Thank you for the little book on the Bible, What Does the Bible Really Teach? The title gives it away. It is saying the Bible does not teach itself. It needs someone to say what it really means. It is saying they are going to change it someplace.
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11)The Bereans did not accept Paul’s teaching until they verified it by searching the Scriptures daily. People do not usually do that. They accept whatever is taught them.
I have searched the Scripture daily to see if what the booklet said was true. What follows here is part of the search. I have not read anything ever against the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Your book warns you not to accept the following teaching. However, you ought to consider it; it is all from the Bible.
You may know that I have been reading the Bible in its entirety for more than 70 years. There were quite a few things in your booklet that I noted as biblicaly true. Then there was reasoning based upon the reader’s supposed experience. Page 12 first paragraph and second paragraph: “Of course you would.” False!
When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, He told Moses His name. He told it two ways. The first was “'I Am' sent you." The other was YHWH – four consonants without vowels. All Hebrew was written without vowels. The people knew how to pronounce the words, but there was no clue how to pronounce them from the written words. YHWH had a meaning very close to “I Am.”
Later, when the Jews were afraid of using God’s name in vain, they would not say the word YHWH, and sometimes they would not write it. They would leave the space blank, or they would substitute the word Adonai. It still had the exact meaning. The New Testament does not use the Hebrew word at all. It will quote Joel 2:32 and use the word Kyrios. When translating into English, they made YHWH into LORD (all caps), and when they translated Adonai, they made it “Lord” (lower case). So when we read our Bible, we know which word is meant. When the Hebrew inserted vowels, they inserted two, an “a” and an “e,” but they did not insert an extra vowel “o” and did not pronounce “J.” It was always
“Y.” “Jehovah” was not used until the 1880 Revised Version and the American Standard Version of 1901.
The more likely, correct pronunciation is Yahweh, or we can just say the meaning, “I Am.”
I have a question or two.
1. Deuteronomy 6:4 – “Yahweh our Elohim is one Yahweh.” Is Yahweh the same as Elohim?
In John 12:42, it says, “The things Isaiah said because he saw this glory and he spoke of Him." The “Him” is Jesus, verse 37. This reference is speaking of Isaiah 6:1-8 when Jesus identifies himself as the LORD of glory.
Joel 2:32 is quoted at least twice in the New Testament: “And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” When this text is quoted in the NT, the Hebrew YHWH is not used. Peter quotes this verse it in Acts 2:21 and then proceeds to teach from the Old Testament that the Messiah is YHWH and that Messiah would rise from the dead. Then he taught that Jesus rose from the dead. The Jews thought they knew who YHWH was. They thought they know who Jesus was, and they thought they knew who the Messiah was. They were all different from each other in their minds. Then Peter made a three-way identification and concluded his message with this statement: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both YHWH and Messiah.”
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:37-38)They were cut to the heart and repented and believed. This is the first time the LORD Jesus Christ was heard in one phrase. It is normal now.
Paul does the same thing in Romans 10: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Rom. 10:9-13). Paul starts with confessing Jesus Christ as LORD, YHWH, and ends with quoting Joel 2:32. This is identifying Jesus with YHWH.
There are several translations of YHWH, both in the Old and New Testament – LORD, Lord, Adonai, Kyrios. The translations are all by meaning, none of them by a correct pronunciation. Jehovah is an attempt to translate by sound. It is not a good attempt because there is no “J,” and the vowel “o” is not present and should not be pronounced.
The best translation is the original “I AM.” Jesus used this I AM referring to Himself about eight times in the Gospel of John, two of which got him into trouble because the Jews knew what He was saying.
“Very truly I tell you," Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!" At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. (John 8:58-59)They were going to stone him to death because He identified Himself with YHWH.
“Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "I am he," Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground. (John 18:5-6)The “He” in the quotation is not in the original. It was added. What Jesus said was, “I Am.” When He said that, they drew back and fell to the ground. They knew what He was saying.
Many years ago, I was told by a Jehovah's Witness that John 1:1 should be translated, “And the Word was a god.” He said the indefinite “a” had to be the meaning, because the definite “the” was not used. This was established to prove that Jesus was not God.
He claimed that if the definite “the” is not used, then “a” has to be used. However, in John 1:5 that reasoning is not used. The text would then read, “There was a man sent from a god.” They keep, “There was a man send from God.”
A few months ago, I offered some Christian literature to a woman. I did not know it when I offered the book, but she was a Jehovah's Witness. She seemed to want the book, but said she was a Jehovah's Witness and was not allowed to take it, and she was overwhelmed with Jehovah's Witness literature. This kind of authority over a constituent is unbiblical. God does not give that kind of authority over people. Satan is the one who has slaves (2 Timothy 2:26).
In the Lord Jesus Christ and with love and respect,
P.S. I would encourage you to read the New Testament. If you read four chapters a day, you will finish it in about two months (four chapters would be around 15-20 minutes).