Jehovah`s Witness/The deity of Jesus

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Question
Hello Brenton.  I'd like to follow up on a question I had about the deity of Jesus in light of your recent response to a questioner.  I asked why the jws used to worship Jesus as instructed by the WT. You responded vaguely and seemed unclear what the word worship meant, asking if it were religious worship. From your response to the questioner, you seem to know about the WT stance on worshipping Jesus before 1960. You then go on to show some quotes from the WT stating that they do not Worship Jesus (after 1960).

So my question still is, why was it proper to worship Jesus before 1960? From your answer to the questioner it would appear you understand the significance of the word worship. I also get the sense that you know the truth about a  lot of the questions asked of you, but you seem to try and twist and maybe intentionally or unintentionally mislead the reader. So when the WT says you should worship Jesus and the Father.....?


Thanks.  Kevin.

Answer
Hello Kevin, thank you for your questions and l hope you are well.

Thank you for pointing out that I did not make my self clear.  I apologize for any confusion that caused.

You said “... but you seem to try and twist and maybe intentionally or unintentionally mislead the reader..”   I would appreciate it if you can please provide me with examples of that.  Without knowing just what you are referring to, I can only assume that is down to the way that word things.  When I was a lot younger I was constantly chastised over my manner of speaking.  I was extremely blunt and direct to the point, and spoke without regard for other peoples feelings.  I am nearly always aware of that now and try very hard to word things so as not to offend.  Perhaps that is why I have given those impressions.  I do not intentionally try to twist or mislead and I would like to improve my writing style.

To tell you the truth, I am not real clear as to exactly what it is you are asking.  There seems to me to be two issues here, the deity of Jesus and worship of Jesus. I will do my best to answer your questions, but If I have not, please ask more questions.

A very basic answer to your question is

The Almighty God is a deity that is to receive “religious” worship
Jesus is “a god”  that does not receive “religious” worship

How one views the word deity depends on what one knows about its connection to the word “god” and the original meaning of the word god as used in the Bible. The word deity can refer to a God that is worshiped or, just to a mighty one.  I tried to show that connection in the other reply.

In English we seem to generally take the word “worship” to mean a religious act to a God.  In The NT there are 6 different Greek words that translated as “worship” in the KJV. I point to the JKV because not all Bibles render all of those words as worship.  These words all have different usages, and the meanings vary.  Over the centuries since the KJV became popular, English speaking people have just become accustomed to the word worship referring to a “religious act”  A bit more later.  

First, may I ask, do you recognize that over time the meaning of words change?  Some times word meanings just have a natural evolution and over time the usage makes the common meaning change. That is what is behind this.  The words rendered worship and deity have changed. And most people are unaware of that.  We are so used to the modern meaning that we put a wrong connotation on what is written.  The difficulty arises when we read a modern meaning into a word that was not there at the time of writing.  We generally  apply a modern meaning to those words and not the original meanings.

An example of that, is a word that has had a big change in the last, say, forty years.  When I was a child the word “gay” was just about always refereed to having  fun or being happy. If you remember the 1960s cartoon TV show called The Flint-stones. The theme song had the line “they had a gay ol time” meaning that they had fun. In my early teens the word 'gay' was starting to be used in relation to homosexual people.  Now, it is almost exclusively used in that sense.  

To know what the following sentence means, we need to understand what era it came from.  “The men went out last night and had a gay time”. If a person today was unaware of the meaning of “fun or happy” would they naturally come to a wrong conclusion if that sentence was written in the era when “gay” had an innocent meaning?  The words worship and god have had a change since the Bible was written.

You touch on what I wrote about the word deity and the quotes that I gave from various WT after 1960. You said  “...You then go on to show some quotes from the WT stating that they do not Worship Jesus (after 1960)...”

This is what I said in that regard  

“What needs to be clarified though, is that in any of our publications since about 1960 Jesus is not recognised as a deity, in fact just the opposite is referred to”  

I was not referring to Jesus being worshiped here by to the use of the word deity being associated with Jesus.  Remember, I gave two possible usages for the word deity.  One was narrow referring to a God that is worshipped and the other was that deity can refer to “a mighty one” or a strong one”  The quotes I gave showed that the WT after 1960 never used the word deity to refer to Jesus.  I made the point that the WT had limited the uses of deity to a God that is worshipped.

The last time I could find the word deity used in relation to Jesus was from February 15 1957.  In this question from readers the WT used the broader meaning of deity in that it referred to “a strong one”. Here are some extracts from that article

QUOTE
“Jesus is a god. “God” means a strong one. Christ is called “The mighty God” at Isaiah 9:6, “a god” at John 1:1 (NW), and “the only-begotten god” at John 1:18 (NW). Jehovah is not the only god or strong one. The very fact that he is called the Almighty God indicates that there are other gods not so mighty, not almighty like him......So there was no objection to …... addressed Jesus as a deity,…. he gave Christ full acceptance of his deity and of the fact of his resurrection”
End Quote

As I showed in the other reply that the WT stopped using the word deity in relation to Jesus after that.

You asked the question

“So my question still is, why was it proper to worship Jesus before 1960?”

Did the WT ever advocate the worship of Jesus? The difficulty here, is, understanding the word worship, and in what sense was it used. I Did a search through some of the WTS from 1879 to 1949 using the words “worship Jesus” and “worship of Jesus”.  In the years that I did that for, there were no occurrences. In the same years I did a search using “Jehovah” in stead of Jesus and that returned many results.

However before 1950 there were occasions in WTs where Jesus is referred to as being worshiped.  Especially when the conversation centered around Hebrews 1:6 “ And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” (JKV)  as well as Matthew 28:9  “And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.”

I am not convinced that in the places where the WT referred to these texts that they intended the meaning to be “religious worship” of Jesus.  The problem is, none of the writers who lived during that time can be asked as to their understanding of the way worship to Jesus was mean to be taken.

Why am I not convinced? Because from beginning the Editor of the WT (C T Russell) opposed the trinity doctrine, so I do not see how any articles he wrote, or those after him, would have meant that Jesus was to be worshipped in the same religious way as God, and it would be inconstant with that position to be saying Jesus was to revive “religious worship.  But, I can understand them using the word “worship” in its wider English meaning of showing honour to a person such as a mayor, magistrate, or a person of similar high rank. Jesus and Jehovah were both to be shown honour as superiors.

The WT mainly quoted from the KJV in those days but also from the  1901 ASV (also known as the ARV ).   They seemed to naturally go with the texts that they had and use the wordings of those texts.

In about 1945 a decision was made to do their own translation into a more modern language edition than that of the KJV or the ASV.   In 1950 the NT portion of the NWT was released.  

So I am going to make the assumption that in the process of translating, they discovered that in the NT that there are 6 different Greek words that are rendered as worship in the KJV.  (I give a list of theses words at the end with Strongs definition and how the KJV translates those words) The  Greek word used at both Matt. 28:9 and Hebrews 1:6 is  “προσκυνέω” (= proskuneo) and has a very broad meaning. Its basic meaning is “to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand”.  The actually act was usually to bow down before  a person of higher rank for example the high priest, or  king etc to show them respect an honour.

None of the Greek words that refer to “religious” type worship are ever used in relation to Jesus. Because there are specific Greek words that mean “religious worship” that a NT  Bible writer could use if that is what he meant, it is a shame that the NWT is not consistent in its rendering of proskuneo.  By not being consistent this does cause some misunderstandings. In every case where  “proskuneo” is used,  the meaning of bowing down or to show honor can be seen.


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1391. doxa doxa ; from the base of 1380; glory (as very apparent), in a wide application (literal or figurative, objective or subjective) dignity, glory(-ious), honour, praise, worship. 

This word appears 168 times in the KJV

KJV-glory 145, glorious 10, honour 6, praise 4, dignity 2, worship 1; 

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1479. eyeloyrhskeia ethelothreskeia eth-el-oth-race-kiâ-ah; from 2309 and 2356; voluntary (arbitrary and unwarranted) piety, i.e. sanctimony: will worship. 
This word appears 1 time only in the JKV

JKV-will worship 1; 1 
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2151. eusebew eusebeo ; from 2152; to be pious, i.e. (towards God) to worship,  respect (support): show piety, worship. 

This word appears 2 times in the JKV

JKV-worship 1, show piety 1; 2 
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3000. latreuw latreuo lat-ryoo’-o; from latriv latris (a hired menial); to minister (to God), i.e. render, religious homage: serve, do the service, worship(-per). 

This word appears 21 times in the KJV

KJV-serve 16, worship 3, do the service 1, worshipper 1; 21 
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4352.  proskuneo ; from 4314 and a probable derivative of 2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage

This word appears 60 times in the KJV  and in all times as worship
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4576.  sebomai  middle voice of an apparently primary verb; to revere, i.e. adore: DEVOUT, RELIGIOUS, WORSHIP. 

This word appears 10 times in the KJV

KJV-worship 6, devout 3, religious 1; 

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Brenton Hepburn

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I AM one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I am always learning. I am NOT an expert in the full sense of the word but I can answer questions on the reliability of the NWT - the so called mind control problems-so called prophecies - how being a JW affects the individual and relatives and general practices and history of Jehovah’s Witnesses. >>WARNING<< Please be aware that there are people here who ARE NOT practicing JWs. By all means ask these ones questions. Depending on the question you will get an honest answer, but, generally the answer you get, will mislead you as to what we believe, often because, they do not give ALL the relevant details. These ones will, have an agenda against JWs., and will at times give answers that are not correct in regard to JW teachings and practices. If you are after a answer from one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, please read some of the answers that the various experts have published before choosing someone. If you want to ask one of the NON JWs a question, that is fine, BUT if you want a balancing view after asking one of the NON JWs, ask a JW the same question. PLEASE ALSO NOTE: There(have been)and are, some "experts" here who are NOT always the most courteous and polite, at times are actually quite rude, that applies to both JW's and non JW's and their answers may offend, especially when they get personal and attack the character of the person and not the message. Unfortunately some here that have done that. So it IS IMPORTANT to chose an "expert" that YOU feel will best suit YOU by reading some of their past answers . . . . .

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I have been a publisher since 1964. When I first went on the internet I found a lot of negative information dealing with Jehovah’s Witnesses covering prophecy, mind control and what many said was a very bad translation of the Bible known as the NWT. It shook my faith. After may hours researching these topics I could see why some felt that way, but, I was also able to explain why there were these misleading views. I can now set matters straight for anyone that has negative information about Jehovah’s Witness to show them that such information is at best misleading and at worst dangerous lies.

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I have been a student of the Bible for many years, am trying to teach myself Biblical Greek. Was a public tax accountant for many years untill SEP 2009 when I gave it up due to health problems.

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