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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hebrews 1:8 - “Thy Throne, O God”


(From the RDB Files)

Hebrews 1:8 is one of the more commonly used scriptures for trinitarian “evidence” in spite of (in reality, because of) its obvious ambiguity. This is because on the surface (at least as found in some trinitarian-translated Bibles) it looks clear and straightforward. Also not many people have the means or the inclination to examine it more closely.


Heb. 1:8 in the King James Version (AV or KJV) is rendered:


“But unto the son he saith, thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”


Since “he saith” and the second “is” (found after “righteousness”) in the above verse are not actually found in the original manuscripts and have been added by the KJV translators, they are found in italics in most printings of the KJV.


But more importantly (as a quick glance into any interlinear Greek-English New Testament will show) the first “is” (found after “God”) in the above verse is also not in the original manuscripts but has been added by some modern translators.


Yes, literally the original NT Greek manuscripts read: “Toward but the son the throne of you the god into the age of the age.”


No one should deny that the title theos (NT Greek word meaning “God,” “god,” “mighty one,” “divine,” etc.) can be applied to Jesus (at least in the writings of John - see the DEF and BOWGOD studies), just as it was applied in the scriptures to angels, judges of Israel, Moses, and (according to some trinitarian authorities) even the kings of Israel.


But theos is never applied to Jesus with the most high sense that is given only to the Almighty, Most High, only true God. So it could, perhaps, have been used at Heb. 1:8 in its positive secondary sense: “Your throne, o mighty one [theos], is ...”. This seems even more probable when we remember that Paul is really quoting from Ps. 45:6.


Psalm 45 is celebrating an Israelite king’s marriage, and the psalmist applies the words of Ps. 45:6, 7 literally to an ancient Israelite king. In fact, the trinitarian New American Standard Bible (NASB), Reference Edition, explains in a footnote for Ps. 45:1, “Probably refers to Solomon as a type of Christ.”


So, according to this trinitarian Bible, the words of Ps. 45:6, although figuratively referring to Jesus, were literally applied to an ancient Israelite king (probably King Solomon, it says).


So if Ps. 45:6 is properly translated, “your throne, O God ...” then that ancient Israelite King (Solomon?) was also literally called “O God” (or “O god”?). In fact, the highly trinitarian New American Bible, St. Joseph Edition, 1970, explains in a footnote for this verse:


“The Hebrew king was called ... ‘God,’ not in the polytheistic sense common among the ancient
pagans, but as meaning ‘godlike’ or ‘taking the place of God’.”


The trinitarian Easy-to-read-Version also says in a footnote for this passage:


“God .... here the writer might be using the word ‘God’ as a title for the king.” (Cf. NIV Study Bible f.n. for Pss. 45:6 and 82:1, 6.)


(And the revised 1991 ed. of the NAB actually translates Ps. 45:6, 7 as “Your throne, O god.”)

The NAB (St. Joseph ed.,1970) goes on to explain, however, that others have translated this verse as, “Your throne is the throne of God” and refers us to 1 Chron. 29:23 “where Solomon’s throne is referred to as the throne of the LORD [YHWH].”


Now we’re getting closer to the most likely intention of Heb. 1:8. There is good evidence that the proper translation of Heb. 1:8 (as well as Ps. 45:6) should be “your throne is God forever” or “God is your throne forever.”


For one thing, the definite article (“the”) is used in the NT Greek with “God” in this scripture. Not even John (who does, rarely, use theos for Jesus) uses theos with the definite article for anyone except the Only True God - the Father. - See the DEF study.


Also, if we look at some respected trinitarian authorities, we also see a preference for the “God is thy throne” rendering.


Oxford professor and famous trinitarian Bible translator, Dr. James Moffatt, has been described as “probably the greatest biblical scholar of our day.” His respected Bible translation renders Heb. 1:8 as:


God is thy throne for ever and ever.”


University of Cambridge professor and noted New Testament language scholar, Dr. C. F. D. Moule writes that Heb. 1:8 may be “construed so as to mean Thy throne is God” - p. 32, An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek, Cambridge University Press, 1990 printing.


An American Translation (Smith-Goodspeed), renders it: “God is your throne....”


And The Bible in Living English (Byington) reads: “God is your throne....”

The Message reads: Your throne is God’s throne….” 

NSB - God is your throne

Mace - "God is thy throne….”

 Twentieth Century Translation - ‘God is thy throne….’


Another world-acclaimed scholar of trinitarian Christendom has translated this verse similarly and made some interesting comments. Trinitarian Dr. William Barclay,


“world-renowned Scottish New Testament interpreter, was noted as a profound scholar and a writer of extraordinary gifts .... He was the minister of Trinity Church, Renfrew, Scotland, and, later, Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow.”


Dr. Barclay, in his translation of the New Testament, has also rendered Hebrews 1:8 as : “God is your throne for ever and ever.” But worse yet (for those wishing for evidence of a trinity from the Book of Hebrews), Dr. Barclay comments as follows:


“The letter [of Hebrews] was written to a Church which had had great days and great teachers and leaders.” - p. 6. “Moreover, it was obviously written to a scholarly group [who] ... had long been under instruction and were preparing themselves to become teachers of the Christian faith.” - p. 7.


And just what was this passage that includes Heb. 1:8 (Heb. 1:4-14) intended to prove to this group of long-term dedicated Christian scholars?


“[The author] is concerned to prove [Jesus’] SUPERIORITY OVER THE ANGELS.” - p. 16, The Letter to the Hebrews, Revised Edition, 1976, The Westminster Press.


Yes, this world-acclaimed trinitarian scholar has (perhaps inadvertently) illuminated the truth of the doctrine of God which was understood by first-century Christians! They had absolutely no concept of the 3-in-one God idea which was developed in later centuries (see the HIST study). IF these learned 1st century Christians had really considered Jesus “equally God” (as 4th century Christendom began doing), it certainly would have been nonsensical for the writer of Hebrews to attempt to prove that Jesus was superior to all other angels!


Noted trinitarian (Southern Baptist) New Testament Greek scholar Dr. A. T. Robertson acknowledges that either “Thy throne, O God” or “God is thy throne”/“thy throne is God” may be proper renderings: “Either makes good sense.” - p. 339, Word Pictures in the New Testament.
 He also tells us that the inspired Letter to the Hebrews was written to a church of Jewish Christians whose Jewish neighbors


“... have urged them to give up Christ and Christianity and to come back to Judaism.... These Jews argued that the prophets were superior to Jesus, the law came by the ministry of angels, Moses was greater than Jesus, and Aaron than Jesus. [The writer of Hebrews] turns the argument on the Jews and boldly champions the Glory of Jesus as superior at every point to all that Judaism had, as God’s Son and man’s Saviour, the crown and glory of the Old Testament prophecy, the hope of mankind. It is the first great apologetic for Christianity and has never been surpassed.” - Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. v, pp. 331, 339.


Again, it would have been absolutely absurd for the inspired writer of Hebrews to devote this entire, long letter to proving that Jesus is superior to Moses and the angels if the intended readers, as the spirit-born Christians they were, had already accepted Jesus as God Almighty! And even if they had originally believed that Jesus was God, but were now in doubt, the Bible writer certainly wouldn’t waste any time trying to prove Jesus’ superiority to Moses and the angels. He would have dedicated the entire letter to proving absolutely that Jesus is God (if he had really believed such a thing himself)!


Furthermore, if those Jewish neighbors had any inkling that these Christians believed that anyone except Jehovah, the Father alone, was Almighty God, they wouldn’t have spent any time at all on these other relatively minor aspects. The clamor of the Jews against Christians who called Jesus “God” would have been deafening, overwhelming!


But there is no record of any such thing until after the Trinity Doctrine was declared by the Roman Catholic Church in the 4th century A.D.! - See ISRAEL and CREEDS studies.


The American Standard Version (ASV), the Revised Standard Version (RSV), the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), and The New English Bible (NEB) have provided alternate readings to the traditional trinitarian rendering of the KJV at Hebrews 1:8. These alternate readings (found in footnotes) agree with Dr. Moffatt’s, Dr. Barclay’s, Smith-Goodspeed’s, Byington’s, and the New World Translation’s renderings of this scripture (“God is your throne”).


Even Young’s Concise Bible Commentary (written by the famous trinitarian author of Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible) admits: “[Heb. 1:8] may be justly rendered ‘God is thy throne ...’ in either case it is applicable to the mediatorial throne only.”



Quoted From Ps. 45


In addition to these admissions by trinitarian translators concerning Heb. 1:8, we need to look back at the Old Testament Hebrew scripture (Ps. 45:6) that Paul was quoting when he wrote Heb. 1:8.


The RSV renders it as “Your Divine throne” and a footnote provides this alternate
reading: “Or ‘your throne is a throne of God.’”


The NEB says: “Your throne is like God’s throne.”


The Holy Scriptures (JPS version) says: “Thy throne given of God.”


The Bible in Living English (Byington) says: “God is your throne.”

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV): “Your throne is the very throne of God.”

The Good News Bible (GNB), a very trinitarian paraphrase Bible, renders it: “The kingdom
that God has given you will last forever and ever.”


The REB has: “God has enthroned you for all eternity.”


The NJB gives us: “your throne is from God.”

Leeser - Thy throne, given of God, endureth for ever 


We also see the following statement by respected trinitarian scholars in a footnote for this passage:


“45:6 O God. Possibly the king’s throne is called God’s throne because he is God’s appointed regent. But it is also possible that the king himself is addressed as ‘god.’” - Ps. 45:6 f.n. in the NIV Study Bible.


In addition to the above renderings by many respected translators (most of whom are trinitarian), we have the statement by perhaps the greatest scholar of Biblical Hebrew of all time, H. F. W. Gesenius. In his famous and highly respected Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Gesenius renders Ps. 45:6, “thy throne shall be a divine throne.”


Obviously, then, the charge sometimes made that the NWT is “not being honest or scholarly” with its rendering of Heb. 1:8 is simply untrue, and it certainly may be honestly translated “God is your throne forever.”


Just the admission by so many trinitarian translators (above) that Heb. 1:8 may be honestly translated as it is in the NWT makes any insistence by other trinitarians that this scripture is acceptable evidence for a trinity doctrine completely invalid!


Even famed Southern Baptist New Testament Greek scholar Dr. A. T. Robertson admits:


“It is not certain whether ho theos is here the vocative [‘your throne, O God’] ... or ho theos is nominative (subject or predicate) with estin (is) understood: ‘God is thy throne’ or ‘Thy throne is God.’ Either makes good sense.” - p. 339, Vol. 5, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Broadman Press, 1960.


However, there is more evidence, evidence which shows not only that Heb. 1:8 may be honestly translated “God is your throne,” but, indeed, should be so translated!


Notice the context. Heb. 1:8 and 1:9 are being quoted from Ps. 45:6 and 45:7. In Ps. 45:7, speaking to the Israelite king, it says:


“Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.” - RSV.


Just as this makes it clear that the ancient Israelite king was not God but was anointed by God, HIS God, to a position above his fellows, so does Heb. 1:9, as figuratively applied to Jesus, show that he is not God, but was anointed by his God to a position above his fellows! Context, then, shows that the person addressed in Heb. 1:8 is not God, but one who worships God and was anointed by his God!


The renowned trinitarian Bible scholar, B. F. Westcott, wrote:


“The LXX [Septuagint] admits of two renderings [at Ps. 45:6, 7]: [ho theos] can be taken as a vocative in both cases (‘thy throne, O God, .... therefore, O God, thy God...’) or it can be taken as the subject (or the predicate) in the first case (‘God is Thy throne,’ or ‘Thy throne is God...’), and in apposition to [ho theos sou] in the second case (‘Therefore God, even Thy God...’) .... It is scarcely possible that [elohim] in the original can be addressed to the King. The presumption therefore is against the belief that [ho theos] is a vocative in the LXX. Thus on the whole it seems best to adopt in the first clause the rendering: ‘God is thy throne’ (or, ‘Thy throne is God’), that is, ‘Thy kingdom is founded upon God, the immovable Rock.’” - The Epistle to the Hebrews, London, 1889, pp. 25, 26.


Further evidence for the proper translation of Heb. 1:8 is found in the conclusions reached by the trinitarian United Bible Societies’ (UBS) Bible Text Committee. The United Bible Societies (composed of the American Bible Society, The National Bible Society of Scotland, The Netherlands Bible Society, and the Wurttemberg Bible Society) appointed an international and interdenominational committee (but trinitarian, of course) of textual scholars to determine the most accurate text possible of the Greek New Testament.


To do this they examined hundreds of variations in the many thousands of ancient New Testament manuscripts and compared other existing texts by Westcott and Hort, Nestle, Bover, and Vogels.


In 1971 the UBS published A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament which explained why the committee had chosen certain readings as being correct and rejected others. In choosing the text they believed to be closest to the original manuscript of the book of Hebrews, the UBS committee looked at the very oldest and best manuscripts still in existence today. Several methods helped them decide what is probably the original wording. One, of course, is how many of the very oldest and best manuscripts agree.


Another method is to determine which of the variations were most likely to have been changed by later copyists. For instance, when a NT writer is referring to an OT quotation, he often has it worded slightly differently from the exact quote in the Septuagint (Paul is especially noted for this).


So, if one NT manuscript has an OT scripture quoted exactly as it appears in the Septuagint, and another has a slightly different wording, the manuscript that differs slightly is more likely to have the proper, original wording. (Later copyists strongly tended to “correct” the original NT manuscripts by making their OT quotes conform exactly to the wording in the Septuagint version.)


Another consideration is that later Church copyists would often change the wording of a scripture if it seemed to contradict a teaching of the Roman Church.[1] Therefore, if the wording of an ancient manuscript seems to contradict a later teaching of the Roman Church, it is more likely to have the original wording than another ancient manuscript which (at the same verse) seems to agree with that Church teaching.


Using these criteria, the UBS Committee unanimously agreed with all the wording of Heb. 1:8 except for one word. They agreed that the original writing of Heb. 1:8 should read literally (in the NT Greek): “toward but the son the throne of you the god into the age of the age and the staff of the straightness staff of the kingdom [‘of him’ or ‘of you’].”


It was the very last word of Heb. 1:8 that caused a “considerable degree of doubt” among those textual scholars. This very last word was either the NT Greek word sou (translated into English as “of you” or “your”) or autou (translated “of him” or “his”).


Why is it so important? Because these trinitarian scholars agreed that if autou (“his”) were used here by the author of Hebrews 1:8, then the verse “must be” translated “God is thy throne” and not “thy throne, O God”!! If, however, sou (“your”) was the original wording, then it could be translated either way. Obviously, then, a trinitarian would strongly prefer the reading of sou. [See end note 4]


In discussing this problem the UBS Committee noted that all the very oldest and best manuscripts (p46 - circa 200 A.D.; 'Aleph' - 4th century; and B - 4th century) all agree that the original wording was “his (autou) kingdom.”


They also noted that later manuscripts which read “your (sou) kingdom” are now in agreement with the corresponding passage in the Greek OT Septuagint! (Remember that the UBS Committee recognizes, as do most Bible scholars, that the NT manuscript that differs slightly from the Septuagint is more likely to be correct than another one which perfectly agrees because copyists strongly tended to deliberately “correct” Septuagint quotes they found in the NT .)


Furthermore, since autou is not repeated near the word in question in this NT manuscript quote of Ps. 45:6, 7, but sou is repeated, before and after, it would have been easy for a copyist to have inadvertently miscopied sou here. Autou, then, is more likely to have been original than sou for more than one reason.


It is also important to realize that all the oldest manuscripts (which were probably written before the full trinity doctrine was officially declared by the Roman Church in 381 A. D. and certainly written well before it was popularly accepted through the efforts of such men as Augustine in the early 5th century) use the word autou which will not properly allow for the trinitarian-preferred interpretation. Whereas many of the later manuscripts now use the word sou which will allow for the trinitarian-preferred interpretation of Heb. 1:8.


Isn’t it significant that the very earliest manuscript to use the trinitarian-preferred sou is Manuscript A from the 5th century which is shortly after the trinity doctrine was fully and officially declared at the Council of Constantinople in 381 A. D. and during the highly successful efforts of Augustine and others to defend and popularize this newly established “truth” of the Roman Church? (Remember the correlation between new church doctrines and changes in later manuscripts.) - See the HIST study paper.


So even though there is overwhelming evidence that “his” (autou) was in the original manuscript of Hebrews 1:8 (even the trinitarian scholars who developed the Westcott and Hort text and the Nestle text (NA21) use autou at Heb. 1:8), the UBS Committee finally agreed to choose “your” (sou) and label that choice as “having considerable degree of doubt,” anyway!

Why did they bend their own rules of evidence? Because (1) they said there were so many later manuscripts that used sou, and (2) they admitted that they didn’t like what that verse actually said if autou had really been used in the original!


Oh, they did soften the arbitrariness of their choice slightly by labeling it as “having considerable degree of doubt,” but if any honest impartial scholar will examine their own comments on the evidence, he must agree that the UBS Committee’s choice is purely an emotional one and the evidence rules otherwise (as other trinitarian texts noted above admit).


Sou not only has “considerable degree of doubt,” it is nearly impossible. The UBS Committee’s own comments on the evidence make autou virtually certain as the original word, and, therefore, in the committee’s own word’s, Hebrews 1:8 “must be” translated “God is thy throne” and not “thy throne, O God.” - (study pp. 662-663 in A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, United Bible Societies, 1971.)


Some trinitarians have objected that “it does not make sense [or even, ‘it’s ridiculous’] to call God a ‘throne.’”[2] However, to any serious Bible student, it is entirely reasonable and appropriate. Calling God “the throne of Jesus” is an excellent figurative way to show that God approves and upholds Christ’s kingly reign (as in Westcott’s comment previously quoted).


Is God ever called “unlikely” things in a figurative sense that are as equally “ridiculous” as calling him “a throne”? Every Bible student of any experience knows that He is, repeatedly!


Many times he is called someone’s “Rock” (e.g., Ps. 78:35).


He is called a “fortress” (e.g., Ps. 91:2).


He is called a “lamp” in 2 Samuel 22:29.


He is called a “crown” (“in that day will Jehovah of hosts become a crown of glory, unto the
residue of his people” - Is. 28:5, ASV).


Jehovah is called “our dwelling place” - Ps. 90:1, KJV.


And “Jehovah is my ... song” - Ps. 118:14.


Also notice Ps. 60:7, 8 “Ephraim is my helmet, Judah my scepter, Moab is my washbasin”, NIV. And in Is. 22:23 we find Eliakim, whom Jehovah said he would call and commit authority to (Is. 22:20, 21), called a “throne” (“and he will become a throne of honor to his father’s house,” RSV).


Not only is it made very clear by many trinitarian translators [3] and text writers [4] themselves that Heb. 1:8 may be honestly translated “God is your throne,” but all real evidence shows that it should be so translated!


So we find once more that Jesus cannot possibly be God. Just as we saw in the case of the Israelite king in Ps. 45:6, 7, if God is his throne (the one supporting him - giving him power and authority), then he cannot be that God!
 
............................................................................
 
 


NOTES






1. An example of this is the omission of the words “nor the son” in the majority of manuscripts at Matt. 24:36. However, the two oldest and best manuscripts, Aleph and B (as well as Manuscript A of the 5th century), do have “nor the son” after the word “heaven” (as it is in Mark 13:32). Bible scholars have come to the conclusion that the words were first omitted by a copyist sometime shortly after the development of the trinity doctrine by the Roman Church in the 4th century (see the HIST study) because it seemed to contradict the trinity doctrine: Jesus as equal to the Father. - See A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, p. 62, United Bible Societies, 1971. Also see The Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Alexandrinus, published by the trustees of the British Museum (quoted in the Feb. 1, 1984 WT, p. 7) or see the Manuscripts at .
 http://www.codex-sinaiticus.net/en/  and http://www.csntm.org/Manuscript/View/GA_02  and http://www.csntm.org/Manuscript/View/GA_03






2. Bowman, in his Why You Should Believe in the Trinity, after explaining that Heb. 1:1-6 describes the Son as in essence God, says:


It should come as no surprise, then, that in verse 8 God the Father says “of the Son, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever...’” (translating literally).


To circumvent this plain statement, the NWT renders verse 8 as “God is your throne forever and ever....” On merely grammatical considerations, this translation is possible, and some biblical scholars have favored this rendering. According to such a reading, the point of the statement is then that God is the source of Jesus’ authority.


However, this seems to be an unusual, if not completely odd, way of making that point. In Scripture a “throne” is not the source of one’s authority, but the position or place from which one rules. Thus, heaven is called “the throne of God” (Matt. 5:34). Surely God does not derive his authority from heaven, or from anyone or anything! But, even assuming that “God is your throne” would be understood as having that meaning, in context this makes no sense. The writer of Hebrews is quoting Psalm 45:6 and applying it to the Son to show that the Son is far greater than any of the angels. However, if all this verse means is that the Son’s authority derives from God, this in no way makes him unique or greater than the angels, since this could be said of any of God’s obedient angels. - pp. 106-107, Baker Book House, 1991 ed.


To take things in the order Bowman states them,

(A) his “literal” translation of Heb. 1:8 is certainly not literal. As we saw at the beginning of this paper, the actual NT Greek literally says “the throne of you the god into the age of the age.” The understood verb “is” may be inserted anywhere in the sentence, but it is not literally in the original manuscript, and to insist that it must be inserted and interpreted as Bowman has done is simply (literally) untrue! In fact it seems much more probable, whether one inserts it before or after “the god,” to mean: ‘the throne of you IS the God into the age of the age.’ (Although it is less likely, it is possible that ho theos could be considered a vocative [‘O God’] - but see trinitarian Dr. Westcott’s quote above). But, at any rate, Bowman is not being truthful when he says he is “translating literally” as ‘your throne, O God, is forever and ever...’!


(B) Bowman declares, “In Scripture a ‘throne’ is not the source of one’s authority, but the position or place from which one rules.”

Isn’t it terribly strange that famed trinitarian New Testament scholars such as Dr. Westcott, Dr. Moffatt, Dr. Goodspeed (Smith-Goodspeed’s  AT), and Dr. William Barclay (The Daily Study Bible Series) all prefer the interpretation “Thy throne is God”? (And highly respected trinitarian Bibles ASV, RSV, and NEB also give this rendering as a proper alternate.) Would these respected trinitarian authorities really render this scripture that way if “throne” could only be interpreted in a literal way?


The trinitarian New Bible Dictionary tells us that in Scripture “the throne symbolizes dignity and authority” - p. 1196 (2nd ed.), Tyndale House, 1984. (Compare Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.)


And the equally trinitarian (and highly respected - by trinitarians) The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia tells us about “throne”: “Usually the symbol of kingly power and dignity .... It symbolizes: (1) The exalted position of earthly kings, ... their majesty and power .... (2) The majesty and power of Jehovah as the true king of Israel; .... (3) The rule of the promised theocratic king (the Messiah), its everlasting glory and righteousness. He, too, is Jehovah’s representative [so Jehovah is the Messiah’s ‘throne’ (“power,” “authority,” and “glory”)]....” - p. 2976, Vol. IV, Eerdmans, 1984 printing.


Please examine the implied meanings of “throne” in the following scriptures: Gen. 41:40; 2 Sam. 7:13, 14, 16; 2 Sam. 14:9; 1 Ki. 1:37, 47; Ps. 94:20 (“rulers,” RSV, Mo; “tribunals,” JB, NAB) ; Col. 1:16 (compare the very trinitarian TEV and GNB: “spiritual powers” and the Phillips translation: “power”). These clearly do not exclusively mean just “a place” as Bowman insists. In fact, the very trinitarian Good News Bible (GNB) actually renders the Hebrew “throne” at Gen. 41:40 as ”authority.” Also note that even IF Heb. 1:8 were translated “Your throne, O God, is forever,” it would certainly mean more than “the seat you sit upon is everlasting”! It still speaks of the kingly power and authority which will last forever! Bowman is clearly wrong in saying that ‘throne’ must mean the “position or place from which one rules” and denying many other figurative uses.


(C)The writer of Hebrews is quoting Ps 45:6 and applying it to the Son to show that the Son is far greater than any of the angels [see quotes by Barclay and Robertson: HEB 2-3]. However, if all this verse means is that the Son’s authority derives from God, this in no way makes him unique or greater than the angels...” says Bowman.


However, the complete quote from Ps. 45:6, 7 which begins at Heb. 1:8 includes Heb. 1:9. This verse not only specifies that God is the God of the king (Jesus), but also concludes with “God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Jesus was “anointed” (brought into a position he didn’t originally have) by God and, at that point, came to be above his fellows. This is why Heb. 1:8, 9 was quoted by the writer of Hebrews: to show that Jesus is now (after God appointed [Heb. 1:2, 4] and anointed him) higher than the angels (who had been his “fellows”).


Corroborating this is respected trinitarian Bible scholar, Dr. E. F. Scott, Emeritus Professor at the Union Theological Seminary, who wrote: “The author of Hebrews ... thinks of [Jesus] as an angel, whom God had exalted above all others, investing him with his own majesty and calling him by the name of Son.” - p. 726, An Encyclopedia of Religion, 1945 ed.


And, again, the trinitarian The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible tells us that at this time the Jewish expectation was that the Christ was “a pre-existent, heavenly ANGELIC being who, at the end of time, will appear at the side of God as judge of the world [see Acts 7:55-56].” - p. 364, Vol. 3, Abingdon Press, 1962.


Similarly, that most famous of Jewish scholars and teachers of the first century A. D., Philo (see the LOGOS study), wrote about Hagar erroneously describing her seeing the Angel of God as seeing God:


“For just as those who are unable to see the sun itself see the gleam of the parhelion [a ‘mock sun’ - an optical illusion, not the true sun - RDB] and [erroneously] take it for the sun, ... so some regard the image of God, His angel the Word, as His very self.” - p. 423, Philo, vol. V, “On Flight and Finding,” Harvard University Press, Loeb Classical Library, 1988 printing.


“Angel of the Lord [angel of Jehovah] - occurs many times in the Old Testament, where in almost every instance it means a supernatural personage to be distinguished from Jehovah .... Some feel the pre-incarnate Christ is meant.” - p. 39, Today’s Dictionary of the Bible (trinitarian), Bethany House Publ., 1982.


“Angel of the Lord. ... Christ’s visible form before the incarnation.” - p. 40, Smith’s Bible Dictionary (trinitarian), Hendrickson Publ.


ANGEL OF THE LORD, ... is represented in Scripture as a heavenly being sent by God to deal with men as his personal agent and spokesman [‘word’] .... In the NT [which trinitarians agree explains and amplifies the OT] there is no possibility of the angel of the Lord being confused with God. .... mostly when appearing to men he is recognized as a divine being, even though in human form, and is [sometimes] addressed as God” - p. 38, New Bible Dictionary, Tyndale House (trinitarian), 1984 printing.


“The Angel of the LORD.... Traditional [from 2nd century A. D. (at least)] Christian interpretation has held that this ‘angel’ was a preincarnate manifestation of Christ as God’s Messenger-Servant. It may be ..., the angel could speak on behalf of (and so be identified with) the One [Jehovah] who sent him” - footnote for Gen. 16:7 in the trinitarian The NIV Study Bible by Zondervan Publishing, 1985.


It is not uncommon for a trusted servant to actually represent his master in dealings with others. “What a servant says or does is [sometimes] ascribed to the master” - Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, “Hints and Helps to Bible Interpretation,” Eerdmans Publishing, 1978 printing.


The angel of Jehovah “is a heavenly being given a particular task by Yahweh [Jehovah], behind whom the angel’s personality entirely disappears .... because Yahweh’s holiness could have destroyed Israel, only his angel was to go with the people.” - [see 1 John 4:12; John 6:46.] - The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (trinitarian), Vol. 1, p. 101, Zondervan Publ., 1986.


[Even the person speaking to Moses from the burning bush was an angel! Even though he spoke Jehovah's words and seemed to Moses to be Jehovah, we know that it was an angel speaking and acting for Jehovah: Acts 7:30.]


Please compare the following scriptures: Gen. 16:10, 11 and 13; Gen. 31:11 and Gen. 31:13; Gen. 32:24-30 and Hosea 12:4; Judges 6:16 and 6:20-23.


It should be obvious that the Angel of Jehovah is NOT Jehovah himself! Even many trinitarian scholars admit the obvious here. However, some are unwilling to let any opportunity go by, no matter how poor, (since there is no real evidence for it to begin with) to insist that Jesus is Jehovah. So, although admitting that Jesus was (or probably was) the Angel of Jehovah in the OT (at least part of the time) they also insist that he was also Jehovah!


Consider, however, if “Angel of Jehovah” really meant that the one who had that title was Jehovah (even though the term literally means “messenger OF Jehovah”), no inspired prophet of God or inspired Bible writer would ever use that term for anyone else. And yet Luke used it for the angel Gabriel, and Haggai actually used it for himself!


Yes, Luke tells us at Lk 1:11, 19 “Then there appeared to him the angel of the Lord [the very same wording as found in the Septuagint at Gen. 16:7] .... The angel replied, ‘I am Gabriel who stands in God’s presence, and I have been sent to you’” - The Jerusalem Bible, also see NJB and NAB (‘91).


And the prophet and inspired Bible writer Haggai writes at Haggai 1:13 “Then Haggai, the messenger of Jehovah, spoke Jehovah’s message to the people.” The words are identical to both the Greek and Hebrew of Genesis 16:7: “the messenger [or angel] of Jehovah”! And, of course, the NT shows that other angels [in addition to the “pre-incarnate” Jesus] may use the same title “angel of the Lord.” Even though the angel may, at times, actually identify himself as God (or Jehovah), it obviously does not mean he is Jehovah himself! He is perfectly representing Jehovah as his messenger and is speaking Jehovah’s very words at times.


(Let’s not overlook the fact that King David was described as being “like the Angel of God.” - 2 Sam. 19:28, NJB (c.f., 2 Sam. 19:27 in NASB, NEB, NKJV, AT, RSV). If this angel were really God Himself, such a statement would not have been made - or tolerated by David when he heard it. Instead, King David is often compared to the Messiah in Scripture!)


When Jehovah (God alone) created his workman, his firstborn, as his first and only direct creation (the highest of angels or servants of God: Jesus, the Word), he became the Father. This is why Jesus may be called the “Firstborn” and the “onlybegotten” (only direct creation by Jehovah himself). When Jesus (the Word), at the command and direction of Jehovah God (the Father), became the instrument by which the material universe was made, the other angels (his fellows) were present. When he spoke to men in behalf of Jehovah (often using Jehovah’s very words which his Father spoke through him), he was called “the Angel of Jehovah.” When he had finished his sacrifice on earth, he became much superior to his fellow angels by appointment and anointment from Jehovah (but even at this time he certainly did not become equal to God).


- - - - - - - - - -


3. A. Some translations of Heb. 1:8 by trinitarians:


“God is your throne” - AT (Dr. Goodspeed)


“God is thy throne” - Mo (Dr. Moffatt)


“God is your throne” - Byington


“God is your throne” - Dr. Barclay


“God is thy throne” - Dr. Westcott


“God is thy throne” - A.T. Robertson (Alternate translation)


“God is thy throne” - Dr. Young (Alt.)


“God is thy throne” - RSV (Alt.)


“God is your throne” - NRSV (Alt.)


“God is thy throne” - NEB (Alt.)


“Thy throne is God” - ASV (Alt.)

"Your kingdom, O God, will last"; or "God is your kingdom." - GNT (f.n.)


B. Some translations of Ps. 45:6 (quoted at Heb. 1:8) by trinitarians:


“Your Divine throne” - RSV


“Your throne is like God’s throne” - NEB


“God is your throne” - Byington


“The kingdom that God has given you” - GNB


“God has enthroned you” - REB


“Your throne is from God” - NJB

"Your throne, O god, stands forever;" - NAB ('91) - "the king, in courtly language, is called 'god,' i.e., more than human, representing God to the people." - note in NAB (2010).

"Your divine throne is eternal and everlasting. - CEB

"God is your throne for ever and for ever," - Barclay


"Possibly the king's throne is called God's throne because he is God's appointed regent. But it is also possible that the king himself is addressed as 'god'." - Ps. 45:6 note in the New International Version Study Bible (NIVSB).


“Your throne is a throne of God” - NRSV (Alt.)


“Thy throne is the throne of God” - ASV (Alt.)



- - - - - - - - - - -


4. New Testament texts produced by trinitarians in which Autou (“His”) was chosen as part of the original text ("... the scepter of his [autou] kingdom":


Westcott and Hort


Nestle’s


It has been admitted by respected trinitarian scholars (UBS text writers) that if autou ("his") were in the original writing of Heb. 1:8, the proper rendering earlier in the same verse must be “God is your throne”! – p. 663, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, United Bible Societies, 1971.


Even the highly respected NASB renders this as "... the scepter of his kingdom." The Jerusalem Bible; New Jerusalem Bible; The New English Bible; Revised English Bible; AT (Smith and Goodspeed); Rotherham; Byington; C.B. Williams; etc. also render it using "his."
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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.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Prov. 8:22-30

(From the RDB Files)


Prov. 8:22-30 "Wisdom" and Christ

To further show that Jesus is the first creation of God ("beginning of creation"), we should carefully examine Prov. 8:22-30. The understanding that "Wisdom" in these verses is, in reality, figurative of Jesus in his pre-human existence has always existed in the majority of churches that call themselves Christian. It was commonly noted in the writings of the Church Fathers of the first centuries of Christianity (including such noted scholars as Origen, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, etc.) Many Bible scholars (trinitarians included) have even said that this connection was made in the New Testament at 1 Cor. 1:24.

For example, trinitarian scholar Edmund Fortman writes:

"Paul applied it [Prov. 8:22-30] to the Son of God. The Apologists [Christian writers of the 2nd and 3rd centuries] used it to prove to Gentile and Jew the pre-existence of the Word and his role in creation." - (See CREEDS 5-16: quotes from the writings of Irenaeus, Origen, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Justin Martyr which equate the Son with "Wisdom" speaking at Prov. 8:22-30 and admit that he had been created by God as the beginning of God's works - Prov. 8:22.)

Trinitarian scholar Dr. W. H. C. Frend agrees:

"By the time he wrote to the Corinthians in c. 53, Paul had developed in his mind the equation of Christ with the divine Wisdom incarnate (`Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God' [1 Cor. 1:24])." - p. 102, The Rise of Christianity, Fortress Press, 1985.

We even find the extremely trinitarian New Bible Dictionary, 1982, p. 1257, saying:

"it is not unexpected that Paul would view Jesus ... as the Wisdom of God. That Paul saw in Christ the fulfilment of Pr. 8:22 ff. seems apparent from Col. 1:15 ff., which strongly reflects the OT description of wisdom."

And the Gospel writers, according to the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, also may have made the Jesus/Wisdom connection: Luke 11:49 speaks of "a word of the wisdom of God" and the parallel account in Matt. 23:34 ff. "is understood as a word of Jesus." Also, in connection with the Gospels at Matt. 12:42 and Luke 11:31, this trinitarian reference work says:

"This can be understood most easily by thinking of the heavenly wisdom whom men despise: in Jesus this wisdom has finally appeared." - p. 1030, Vol. 3.

The very trinitarian The Ante-Nicene Fathers admits:

Prov. viii 22-25. This is one of the favourite Messianic quotations of the Fathers, and is considered as the base of the first chapter of St. John's Gospel. - ANF 1:488, f.n. #10, Eerdmans, 1993 reprint.

And even that staunchest of trinitarian supporters (and probably the most influential and honored of trinitarian scholars), Augustine, made the "Word/Wisdom" connection with Jesus about 410 A. D. in his famous De Civitate Dei (The City of God), Book XI, Chapter 24.
Why, even at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A. D. Arius quoted this passage as proof that Jesus was not equally God:

"[Arius] had a sharply logical mind and appealed to biblical texts which apparently backed up his arguments - for example, John 17:3....and Proverbs 8:22." - p. 157 (165), Eerdman's Handbook to the History of Christianity, 1977.

And his trinitarian opponent, Athanasius, although sometimes also attempting to appeal to scripture, never refuted this usage of Proverbs 8:22 -

"Athanasius....did not refute Arius by rejecting the relevance of Prov. 8:22." (Even though he attempted to show that Jesus had not been created by quoting Ps. 110:3.) - p. 165 (173), Eerdman's Handbook.

In other words, when Arius quoted Proverbs 8:22 and applied it to Jesus, trinitarian Athanasius didn't dispute that application! Even Athanasius recognized that Wisdom in that scripture was intended to describe the Messiah! We even find Athanasius quoting a letter written by Dionysus, Bishop of Rome (259-268 A.D.) wherein he writes:

"if the Christ is Word and Wisdom and Power, as you know the Divine Scriptures say he is ..." - p. 32, Documents of the Christian Church, Bettenson, Oxford University Press.

Athanasius even admitted that Wisdom in Prov. 8:23, 30 was the Son: Discourse 1 Against the Arians.

Throughout Christendom today trinitarian translators in their reference Bibles refer Revelation 3:14 (which is certainly speaking about Jesus) to Prov. 8:22. For example, the King James Version, Collins Press; the NASB, reference edition, Foundation Press, 1975; and the RSV (with references) published by the trinitarian American Bible Society, all refer Rev. 3:14 to Prov. 8:22. And the GNB (with references) also published by the American Bible Society refers Prov. 8:22 to Rev. 3:14.

It is not surprising that so many Bible translators make this reference. The scholars who have produced the best, most-used texts of the original New Testament Greek used by Bible translators today agree that Rev. 3:14 quoted or borrowed its Greek phrasing from the ancient Greek Septuagint version of Proverbs 8:22 ! These (most, if not all, trinitarian) Bible scholars and their texts in which they have made this connection are:

(1) The Student's Edition of the New Testament in Greek, by Westcott and Hort, p. 613.
(2) The Greek New Testament, 3rd ed., by the United Bible Societies, p. 844.
(3) Novum Testamentum Graece, by Dr. Eberhard Nestle, p. 665.
(4) Novi Testamenti Biblia Graeca et Latin, by Joseph M. Bover, p. 725.

If Rev. 3:14 meant "the source of God's creation" (or "the ruler of creation"), it would be senseless to refer it to Prov. 8:22 where "Wisdom" ("Jesus") says that Jehovah "created me at the beginning of his work" - RSV. All these trinitarian sources, by referring Rev. 3:14 to Prov. 8:22, are clearly showing, instead, that the one who who calls himself "the beginning of his [God's] work" is the same person who calls himself the beginning of God's creation!

Similar references between Jesus' pre-human existence and Prov. 8:22-30 can be found in many trinitarian Bibles at other verses, also. My trinitarian KJV, for example, refers John 1:1, 2 to Prov. 8:30. My trinitarian NASB refers John 1:2, 3 to Prov. 8:30.

Even the trinitarian Today's Dictionary of the Bible, 1982, p. 389, in discussing the Greek word logos (often translated "Word" at John 1:1) tells us:

"Logos - Gr. for the term used by John as a name for Christ. It is he alone who so uses the term in the Prologue to his Gospel [John 1:1-17] and in the Apocalypse [Revelation]." And, "logos has a verb form ... meaning `to reason.' So, denotatively, the term has two Greek meanings, the primary unit of thought, speech and writing - word; and reasoning."

This same article goes on to describe the specialized pagan philosophical/religious meanings that were used in the "Golden Age of Greece" and concludes that it is unlikely that John would have used such paganistic meanings: "It is more likely, however, that John derives his Logos Christology from the personified Wisdom of proverbs 8." (Although this is a trinitarian tactic to avoid crediting Philo's Logos concept as the source of John's Logos concept, it is nevertheless true that Philo himself used the Wisdom of Prov. 8:22-30 as one of the important sources for his development of the popular early first century Jewish Logos concept. - See the LOGOS study.)

And, on p. 654, this same mainstream trinitarian publication says:

"`Wisdom' in [Proverbs 8:22-30] may be regarded not as a mere personification of the attribute of wisdom, but as a divine person, considered by many to clarify what John means by his use of logos (word) in [John] 1:1-17."

And the trinitarian New Bible Dictionary, 1982, which in its preface stresses its dedication to the "convictions for which the Tyndale Fellowship stands - the triunity of God....," states on p. 1256,

"The personification [of `Wisdom'] continues in Pr. 8 and reaches its climax in vv. 22 ff., where Wisdom claims to be the first creation of God and, perhaps, an assistant in the work of creation (8:30; cf. 3:19; the difficult amon, `as one brought up' in [the King James Version], should be translated `master workman,' as in RV, RSV,....)."

And on p. 1221 this same reference work (which Christianity Today describes as "true to the Bible as God's word" and "destined to become a standard that will be turned to often by students and ministers alike") tells us that "the Word" [Jesus] is "personified as `Wisdom'" at Prov. 8:22 !

And staunch trinity-defender of the 19th century, W. G. T. Shedd, admits that "Wisdom" of Prov. 8:22, 23 is certainly the pre-existent Christ! - Dogmatic Theology, Vol. 1, p. 317.
It is therefore extremely obvious that the identification of "Wisdom" at Prov. 8:22-30 with Jesus is not the invention of the Watchtower Society as some anti-Watchtower trinitarians imply!

So, if you accept the view of the majority of those in "traditional" Christendom throughout the Christian era, you will accept the understanding that "Wisdom" at Prov. 8:22-30 refers to the Messiah.

And if you accept that, then it is clear that the Messiah was created (at least there was a time when he was brought into existence by the Father, Jehovah) before the rest of creation. Note the following trinitarian translations of Prov. 8:22 -

1. "The LORD [Jehovah] created me at the beginning of his work" - RSV, and NRSV.
(Footnote in NRSV says "Or [created] me as the beginning [of his work].").
2."The LORD made me..." - MLB).
3."The Lord formed me..." - Living Bible.
4. "I was made in the very beginning." - Good News Bible.
5."Yahweh [Jehovah] created me..." - Jerusalem Bible and NJB.
6."The LORD created me..." - New English Bible and REB.
7."Jehovah framed me first" - Byington.
8."The LORD created me..." - The Reader's Digest Bible, 1982.
9."I was the first thing made, long ago in the beginning." - Holy Bible: Easy-to-Read
Version, World Bible Translation Center, 1992.
10."The Eternal [Jehovah] formed me first of his creation" - Moffatt.
11."The Lord made me the beginning [arkhe] of his ways for his works" - The Septuagint,
Zondervan, 1976.
12."The LORD created me as the first of his creations" - Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern
Text (George M. Lamsa's translation from the Aramaic of the Peshitta), Harper and Row
Publ. (Be sure to examine Prov. 8:23-25, 30 in all translations also.)

The Jewish Bibles also translate it similarly:

1."The LORD made me as the beginning of His way, the first of His works of old." - JPS, Margolis, ed., 1917.

2."The LORD created me at the beginning of His course as the first of His works of old." - Tanakh, JPS, 1985.

Why, even that popular trinitarian study Bible, The NIV Study Bible, translates Prov. 8:22 as "the LORD brought me forth as the first of his works" and explains in a footnote for Prov. 8:22:

"brought ... forth. The Hebrew for this verb is also used in Ge 4:1; 14:19, 22 (`Creator')." - Zondervan, 1985.

And a noted Hebrew-English Lexicon has for qanah in Prov. 8:22:
“1 get, acquire (all poetry) :

“a. of God as originating, creating, קֹנֵה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ Genesis 14:19, 22; Deuteronomy 32:6 (Israel), Psalm 139:13 (כִּלְֹיתָ֑י); Proverbs 8:22 ( חכמה q. v.).” - Brown-Driver-Briggs, p. 888-889. 


Compare the Septuagint at Prov. 8:22 where Wisdom says, "The Lord [YHWH] created (ektise) me ...." 

And the trinitarian The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology tells us:

"Created prior to all the [other] works of creation (Prov. 8:22-31), [Wisdom] discloses to men the original order inherent in creation." - p. 1029, Vol. 3, Zondervan, 1984.

The trinitarian A Dictionary of the Bible, Hastings (ed.) tells us about Wisdom in Prov. 8:

"Wisdom is spoken of in such a way as to make it impossible to believe that only the Divine attribute of wisdom is meant .... It is something outside of, yet standing alongside of, God, created by Him.... Wisdom is further represented as `playing' like a child before Jehovah in His habitable earth, in all the glow of conscious power and as taking special delight in the sons of men." - p. 281, Supplement, 1988 printing.


It is also very clear from scripture that the rest of creation from Jehovah (who alone is the Father) was accomplished through the hands of his first (and only direct - "only-begotten") creation, who was like a master worker for Jehovah. (Remember the trinitarian sources which refer Proverbs 8:30 to John 1:1-3.)

Notice how these trinitarian Bibles render Prov. 8:30:

30 I was beside him, like a master worker" – NRSV.
30 I was beside Him a master builder" – MLB.
30 I was by his side, a master craftsman - Jerusalem Bible and NJB;
30 I was beside him as his craftsman - NAB (1970 & 1991);
30 I was master-workman at his side. - Byington;

30 Then I was the craftsman at his side. - NIV;

30 Then I was beside Him [as] a master craftsman; And I was daily [His] delight, Rejoicing always before Him - NKJV.

30 Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him - NASB.

30 I was right beside the Lord, helping him plan and build. I made him happy each day, and I was happy at his side. - CEV.

30 Then became I beside him, a firm and sure worker, then became I filled with delight, day by day, exulting before him on every occasion; - Rotherham.

30 Then I was by his side, as a master workman: and I was his delight from day to day, playing before him at all times; - BBE.

30 "I was beside him as a master craftsman. I made him happy day after day, I rejoiced in front of him all the time," - GodsWord.

30 Then I was by him, [as] a master workman; And I was daily [his] delight, Rejoicing always before him, - ASV.

30 Then I am near Him, a workman, And I am a delight--day by day. Rejoicing before Him at all times, - Young's Literal Translation.

30 even I was a workman at His side; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him; - MKJV.

30 then I was at His side, like a master workman; and I was His delights day by day, rejoicing before Him at every time; - LITV.

30 I was with him forming all things: and was delighted every day, playing before him at all times; - Douay.

30 I was a skilled craftsman beside Him. I was His delight every day, always rejoicing before Him. - Holman Christian Standard Bible.

30 then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, - English Standard Version.

30 was beside Him as the leading workman. I was His joy every day. I was always happy when I was near Him. - New Life Bible.

30 I was beside him like a skilled worker. The Lord was happy every day because of me. I made him laugh and be happy all the time. - ETRV.

30 Then I was the craftsman by his side. I was a delight day by day, Always rejoicing before him, - Hebrew Names Version.

30 Then I was by him, [as] a master craftsman; And I was daily [his] delight, Rejoicing always before him, - Updated Bible Version 1.9.

30 I was with him ordring all thinges, deliting dayly and reioysyng alway before hym. - The Bishop's Bible (1568).

30 I was with him, ordringe all thinges, delytinge daylie & reioysynge allwaye before him. - Coverdale (1535).

30 Y was making alle thingis with him. And Y delitide bi alle daies, and pleiede bifore hym in al tyme, - Wycliffe (1395)

30 I was by Him (harmozousa- "arranging all things – f.n.) – The Septuagint, Zondervan, 1970.

…………………….


([Prov.]8:30; cf. 3:19; the difficult amon, `as one brought up' in [the King James Version], should be translated `master workman,' as in RV, RSV,....)." - p. 1256, New Bible Dictionary, 1982.

……………………..

"525 [Amon] m. - workman, architect, ... Prov. 8:30, used of the hypostatic wisdom of God, the maker of the world." - p. 58, Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, Baker Book House, 1979.

…………………….

"525 amon (54c); from 539; an artificer, architect, master workman:--artisans (1), master workman (1)." - (#) is number of times this NASB word was translated from the original language. - Hebrew-Aramaic & Greek Dictionary: http://www.studybibleforum.com/htm_php.php3?do=show_marg_and_gh&b=20&c=8&v=30
(also see New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, - p. 1490, #525.

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

"I. [Amon]: artisan Je 52:15; Prov. 8:30; ['all undisputed instances have been cited']" - p. 19, A Concise Hebrew And Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, Eerdmans, 1988.

It may be that figures of speech and personification sometimes appear to be carried too far for our tastes today. But if this scripture only shows a quality personified, but not actually a person (as some anti-Watchtower publications claim), how can we explain that "Wisdom" (at Prov. 8:22-30) came into existence before the rest of creation?

The scriptures show that Jehovah (and only Jehovah) has always existed (Ps. 90:2). Since he is from eternity and has obviously always been wise, then Jehovah's own personal wisdom has always existed; it never was created or produced. And since wisdom cannot exist apart from a personality who is capable of using it, and, since the "Wisdom" of Prov. 8:22-30 came into existence before the rest of creation, it cannot represent the wisdom of any other creature (whether angels or men) but a "firstborn Son"! 

Therefore, this "Wisdom" (at Prov. 8:22-30) must picture a person who was created "at the beginning of His [Jehovah's] work." The rest of the angelic "Sons of God" were created later (but still before "the beginning" of the creation of the world - Job 38:4-7) through the efforts of this Firstborn Son, "Wisdom," the "Master Worker" who came to be at Jehovah's side. 

Notice how even a number of Trinitarian translations of Micah 5:2, 4 (recognized as one of the OT prophecies of the Messiah) reinforce this fact:

“But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient days.”

….
And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of [YHWH],
in the majesty of the name of [YHWH] his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth” - NRSV. (Cf. RSV; NAB; NJB; NIV; AT; )