Search This Blog

JW.ORG and Watchtower Library in one search box:

Friday, November 29, 2013

What Does Christmas Music Really Teach?

Whether sung by one voice or many, played on an organ or by an orchestra, the emotion-charged music of Christmas tends to program people for its celebration. On the surface, the power inherent in this music may seem good and beneficial. After all, many verses of these Christmas songs deal with religious themes and encourage kindness, generosity, goodwill and peace. Nevertheless, when Christmas music and its words are examined in the light of God’s truth as revealed in the Holy Bible, some startling facts come into view.

Are They Truthful?

It might surprise you that anyone would raise questions about the truthfulness of popular Christmas songs (carols). But as you will see, some oft-overlooked facts deserve our honest attention. ‘What facts?’ you may wonder.

For example, a number of carols declare that Jesus was born on Christmas Day, December 25. Is this true? To be frank, the facts answer no! Do not these musical verses about Christmas amount, then, to errors or distortions of truth? They might even be described as falsehood set to melody.

Obviously, these songs are not teaching the truth about the Christmas season. Could they be pleasing, therefore, to the One about whom the apostle Paul said, ‘God cannot lie’? (Titus 1:2) Further, is singing them the way to worship God “with spirit and truth,” which Jesus said is so important? (John 4:24) Actually, “Jehovah the God of truth,” and his Son, Jesus Christ, who is “the way and the truth and the life,” are honored by truth, not by melodic falsehoods. (Psalm 31:5; John 14:6) Furthermore, at Christmastime when these carols are sung, many clergymen quote Luke’s words about the shepherds as a basis for the December 25 celebration of Christmas. (Luke 2:8-14) However, neither this nor any other scripture gives support to the Christmas festive season. The Bible makes it clear that manipulating God’s Word to make it say something it is not saying leads to his adverse judgment. In the extreme case of the false prophets in Israel who “changed the words of the living God,” they paid with their lives.—Jeremiah 23:16-22, 29-32, 36; Deuteronomy 12:32; 18:20; Proverbs 30:5, 6.

Hence, no matter how beautiful Christmas music may sound, we cannot ignore the seriousness of its lyrics that contradict God’s Word. Jehovah is repelled by untruth, especially when it runs directly counter to his revealed truth. (Psalm 5:4-6) Many humans may be so moved by glorious harmonies and delightful melodies that they ignore any falsehoods being sung, but we can be sure that that is not the case with God and with his Son, Jesus. They do not desire praise to the extent that they will approve of lyrics peppered with flattering falsehoods.

Should We Commemorate?

Here is another aspect to consider: Do you know of any Biblical evidence that Jehovah God and Jesus Christ want us to commemorate Jesus’ birth, even if we intended to do it at the time of year that corresponds to Biblical evidence?

Like the good Father that he is, Jehovah God is always very specific about what he requires of his worshipers. He carefully spells out what we must do to gain his favor and blessings. He often repeats things to avoid any misunderstanding on our part. Why, then, do we find in God’s written Word no direct command or even a hint that we should commemorate his Son’s earthly birthday? Because Jehovah places emphasis on Jesus’ death and resurrection, requiring Christians to celebrate annually the Memorial of his death only. (Luke 22:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 5:7, 8; 11:23-26) Thus, Christmas carols that presumptuously call for the celebration of Christ’s birth “go beyond the things that are written” in the Bible. (1 Corinthians 4:6) So do you think that people who know this and yet sing these lines are pleasing Jehovah God? No matter how sincere a person may be, presumptuousness and disobedience never win God’s favor.—1 Samuel 15:22, 23.

Customs and Beliefs

Jehovah God explicitly warns against mixing pagan practices and beliefs with his pure worship. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17) Pagan practices? Yes, as we shall now show, many pagan practices are tied in with Christmas. Such practices are repulsive to God, like the practices of the Canaanites of whom Moses said: “Everything detestable to Jehovah that he does hate they have done.” (Deuteronomy 12:31) Since ‘Jehovah does not change,’ how do you think he would view Christmas carols that, in the name of Christianity, encourage a mixture of pagan practices and pure worship?—Malachi 3:6; Deuteronomy 12:1-3, 29-32.

For example, the musical call to “Deck the Halls With Boughs of Holly” is rooted in ancient pagan superstition. In the booklet Discovering Christmas Customs and Folklore, Margaret Baker pointed out that decorating homes with evergreens was a Roman and a Norse custom. She further observed:

“Greenery brought into the house at the winter solstice seemed to be a charm to ensure the return of vegetation to the earth. . . . Holly had many associations with good fortune. In Louisiana berries were kept for luck. . . . A piece kept back from church decorations was especially lucky. . . . And a tree planted outside the house protected it from thunder, lightning, fire and the evil eye.”—Pages 29, 32.

If you study the lines of other Christmas carols, you will find that they endorse various superstitious customs. Jehovah God cannot approve of these practices, for they enslave people to fear and ignorance, which keeps them from turning to him. Music that teaches or promotes superstitions is simply not fitting for Christians seeking his favor.

Christmas music that deals with Santa Claus touches a very sensitive area—little children! Emotions may be stirred up, but the question must be asked, What do these tunes teach little ones? Misconceptions such as that a white-bearded mythological figure in a red suit is practically omniscient. He knows when all children are good or bad. And he brings toys to only good boys and girls, so they are encouraged to behave to get these materialistic gifts.

Here we must let our reason rule and not our deceptive hearts. (Jeremiah 17:9) Santa Claus is just another product of pagan tradition, and sparkling melodies with lyrics telling children that he is real do not change that fact. Furthermore, such music ascribes to Santa the all-knowing quality that only Jehovah God possesses. Should God-fearing parents teach their children to believe and sing such things? Should they pretend to their children that the pagan Santa Claus is linked to the Christianity of the Bible?

Wise parents do not bribe their children to be good. Yet Christmas music leads children to believe that if they behave an imaginary Santa Claus will leave them toys. The bribery is there—subtle, but unmistakable. You can appreciate that such ideas can damage the moral fiber of children in their formative years. Jehovah declares that “foolishness is tied up with the heart of a boy; the rod of discipline [not bribery with Christmas toys] is what will remove it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15) The conclusion should be clear—Christmas songs about Santa Claus are a gross deception. They can only undermine respect for true Bible principles.

Idealistic, starry-eyed little children need to feed on the “bread” of God’s truth. Their inquisitive minds cannot be satisfied with ‘stones’ of falsehood.—Matthew 7:9.

-12/15/83 Watchtower, "What Does Christmas Music Really Teach?"; WBTS

More Articles Concerning the Inaccuracies and Pagan Connections to Christmas Carols:

Bishop says Christmas carols are nonsense (Digital Journal)

Christmas - It's Origins And Associations (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Christmas Music (Search Results From the Watchtower Online Library)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving - Originally Adopted From Pagan Celebrations

It is relatively easy to discover that holidays such as Easter, Christmas or Halloween have been directly adopted from pagan celebrations. 
(For more, see the Holidays category.) 

But what about Thanksgiving?

Note what the publication Holidays Around the World, by Joseph Gaer says about Thanksgiving:

"Thanksgiving for the annual harvest is one of the oldest holidays known to mankind ... 'The Romans celebrated their Thanksgiving early in October. The holiday was dedicated to the goddess of harvest, Ceres, and the holiday was called Cerelia. 'The Christians took over the Roman holiday and it became well established in England, where some of the Roman customs and rituals for this day were observed ... "

Also note the following:

"Throughout the world harvest has always been the occasion for many queer customs which all have their origin in the animistic belief in the corn [grain]-spirit or corn [grain]-mother. This personification of the crops has left its impress upon the harvest customs of modern Europe. .... Throughout the world, as Sir J. G. Frazer shows, the semi-worship of the last sheaf is or has been the great feature of the harvest-home. Among harvest customs none is more interesting than harvest cries; the Devonshire reapers go through a ceremony which in its main features is a counterpart of pagan worship." - pp. 231-232, Encyclopedia Britannica, volume 11, 14th edition.

"The Pilgrims, who in 1621 observed our initial Thanksgiving holiday, were not a people especially enthusiastic about the celebration of festivals. In fact these austere and religious settlers of America would have been dismayed had they known of the long and popular history of harvest festivals, of which their Thanksgiving was only the latest. .... The harvest festival, with its attendant rites, seems to have spread out from ... Egypt and Syria and Mesopotamia. The first or the last sheaf of wheat was offered to the `Great Mother' .... Astarte [equivalent to Ishtar and Eastre] was the Earth Mother of the ancient Semites; to the Phrygians she was Semele; under the name of Demeter she was worshiped by the Greeks at the famous Eleusinian Mysteries..." - pp. 271-272, Celebrations - The Complete Book of American Holidays, Robert J. Myers, Doubleday & Co., 1972

Does it Matter if Holidays Have Pagan Origins?

God has always demanded that our worship to him, no matter how small, must be pure and untainted. God Himself said:

"And God proceeded to speak all these words, saying...You must not have any other gods against my face. Because I Jehovah your God am a God exacting EXCLUSIVE DEVOTION." (Ex. 20:1-5)

It would be wrong to incorporate anything used for pagan worship, into our worship or related activities. Holidays, for example, are "Holy Days" and are a part of "worship" by their very name. So if pagan ceremonies, customs, god names, etc. are really mixed in with ceremonies, customs, etc. that we use today, they are not merely unacceptable - - - they are detestable to God. We must completely get away from these unclean things and not even "touch" them. (2 Cor. 6:17) Notice how exclusive the worship of God must be: "Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips." - Exodus 23:13, NIVSB.

For more, see:

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

Why Don't Jehovah's Witnesses Formally Celebrate Thanksgiving Day? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Why don't Jehovah's Witnesses celebrate Thanksgiving? (Yahoo Answers)

Is there anything wrong with buying a turkey, which is on sale, and making a dinner on Thanksgiving? Is Thanksgiving pagan? (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Monday, November 25, 2013

Hallelujah / Jah - The Removal of God's Name and Why "Hallelujah" Remained

God's name is represented by the four Hebrew characters  יהוה (YHWH or JHVH) and is known as the Tetragrammaton which appears almost 7,000 times in the original Hebrew text of what is commonly called the Old Testament.

Bible scholars acknowledge that God’s personal name appears in the Old Testament, or Hebrew Scriptures. However, many feel that it did not appear in the original Greek manuscripts of the so-called New Testament.

The manuscripts of the New Testament that we possess today are not the originals. The original manuscripts written by Matthew, John, Paul, and others were well used, and no doubt they quickly wore out. So copies were made, and when those wore out, further copies were made. Of the thousands of copies of the New Testament in existence today, most were made at least two centuries after the originals were penned. It appears that by that time those copying the manuscripts either replaced the Tetragrammaton with Ku′ri·os or Ky′ri·os, the Greek word for “Lord,” or copied from manuscripts where this had been done. (For more, see: A Translation Problemw08 8/1 pp. 18-23.)

But why did those copying the manuscripts replace the Tetragrammaton with Ku′ri·os or Ky′ri·os, the Greek word for “Lord”?

Notice what the New Encyclopedia Britannica states about the situation at that time. It says that the

"earliest Christians celebrated the Lord's Passover at the same time as the Jews, during the night of the first (paschal) full Moon of the first month of spring (Nisan 14-15). By the middle of the 2nd century, most churches had transferred this celebration to the Sunday after the Jewish feast."

From this time - "middle of the 2nd century" (180 A. D., at least) - until the blasphemous Nicene Council (325 A. D.) "Hostility against Jews and Jewish customs led to formal debates [about the date for "Easter"] in councils of the Church." - How It Started, Garrison, p. 49, Abingdon Press, 1972.

With the example of the extremely important "Easter/Passover" reaction of the Gentile "Christians" in mind we should not be surprised that these same Jewish-hating people changed the Hebrew name of the "Jewish" God during their attempts to "smooth out" "the text of Scripture" during the same time period. In fact it would be surprising if they hadn't.

Remember, these "Christians" were mostly Greek (or Latin) speaking Gentiles. It was relatively easy for them to change all the instances of Yahweh and Yah to "Lord" or "God" since those words clearly stood out from the rest of the Greek writing in their Hebrew characters. But what if the hated name had been incorporated into other words and then transliterated into Greek by the original Septuagint translators? Would the name-removing Greek-speaking copyists still recognize it? Apparently not.

We find that when the shortened form of the Divine Name (Jah) was left in Hebrew characters by the original Jewish translators of the Septuagint, the "Christian" copyists always changed it to "Lord." But when the original Jewish translators had incorporated it with another word or words (as in proper names, e.g., "Elijah" [which means "God is Jehovah" - p. 674, Today's Dictionary of the Bible, Bethany House Publ., 1982] or in the phrase "Praise ye Jehovah" [Hallelu JAH]) and transliterated it into Greek characters, it became an acceptable "Greek" word (although one whose meaning they didn't wholly understand) to the "Christian" copyists, and they didn't change it (out of ignorance only). This is very obvious in the "Hallelujah" Psalms where, for some reason, the original Septuagint translators combined the two Hebrew words Hallelu ("Praise ye") and Jah ("Jehovah") and then put that new word into GREEK characters (which still had the Hebrew pronunciation of "Hallelujah").

When the 2nd century Jew-despising "Christian" copyists saw "Jah" in Hebrew characters, they always removed it entirely or changed it to "Lord" or "God" - e.g., Ex. 15:2; Ps. 68:4, 18; Is. 26:4. But when they saw the Greek characters of "HalleluJAH they always left it unchanged:

All uses of an independent (standing alone, not attached to other words or names) Jah in the Hebrew Scriptures:

* - Ex. 15:2 ..............................................K - Ps. 118:17
* - Ex. 17:16 ............................................K -  Ps. 118:18
K - Ps. 68:4 (:5 Heb.) ............................K - Ps. 118:19
* - Ps. 68:18 (:19) ..................................K - Ps. 122:4
K - Ps. 77:11 (:12) ..................................K - Ps. 130:3
K - Ps. 89:8 (:9) .....................................H - Ps. 135:1
K - Ps. 94:7..............................................K - Ps. 135:3
K - Ps. 94:12 ...........................................K - Ps. 135:4
K - Ps. 102:18 (:19) ...............................H - Ps. 135:21
H - Ps. 104:35__________ ...............H - Ps. 146:1_________
_/ H - Ps. 105:45 - Combined .........../H - Ps. 146:10 - Combined
..\ H - Ps. 106:1 in Sept.___ ..............\H - Ps. 147:1 in Sept.____
H - Ps. 106:48 ...................................._/H - Ps. 147:20 - Combined
H - Ps. 111:1 ..........................................\H - Ps. 148:1 in Sept.____
H - Ps. 112:1 ......................................._/H - Ps. 148:14 - Combined
H - Ps. 113:1 ..........................................\H - Ps. 149:1 in Sept.____
H - Ps. 113:9 ......................................_ /H - Ps. 149:9 - Combined
K - Ps. 115:17 ........................................\H - Ps. 150:1 in Sept.____
K - Ps. 115:18a ........................................K - Ps. 150:6a
H - Ps. 115:18b .......................................* - Ps. 150:6b
H - Ps. 116:19 ..........................................* - Ca. 8:6
H - Ps. 117:2 ............................................K - Is. 12:2
K - Ps. 118:5a ..........................................Th Is. 26:4
* - Ps. 118:5b ...........................................Th - Is. 38:11
K - Ps. 118:14


* - Reworded to eliminate use of Jah, "God," and "Lord" in existing Sept. MSS.
K - Jah has been replaced with Kurios (`Lord') in extant Sept. MSS.
Th - Jah has been replaced with Theos (`God') in extant Sept. MSS.
H - Jah has been transliterated into Greek letters of HalleluJAH in Sept.

Notice that everywhere Jah is used by itself (except when accompanied by hallel) it has been changed by the "Christian" copyists. However, whenever Jah was accompanied by Hallel ("Praise"), the original Septuagint translators incorporated it with Hallel into a single word and then wrote it out in Greek characters (transliterated it) keeping the Hebrew pronunciation of Hallel and JAH !

"Psalms 113-118 are traditionally referred to as the `Hallel Psalms,' because they have to do with praise to God for deliverance from Egyptian bondage under Moses. Because of this, they are an important part of the traditional Passover service. There is no reason to doubt that these were the hymns sung by Jesus and his disciples on Maundy Thursday when he instituted the Lord's Supper (Matt. 26:30).

"The word halal is the source of `Hallelujah,' a Hebrew expression of `praise' to God which has been taken over into virtually every language of mankind. The Hebrew `Hallelujah' is generally translated [falsely], `Praise the Lord!' The Hebrew is more technically [more honestly] translated `Let us praise Yah,' the term `Yah' being a shortened form of `Yahweh,' the unique Israelite name for God." - p. 301, - Nelson's Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament, Unger and White, Thomas Nelson Publ., 1980.

"Hallelujah - Praise ye Jehovah - frequently rendered [falsely] `Praise Ye the Lord" - p. 276. "Jah - a shortened form of `Jehovah,'" - p. 322, Today's Bible Dictionary, Bethany House Publishers, 1982.

"HALLELUJAH ... 'praise ye Jehovah'; allelouia .... In the NT ['Hallelujah'] is found as part of the song of the heavenly host (Rev. 19:1 ff)." - p. 1323, Vol. 2, The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Eerdmans Publ., 1984 printing.

"hallelujah: (Heb., hillel, he praises; Jah, form of Yahweh-Jehovah....) Literally, Praise ye Yahweh." - p. 320, An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm (editor), 1945 ed.

"HALLELUJAH - HALLELOUIA [in NT Greek] signifies `Praise ye Jah.' .... In the N.T. it is found in Rev. 19:1, 3, 4, 6, as the keynote in the song of the great multitude in Heaven. Alleluia, without the initial H, is a misspelling." - p. 520, W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers, 1980.

"ALLELUIA, the Greek form (Revelation 19:1, 3, 4, 6) of the Hebrew Hallelujah = Praise ye Jehovah, which begins or ends several of the psalms (106, 111, 112, 113, etc.)." – Easton's Bible Dictionary, Thomas Nelson Publ., 1897.

The NT Greek text does have the initial `H' sound. The "misspelling" is in certain English translations (e.g., KJV) which drop the beginning `H' sound: "Alleluia"! However, most respected modern translations do have "Hallelujah" in Rev. 19 (e.g., NIV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, ASV, REB, MLB, Mo, and Barclay).

" derived from halal, which means to praise, and Jah, which is the name of God .... here in this chapter [Rev. 19] the original Hebrew form transliterated into Greek, is retained." - p. 169, Vol. 2, William Barclay, The Revelation of John, Revised Edition, The Daily Study Bible Series, Westminster Press, 1976. 

"Alleluia, so written in Rev. 19:6, foll., or more properly Hallelujah, Praise ye Jehovah ...." - p. 31. "Jah (Jehovah), the abbreviated form of Jehovah ... The identity of Jah and Jehovah is strongly marked in two passages of Isaiah - 12:2; 26:4." - p. 276, Smith's Bible Dictionary, William Smith, Hendrickson Publ.

"Trust ye in Jehovah for ever; for in Jehovah ['Heb. JAH' - ASV f. n.], even Jehovah [YHWH], is an everlasting rock." - Is. 26:4, ASV.

Yes, Jah is equivalent to Jehovah. Two different forms of the very same PERSONAL NAME of God. (This is likely equivalent to the way Greek manuscripts often abbreviated "God" [Qeos, 'theos'] as QS. If so, Jah would still be pronounced "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" - see the PRONOUNCE study paper.)

Psalm 68:4, King James Version - "Sing unto God, sing praises to his name; extol his name JAH ['Jehovah' - ASV; LB]..."

Of course, the Gentile manuscript copyists of later centuries probably did not know that "Abijah" ("The Father is Jehovah"), "Elijah," ("God is Jehovah"), etc. are transliterations that actually use the shortened form of God's personal name ("Jah") and certainly didn't know that "Hallelujah" (Rev. 19:1, 3, 4, 6) is really Hebrew for "Praise Jah" or they would have surely changed them all also. However, the inspired Jewish Christians who actually wrote the original NT manuscripts certainly knew that writing or proclaiming aloud "Hallelu JAH!" (whether in Hebrew characters or Greek characters) was writing (or proclaiming aloud) God's personal name. If the Jewish Christian and Apostle John had left God's name out of the NT originally, he surely would not have then used "Hallelu JAH!" in four places in Revelation 19, for he knew exactly what it truly said: "Praise ye Jehovah"! Only the Hebrew-ignorant Gentile "Christian" copyists would be fooled by "Hallelujah" exactly as they were when they removed and changed the Divine Name in the Septuagint about the same time)!

Actually, then, "Jehovah" IS found in ALL existing MSS of the NT which include Rev. 19.

The extreme importance of this must not be overlooked or minimized. The last book of the Bible (and one of the last to be inspired and written) reasserts and re-emphasizes the extreme importance of God's only eternal personal name. In the "keynote in the song of the great multitude" worshipers of the true God are commanded to praise "our God": "Give praise to our God (ainete [to theo] hemon). Present active imperative [the form used for commands] of aineo." - p. 488, Vol. 6, A. T. Robertson's Word Pictures.

And exactly who is the God whom all are commanded to praise? "God who sits on the throne" (19:4) is the Father, Jehovah alone. See all other instances of the God seated on the throne in the Book of Revelation (e.g., Rev. 4:2, 8; 5:6, 7, 16; 7:9). "The Lord our God the Almighty [pantokrator]" (Rev. 19:6) is never used of the Son (nor anyone else), but only the Father, Jehovah alone. E.g., 2 Cor. 6:18 says: "And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty [pantokrator]." Yes, the only person called God in the Book of Revelation is always the Father. (Rev. 1:6 - "[Jesus Christ] has made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father.") So how do God's true worshipers respond when commanded to praise this God Almighty seated on the throne? 


"Jehovah ... This is my eternal name, to be used throughout all generations." - Ex. 3:15, LB.

If "Hallelujah" had not been, for some unknown reason, combined into a single word by the original translators of the Septuagint* (or by very early copyists) and was therefore misunderstood by the Gentile "Christian" copyists of the second century, then even this last (and most important) use of "Jehovah" would have been eliminated from all of the NT Greek Scriptures.

As it is, however, the exclusive name of God was miraculously preserved in the Hebrew manuscripts of the OT (even after the Jews finally succumbed to the superstitious practice of never pronouncing aloud that supremely important name that still appeared written in their OT manuscripts). It was miraculously preserved in the Septuagint, the ancient Greek manuscripts of the OT. (Even after later copyists changed nearly all instances into "Lord" or "God," it remained in the "Hallelujahs.") It was miraculously preserved in the Greek NT manuscripts. (Even after copyists changed nearly all instances into "Lord" or "God," it, too, remained in the single-worded "Hallelujahs.") And it was miraculously preserved in the extremely significant statement of Ps. 83:18 in the English of the King James Version which took away "Jehovah" and substituted "LORD" nearly everywhere else (nearly 7000 times).

* We can see that the source of Halleluia in existing copies of the Septuagint is really two words in the original Hebrew. For example the Hahlayloo Yah of Psalm 146:1 is obviously two separate Hebrew words: Hahlayloo [`praise ye'] and Yah [`Jehovah'].  And yet, our oldest existing copies of the ancient Septuagint show these two words combined into one `new' word in Greek: Halleluia. And the same Greek word, Halleluia, which was found in the earliest copies of John's Revelation, was likewise treated by copyists of the 2nd century. Whether John himself had combined the two words into one for the benefit of those Hellenic Jews to whom he wrote (who were familiar with the term as it was found in the Septuagint) or whether early copyists had done it to conform with the Septuagint is not the point here.

More Information Concerning This Can Be Found In the Following Articles:

Jah (Insight-1 p. 1248; Watchtower Online Library)

The Fight Against God’s Name (g04 1/22 pp. 5-9; Watchtower Online Library)

"Jehovah" in The New Testament (Search For Bible Truths)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Saturday, November 23, 2013

Is There a Possibility That the Nations Might Completely Ruin the Earth in a Nuclear War?

The Bible shows that God "did not create (earth) simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited." (Isa. 45:18) God described his purpose to have the earth filled with the offspring of Adam and Eve as caretakers of a global paradise:

"`Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.'"

For the earth to become completely destroyed by the nations would run contrary to His purpose. The Bible assures us that God will "bring to ruin those ruining the earth." (Rev. 11:17, 18)

God will not allow the earth to become completely and permanently ruined because Ps. 37:29 says that "The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it."

For more, see:

Will planet Earth be destroyed in a nuclear war? (rs p. 112-p. 117; Watchtower Online Library)

Nuclear War—Is It Still a Threat? (g04 3/8 pp. 3-4; Watchtower Online Library)

Nuclear War—Who Are the Threats? (g04 3/8 pp. 4-7; Watchtower Online Library)

Nuclear War—Can It Be Avoided? (g04 3/8 pp. 8-9; Watchtower Online Library)

“The War to End All Wars” (w08 4/1 pp. 3-4; Watchtower Online Library)

Doomsday Fears Loom Large - Nuclear War (g 9/12 pp. 4-7; Watchtower Online Library)

What Do Many Fear? The threat of nuclear war remains high (w10 8/1 pp. 3-4; Watchtower Online Library)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Friday, November 22, 2013

The Date of Jesus' Birth

Jesus' Birth Date Not Recorded in the Bible

M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopædia says: “The observance of Christmas is not of divine appointment, nor is it of N[ew] T[estament] origin. The day of Christ’s birth cannot be ascertained from the N[ew] T[estament], or, indeed, from any other source.” - (New York, 1871), Vol. II, p. 276.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges: “The date of Christ’s birth is not known. The Gospels indicate neither the day nor the month. - (1967), Vol. III, p. 656.

Jesus' Birth Was Not in December

Though the specific date of Jesus' birth was not recorded in Scripture, it does give us sound reason to conclude that his birth did not take place in December.

The weather conditions at that time of the year in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born is cold and rainy.

The Bible writer Ezra reported that this particular month in Jerusalem is known for cold and rainy weather. He wrote that people were “shivering . . . on account of the showers of rain.” (Ezra 10:9) Concerning weather conditions at that time of the year, the congregated people themselves said: “It is the season of showers of rain, and it is not possible to stand outside.” (Jeremiah 36:22) So it is no wonder that shepherds living in that part of the world made sure that they and their flocks were no longer out of doors at night when December came around.

But when Jesus was born, the Bible says that shepherds were in the fields tending their flocks on the night of Jesus’ birth.

In fact, the Bible writer Luke shows that at that time, shepherds were “living out of doors and keeping watches in the night over their flocks” near Bethlehem. (Luke 2:8-12) Notice that the shepherds were actually living out of doors, not just strolling outside during the day. They had their flocks in the fields at night. Does that description of outdoor living fit the chilly and rainy weather conditions of Bethlehem in December? No, it does not. So the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth indicate that he was not born in December.

The book Daily Life in the Time of Jesus states: “The flocks . . . passed the winter under cover; and from this alone it may be seen that the traditional date for Christmas, in the winter, is unlikely to be right, since the Gospel says that the shepherds were in the fields.”—(New York, 1962), Henri Daniel-Rops, p. 228.

After mentioning that Jesus was born at a time when shepherds were out-of-doors at night watching their flocks, 19th-century Bible scholar Albert Barnes concluded: "It is clear from this that our Saviour was born before the 25th of December . . . At that time it is cold, and especially in the high and mountainous regions about Bethlehem. God has concealed the time of [Jesus'] birth. . . . Nor was it of consequence to know the time; if it had been, God would have preserved the record of it." - Barnes Notes on Luke 2:8

"Neither scripture nor secular history records the date of Jesus' birth; even the season of the year is not stipulated. Some evidence points to spring, but it is not conclusive. The only thing reasonably certain about the coming of the Christ Child is that his birth did not take place in winter. .... In A. D. 350 Pope Julius I formally designated December 25 as Christmas. He chose that date because it coincided with important pagan festivals. These, in turn, were linked with the winter solstice [the shortest day of the year]." - How it Started, p. 54.

"It was noted later that this date [Dec. 25] would fall within the rainy season in Palestine, so that the shepherds would hardly have been in the fields as they were when Jesus was born." - p. 1425, The World Book Encyclopedia, 1958.

"At that time, Christianity was locked in a great duel with the Mithraists for the hearts and minds of the people of the Roman Empire. .... Sometime after 300, Christianity managed the final coup of absorbing the Saturnalia, and with it scored its final victory over Mithraism. December 25 was established as the day of the birth of Jesus and the great festival was made Christian. There is absolutely no Biblical authority for Dec. 25 as having been the day of the Nativity." (Cf. "Sol Invictus", p. 725, An Encyclopedia of Religion, 1945 ed.)
Related Articles:
Christmas - It's Origins And Associations (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)
Was Jesus Born in December? (bh p. 221-p. 222 par. 2; Watchtower Online Library)
THE BIBLE’S VIEWPOINT - When Was Jesus Born? (g 12/08 pp. 10-11; Watchtower Online Library)

So Why is it Commonly Established That Jesus Was Born on December 25? 

The Encyclopedia Americana informs us: “The reason for establishing December 25 as Christmas is somewhat obscure, but it is usually held that the day was chosen to correspond to pagan festivals that took place around the time of the winter solstice, when the days begin to lengthen, to celebrate the ‘rebirth of the sun.’ . . . The Roman Saturnalia (a festival dedicated to Saturn, the god of agriculture, and to the renewed power of the sun), also took place at this time, and some Christmas customs are thought to be rooted in this ancient pagan celebration.”—(1977), Vol. 6, p. 666.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges: “The date of Christ’s birth is not known. The Gospels indicate neither the day nor the month . . . According to the hypothesis suggested by H. Usener . . . and accepted by most scholars today, the birth of Christ was assigned the date of the winter solstice (December 25 in the Julian calendar, January 6 in the Egyptian), because on this day, as the sun began its return to northern skies, the pagan devotees of Mithra celebrated the dies natalis Solis Invicti (birthday of the invincible sun). On Dec. 25, 274, Aurelian had proclaimed the sun-god principal patron of the empire and dedicated a temple to him in the Campus Martius. Christmas originated at a time when the cult of the sun was particularly strong at Rome.”—(1967), Vol. III, p. 656.

“December was the major month of pagan celebration, and Dec. 25 was the high point of the winter revelries…Some believe the bishop of Rome chose Dec. 25 as the birth date of Christ in order to ‘sanctify’ the pagan celebrations. What resulted was a strange mixture of the pagan and the Christian festivals that the world now calls Christmas…The word ‘Christmas’ does not appear in the Bible. And Scripture gives no mandate for celebrating Jesus’ birth.” (Church Christmas Tab Magazine)

On the Road to Civilization, page 164: “The feast of Saturn, the Saturnalia, was a winter festival which lasted a week beginning on the twenty-fifth day of December, and was celebrated with dancing, the exchanging of gifts, and the burning of candles. The Saturnalia was later taken over by the Christians as their Christmas, and given a new significance.”

New Americanized Encyclopedia Britannica, 1900, Vol. IX, page 5236, says: “Saturnalia . . . celebrated on the 19th . . . lasted seven days. The time was one of general joy and mirth. The woolen fetters were taken from the feet of the Image of Saturn, and each man offered a pig. During the festival schools were closed. . . . Gambling with dice, at other times illegal, was practiced. All classes exchanged gifts, the commonest being tapers and clay dolls. These dolls were especially given to children. Varro thought that these dolls represented original sacrifices of human beings (children to the ‘Infernal God’).”

“Rev.” A. E. Palmer of Holy Trinity Church was reported by the Examiner to have said: “‘Why choose December 25 as the date of the sacred festival? Wouldn’t any other public holiday do just as well for this jollification?’ There was no evidence, he said, that Jesus was born on December 25 but the Church took over a great many of the ancient pagan festivals and gave them Christian meaning. On December 25 was celebrated the return of the sun, with the days becoming longer, and the Church chose this as being symbolic of the light that shone through the darkness. Christmas without Christ, he said, was nothing but a pagan festival.”

“It is a well-known fact that the popes and councils in the early Church deliberately placed a Christian festival on or near the day of a previously existing pagan carnival, with the purpose of ousting the heathenish and generally licentious celebration.” (James M. Gillis, C. S. P., editor of the Catholic World. December 2, 1945)
Related Articles:
Christmas - It's Origins And Associations (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)
Christmas Customs—Are They Christian? (w00 12/15 pp. 3-7; Watchtower Online Library)
Can a Pagan Holiday Be Made Christian? (w07 12/15 pp. 8-9; Watchtower Online Library)
How Should Jesus Christ Be Remembered? (w04 12/15 pp. 4-7; Watchtower Online Library)

Wouldn't the Bible specifically mention what month and what day Jesus was born if Jesus' birthday was meant to be observed?

Jesus was the greatest man who ever lived and he is the Exemplar of all true Christians. So one would think that if he or his disciples or any of the early Christians ever celebrated his birth, the date would have been clearly recorded in the Bible so future Christians would always be able to celebrate it.

Yet the Bible never mentioned that Jesus nor his followers ever celebrated his birth. There is a very good reason for this -

The Early Christians and Jews of Bible Times Did Not Celebrate Birthdays At All

Historian Augustus Neander writes: “The notion of a birthday festival was far from the ideas of the Christians of this period.” (The History of the Christian Religion and Church, During the Three First Centuries, translated by H. J. Rose, 1848, p. 190)

The Jews "regarded birthday celebrations as parts of idolatrous worship . . . , and this probably on account of the idolatrous rites with which they were observed in honor of those who were regarded as the patron gods of the day on which the party was born." -M'Clintock and Strong's Cyclopaedia (1882, Vol. I, p. 817)

"Early Christians [from time of Christ until the 4th century] frowned on [celebrating anyone's birthday], which was too closely linked with pagan customs to be given the approval of the church." - How It Started, p. 213.

The Christian Book of Why, by Dr. John C. McCollister (Lutheran minister and university professor, graduate of Trinity Lutheran Seminary), Jonathan David Publishers, Inc., 1983, tells us on p. 205:

"Christians of the first century did not celebrate the festival honoring the birth of Jesus - for the same reason they honored no other birthday anniversary. It was the feeling at that time by ALL Christians that the celebration of all birthdays (even the Lord's) was a custom of the PAGANS. In an effort to divorce themselves from ALL pagan practices, the early Christians refused to set aside a date marking Jesus' birth. As a result, the first celebration of Christmas by Christians [?] did not take place until the fourth century."

Think about it for a moment. Exactly who were included in "ALL Christians of the first century" (1 A. D. - 100 A. D.)?

Yes, the Jews themselves never celebrated birthdays until long after the death of Jesus. They considered it a purely pagan custom and detestable to the God they worshiped. Jesus and his Apostles continued this belief and so did their followers for centuries!

"As late as 245 [A. D.] Origen [a writer of the third century C.E.] (hom. viii. on Leviticus) repudiated the idea of keeping the birthday of Christ, `as if he were a king Pharaoh [Gen. 4:19-22].'" - Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th ed., p. 642, Vol. 5.

“Origen . . . insists that ‘of all the holy people in the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners (like Pharaoh and Herod) who make great rejoicings over the day on which they were born into this world below.’”—The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913, Vol. X, p. 709

Related Articles:
Birthdays (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses Category)

For More Related Articles Concerning Jesus' Birth, See:
The Truth About Christmas (w02 12/15 pp. 5-7; Watchtower Online Library)
Jesus' Birth—How and Why It Happened (w02 12/15 pp. 3-5; Watchtower Online Library)
Lessons From the Record of Jesus' Birth (w02 12/15 pp. 5-7; Watchtower Online Library)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe That the Number 144,000 in Revelation is a Literal Number Instead of a Symbolic Number?

The argument is that since Revelation contains highly symbolic language, all numbers found in it, including the number 144,000, must be symbolic. However, that is not so. It is true that Revelation does contain numerous symbolic numbers, but it also includes literal numbers. Whether a number in Revelation is to be taken literally or symbolically depends on its background and setting. For instance, John speaks of "the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." (Revelation 21:14) Clearly, the number 12 mentioned in this verse is literal, not symbolic. Also, the apostle John writes about "the thousand years" of Christ's reign which has also been taken literally. (Revelation 20:3, 5-7)

The number 144,000 refers to a limited number of individuals...a relatively small group when compared with the "great crowd". For instance, the 144,000 are described as those who "were bought from among mankind as firstfruits." (Revelation 14:1, 4) The expression "firstfruits" refers to a small representative selection. Also, Jesus spoke of those who will rule with him in heaven as a "little flock." (Luke 12:32; 22:29) The scriptures indicate that those "who have been bought from the earth" are few in comparison with those of mankind who will inhabit the coming Paradise earth.

Besides Jehovah's Witnesses, various Bible scholars have reached the same conclusion that the number 144,000 is literal. When commenting on Revelation 7:4, 9, British lexicographer Dr. Ethelbert W. Bullinger observed over 100 years ago: "It is the simple statement of fact: a definite number in contrast with the indefinite number in this very chapter." -The Apocalypse or "The Day of the Lord," page 282

Also, more recently, Robert L. Thomas, Jr., professor of New Testament at The Master's Seminary in the United States, wrote: "The case for symbolism is exegetically weak." He added: "It is a definite number [at 7:4] in contrast with the indefinite number of 7:9. If it is taken symbolically, no number in the book can be taken literally." -Revelation: An Exegetical Commentary, Volume 1, page 474.

For much more, see:

Is the Number 144,000 Mentioned in Revelation Meant to be Taken Literally? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses take the number 144,000 mentioned in the book of Revelation literally and not symbolically? (w04 9/1 pp. 30-31; Questions From Readers; Watchtower Online Library)

Are the 144,000 only natural Jews? Is the number 144,000 merely symbolic? (rs p. 161-p. 168; Watchtower Online Library)

Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses take the number 144,000 literally? (w04 12/15 p. 30; Watchtower Online Library)

144,000 - Links to Information (Watchtower Online Library)

144,000 - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hebrews 1:8 - “Thy Throne, O God”

(In addition to the research below, even more information concerning Heb. 1:8 can be found by scrolling down to the Heb. 1:8 listing and clicking on the links at the Search For Bible Truths - Scripture Index.) 

Hebrews 1:8 - “Thy Throne, O God”

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 (1970 ed.) 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 [Jehovah].”
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....”

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!

Famed trinitarian (Southern Baptist) New Testament Greek scholar Dr. A. T. Robertson acknowledges that either “Thy throne, O God” or “God is thy throne” may be proper renderings: “Either makes good sense.” - p. 339. 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.”

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.”

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

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 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.)

It might be worthwhile to see that that same UBS textual committee said (p. 522) when discussing Romans 9:5:

“In fact, on the basis of the general tenor of his theology it was tantamount to impossible that Paul would have expressed Christ’s greatness by calling him God blessed for ever.” And, “Nowhere else in his genuine epistles does Paul ever designate [‘the Christ’] as theos [‘God’ or ‘god’].”

So, for those of us who believe that Paul wrote the Bible book of Hebrews, the UBS committee provides yet another reason why Heb. 1:8 must be translated “God is your throne” not “your throne, O God.” (But don’t forget that some scholars don’t consider Paul to be the author of Hebrews even though they may still consider Hebrews to be inspired scripture.)

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!

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 .  and  and

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. 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.)

B. 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 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."

For more, see:

Hebrews 1:8 (rs p. 405-p. 426; Watchtower Online Library)

Hebrews 1:8 "Thy throne, O God" (Defending the NWT)

Heb. 1:8 (IN Defense of the NWT)

George Wesley Buchanan and Hebrews 1 (
IN Defense of the NWT)


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.


Defend Jehovah's Witnesses