Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hebrews 1:8 "Thy throne, O God"

HEB. 1:8 - Some trinitarians insist that Hebrews 1:8 which is addressing Jesus Christ (and Ps. 45:6 which it is quoting) must read: "Thy throne, O God, is for ever."

However, many trinitarian scholars freely admit the honest possibility of alternate, non-trinitarian interpretations and renderings for this verse.

Just the admission by so many trinitarian translators that Heb. 1:8 may be honestly translated as it is in the NWT makes any insistence by other trinitarians that this scripture is acceptable evidence for a trinity doctrine completely invalid! Even famed Southern Baptist New Testament Greek scholar and trinitarian Dr. A. T. Robertson (who is even willing to sometimes go to ridiculous - and often provably wrong - lengths to support trinitarian "proof texts") admits:

"It is not certain whether ho theos is here the vocative [`your throne, O God'] ... or ho theos is nominative (subject or predicate) with estin ('is') understood: `God is thy throne' or `Thy throne is God.' Either makes good sense." - p. 339, Vol. 5, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Broadman Press, 1960.

We also see the following statement by respected trinitarian scholars in a footnote for Ps. 45:6:

"45:6 O God. Possibly the king's throne is called God's throne because he is God's appointed regent. But it is also possible that the king himself is addressed as 'god.'" - Ps. 45:6 f.n. in the NIV Study Bible.

And we have the statement by one of the greatest scholars of Biblical Hebrew of all time, H. F. W. Gesenius. In his famous and highly respected Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Gesenius renders Ps. 45:6 [or 45:7 in some Bibles],

"thy throne shall be a divine throne." - #433.

Obviously, then, the charge sometimes made that the NWT is "not being honest or scholarly" with its rendering of Heb. 1:8 is simply untrue, and it certainly may be honestly translated "God is your throne forever."

However, there is more evidence, evidence which shows not only that Heb. 1:8 may be honestly translated "God is your throne," but, indeed, should be so translated!

Notice the context. Heb. 1:8 and 1:9 are being quoted from Ps. 45:6 and 45:7. In Ps. 45:7, speaking to the Israelite King, it says: "Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows." - RSV. Just as this makes it clear that the ancient Israelite king was not God but was anointed by God, his God, to a position above his fellows, so does Heb. 1:9, as figuratively applied to Jesus, show that he is not God, but was anointed by his God to a position above his fellows! Context, then, shows that the person addressed in Heb. 1:8 is not God, but one who worships God and was anointed by his God!

The renowned trinitarian Bible scholar, B. F. Westcott, wrote:

"The LXX [Septuagint] admits of two renderings [at Ps. 45:6, 7]: [ho theos] can be taken as a vocative in both cases (`thy throne, O God, .... therefore, O God, thy God...') or it can be taken as the subject (or the predicate) in the first case (`God is Thy throne,' or `Thy throne is God...'), and in apposition to [ho theos sou] in the second case (`Therefore God, even Thy God...') .... It is scarcely possible that [elohim] in the original can be addressed to the King. The presumption therefore is against the belief that [ho theos] is a vocative in the LXX [Septuagint]. Thus on the whole it seems BEST to adopt in the first clause the rendering: `God is thy throne' (or, `Thy throne is God'), that is, `Thy kingdom is founded upon God, the immovable Rock.'" - The Epistle to the Hebrews, London, 1889, pp. 25, 26.
For much more evidence that Heb. 1:8 is properly rendered "God is your throne" see the HEB study paper.

A. Translations of Heb. 1:8 by trinitarians:

"God is your throne" - AT (Dr. Goodspeed)
"God is thy throne" - Mo (Dr. James Moffatt)
"God is your throne" - Byington
"God is your throne" - Dr. Barclay
"God is thy throne" - Dr. Westcott
"God is thy throne" - A. T. Robertson (Alternate translation)
"God is thy throne" - Dr. Young (Alt.)
"God is thy throne" - RSV (Alt.)
"God is your throne" - NRSV (Alt.)
"God is thy throne" - NEB (Alt.)
"Thy throne is God" - ASV (Alt.)

B. Translations of Ps. 45:6 by trinitarians:

"Your Divine throne" - RSV
"Your throne is like God's throne" - NEB
"God is your throne" - Byington
"The kingdom that God has given you" - GNB
"God has enthroned you" - REB
"Your throne is from God" - NJB
"Your throne is a throne of God" - NRSV (Alt.)
"Thy throne is the throne of God" - ASV (Alt.)

Yes, again, even the trinitarian (and Bowman-approved) Dr. Goodspeed renders this the very same as the NWT:

"God is your throne forever and ever"

So, again, how is it that the NWT is to be condemned for its "dishonesty," "bias," etc. when the much-acclaimed (and Bowman-approved) trinitarian scholar Dr. Goodspeed (and many others) renders it the same?

For more, see:
Heb. 1:8 "Thy Throne O God" (Examining the Trinity)

Heb. 1:8 (INDNWT)

George Wesley Buchanan and Hebrews 1 (INDNWT)

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