The Great “I AM”, not the Great “Has Been”

     My dear friends thank you for stopping by today.  I seem to live in an area of the country that is frequented by missionaries of the Jehovah Witnesses.  We’ve had them come form all over the place.  They come from New Hampshire, New York, and now you have come by from wherever you are from.  Thanks for coming by.  I commend you for the zeal of your faith.  It is refreshing to meet people who are willing to do door to door for what they believe.  I, too, am a person of faith.  If you are reading this, then you have stopped by, given me a tract, “shared a message of hope” (generally from the Psalms), and in response, I have handed you this piece of paper.  If you are reading it, I’m glad your not like those people who just throw away what they are given.  I’m sure you have experienced this while on your missionary endeavors.  If you are still reading then you’re the kind of person you hoped you would meet while on the mission field.

     For my part, I what you to know that I have read what your predecessors have given me.  I’ve read, “What the Bible really says”, several different issues of the “Watchtower”, and I won a copy of the New World Translation.  I’ve read what you have given me.  I’ve read it because I’m a truth seeker.  I’m not affiliated with any religious denominations or organizations.  I’m simply a man of faith.  What about you, are you a truth seeker or are you just affiliated with a religious organization?  I was an alcoholic and a drug addict before I had a radical encounter with Jesus that changed my life.  I have read the Bible 15 times from Genesis to Revelation in a number of different translations.  I have spent the last two years studying Greek and Hebrew.  So, I must tell you that there are some serious issues with the New World Translation.  Much of it is a good translation but there is some of it that is seriously flawed.  Especially flawed are the passages about the deity of Jesus.  I would like to share one of these with you.  I’m not trying to convert you.  AS I said, I’ve no religious agenda or affiliation.  I just have a desire for truth.  What about you?  What I’m about to share with you can be confirmed by anyone who knows Greek.   So, don’t just take my word for it.  Do your own research and your own thinking.

     In a conversation with the Jews, Jesus tells them, “Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I Am.” (John 8:58 NASB)  Now, the New World Translation has the exact same for the verse except it changes the last part to “I have been.”  Why would they do such?  Because this is New Testament evidence that Jesus is saying that he is the “I Am” of the Old Testament.

     Let me explain, when Moses met God in the burning bush (Exodus 3) Moses asked God to tell him His name.  God replied with “I AM” or “I Am who I AM.”  This would later be abbreviated by the Hebrew letters, hwhy, which is translated, “I AM” in English.  This is who Jesus is claiming to be.  The Great I Am God of the Old Testament.  The Greek phrase in question is the phrase “ego eimi.”

     Let’s discuss this Greek.  The first word “ego” is the first person singular pronoun “I.”  It is the word from which the English “ego” is derived.  Simple enough.  The second word means, “I am.”  The word “eimi” without the use of ego means “I am.”  In Greek, the first person pronoun is added for emphasis.  Hence, the most accurate wayh to translate the Greek is, “I, I Am, or I AM.”  Any first year Greek student would know this.  So, why did the New World Translation change it?  I don’t know, but “I have been” is not correct Greek.  It is wrong!!!  I bet we can speculate why they changed it. They have a theological bias.  If they make the translation, “I have been” then they can preserve their theology that Jesus existed, prior to his incarnation as Michael the archangels but not as a member of the Godhead.  I Am would mean that He is equal to God.  This is what the Greek text plainly states.  This suggests that God is more than just the Father.  Jesus was the Great I Am and not the Great Has Been.

     Around 250-300 BC, a group of 70 rabbis translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek.  In regards to how they translated the “I AM” passages of Exodus 3, you guessed it; they used the phrase, “ego eimi.”  The Septuagint, as this translation would later be called, became very popular around the time of Jesus and it later became the bible of early Christianity.  So, the Jews of His time knew exactly what Jesus was claiming.  This is evidenced from the Bible itself.  Scripture tells us, “They picked up stones to throw at Him.” (John 8:59)  Why?  Because they believed he had committed blasphemy by making Himself equal to God.  Hence, Jesus is really the Great I Am or He is just a religious lunatic.  But, let us have no more talk of Him being an angel incarnate.  If He was an angel incarnate, then the Jews rightly picked up stones to stone him as any angel attempting to be God would likewise, be destroyed.  Ultimately, this is what Satan has done.  An angel would never claim to be the Great I Am.  Only God can make that claim.  Jesus either is who He says He was, or he is simply a lunatic who stumbled upon some good moral teachings.  He can only be one or the other, there are no other options.

     There are many other passages that the New World Translation demonstrates a theological bias in. Perhaps it is time for the Witnesses to re-evaluate their stance on who Jesus really was and is.  Perhaps this should start with you.  May the Lord bless you and release over you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. (Eph 1:17)  If you would like to discuss any of these issues, please email me at cre8spase@aol.com.

 

In His Grace,

 

Jon

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