Thursday, May 6, 2010

Did Jesus Have An Origin?

We have been debating with some Jehovah's Witnesses about the nature of Jesus. We believe the Bible teaches that Jesus had no beginning (that He has always existed), whereas the Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus had a beginning (an origin).

The Jehovah's Witnesses official website says... Jesus’ life course might be divided into three stages. The first began long before his human birth. His origin was "from early times, from the days of time indefinite," says Micah 5:2.

The Jehovah's Witnesses Translation says... And you, O Beth´le·hem Eph´ra·thah, the one too little to get to be among the thousands of Judah, from you there will come out to me the one who is to become ruler in Israel, whose origin is from early times, from the days of time indefinite.

If that is what Micah 5:2 actually said, maybe Jesus did have an origin. But that has not been the standard English interpretation of that verse in the past.

The King James Version says... But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting.

The King James Version makes it clear that Jesus had no beginning, no origin, and that He is everlasting. Jesus has always been "going forth".

But I am troubled by some of the newer translations. For example, the English Standard Version seems to side with the Jehovah's Witnesses Translation on this verse.

The English Standard Version says... But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.

Are you disturbed by the English Standard Version rendering of Micah 5:2?

What motive did the translators of the English Standard Version have to render Micah 5:2 that way?


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