This is the sixth part in a series on apologetics to Jehovah’s Witnesses. This series focuses on defending the deity of Christ to Jehovah’s Witnesses who come knocking at the door saying otherwise. In the previous post I introduced a challenge: The Watchtower believes that use of the name “Jehovah” is the only way to certainly identify the one true God. Somehow they need to be shown that Jesus is Jehovah. But how can that be done when “Jehovah” is the transliteration of four Hebrew letters while what is commonly styled the “New Testament” is all in Greek? On page 11 of their Kingdom Interlinear Translation (1985) the Watchtower tell us about at least one way this could be done (brackets mine):
…what is the modern translator to do? Is he justified or authorized in entering the divine name, Jehovah, into a translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures? In the LXX [Septuagint] the Greek words Ky’rios and Theos’ have been used to crowd out the distinctive name of the Supreme Deity. Every comprehensive Greek-English dictionary states that these two Greek words have been used as equivalents of the divine name.* Hence, the modern translator is warranted in using the divine name as an equivalent of those two Greek words, that is, at places where the writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures quote verses, passages, and expressions from the Hebrew Scriptures or from the LXX where the divine name occurs.
I believe that following the Watchtower’s instructions in this regard yields readings of the Christian Greek scriptures that use the divine name of Jesus, and I’ve shared one example so far. Here’s another one to add to the list.
Psalm 68:16–20 (NWT):
Why do YOU, O YOU mountains of peaks, keep watching enviously
The mountain that God has desired for himself to dwell in?
Even Jehovah himself will reside [there] forever.
The war chariots of God are in tens of thousands, thousands over and over
Jehovah himself has come from Si´nai into the holy place..
You have ascended on high;
You have carried away captives;
You have taken gifts in the form of men,
Yes, even the stubborn ones, to reside [among them], O Jah God..
Blessed be Jehovah, who daily carries the load for us,
The [true] God of our salvation. Se´lah..
The [true] God is for us a God of saving acts;
And to Jehovah the Sovereign Lord belong the ways out from death.
Who ascended on high and carried away captives? Ephesians 4:7–11 (NWT) says it is Christ:
Now to each one of us undeserved kindness was given according to how the Christ measured out the free gift. Wherefore he says: “When he ascended on high he carried away captives; he gave gifts [in] men.” Now the expression “he ascended,” what does it mean but that he also descended into the lower regions, that is, the earth? The very one that descended is also the one that ascended far above all the heavens, that he might give fullness to all things.
And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers,
In most Bibles, including the NWT, the two lines that read “You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train” are tagged as Psalm 68:18. But in the Septuagint (an early Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures) according to Rahlf, they are tagged as Psalm 67:19. Here is what they look like in Rahlf’s Septuagint:
ἀνέβης εἰς ὕψος, ᾐχμαλώτευσας αἰχμαλωσίαν, ἔλαβες δόματα ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ, καὶ γὰρ ἀπειθοῦντες τοῦ κατασκηνῶσαι. κύριος ὁ θεὸς εὐλογητός,
Here is the Greek text of Ephesians 4:8 according to Westcott and Hort (the Greek edition used by the Watchtower to make the New World Translation):
διο λεγει αναβας εις υψος ηχμαλωτευσεν αιχμαλωσιαν [και] εδωκεν δοματα τοις ανθρωποι
While there is no “κύριος” or “θεός” in the Ephesians passage that corresponds to the divine name in the Psalm, there is a personal pronoun whose referent is Jehovah. In the Psalm, Jehovah ascends and carries away captives, yet Paul says the very one who ascended is also the one who descended ! In the Psalm it is Jehovah who is praised for his saving acts, for carrying our load for us, and for giving gifts in the form of men, yet in Ephesians it is Christ who is praised for freely giving salvation and giving gifts in the form of men—apostles, prophets, evangelizers, shepherds and teachers. I believe this strongly implies that Paul believes Jesus is Jehovah and is the fulfillment of this Psalm.