Jehovah`s Witness/The Rev Murphy's response to you
Hello again Brenton
I read with interest the questions that Rev Murphy sent you and your reply. I have been hoping he would have asked you to explain some more things that you did not cover in your answer. So I hope you dont mind if I ask you about something he said. Can you please give a response to the following points and questions from Rev Murphy
King James Version (KJV)
2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Mr. Hepburn, is Jesus Jehovah? Is this a mistranslation? The scriptures here and after are talking about Christ:
7 And he was preaching: Someone stronger than I am is coming after me, the lace of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.+ 8 I baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with holy spirit.+
Isa 40:3 is actually making 2 statements. I have seen where another expert explained the passage by saying sometimes Jesus is referred too as Jehovah. If that be the case, it would have to be only in title. Can you provide clarity to this?
Thank you for that question. Actually after I answer Mr Murphy I started work on that very topic in anticipation of Mr Murphy having a follow up.
is a text that illustrates the need to keep in mind what Paul write to Timothy “ All scripture
is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16
) It is not advisable to take one text and assign a meaning to it without looking at the whole context of the Bible, and, the audience to whom the words were written. I like to illustrate Bible texts as being part of a very large and detailed jigsaw puzzle where each text is a very small piece. Now when we pick up a piece of jigsaw, sometimes it is apparent where it belongs, and at other times it is not. It takes trial and error in order to put the pieces together. As yet no one has completely put all the pieces in the right place. However we can get a very good idea as to what the overall picture is all about.
First of all my understanding of Mark 1:2-4
(“The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. on the surface when one reads”) is of a prophecy that had two fulfilments
, the second one is relating to John the Baptist and his baptising Jesus, and that John was preparing the way for the ministry of Jesus. John was commissioned to start to prepare the people of Israel for the coming of the Messiah – the King of Gods Kingdom. He preach repentance “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” (Verse 3) because the people had strayed again
form “pure worship”. A chance for their salvation (and reconciliation to God) was near.
In Mark 1:2-4
it would appear on a “simple reading that Jesus is being identified as the LORD mentioned in Isaiah 40:3
which reads in the KJV “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” The word rendered “LORD” is actually the divine name usually translated into English as Jehovah. So is Mark actually identifying Jesus by the name of Jehovah. My answer is NO. Why? To answer that, we must consider all the relevant information and not just take one text at what appears to be its face value.
First we need to go back to Isaiah 40:3
to understand what happened in the first fulfilment of those words. I need to To give a brief overview
of what Isaiah was writing and why. The Jews had strayed form the form of worship that was acceptable to their God. Isaiah had been commissioned to warn the Israelites of what would happen if they continued in that course of action. He foretells the punishment of the people and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, and the people being taken away into captivity. He also tells them that God would not leave them in captivity at that time, but, would provide relief for them. They would return to their homeland. I will quote some more of the prophecy from the 1984 NWT as it is easier to read than the KJV
Isaiah 40 :1-11
“COMFORT, comfort my people,” says the God of YOU men. 2 “SPEAK to the heart of Jerusalem and call out to her that her military service has been fulfilled, that her error has been paid off. For from the hand of Jehovah she has received a full amount for all her sins.”
3 Listen! Someone is calling out in the wilderness: “Clear up the way of Jehovah, YOU people! MAKE the highway for our God through the desert plain straight. 4 Let every valley be raised up, and every mountain and hill be made low. And the knobby ground must become level land, and the rugged ground a valley plain. 5 And the glory of Jehovah will certainly be revealed, and all flesh must see [it] together, for the very mouth of Jehovah has spoken [it].”
6 Listen! Someone is saying: “Call out!” And one said: “What shall I call out?”
“All flesh is green grass, and all their loving-kindness is like the blossom of the field. 7 The green grass has dried up, the blossom has withered, because the very spirit of Jehovah has blown upon it. Surely the people are green grass. 8 The green grass has dried up, the blossom has withered; but as for the word of our God, it will last to time indefinite.”
9 Make your way up even onto a high mountain, you woman bringing good news for Zion. Raise your voice even with power, you woman bringing good news for Jerusalem. Raise [it]. Do not be afraid. Say to the cities of Judah: “Here is YOUR God.” 10 Look! The Sovereign Lord Jehovah himself will come even as a strong one, and his arm will be ruling for him
. Look! His reward is with him, and the wage he pays is before him. 11 Like a shepherd he will shepherd his own drove. With his arm he will collect together the lambs; and in his bosom he will carry [them]. Those giving suck he will conduct [with care].
Isaiah is telling the people that there will be comfort from their years of bondage, as that bondage would come to an end, than, as free people, they will return to their homeland from Babylon through the desert and wilderness. That was a journey of between 500 and 1000 miles depending on how they would travel. The prophecy was saying the the trip would be easy, almost as if some one had gone out and cleared any obstacles before them, made a highway to travel on. They were not to be afraid they would be protected and in the end they would be able to rejoice in being set free. That is what happened. The Israelites did return home and to having Gods favour (at least for a short time they became under bondage in another sense later on”
Now John applies the words “Someone is calling out in the wilderness:” to himself as the one calling out in the wilderness as the one preparing the way. The message of John was for the Israelites to repent because the Kingdom of the heavens had drawn near “2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 3:2
What about in the case of the Israelites returning to Jerusalem? Commentators have varying ideas on this but some say, and I agree, that It was the King of Persia, Cyrus, that prepared the way for the realise of the Israelites. What about their journey back home? Isaiah had much more to say about that time. For example in Isaiah 52:9-12
we read further about the comfort that would be given the nation as they returned home “ 9 Become cheerful, cry out joyfully in unison, YOU devastated places of Jerusalem, for Jehovah has comforted his people; he has repurchased Jerusalem. 10 Jehovah has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth must see the salvation of our God. 11 Turn away, turn away, get out of there, touch nothing unclean; get out from the midst of her, keep yourselves clean, YOU who are carrying the utensils of Jehovah. 12 For YOU people will get out in no panic, and YOU will go in no flight. For Jehovah will be going even before YOU, and the God of Israel will be YOUR rear guard.”
Now Jehovah we are told is the God of Israel, and we are told that Jehovah would go before them, and after them, This is again showing his protection of the people as they travelled back to their homeland. However he did not literally, physically travel with them. The returning Jews were led by Gods appointed representative Zerubbabel. The faithful Jews would understand what was meant by God being with them. Over the centuries there were many occasions when (not being physical present) he was like an strong arm to protect his people as long as they followed and obeyed him. A few examples are -
“In case you go out to the battle against your enemies and you actually see horses and war chariots, a people more numerous than you, you must not be afraid of them; for Jehovah your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Have I not commanded you? Be courageous and strong. Do not suffer shock or be terrified, for Jehovah your God is with you wherever you go.”
God is for us a refuge and strength, A help that is readily to be found during distresses.
When Jesus was here he came as Gods appointed representative just as men like Moses were representatives of God. Jesus said many times
John 7: 29
“But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me. (JKV) Cross references in one of my KJV gives me the following
John 1:18 No man hath seen God
at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.
As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me
And I have declared unto them thy name
, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son
into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God
, and went to God;
For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God
John 16:28 I came forth from the Father
, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
[God] hast sent me
into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
1 John 1:2
(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his
only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son
to be the Saviour of the world.
I want to highlight a couple of texts in that list. First of all John 17:26
where Jesus says that he has declared (made known)Gods name
declare ( make known) it. The audience that Jesus was talking to knew what Gods name was as represented by the the Hebrew YHWH. So his audience understood that Jesus was talking about the God of their forefathers. The God of the Isralites was YHWH (known in English as Jehovah) There is only on “Most High” as the KJV says at Exodus 6:3
And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.” as well as at Psalms 83:18
“That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.”
, “I am Jehovah, that is my name.” American Standard Version (ASV)
“ I am the LORD: that is my name:” KJV
“Hear, O Israel:Jehovah our God is one Jehovah:” ASV
“ Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:” KJV
So Jehovah is the name of the GOD of Israel the God of the audience to whom Jesus preached and the God of Jesus. Now John 1:18
tells us that no man has ever seen God, if the name of the Most High God is Jehovah and no man has ever seen him than Jesus obviously is not Jehovah. There can be no contradictions in the Bible and it is “impossible for God to lie” Heb. 6:18
The nation of Israel had again fallen into bondage. This time not to a conquering nation but to traditions of men that had enslaved them in a form of worship that appeared to be following what the law of Moses but instead had had become corrupted and their worship of God was in vain ( Matthew 15 : 6,7
“...Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 7 Ye hypocrites,...” Mark 7:13
“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” see also Mark 7:1-7
The coming of Jesus was not only to release the nation of Israel from the bondage to false worship but for the benefit of all mankind to release us from sin and death (Rom.
8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” KJV)
John prepared the way so that Jehovah's will to be done through
his representative Jesus
“ Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me
, and to finish his work
“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me
“5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come
(in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God
. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God
. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
In the case of ancient Israel, God used Cyrus to pave the way for the release of the captives. In Jesus day the cousin of Jesus, John paved (prepared) the way for the people to be ready for their release form 1) bondage to false religious worship and 2) sin and death not only for them but all mankind
In the case of ancient Israel God used Zerubbabel as his representative that lead the people back to their home land. In Jesus day, it was Gods representative Jesus that was to lead people back to true worship and freedom from false religious practices and freedom from sin and death