Glen T. Winstein

Subtitle

GTJ Brooklyn 6b

 

  Winstein--6b

  Translation concerns
  The identity intended by the Bible for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

  Various issues are covered, the most notable one being that the JWs leaders
    change "Lord" to "Jehovah" in a lot of cases mainly to prevent the reader
    from thinking Jesus was prayed to as Lord.

  Get a couple of Bibles for reference
  Yahweh, not your way or his way or their way
  Honoring a god by falling forward in obesity
  Presence
  Complaints about the JWs leaders' use of reference material:
      the issue of the identity of Jesus and the holy spirit
  Context requires it be the context I require
  In other words
  Deliberations of translations
  God is thy throne

  "A god"--Jesus as archangel Michael the Messiah god who was called "Lord"
      too much and not called "Michael" at all
  How many gods got a good God bod
      if a good God could bod gods?
  Human judges as gods part one: John 10; Psalms 82:1-8
  Human judges as gods part two
  Angelic gods part one
  Angelic gods part two
  Where did gods of nations go?
  Sons of a God
  God in earliest Christianity


  Translation concerns
  The identity intended by the Bible for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

  Various issues are covered, the most notable one being that the JWs leaders
change "Lord" to "Jehovah" in a lot of cases mainly to prevent the reader from
thinking Jesus was prayed to as Lord.

  The mainstream view has a much better case than the JWs leaders for the iden-
tities meant for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by a belief in the Bible.
What I have on it is on pp.6b-10, which give the JWs leaders' stances and man-
glings of the mainstream views and manglings of history, and the actual main-
stream views and actual history.

  Get a couple of Bibles for reference

  While you don't have to commit to any one group's tenets to go over this is-
sue, it would be very helpful (and save me time) for you to have a copy of the
book the JWs leaders' claim to make their rules about--the Bible.  In the
U.S.A., at least, if your local public library doesn't have the translation you
want, you might ask the librarian to send for it as an inter-library loan, which
is a free service.

  For balance, I'd recommend coupling the NWT with one or more other transla-
tions such as the New American Standard Bible, the Revised (or New Revised)
Standard Version, or the New International Version.  Two or three of those last
several translations may also be found in a parallel Bible, which typically
features four non-JWs leaders' translations.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_World_Translation_of_the_Holy_Scriptures
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_translations

  At the next links are the online versions of most free Bibles--the Revised
Standard Version, the Douay-Rheims Bible, etc.  Bible Gateway offers a variety of
other Bibles including the New International Version, the New American Standard
Bible, the New Revised Standard Bible, Good News Translation, Orthodox Jewish Bi-
ble, etc., and translations into various languages.
  http://quod.lib.umich.edu/r/rsv/browse.html
  http://www.drbo.org/
  http://www.biblegateway.com/

  (Thanks to Leolaia at the Jehovah's Witness Discussion forum web site for the
tip to try the Jerusalem Bible--it gets a very good review at the 1st link be-
low.  I didn't find it online, but the New Jerusalem Bible is at the 2nd link.)
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_Bible
  http://www.catholic.org/bible/

  A number of translations of the Hebrew Bible/Tanakh/OT are near the bottom of
the Wikipedia article at the next link.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_English_Bible_translations

  A Greek-English interlinear is at the Scripture4all web site at the next
link.
  http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/Greek_Index.htm

  Thanks to the translators of the New American Standard Bible and the Revised
Standard Version for most of the Bible quotes in this article.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_American_Standard_Bible
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revised_Standard_Version

  Bible dictionaries, etc.
  http://www.bible-history.com/

  Thanks to PSacramento at the Jehovahs-Witness.net site for the tip about this
source for a concordance and commentaries:
  http://www.blueletterbible.org/index.cfm


  As of 2013 there's a revised New World Translation (a grey covered version
called the "Silver Sword")--a new version of the Jehovah's Witnesses Bible.

  "At the Watch Tower Society's annual meeting on October 5, 2013, a signif-
  icantly revised translation was released.  Many outdated terms were replaced
  with modern English.  The Pericope Adulterae (John 7:53 – 8:11) and the
  Longer Ending of Mark 16 (Mark 16:9–20) were removed.  The new revision was
  also released as part of an app called JW Library."
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_World_Translation_of_the_Holy_Scriptures
#2013_revision


  Online
  https://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/nwt/books/

  While it's complimented for reducing the word count and using more modern
words the typical criticism is that it's not a good translation when it comes to
the theological bias of the JWs leaders.  Fortunately for making my job easy
those issues are about the same as before.  For example, there are still the
extra "other"s of the 1984 translation but now the brackets around them have
been removed. 

  "2013 New World Translation review" by TheScrewedGeneration
  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrwchXNK6E0

  "Jehovah" is forced into the NT to replace "Lord" 237 times--as before, to
disguise the mainstream idea of Jesus as a person of God.  The wrong date 607 BC
(part of JWs' doctrine about 1914 AD) is used in a chart for the destruction of
Jerusalem (all other sources give 586-7 BC).  The 2013 version adds the phrase
"governing body" to Acts 15.
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetragrammaton_in_the_New_Testament
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_%28587_BC%29

  I'll compare such cases this way.  There's sometimes some wiggle room in
translation.  Imagine how some phrases in English can be paraphrased and mean
the same thing.  A translator may prefer phrases and be thought to show bias or
persuasion.  But the examples given above are like a Bible translator stuck the
phrase "Buy Coca Cola" in there just because they sell it.

  Other such issues are covered below.


  The description below refers to the 1984 NWT.

  The JWs leaders' own New World Translation often uses one English word for one
Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek word.  This approach has pluses and minuses.

  A paraphrased translation may substitute simplified meanings, even explana-
tions, for the original verses.

  Given the way words change meanings in different contexts, cultures, and over
time, or that a literal translation from one language to another may convey a
different meaning, some prefer a translation with English words or phrases that
try to capture what are best contextually and historically indicated to be the
original ideas.

  Some like a translation that's more directly word for word, which can make it
easier to cross-reference but may be more reliant on the quality of the related
explanation the reader finds to convey what context and history best indicate
were the original ideas.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical-grammatical_method

  The NWT is more like the latter except as the guiding outlooks for transla-
tion, such as claims about what the force of context or history requires for
translation, are narrowed or revised as required by the JWs leaders' rules of
interpretation.  (Because some rules reflect that the JWs leaders claim to come
from an exclusive 144,000, p.1a, this includes the forced points JWs leaders
have used to teach their distinctive rules, including that Jesus is archangel
Michael and not to be worshipped, etc., pp.7-10, that Jesus' invisible "pres-
ence" began affecting people on Earth in 1914, that cross should be "stake," p.
1a, etc.).  The reader is meant to use the JWs leaders' literature for their on-
ly related commentary and explanations.
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Coming

  Where these restrictions create distinctive results, the result is less of an
accurate historic document for general use and more of an easily cross-refer-
enced supplement to the exclusive prophet-playing rules of the JWs leaders.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_World_Translation_of_the_Holy_Scriptures
  http://www.forananswer.org/Top_JW/Bowman_Furuli.htm

****


  Yahweh, not your way or his way or their way
  (Thanks to Mel Brooks, "2000 and Thirteen," 1973, paraphrased slightly)
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_Year_Old_Man
  http://www.melbrooks.com/
  http://carl-reiner.com/
  http://comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com/carl-reiner-mel-brooks-i-want-
sandwiches-i-want-chicken

  They'd ask him: "Am I talking to the Son of God?" and he'd say, "Yeshua."
See?  That's how you know.  (I came up with that one.  Sorry.)

  An example of the NWT mainly being a supplement for JWs leaders' literature is
in the New Testament, aka the New Covenant or, for JWs, Christian Greek scrip-
tures: "kurios," Greek for "Lord," is changed to "Jehovah," a modern variation
of the tetragrammaton, "YHWH," 237 times.  See the articles at the next several
links.
  http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2008567
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_translations#History_of_Bible_translations
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetragrammaton_in_the_New_Testament
  http://www.tetragrammaton.org/
  http://www.freeminds.org/doctrine/jehovah.htm
  http://www.thearmchairscholar.org/id50.html

  The Old Testament/Tanach was written in predominantly Hebrew (Masoretic) and
Greek versions.  The early Christians mainly used the Greek Septuagint version
for OT quotes, and the New Testament was written in Greek.  (A minority view
wonders if the original Matthew was written in Aramaic.)
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanakh
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Matthew

 

  Some other Bible translations have used "Jehovah" instead of the Greek word
for "Lord," "kurios," for New Testament quotes of verses in Hebrew that con-
tain "YHWH."  The New World Translation also uses "Jehovah" that way 78 times.
It's a debatable thing to do since none of the early NT manuscripts have it,
but as it's normally done it doesn't make any doctrinal difference in identify-
ing Jesus.
  http://www.tetragrammaton.org/divname.html
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetragrammaton_in_the_New_Testament

  More controversial is the apparent motive for many of the rest of the 237
cases (plus 72 in footnotes) in which the NWT NT replaces "Lord" with "Jeho-
vah."
  http://www.freeminds.org/doctrine/thename.htm
  http://www.believersweb.org/view.cfm?id=539&rc=1&list=multi


  The JWs leaders teach that "Jehovah," taken literally, refers only to the Fa-
ther, and that Jesus is archangel Michael, isn't to be worshipped, and isn't
God (pp.7-10).  In a lot of NT verses "Lord" appears in all the earliest Greek
NT manuscripts and could be, and usually is, taken by mainstream Christianity to
refer to Jesus as God, but the JWs leaders' stance has it that "Lord" in those
verses refers to the Father and not the Son.  So the word "Lord" in those verses
is replaced in the JWs leaders' NWT by "Jehovah" to bolster the JWs leaders'
case that Jesus isn't referred to in those verses or to be give the mainstream
identification.

  In 400 other verses where the JWs leaders teach that "kurios" refers only to
Jesus, the JWs leaders' NWT has "kurios" translated as "Lord."

  Jesus, as taught by the JWs leaders, is archangel Michael, a god in the figur-
ative sense, who was called "Lord" too much.


  In comparing the mainstream and JWs leaders' vews of Jesus on pp.6b-10,
there's no reason to feel obliged to the JWs leaders' extra "Jehovah"s meant as
about the Father.  The easy way to correct the JWs leaders forced translation
for that is to remember that whenever the NWT has "Jehovah" it's supposed to be
"Lord" and carry the interpretation possibility for it to mean Jesus. 

  Compare the NWT and NASB at Acts 2:20,21; 9:14, Rom.10:9-13 and Joel 2:32, and
at Philippians 2:11 and Isaiah 45:18-25.
  https://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/nwt/books/
  http://www.biblegateway.com/
  http://www.freeminds.org/doctrine/thename.htm

  Paul uses OT verses about God and applies them to Jesus as the Lord:
  Rom.10:13/Joel 2:32,
  1 Cor.1:31/Jer.9:23,24,
  1 Cor.10:26/Psalms 24:1, and
  2 Cor.10:17/Jer.9:23,24.

  He takes a number of OT verses that give YHWH as the Lord and applies them to
Jesus:
  1 Cor.10:21/Mal.1:7,12,
  1 Cor.10:22/Deut.32:21,
  2 Cor.3:16/Ex.34:34,
  1 Thes.3:13/Zech.14:5,
  1 Thes.4:6 9/Psalm 94:2, and
  Philippians 2:10,11/Isaiah 45:23-25.

  Paul indicated that Jesus was to be called the Lord as the OT title for God.

  At 1 Cor,8:5,6, Paul gives Jesus as the Lord in a Christian variation of the
Shema (Deut.6:4; Mark 12:29):
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shema_Yisrael

  "For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as in-
deed there are many 'gods' and many 'lords'), yet for us there is but one God,
the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one
Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live."
(NASB)

  The next several web pages have studies (mainstream Christian view) of the
phrase "call on the name of the Lord."
  http://www.callingonthelord.org/
  http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=775
  http://carm.org/religious-movements/jehovahs-witnesses/1-cor-12-call-upon-
name-lord-jesus

  The JWs leaders' case about it notes that Jesus said, "I have made your name
manifest to the men you gave me out of the world...." to the Father (John 17:6).

  "Name" is used to mean both proper names and reputation in the Bible.  Since
all Jesus needs to have meant by "name" at John 17:6 (see above) is "reputa-
tion," the verse doesn't require he meant he'd added to his controversy by
speaking the name "YHWH" a lot to make it well known (Ex.3:13-15).  Encouraging
belief in the God of the OT would be enough to help popularize God's reputation.


  The mainstream case notes that Apostle Peter said, "...be it known to you all,
and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by him this man is standing
before you well.  This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, but
which has become the head of the corner.  And there is salvation in no one else,
for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be
saved." (Acts 4:10-12; also see Eph.1:21; Philip.2:5-11)

  Peter doesn't give Jesus' salvation and name as second ones to be used in con-
junction with YHWH, though at Isaiah 43:3 and 11, the only savior is God.

  At Philippians 2:9, for helping people by suffering the crucifixion, Jesus has
a name above every name, which is a quote about God: "the name that is above
every name" is from Isaiah 45:23.

  One possibility is that God meant "YHWH," given during Mosaic law, to be used
forever onward--the JWs leaders' view.  Another is that the usage of it could be
like various other things that are given in Mosaic law so taken as meant for all
time onward that ended with the Christian covenant (from the crucifixion on-
ward)--for all time onward until God creates another covenant that establishes
its own rules (Isaiah 43:3 and 11).  This would still honor the older rule in
that "YHWH" would continue to be remembered by Christians as a Mosaic law name
for God.
  
  I could do this quick--it can't be that God needed us to know how to say
"YHWH" because we're not sure how to say it (next...), although a good case
could be made for "Yahweh" as the pronunciation.  I could take a little longer
and add that God didn't make sure that the NT manuscript evidence would show
that he needed Christians to write it in the NT, either.
  http://www.lectio.unibe.ch/05_2/troyer_names_of_god.htm
  http://jehovah.net.au/jehovah.html
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetragrammaton
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahweh
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetragrammaton_in_the_New_Testament

  Even in the NWT with hundreds of extra "Jehovah"s, Jesus the Son was more in-
tent to encourage the title "Father" for the Father than anything else to empha-
size the Father--Son relationship and as part of his intention to bring God and
mankind closer together (as with the meaning of the crucifixion).  This is often
compared to "Father" being more personal than calling your father by his first
name, reflective of the closer relationship with God meant by Christianity, and
that God would be accessible anywhere in the world.  Instead of a prophet of Is-
rael having the close relationship and teaching the others as was true previous-
ly with the Mosaic law name "Yahweh" for God, every follower would live in God.

  Jesus called his heavenly Father "Father" more often than anything else in the
NT.  Jesus' second-most popular choice was "God," not "YHWH" (or "Lord," which
the JWs leaders would exchange for "Jehovah").
  http://www.preachingpoints.com/2009/07/names-for-god-and-jesus-in-the-new-
testament/

  Notably, in Jesus' prayer at Gethsemane (Mark 14:36; Matt.26:42; Luke 22:42),
he called his Father "Abba," which is a variation of "Father" that's more inti-
mate, like calling him "Daddy."  In the Lord's prayer (Matt.6:9-13 and Luke 11:
1-4), Jesus taught his followers to pray with "Our Father."
  http://www.freeminds.org/doctrine/thename.htm
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord%27s_Prayer
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ab_%28Semitic%29#Aramaic
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agony_in_the_Garden


  According to Peter Lewis in "The Glory of Christ," p.194: "Fifty-one times in
the first three Gospels, and more than a hundred times in John, Jesus speaks of
God as 'Father.'  This in itself is remarkable, and we should not lose sight of
that through our own familiarity with the term.  For instance, only twice in the
Old Testament is God directly addressed as Father, and only fifteen times is the
word Father used of Him at all--and then only of His relationship to the nation
and the king rather than to individuals as such.  In corporate worship Jews
sometimes spoke of God as 'our Father,' but the general reluctance to call God
'Father,' much more 'my Father,' is reflected in the Palestinian literature
around Jesus' time.  Indeed, O. Hofius writes, 'We have yet to find an example
of an individual addressing God as "my Father"' even if the phrase 'Father in
heaven' was occasionally used later."

  According to Leon Morris in "Jesus is the Christ," p.134: "That God is Father
means, for John, in the first instance that he is the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ.  It is in this relationship that we see what divine fatherhood means.
But it is also important for John that believers enter the heavenly family and
may call God 'Father.'  As we have noted elsewhere, John does not call them
'sons of God.'  As it relates to the heavenly family he reserves 'son' for
Christ; when he is speaking of believers, he calls them 'children' rather than
'sons.'  This is a Johanine usage; Paul, for example, does not hesitate to speak
of human members of the heavenly family as 'sons.'  But John's usage distin-
guishes between Christ's sonship and that of anyone else.  Jesus is God's Son;
believers become God's sons.  He belongs to God's family because of what he is;
we may be adopted into the family despite what we are."


  For all the lengthy studies you could find on Google about the possibility of
the missing earliest NT manuscripts having "YHWH" in them, one thing we know is
that none of the early manuscripts we have of the NT has it.  The added motive
none of those theories have is that the JWs leaders have gone for 144,000 ex-
clusiveness (p.1a) again by forcing what otherwise are debatable theories, nar-
rowed the exclusiveness by using their distinctive rules about Jesus as Michael,
etc., to guide them in picking which "Lord"s to replace, to come up with another
exclusive rule to teach with forced points.


  This is in keeping with the way the JWs leaders strain to inject the JWs lead-
ers' views into early Christian history as shown on pp.8 and 9 (compare to
p.1a).  As is done there, with no need greater than the reasons of forced points
and revisionist history about their 144,000 exclusive views, the JWs leaders
discount the stronger mainstream historical case as created by a widespread
great apostasy that they allege occurred early on.  The JWs leaders claim they
restore the original church/Kingdom Hall, which allegedly believed that Jesus is
archangel Michael the Messiah god who was shortly thereafter called "Lord" too
much, and the alleged apostates re-wrote the NT to substitute all the "YHWH"s
with "Lord"s.

  (Allegedly, this was controversially covered up in early Christian history be-
cause the followers were poisoned by evil philosophy; God would wait till Jesus
invisibly affected the JWs leaders to clear this up, and till 1954 to have them
tell the followers to stop worshipping him.)  (See p.1a.)

  As on pp.7-10, the JWs leaders' view of Jesus isn't completely unimaginable as
much as it's a matter of forcing a weak case for the original view as the only
one imaginable, ironically falsifying a case meant to establish an exclusive
144,000 righteous honesty.

  The early use of "YHWH" in the Septuagint was only spoken by the Jewish
priests for generations, and they weren't saying it after the fall of Jerusalem
in 70 AD.  Early Christians weren't in Jewish temples persuading for their view
of Christ's nature after that, but Christianity continued to be taught as not
obliged to Mosaic law and became popular among the Greeks.

  If the early Christians were writing and saying YHWH with the importance the
JWs leaders attach to it, Christians would have continued to despite anything
any theory I've read comes up with.  And they would have weighed anything that
came up later against what an increasing number of the early ones, considered
the original authorities, did.  Some early Christian writers thought they knew
how to say it, and some of them may have been right, but it wasn't passed along.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahweh


  I have a couple of thoughts about the idea of "YHWH" being replaced by "Lord"
between the time of the original writings and the earliest manuscripts we have.
Both questions deal with the same thing--when?--in this way:

  Even at the earliest, the writings were written and copied by a variety of
people in a variety of places.  (It would be a few hundred years before what we
know as a New Testament collection was standard.)  It's kind of hard to imagine
all the students of apostle John would say, "What did he know?  I'll rewrite
it," let alone all the students of all of them, and Paul circulated.

  The later you wait to avoid that problem, the farther the scriptures were
spread, so harder to imagine were all changed in even more places with even more
earlier authorities over-ruled.  And the New Testament was written in various
places over a perod of decades to begin with.  If you believe God guided the
transmission of these ideas, and consider the JWs leaders' allegation that some
movement was removing "YHWH"s to the earliest writings in one place, why
wouldn't God have other writers complain and make specific warnings about "YHWH"
in their epistles in another place or at least leave some evidence of creating a
movement that debated the issue?  The easiest way to figure it is it didn't hap-
pen, but what do I know?

  There's an irony here: the JWs leaders' "Should You Believe in the Trinity?"
brochure seems intended to have the average person, not up on it, think the
Ante-Nicene fathers had the JWs leaders' views of the Son and holy spirit (pp.8,
9).  But on this issue, the JWs leaders imply that the same Ante-Nicene fathers
were commonly such strong believers in the mainstream historical views (except
about faithfully transmitting the scriptures) that they removed lots of "YHWH"s
from the manuscripts to suit their allegedly apostate view of Jesus uncontested-
ly.

  And for all those of other views (Ebionites, Adoptionists, etc.) who debated
competitively with the Ante-Nicene fathers, no record survives of them making
the predicted complaints you'd predict if the JWs leaders' contention about
"YHWH" were true, faulting the Ante-Nicene fathers as causing a major rewriting
of the scriptures to suit themselves.  A more typical reaction to expect is
shown in the many complaints currently in books and on the Internet in reaction
to the JW leaders doing that with the NWT.

****


  Honoring a god by falling forward in obesity

  A defense of the JWs leaders' translation and interpretation of "proskuneo" is
at the next link.
  http://web.archive.org/web/20070929124616/mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/new
worldtranslation/hebrews1.6.htm

  The Greek wprd "proskuneo" means to worship or do obeisance to.  "Obeisance"
means to prostrate oneself before someone in honor of them.  It's not uncommon
in the OT to find men who do obeisance to men (1 Sam.24:8; 2 Sam.1:2).

  Basically, an easy way to think of the difference is that it means to honor,
it's just that God should get the most honor.  (It's like "glory" in that re-
gard--only God has the most glory.)

  The NWT has "obeisance" done instead of "worship" for Jesus at Heb.1:6 and
other verses, who's "a god" in the JWs leaders' theology (see the section on
John 1:1 on p.8).  According to an archive of the JWs "mysite" site, a written
version of the NWT has "obeisance" in the main text with "worship" shown as a
footnote.
  http://web.archive.org/web/20070929124616/mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/new
worldtranslation/hebrews1.6.htm

  But at Ex.34:14--"You shall not worship any other god, for the LORD is 'the
Jealous One'; a jealous God is he." (Matt.4:10, sacred service--see p.8)  You
might have a person just do obeisance to some regular person in the OT, but
either way you translate it there or in the verses where it's done to Jesus
(Matt.2:2,11; 14:33; 28:9,16,17; John 9:38; Luke 24:52; Heb.1:6; Rev.5:11-14;
for Rev.22:3, see the section on "Latreuo" on p.8), you're not supposed to wor-
ship or do obeisance to any god except the one God of the Bible (Luke 4:8).

  The JWs leaders' Jesus is archangel Michael.  An archangel is an angel (see
the section on "Archangel Michael" on p.8).  At Col.2:18, Christians aren't sup-
posed to worship or do obeisance to angels.

  In the NT, aside from verses that everyone agrees are about worship of God and
except for the example Jesus gives of a slave desperately begging his owner not
to sell him (Matt.18:26), anyone who does it to anyone but Jesus is rebuked for
it (Acts 10:25,26; Rev.19:10; 22:8,9) except at Matt.18:26, where Jesus tells of
a slave who did it desperately begging his lord not to sell him.

  See the section on "Prayer and worship" on p.8.

****


  Presence

  Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words gives the Greek word "pa-
rousia" as meaning "a presence," "arrival," "the arrival and subsequent presence
of."  This comes up in regard to the Second Coming of Jesus and the JWs leaders'
stance about it and Jesus turning his attention to the Earth from heaven since
1914.
  http://www2.mf.no/bibelprog/vines?word=%AFt0000500 

  The NWT translates "parousia," Greek for "appearance and subsequent presence
with" or "an arrival," used to refer to the second coming of Jesus, as "pres-
ence" and restricts the meaning to an idea of the results on Earth of Jesus' ac-
tions about it in heaven being understood on Earth.

  The reason Nelson Barbour persuaded Charles Russell to that translation and
interpretation was to suit his idea that Jesus' 2nd coming was a matter of Jesus
taking his throne in heaven in 1874 and invisibly ruling the Earth.  Rutherford
bumped the invisible Jesus up to 1914, which is where subsequent JWs leaders
had left him except that Jesus has recently been taught as having turned his at-
tention to Earth without taking the throne in 1914 (see 1995 on p.1a), pending
any future updates about his invisible activities.

  The JWs leaders have rationalized that "every eye will see" is to be under-
stood in the sense of it being commonly understood worldwide:

  "With regard to Christ's coming, the Bible says, 'Look!  He is coming with the
clouds and every eye will see him.' Rev.1:7  People will not see him with their
literal eyes.  Since his ascension is to heaven, Jesus is a 'spirit person who
dwells in unapproachable light, whom not one of men has seen or can see.' 1 Tim
6:16."  ("The Watchtower," March 15, 2007, p.5)

  This is connected with the events described at Matt.24:29, along with "fea-
tures at the sign of his presence and of the conclusion of the system of
things":

  "This 'coming' is described also also by the apostle John at Revelation 1:7,
where he says: 'Look! He is coming with the clouds.'  Oh, those enemies will not
actually see Jesus with literal eyes, for 'the clouds' signifies that he comes
invisibly to execute judgment.  If mere humans were to behold his heavenly glory
with the naked eye, they would be blinded, just as Saul, on the road to Damas-
cus, was struck blind when the glorified Jesus appeared to him in a great flash-
ing light.—Acts 9:3-8; 22:6-11."  ("The Watchtower," May 1, 1993, p.22)

  The verse says even his enemies will see Jesus, so it wouldn't bank on an in-
terpretation possible with belief in him.

  I say if he wants to be seen by eyes, he'd be seen by eyes, which is what it
says.  These guys are bossing God around now--they're out of control.

  It's something that didn't happen either way, and has been watered down since
then to a JWs leaders' required view with an arbitrary origin, so why bother
with the idea anymore?  As of this writing, the JWs leaders deny salvation to
anyone who persists in disagreeing with the idea, although it's only a preten-
tious, scripturally unnecessary way to claim to be exclusive authorities (the
JWs leaders' view of a literal 144,000, etc., and since 2009 the GB has claimed
to be the only Faithful and Discreet Slave) (see p.1a).  Worse, this, in turn,
has led to cynical methods to establish the exclusive authority despite it hav-
ing led to followers coming to harm and death in Germany and Malawi (p.6) and
due to restricted medical care (pp.12-42).
  http://www.towerwatch.com/Witnesses/statistics/partakers.htm

  Whether the verse is taken to mean all would see or know the second coming
happened, the Watch Tower Bible Students didn't indicate in 1914 that they
thought Jesus' invisible presence began then--they thought it happened in 1874,
or that in 1919 they thought that Jesus picked their leaders as his sole reli-
gious leaders (p.1a).  Even recently, only a tiny percent (about 1/10th of 1%?)
of the population is made up of JWs who are told to teach this, not anything
close to a decent generalization, let alone believers and enemies of Jesus--
everyone.
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Coming
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah%27s_Witnesses
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_human_population

  In 1914, Russell's Bible Students were still years away from changing their
minds about Russell's claim that Jesus' invisible presence began in 1874 (p.1a).
"Parousia" as in "presence" is one thing, but I'll hazard the opinion that "all
eyes," of 1914, including of those against him (Rev.1:7), as in "nobody" isn't
the originally intended idea.

  As the JWs leaders' claims about Jesus appearing invisibly are meant to estab-
lish their claim of 144,000 exclusive authority, and as the JWs leaders' claim
of 144,000 exclusive authority bears on the JWs leaders' exclusive rules about
the medical use of blood, and as it relates to fatalities of JWs because they
followed the JWs leaders' rules about the medical use of blood, I'll put it sim-
ply like this:

  A guy tells another guy: "Don't use that medical treatment even though it
means your kid will die.  God wants you to do it--it's God's prerogative.  As
proof I know that, Jesus will appear in two seconds.  Did you see him?  Well, He
was invisible."  I wouldn't do it, and I'd recommend that you shouldn't do it,
either.  (The issue of the JWs leaders' rules that ban the medical use of blood
are covered on pp.12-42.)

****


  Complaints about the JWs leaders' use of reference material:
    the issue of the identity of Jesus and the holy spirit

  The NWT has used quotes by authors who protested, or by their teachings would
be predicted to object, that their quotes were used out of context in isolated
concerns to leave impressions and lead to conclusions that they wouldn't have
intended in a more thorough overview of the subject.  They disagreed, or would
be expected to disagree, with the forced points of JWs leaders' translators that
context requires or indicates certain NWT translations.  See the pages at the
next four links.
  http://www.forananswer.org/Top_JW/Scholars%20and%20NWT.htm
  http://www.believersweb.org/view.cfm?id=698&rc=1&list=multi
  http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/apl/jw/jw-056.txt
  http://www.freeminds.org/history/busselmn.htm

  Also see:

  "Complaints about the JWs leaders' use of reference material: the issue of in-
telligent design" on p.1a cont.

  "Complaints about the JWs leaders' use of reference material under the heading
'We must preserve the sanctity of our stance on blood--truth and other's lives,
we're not crazy about'" on p.1a cont.

  "Complaints about the JWs leaders' use of reference material: the issue of de-
termining when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem" on p.1c.

  "Complaints about the JWs leaders' use of reference material: the issue of
pedophilia" on p.5.

  "Complaints about the JWs leaders' use of reference material: the issue of
early Christian history and related research material" on p.9.

  "Complaints about the JWs leaders' use of reference material: the issue of the
medical use of blood and major blood fractions" on p.14.

****


  Context requires it be the context I require

  The JWs leaders' literature may explain that the force of the context requires
the JWs leaders' translation and the mainstream possible translation would give
the wrong idea.  For verses about Jesus, the JWs leaders' view usually relies on
their forced points explained in the section on Prov.8:22-31 on p.8 and on the
bottom of p.7 (also see p.1a, the rest of p.8, and p.9)--forced points about
only being able to see verses as JWs leaders' rules require, and the added "Je-
hovah"s.

  The ways JWs leaders' distinctive rules are taught in English are sometimes
the same ways the JWs leaders require that distinctive translations be made from
Greek, except about something even more obscure to most people.

  I've read that the NT uses pretty plain Greek, with the book of Hebrews using
the fanciest.  And the early Greeks had the mainstream historical views about
Jesus, etc., and not the recent 144,000 distinctive JWs leaders' doctrine views
(p.9).  The JWs leaders' forced points aside, the JWs leaders' and mainstream
cases seem pretty easy to imagine, but the JWs leaders' stance has a bad case
for having the original intention of a conservative interpretation of the NT
(pp.7-10), if a good case for exclusiveness.  It would help, but I don't see
the urgency of knowing Greek to decide that there isn't a good case for the
narrow JWs leaders' contentions of being unable to imagine the mainstream view
of Jesus from the Greek NT or that justifies JWs leaders' use of forced points
and omission of pertinent evidence in making a pretension of comparing their
views with mainstream ones.  I don't need to know Greek to know an especially
honest and righteous 144,000 wouldn't show a dishonest misuse of research mate-
rial, either (pp.1a,1d,9,14,and others).

****


  In other words

  In the NWT, since JWs leaders teach a created Jesus, living "in" (Greek: "en")
Christ is paraphrased as living "in union with" Christ (Col.2:6-12; also see
Matt.5:19; 1 John 5:20 and others) to jibe with the JWs leaders' view that it's
only a matter of followers being in agreement with Christ, and that God is of
one location, and preclude how many of the mainstream view may see the speaker
living "in" omnipresent God (p.8) in more than just agreement.
  http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/Greek_Index.htm

  Since the JWs leaders use the created archangel Michael Jesus idea, instead of
having all things created through Jesus, "other" is added on the forced point
that context requires it (to mean everything "other" than himself) so all "oth-
er" things were created through him (Col.1:16-20; also see Acts 10:36; Rom.8:32;
Phil.2:9).  JWs leaders' forced points aside, I can imagine it (p.10), but the
JWs leaders' literature provides nothing better than forced points and skewered
history as a reason to do it.
  http://web.archive.org/web/20071120012841/mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/
newworldtranslation/colossians1.15.htm

  http://www.freeminds.org/doctrine/nwtontrial.htm

  A Greek word to make "other" clear is "heteros" but it wasn't used in those
verses.
  http://www2.mf.no/bibelprog/vines?word=%AFt0002004  

  The JWs leaders' stance is weaker in having God expect followers to imagine
the added word "other" to make an important distinction about Jesus' identity,
especially since they didn't and an alleged great apostasy was threatening to
take over.  It's also weak in that God could be said to have created all other
things (other than Himself).  The JWs leaders' stance would be easy to make
clear in simple plain language with a phrase like "God created everything
through archangel Michael," but it wasn't used in the Bible.

  For the 1984 NWT brackets were put around those "other"s but were removed from
around them for the 2013 NWT.

****


  Deliberations of translations

  If you're going to compare these things with two Bibles and one of them is the
NWT, you can find some of the JWs leaders' translation distinctions to deliber-
ate over at the next several links.
  http://web.archive.org/web/20071017033754/mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/
newworldtranslation/pageindex.htm
  http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/cri/cri-jrnl/crj0049a.txt
  http://www.freeminds.org/doctrine/mislead.htm

  The 1st is a good representation of a JWs "Should You Believe in the Trinity?"
brochure-type site.  It's by JWs but not an official Watchtower site.  It starts
from the Watchtower stances, including the required outlook that they're the
only ones imaginable by scripture, and works outward to show how this leads to
JWs leaders' ways to imagine words and phrases for NWT choices.

  As compared with the first point I give on p.10, it utilizes the JWs leaders'
forced points that context requires JWs leaders' interpretations as better for
translations (that primarily are concerned to jibe with the context of other
verses seen in JWs leaders' interpretations), or imply the forced point ex-
plained on the bottom of p.7, or imply the JWs leaders' view restores the orig-
inal church from a great apostasy, etc., that come with that set of forced
points.

  Within that purview, it elaborates on the linguistic possibilities of those
JWs leaders' views, but doesn't provide something that actually requires them
and not the others in the final tally.  Overlooking the forced points, it just
makes me take a longer way to get around to the first two points I have on p.10.
No verses are shown for which the historic view has no interpretation that works
for it, beyond the assertion of the forced point that it doesn't, etc., or that
make for a difference in favor of Jesus as "archangel Michael the god who would
be invisibly seen by everyone from 1914 on and called 'Lord' too much" in the
balance of what's best indicated, let alone as the originally intended views by
related history.

  A JW may be allege that the JWs leaders' views of Jesus and holy spirit are
shown by scripture alone without related historical context.  But when teaching
about an exclusive stance, the JWs leaders cynically create a revised history
for it (see various listings for the JWs leaders' views 1914, "Signs of The End"
and various claims about Armageddon, "Jesus was nailed to a tree," etc., on p.
1a, and pp.1d,6,9, and several pages of related history brought up in the cover-
age on pp.12-42 of the JWs leaders' blood transfusion ban).

  Early Christian history (p.9) doesn't help the JWs leaders' exclusive conclu-
sions, though not looking at the views of the Ante-Nicene fathers, etc., doesn't
lead to the JWs leaders' conclusions.  I just get points one to three on p.10,
or the non-JWs leaders' views on p.1a, with that.  And forced points that avoid
what the other view actually says (the "Should You Believe in the Trinity?" bro-
chure version of the historical mainstream view), and a requirement to not look
at related evidence damaging to your case (p.3), are generally indicative of a
weak case or even dishonesty in a court case.

  The JWs leaders have ruled that Jesus was executed on a stake and not a cross.
To see evidence that indicates "stauros" took on the meaning of "cross" well be-
fore Jesus' day, see "Jesus was nailed to a tree" on p.1a and some Ante-Nicene
fathers who wrote that Jesus was crucified on a cross on p.9.

  Again, the NWT and other Bibles can be found on the Internet at links given
near the top of this page.

****


  God is thy throne

  Heb.1:8a  "But with reference to the Son: 'God is your throne forever and
ever....'" (NWT)

  Heb.1:8a  "But of the Son He says, 'YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND
EVER....'" (NASB)

  If the JWs leaders' choice of translation at Heb.1:8 is imaginable, I don't
remember that symbolism used anywhere else--that Jesus' power is on God's lap.
The JWs leaders' choice is a forced one made to avoid calling Jesus "God" (pp.7-
10).

  Jesus sits on the throne of God at Rev.22:3: "There will no longer be any
curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-ser-
vants will serve Him." (NASB)  (See the section on "Latreuo" on p.8.)

  Luke 1:32-33  "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High;
and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David."

****


  "A god"--Jesus as archangel Michael the Messiah god who was called "Lord"
    too much and not called "Michael" at all

  The JWs leaders' stance on John 1:1 is that "God" and "Logos" (the Word--Je-
sus) have to refer to two separate beings, with Logos referring to created arch-
angel Michael, and the last phrase being "And the Word was a god."

  While this is imaginable if context actually required it, it's a forced point
(actually, a barrel of forced points) to call it a requirement or even nearly as
well indicated.

  - The mainstream view uses the phrasing possible for God and Wisdom at Prov.8:
22-31 and The Book of Wisdom 7:22-28 for God and Jesus phrases, in this case God
and Logos.  It involves God's wisdom, used by God in creating everything, given
symbolically as a person with "God and Wisdom"-type phrasing--not God with a
separate created being who had and used that wisdom (see the section on Prov.8:
22-31 on p.8).
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisdom_literature

  - John used the word Logos.  The Greek understanding of Demiurge and Logos was
similar to the Jewish idea of God and Wisdom.  The Christian Greeks didn't ac-
cept the Platonic idea that the physical world is evil so consider the Logos as
needing to be a separate created being.  John defined Logos his way at John 1:1
(see the section on John 1:1 on p.8).
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logos_%28Christianity%29
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logos

  - Is.9:6 is taken as a Messiah prophecy by both views of Jesus, and in it the
Messiah will be called God.  Mighty God is one of four names which Isaiah uses
in later passages to refer to God.  In chapters 24-34, Isaiah hopes for a day
when the Messiah will come and people will live for God.  Otherwise in Isaiah,
God says there is no god.

  - The Bible doesn't call Jesus archangel Michael.  A notable related case is
the martyrdom of Stephen, who doesn't save his life by calling Jesus archangel
Michael through a trial of the Sanhedrin, harassment across town, a speech he
makes about his beliefs, and being stoned to death for blasphemy (Acts 6:8-7:
60) (see the section on archangel Michael on p.8).

  - For issues about Jesus' identity being better indicated as the mainstream
view sees him than as archangel Michael, see pp.7-10.

  - For Jewish and Christian rejection of gods beyond the one true God, see be-
low.

****


  How many gods got a good God bod
    if a good God could bod gods?  (Sorry.)

  Wikipedia articles on monotheism in Abrahamic religions are at the next links.
They explain how Mosaic law followers went from believing in God as the most
powerful God of gods to rejecting all gods other than the one true God by the
time of Isaiah, when YHWH went from being the most powerful God to being the
only God, and a clear monotheism was established.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotheism#Abrahamic_religions
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hezekiah
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_Unearthed
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_%28deity%29
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elohim
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Canaanite_religion
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Semitic_religion

  The JWs leaders ignore that history to force the point for some rules about OT
language and gods, and those rules are there because of their rule that Jesus
is a god and archangel Michael.  The JWs leaders go beyond suggesting possibili-
ties to explain OT references to gods to claim it was commonly understood and
accepted in Jesus' culture, first century Jewish monotheism, that Jesus was an
angel who would be a considered a deity--an acceptable "god."  The concept in
that context has problems.

  This leads to their rules about how to redefine the obvious intention of
verses in which Jesus was prayed to (Acts 7:59, 1 Cor.1:1-3; others, p.8), wor-
shipped (Matt.28:17; Heb.1:6, others, p.8), even called God's Logos (John 1:1,
p.8) and "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28, p.8) and written of as the Lord in
other "God and Lord" Shema phrases, etc.,  so that it was allegedly an indica-
tion of nothing worse than a figurative use of the word "god" to write about
such a god in those ways in first century Jewish monotheism.  One of the main
verses these efforts to revive the pre-monotheism view about "gods" is meant to
help the JWs leaders with is John 1:1 (p.8).

  "Theos" in "Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words":
   http://www2.mf.no/bibelprog/vines?word=%AFt0001213  


  A very thoughtful article, "What Do We Mean by 'First-Century Jewish Monothe-
ism'?" by Larry W. Hurtado is at the next link:
  http://www.forananswer.org/Top_JW/Hurtado_Monotheism.htm

  According to it:

  "Surely the most wide-ranging analysis of second-Temple Jewish monotheistic
rhetoric, however, is in the recent  dissertation by Paul Rainbow.<42>  Working
from a database of 200 passages where he finds monotheistic expressions (includ-
ing about twenty-five passages from the NT), Rainbow offers some sophisticated
linguistic analysis of the "ten forms of explicit monotheistic speech" charac-
teristic of Greco-Roman Jewish texts.<43>   These are:

  (1) phrases linking a divine title with adjectives such as "one," "only,"
"sole," "alone," etc.;
  (2) God pictured as monarch over all;
  (3) a divine title linked with "living" and/or "true";
  (4) positive confessional formula, "Yahweh is God" etc.;
  (5) explicit denials of other gods;
  (6) the glory of God not transferable;
  (7) God described as without rival;
  (8) God referred to as incomparable;
  (9) scriptural passages used as expressions of monotheism, e.g., the Shema;
  (10) restrictions of worship to the one God.

  "God was distinguished from other beings most clearly in this: It is required
to offer God worship; it is inappropriate to offer worship to any other.

  "Also, as the evidence of Jewish prayer and cultic practice surveyed above
shows, Jews characteristically expected, indeed felt obliged, to address their
high God directly in prayer and worship.

  "Jewish-Christian reverence of the exalted Jesus in terms and actions charac-
teristically reserved for God, as described in One God, One Lord,<75> though it
was initially a 'mutation' within Jewish monotheistic tradition, was a suffici-
ently distinctive variant form to have been seen by many non-Christian Jews as
compromising the uniqueness of God in the important sphere of cultic action."
  http://www.forananswer.org/Top_JW/Hurtado_Monotheism.htm


  A summary of some ideas from his book "How on Earth Did Jesus Become a God?":

  Prayer and worship of Jesus provoked Jewish people who didn't believe in his
claim of identity over an alleged offense to their sense of monotheism in a
way another reverence for an angelic hero or version of Wisdom literature
wouldn't have, and long before whatever outside influences of later centuries to
the style of Christian worship:

  Paul, not long after the ascension of Jesus in the early 30's AD, was a Phari-
see, Saul of Tarsus, who was motivated to put Christians to death (Gal.1:13,14).
This was long before he could have been offended by Christian Jews mingling with
Gentiles (Acts 10:34-11:1-18).  What prompted Paul's conversion was a strong
revelation of Jesus as being God's exalted unique Son (Gal.1:15).

  Philip.2:6-11 is now thought to preserve the earliest hymn to Jesus.  Refer-
ence is made to such hymns being part of Christian worship at 1 Cor.14:26, Col.
3:16, and Eph.5:28,29.
  http://books.google.com/books?id=Xi5xIxgnNgcC&pg=PA132&lpg=PA132&dq=rainbow+%22jewish+monotheism+as+the+matrix%22&source=web&ots=h7srqzHfiL&sig=zbJnJwWOgWPfNuv7vOo6jmvURjo#PPA111,M1

  The book of John records a number of other instances of Pharisees having their
sense of monotheism offended by Jesus to the point of wanting to execute him.
(See p.8)


  The article at the next couple of links explains the JWs leaders' position of
there being multiple deities--one main God that's worshipped and angelic or hu-
man gods who aren't worshipped (a variety of polytheism called monolatrism), the
devil being an evil angelic god--a false god of this system of things, and that
the Isaiah verses about there being no god besides God don't refer to the ap-
proved human or angelic ones, who are "gods" in a figurative sense as represen-
tative of God, just false idols:
  http://www.forananswer.org/Top_JW/JWs%20and%20Jn1_1.htm
  http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/jesus_jw.html
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monolatrism
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polytheism
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotheism
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallen_angel
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil_in_Christianity

  See "Honoring a god by falling forward in obesity" above and the section on
"Prayer and worship" on p.8.


  Articles on Isaiah, "gods" beyond the one true God being condemned, the four
names of verse 9:6 being shown in subsequent Isaiah verses to refer to God
(verse 9:6 is considered Messianic prophecy about Jesus), are at the sites at the
next links.
  https://carm.org/literal-interpretation-isaiah
  http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/jesus_mighty_god.htm

 

  The 1st thing the JWs leaders' stance favoring one main God among gods re-
minded me of was a pre-King Hosiah strand of verses in the OT which indicate
that a variety of believer believed in multiple gods such as angels or humans or
supernatural beings approved by, and subordinate to, God.  This may have been a
Canaanite culture, which had a similar word for God (Israel used the singular
form of Elohim and Canaanites used Elim).

  Eventually, it went from a belief in their God as the most powerful to a be-
lief in just one God--monotheism--which was the belief in Jesus' culture during
the first century AD.

  It took a while for monotheism to dominate.  The outlooks of these believers
were incorporated into some earlier OT verses where God recognizes and disap-
proves of, and disapproves of belief in, those angels or humans or supernatural
beings as gods and to affirm commitment to monotheism--belief in one true God.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canaan

  "Elohim" is usually translated God (singular) or "judges" or "gods" (plural).
Some Jewish scholars think the root source of the word is "powers."  Otherwise,
it's thought it was most likely derived from the name El, the main god of the
Canaanites, and the oldest form thought to be the plural form for multiple gods
or multiple gods acting as one.  A good article about it is at the next link:
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elohim

  See "The Early History of God: Yahweh and the other deities in ancient Is-
rael," 1990, by Mark S, Smith, especially ch.6: "The Origins and Development of
Israelite Monotheism"
  http://books.google.com/books?id=1yM3AuBh4AsC&dq=mark+Smith+The+Early+Histo
ry+of+God+(1990:+see+especially+ch.+6,+%E2%80%98The+Origins+and+Development+o
f+Israelite+Monotheism%E2%80%99&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=w1iST
J-UG8O78gb3xeCGBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CCkQ6AEwBA#v=one
page&q&f=false

  "Some archaeologists have proposed that Egyptian records of the 13th century
BC are early written reports of a monotheistic belief in Yahweh noted among the
nomadic Shasu. (See pages 128 and 236 of the book Who Were the Early Israelites?
by archaeologist William G. Dever (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand
Rapids, MI, 2003). Evidently, belief in Yahweh displaced polytheistic beliefs
that had arisen among the early Hebrews, during and after the reign of King
Josiah (around 650 BC), according to that book, and also according to archaeolo-
gists Neil A. Silberman and Israel Finkelstein, in The Bible Unearthed (Simon
and Schuster, New York, 2001)."
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Canaan/Archive_1#Paragraphs_removed_by_Americist
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josiah

  "Current models among scholars see the emergence of Israelite monotheism as a
gradual process which began with the normal beliefs and practices of the ancient
world."
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_ancient_Israel_and_Judah#Iron_
Age_Yahwism

  This explains the presence of lesser gods in Deut.32; Psalm 58; 82; 86; 96,
in which God is given as assigning to rule, one per nation beyond God's nation
of people, in the early first temple period or earlier.  They do a lousy job of
it--not "gods" for perfectly representing God--and God condemns them.  After-
ward, God, in the second part of Isaiah, chapter 40 on, in the post exile per-
iod, says there are no other gods.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem#Ancient_period
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_ancient_Israel_and_Judah#Religion
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psalms#Composition
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Isaiah#Monotheism
  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08179b.htm

  Those gods, in turn, remind me of the Devil given in the NT as god of the
world (2 Cor.4:4)--the god of non-believing, worldly people (p.6), a god who
stinks at it, and whom God has condemned.  There are no other gods for believers
except the one true valid God, the only one that's God by nature.

  The mainstream conservative view can see the God of the Bible allow the view
of one main God with lesser gods long enough to show the fallacy of considering
the lesser "gods" as a believer in monolatrism would contend--as a word for an
especially good representative of God.  The case having been shown, God disap-
proved of the followers thinking of any lesser gods as real or approved of--
we're only to believe in one true God.

  The JWs leaders view instead goes back to the monolatrism view (ironically, an
ancient pagan view, which is what it accuses the Trinity view of being) to in-
terpret scripture to have God approve of followers in considering those human
judges and angels as gods.

  "Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature
are not gods.  But now that you know God—-or rather are known by God—-how is it
that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles?  Do you wish
to be enslaved by them all over again?" (Gal.4:8)


  According to this Wikipedia article on monotheism:

  "In Genesis chapter one, God is put in the singular context.  He is unambig-
uously singular, and therefore Genesis chapter one could be said to be a Mono-
theistic. (Gen 1:1)  However, if we look at God’s interaction with Abraham, the
evidence is less compelling.  According to the book of Judith, the Patriarchs
(starting with Abraham), left the gods of their fathers. (Jdt 5:7)  God is later
to reveal Himself not as the only God, but rather as the god whom Abraham knows.
(Gen 15:17)  In such a respect, God is not God alone, but the god who was wor-
shipped by Abraham’s clan.  In such a context, it is a type of tribal deity,
that although was worshipped alone, did not explicitly exclude the existence of
other gods, who were not relevant to them.

  "In the early Mosaic era, the possibility of other gods is left an open ques-
tion, although by this stage Israel claims that their God is greater. (Ex 18:11)
This same subtle shift is shown in 2 Chr 2:5, and could indicate that Israel un-
derstood that the God they recognized was God alone, and other gods were there-
fore false.  This would be Monotheism in the proper sense of the word.  By the
time of the prophet Isaiah, Monotheism is solidly and explicitly accepted.
'Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: "I
am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.' (Is 44:6)  Thus,
the development of the people of Israel to a true Monotheism, appears to be a
gradual process, with the exception of Gen 1:1.  It is therefore likely that
Gen 1:1 was redacted later than the other examples supplied, and so, the devel-
opment of Monotheism comes firstly on a tribal level, and gradually advances to
recognition that the God of Israel is the only God.  It is into this context
that Christianity emerges, and thus Christianity was from the outset Monotheis-
tic. (John 1:1)"
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Kevinkor2/LORD
  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/monotheism
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotheism#In_Ancient_Israel

  Isaiah 9:6  Mighty God
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_and_messianic_prophecy#Isaiah_9:5_.289:5.2C6.29

  At the next link is an article called "The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Is-
rael's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts" by Mark S. Smith, Skir-
ball Professor of Bible and Near Eastern Studies, New York University.    
  https://books.google.com/books?id=6YWEAR1lNEwC

  A number of NT verses refer to Isaiah, notably the book of John:
  Matt.12:17–21 (Is.42:1–4); Matt.3:3 and Luke 3:4 (Is.40:3); Rom.10:16,20 (Is.
53:1; 65:1); and John 12:38–41 (Is.53:1; 6:10).

  John 12:38-40: "This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: 'Lord, who
has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?'
For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: 'He
has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with
their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn-—and I would heal them."


  The JWs leaders have claimed that Jesus is called "the Lord of Lords" but not
"the God of gods."

  The phrase "God of gods" doesn't show up in the NT because the concept comes
from the old Canaanite idea of a God and gods, the one main God being the most
powerful, an idea abolished by the time of Isaiah.

  Deut.10:16  "For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords,
the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take
a bribe."  Also see Josh.22:22; Ps.136:2; Dan.2:47; 1 Tim.6:15; Rev.19:16.

  The denial of any but one true God for Christians comes up in the NT in this
passage that simultaneously incorporates Jesus as the Lord of the "One God and
one Lord" Shema:

  1 Cor.8:5,6  "For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or
in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one
God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus
Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." 1 Corinthians 8:5-6

****

  So they had El and YHWH.  They'd ask the loyal devoted if they believed in
God, and they'd say, "El, yeah."  The more enthusiastic would say, "El, yeah--
woah!"  Sorry.

****


  Human judges as gods part one: John 10; Psalms 82:1-8

  One of the main JWs leaders' efforts to establish a commonly approved use of
the word "gods" to refer to beings who were figurative gods in being representa-
tive of the one true God of the Bible, notably in the time of John 1:1, is in
seeing the Elohim (plural--usually translated "judges" or "gods") of early Mosa-
ic law as "gods," but the verses indicate the same concerns given above about
polytheism and monolatrism being given as being held by a subculture and disap-
proved of.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elohim

  At John 10:33, Jesus was threatened with being stoned to death for blasphemy
(offense to God) by calling himself God.

  The NWT translates this "a god," which wouldn't have carried a death penalty,
especially if approval of calling others "gods" was the common cultural under-
standing as the JWs leaders' view asserts.

  If the Canaanite idea of someone called "a god" were an accepted idea in first
century Jewish monotheism, not an obsolete one condemned in Psalm 82, etc. Je-
sus' critics shouldn't have reacted in offense at someone calling themself "a
god" at John 10.  If it were a minority view they hadn't thought of, Jesus
should have explained it and called himself archangel Michael so the discussion
would continue without rocks.

  Their reaction is to Jesus saying he and the Father were one, which Jesus knew
they took to be a reference to the Shema (see "I and the father are one" about
John 10:30 on p.8) and by calling himself "the" Son of God, which he knew they
took to be a claim of deity.  Jesus has claimed things for himself that God
would claim (not just as a man considered "a god" for speaking perfectly accur-
ately when he spoke about God) (see the section on "I am" regarding John 8:58 on
p.8).  Jesus referred to Psalms 82:1-8.

  Psalms 82:1-8 shows the same form shown in other old OT examples on this page
of bringing up the earlier Canaanite acceptance of gods to denounce it.

  Psalms 82:1-8 is a Psalm of Asaph.  God, which is what Elohim in singular form
refers to, made a case in his court about the Elohim, usually translated "human
judges" or "rulers" or "gods."  God judged them.

  God accused them of actually doing a lousy job: "How long will you judge un-
justly And show partiality to the wicked?"


  According to the study notes for this passage of the New American Bible at
the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops web site:
  http://www.usccb.org/bible/psalms/82

  "As in Psalm 58, the pagan gods are seen as subordinate divine beings to whom
Israel's God had delegated oversight of the foreign countries in the beginning
(Deut 32:8-9).  Now God arises in the heavenly assembly (Psalm 82:1) to rebuke
the unjust "gods" (Psalm 82:2-4), who are stripped of divine status and reduced
in rank to mortals (Psalm 82:5-7).  They are accused of misruling the earth by
not upholding the poor.  A short prayer for universal justice concludes the
psalm (Psalm 82:8).

  "The gods are blind and unable to declare what is right. Their misrule shakes
earth's foundations (cf Psalm 11:3; 75:4), which God made firm in creation
(Psalm 96:10).

  "Judge the earth: according to Deut 32:8-9, Israel's God had originally as-
signed jurisdiction over the foreign nations to the subordinate deities, keeping
Israel as a personal possession.  Now God will directly take over the rulership
of the whole world."

  "Reconsidering Psalms 82:6--Judges or Gods?  A Proposal" by Ben McGuire is at
the fairlds.org web site at the next link:
  http://www.fairmormon.org/perspectives/publications/reconsidering-psalms-826


  Asaph, or God quoted by Asaph, called those elohim "gods, Sons of the Most
High."  It's appropriate to figure it's a sarcastic ironic reference.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Son_of_God

  The JWs leaders' choice of interpretation is that God judged the idea of them
being called "gods--Sons of the Most High"" in the sense of "mighty representa-
tives of God."  The JWs leaders don't explain the obsolete Canaanite "gods" and
related obsolete "sons of God" history because they want to use the idea of
"gods" being acceptable in first century Jewish monotheism for their stance
about Jesus.  The rest of the passage shows God to consider the "gods" as un-
worthy of the honor of even being considered fair in the way humans can be,
though.

  God was being sarcastic and ironic calling them "gods--Sons of the Most High"
in reference to the fact that others gave them these titles.  God was polite
enough to address them by these names then made it clear somebody made these
appointments without running it past the main office.  It's inappropriate to
figure he was confessing low self-esteem about what a perfect representation of
Himself is by calling them "gods."  It's like a Christian calling the Devil the
god of the world--a creep that wrong-headed people make too much of and consider
a god, someone others have as a god that God condemns as false and unworthy.
The Christian doesn't consider them true gods but refers to them as "gods" as if
it's in qotes--so-called gods. (Compare Is.14:13-22)


  If God gave the elohim a shot at the job before, now they were being fired.

  Asaph, or God quoted by Asaph, said those gods are condemned.  They will die
like anyone--like princes who fall from power.  Rulership was returned to God in
the view of the followers.

  Jesus was equally ironic with his reference.  He told his judges that they
acted superior but they misunderstood in judging against him, too.  If Asaph or
God can call those judges of Psalms 82:1-8 "gods--Sons of the Most High" sarcas-
tically and say they're condemned, how much more does Jesus deserve to say he's
the Son of God when the Father sent him sinlessly to be understood as that?  Je-
sus chose a verse that did the double duty of defending his claim of identity
while telling his critics they were condemned for judging someone good as evil
without understanding.

  Jesus said his accusers would have a case if they could produce an example of
him sinning, but they'd see him do the works of the Father because the Father
was in him and he was in the Father.  Since Jesus agreed about what he was call-
ing himself but accused them of misunderstanding to think it was blasphemy, they
tried to kill him for blasphemy but he got away.  He went across the Jordan,
where many believed him.

  Likewise, at John 8:42-44, Jesus rebuked his critics by saying they weren't
being sons of God in criticizing him for calling himself the Son of God--their
father was the Devil.

  It's also ironic given the charge of the JWs leaders' brochure that the Trin-
itarian view of Jesus comes from earlier pagan views to form a view that ap-
pears in history several centuries later than the apostolic age as a variation
of philosophy of the time.  Here, the JWs leaders' monolatrism connects with an
earlier condemned pagan view and, within early Christian history, with the Arian
view that showed up several centuries after the apostolic age, which may have
been partly concerned with neo-Platonic outlooks of the time--p.9, and which is
part of the JWs leaders' case about Jesus being a "god" at John 1:1.


   The further irony is that Jesus' double reference to bad elitist judges also
applies to the JWs leaders' methods to affect their pretension of being the only
12 or so, of an especially righteous 144,000, competent to judge what God's
rules should be (such as in damning all other non-JWs leaders' Bible teachers as
"Babylon") despite the harm the JWs leaders' pretension has caused, beyond un-
necessary divisions between people (disfellowshipping, p.3), in encouraging fa-
talities and their bereaved in Germany and Malawi (worldliness, etc., p.6) and
hospitals (bans on the medical uses of blood, pp.12-42; you might throw in some
of their other medical quackery on p.1 and the poor handling of sex offenders on
p.6).

  Using the JWs leaders' definition of figurative "god," the only 12, out of the
144,000 most righteous Christians in history, competent to judge what God's
rules should be would be "gods."  The JWs leaders might deny it to avoid incon-
venient criticism and the predictable rude jokes, such as in denying that they
play prophet (p.1) to avoid the false prophet charges, but, by their definition,
they're "gods."

****


  Human judges as gods part two

  At Ex.21:6 and 22:8, a judgment is to be arrived at by someone going before
the elohim.  Elohim could be translated God, and some have translated it judges.
See the verse shown below:

  Deut 19:17  "then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the LORD,
before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days;"


  Some of the phrasing and meanings of Psalms 82:1-8 can be found in earlier
verses in Deuteronomy, shown below.  An earlier subculture of people, not mono-
theistic, believed in God (elohim, singular) ruling over lesser gods (elohim,
plural)--polytheism.  The belief was that the gods, sons of God, were assigned
subordinate control over the nations--a nation per god.

  Some of the verses that refer to those other gods or sons of God: Ex. 15:11;
18:11; Deut.10:17; 1 Chr.16:25; 2 Chr.2:5. Psalm 86:8-10; 89:6; 95:3; 96:4-5;
135:5; 136:2; and 138:1.

  But God gave them Israel and rules over it himself--monotheism.  People should
neither worship nor serve gods as demons would prefer them to do:

  Deut.4:19,20  "And beware lest you lift up your eyes to heaven, and when you
see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn
away and worship them and serve them, things which the LORD your God has al-
lotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.  But the LORD has taken you,
and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of
his own possession, as at this day."

  Deut.10:17,18  "For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the
great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.
He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner,
giving him food and clothing."

  Deut.32:7,8  "Remember the days of old, consider the years of many genera-
tions; ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell
you.  When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separ-
ated the sons of men, he fixed the bounds of the peoples according to the number
of the sons of God."

  Deut. 32:16-17  "They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods; with abomin-
ations they provoked Him to anger.  They sacrificed to demons, not God; to gods
they did not know, to new gods, new arrivals that your fathers did not fear."

  Deut.32:39  "See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I
kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver
out of my hand."

  Eventually, it went from a belief in their God as the most powerful to a be-
lief in just one God--monotheism--which was the belief in Jesus' culture during
the first century AD.

****


  Angelic gods part one

  Psalm 97:7 and Heb.1:6; Psalm 8:5 and Heb.2:7

  One JWs leaders' view has had it (I'm not sure if they still use it) that a
couple of verses from Psalms, seen in the Masoretic text (9th century AD) and
Septuagint (3rd to 1st century BC), show the Masoretic texts as referring to
gods and the Septuagint to angels, and that it must be a matter of the Masoretic
text defining the angels as gods, with the NT book of Hebrews (1st century AD)
thought to quote the Septuagint version of the Psalms to show the Masoretic ver-
sion was a definition that was the understanding in Jesus' time.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masoretic_Text
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistle_to_the_Hebrews

  But this connection isn't established.  The Septuagint is different in various
ways than the Masoretic text, is based on different Hebrew texts, the Septuagint
was the text commonly known in Jesus' time and place, the book of Hebrews quotes
from the Septuagint a lot, and the Masoretic text was written a lot later.
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint#Differences_with_the_Latin_Vulgate_
and_the_Masoretic_text

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistle_to_the_Hebrews

  As the article points out, the Dead Sea Scrolls (2nd century BC to 1st cen-
tury AD), known by some Essenes-like people of around Jesus' time, agree with
the Septuagint over a similar "gods"/"angels" difference with the Masoretic text
at Deut.32:39.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea_Scrolls

  (It's also ironic given the charge of the JWs leaders' brochure that the Trin-
itarian view of Jesus comes from earlier pagan views to form a view that appears
in history later than the apostlic age.  Here, the JWs leaders' monolatrism and
the use of the Masoretic text is a case of JW leaders doing that as part of
their case about Jesus being a "god" at John 1:1.)

  The JWs leaders' claim that the Bible intends to define angels as gods with a
parallel of the gods of Psalm 97:6-9 with the angels of Hebrews 1:6.

  Psalm 97:6-9
  "The heavens declare His righteousness,
  And all the peoples have seen His glory.
  Let all those be ashamed who serve graven images,
  Who boast themselves of idols;
  Worship Him, all you gods.
  Zion heard this and was glad,
  And the daughters of Judah have rejoiced
  Because of Your judgments, O LORD.
  For You are the LORD Most High over all the earth;
  You are exalted far above all gods.." (NASB)

  Hebrews 1:6  "And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says,
'AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM.'" (NASB)

  The gods of Psalm 97:6-9 are the gods of the polytheism belief condemned by
God at Psalm 82:1-8, described above--lesser gods that worship the main god.
The gods mentioned in Psalm 138:1--"I will give You thanks with all my heart; I
will sing praises to You before the gods"--are from the same group.

  The reference to angels in Hebrews 1:6, or anywhere else in the NT, isn't
meant to imply a revival of acceptance of the condemned belief in gods of Psalms
97:6.  Since the idea of acceptable lesser "gods" had been condemned for centur-
ies, a good way to make the JWs leaders' stance clear wouldn't be to alter such
an old verse to replace the "gods" with "angels" but would be for Hebrews 1:6 to
add a phrase like "the greatest God of our gods" or such, but it wasn't done.

  The angels of Hebrews 1:6 worship Jesus.  The NWT translates it "obeisance."
As explained above, Ex.34:14--"You shall not worship any other god, for the LORD
is 'the Jealous One'" indicates God is offended by someone doing either one to a
"god."  And Col.2:18 indicates Christians shouldn't worship angels.  (See "Hon-
oring a god by falling forward in obesity" above and the section on "Prayer and
worship" on p.8.)

****


  Angelic gods part two

  Psalm 8:4,5
  "What is man that You take thought of him,
  And the son of man that You care for him?
  Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
  And You crown him with glory and majesty!" (NASB)

  Hebrews 2:6,7a "But one has testified somewhere, saying, "WHAT IS MAN, THAT
YOU REMEMBER HIM?  OR THE SON OF MAN, THAT YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT HIM?  YOU
HAVE MADE HIM FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS, YOU HAVE CROWNED HIM
WITH GLORY AND HONOR." (NASB)

  The "elohim" of Psalm 8:5 is translated "godlike ones" by the JWs leaders'
NWT.  This is again due to the JWs leaders' concern to have "gods," notably Je-
sus as a "god," be thought of as acceptable in first century Jewish monotheism.
Again, the Canaanite idea of "gods" was condemned long before that, so it would
be preferable to think of Jesus being reduced to human form as made a little
lower than God (at Gen.2:7, "God created man in His own image," taken here to
refer to Jesus taking the form of a sinless man as Adam was originally) and an-
gels and not lower than condemned false gods (which would be too low).

  Other "gods" or "sons of the gods" of the same group:
Psalm 86:8-10; 89:6; 95:3; 96:4-5; 135:5; 136:2; 138:1; Ex. 15:11; 18:11; Deut.
10:17; 1 Chr.16:25; 2 Chr.2:5.

****


  Where did gods of nations go?
    long time passing (Sorry.)

  Isaiah is more recent than Psalms.
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psalms#Numbering
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psalms#Composition
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaiah#Biography

  Ex.20:2,3  "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
out of the house of slavery.  You shall have no other gods before Me."

  Deut.32:39  "See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me."

  Psalm 96:4,5  "For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised;
                He is to be feared above all gods.
                For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
                But the LORD made the heavens." (NASB)

  Isaiah 14:13-15 (The devil, v.12, condemned for trying to make himself like
a judge like the Most High):

                   "But you said in your heart,
                   'I will ascend to heaven;
                   I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
                   And I will sit on the mount of assembly
                   In the recesses of the north.
                   I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
                   I will make myself like the Most High.'
                   Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol,
                   To the recesses of the pit." (NASB)

  Isaiah 42:17  "They shall be turned back and be utterly put to shame who trust
in idols, who say to molten images, 'you are our gods.'"

  Isaiah 43:10-13  "'You are My witnesses,' declares the LORD, 'And My servant
whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am
He.  Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.  I,
even I, am the LORD, And there is no savior besides Me.  It is I who have de-
clared and saved and proclaimed, And there was no strange god among you; So you
are My witnesses,' declares the LORD, 'And I am God.  Even from eternity I am
He, And there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse
it?'"

  Isaiah 44:6-8  "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the
LORD of hosts: 'I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides
Me.  Who is like Me?  Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it
to Me in order, From the time that I established the ancient nation.  And let
them declare to them the things that are coming And the events that are going to
take place.  Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since an-
nounced it to you and declared it?  And you are My witnesses.  Is there any God
besides Me, Or is there any other Rock?  I know of none.'"

  Isaiah 44:24  "Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you
from the womb, 'I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the
heavens by Myself And spreading out the earth all alone.'"

  Isaiah 45:5-7  "I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no
God.  I will gird you, though you have not known Me; That men may know from the
rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me.  I am the
LORD, and there is no other, The One forming light and creating darkness, Caus-
ing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these."

  Isaiah 45:14  "They will make supplication to you: 'Surely, God is with you,
and there is none else, No other God.'"

  Isaiah 45:18  "For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God
who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a
waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), 'I am the LORD, and there is none
else.'"

  Isaiah 45:21-22  "Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult
together.  Who has announced this from of old?  Who has long since declared it?
Is it not I, the LORD?  And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God
and a Savior; There is none except Me.  Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of
the earth; For I am God, and there is no other."

  Isaiah 46:8-10  "Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you trans-
gressors.  Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no
other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the begin-
ning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My pur-
pose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.'"

  Isaiah 47:10,11  "Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you; For
you have said in your heart, 'I am, and there is no one besides me.'  But evil
will come on you Which you will not know how to charm away; And disaster will
fall on you For which you cannot atone; And destruction about which you do not
know Will come on you suddenly."

  Isaiah 48:12,13  "Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I
am the first, I am also the last.  Surely My hand founded the earth And My right
hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together."


  Isaiah teaches that things or beings beyond the one true God that some call
gods aren't really things or beings that followers are to look up to as gods.
Whatever kind it is other than the one true God, a follower shouldn't believe in
it.  They should refer to the Devil or gods believed in by others as false gods.

  The JWs leaders' view is that Isaiah doesn't indicate monotheism because God
would be denying that the angels and humans referred to above are gods (as with
the JWs leaders' monolatrism or soft polytheism/inclusive monotheism), but
that's exactly what God in Isaiah was doing--cleaning house of the old Canaanite
acceptance of gods that the JWs leaders want to reach back for some support
from.

  The various "no god" verses seem to cover any type of "god," which would rule
out the JWs leaders' idea of God creating through a "god" at Prov.8:22-31 and
John 1:1-14.  It would be like God healing through an apostle to indicate to
others that the apostle was sent by God as a messenger.  But God repeatedly de-
nied that anyone was used for that. (See the sections on Prov.8:22-31 and John
1:1 on p.8)


  Ezek.28:1-10  God condemns the prince of Tyre to death for thinking his wisdom
makes him a god.
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezekiel

  Gal.4:8  To worship whatever other than God is to commit to beings which by
nature are not God.  (Only God is of the nature of God, diety, and to be wor-
shipped.)

  1 Cor.8:5,6  Paul writes that no other gods or lords in heaven or Earth have
any real existence.  (Don't call any one or thing else a god or lord in the
sense of a "god" you accept and believe in as good.  Christians call the Devil
the god of the world, those who don't believe in God, not one of their own.)

  1 Cor 10:20  Worship at an idol temple (to gods that don't exist) is to devote
yourself to demons (who would be pleased to see followers stray from God) and
not God.

  2 Cor.4:4  "...the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving,
that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is
the image of God."

****


  Sons of a God

  Another way the JWs leaders try to get "god" into John 1:1 is to say that
"sons of God" refers to "gods," angels are called "sons of God" so are "gods,"
this view was accepted in the apostolic age, Jesus is archangel Micheael, so Je-
sus is "a god."

  For the early Mosaic law repudiation of the Canaanite belief in celestial be-
ings as "gods" or "sons of God" beyond the one God, see above.

  For Jesus not being called archangel Michael, see p.8.

  I see an algebra problem coming up.  In algebra, if A = B and B = C, then A =
C.  But with this one, A was repudiated a long time ago and nobody said B = C.


  Sons of God
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Son_of_God
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sons_of_God

  In the OT, "son of" and "sons of" can refer to someone or a group having an
allegiance to or something in common with whatever they're a son or sons of.

  At Nehemiah 12:28, "the sons of the singers" are people who have in common
that they like to sing.

  To customize it to fit their stance about Jesus as archangel Michael the god,
with "god" meant as a figurative god, representative of God, the JWs leaders de-
fine "Son of" and "Sons of" more narrowly as "of the class of" or "of the nature
of" when it comes to angels as sons of God and leave out the history explained
in the sections above.  The "sons" in this case could then be called "gods" as
figurative representations of what they're sons of.  (This JWs leaders' idea
probably originated with efforts in Charles Russell's day, p.1a, to interpret
those early verses about acceptable "gods" beyond the one true God, which Rus-
sell incorporated into his elitism.)

  The JWs leaders than apply this definition to angels, which are called "sons
of God," which in turn is interpreted to mean that the Bible accepts the use of
the word "god" to refer to an angel as a figurative representative of God.


  The "sons of singers" mentioned above could be said to be of the class of
singers and were called singers.  They weren't figurative representations of
singers, though, just a group that liked to sing.

  At Judges 20:13, wicked or worthless men are called sons of "Belial," a word
with an uncertain origin but which is generally taken to mean wickedness or
worthlessness.  "Sons of Belial" show those traits.   Those "sons" could be said
to be of the nature of Belial.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belial

  Those "sons" could be said to be of the nature of Belial.  "Belial" appears in
the Dead Sea Scrolls as an evil angel, and comes up in the NT: "Or what harmony
has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?"
(2 Cor.6:15)


  The main "sons of" to look at are "sons of God," since the JWs leaders build
a rule on it that it was acceptable in first century Jewish monotheism to call
acceptable (not fallen) angels "gods," therefore call the JWs leaders' Jesus,
archangel Michael, "a god."


  Angels are called Sons of God at Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Psalms 29:1; 82:6; 89:7;
and Dan.3:25.

  Job 1:6; 2:1  Satan appears with the sons of God who present themselves to
God.  Satan isn't a follower of God, he's a harsh critic contesting God's right
to rule, so isn't a son of God.

  In the apostolic age, the Devil was called the god or ruler of the world
(John 12:31; Eph.2:2; 2 Cor.4:4) (see the section on worldliness on p.6).  The
Devil wasn't representative of God, or a god to Christians, but said to be the
god or ruler of people without faith.  To Christians, the Devil is a false god,
someone wrong to look up to for guidance, a liar (John 8:44), and wouldn't qual-
ify as a son of God or "a god" that's any competition to monotheism.

  Angels are followers of God and are called sons of God.

  Job 38:7  "On what were its bases set, or who laid its cornerstone when the
morning stars sang in chorus, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"

  Angels aren't called gods in the monotheism Mosaic law established (see the
"god" and "angel" verses described above).


  Theophanies--the speaker talked to an angel then realized they were talking to
God.  Either God spoke through an angel using the angel as the mechanism, and
for the appearance, to do it with, or it was an early appearance by the main-
stream version of Jesus.  There are examples with Hagar, Abraham, and Moses in
the Wikipedia article at the next link.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theophany

  Gen 6:2-4  Sons of God mated with the daughters of men and produced giants.

  Whether these sons of God were angels or men, they betrayed God so wouldn't
qualify as Sons of God anymore, and they did this before anyone could get on
record if they were called "gods" or not, at least at first.  These Sons of God
may be the angels referred to by Jude 1:6.

  Jude 1:6  "And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their
proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom un-
til the judgment of the great day."


  Ex.4:22; Deut,14:1; Hosea 11:1  The people of Israel, like angels, are called
"sons of God" but aren't called "gods," just those of a close relationship
with, and allegiance to, God.

  Psalm 29:1,2  "Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty, Ascribe to the LORD
glory and strength.  Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the
LORD in holy array." (NASB)

  Ex.4:16  Moses was to be as God, meaning to speak on God's behalf to the flock
(also 7:1,2, where Moses is to do this in speaking to the Pharoah of Egypt) but
Moses isn't decribed as a figurative "god."  It's similar to a theophany if in-
terpreted as an angel used as the mechanism God used to speak to another
through--it didn't make for any different consideration of the mechanism.

  At Num.22:28-30, God spoke to Balaam through a donkey.  Whether you take that
part literally or as Balaam's interpretation of the donkey's mood, Balaam didn't
become an a** worshipper, though, because that would be indiscreet.  (Sorry.)
Oh, he could be fond of them, but worship was right out.  (Sorry.)
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balaam#Balaam_and_Balak

  Maybe this is a better example.  At Zechariah 12:8: "In that day the LORD will
defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in
that day will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the
angel of the LORD before them."  The whole house of David wasn't made up of
"gods."

  Angels and Israelites were lesser beings than God.  They could be considered
God's children and sinless (angels except for ones that went astray) or rela-
tively so (Israelites), and "sons of God" in having commitment to God in common.
But they hadn't been called "gods" since centuries before the apostolic age.  As
far as being perfectly representative of God goes:

  Psalms 89:6  "For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD?  Who among the
heavenly beings is like the LORD"


  2 Sam.7:8,14-16  David is called a son by God, and it's applied to his de-
scendants who carry on his dynasty.

  The book of Wisdom, aka the Wisdom of Solomon, 2:13 refers to the son of God
that way.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Wisdom

  God is distinguished from the sinless angel or relatively sinless Israelite
"sons of" God in that God is the supreme being with unique abilities.  This
uniqueness would be preserved and kept clear by referring to good obedience as
such without calling an obedient angel or Israelite a "god."  Just calling an-
other "a god" suggests being perfectly representative of something unattainable
by any being other than God, and could create questions of recognition of there
being just one true God which would be avoided by not having "a god" as a com-
monly accepted phrase for someone representative of God.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koine_Greek
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_Hebrew


  Psalm 2:7 is considered a Psalm about the future Messiah as the most special
Son of God: "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You
are My Son, Today I have begotten You." (NASB)

  Jesus is distinguished from general "Sons" of "Sons of God" phrases in being
"the" Son of God.  In Jesus' case, "the" Son of God means he has a uniquely
close relationship with the Father.  See "Only-begotten" and "The Son of God"
on p.8.

****


  God in earliest Christianity

  Thanks to "Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity,"
2003, by Larry W. Hurtado, for the information in the next section.  At the web
page at the next link, click the "Contents" button to see a drop down menu from
which you can select chapters of the book.
  http://books.google.com/books?id=_MH-_ZQuZrgC&pg=PA113&lpg=PA113&dq=lord+
jesus+christ+devotion+to+jesus+in+earliest+christianity+by+larry+w+hurtado&
source=web&ots=51zZL66JbP&sig=sW4lRlEYEFHrDSQsfoWUVBqt6mk

  The parenthesized page numbers I give refer to pages in his book.

  As reflected in the earliest writings of Paul, early on Jesus was considered
Lord in the Jewish sense, and of a divine Sonship, not the pagan religion sense
of sons of gods considered divine.  (p.21)  The chief characteristic of the
Judaism this Christianity originated in was that it was monotheistic. (p.29)

  "Although the Hebrew Scriptures present Israel as summoned from the first to
an exclusive worship of Yahweh, and as condemned for worshipping other dieties,
the earliest and clearest expressions of a genuinely monotheistic belief (that
is, a denial of the efficacy or reality of any other diety) are found in Isai-
ah 43-48, in a section of the book tht is widely seen among scholars as coming
from the period of the Babylonian exile (sixth century B.C.E.)." (p.30)

  By the 2nd century B.C.E., acceptance of many dieties and cultic devotion to
human rulers was seen as stupid and corrupt by devout Jews. (p.30)

  Two major themes are shown "in the monotheistic rhetoric of ancient Jews: (1)
God's universal sovereignty as creator and ruler over all, even over the evil
forces that oppose God; and (2) God's uniqueness, expressed by contrasting God
with the other dieties of the religious environment, but also expressed in con-
trasts or distinctions between God and God's own heavenly retinue, the angels."
(p.36) (Hurtado, "First-Century Jewish Monotheism," 12-14)

  This is shown most clearly in their religious/cultic practice--that worship
was for the one true God.  "It is possible to misinterpret the honorific des-
criptions of principal angels and other exalted figures in ancient Jewish
texts (a possibility exhibited in some scholar's readings of those texts!),
particularly if we treat those references out of the context of the religious
practice of those who wrote the texts."

  "Jews were quite willing to imagine beings who bear the divine name within
them and can be referred to by one or more of God's titles...beings so endowed
with divine attributes as to make it difficult to distinguish them descriptively
from God, beings who are the very direct personal extensions of God's power and
sovereignty.  About this, there is clear evidence.  This clothing of servants of
God with God's attributes and even name will perhaps seem to us 'theologically
confusing' if we go looking for a...." (p.36)

  The earliest writings about the earliest Christians are by apostle Paul.

  The term Paul uses the most is "Christ"--Messiah.  It also serves to distin-
guish Jesus from Joshua (both "Iesuos" in Greek).  "In Christ" conveys "a more
'mystical' participation of believers somehow in Jesus." (pp.98,99)

  Paul's earlier offense about Christianity seems to have been a rejection of
claims that Jesus was the Messiah and that reverence for Jesus compromised the
uniqueness of God. Paul refers to Jesus' divine Sonship, God's Son, fifteen
times in the indisputed Pauline seven letters and two more times in the remain-
ing ones.  (p.101)

  Worship of Jesus was considered the distinguishing feature of Christianity by
Christians and outsiders from the earliest stages of the movement. (p.606)
See "Aspects of Early Christian and Jewish Worship: Pliny and the Kerygma
Petrou," Graham N. Stanton, in "Worship, Theology, and Ministry in the Early
Church: Essays in Honor of Ralph P. Martin, edited by M.A. Wilkins and T. Paige,
1992, pp.84-98.