Friday, May 06, 2016

A Trinitarian Take on Jehovah


A short article interestingly titled “Jehovah” was presented by a Young-Earth Creationist group and written by Trinitarian John D. Morris, Ph.D.[1]

It began with the following:
“And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands.” (Hebrews 1:10)

The primary name for God in Scripture is the majestic name Jehovah, occurring nearly seven thousand times. The early Jews were reluctant to use that name, for fear of using it lightly (Exodus 20:7), and substituted the word Adonai (meaning Master or Lord) in its place. Our English versions have followed suit, using the term “LORD” for Jehovah (small or all caps to distinguish it from Adonai, or Lord). Thus, the name Jehovah appears only four times in the King James and causes us at times to miss the full impact of the passage.

This is especially true in the New Testament quotations from Old Testament passages which used the name “Jehovah” for which “Lord” has been substituted. Now, in the English versions, the name “Lord” appears. If “Jehovah” (i.e., deity) were read instead, much richer meaning would be gathered,
It’s always a pleasure to see Trinitarians acknowledge that (1) Jehovah is a permissible handling of the Tetragrammaton instead of insisting on “Yahweh,” and that (2) Jehovah belongs in the “NT,” especially with his acknowledgment of a much richer meaning being gathered.

However, Dr. Morris then reminds us that he is a Trinitarian, as he continues without skipping a beat:
and it would prove beyond a doubt the full deity of Christ. Consider two examples.

First, our text quotes from Psalm 102:25-27. The entire psalm consists of praise to Jehovah, and here in Hebrews it addresses the Son. If we read “thou, Jehovah, in the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth” and realize that Jesus is the subject of the passage, we recognize that Jesus can be none other than the Creator God.

Also, in Matthew 3:3, where John the Baptist fulfilled his prophesied role by teaching “Prepare ye the way of the Lord,” quoting from Isaiah 40:3, we see Jesus equated with the Jehovah of the Old Testament, for Isaiah uses the term LORD, or Jehovah.
These comments about Psalm 102:25-27 and Isaiah 40:3 are adroitly addressed on page 414 in the 1989 book Reasoning From the Scriptures:[2]
Application to Jesus Christ by inspired Bible writers of passages from the Hebrew Scriptures that clearly apply to Jehovah

Why does John 1:23 quote Isaiah 40:3 and apply it to what John the Baptizer did in preparing the way for Jesus Christ, when Isaiah 40:3 is clearly discussing preparing the way before Jehovah? Because Jesus represented his Father. He came in his Father’s name and had the assurance that his Father was always with him because he did the things pleasing to his Father.—John 5:43; 8:29.

Why does Hebrews 1:10-12 quote Psalm 102:25-27 and apply it to the Son, when the psalm says that it is addressed to God? Because the Son is the one through whom God performed the creative works there described by the psalmist. (See Colossians 1:15, 16; Proverbs 8:22, 27-30.) It should be observed in Hebrews 1:5b that a quotation is made from 2 Samuel 7:14 and applied to the Son of God. Although that text had its first application to Solomon, the later application of it to Jesus Christ does not mean that Solomon and Jesus are the same. Jesus is “greater than Solomon” and carries out a work foreshadowed by Solomon.—Luke 11:31. (italics original)
He closes his article with this smug and glib comment:
In these and many other examples, we see Christ as the Jehovah Jesus and that the Lord of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New Testament.
This was stated while being blissfully oblivious to scriptural mechanics—how the Bible works. This can be clearly seen when also considering Revelation 14:1, which presents a group of people with two separate names inscribed on their foreheads: the name of the Lamb, Jesus, and the name of his Father—Jehovah as clearly identified for us in Deuteronomy 32:6, Isaiah 63:16, 64:8, Jeremiah 31:9 and Malachi 2:10, which all in one way or another identify God or Jehovah as the Father.

Thus, Trinitarianism is guilty of the grave sins of scriptural illiteracy, intellectual absenteeism, and sustained cognitive dissonance as clearly seen in its irresponsible and biased handling of Holy Scripture. It is comparable to the false interpretation of Young-Earth Creationism, which similarly holds its adherents in its tyrannical, mind-control grip.

Excursus on Proverbs 30:4
The final statement in Proverbs 30:4 is: “What is his name and the name of his son—if you know?” This has been understood messianically according to the NET Bible footnote, as in, the name of God and of his Son Jesus. However, I refer to the excellent Questions From Readers in the July 15th 1987 issue of The Watchtower, which says in part:
This verse makes it evident how limited man is compared to the Most High. Its rhetorical questions could be asked about any man, but these questions should lead a reasoning person to the Creator.

The writer Agur asked: “[quotation]”—Proverbs 30:1, 4.

No imperfect human has gone up to heaven and come back omniscient; nor has any human the ability to control the wind, the seas, or the geological forces shaping the earth. In effect, then, Agur asked: ‘Do you know the name or family line of any man who has done these things?’ We must answer no. (underscore added)
Thus, despite the historical inclination to interpret this verse messianically, I think it’s best to see it as seen here, as a reference to a hypothetical man and his progeny—especially since “son” in Hebrew may also mean “grandson, great grandson, etc.” Additionally, Jesus appeared to answer the opening question “who has ascended to heaven and then descended?” for us, confirming that Agur had a hypothetical man in mind, when he said “no man has ascended into heaven.” Jesus then afirmed however that he is the one who “descended from heaven.” (John 3:13) Thus, the above Watchtower article closed with this positive reminder: “we should humbly look to the One who is able to provide the wisdom we need. This is the Most Holy One, whose name we can know and whose Son has died so that we might be ransomed and gain everlasting life.—Matthew 20:28.”


Footnotes:
[1] Found here: http://www.icr.org/article/9232

[2] Found here on the Watchtower Online Library: http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1101989276#h=45


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