Deity of Christ, Part 6: The Very One

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 [19]! 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.

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