Friday, October 14, 2011

Isaiah 9:6 - He Doth Call His Name

For a Child hath been born to us, A Son hath been given to us, And the princely power is on his shoulder, And He doth call his name Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace. -- Isaiah 9:6, Young's Literal Translation.

As given in Young's translation, it shows that the titles are anarthrous, without the definite article "the" before each title. Of course, the capitalization of these "titles" are also added be the translators. In the Hebrew, the phrase rendered "Mighty God" is usually transliterated as "EL GIBBOR".

If "mighty God" should be understood as being a title of Jesus in this verse, we should note how such a title would apply to one who is not Yahweh, rather than to assume that Jesus is here being referred to as Yahweh. Since it is Yahweh, the only true God who, in context (Isaiah 9:7), is performing these things, the default assumption should be that child being given by Yahweh is not Yahweh. The scriptures present to us the fact that it is Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who anoints the Messiah -- thus making the one sent by Yahweh into the Messiah. (Isaiah 61:1; Acts 2:36; 10:38) Again, the default reasoning should be that Yahweh is not the Messiah who was sent by Yahweh.

But, how could the title "mighty god" be applied to the Messiah, if the Messiah is not Yahweh? What many do not realize is that there is a Hebraic usage of the words that are often rendered as "God" wherein the words are used in more general sense of "might", "strength", or "power." Form of the word "EL", as can be seen by consulting any good Hebrew concordance, is often translated by various words of general designation of might, power, etc. Such a usage is shown in the King James rendering of the same phrase (EL GIBBOR, only in a plural form) in Ezekiel 32:21. We do not know of any translation that renders the expression in Ezekiel 32:21 as "Mighty Gods", but it usually rendered similar to the King James Version, which renders it as "The strong (a form of the Hebrew EL) among the mighty (a form of the Hebrew Gibbor)." Thus, in Isaiah 9:6, if this expression as "mighty god" is assumed to be a title for the Messiah, the anointed of Yahweh, who, by default, should be assumed to therefore not be Yahweh, then it should also be understood as in Ezekiel 32:21, "a strong one among the mighty." Jesus is indeed a strong one among the mighty, but he is not his Supreme Being.

Likewise, if the title "everlasting father," is to be understood as being applied to the Messiah, it should be understood in light of what Messiah became after his resurrection, the "last Adam," who "became the life-giving spirit," who, in effect, is takes Adam's place as the life-giver to the world. Unlike Adam, who disobeyed and became father only to a dying race (1 Corinthians 15:21,22), Jesus becomes father forever, thus "everlasting father."

However, the prophecy of Isaiah 9:6 depicts a singular name; it does not depict a series of names or titles as is given by most translations of this verse. That singular name is usually transliterated as Pelejoezelgibborabiaadarshalom. Often such a "name" given to a human or a thing is describing attributes of God/Yahweh, and the application of such a name does not designate the human or thing as being God/Yahweh. Thus, for instance, when Jacob called a certain altar by the name, El-Elohe-Israel, which could be read as a series of titles: God, The God, Israel, we realize that this is not what Jacob meant by this. Rather, we understand that he was not saying that the altar was "God," or that the altar was "the God," nor that the altar was Israel, but rather that the name of the altar was meant to say something about Jacob's (Israel's) God. Thus, this name is usually given a meaning something like: "God is the God of Israel," or probably more likely, the first EL should be understood with the general meaning of might, strength, power, etc., thus: "Poweful is the God of Israel." Likewise in Isaiah 9:6, since it is directly stated in the singular as a name, not plural, as "names", we believe it more correctly to be understood as describing Yahweh, not the Messiah who comes in the name of Yahweh. Some editions of the JPS give this name the following meaning: "Wonderful in counsel is God the Mighty, the everlasting Father, the Ruler of peace." From this perspective, this singular name that is given to Messiah would be describing the God and Father of Messiah, not the Messiah himself.

Nevertheless, as I have shown above, even if Isaiah 9:6 should be viewed as a series of titles describing the Messiah himself, it still does not mean that Jesus is Yahweh who sent Jesus. There is definitely nothing in the verse about three persons in one God, the trinity.

Related Studies That I Have Posted Elsewhere:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

No Savior Besides Yahweh

It is often asserted that in Isaiah 43:11; 45:21; and Hosea 13:4; Jehovah (Yahweh) asserts that he alone is the savior. From this trinitarians, as well as some others, entertain the thought that if Jesus is the savior of the world, then, according to their application of the above verses, since only Yahweh is the savior, then Jesus must be Yahweh. The trinitarian then calls upon the spirit of human imagination to further claim that this means that Jesus is a person of Yahweh, the only true God.

  • Isaiah 43:11 -- WEB
    I, even I, am Yahweh; and besides [Bil`adey, apart from, except, without] me there is no savior.
  • Isaiah 45:21 -- WEB
    Declare you, and bring [it] forth; yes, let them take counsel together: who has shown this from ancient time? who has declared it of old? Haven't I, Yahweh? and there is no God else besides [Bil`adey, apart from, except, without] me, a just God and a Savior; there is no one besides me.
  • Hosea 13:4 -- WEB
    "Yet I am Yahweh your God from the land of Egypt; And you will know no god but me, And besides [Biltiy, excepting] me there is no savior.
There are several things to note about all these scriptures wherein Yahweh says that besides him there is no savior.

(1) Although there are hints related to in the context of some of the prophecies of the coming salvation by means of Jesus, Yahweh is not directly speaking of himself as being the savior of the world, but directly as the deliverer of Judah and Israel. -- Isaiah 43:1,3,12; 45:4,5,11,15,25; Hosea 13:1,2,4

(2) Yahweh is speaking of himself as compared to the false would-be saviors (idol-gods, kings, etc.) of the heathen nations, or even their own kings (Isaiah 43:9; 45:21; Hosea 13:1,2,10) that the Israelites seemed to be constantly going to for deliverance, as apart from Yahweh.

(3) The Hebrew words for besides means "except, without, etc.," and does preclude the thought that Yahweh could send another who is not Himself as savior of Israel. Indeed, Yahweh sent many saviors to Israel, all of which were not without, or in exception of, Yahweh, but were in accord with Yahweh.Saviors sent by Yahweh are not “apart from” Yahweh, or “without” Yahweh. Nevertheless, by their being sent by Yahweh and coming in his name signifies that Yahweh is still the only ultimate savior, thus it could still be said that there is no savior besides (without, apart from) him. -- Judges 2:18; 3:9-15; 1 Samuel 12:10,11; Nehemiah 9:27; 2 Kings 13:5; 14:27.

(4) There is no savior apart from Yahweh, but being the savior, He does appoint others as saviors with whom he is with, and in this manner he sent his son as savior of the world. However, this does not deny that besides Yahweh there is no savior, since Yahweh is the one who is the ultimate author of the salvation he provides by means of his Son. Nor is Yahweh's son besides, aside from, Yahweh, since Jesus was sent by Yahweh. It is as Samson stated to Yahweh: “You have given this great deliverance [salvation] by the hand of your servant.” (Judges 15:18) And Yahweh spoke of David: “By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.” (2 Samuel 3:18) And Psalmist said: “You led your people like a flock, By the hand of Moses and Aaron.” (Psalm 77:20) Likewise, God sent Jesus that “the world should be saved through him” (John 3:16,17) so that “the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) In Romans 6:23, the word "God" signifies one person, not three. Rather than being apart from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we read that "God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him." (Acts 10:38; See Isaiah 61:1) In Acts 10:38, the word "God" signifies one person, not three. The salvation from God by means of Jesus is not apart from Yahweh, for Yahweh is the one who has provided the salvation through Jesus. "All things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 5:18) "God" in 2 Corinthians 5:18 refers to one person, not three persons, and that one person is held as distinct from "Jesus Christ (meaning anointed one, the one anointed by Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- Isaiah 61:1).