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The Trinity in Two Watchtower Publications
By Gary F. Zeolla
The following is Part Four of a four-part article. It began at The Trinity in Two Watchtower Publications - Part One and is continued here from Part Three.
Titles of Jehovah Applied to Jesus Christ
In the Bible, several titles of God are applied to Jesus. A list of these can be found in the previously mentioned Scripture Study. However, the WT tries to evade the force of this evidence by saying that it doesn't really matter.
If a certain title or descriptive phrase is found in more than one location in the Scriptures, it should never hastily be concluded that it must always refer to the same person. Such reasoning would lead to the conclusion that Nebuchadnezzar was Jesus Christ, because both were called "king of kings" (Dan 2:37; Rev 17:14); and that Jesus' disciples were actually Jesus because both were called "the light of the World." (Matt 5:14; John 8:12) We should always consider the context and any other instances in the Bible where the same expression occurs. (RS, p.414).
First, it should be noted that Christians do not claim that Jesus and the Father are the same PERSON. Jesus and the Father are of the same essence but are different Persons. The lookout must always be made for the WT's attempts to blur this distinction.
Second, what RS suggest will be done; this article will "consider the context" of the first expression. Nebuchadnezzar is called "kings of kings" but is he affirmed as being so? There can be difference between what is said by someone in the Bible and what the Bible affirms as being true.
For instance, in Genesis 3:5, Satan tells Eve that eating of the fruit will make her like God. But when she eats it, she is condemned by God for doing so (Gen 3:13). In other words, the Bible records Satan's statement but its truthfulness is denied.
In Daniel 2:37 Nebuchadnezzar is called the "king of kings," but is this designation upheld? After hearing this designation, he is inflated with pride (4:28-29). As a result God humbled him by making him eat grass for seven years (4:31-33).
After being humbled like this, he was forced to proclaim, " Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, am praising and glorifying the King of the heavens" (4:37). By praising God as the "King of the heavens" He acknowledges that God is a greater King than he is. There can only be one "king of kings." So with this statement, he (and thus the Bible) has disavowed his claim to the title of "king of kings."
However, when Jesus is proclaimed to be "King of kings," His claim to this title is never disavowed. In fact, it is written on His thigh (Rev 17:14; 19:16). Moreover, He shares this title with God (1Tim 6:15). But remember, there can only be one "King of kings!"
Third, "other instances in the Bible where the same expression occurs' will be considered as regards both Jesus and the disciples being called "the light of the world."
It must first be asked, what is meant by "light?" In the Scriptures, "light" refers to truth and righteousness. By contrast, "darkness" refers to falsehood and unrighteousness. (see 1John 1:5-10).
To be "the light of the world" refers to anyone God uses to turn people from untruth to truth; from a life of sin to a life of righteousness (Luke 1:19). This ministry is dedicated to being used by God in this manner, hence the name - "Darkness to Light" (see Acts 26:18).
God uses many people in this capacity or He does it Himself (Isa 9:2f). So applying the title "the light of the world" to Jesus and the disciples in no way means they are the same. But are there titles applied to both Jesus and the Father which can only refer to one? This is the question that must be asked.
Can there be more than one "King of kings?" More than one "first and last?" More than one Savior from sin? More than one "I AM?" See again the Trinity Scripture study for references to these and other titles that can be held by only One but which both Jesus and the Father share.
Scriptures Referring to Jehovah Applied to Jesus
Next, RS tries to deal with the fact, that in the Bible there are Scripture verses which in the OT refer to God that are applied to Jesus in the NT.
In this section, RS only refers to two such instances. But in the Trinity Scripture Study, it is shown that this pattern occurs in at least 11 places in Scripture. Is the WT unaware of these other nine instances or has it just chosen to ignore them?
One of the instances RS attempts to discount will be looked at. It is the quotation of Psalm 102:25-27 in Hebrews 1:10-12. RS says this passage talking about God's creation of the heavens and the earth is applied to Jesus, "Because the Son is the one THROUGH WHOM God performed the creative works there described by the psalmist (RS, p.414; emphasis in original).
Thus, according to this interpretation, TWO Persons were involved in creation - the Father and the Son. However, in Isaiah 44:24 God proclaims, "I am the LORD, who makes all things, who stretches out the heavens ALL ALONE, Who spreads abroad the earth BY MYSELF" (NKJV, emphasis added in the last two phrases).
If the Lord says He creates "all alone" and "by Myself," how can it be said He uses Jesus to create - unless somehow the LORD and Jesus are one and the same?
Were the Translators Qualified for the Task?
The last section of the "Trinity" article discusses eight verses where there are important disagreements in their translation between different versions of the Bible. The verses discussed are: John 1:1; 8:58; Acts 20:28; Rom 9:5; Phil 2:5f; Col 2:9; Titus 2:13 and Heb 1:8.
Two of these verses are discussed in depth elsewhere on this site. Reference has already been made to the article Jehovah's Witnesses and John 1:1. And see the two-part article starting at Romans 9:5 Research - Part 1 for an-depth look at this verse. God-willing, additional articles will be posted in the future discussing the other verses.
In the meantime, it needs to be asked, how can the non-Greek reading person decide which rendering is the most accurate? This question is related to the larger question of how can a person who doesn't know Hebrew or Greek decide which translation of the Bible should be used and trusted.
To answer these questions, a couple of additional questions need to first be answered. How many people worked on the particular version? Were the translators qualified for the task of translating difficult languages like Hebrew and Greek into English?
Throughout this article, seven versions have been mainly referred to: the KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV and the WT's own version, the NWT. What is the background of these versions?
The KJV was first published in 1611. It was the result of a project commissioned by King James. 54 of "the leading churchmen and scholars of the time" worked on the translation. "They worked in several teams for seven years, their individual work finally coordinated by a small committee." (The above is from a flyer titled "The Bible We Call 'King James Version'" by The American Bible Society, 1865 Broadway, New York, NY 10023).
The NKJV was published in 1982. "... over 130 scholars, editors, church leaders, and Christian laity were commissioned to work on the project." Dozens of the people working on the project had doctorate degrees in the various fields necessary to properly translate the Scriptures.
Included among this number was a committee of 24 men, all with doctorate degrees, who oversaw the work. See NKJV Translators for a full list of these peoples names and qualifications.
The NASB was first published in 1960. Information on this version is available from: The Lockman Foundation ~ 900 South Euclid Street ~ La Habra, CA 90631.
The information sheet for this version states, "...more than fifty men who have earned doctorates in Biblical languages worked on the translation of the Scriptures." There is also an Editorial Board for the NASB. It consists of seven men, all also with doctorate degrees. The names and qualifications of these seven men are listed on the flyer available from the Lockman Foundation.
The NT of the NIV was released in 1973. The OT was finished in 1978. A booklet titled, Questions and Answers about the New International Version is available from the International Bible Society, now located in Colorado Springs, CO. The booklet states that over a hundred people worked on the NIV. In addition, a 15 member governing body oversaw the work. All of these people had Master's or doctorate degrees.
The MKJV and LITV are a little different. They are mainly the production of one person, J.P. Green. Mr. Green has been working in the area of Bible translating and publishing for several decades. This writer has been corresponding with him for several years now. And I have found that Mr. Green invites impute on his translation.
If a reader of one of his versions feels a passage is not translated as good as it could be, write him. Hell be receptive about the comments. He can reached at: Sovereign Grace Publishers ~ PO Box 4998 ~ Lafayette, IN.
Moreover, the LITV and the MKJV have gone through several editions. Each new editions reflects the impute of readers. In fact, for the most recent edition of the NT volume of his Interlinear Bible (which has the LITV in the margin), I helped proof-read the Gospel of Mathew and made several recommendations. My name is included in the "Acknowledgments" page (though he mis-spelled my last name as "Zeola" - one "l" instead of two, oh well).
Also included on the "Acknowledgments" page are 14 others who had impute to the work. So a total of 16 people (counting Green himself) actually were involved in the production of the latest version of the interlinear.
So the KJV had 54 scholars working on it; the NKJV over 130; the NASB about 60, the NIV over 100, and editor of the the MKJV and LITV is open to impute from readers. This large number of people working on each version enables review, oversight and re-review of the translations. It should also be noted that all of these people were committed to the belief that the Bible is the inspired, infallible Word of God, without error in the original manuscripts.
Given these facts, a resounding "Yes" can be given to the title of this section regarding the translators of these six versions. They were all qualified for the task of translating the Word of God.
But what About the NWT?
But what about the NWT? How many people were involved in its production? What were their qualifications? The WT refuses to answer these questions. Writing to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society will not attain information about the translators as can be had by writing the publishers of the previously discussed modern-day versions.
However, the names and qualifications for the translators are known. This is thanks to ex-JW William Cetnar. He was still a JW and working at Bethel (the headquarters of the WT, located in Brooklyn, NY) during the 1950's when the NWT was being produced.
He relates in his book Questions for Jehovah's Witnesses, that only five men worked on the NWT. They were: N.H. Knorr, F.W. Franz, Albert D. Schroder, G.D. Gangas and M. Henschel.
He states in reference to these men:
Aside from Vice-president Franz (and his training was limited), none of the committee members had adequate schooling or background to function as critical Bible translators. Franz's ability to do a scholarly job of translating Hebrew since he never formally studied Hebrew is open to serious question (Cetnar, p.68).
Cetnar then relates a story of Franz's appearance in a Scottish Court of Sessions in November, 1954. During this trial, and under oath, Franz admitted he was not able to translate Genesis 2:4. As Cetnar relates, to translate Gen 2:4 into English is ".. is a simple exercise with which an average first- or second-year Hebrew student in seminary would have no difficulty" (Cetnar, pp. 68f). Although this writer's knowledge of Hebrew is limited, he could easily perform this "exercise.
So a mere five men worked on the NWT! This small number left no possibility of oversight or review of their work. They had little or no knowledge of the original languages. And I doubt very seriously if the WT would be open to impute from readers with recommendations on how to improve the NWT in future editions.
Given this information, this writer agrees with Cetnar's assessment of the situation, "If I were on the translation committee, I would want my name kept secret also" (Cetnar, p.68).
Who Should Be Trusted?
The KJV, MKJV, LITV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, with a combined total of hundreds of qualified people working on them, arrived at very similar translations of the previously mentioned eight verses. The NWT with four unqualified men producing it, end up with radically different renderings. The NWT also differs in many other places.
Given these facts, can the NWT be trusted as a faithful rendering of the Scriptures? And further, if in fact the WT has produced a perverted version of the Word of God, should it's other publications be trusted? This study of You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth and Reasoning from the Scriptures has demonstrated these two WT books use faulty, dishonest, and even deceptive methods to propagate WT teachings.
It should also be noted that the names of the authors of these books have also been withheld by the WT. Paraphrasing Cetnar's earlier statement, "If I were the author of either of these books, I would want my name kept secret also."
After considering the above facts and all of the information presented throughout this article, there is only one conceivable conclusion; the WT can not possibly be "God's organization." It does not deserve the trust JWs place it. Even further, the Scriptures never tell us to trust in any human organization anyhow.
So who should be trusted? The writer to the Hebrews declares that we should be "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Heb 12:2; NKJV). It is Jesus who should be trusted!
Forgiveness and A Relationship with the Triune God!
Because of His love for us, the Father (the first Person of the Trinity), sent the Son (the second Person of the Trinity) to die for our sins (1John 4:10). If Jesus was just a finite, created being, His sacrifice would also have been finite. He could not have paid for all the sins of all of those who trust in Him for the forgiveness of their sins.
But John wrote about Jesus' sacrifice, "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world" (1John 2:2; NKJV). Note: "propitiation" means, "appeasement, conciliatory sacrifice" (American, p.993; The NIV has "atoning sacrifice").
F.B. Meyer discusses this subject in his exposition of Hebrews 9:28. The first part of the verse reads, "so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many" (NKJV).
F.B. Meyer comments:
There must have been something more than mortal in him, who in this one death could bear away the sins of many. Good and great men have died, who would have done anything to cancel or atone for the sins of their nation, their family, and their beloved; but in vain. How marvelous must be his worth, whose sufferings and death will counterveil for a world's sin!
... If it be true his death "once" put away sin, then, bring hither your songs of worship, your wreaths of empire, your ascriptions of lowiest adoration; for he must be God. No being of inferior make could do for man what, in that brief but dreadful darkness, he has done once for all, and forever (Meyer, pp. 181f).
Christ's death opened the way into the holiest, the very presence of God the Father (Heb 4:14-16). Even further, since Jesus is God, and thus infinite Himself, a personal relationship with Him is available for all who believe (Matt 28:20; 1John 1:3).
Moreover, the Holy Spirit (the third Person of the Trinity) indwells all those who trust in Christ (Rom 8:9). And being a Person who is God, it is possible to have communion (or fellowship) with the Spirit (2Cor 13:14; NKJV). Believers are led, assured of their salvation, and loved by Him (Rom 8:14-16; 15:30).
Forgiveness and a relationship with the Triune God awaits (Eph 1:7-14).
The links below are direct links to where the book can be purchased from Books-A-Million.
American Heritage Dictionary. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1985.
Brown, Colin. ed. New International Dictionary of NT Theology . Grand Rapids: Regency, 1986.
Bush, L. Russ. ed. Classical Readings in Christian Apologetics A. D. 100-1800 . Grand Rapids: Academie Books, 1983.
Calvin, John. Calvin's Commentaries . transl. Wm. Pringle. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979.
Cetnar, William. Questions for Jehovah's Witnesses . Kunkletown, PA: self-published, 1983.
Dana, H.E. and Julius Mantey. Manual Grammar of the Greek NT . New York: Macmillian, 1955.
Erickson, Millard. Concise Dictionary of Christian Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1986.
_____ Christian Theology . Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985.
Ferm, Vergillius. The Encyclopedia of Religion. Secaucus, NJ: Popular Books, 1945.
Gaebelein, Frank. ed. Expositor's Bible Commentary . Grand Rapids: Regency, 1981-92.
Harris, Doug. Awake! to the Watch Tower. Twickenham, England, 1988.
Kittle, Gerhaard and Gerhard Friedrich. ed. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. "Abridged in One Volume" by Geoffery Bromily. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1985.
Lane, Tony. ed. Harper's Concise Book of Christian Faith. San Francisco: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1984.
Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity . New York: Collier Books, 1952.
Louw, Johannes and Eugene Nida. eds. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament . New York: United Bible Societies, 1988.
Meyer, F.B. The Way into the Holiest. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1893.
Moyer, Elgin. The Wycliffe Biographical Dictionary of the Church. rev. by Earle Cairns. Chicago: Moody Press, 1982.
Reasoning from the Scriptures. Brooklyn: Watchtower, 1985, 1989.
Reed, David. Jehovah's Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse. . Grand Rapids: Baker, 1986.
Rienecker, Fritz and Cleon Rogers. New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament . Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980.
Rhodes, Ron. Christian Research Newsletter. Nov/Dec 1991, Vol.4, Issue 5.
Thayer, Joseph. Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon . Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Publishers, 1981.
You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth. Brooklyn: Watchtower, 1982, 1989.
Zeolla, Gary F. Scripture Workbook . This book has three chapters on the Trinity and one specifically on Jehovah's Witnesses.
King James Version (KJV).
(LITV), Third Edition, Literal Translation of the Bible Copyright 1995. Used by permission of the copyright holder, Jay P. Green, Sr.
Modern King James Version (MKJV), copyright 1962, 1990, 1993. Used by the permission of the copyright holder, Jay P. Green, Sr.
New American Standard Bible (NASB). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1977.
New International Version (NIV). Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984.
New King James Version (NKJV). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982.
New World Translation (NWT). Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1984.
The Trinity in Two Watchtower Publications. Copyright © 1999 by Gary F. Zeolla of Darkness to Light ministry (www.dtl.org).
The above article was originally published by Darkness to Light ministry in
It was posted on this Web site in January 1998.
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