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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

John 14:14 and the New World Translation

Robert Bowman in his Understanding Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baker Book House, 1991:

"John 14:14 should also be mentioned. In the NWT this reads: “If YOU ask anything in my name, I will do it.” The Greek text in the KIT [Kingdom Interlinear Translation], however, has me after ask, so that it should be translated: “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” It is true that some later Greek manuscripts omitted this word, but most of the earlier ones included it, and most modern editions of the Greek New Testament include it. At the very least, the NWT ought to have mentioned this reading in a note." - pp. 67-68.

But at John 14:14 'me' is omitted after 'ask' in the following trinitarian Bibles: KJV; NKJV; ASV; RSV; JB; NEB; REB; MLB; LB; AB; CBW; NLV; MKJV (Green); Darby; Webster’s; and Young’s.

Many of them do not mention an alternate reading of 'me' in a note! And, likewise, many of the Bibles which do translate ‘ask me’ in this verse do not mention an alternate reading without ‘me’!!

This is a disputed text. There exists manuscript evidence that ‘me’ may not have been used by the original writer.  (Also see  - Nov. 2, 2010 - where ‘Memra’ explains the importance of the ancient Coptic translation of this verse.)

However, there is no such dispute about John 16:23 where John wrote: “... whatever you ask the Father for, he will give you in my name.” We should ask the Father (not the Son) in Jesus’ name. Therefore 'me' at John 14:14 is even more in doubt.

Bowman has access to a copy of (and is quite familiar with) the 1984 NWT Reference Bible. He repeatedly quotes from it and refers to notes in it in both this 1991 publication (Understanding Jehovah’s Witnesses) and his 1989 publication, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of John.

Yes, the 1984 NWT Reference Bible (which does have notes, of course) says in a footnote for John 14:14:

14* “Ask,” ADIt and in agreement with 15:16 and 16:23; P66 [Aleph]BWVgSy(h,p), “ask me.”

So for Bowman to pretend here that the NWT does not even mention that some Greek manuscripts have the word ‘me’ in this verse is simply inexcusable!

Also see:

The Sahidic Coptic of John 14:14 (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)

John 14:14: To "me" or not to "me", that is the question (Sahidic Coptic Insight on NT Verses)

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Matt. 25:46 and the New World Translation - Does Kolasis Here Mean "Cutting Off" or "Punishment"?

Some condemn the New World Translation's use of kolasis as `cutting off' at Matt. 25:46 when they say that the word `punishment' is the only meaning cited in the lexicons for it.

This can easily be checked out! And easily proven false!

Dr. Young in his popular Young's Analytical Concordance, p. 995, defines this word, kolasis, as "a pruning, restraining". And although Strong's Exhaustive Concordance merely tells us kolasis derives from the source words kolazo and kolos (which means "to curtail"), The New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance tells us that kolasis comes from kolazo and kolos and that kolos means "docked" ("dock .... 1. to cut off" - Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary).

And what does highly respected NT Greek expert W. E. Vine say about the source word (kolazo) for kolasis in his An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 903 ?: "kolazo primarily denotes to curtail, prune, dock (from kolos, docked)."

An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon says that kolazo is "Properly, to curtail, dock, prune" - p. 441, Liddell & Scott, Oxford, 1994 printing.

At Matt. 25:46 it seems clear from context that "death" (or "cutting off") is the proper interpretation. Notice that "everlasting kolasis" is contrasted here with "everlasting life". Certainly "death" is the most appropriate contrast to "life". (Even if we insisted on a "punishment" meaning here, there is no reason why that "punishment" could not be understood as death as context demands in this verse. - compare the use of kolasis at Ezek. 18:30 in the ancient Greek Septuagint: the "punishment" here is also to be understood as death as the context of the entire chapter clearly shows. - Also note the everlasting punishment meted out at 2 Thess. 1:9 and the contrast of life with destruction at Jn 3:16 and Matt. 7:13, 14.)

Even the Presbyterian minister and anti-Watchtower writer R. H. Countess ADMITS that "the root meaning of [kolasis] is that of `checking' in the realm of trees..." - p. 81, The Jehovah's Witnesses' New Testament, 1987 ed. However, it is more accurately described (as shown above) as pruning of trees and vines and docking of animals (tails, horns, etc.).

But if we are referring to those persons or things which are pruned, docked, or cut off (the `branches,' `horns,' etc.), we are speaking of things that are no longer living but dead. These things are not being `corrected'. It is the remaining body (which loses that which was `pruned') that is being `corrected' through the destruction of that `limb,' `branch,' `horn,' etc.

This figurative use of cutting off branches and completely annihilating them is clear in John 15:5, 6 -

"I am the vine, you are the branches. .... If anyone does not remain in union with me, he is thrown away as a mere branch and is dried up; then it is picked up and thrown into the fire and burned up [kaiw, kaio]" - CBW.

Obviously when a branch is cut or broken off from the vine (or tree), it immediately begins to die. By the time it is dried up it is dead. Then, after it is dead, it is completely burned up, annihilated. Such figurative examples leave no place for the eternal torment concept favored by those who insist on the more ambiguous "eternal punishment" rendering.

The word used in this verse is kaio (kaiw in NT Greek) and defined by Thayer as: "to burn; consume with fire: pass. Jn. xv. 6; 1 Co. xiii. 3." – p. 319, #2545, Baker Book House, 1984 printing.

Popular NT scholar Dr. William Barclay writes about this verse: "The only thing that could be done with the wood pruned out of a vine was to make a bonfire of it and destroy it [not torture it]." – p. 174, The Gospel of John, Vol. 2, Revised Ed., The Daily Study Bible Series, 1975.

One of Christendom's most respected Bible dictionaries, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology ("Indispensable for advanced theological students and scholars as well as for ordinary Bible students." - Christianity Today) agrees:

"Jesus did not teach, like Plato and others, that the soul was intrinsically immortal and that it would necessarily go on after death. References to the eternal fire (Matt. 18:8; cf. Mk 9:43-48; Jude 7) are necessarily figurative


"Eternal judgment is referred to in Heb. 6:2 and 2 Thess. 1:9. This, like the idea of eternal fire, does not necessarily imply that those concerned go on being judged or continue to be consumed. If the metaphor of fire is to be pressed at all, it would imply that the fire of righteousness continues to burn, but that what is consumed once is consumed for good (cf. also Paul's observation about works being consumed by fire, 1 Cor. 3:15)." - p. 99, Vol. 3, Zondervan Publ., 1986.

You will find that the New World Translation is one of the very few Bibles that actually translates this word (kolasis) properly in spite of the rarity of occurrences of that word in the New Testament.

Also see:

Cutting Off - Links to Information (INDEX; Watchtower Online Library)

Cutting Off  (Insight
-1 pp. 562-563; Watchtower Online Library)

Matthews 25:46. KOLASIS : "cutting-off"- New World Translation (IN Defense of the NWT)

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

John 8:58 - Did Jesus Really Say, "I AM"?

Many Bible versions render John 8:58 this way: "Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."

And Ex. 3:14 this way: "God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

(Because of this, Trinitarians often refer to this as 'proof' that Jesus is the Hebrew GOD of the Old Testament.)

But are the words "I am" supposed to be God's name? Even if it were so, would it make sense in John 8:58 for Jesus to say the equivalent of, "Most assuredly I say to you, before Abraham was...JEHOVAH?!?"

Looking at the context, the correct phrasing of this sentence should be "I was" instead of "I am" when used after the word "before." Also in verse 57, the question to which Jesus was replying had to do with age, not identity.

During the exchange with the Jews leading up to John 8:58, nowhere does Jesus claim to be God. And as we've already seen, the words "I am" at John 8:58 (including the blatant unwarranted use of capitalization) is not only inaccurate but nonsensical.

Several translations phrase John 8:58 the correct way by which Jesus was actually illustrating how long he has existed. One, for instance:

"Jesus answered, "The truth is, I EXISTED BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS EVEN BORN!" (NLT)

Besides that, numerous Trinitarian authorities even have to admit that "I am" in Ex. 3:14 is not even correct and should be rendered more like "I will Be" (the meaning of God's name rather than God's personal name itself...Jehovah):

Encyclopedia Britannica:

"The writer of Exodus 3:14-15 ... explains it [the meaning of God's name] by the phrase EHYEH asher EHYEH (Ex. iii., 14); this can be translated `I am that I am' or more exactly `I am wont to be that which I am wont to be' or `I will be that which I will be.'" - p. 995, 14th ed., v. 12.

For much more, see:

I AM (John 8:58 / Ex. 3:14) - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

John 8:58 - The Translation “I Am” is Verbal Nonsense and Grammatically Erroneous (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

John 8:58 - Did Jesus Really Say, "I AM"? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Why it is Highly Probable That the Hebrew Word 'Ehyeh' is Mistranslated as "I AM" at Exodus 3:14 (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

What Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe About Jesus' Body Being 'Dissolved' Before He Was Resurrected as a Spirit?

Original Q and A's

The term “dissolved” was last used of Christ’s dead body in the 1953 Watchtower (w53 9/1; 518). Today we do not use that term to explain how God disposed of Christ’s human body. There (does not appear to be) anything inaccurate in using the word since one of its definitions is “to separate into parts or elements; disintegrate. Its just that “dissolve” also has unwanted connotations such as a slower process.

Witnesses believe exactly what the Bible states and they can also draw valid conclusions from those clear statements.

First, every explicit Scripture says that Jesus was resurrected with an invisible "spirit" body and not a visible fleshly body (1 Tim. 6:16; Eph. 1:17,18; 1 Pt. 3:18; 1 Cor. 15:42-50; Acts 13:34; 2 Cor. 5:16; Lk. 17:20; Mt. 24:3-39; 25:31; Jn. 6:51; Heb. 2:7-9, Phil. 2:7-10).

"Even Christ died once for all time concerning sins ... he being put to death in the flesh, but being made alive in the spirit."

Heb. 1:3 says that Jesus is now "the exact representation of [God's] very being." God is a Spirit and has never been flesh.

Christ's own words specifically said: "The world will see me no more... (Jn. 14:19).

Now we are given several facts in God’s Word from which we can draw reasonable conclusions as to what happened to Christ’s human body.

1.) The Bible says of Christ: “... concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he forsaken in Hades nor did his flesh see corruption” (Acts 2:31; Ps. 16:10).

Death and corruption was the punishment for sinful humans and so was NOT appropriate for the perfect man Jesus. It Christ body was not allowed to see corruption or decompose like sinful humans then God must have disposed of it in some instantaneous manner. So it is only logical to conclude that God miraculously caused Jesus’ body to disappear without corruption by being disintegrated (dissolved) back into the elements from which all human bodies are made.

2.) Next, Jesus Christ gave his flesh as a ransom for us (Jn. 6:51). Having given us his flesh if he ever took it back again he would nullify his sacrifice. If Christ had kept his body then there was no ransom!

According to Heb. 10:5-10 Christ's physical body was "prepared" so that it could be "offered," once and for all time. So when it had been "offered" then it had served it's purposed. Then, just as the animal sacrifices under the Law were disposed of so likewise would the body of Jesus would be disposed of (Heb. 13:10,11).

3.) Additionally, Moses foreshadowed Christ. When Moses died God took his body away (Deut. 34:5,6). Similarly, God removed Jesus' body just as he had removed Moses' body. While Moses’ body returned to the dust by process of decay, Christ’s body could not see corruption.

We also can draw several other logical conclusions as to why God removed Christ’s body.

Removing the body also helped Jesus' disciples to understand that he had been raised from the dead. A body would hamper the belief of the disciples in the fact that Jesus had been resurrected.

The body could have made it difficult to prove that Jesus had been resurrected. Opposers of the Christians could point to the body of Jesus after he was resurrected and claim that as evidence against his resurrection.

God's disposing of the body would prevent it being used as an object of worship as is done by the apostate church with the supposed bones of "saints." Again, this was prefigured with Moses. Jude writes that the Devil desired to get the body of Moses to use it as an object of worship.

Therefore, the conclusion that God miraculously disposed of Christ’s dead human body by simply disintegrating it is a reasonable conclusion. It logically follows from the evidence found in God’s Word.

On the other hand, the teaching that Christ was raised with a physical body must break every major rule of exegesis and demand that we have an ignorance of Greek grammar, of word definitions, and of the context..

Further, such an idea must contradict EVERY explicit statement in the Bible regarding Christ's heavenly body.

The only way we could believe that the heavenly Christ has a body of flesh would be to rip figurative language out of context and twist it to agree with our personal theology.

"Corporeal visibility to men in the present life is a dream, altogether unsanctioned in the New Testament, and calculated from age to age to involve feeble believers in disappointment."— Glasgow; The Apocalypse, Translated and Expounded, p. 126. Edinburgh, 1872.

(Source: This is the chosen best answer given by Bar_Anerges to this question.)

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Is Matt 24:40-42 Really Evidence For the "Rapture"?

Matt 24:40-42 says:

"Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken along and the other be abandoned; two women will be grinding at the hand mill: one will be taken along and the other be abandoned. Keep on the watch, therefore, because YOU do not know on what day YOUR Lord is coming."

Some have taken this passage to support the Rapture which is the belief that faithful Christians will be bodily caught up from the Earth, suddenly taken out of the world, to be united with the Lord “in the air.” The word “rapture” is understood by some persons, but not by all, to be the meaning of 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

Concerning the expression “taken along"

"After Jesus had cited the examples of Noah and Lot to show the nature of his presence and revelation he then gave evidence to show that his manifestation must precede the execution of adverse judgment. He said: “Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken along and the other be abandoned; two women will be grinding at the hand-mill: one will be taken along and the other be abandoned. Keep on the watch, therefore, because you do not know on what day your Master is coming.” (Matt. 24:40-42; Luke 17:34, 35, NW)

"The word used here in the Greek for the expression “taken along” is also used when Joseph is said to have taken his wife home. It is also as when Jesus is said to have taken Peter, James and John along with him into the mount of transfiguration. Jesus used the word when he said: “I am coming again and will receive you home to myself, that where I am you also may be.” (John 14:3; Matt. 1:20, 24; 17:1, NW) Thus, those “taken along” receive a favorable standing with the Lord and are brought into a way of salvation. This corresponds to Noah’s being taken into the ark the day of the flood and to Lot’s being taken by the hand and led out of the city and therefore precedes the execution of judgment." - 6/15/54 Watchtower; Maintaining the Way of Favor, par. 3

Concerning the word "Abandon"

"To grasp the meaning of these words of Jesus we must know the setting of their utterance. In Matthew chapter 24 Jesus was discussing the composite sign that would indicate his second presence, and in Luke chapter 17 he was showing that this event would come suddenly and unexpectedly upon those not faithfully serving Jehovah, just as the flood of Noah’s day and the rain of fire and sulphur of Lot’s time caught unawares the opposers and scoffers and indifferent ones then living and they were abandoned to destruction." - 3/1/55 Watchtower; Questions From Readers

The Rapture - Not a Bible Teaching

The Rapture is the belief that faithful Christians will be BODILY caught up from the Earth, suddenly taken out of the world, to be united with the Lord “in the air.” The word “rapture” is understood by some persons, but not by all, to be the meaning of 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

The word "rapture" does not occur in the Bible and the belief that faithful Christians will be BODILY caught up from the Earth is not found in the Bible.

The book of Revelation shows that the total number of those with the hope of going to heaven is a relatively small and limited number: 144,000. Along with Christ, they would be kings and priests in heaven. (Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-4; 20:6) Included among them would be individuals who had been associated with the congregations in Thessalonica. (Acts 10:34, 35)

The Bible shows that those who will go to heaven (those of the 144,000) will do so only after they have died and not in bodily form. In writing to Christians in Corinth, Paul stated: “This I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom, neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Look! I tell you a sacred secret: We shall not all fall asleep in death, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, during the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised up incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:50-52) So upon dying in faithfulness during Christ’s presence, each one with the heavenly hope will instantaneously receive his heavenly reward. “In the twinkling of an eye,” he is resurrected as a spirit creature and “caught away” to meet Jesus and to serve as a co-ruler in the Kingdom of the heavens.

After referring to the 144,000 Christians with the heavenly hope and who had died, Paul added: “Afterward we the living who are surviving will, together with them, be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (Thessalonians 4:17) “The living” would be those alive during Christ’s presence. They would be “caught away” to meet the Lord Jesus. As in the case of faithful early Christians, death as a human is necessary for them to be united with Christ in heaven. (Rom. 8:17, 35-39)

The Bible shows that God's original purpose was for mankind to live on Earth (Gen. 2:17) and that the vast majority of mankind would have the prospect of being resurrected in the future to life in Paradise on Earth. (See Ps. 37:1; Ps. 115:16; Isa. 45:18; Matt. 5:5; Matt. 6:9, 10; 2 Pet. 3:13)

For more, see:

Rapture - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why Don't Jehovah's Witnesses Formally Celebrate Mother's Day?

Jehovah's Witnesses treat Mother's Day as any other, and will love their mothers just as much that day as any other day.

Yes, the Bible does command children to honor, obey and respect their parents. (Eph. 6:1, 2) But nowhere does it advocate the commemoration of a special "Mother’s Day".

Jehovah's Witnesses avoid participating in any celebrations with non-Christian religious origins. Some may say Mother's Day does not have roots in ancient paganism and that it is presently considered a largely secular event. But the earliest Mother's Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the mother of the gods. On the origin of such observance, the Encyclopædia Britannica states:

“A festival derived from the custom of mother worship in ancient Greece. Formal mother worship, with ceremonies to Cybele, or Rhea, the Great Mother of the Gods, were performed on the Ides of March throughout Asia Minor.”—(1959), Vol. 15, p. 849.

Regarding the adoption of Mother’s Day in the United States, the New York Times of May 10, 1953, reported:

In spite of the popularity of Cybele, . . . and sporadic occasions honoring mothers during the Middle Ages, it was not until 1914 that the proper combination of sentimentality, idealistic promotion and hard business sense impelled the United States Congress to designate the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.”

And according to the Website "Mothers Day Central" (which appears to have an unbiased view of Mother's Day), it says:

"The traditional practice of honoring of Motherhood is rooted in antiquity. Ancient rites had strong symbolic and spiritual overtones, as societies tended to celebrate Goddesses and symbols of motherhood, rather than actual Mothers. Objects of adoration ranged from mythological female deities, to the Christian Church.

The personal, family orientation of Mothers Day is a relatively new phenomenon. Only in the past few centuries did celebrations of Motherhood develop a decidedly human focus, and only in last century did Mothers Day take on commercial overtones."- Heading: "Spiritual Origins of Mother's Day"

Further adding to this, the website Mother's Day 123 Holiday, under the heading "Mother's Day History", agrees by saying:

"Contrary to popular belief, Mother's Day was not conceived and fine-tuned in the boardroom of Hallmark. The earliest tributes to mothers date back to the annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to Rhea, the mother of many deities, and to the offerings ancient Romans made to their Great Mother of Gods, Cybele. Christians [?] celebrated this festival on the fourth Sunday in Lent in honor of Mary, mother of Christ. In England this holiday was expanded to include all mothers and was called Mothering Sunday."

So in view of the false religious background of Mother’s Day, is it not clear that Christians in the first century would not have commemorated these days? So, then, is it not right to shun such observances today and thus obey the Bible’s command to “quit touching the unclean thing”? (2 Cor. 6:17) If a holiday or custom is being deliberately participated in by a Christian, it must have absolutely no known pagan religion associations.

For more, see:

What is the origin of the practice of setting aside a day to honor mothers? (rs p. 176-p. 182; Watchtower Online Library)

What Is the Bible’s View? Are They Harmless Observances? (2/8/74 Awake!, p.27)

Paganism - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Holidays - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)
(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Saturday, May 5, 2012

Addressing the Trintarian Claim That MonoGENES ("Only-BEGOTTEN") Means "The Only One of a Class or Kind"

Some Trinitarians try to claim that the last half of the word monoGENES "only-BEGOTTEN" is not from ginomai ("to come into being" ['born']) but from genos ("kind"). Hence, they claim, the term refers to "the only one of a class or kind." Thus some trinitarian translations speak of Jesus as the "only Son" (see RSV, NEB, JB, AT quotes at beginning) rather than the "only-begotten Son" of God (John 1:14; 3:16, 18; 1 Jn 4:9) - KJV, ASV, NASB.

However, even if we accept the claim that genos is the correct source word for monogenes, we need to examine the claim of some trinitarians that genos does not include the meaning of "begotten"/"made." The Greek word genos has "offspring" and "birth" as some of its meanings even in the trinitarian NT Concordances (Young's Analytical Concordance of The Bible; Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible; and New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, p. 1640).

The very trinitarian W. E. Vine in his highly-regarded An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 805, ADMITS that genos is "(akin to ginomai, to become), [and] denotes an offspring."

Yes, even the trinitarian RSV and NEB (noted above as rendering monogenes as "only" in certain verses relating to Jesus - including Jn 1:18) were forced to use the proper meaning of "offspring" for genos itself at Rev. 22:16 - "I the root and offspring [genos] of David." Compare Acts 17:28, 29 - "'For we indeed are his offspring [genos].' Being then God's offspring [genos], we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, silver or stone..." - RSV.

According to certain trinitarians, then, the above Scriptures plainly state that Jesus must be one of the kind [genos] of David [or of the David kind]- Rev. 22:16, and Christians and non-Christian Athenians must be of the God kind [genos] - Acts 17:28, 29. This is obviously ridiculous and the proper meaning of "begotten" or "made/produced" cannot be avoided in these Scriptures. Christians (and the men of Athens whom Paul was speaking to) were made or created by God and are His genos ("offspring" or "begotten") in that sense.

Anything that is "begotten" or "born" (or a "son"), then, is something that at one time did not exist and then was brought into existence. (E.g., Adam, the creation of God was called the "SON of God" - Luke 3:38.) This does not refer simply to Jesus' earthly existence but also to his original heavenly existence as shown by 1 John 4:9 which refers to the time when Jesus was "in the beginning with God," even "before the world was." - (John 1:1, 2; 17:5, 24). At that time he was already "the only-begotten [monogenes] Son." - 1 John 4:9, NASB, ASV, KJV. Even the highly trinitarian NT Greek scholar, W. E. Vine, in his An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 813, admits that Jesus was the Father's "only-begotten Son" before he came to earth.

For much more, see:
Only-begotten god (OBGOD) (Examining the Trinity)

Only-Begotten (Monogenes) - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Why Does the New World Translation Bible Use the Words, "Time Indefinite" Where Other Bibles Read, "Forever"?

Why Does the New World Translation Bible Use the Words, "Time Indefinite" Where Other Bibles Read, "Forever"?

Other Bible translations are inaccurate when they translate the Hebrew word 'Oh lam (or "Owlam"; "Olam") as "forever."

Many lexicons and dictionaries will show that the explicit meaning of 'Oh lam is of an unknown length of time and not forever. It can be used of something that is to last forever but in itself the word can only imply eternity.

Jehovah's Witnesses accept the meaning of the word as given in standard Hebrew Lexicons. Here is what their reference work "Insight on the Scriptures" states:

"The Hebrew word 'oh lam carries the thought of indefinite or uncertain time. Lexicographer Gesenius defines it as meaning "hidden time, i.e. obscure and long, of which the beginning or end is uncertain or indefinite." (A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the OT, translated by E. Robinson, 1836, p. 746) Accordingly, expressions such as "time indefinite" (Ps. 25:6), "indefinitely lasting" (Hab. 3:6), "of old" (Gen. 6:4), "a long time ago," "of long ago" (Jos. 24:2; Pr. 22:28; 23:10), and "long-lasting" (Ec. 12:5) appropriately convey the thought of the original-language term. The word 'oh lam is at times associated with that which is everlasting...However, the Hebrew expression 'oh lam does not in itself mean "forever." It often refers to things that have an end, but the period of such things' existence can be said to be ‘to time indefinite' because the time of their end is not then specified." - it-2 pp. 1102-1103

The context and other parallel texts must be referred to in order to determine whether the sense of 'Oh lam is to be understood as eternity or just an indefinitely long period of time in any specific occurrence.

For more, see:

Time Indefinite - Links to Information (INDEX; Watchtower Online Library)

TIME INDEFINITE (Insight-2 pp. 1102-1103; Watchtower Online Library)

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