I have started meeting with some Jehovah’s Witnesses. My plan is to share how our conversations go after each meeting. Today we talked about two topics.
Much of our conversation was about the kingdom of God. They began by discussing Old Testament statements of the kingdom. They tried to focus on the kingdom as a government. It all comes down to how they define a government. I asked them that and they compared it to a modern human government (but without the corruption). The ancient couldn’t have imagined our modern model of government so I think that’s a bad comparison.
I fully agree with the Jehovah’s Witnesses on the importance of the kingdom of God. Where we are going to disagree is the timing of it. I argued that the kingdom began when Jesus first appeared and that it will come in its fullness when Jesus returns. They reluctantly agreed that there were hints of the kingdom in Jesus’ ministry but disagreed that it had already appeared. I suspect future conversations will look at the events of 1914.
I was trying to push the conversation toward the timing of the kingdom, specifically Mark 1:15 and the announcement that the kingdom of God was at hand. But they shifted the direction of the conversation.
The second part of our talk was on the name of God. He pointed me toward a passage in Isaiah that spoke of the LORD. I told him that I understood that the Hebrew was YHWH (which they pronounce as Jehovah). He correctly asserted that God was personal and does not change. He then concluded that we must use that name.
I have no problem with the Tetragrammaton (YHWH). But I asked him if this name is so important, why does the New Testament not use that name. He surprised me by claiming that the Greek New Testament indeed contains Jehovah – approximately 100 times!
I surprised him by revealing I can read the New Testament in Greek and that I knew that the authors of the New Testament used the Greek for lord rather than Jehovah. He said that the originals had Jehovah and there are copies that demonstrated that.
I have heard this claim and will do my homework while he does homework. Responding to this claim will be the content of another blog post.
I will admit that voices were raised, not that we were angry, but there were moments of frustration on both our parts. I did make an attempt to keep things as friendly as possible.
If you are interested in learning more, check out my book: The Watchtower and the Word