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JW's and the Real Jesus
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Witnesses of Jehovah
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Abbreviations used in this information.
J.W.'s - Jehovah's Witnesses (adherents of the Watchtower Society)
NWT - The New World Translation (JW publication).
KIT - Kingdom Interlinear Translation (JW publication).
USING THE KINGDOM
Jehovah's Witnesses believe they have the most accurate translation of the Bible available. They firmly believe this although their New World Translation was done without any Greek or Hebrew scholars. Their Mother Organization, the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of Brooklyn, New York has promised them accuracy to the original languages, never more so than in the New Testament portion of the Scriptures. They even published two Kingdom Interlinear Translations, (KIT) and made the following promises:
"We offer no paraphrase of the Scriptures"..."nearly as possible word for word, the exact statement of the original"...To each major word we have assigned one meaning and have held to that meaning...". (Page 9, 1985 ed.) They further boldly state on page 8 of the same edition, "...There is no benefit in self-deception...those who provide a translation for the spiritual instruction of others come under a special responsibility as teachers before the Divine Judge. Hence we are aware of the need to be careful."
But, have they been "careful"? Did they really translate word-for-word in every case, or paraphrase were it suited their own doctrines? Did they really keep to one meaning per word as promised, or have they blatantly tampered with the text? Did the Watchtower "translators" not only engage in self-deception, but deliberately set out to deceive their followers? We'll let the reader decide for himself as we answer the question, "How reliable is the Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Bible? Since the New World Translation (NWT) is based on the KIT, is it to be trusted, or viewed with suspicion?
Let's begin with John 8:58. The NWT Bible reads: "Jesus said to them: "Most truly I say to YOU, Before Abraham came into existence, I have been."
This decidedly odd rendering has caused much "tense confusion" to the Watchtower. The footnote in the 1969 purple-cover edition of the KIT states that the "I have been" is "properly rendered in the perfect tense." However, in the l985 Navy-Blue-cover edition, the footnote states that "I have been" is "properly translated by the perfect indicative" (tense).
Jn. 8: 58 footnote 1985 ed KIT Blue (01)
Jn. 8: 58 footnote 1969 ed KIT Purple (02)
Why do they "translate" the words "ego eimi"as "I have been" in this verse (John 8:58), when, if you turn back two pages to John 8:18, 23, 24 and 28 you will see examples where "ego eimi" is translated correctly by them, as "I am". Even in the English text under the Greek text (KIT) these same words are translated as "I am" in John 8:58 but they have been CHANGED in the New World Translation. Why? What happened to their promises of a correct word-for-word translation, with no paraphrases? Why the deception on this verse, with its subsequent cover-up, not once, but three times? Why have they changed the plain statement by Jesus Christ that He is the "I Am"? Every honest-hearted Jehovah's Witness needs to know the answer to this question.
Numerous translations and Bible scholars correctly cross-reference this verse with Exodus 3:14 which reveals the divine name for God as "I AM". The Watchtower Society could not have its followers believing the revealing words of Jesus over their false doctrine. Jesus really is the "I AM". The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version) has this comment in the footnote for John 8:58,
"The "I AM" denotes absolute eternal existence, not simply existence prior to Abraham. It is a claim to be Yahweh of the O.T. That the Jews understood the significance of this claim is clear from their reaction (v.59) to the supposed blasphemy."
Truly, Jesus took the Divine Name of God and applied it to Himself! The Watchtower "translators" had to mistranslate, and misconstrue Greek tenses to hide this fact. How important is this? Jesus, Himself tells us just how important it is. He tells us in John 8:24 that unless we believe that He is the "I AM", we will die in our sins!
John 8:24 (03 &04)
The way to eternal life is made plain in the Bible, but not so plain in the NWT. Take, for example the scripture at John 17:3
John 17:3 (05)
The NWT column reads (The same in both purple and blue editions.)
Read carefully the words under the Greek text...
"This but is the everlasting life in order that they may be knowing you the only true God and whom you sent forth Jesus Christ."
Did you spot the critical difference? The NWT says "taking in knowledge of you" BUT the Greek text in the KIT says something quite different..."they may be knowing you." We need to know God through Jesus Christ in order to have everlasting life. All the knowledge in the world will not save us.
Yet the Watchtower Society, by altering the scripture here accomplishes two things in its own self-interest. First, since they dispense "knowledge" through the printed page, it follows that they want their people to be forever "taking in knowledge". Thus the distortion to fit their preconceived ideas. Secondly, they do not want their followers seeking after a relationship with Christ, but dependent instead on their organization. They have therefore dispensed with Christ being the mediator for their followers with the earthly hope, and have substituted their organization in direct violation of 1 Timothy 2:5.
We hardly think this course of action would please the "Divine Judge" they claim to be pleasing with their "translation" of His Holy Word!
HO THEOS: THE GOD
The JW argument is that the Greek term "Ho Theos" (The God) always refers to Jehovah God, whereas "Theos" without the definite article "Ho" could be just Jesus. Yet, In John 20:28, we have the disciple Thomas exclaiming to the risen Christ....
"In answer Thomas said to him: "My Lord and my God!"
The KIT correctly shows under the Greek:
"Answered Thomas and he said to him The Lord of me and the God of me!"
John 20:28 (06)
The Watchtower magazine of July 1, l986, page 31 claims in a footnote that.
"The title ho theos (the God, or God), which now designates the Father as a personal reality, is not applied in the N(ew) T(estament) to Jesus Himself; Jesus is the Son of God (of ho theos)..."
Oops! Thomas was plainly talking to Jesus Christ and called Him "Ho Theos" in the Greek. Was Thomas mistaken? Or is the Watchtower Society mistaken?
The Jehovah's Witnesses are always trying to rob Jesus Christ of His Deity, first removing His title of "I AM" from their "translation", and then trying to make us believe He is not "Ho Theos", when Scripture says He is! Some JW's have claimed that Thomas must have blurted out this statement in error, but if he had, wouldn't the great teacher, Jesus have corrected him? Instead He BLESSED him for making this observation!
"...Because you have seen me have you believed? Happy are those who do not see and yet believe."(NWT).
Believe what? Obviously, that Jesus is Thomas' Lord and God, or "the Lord of me and the God of me" . Thomas did not believe as J.W.'s do, that Jesus was "a god, but The God. In addition, Jesus was prophesied to be "The God With Us" ("Ho Theos") in Matthew 1:23 and the Father Jehovah calls Him "Ho Theos" in Hebrews 1:8. (also distorted by the WT).
IS THERE MYSTERY ABOUT GOD?
Jehovah's Witnesses do not like to hear the term " mystery" in connection with God, as they claim God is no mystery to them! However, the Kingdom Interlinear Translation, shows the word "mystery" under the Greek word when referring to a previous "mystery" now known to the Holy Ones. Note carefully Colossians 1:26. where the word "mystery" appears under the Greek text but in the English column of the New World Translation the word "mystery" has been changed to read "sacred secret". Why?
Col. 1:26 (07)
Why has the word "mystery" been altered to read "sacred secret", not once but four times? (See also Colossians 1:27; 2:2 and 4:3 ). Why do they not want Jehovah's Witnesses to know that there is mystery about God?
Is the answer perhaps found in Col. 1:27 " ...this mystery...which is Christ in YOU, the hope of glory;" or could it be in Col. 2:2 "the mystery of God, namely Christ"? (Kingdom Interlinear Translation English under the Greek text).
Clearly they don't want their followers to have "Christ in you" (a personal relationship with the Savior), nor do they want the emphasis on God's mystery, namely Christ, because that would take the emphasis off "Jehovah's Organization" and its profitable business of dispensing questionable "knowledge".
GODHEAD VS GODSHIP
Colossians 2:9 was a veritable "mine field" for the Watchtower "translators". It contains so much truth on the Person of Jesus Christ that it needed special alterations including the addition of words to the text not even hinted at in the Greek! The NWT reads: "because it is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily."
Colossians 2;9 (08)
"divine quality"?? Where is that found in the Greek! Nowhere! It is a Watchtower invention. In the KIT, under the Greek text, in the purple edition (1969) , the word is translated "godship" (Wescott & Hort's correct translation) but in the navy blue edition (1985) the same Greek word becomes "divinity". How dare they take the liberty of altering Greek meanings from edition to edition, when they have no Greek Scholars?
Why could they not just "translate" from the KIT (purple edition, for example) and have the NWT read closer to the English under the Greek text, such as
"because in him is dwelling down all the fullness of the godship bodily."
The impact of this scripture is momentous--all the fullness of the godship makes Christ truly God, and lest we think He was something less in the flesh, this scripture says he was fully God even in the flesh! Biblical truth, but not Watchtower "truth", so once again the WT doctrines took precedence over the Word of God. Shame on them!
OVER OR UPON THE EARTH?
The WT Society teaches that only 144,000 go to heaven, while the rest, the "other sheep" remain on earth and forever look to this elite group as their "mediator". This number comes from the figure 144,000 mentioned twice in the Bible, in Revelation chapters 7 and 14. This 144,000, they believe will reign OVER the earth IN HEAVEN while all the others will live forever in paradise ON earth.
Carefully examine the following insert of Revelation 5:10 from the Kingdom Interlinear Translation:
Rev 5:10 (09)
In the Greek text we find this group reigning UPON the earth, but by the time the "translation" makes it to the NWT side of the page, suddenly they are reigning OVER the earth, not UPON it! How come in other places they left the word "upon" as it was? (Rev. 5:13 etc. etc.) It takes another Greek word entirely to mean "OVER". Why the blatant deception?
Well, they can't have the "anointed class" (made up of the 144,000) upon earth when they teach that they are the only ones in heaven, and it is the OTHER, lower class that must remain on earth. So, once again, we find the Watchtower's peculiar doctrines being given precedence over the Word of God, and the Society changing God's word to accommodate their doctrines!
WAS JESUS WORSHIPED?
The worship of Jesus Christ was another major problem for the Watchtower "translators". Since, the Bible teaches that Jesus was worshiped in exactly the same way the Father (Jehovah) was worshiped, they had to mistranslate the verses concerning Jesus, if they were to keep their false doctrine of refusing to worship Jesus.
The deception becomes obvious with a careful comparison of a couple of occurrences of the Greek word for "worship". Compare Revelation 7:11 and Matthew 14:33. How come "worship" (Rev. 7:11) becomes "did obeisance" at Matthew 14:33? Why? Because it is Jesus who is worshiped in Matthew 14:33. No other reason.
REV. 7:11 (10)
Matt. 14:33 (11)
What happened to their promise to assign one meaning to one word and stick with it? Apparently this only works when it is not exposing their false teachings! You see, if they abided by their stated rules and told the truth that Jesus was worshiped, that would be an admission that he is God, and not "a god" as they teach. Oh, what a tangled web they weave!
The Watchtower's invented term "did obeisance" was given a definition by them, namely,
"...act of bowing, kneeling, prostrating the body, or making some other gesture to betoken submission; or simply the paying of respect. It adequately translates the Hebrew hishta-chawah' and the Greek pro-sky-ne'o in many cases." (Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, page 523).
Trouble is, they have no backing by Greek scholars for this invented definition. Second problem for them is that many dictionaries list "obeisance" as a definition of "worship"!
Sometimes the Society just can't keep their deceptions straight with each other! Such an example is Hebrews 1:6 in the Purple KIT. Here they put "obeisance" on the Greek/English side and "worship" on the NWT side! What a hoot! If you're going to mistranslate, at least try to be consistent! They had to scramble around and correct their boo-boo in the 1985 navy-blue edition where they hastily did away with the worship of Jesus.
Hebrews 1:6, Purple edition (13 & 14)
Hebrews 1:6 blue edition 15)
Please also refer to Matthew 28:9 where Jesus is worshiped. Then in Matthew 4:10, He directs His followers to worship God alone. Note also Phil. 2:9,10, which says every knee must bow to Jesus. If you use a recognized Bible Concordance, such as Strong's, you will see that the same Greek root word is used for worship throughout, and the Society had no business messing with the Greek to suit their doctrines.
THE 144,000 AND THE GREAT CROWD
It seems like everybody is always in the wrong place for the Watchtower "translators". We showed previously that they desperately wanted the 144,000 to be in heaven ruling OVER the earth, but in fact the correct translation puts their "heavenly" class smack dab UPON the earth. Now the opposite problem arises. Their earthly class is actually in Heaven! How do we know? The Bible tells us so! Carefully read Revelation 19:1 below. Note the location of the "great crowd"--on earth where the Watchtower wants them to be? Nope! In Heaven!
Rev. 19:1 (16)
This is the same "great crowd" or "great multitude" referred to in Revelation 7:9. There they are standing "before the throne" and "before the lamb". Are they on earth? No, they are in heaven because as verse 11 says, "..and all the angels were standing around..... before the throne"(same place--"before the throne). Just honestly read the chapter in its context and you will agree that it is a heavenly scene from beginning to end! Interestingly enough, it is the same location as the 144,000 referred to in Revelation 14:3, "before the throne", and every good JW knows that is in heaven! Both groups are in the same location which is easily provable from the Bible. JW doctrine is wrong.
ADDING WORDS TO THE TEXT TO MAKE A
PARAPHRASE NOT A TRANSLATION
We will consider one example here from Colossians 1:16, 17. Notice the addition of the word "other" four times to alter the meaning of the text:
Colossians 1:16-17 (17)
Now, go back and read the text without the addition of the word "other", which has no business being inserted in the first place. At least they put it in brackets here, but when it got to the separate publication of the New World Translation, the brackets disappeared!
The truth being taught here is that Jesus is the Creator, and He is "before all things". Therefore He is God, not a creature. No wonder the Watchtower "translators" had to do a major paraphrase to hide this important fact!
MISREPRESENTING THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST
The Watchtower "translators" have reduced Jesus to the status of "a god" in their mistranslation of John 1:1, and made a big deal out of the "ho" (definite article) missing from in front of "theos" when referring to Christ in their Kingdom Interlinear Translations and their New World Translations. Their "translation" reads:
"In (the) beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god."
John 1;1 (18)
They go to great lengths to try and explain away their choice to demote Jesus from "The God" to "a god". No reputable scholars support them. Since they sing the praises of the Wescott & Hort text in their introduction, we'll let Dr. B. F. Westcott give his scholarly opinion on this portion of the Greek.
"The predicate (God) stands emphatically first, as in iv. 24. It is necessarily without the article...No idea of inferiority of nature is suggested by the form of expression, which simply affirms the true deity of the Word...In the third clause "the Word" is declared to be 'God" and so included in the unity of the Godhead."
Simply put, since the definite article "ho" was used once earlier in the phrase, in Greek grammar it is understood but not stated again later in the phrase. Dr. Wescott concludes, with his knowledge of Greek, that the Word (Jesus Christ) is understood to be "Ho Theos", even in John 1 :1. This is precisely the point that 1 Peter 3:15 makes in their own KIT.
Sometimes we have to look beyond the surface reading to the footnotes to see the depth of deception in the KIT, but the truth is there for the finding.
"But sanctify the Christ as Lord * in YOUR hearts, always ready to make a defense before everyone that demands of YOU a reason for the hope in YOU, but doing so together with a mild temper and deep respect."
Ahah! a"*" after the word "Lord". What could they be concealing in the footnote? Let's see:
1 Peter 3:15 (footnote) (19)
Let's therefore read it as written, according to the footnote:
"But sanctify the Christ as Jehovah God in YOUR hearts".
Oh my! The Watchtower translators couldn't very well have their followers sanctifying Christ as Jehovah could they? Nor could they entertain the idea that Christ could be in their individual hearts as Jehovah God. Therefore they mistranslated, breaking all their own rules, to hide this important truth.
Let's review the Watchtower promises made concerning their "translation" and see if they have followed their own guidelines.
1. They promised "no paraphrase" but they paraphrased many scriptures to reflect their own peculiar doctrines.
2. They promised to translate "word for word" with the exact statement of the original. Again, they failed to do this, but added words to reflect their own peculiar doctrines. They even changed word meanings to another Greek word entirely than the one that was in the original text.
3. They promised to assign one meaning to each word and hold to that meaning. However in crucially important places, especially when dealing with Jesus Christ, they gave alternate English words which obscured the truth being taught, and even presented falsehood when compared with the original Greek.
4. We must agree with their statement that there is no benefit in self-deception. We tremble when we think of the responsibility they will bear before the "Divine Judge" for their altering of His Holy Word. We urge individual Jehovah's Witnesses to leave this reprehensible organization and seek Jesus Christ alone, and invite Him as God into their hearts as the scriptures command. Please write to us in total confidentiality.
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