Yahweh.” - New Jerusalem Bible.

“Yahweh is our God, - Yahweh alone.” - The Emphasized Bible, Rotherham.

“The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.” - An American Translation (Smith-Goodspeed).

“The Eternal, the Eternal alone, is our God.” - A New Transation, Moffatt .

The trinitarian ASV (also the RSV) gives 4 different possible renderings of Deut. 6:4. One of them is identical with The Living Bible, and none of them includes an understanding of a “plural oneness” God!

The paraphrased The Living Bible also renders Mark 12:29 (where Jesus quotes Deut. 6:4 and an excellent spot for him to reveal a “trinity” God --- or even just a “plural oneness” God) as: “The Lord our God is the one and only God.” Notice the further explanation of the intended meaning of this scripture at Mark 12:32, 34. “’... you have spoken a true word in saying that there is only one God and no other...’ Realizing this man’s understanding, Jesus said to him, ‘You are not far from the Kingdom of God.’”

Why doesn’t this highly interpretive trinitarian paraphrase Bible (or any other Bible for that matter) bring out a “plural oneness” meaning at these scriptures (Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29) if that can be a proper interpretation for echad?

Surely, if the trinitarian scholars who made this Bible had thought there was even the slightest justification for an echad = “plural oneness” interpretation, they would have rendered it that way: “Jehovah is a composite unity;” or “Jehovah is the United One;” or “Jehovah is a plural oneness;” etc.

Instead they have clearly shown that God (who inspired it), Moses (who wrote it under inspiration), and even Jesus himself (who taught that it was part of the most important commandment of all - Mark 12:28-29, LB; GNB; etc.) intended this scripture to show God as a single person only!

Similarly, the three annotated trinitarian study Bibles I own would certainly explain any intended “multiple-oneness” meaning for echad at Deut. 6:4 (if there were any possibility of such an interpretation). But the extremely trinitarian New American Bible, St. Joseph ed., gives no hint of such an understanding of echad in its footnote for Deut. 6:4 (or anywhere else). And the trinitarian The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 1977 ed., likewise gives no hint of such an understanding in its footnote for Deut. 6:4 (or anywhere else). And that trinitarian favorite: The NIV Study Bible, 1985, also gives no hint of such a meaning for echad in its footnote for Deut. 6:4 (or anywhere else). The only possible reason for all these trinitarian study Bibles ignoring this “proof” is that it simply is not true!

The examples given by some trinitarians to show a “plural oneness” meaning for echad don’t stand up either. The Gen. 2:24 example of a man and wife becoming “one (echad) flesh” certainly does not mean one literal body of flesh is composed of two people.

A man and wife becoming “one flesh” also doesn’t mean that two different persons suddenly become equal or identical. They are still two distinct individuals (one is lord and head over the other according to the Bible) and do not share nervous, circulatory, skeletal, etc. systems. They both did not have to (and, in fact, did not) come into existence at the same time, nor do they both have the same minds, personalities, nor even equal authority!

So, then, how did the Bible writers understand that the two became “one”? It should be enough to show that being “one” with someone else merely shows how two (or more) people are “united in purpose” as though they were one person in that respect only (purpose). - See the ONE study.

Notice how the following scripture uses the very same “one flesh” reference:
Ephesians 5:31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. - NKJV.
This could be understood as in the “one in purpose” interpretation above, and/or it could be understood in the “close relationship” understanding below. But it clearly is speaking of Jesus and his followers being “one flesh.”
Another way a man and wife can be considered “one flesh” has to do with what the word “flesh” (basar) meant in ancient Biblical Hebrew. Any good concordance will show you that “flesh” (basar) in Bible usage often means a close relative. Gen. 37:27 is an example of this: “for he is our brother and our flesh.”

And the equivalent NT Greek word for “flesh” (sarx) could be used in the same manner. At Ro 11:14, “my flesh (sarx)” - KJV is also rendered: “my fellow Jews” - RSV; “my own race” - MLB, TEV, GNB, NEB; “my own people” - NIV; “my fellow countrymen” - NASB.

The King James Version even translates this OT Hebrew word (basar) as “KIN” at Lev. 18:6 and 25:49. The New English Bible translates it “blood-relation.” With this common understanding for “flesh” it is clear that the expression “one flesh” at Gen. 2:24 can simply mean that the two married people are now to be considered as closely related as “blood-relatives.” In other words, their closest “flesh” (relatives) used to be their parents. Now they are to consider their new relationship to one another as being even stronger than that with their parents: “therefore shall a man leave his mother and father” - Gen. 2:24.

To argue that a man and woman somehow, in some mysterious supernatural way, literally become one flesh, is simply not what was intended in the original language.

It is no more mysterious than my saying that my wife Karen and I (and our children, Randy and Robin) have become a single (or “one”) family (“relationship,” “kin”). I certainly don’t mean to imply some “mysterious” plurality by the word “single” even though there happen to be two (or four) members in that one family (relationship, “flesh”). Or, a person could have dozens of members in his one, single family (“flesh”). Or, a person might be the sole surviving member (“absolute mathematical oneness”) of his one family - it’s still only one family and the singularity or plurality of its composition has nothing whatsoever to do with its being one single family!

It’s no different from talking about two families, three families, etc. We are talking about a definite mathematical number of families, not the numerical composition within those families. The “one flesh” example works exactly that same way.

A few “echad = multiple oneness” trinitarians even claim that a man and woman becoming “one flesh” means “they are one in nature ... one in human nature as the Father and Son are one in the God-nature.”

This kind of reasoning would mean that the man (or the woman) before marriage (before they “became one flesh”) was not by himself already equally “one” in human nature with the rest of mankind! Then what kind of nature did this person possess before he married?

Each person (whether they ever marry and become “one flesh” or not) obviously already possesses human nature equally with any other human being. But when they marry, they are supposed to become one in purpose, goals, etc., the closest of relatives, not suddenly become human beings and thereby gain human nature!

Strangely, one recent anti-Watchtower letter sent by a relative to a local Witness used the above example for “one” in marriage being “one” in nature and then said:

“‘the marriage relationship portrays the mystical oneness and union of Jesus, the Bridegroom with His Bride, His Church’ just as it portrays that the man and his wife ‘are ... one in nature ... as the Father and Son are one in the God-nature.’”

Yes, this writer was actually saying, then, that just as the Father and Son are one, so the man and wife are one, and so Jesus and his Church (all his true followers) are one! In other words, in trinitarian terms, Jesus and his Father are equally God; and Jesus (God in every sense, they would say) and his Church (also equal in nature with Jesus) must then be equally God also!!

Clearly it means, instead, that Jesus, the bridegroom, and his bride, his church (of “brothers”) are one in purpose only (as are God and his Son). -

“That they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee, that they may also be in us ... that they may be one even as we are one.” - John 17:21, 22, ASV.

Even if the Hebrew echad were used here at John 17:22 for “one” (as the famous Lutheran trinitarian scholar, Franz Delitzsch translated it in his Hebrew New Testament), it is obvious that it does not mean some mysterious plural oneness wherein the individuals are all equally the Father, or equally the Son, and certainly not all equally God! (In any case, John would have used the masculine form of “one” in the NT Greek, heis, at John 17:22 if he had intended any of the above “trinitarian” meanings. Instead, he used the neuter form, hen, in NT Greek which signifies a union of purpose - see the ONE study).

Delitzsch also translates the NT Greek heis at 1 Cor. 9:24 (“only one” - NIV, NEB, TEV, GNB, RSV;only one person” - The Living Bible) as echad ! There is certainly no “plural oneness” intended here! - Hebrew New Testament, Delitzsch, The Trinitarian Bible Society, 1981.

If a person will not acknowledge the obvious figurative meaning of “one” as “united in purpose,” then he is saying that as man and wife become absolutely equal in nature by marriage (and as Jesus and the Father are “absolutely equal in nature” and are, therefore, equally God) so do Jesus and his Church become “one” or “equal in nature” and, therefore, the Church (Jesus’ “brothers”) is equally God!

Such reasoning is obviously ludicrous and illustrates what was really figuratively intended by “one” in marriage and other relationships: they are as though they were literally “one” in only one respect: unity of purpose!

As the bride is to become “one” in purpose with her husband (although he is designated to be head over his wife - 1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:23), so, too, those chosen ones are to become “one” in purpose with Jesus (although he is to be their head - Eph. 5:23; 1 Cor. 11:3 - so he does not conform to their will and purpose, nor are they equal to him, but they willingly conform to his purpose so that they may be “one”), and so, in like manner, Jesus has become “one” in purpose with his Father (the only true God - John 17:3) who is his head. The Father does not conform to the will and purpose of Jesus, nor is Jesus in any way equal to the Father, but Jesus willingly and perfectly conforms to his Father’s purpose and will! - “The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman (wife) is the man; and the head of Christ is God [not ‘Christ is equal to God’].” - 1 Cor. 11:3, ASV.

So, why couldn’t the absolute mathematical oneness of echad at Deut. 6:4 be describing a figurative unity of purpose just as the Greek “one” (hen) does at John 17:21, 22?

That is, if Jesus can describe certain chosen men, and his Father (God alone), and himself figuratively as all being “one” (in purpose only), why couldn’t God be telling us at Deuteronomy 6:4 that he is more than one person, all of whom are united in purpose? One reason is that the word used for “one” in this sense is neuter (hen). But the word used for “one” at Deut. 6:4 in the ancient Greek Septuagint (and at Mk 12:29 in the New Testament) is the masculine heis! - cf. Mk 2:7.

We also know that such an interpretation is ridiculous because of the clear context of Deut. 6 (and the clear statements of the rest of the Bible). Nowhere in Old or New Testament is God said to be more than one person. No one would have possibly understood Deut. 6:4 as meaning “Jehovah is a ‘many persons united in one purpose’ God” at that time or for thousands of years thereafter (certainly not until hundreds of years after Jesus’ death - see the HIST study, parts 2-5).

The context of Deut. 6:4 and 6:13-15 shows that God is not speaking of all persons who could be considered to be “united in purpose” with the Father (this would have included the Father and the Word, of course, but it would also have included the millions of faithful angels, and today it would include a large number of faithful Christians!). Remember that when “one” is used figuratively for “united in purpose” it is always describing a relationship between certain individuals or groups who are identified in context. There is no such identification (nor even the slightest suggestion of such an identification) found in Deut. 6.

We cannot believe that Deut. 6:4 is saying that all those who are “united in purpose” with Jehovah are Jehovah! But that is the only figurative use we could possibly have for echad at Deut. 6:4. Otherwise we are left with the literal meaning (mathematical oneness, a single individual) of echad (which is obviously intended in the vast majority of uses of echad and which is obviously intended at Deut. 6:4, 13-15 and further explained at Mark 12:29, 32.)

Just as no Bible translation (including all the many trinitarian translations I have examined) renders Deut. 6:4 with any kind of suggestion that “Jehovah is a multiple unity,” no translation suggests it should be rendered with the understanding that “Jehovah is united in purpose.”

It is also clear from other Bible statements that God is a single person: the Father in heaven. (Jehovah is never described as “the Son,” “the Messiah,” “the Holy Spirit,” or any other individual but the Father - Deut. 32:6; Is. 63:16; 64:8; Jer. 3:4; 3:19 - and conversely, no heavenly person except Jehovah is ever called the Father! - Matt. 23:9.)

Notice how Jesus used the word monos (“only,” “alone”) to describe God (Jehovah, the Father) at John 17:1, 3. “Father ... they should know thee the only [monos] True God.” Or, “Father ... who alone art truly God” - NEB.

But let’s look at another example where echad is supposed to literally mean “plural oneness.”

Almost anything we can name is composed of different elements or parts. If I should say, “Randy was the first (another way echad may be rendered into English) runner to cross the finish line,” I am not referring to the fact that he has two legs (or flesh, blood, and bones) which together help compose the whole of that one (or “first”) individual. I am saying (as everyone well knows) that, at the time he crossed the finish line, Randy was the only one who had done so (whether he had one or two legs, etc.). In the same sense of absolute mathematical order I would say that the very next runner (whether it should happen to be a woman, horse, octopus, snail, etc.) is the second individual runner to cross the finish line regardless of how many legs, arms, etc. that racer has. So, Robin, the second runner to cross the finish line is no more a “plural twoness” than Randy, the first one, is a “plural oneness”!

Therefore, “the evening and the morning were the first [echad] day [‘one day’ - RSV]” - Gen. 1:5, KJV - means exactly what it says, just as “the evening and the morning were the second [sheni] day” - Gen. 1:8 - means exactly what it says and so on through six days!

“The first [echad] day” does not in any sense refer to the individual parts which compose that day (or a “plural oneness”) any more than “the sixth day” refers to a “plural sixness” making up that single day! They are absolute mathematical numbers and do not refer to internal composition but, instead, to single, individual things.

And so it is with the example of “one [echad] cluster of grapes” at Numbers 13:23. Here again “one” [echad] obviously means only one (singleness, absolute mathematical oneness) for whatever word it is applied to.

It is the word “cluster” in this scripture which means “one thing composed of many individual items,” but there is only one single (absolute mathematical oneness) “cluster”!

This is no different from one (echad) single tribe (whether composed of one single, last person or millions of persons) at Judges 21:3, 6 and two tribes (whether each is composed of one person or millions) at Joshua 21:16. Echad literally means “single,” “only” as can plainly be seen at Exodus 12:46, “one house;” Ex. 33:5, “one moment;” Numbers 7:21, “one bullock, one ram, [etc.].”



Yachid

A few trinitarians insist that not only does echad mean “plural oneness,” but that, if singleness were intended by the Bible writer, the Hebrew word yachid would have been used at Deut. 6:4.

Here is how it was presented to me by one trinitarian:

“The word for ‘one’ in this great declaration [Deut. 6:4] is not Yachid which is an absolute oneness but rather echad which means ‘united one.’ Had the Holy Spirit desired to state absolute mathematical oneness in this all-important declaration, He could have easily used the word yachid, couldn’t He?”

We have already seen the absolute falsity of the “echad-means-’plural-oneness’” idea. But what about yachid? Did the Bible writers really use it whenever they meant “absolute mathematical oneness”? We have already seen that they really used echad for “absolute mathematical oneness,” and a good concordance will show they did this consistently—many hundreds of times!

Yachid, on the other hand, is only used about 12 times in the entire Bible and then only in a narrow, specific sense.

The Old Testament language authority, Gesenius, tells us that yachid is used in three very specialized ways: (1) “only” but primarily in the sense of “only begotten”! - Gen. 22:2, 12, 16; Jer. 6:26; and Zech. 12:10. (2) “solitary” but with the connotation of “forsaken” or “wretched” ! - Ps. 25:16; 68:6. (3) As yachidah (feminine form) meaning “only one” as something most dear and used “poet[ically] for ‘life’ - Ps. 22:20; 35:17.” - p. 345 b.

We find yachid is never used to describe God anywhere in the entire Bible! But it is used to describe Isaac in his prefigured representation of the Messiah: Gen. 22:2, 12, 16. It is also used at Judges 11:34 for an only-begotten child. The ancient Greek Septuagint translates yachid at Judges 11:34 as monogenes (“only-begotten”): the same NT Greek word repeatedly used to describe Christ (even in his pre-human heavenly existence - 1 John 4:9). Monogenes, however, like the Hebrew yachid, is never used to describe the only true God, Jehovah (who is the Father alone).

So, if Jehovah were to describe himself as “forsaken” or “wretched,” or were speaking poetically about his “dear life,” or were describing himself as the “only-begotten son” (which he never does anywhere in the Bible!), then he might have used yachid.[3]

But since he was describing his “mathematical oneness” at Deut. 6:4, he properly used echad!

As we pointed out at the beginning, there are Hebrew words that mean “plural oneness,” but echad is not one of them. As another example, notice the clear meaning of echad as “absolute mathematical oneness” at Gen. 42:11 where the sons of Jacob say, “we are all one [echad] man’s sons.” They certainly weren’t saying “we are all sons of different men who together make up a ‘plural oneness’ man.”! Instead, the inspired Bible writer wrote that they were all sons of one [echad not yachid] single, solitary man.

We see the same thing at Malachi 2:10 even though we find two different interpretations by trinitarian translators.

Some translate it:

“have we not all one [echad] father? Has not one [echad] God created us?” - RSV.

The meaning of this rendering seems to be that everyone has a single person as his earthly father and, by comparison, we also all have a single [echad] person as our God and Creator in heaven.

Other trinitarian scholars translate Malachi 2:10 as:

“Have we not all the one Father? Has not the one God created us?” - NAB (1970 and 1991).

“Is there not one Father of us all? Did not one God create us?” - NJB.

“Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us?” - JB.

“Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?” - NKJV.

“Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?” - The Amplified Bible.

“Is there not one Father to us all? Has not one God created us?” - MKJV, Green.

“Don’t all of us have one Father? Hasn’t one God created us?” - In the Language of Today, Beck.

“Do we not all have one Father? Has not one God made us?” - NLV.

We clearly see in these trinitarian translations that the common Hebrew use of parallelisms was intended by the inspired Bible writers. That is, the first half of the verse is differently worded but parallel in meaning with the second half. Therefore, the first half refers to God just as the second half does, so the translator has capitalized “Father” to make such an interpretation unmistakeable. The meaning in this interpretation, then, is:

“We all have one [echad] Father (the only person who is God),” and, in parallel meaning,

“We all have one [echad] Creator (a single person as God).” - Compare 1 Cor. 8:6; Eph. 4:6.

No matter which interpretation you prefer, it is clear that the comparison with (or parallel with) a single individual father (whether we interpret it as the single male human parent or the single person, God the Father), who is called “one [echad] father/Father,” is a single individual who is called “one [echad] God”! The comparison (or parallel) would be senseless if echad meant one single person for “father/Father” (as it must) in its first half and “plural oneness” persons for “God” (as it clearly doesn’t) in its second half!

The inspired Bible writers at Gen. 42:11, Malachi 2:10, and Deut. 6:4 could easily have used a word that really means “united one”[4] - but they didn’t! The inspired Bible writer at Deut. 6:4 could also have easily said (and definitely should have said if it were true) that “God is three persons who together make up the one God” or even just “the one God is three persons,” but he didn’t, and neither did any other Bible writer! He should also have used yachid repeatedly in the Bible for God if Jehovah is ever to be understood as being Jesus (“the only-begotten”), but no Bible writer describes Jehovah that way, ever!

A footnote for Deut. 6:4 in the very trinitarian The New American Bible, St. Joseph ed., 1970, says:

“this passage contains the basic principle of the whole Mosaic law, the keynote of the Book of Deuteronomy: since the Lord [Jehovah] alone is God, we must love him with an undivided heart. Christ cited these words as ‘the greatest and the first commandment,’ embracing in itself the whole law of God (Mt 22:37f and parallels [especially see Mark 12:28-34]).”

As the ASV renders it in a footnote for Deut. 6:4 - “Jehovah is our God; Jehovah is one”. Yes, the great distinction between Israel and all the nations around them was that they worshiped only one [”absolute mathematical oneness”] person as God (as they always have, and as they still do today - see the ISRAEL study).

The only honest interpretations of “this great declaration” of Deut. 6:4 are “Jehovah our God is only one [echad] person” or “Jehovah our God is only one God”!

Judging by the literal meanings of both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Greek (NT and Septuagint OT) Scriptures Deut. 6:4 actually says: “Hear Israel, Jehovah the God of us, Jehovah is one” (Sept. Greek) and “Jehovah our God, Jehovah [is] one” (Hebrew - Interlinear Bible). But in any case echad clearly refers to a single, solitary [absolute mathematical oneness] being, not a “multiple oneness”!

So even the very trinitarian literal translation, the New King James Version[5], (like the very trinitarian ETRV [6] paraphrase Bible) translates echad at Deut. 6:4 correctly as: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD [Jehovah] our God, the LORD [Jehovah] is one!”

The meaning is clear. It is expressed perhaps even more clearly in the popular trinitarian paraphrase Bible, The Living Bible: “Jehovah is our God, Jehovah alone.”



* * * * *

Note: 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



1. Or echod according to Dr. Walter Martin’s use of this preposterous “evidence” - p. 69, The Kingdom of the Cults, 1985 ed.



2. In English the words “a” and “an” are indefinite articles. For example, then, ‘one [echad] cow’ in Hebrew could mean ‘A cow’ in English - it certainly would not mean ‘a plural oneness cow’! In fact this whole “proof” is exactly like saying “a” is a multiple oneness indefinite article. And, of course, they would find a few (out of thousands of others) uses like “a committee,” “a month,” “a musical trio,” etc. and brilliantly conclude that “a” here has to be a multiple oneness, because “committee, or “trio,” etc. is composed of more than one person!



3. As for any use of yachid by a 12th or 13th century A.D. Rabbi (as a few trinitarians resort to in defense of “yachid” for God), what has this to do with what Scripture actually says? Maimonides (or Moses Ben Maimon) lived from 1135-1204 A.D. and was a well-known Jewish philosopher and commentator.



For what it’s worth, Maimonides also wrote: “Can there be a greater stumbling block than [Christianity}? …. [Trinitarian Chrisianity] caused the Jews to be slain by the sword, their remnants to be scattered and humbled, the Torah to be altered, and the majority of the world to err and serve a god other than the Lord.”- Mishnah Torah, “The Laws of Kings and Their Wars,” chapter 11.



And Steve Gross writes:



“Let me quote Evelyn Garfiel, author of Service of the Heart: A Guide to the Jewish Prayerbook (Jason Aronson, Inc., 1958, 1989). Here she is discussing the Yigdal prayer (pp 52-54):



“ ‘ …. It must be stated categorically that this ‘Confession of Faith’ [the ‘Thirteen Creeds’ of Maimonides] as it has sometimes been called, has no legal, doctrinal standing in Judaism; that it is not, in any case, the Jewish creed. It was written (in his Commentary to the Mishnah) by Maimonides when he was twenty-three years old, and he never referred to it again in all the rest of his writings.



“ ‘The need to formulate the Jewish religion in a clearly stated creed had apparently not been felt in the previous two millennia of its existence. It was only in the late Middle Ages, when Aristotelian philosophy dominated the whole intellectual world, that Maimonides was impelled to try to set down the basic axioms of Judaism as he understood them, and in the light of the philosophy current in his day.


….


“ ‘During his lifetime and for many years afterward, Maimonides was bitterly opposed by many Rabbis. They felt that something extraneous to the genuine Jewish tradition was being injected into it by this precipitation of Aristotelian philosophy and by these strange formulations of belief... Crescas, in some ways the most subtle and brilliant of the Jewish philosophers, Nachmanides (the Ramban), Abarbanel, and others all registered strong opposition to Maimonides Creeds. ….



“ ‘The Shulhan Arukh ... does not even mention the Thirteen Creeds. Someone - perhaps a printer, but no one knows exactly who - included the Creeds in an edition of the Prayer Book sometime after 1400....’ ” [emphasis added - RDB]




4. Among the Hebrew words that can mean “united oneness,” such as achadim and Kechad, are the various forms of yachad. The New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance, 1981, p. 1529, tells us that #3161 yachad means “to be united” and #3162 yachad means “unitedness”.

Nelson’s Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament, 1980, pp. 430, 431, also describes the various forms of yachad: “yachad appears about 46 times and in all periods of Biblical Hebrew. Used as an adverb, the word emphasizes a plurality in unity.” Used as a verb “yachad means ‘to be united, meet.’” And, although the noun yachad occurs only once, it is still used “to mean ‘unitedness.’”

You will not find yachad in any of its many forms that mean “united” or “plurality in unity” ever used to describe God!!

However, we do find other Hebrew words that, like echad, clearly mean “single,” “only,” “alone,” etc. and these words are used to describe the one person who alone is the Most High God.

For example, The New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance, p. 1496, tells us that #905 bad (“bod”) means “separation, apart, alone.”

Also Nelson’s Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament, pp. 280, 281, states, “in most of its appearances (152 times) this word [bad] is preceded by the preposition le. This use means ‘alone’ (89 times): ‘And the Lord God said. It is not good that the man [Adam] should be alone [bad] ....’” - Gen. 2:18.

Yes, Adam was the only person of humankind in existence, and, therefore, he was described by God as being alone in that special sense (bad in Hebrew). (There were myriads of spirit persons, the angels. There was God Himself. There were innumerable other creatures. And yet, Adam, as the only one of mankind, was alone [bad]!) Then, as soon as God created another person of his own kind for Adam, he was no longer alone (bad)!

This use of bad (“alone”) is frequently used to describe the person who is God. For example, 1 Sam. 7:3, “direct your hearts unto Jehovah [a personal name] and serve him [masculine singular] only [bad].” - ASV.

And 2 Kings 19:15, “O Jehovah, the God of Israel, that sittest above the cherubim, thou [second person singular] art the God, even thou alone [bad].” - ASV.

And Psalm 83:16, 18, “Fill their faces with confusion, that they may seek thy name, O Jehovah. .... That they may know that thou [singular] alone [bad], whose name is Jehovah [singular personal name], art the Most High over all the earth.” - ASV. - (Also see Neh. 9:5, 6; Ps. 86:10; Is. 37:16.)

5. With a “symbol for the Trinity” on the title page which symbolizes “that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are ... indivisibly One God.” Published and copyrighted by Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1982.


6. “Listen, people of Israel! The Lord [Jehovah] is our God. The Lord [Jehovah] is one!” - Holy Bible - Easy-to-Read Version, World Bible Translation Center, Fort Worth Texas, 1992.