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Scriptural Truths

Jehovah at the Right Hand of Jehovah?

2 Peter 1:20 For YOU know this first, that no prophecy of Scripture springs from any private interpretation.

Trinitarian apologist Lou Rugg is presently working on a new book that will attempt to discredit Jehovah's Witnesses, whiling making an effort to provide evidence of the Trinity. Lou has supplied us with chapter three of this upcoming release, Bringing Down the Watchtower, with a claim that the chapter in question cannot be answered. We thus took to action on this, providing a complete response and proving his points entirely false.

According to the Bible, when an individual is said to be 'at the right hand' of another, he is the provider and source of support, strength, power and authority. Here are a few examples:

Psalm 109:30-31 "I will greatly praise the LORD with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude. (31) For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul."

Psalm 16:8 (David said) "I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved."

Reply: This is not entirely accurate. What you have stated is only true of when God is said to be at a persons right hand. When one is at the right hand of God, just as with being at the right hand of a king, this displays a position of honor.

Psalms 16:11 You will make Me know the way of life. In Your presence is fullness of joys; at Your right hand are pleasures forever.
On this scripture John Wesley's Explanatory Notes states: "Right - hand - Which he mentions as a place of the greatest honour, the place where the saints are placed at the last day, and where Christ himself is said to sit, Psa_110:1."

After Jesus' baptism, the Bible teaches that He began His ministry immediately after being taken up and tempted by the devil. The Bible also teaches that up until His death on the cross, it was His Father who was His source of support, strength, power and authority. Philippians 2:5-8 reveals that God became a man. Since Jesus took on human form, He experienced all of the weaknesses that a mere mortal man would experience. There were many times when He hungered and became fatigued, etc. He was even “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin”, Hebrews 4:15. As a result, during this time all of His power and strength came directly from His Father. Therefore, His Father was 'at His right hand'.

Philippians 2:5-8 "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

Reply: Lou’s first error is his statement that God Almighty became a man. In an effort to support this concept he references Philippians 2:5-8. Unfortunately, Lou uses a rather poor translation of this. In verse six we find it seeming to indicate that Christ was already equal with God and that he did not think he was taking anything from God in being such. However, is this truly being stated by the verse? Referencing back to the original Greek we find the word translated robbery is HARPAGMON. A complete meaning of such is “to seize or grasp in a way with violence.”

oV en morfh qeou uparcwn ouc arpagmon hghsato to einai isa qew

Who in form God exist not seize consider the to be equal God

Understanding HARPAGMON here is the predicate accusative, we would thus render this verse as following:

Who though existing in God’s form, he did not consider equality with God as something to be seized.

With this correct translation in mind, it is evident that Jesus did not have equality with God nor did he view it as something he should try and attain as Eve did (Genesis 3:5). Our translation of this verse is supported by many other credible translations as well. Let us consider these:

(HNV) 6 who, existing in the form of God, didn't consider equality with God a thing to be grasped,

(TCE:NT) 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped

(BBE) 6 To whom, though himself in the form of God, it did not seem that to take for oneself was to be like God;

(ASV) 6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped,

(ACV) 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal to God something to seize and hold.

(Rotherham) 6 Who, in form of God, subsisting, not, a thing to be seized, accounted the being equal with God,

(RSV) 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

(RKJNT) 6 Who, though being in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped:

(OrthJBS) 6 who, though existing in the demut of the mode of being of Elohim, did not regard being equal with G-d as a thing to be seized

Having considered the evidence and taken into the consideration the full meaning of HARPAGMON, it is painfully clear that Jesus never had equality with God and that he, thus, did not see it as something to try and attain. This then becomes an issue for Trinitarians.

Take note of what is written in in verse 5 as well:

Philippians 2:5 For think this within you, which mind was also in Christ Jesus,

We see here that Christians are told to have the same perspective as Christ did. Well what was Christ's perspective? If verse 6 is saying that Christ was equal to God, then we must all consider ourselves to be equal with God as well. Why? Because verse 5 tells us to have the same mind as Christ! On the other hand, knowing that we are not equal with God, we thus have this same mind as Christ in not attempting to be equal with God.

For additional consideration we take note of the A portion of verse 6 where it states: “though being in God’s form.” We render it as God’s form rather than “the form of God” for the lack of the definite genitive TOU. We felt that "in the form of God" tended to imply something more definite than what is actually expressed in the verse. By simply using "God's form" the indefinite usage becomes a bit more apparent. An alternative and grammatically accurate translation would be "in the form of a god." However, most Trinitarians will disregard this completely due to their theological bias.

What we do note is that this verse says that Jesus was in God’s form though. Being in the form of one requires you to be in that shape (Greek: morphe), but it also removes the possibility of that person actually existing as that very one. Being in God’s form, he would therefore not be God himself.

Lou additionally means reference of Hebrews 4:15. It states the following:

Hebrews 4:15 For we have as high priest, not one who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tested in all respects like ourselves, but without sin.

We make note of the word “tested,” which comes from a Greek word meaning to see how one will behave. If it was seen how Jesus would behave when the possibility of sin was set before him, he certainly had the possibility of sin. If he was incapable of sin, there would be no test in how he would behave and this statement in Hebrews 4:15 would thus be false and a lie. However, knowing this statement to be true and accurate, we know that Jesus truly was tested and so he could not be God, for God cannot sin.

Here are the scriptures in the Old Testament which prophesied that the Father would assist His Son, i.e. holding His hand, helping Him and preserving Him:

•Isaiah 42:6 "I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;"

•Isaiah 49:8 "Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;"

•Isaiah 50:7 "For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed."

To further confirm the fact that God was on Jesus' right hand, Acts 2:25 quotes Psalm 16:8 indicating that it would be the Father, Jehovah, at the right hand of Jesus supporting Him and providing His source of strength and support up until the time of His crucifixion:

•Acts 2:25 "For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:"

•Psalm 16:8 "I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved."

Reply: We here take note in both Psalms and Acts that the situation of Jehovah being at the right hand of Jesus is always so. It specifically says “always” to, indicating that it will forever be that way with Jesus getting eternal support from Jehovah. On the other hand, Jesus we know was not always at the right hand of Jehovah.

After His death on the cross almost two thousand years ago, Philippians 2:8-11 reveals that Jesus Christ is now highly exalted. Hebrews 1:3 also emphasizes that He now sits down "on the right hand of the Majesty on high." Additionally, before he was stoned to death, Stephen saw Jesus standing "on the right hand" of God. When Stephen was stoned, Jesus Christ had already ascended into heaven. The applicable scriptures follow:

Reply: It is interesting that Lou makes note of Jesus being exalted. To exalt means to raise in rank, character, or status. If Jesus was raised in status, we have clear evidence that he was not Almighty. Why? The Almighty has no greater status to be raised to, as he is already higher than all. Thus, Jesus has never been Almighty God.

Trintarians will argue that this is referencing his humanity. Regardless of what aspect of his being it is referencing, the simple fact that he can be exalted in ANYWAY way removes the possibility of him being almighty.

•Philippians 2:8-11 "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (9) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: (10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

•Hebrews 1:3 "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;"

•Acts 7:56 (Stephen said) "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God."

•Acts 2:34-35 references Psalm 110:1 indicating that Jesus is now on the right hand of Jehovah, the LORD:

•Acts 2:34-35 "For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, (35) Until I make thy foes thy footstool."

•Psalm 110:1 [[A Psalm of David.]] "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."

Reply: It is important to consider what is shown by being on God’s right hand so that we can thus compare the meaning to God being at another’s right hand. Lou has provided a good demonstration from scripture of Jesus being at the right hand of God.

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible: “It denotes dignity and majesty; for to sit at the right hand of a prince was the chief place of honor.”

We take notice that what is denoted by sitting at God’s right hand is quite different than what is denoted by God being at one’s right hand. We saw this earlier in the first part of our reply as well. To be at a person right (or left) hand denotes being in a position of honor and glory. This is why the mother of James and John asked for one of her sons to sit at Jesus' right hand, with the other at his left (Matthew 20:20-21). This sitting at each of his hands denoted a position of honor.

With that said, we understand a definite difference between one being at the right hand of God and God being at one's right hand. We see that to be at God’s right hand denotes honor and glory, while as Lou correctly demonstrated, God being at one’s right hand shows strength and support from God.

In Psalm 110:5-6, David prophecies of the time when judgment and justice will be placed on the kingdoms of the earth. Notice that the New World Translation, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ own bible, specifically indicates that it is "Jehovah himself at your right hand" who will break kings to pieces on the day of His anger. However, according to the Scriptures, Jesus Christ is now "on the right hand." In other words, the Jehovah’s Witnesses own bible reveals that Jesus is Jehovah!

Reply: Lou is now demonstrating extremely poor exegetical skills. He is removing the verse from context to attempt to demonstrate a point. Let us consider this entire passage. Since he is making use of the NWT here, we will do so as well:

110 The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is:
“Sit at my right hand
Until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.”
2 The rod of your strength Jehovah will send out of Zion, [saying:]
“Go subduing in the midst of your enemies.”
3 Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day of your military force.
In the splendors of holiness, from the womb of the dawn,
You have your company of young men just like dewdrops.
4 Jehovah has sworn (and he will feel no regret):
“You are a priest to time indefinite
According to the manner of Mel•chiz'e•dek!”
5 Jehovah himself at your right hand
Will certainly break kings to pieces on the day of his anger.

Now let us further break this down to see if Lou is correct in what he says.

1 The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is: “Sit at my right hand Until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.”

In verse one; we have YHWH speaking to ADONI. We take special note that ADONI is used here, as ADONI is a lower form of ADONAI. Where ADONAI is generally used for God Almighty, ADONI is used for human kings, and generally means “my lord” or “master.” While the actual characters are the same in the Hebrew text, a difference in vowel marking within the text distinguishes them. This topic is further explained at this location: http://www.mindspring.com/~anthonybuzzard/BD86.htm

Recognizing that ADONI is used in place of ADONAI, we are therefore aware that the writer in no way considered the person being addressed as Almighty God himself. Rather, this was a lesser, lower person.

4 Jehovah has sworn (and he will feel no regret): “You are a priest to time indefinite According to the manner of Mel•chiz'e•dek!”

We see here that Jehovah is said to have spoken to this ADONI, Jesus Christ. He says to him “You are a priest to time indefinite According to the manner of Melchizedek!” Why is this important? Because we see that the son is the one being addressed by the Father. We know this to be the case because Jesus himself is said to be a priest in the manner of Melchizedek, not the Father.

Now, having considered that the Son is the one being addressed here and NOT the Father, we move on to verse 5:

5 Jehovah himself at your right hand Will certainly break kings to pieces on the day of his anger.

It is here said to the son that Jehovah is at his right hand. We know this as verse 5 is simple a continuation of verse 4 where the son is being addressed. So when it says "your right hand," who's right hand is it speaking of? The one who is a priest according to the manner of Melchizedek, Jesus Christ! Jesus is therefore in absolutely no way, shape or form called Jehovah! Additionally we know that lord is of the son in verse 1, where Jehovah is the Father as this is quoted of Jesus in Acts 2:34,35.

Lou is thus incorrect in his stating that Psalms 110:5 refers to Jesus as Jehovah.

In Psalm 110:5, the Hebrew word "Adonai" is used. Adonai always refers to Almighty God. This verse teaches that Jesus Christ, Almighty God, will come at the right hand and executing His judgment on His enemies, the kings of the earth. Additionally, Psalm 110:1 along with Psalm 110:5 teaches that Jehovah is at the right hand of Jehovah. Isaiah 11:4, Jeremiah 23:5 and Revelation 19:15 all confirm that it is the Messiah, Jesus Christ Himself, who will come and smite the earth, destroying His enemies. The applicable scriptures follow:

Reply: Lou’s false assumption, is just that: false. The text in no way indicates Jesus is Jehovah God, as we have already shown. We recognize that Jesus is in no way ADONAI, as in verse one he is specifically given the title ADONI.

Psalm 110:5-6 (NWT) "Jehovah himself at your right hand Will certainly break kings to pieces on the day of his anger. (6) He will execute judgment among the nations; He will cause a fullness of dead bodies. He will certainly break to pieces the head one over a populous land."

Isaiah 11:4 "But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked."

Jeremiah 23:5 "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth."

Revelation 19:15 "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."

Though Psalm 110:5 in the New World Translation clearly states that Jehovah himself at your right hand will break kings to pieces on the day of His anger, Psalm 2:12 reveals that it is the Son's wrath and anger that will be kindled. This further supports the fact that the Jehovah’s Son is Jehovah:

•Psalm 110:5 (NWT) "Jehovah himself at your right hand Will certainly break kings to pieces on the day of his anger."

•Psalm 2:12 "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."

Reply: Lou, as usual, is ignoring the context of Psalms 2:12 to attempt to prove his point. Take note:

Psalms 2:2 The kings of earth take their stand And high officials themselves have massed together as one Against Jehovah and against his anointed one,

We notice that the ones that are taking their stand are doing so against Jehovah and his anointed one. The anointed one we know to be Jesus Christ, the son. So in their taking a stand against them both, verse 12 is clearly showing that they will perish for making him and Jehovah angry. We also notice that verse 2 makes it again clear that Jesus is not Jehovah, as his annointed one is clearly seperated from the person of Jehovah.

According to Matthew 26:63, when the high priest asked Jesus who He claimed to be, Jesus, referencing Daniel 7:13, indicated that "ye shall see the Son of man sitting 'on the right hand' of power and coming in the clouds of heaven." The applicable scriptures follow:

Matthew 26:63-64 "And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. (64) Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."

Daniel 7:13 "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him."

How did the high priest react? Since the Bible teaches that when an individual is 'at the right hand' of another, he provides the source of support, strength, power and authority, the high priest connected Psalm 110:5 to Daniel 7:13 calling Jesus' statement blasphemy. Why? The reason is clear: Jesus was claiming to be the source of support, strength, power and authority for Almighty God Himself. Who would dare make such a claim? Unless, of course, He was Almighty God Himself:

Reply: Lou is again making a false assumption. We noted earlier that to be at God’s right hand is to denote honor, where as God at another’s right hand denotes strength and support. There is a drastic difference which he fails to grasp.

Matthew 26:65 "Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy."

In Revelation 5:6-7, the apostle John has a vision of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, in the midst of the throne, taking the book out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne. For the Lamb to do this, He must be sitting "on the right hand" of God. Also, notice that the Lamb is in the midst of the throne and the Father is sitting on the throne. For this to be true since there is only one throne, the Lamb must be "in the bosom of" the Father (John 1:18, John 17:8).

Revelation 5:6-7 "And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. (7) And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne."

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.”

John 17:8 “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.”

Reply: Lou seems to kill his own argument in this conclusion. He makes it a point to show that Jesus is literally at the right hand of God, in that position of honor. This was demonstrated in Acts 7:55, 56 where Stephen actually saw Jesus at God’s right hand. On the other hand, Jehovah being at the right hand of Jesus is very much a figurative point, as is demonstrated by other examples of Jehovah at people’s right hand.

To further kill his argument, Lou references John 1:18 where it says no man has seen God. If no man has seen God as this verse states, Jesus Christ could not be God for many men did see him. Even further, Lou goes on to make reference to John 17:8 where it says “I came out from thee.” This is especially critical to Lou in that this very statement seems to indicate a creation of Jesus Christ, with the meaning of the Greek text this translation is based on supporting this line of thought.

As further evidence that Jesus cannot be Jehovah, let us consider this:

Hebrews 1:1 In many ways and in various ways of old, God spoke to the fathers in the prophets; 2 in these last days He spoke to us in the Son, whom He appointed heir of all; through whom He indeed made the ages;

In this case we see that God is said to be the one that spoke to the fathers in the prophets. Examining the entire Hebrew Scriptures, we repeatedly find that this person is Jehovah. This can be seen by even a brief examination of any one of the books of the prophets. Yet we see that this God, Jehovah, now speaks through his son.

What must we conclude from this? Well verse 1 must be referencing the Father as this one called God is clearly distinguished from the son. Further, this God is said to be the one that spoke through the prophets here in Hebrews. Knowing that Jehovah is the one that spoke through the prophets, we have no choice but to conclude that Jehovah is the Father! If the son were Jehovah, this would be a contradiction for he too would have been the one that spoke through the prophets.

Furthermore, the scriptures make it very clear that the Father has a name separate from the son. How so?

John 5:43 I have come in the name of my Father, but YOU do not receive me; if someone else arrived in his own name, YOU would receive that one.

We take especially note of this verse, for when it mentions “his own name,” that is the name of the Father, it uses the Greek adjective IDIO, which has the meaning on one’s own possession, something that is private to one's self. This is clearly indicating a unique name for the Father. Considering this, the Father must have a name belonging to himself and himself alone. With Hebrews 1:1 and Psalms 110:1 in mind, we know this name is Jehovah.