Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Who was Crushed for Our Errors?

Who was Crushed for Our Errors?
By Sean Killackey
January 16th, 2016

“But he was pierced for our transgression; He was crushed for our errors. He bore the punishment for our peace, [a]nd because of his wounds we were healed.” – Isaiah 53:5 NWT

Considering the depth of our sin, the identity of our Savior is crucial to know. Only by knowing who he is, can we be saved by faith in him. All who claim to be Christians will assert that Jesus is him, a fact that is beyond dispute. Mormons, however, claim that Jehovah is, whom they take to be the same as Jesus. If this is not scriptural, however, can they claim to have faith in a real Savior?
According to Doctrine and Covenants 110:4, “Jehovah” said: “I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain.” To Mormons, Jehovah was slain for our sins. They draw upon the references to Jehovah as our only Savior, such as at Isaiah 43:11, to make their Jesus-Jehovah connection. This interpretation by itself is not unreasonable, for Jehovah does says he is our only Savior. However, how does this a priori assumption hold up with the rest of the scriptures?[1] We will also answer this question: why is Jehovah, if he is not Christ, also called our Savior when Christ is our Savior?
Mormons assert that Jehovah is the one who “bore the punishment for our peace.” Does this assertion match the description provided in Isaiah 53? Isaiah says of him: “But we considered him as plagued, stricken by God and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4) At first glance, this might seem to allow the Mormon position. While we naturally connect “God” to “Jehovah,” Mormons assert that “God” often refers to another, whom they call “Heavenly Father.” So, we cannot definitively refute them by this alone. However, the matter soon goes south for them. Isaiah 53:6 reports in no uncertain terms: “Jehovah has caused the error of all to meet up with him.” Therefore, we know that Jehovah, who cannot die, willed the Messiah to die, so that he might raise him again and exalt him after he paid the price for our sins. – Habakkuk 1:12; Isaiah 53:10-12
            Jehovah God, the one whose will it was to send the Messiah, was not met with resistance by Christ. Rather, as Paul says by inspiration: “[W]hen [Christ] comes into the world, he says: “‘Sacrifice and offering you did not want, but you prepared a body for me. You did not approve of whole burnt offerings and sin offerings.’ Then I said: ‘Look! I have come (in the scroll it is written about me) to do your will, O God.’” After first saying: “You did not want nor did you approve of sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sin offerings”— sacrifices that are offered according to the Law — then he says: “Look! I have come to do your will.” He does away with what is first in order to establish what is second. By this “will” we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time.” – Hebrews 10:5-9
            Who is doing the sanctifying? Christ, who stems from the same One as those he sanctifies, the one who acts through him. Who is this One? Jesus says: “Look! I and the young children, whom [the Lord] gave me.” This alludes to Isaiah 8:18, which says: “Look! I and the children whom Jehovah has given me are as signs and as miracles in Israel from Jehovah of armies, who resides on Mount Zion.” Therefore, Jehovah is the One from whom the sanctified stem from, and they are not Jehovah, and from whom the one who sanctifies them stems from. Is he somehow the sanctifier? Hardly.
            These last scriptures do not merely show that Jehovah is the source from which Christ and the sanctified stem as if it is a trivial thing, they show how crucial Jehovah’s involvement in our salvation is. He is the One who willed our salvation, so he sent his Son Jesus (whose name means “Jehovah is salvation”) to fulfill it. Jehovah paid for us with the life of his Son, whom he appointed as “head over all things with regard to the congregation,” and whose head He, Jehovah, is. – Ephesians 1:22; 1 Corinthians 11:3
            Is it any wonder why Jehovah rightly deserves to be called our Savior? He is the ultimate source of our salvation.[2] The one who acts through another can rightly be credited as the one who accomplished it.[3] So, since Jehovah saves us through Christ, just as he made all things through Jesus, Jehovah is our only Savior, yet is not the only one deserving of the title. – Hebrews 1:2
            To conclude let’s ask: if Jehovah is not our Savior in the sense Jesus is, but is the one whose will saves us, how does the Mormon position stand up? They assert that “Heavenly Father” authored “the plan of salvation,” which Jehovah fulfilled. However, the facts show otherwise; Jehovah created the true plan of salvation, which he fulfilled through Jesus Christ. Their plan does from “Heavenly Father,” whom they say is not Jehovah, so their plan does not come from Jehovah’s will. So, by whose will are they being sanctified? There is no other person besides Jehovah whose will can sanctify anyone. And no other Christ but Jesus, Jesus-Jehovah notwithstanding. (1 Corinthians 3:11) The Mormons fail this test, how can they be sanctified if they remain Mormon?

[1] An a priori assumption is one made independent of the evidence, or one made beforehand. Often times such assumptions can be tested by comparing what results the assumption produces to what is actually found in the evidence. If the evidence coincides with the expected results, it would be safe to assume that the assumption is correct. However, if the result is different from what is expected, another explanation must exist.

[2] Insight on the Scriptures (vol. 2), p. 873 notes: “When Jesus was on earth, Jehovah was his Savior, supporting and strengthening him to maintain integrity through his strenuous trials.” This is an important difference in how Jehovah’s position as Savior differs from Jesus’, one that highlight the ultimate sense in which Jehovah God is such.

[3] This is expressed in a fundamental maxim of the law of agency, “qui facit per alium facit per se,” which means, “he who acts through another does the act himself.” It does not preclude the agent from also taking the credit the commissioner has valid cause to claim.

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