In this episode of “Offending the Jehovah’s Witnesses,” our response to ExaminingtheTrinity.Blogspot.com, we are going to cover their “explanation” of Heb 1:8 which they claim reads, “But about the Son, he says: ‘God is your throne…'”
ExaminingtheTrinity.Blogspot.com is a front of JW.org, the official website of the Watchtower Society. Instead of being honest and admitting that the Governing Body is purposely trying to respond to criticisms of their organization, the website is hosted by “Elijah Daniels” who otherwise cannot be found on Google or contacted. Their website does not allow comments, so we respond here as a means to make people aware of the lies taught by the Governing Body of the organization.
For those unaware of the made up “controversy” over Heb 1:8, here it is:
Hebrews 1:8 is one of the more commonly used scriptures for trinitarian “evidence” in spite of (in reality, because of) its obvious ambiguity. This is because on the surface (at least as found in some trinitarian-translated Bibles) it looks clear and straightforward.
What you will see, Elijah Daniels is anything but straight forward.
“But unto the son he saith, thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”
…more importantly (as a quick glance into any interlinear Greek-English New Testament will show) the first “is” (found after “God”) in the above verse is also not in the original manuscripts but has been added by some modern translators.
Yes, literally the original NT Greek manuscripts read: “Toward but the son the throne of you the god into the age of the age.”
1. What’s the whole point surrounding “is?” It adds nothing to his argument.
2. The literal rendering of the Greek literally calls “the Son” the Greek word “ho Theos,” which is rendered O God or the God. How does this help him prove his point?
Instead of proving out in the Greek that somehow God is Jesus Christ’s throne, he reasons from Ps 45:6 that the one true God cannot be referenced in Heb 1:8 but rather Solomon is:
So if Ps. 45:6 is properly translated, “your throne, O God …” then that ancient Israelite King (Solomon?) was also literally called “O God” (or “O god”?)…
The NAB (St. Joseph ed.,1970) goes on to explain, however, that others have translated this verse as, “Your throne is the throne of God” and refers us to 1 Chron. 29:23 “where Solomon’s throne is referred to as the throne of the LORD [YHWH].”
Now we’re getting closer to the most likely intention of Heb. 1:8. There is good evidence that the proper translation of Heb. 1:8 (as well as Ps. 45:6) should be “your throne is God forever” or “God is your throne forever.”
There are several problems with the preceding.
1. They render Heb 1:8 a certain way, not because of the rules of Greek grammar, but because of an interpretation of Ps 45:6.
2. They render Ps 45:6 a certain way, not because of the rules of the Hebrew grammar, but because of an interpretation of 1 Chron 29:23.
3. The context in Heb 1:8 mitigates against Ps 45:6 merely being about Solomon, simply because the Holy Spirit clearly indicates the verse was not talking about a person, but about Someone who is greater than angels. This would not be the case for Solomon. So, to even contemplate that Solomon is being called “O God” directly violates what we plainly know about Paul’s interpretation of the verse in Heb 1:8.
4. Every single Jewish Bible I can get a hold of translates the parallel verse in Ps 45:6 as follows:
Your throne, O judge, [will exist] forever and ever; the scepter of equity is the scepter of your kingdom (The Complete Jewish Bible).
Thy throne given of G-d is for ever and ever; a sceptre of equity is the sceptre of thy kingdom (JPS 1917).
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre (Jewish Virtual Library).
Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever; the scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of equity (Tehilim Hotline).
Your throne is [the truth that comes from the throne] of G-d, which is eternal. A scepter of integrity is the scepter of your kingdom (Nafshi).
Now, “Elijah Daniels” would have you believe there is a Trinitarian conspiracy to mistranslate the Bible. For this to be true, the Jews (who are not Trinitarian) have to be in on it, the rules of Greek and Hebrew Grammar have to be wrong, and the plain reading of the Greek has to be wrong.
Lastly, Daniels quotes other “translations” that show that the Jehovah’s Witnesses did not just make up everything on the top of their heads:
University of Cambridge professor and noted New Testament language scholar, Dr. C. F. D. Moule writes that Heb. 1:8 may be “construed so as to mean Thy throne is God” – p. 32, An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek, Cambridge University Press, 1990 printing.
An American Translation (Smith-Goodspeed), renders it: “God is your throne….”
And The Bible in Living English (Byington) reads: “God is your throne….”
The Message reads: “Your throne is God’s throne….”
NSB – God is your throne
Mace – “God is thy throne….”
Twentieth Century Translation – ‘God is thy throne….’
Another world-acclaimed scholar of trinitarian Christendom has translated this verse similarly and made some interesting comments. Trinitarian Dr. William Barclay…Dr. Barclay, in his translation of the New Testament, has also rendered Hebrews 1:8 as : “God is your throne for ever and ever.”
Did you notice what all of these “translations” have in common? They are made by as little as one or two people, not teams of translators (besides by the Twentieth Century), many of whom did not think the Bible in its original Greek was inspired. A couple of the sources “Elijah Daniels” lists are not even translations, but rather paraphrases.
For example, the Message is not a literal translation of the Bible, but it translates Heb 1:8 as “…he says to the Son, You’re God, and on the throne for good.” So, “Elijah Daniels” simply made that one up and misattributed the source, something he did when discussing Origen in his article on John 1:1. Likewise, Mace’s Bible is a 1729 paraphrase of the New Testament.
The other “translations” are also highly suspect, because they come from theological liberals who deny the divine inspiration of the Scripture. This includes Edgar J. Goodspeed’s, which he and one other guy was the translator, and the NSB.
Liberal Theologian Barclay in his own study notes admits begrudgingly that early Christians viewed Jesus as God: “Psalms 102:26-27 is a reference to God and not to the Son. But whenever the early Christians found a text with the word son or the word Lord they considered themselves quite entitled to take it out of its context and to apply it to Jesus.” Barclay was “Trinitarian” in name only, he is a typical 20th century liberal who doubted the God-breathed nature of the Scripture.
On the weird side, they cite Steven Byington who was an anarchist whose Bible was only printed by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. If you are looking to verify that your own translation is true, quoting a translation that your organization published is disingenuous.
So, it is pretty sad and pathetic that “Elijah Daniels” only has these guys as his support. Further, much of what he quotes says “Your throne is of God” in big bold letters, which I suppose is supposed to rock our world. However, to anyone who can speak English, they know that the preceding means something much different than “God is your throne.” In the former, the throne belongs to God. In the Latter, God Himself is the throne. Believe it or not, his article just keeps going with illogic and nonsense. My mind simply cannot handle discussing any more of it.
Just ask a Jew to read the Psalm in his own Bible and let him tell you what it says. The Jew is the impartial observer in all of this. He will tell you that God is not the throne. For this reason, no serious set of scholars has produced a translation that has ever said so. Of course, because Jehovah’s Witnesses teach outright lies, they really do not care how foolish their Biblical renderings appear to the scrutiny of outsiders. As long as they can trick the ignorant, that’s good enough.