Charles Taze Russell on John 12:41

Hello everyone. I’ve had a busy day today. I spoke at a conference earlier today that required that I get up at 5:30 AM and I am exhausted as a result. However, it was a good conference and I did speak on an enjoyable topic and due to some shameless promoting of my blog there, there could be some new readers tonight so welcome aboard. If you are new from there or anywhere else, we’ve been going through the New Testament trying to come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. 

We’ve been in the gospel of John and a couple of nights ago, I did a blog on John 12:41. A friend suggested Charles Taze Russell’s work on that verse. I asked for him to send it and he sent me a PDF copy. Tonight, I will be looking over that material.

Russell grants that John 12:41 does refer to Isaiah 6:1. What is his reply in response to this? His response is that the text says Adonai, which it does, however, let’s do a search for where Adonai comes up. As I go through I have the NWT and I see that in most places, it translates this as “Jehovah.” Here are some highlights.

In Genesis 20, Abimelech has God (And God will be Adonai unless stated otherwise) appear to him in a dream and Abimelech responds to which we are told “The true God said to him in the dream” to which we say either Adonai is the true God, or else Adonai is a false god and the JWs are polytheists. (Based on their translation of John 1:1, I’d say they are.)

Exodus 4 has Moses addressing the one speaking to him as Adonai, but in Exodus 3, we saw that that speaker took the divine name on himself.

Deuteronomy 3:24 has Moses speaking of the God who is incomparable to anyone else. This same one is called “Adonai.”

Psalm 68:19 says that blessing be to God, the true God of our salvation. Is YHWH then not the true God of salvation? This is continued in verse 20 as well.

Psalm 86:12 has the Psalmist speaking of “God, my God.”

Isaiah 25:8 speaks of God wiping the tears from their faces. Who does that in Revelation 21?

Isaiah 28:16 has God laying a cornerstone. If Russell wishes us to think Adonai is always Jesus, then is he saying that Jesus is laying himself? A unitarian could have a hard time with this. A Trinitarian doesn’t.

If Jesus is Adonai, then is he sending himself in Isaiah 48:16? Once again, a Trinitarian can say one person who is fully God is sending another who is. What will the unitarian say?

Isaiah 61:1. Was the Spirit of Adonai on Jesus when he read this in Luke 4?

In Jeremiah 32:17, God makes the Heavens and the Earth by his power and his outstretched arm. (The arm is something Russell makes quite a mention of in earlier pages.)

Ezekiel 14:11 has God saying he will be the God of Israel.

Ezekiel 16:59 sees God as the one who made the covenant with Israel.

Ezekiel 20:5 has God choosing Israel and saying that he is Jehovah their God.

In 20:40, God says the entire house of Israel will serve him in the land.

24:14 has Adonai and YHWH both saying the same thing. The speaker starts as YHWH and closes identifying himself as Adonai.

26:14 has a similar situation. “I YHWH have spoken” says Adonai.

34:31 has Adonai saying “I am your God.”

In Daniel 9:3, Adonai is referred to as “Jehovah the true God.” See verse 4 for continuation of this. Verse 15 has him as the God of Israel who brought them out of Egypt.

In Amos 3:7, the prophets are seen as his servants.

Amos 6:8 has God swearing by himself. Compare to Hebrews 6:13.

Never mind all the times that Adonai is referred to as sovereign and all the times he is prayed to….

Also, every single time Adonai showed up, it was translated as “Jehovah.” Apparently, the NWT translators didn’t see a major difference.

Do we have a problem if Russell is right and this is the Son in Isaiah 6? Not at all, for the Son is seen as Jehovah in verse 5. Russell’s resposne? That the messenger of the covenant might well be saluted with the praise of the Father. That’s not what Isaiah says however! Isaiah says that he has seen Jehovah.

It seems Russell did this without considering who Adonai is in Scripture. I recommend anyone just go to an online concordance like and looking up Adonai and see what you find as well.

Russell’s response seems to simply boil down to a distinction without any real substance to it. Why should I deny what I see in the text in favor of the theory of Russell? I see no reason.

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