Saturday, August 20, 2011

"What Have Jehovah's Witnesses Witnessed?" - Where Does the Name "Jehovah's Witnesses" Come From?

Many people who wish to ridicule Jehovah's Witnesses often resort to asking the same old, childish question: "What Have Jehovah's Witnesses Witnessed?"

However, this question may prompt some to consider a legitimate and somewhat related question, "Where Does the Name "Jehovah's Witnesses" Come From?"

The key here is to understand exactly what "witness" means in this context.

According to the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, "the concept of witness [is used] both in the sense of witness to ascertainable facts and also in that of witness to truths, i.e., the making known and confessing of convictions." So a witness relates facts from direct personal knowledge, or he proclaims views or truths of which he is convinced.

So a "Witness" is someone that speaks publically about what he knows to be true. Of course no human has ever literally seen God (John 1:18), but Jehovah's Witnesses realize that God has asked his faithful servants to be His Witnesses and to tell others about Him:

"Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen;" (Isa. 43:10) - ASV

Isa. 43:10 also corresponds with Acts 15:14 where it says that God will turn "his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name." (NWT)

According to the Bible, the line of Witnesses of Jehovah reaches back to faithful Abel. Hebrews 11:4-12:1 mentions this line as a "great a cloud of WITNESSES surrounding us."

The Bible says that Jesus Christ was the foremost witness of Jehovah: "These are the things that the Amen says, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation by God." (Rev. 3:14) Considering the definition of "witness" mentioned above, Jesus said that it was his Father's name that he made manifest. (John 17:6)

For more, see:
How We Came to Be Known as Jehovah’s Witnesses (Pastor Russell)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Why does the New World Translation 'add' the words, within square brackets, "the angel of" at Zechariah 3:2?

All Bible translations add words to make the intended meaning of the original language clear to the readers of another language. Some Bibles indicate the added words in footnotes. Some, like the King James Version, frequently signifies these additions by italicizing such added words. The New World Translation usually indicates added words with brackets [ ].

In the case of Zechariah 3:2, the New World Translation is not the only Bible to add "the angel of" or its equivalent here.

A New Commentary on Holy Scripture explains their reason why:

"[v]2. the Lord. Read the angel of the Lord, as the speech that follows seems to require."- SPCK, London, reprint 1946 (1st pub.1928).

Another footnote, this one belonging to The Revised English Bible (1989) reveals why it reads at Zechariah 3:2 "The angel said to Satan." The footnote states: "3:2 angel: prob[able] r[ea]d[in]g, so Syriac; Heb[rew] LORD." (Additions in square brackets aim to aid in better understanding.)

This is similiar to what we can read in the footnote to this verse in the Reference Edition of the New World Translation (1984): "2* "The angel (messenger) of Jehovah," Sy[riac]; MLXXVg, "Jehovah."

Other translations that render this passage the same way as the New World Translation:

"The angel of the Lord said to Satan," (Good News Translation)

"The angel of Yahweh said to Satan," (The Jerusalem Bible; Scroll down)
"And the angel of the LORD..." (New American Bible)

"The LORD rebuke you," the Angel of the LORD said..." (The Holy Bible, An American Translation; W.F. Beck)
"The messenger of Yahweh..." (vs.1) (The Emphasised Bible; J. B. Rotherham)
"Then [the messenger] of Jehovah..." (2001 Translation – An American English Bible)

"So the angel of the LORD said...." (The Bible, An American Translation; Powis-Smith and Goodspeed)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Translation and revision of Lev 23:21 proves that the NWT translators DID know Hebrew

Some JW critics claim that the NWT wasn't translated from the Hebrew and Greek, but was just a revision of other English Bibles such as the KJV, ASV, and Rotherham.

However, a mistranslation that occurred in the first volume of the 1953 New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures helps to demonstrate that the translators did indeed know Hebrew.

The NWT is the only Bible translation to have "Jehovah" in Lev 23:21.

In 1953, The first volume of the NWT of the Hebrew Scriptures was published, which had Leviticus 23:21 read:

"And you must proclaim on this very day Jehovah's holy convention for yourselves."

This stood for 26 years, when it was changed to:

"And you must make a proclamation on this very day; there will be a holy convention for yourselves."

Lev. 23:21 has יהיה ("there will be") which is remarkably similar to יהוה ("Jehovah"). The translators misread יהיה as יהוה and later corrected this as noted in the 8/15/79 Watchtower's notice to it's readers on page 31:

"A Correction

In making the New World Translation of Leviticus 23:21, the Hebrew יהיה (“it will be”) was misread as יהוה (“Jehovah”). Hence, the first sentence of this verse should read: “And you must make a proclamation on this very day; there will be a holy convention for yourselves.”'

The original mistake definitely shows that the translators were either working from or comparing a Hebrew text and not simply “revising” English bibles, and the revision shows that the later revisers were also checking the Hebrew.