New Approach to Discussing Deity of Christ with JW's

by Sea Breeze 38 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • oppostate

    yeah like someone is going to read all the unquoted references in the OP, aint nobody got time for that I'm afraid.

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze

    Jesus is found throughout the Old Testament if you look for him:

    May be an image of text that says 'Thy dead men men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Isaiah 26:19 KJV'

    Now when did God have a dead body?

    The phrase, "thus saith the Lord" appears over 400 times in the Old Testament. It does not appear in the NT even once.

    But in the NT Jesus said, "I say unto you" 135 times.

  • Earnest

    That's an interesting application of Isaiah 26:19, but the speaker who refers to "my dead body" is not God which is obvious from the context, but the choir which verse 1 refers to.

    In Barnes Notes he says "it is not the language of the prophet Isaiah, as if he referred to his own body when it should be dead, but it is the language of the choir that sings and speaks in the name of the Jewish people. 'That people' is thus introduced as saying 'my' dead, that is, 'our' dead, shall rise", i.e. they will be restored to their privileges and land.

    How could "my dead body" (nblthi) refer to a collective dead? Well, it does as can be seen in Leviticus 11:11 (" are to loathe their dead body [nblthm]"), Psalms 79:2 ("They have given the dead body [nblth] of your servants..."), Isaiah 5:25 ("... and their dead bodies [literally "their dead body", nblthm] will become like the offal..."), Jeremiah 7:33 ("And the dead bodies [literally "dead body", nblth] of this people must become food...").

    Likewise, Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament says of this expression, "my corpses will rise again" (יקמוּן נבלתי, nebēlah: a word without a plural, but frequently used in a plural sense).

    This understanding is clear in both the LXX ("those in the memorial tombs") and Vulgate ("my killed ones") translations of this verse. Barnes suggests that this is a parallelism (common in the Hebrew Bible) with "my dead" [nblthi] in parallel with "your dead ones" [mthik] and refers to the remnant who were civilly dead but will be restored to their homeland, in contrast with the tyrants of Babylon in verse 14 who will not rise up again.

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze

    Earnest, Maybe, maybe not.

    But scriptures in the OT often take on a more literal meaning in the light of the NT.

    Such as:

    Acts 20:28 "Feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with HIS OWN BLOOD."

    Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

    Hebrews 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

    Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood..."

    Early church leaders (disciples of the apostles) had the understanding of God sacrificing himself for all mankind and frequently referred to Jesus as God. Here are a few examples:

    1. Ignatius of Antioch (c. 50–117): For our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived by Mary according to God’s plan, both from the seed of David and of the Holy Spirit. (Ignatius, Letter to the Ephesians, 18.2. Translation from Michael Holmes, Apostolic Fathers, 197)

    2. Ignatius (again): Consequently all magic and every kind of spell were dissolved, the ignorance so characteristic of wickedness vanished, and the ancient kingdom was abolished when God appeared in human form to bring the newness of eternal life. (Ibid., 19.3. Holmes, AF, 199)

    3. Ignatius (again): For our God Jesus Christ is more visible now that he is in the Father. (Ignatius, Letter to the Romans, 3.3. Holmes, AF, 229)

    4. Ignatius (again): I glorify Jesus Christ, the God who made you so wise, for I observed that you are established in an unshakable faith, having been nailed, as it were, to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ignatius, Letter to the Smyrnaeans, 1.1. Holmes, AF, 249.)

    5. Ignatius (again): Wait expectantly for the one who is above time: the Eternal, the Invisible, who for our sake became visible; the Intangible, the Unsuffering, who for our sake suffered, who for our sake endured in every way. (Ignatius, Letter to Polycarp, 3.2. Holmes, AF, 265.)

    6. Polycarp of Smyrna (69–155): Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal high priest himself, the Son of God Jesus Christ, build you up in faith and truth . . ., and to us with you, and to all those under heaven who will yet believe in our Lord and God Jesus Christ and in his Father who raised him from the dead. (Polycarp, Philippians, 12:2. Holmes, AF, 295)

    7. Epistle of Barnabas (written c. 70–130): “If the Lord submitted to suffer for our souls, even though he is Lord of the whole world, to whom God said at the foundation of the world, “Let us make humankind according to our image and likeness,” how is it, then, that he submitted to suffer at the hands of humans?” (Epistle of Barnabas, 5.5. Holmes, AF, 393)

    8. Justin Martyr (100–165): And that Christ being Lord, and God the Son of God, and appearing formerly in power as Man, and Angel, and in the glory of fire as at the bush, so also was manifested at the judgment executed on Sodom, has been demonstrated fully by what has been said. (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 128. Translation from Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, Ante-Nicene Fathers, I:264)

    9. Justin (again): “Permit me first to recount the prophecies, which I wish to do in order to prove that Christ is called both God and Lord of hosts.” (Ibid., 36. ANF, I:212.)

    10. Justin (again): Therefore these words testify explicitly that He [Jesus] is witnessed to by Him [the Father] who established these things, as deserving to be worshipped, as God and as Christ. (Ibid., 63. ANF, I:229)

    11. Justin (again): The Father of the universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God. And of old He appeared in the shape of fire and in the likeness of an angel to Moses and to the other prophets; but now in the times of your reign, having, as we before said, become Man by a virgin . . .” (Justin Martyr, First Apology, 63. ANF, I:184)

    12. Justin (again): For if you had understood what has been written by the prophets, you would not have denied that He was God, Son of the only, unbegotten, unutterable God. (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 126. ANF, I:263)

    13. Tatian (110–172): We do not act as fools, O Greeks, nor utter idle tales when we announce that God was born in the form of man. (Tatian, Address to the Greeks, 21. ANF, II:74)

  • GodBeliever

    The short answer and best translation is "to shepherd the Church of God which He (Jesus) purchased through His own blood (i.e., His death for us on the cross).

    If the question then is "who is He/His here", the response would be that, judging from the text, Paul is referring to Christ and the blood of Christ, and that this is neither inconsistent with what he has just said about "the Church of God", nor would Paul have felt there was any problem with putting things this way.

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze
    • The phrase, "thus saith the Lord" appears over 400 times in the Old Testament. It does not appear in the NT even once.

      But in the NT Jesus said, "I say unto you" 135 times. Just let that sink in a moment.

      Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of the apostle John, refers to "the blood of God"

      "I have become acquainted with your name, much-beloved in God, which you have acquired by the habit of righteousness, according to the faith and love in Jesus Christ our Saviour. Being the followers of God, and stirring up yourselves by THE BLOOD OF GOD, you have perfectly accomplished the work which was beseeming to you."

      The Christian God bleeds plain and simple.

  • GodBeliever

    but he with an oath, through the one who said to him: “The Lord has sworn, and he will not repent: ‘You are a priest forever’”— to that same degree has Jesus [also] become the guarantee of an [even] better covenant. Those priests were many because they were prevented by death from remaining in office, but he, because he remains forever, has a priesthood that does not pass away. Therefore, he is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them. It was fitting that we should have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens. He has no need, as did the high priests, to offer sacrifice day after day, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did that once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests, but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law, appoints a son, who has been made perfect forever.

    Hebrews 7:21‭-‬28 NABRE

    No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. In the same way, it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest, but rather the one who said to him: “You are my son; this day I have begotten you”; just as he says in another place: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, declared by God high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Exhortation to Spiritual Renewal.

    Hebrews 5:4‭-‬10 NABRE

    If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all. Christ the Firstfruits. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death, for “he subjected everything under his feet.” But when it says that everything has been subjected, it is clear that it excludes the one who subjected everything to him. When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will [also] be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.

    1 Corinthians 15:19‭-‬28 NABRE

    Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Obedience and Service in the World.

    Philippians 2:5‭-‬11

  • Earnest

    There is an interesting discussion of Acts 20:28 in Bruce Metzger's "A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament". In the first place, there is some question whether Luke wrote "to shepherd the Church of God" or "to shepherd the Church of the Lord". The reading "the church of God" is contained in codex Sinaiticus and codex Vaticanus while the reading "the church of the Lord" is contained in p74, codex Alexandrinus, codex Bezae and codex Laudianus. The difference between the two readings (in the original language) only concerns a single letter, whether it was a theta or a kappa. So the New English Bible, for example, reads "the church of the Lord" with a footnote that some witnesses read "of God". If it was "the church of the Lord" there is not the theological issue of asserting that it is God's blood which was poured out, which is the heresy of patripassianism. But Metzger reports that the Committee considered "the church of God" to be the more difficult reading and so more likely to be original.

    They then went on to consider the last clause which could be translated as "with his own blood" or as "with the blood of his Own". He says that this absolute use of "own" as a noun is found in Greek papyri as a term of endearment referring to near relatives, and so it is possible it is a title early Christians gave to Jesus, comparable to "the Beloved".

    J.H. Moulton confirms this in his "Grammar of New Testament Greek", pp.90-91, where he states:

    Before leaving [the discussion of the word "own"], something should be said about its use without a noun expressed. This occurs in John 1:11 ["He came to his own [home], but his own [people] did not take him in."]; 13:1 ["... Jesus having loved his own that were in the world ..."]; Acts 4:23 ["After being released they went to their own [people] ..."]; 24:23 ["... forbid no one of his own [people] to wait upon him"]. In the papyri we find the singular used thus as a term of endearment to near relations. In [The Expositor VI. iii, 277] I ventured to cite this as a possible encouragement to those (including B. Weiss) who would translate Acts 20:28 "the blood of one who was his own." Matthew 27:24, according to the text of codex Sinaiticus and the later authorities, will supply a parallel for the grammatical ambiguity: there as here we have to decide whether the second genitive is an adjective qualifying the first ["I am innocent of this blood ..."] or a noun dependent on it ["I am innocent of the blood of this [man] ..."].

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze

    Thankfully, we have the writings of two of the Apostle John's disciples, Ignatius and Polycarp - both congregation leaders who refer to this verse in their writings.

    Ignatius of Antioch (c. 50–117)

    "I have become acquainted with your name, much-beloved in God, which you have acquired by the habit of righteousness, according to the faith and love in Jesus Christ our Saviour. Being the followers of God, and stirring up yourselves by THE BLOOD OF GOD, you have perfectly accomplished the work which was beseeming to you."

    Polycarp of Smyrna (69–155)

    "Being as you are imitators of God, once you took on new life through THE BLOOD OF GOD you completed perfectly the task so natural to you."

  • GodBeliever

    I don't see anything in the writings of Polycarp that would suggest he thought the doctrine of trinity.

    One must be very biased in order to say that trinity is a doctrine of the bible.

    Polycarp of Smyrna wrote:

    But may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ Himself, who is the Son of God, and our everlasting High Priest, build you up in faith and truth, and in all meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, forbearance, and purity; and may He bestow on you a lot and portion among His saints, and on us with you, and on all that are under heaven, who shall believe in our Lord and God Jesus Christ, and in His Father, who "raised Him from the dead (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Chapter 12 modified by B. Thiel to correct omission in translation).

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