Is the New World Translation Accurate

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StoneCrier
Posts: 137
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Re: Is the New World Translation Accurate

#31 Post by StoneCrier » 2 years ago

I don't use the NWT or RNWT translation at all anymore. However, when I learn something new about biblical languages and translation errors/difficulties, I like to also go see what the NWT says.

Recently, I've been exploring Daniel. I've come to lean 99% in the direction that the prevailing thought that the beasts in Daniel 7 are the kingdoms from the dream in Daniel 2 is incorrect. Rather than Daniel 7 being a retelling of Daniel 2, Daniel 7 describes the political scene of the end times itself, and not everything leading up to it. One of the pieces of the puzzle that lead me to that is from Daniel 7:7.
Daniel 7:7 (ESV) wrote:
52 years ago
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.
I had previously just read "before" as if it were temporal indicating prior to. The Hebrew word is qodam (Strong's H6925).
Brown-Driver-Briggs wrote:
52 years ago
קדם.

קֶדֶם n.[m.] front, east, aforetime —
1. loc.
a. front.
b. East; elsewh. ’מִקּ = eastward:
(1) in the E.;
(2) on the E. (side);
(3) eastward, c. vb. of motion.
2. temp., ancient time, aforetime:
a. ’הַרְרֵי ק ancient mts.
b. ’בִּימֵי ק in ancient days.
c. ’מִקּ from of old.
d. ’ק alone, as adv. anciently, of old.
e. beginning, מִקַּדְמֵי־אֶרֶץ from the beginnings of the earth.
Note that it primarily means in front of or in the presence of as in "before a king." It secondarily is relating to the East. There is a temporal component to the definition, but it is not in the comparative sense (as in being in time prior to something else mentioned). Instead, it is used in the sense of "from of old" or "ancient" to simply indicate the extreme age of something and even then, most of these occurrences require a compound with another word or letter. However, this word is never used in the context of indicating that the subject came/happened in time prior to another identified object. There is another word for that which is terem (Strong's H2962). For instance:
Genesis 19:4 wrote:
52 years ago
But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house.
This is the word used to indicate an event/object prior to another.

The word qodam (Strong's H6925) is found 38 times in Daniel, and barring the instances that I will discuss, 35 of them are clearly meaning in the presence of or in front of, not prior to.

This indicates to me then that the English word "before" has introduced an ambiguity that isn't there in the Hebrew (Aramaic has same stance as Hebrew) and that has colored a mistake in understanding Daniel 7.

So rather than the 3 other beasts coming and falling sequentially before the 4th beast arrives, it looks as though all 4 beasts are contemporaries and exist at the same time in the end. This would also make more sense when we read this a little further:
Daniel 7:11-12 (ESV) wrote:
52 years ago
I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire.
As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.
The 3 other beasts not only had dominion at the time of the 4th beast, but had it taken away at the time of the 4th being destroyed (or at least after it) and actually live after it. This doesn't make sense if we equate the beasts with the statue in Daniel 2.

This also impacts how we view the little horn in relation to the 3 horns that are plucked out before it and the 3 that fall before it (maybe same 3). The same word is indicating in the presence of rather than prior to.

So this is a long winded way to say that after coming in to all of this information, I turned to the RNWT to see what was there and read:
Daniel 7:7 (RNWT) wrote:
52 years ago
After this I kept watching in the visions of the night, and I saw a fourth beast, fearsome and terrifying and unusually strong, and it had large iron teeth. It was devouring and crushing, and what was left it trampled down with its feet. It was different from all the other beasts that were prior to it, and it had ten horns.
Ouch. No wonder this possibility never occurred to me when I was a Witness (it's like this in the 1984 NWT too). It looks like they either took some English translation of the Bible and just tried to reword things to make a "new" translation, or they are stretching the "temporal" definition beyond what it can bear to fit their doctrine. If it's the latter, they wouldn't be the first. While most translators use "before" a few also include "prior to." However, the word and usage do not support that translation.

Bobcat
Posts: 3316
Joined: 7 years ago

Re: Is the New World Translation Accurate

#32 Post by Bobcat » 2 years ago

Hi StoneCrier,

The AMG Word Study Dictionary ─ Old Testament gives this definition for Strong's 6925:
An Aramaic preposition meaning before, in the presence of. It refers to being in front of spatially or temporally; in time (Ezra 4:18, 23; Dan 2:9; 7:7). It has the sense of in God's judgment before Him (Dan 6:23). It means to be afraid of something from before one (min (4480) Dan 7:8). It is used with words meaning to pray, to answer before (Dan 2:10, 11, 27). It describes a decree going out from (before) a king (Dan 2:6; 6:26).
Out of curiosity, who would you connect the 4 beasts and the small horn to? (Assuming you've reached that point in your analysis.)

Bobcat

StoneCrier
Posts: 137
Joined: 4 years ago

Re: Is the New World Translation Accurate

#33 Post by StoneCrier » 2 years ago

Bobcat wrote:
2 years ago
Hi StoneCrier,

The AMG Word Study Dictionary ─ Old Testament gives this definition for Strong's 6925:
An Aramaic preposition meaning before, in the presence of. It refers to being in front of spatially or temporally; in time (Ezra 4:18, 23; Dan 2:9; 7:7). It has the sense of in God's judgment before Him (Dan 6:23). It means to be afraid of something from before one (min (4480) Dan 7:8). It is used with words meaning to pray, to answer before (Dan 2:10, 11, 27). It describes a decree going out from (before) a king (Dan 2:6; 6:26).
Out of curiosity, who would you connect the 4 beasts and the small horn to? (Assuming you've reached that point in your analysis.)

Bobcat
Hi Bobcat,

I would say that 3 of the 4 examples for the temporal definition given aren't actually temporal. Ezra 4:18, 23 and Daniel 2:9 are all in the presence of. To me, this looks like "eisegesis" of a lexicon; trying to make a word have a definition to suit a pre-conceived idea in a few verses.

Whether we look at the Hebrew or the Aramaic, we get the same result that the word for X prior to Y is not the word found in the text. If you want to say (X) prior to Y, the word in Hebrew is terem (Strong's H2962) and in Aramaic, it is ad (עַד). But the word here used 38 times in Daniel is קָֽדָמַ֔יהּ in the Aramaic (Strong's H6925) which corresponds to Hebrew qedem (H6924). It's just not the word that would be used if the writer was trying to communicate that the 3 beasts are prior to the 4th. Rather the Aramaic indicates that the 3 beasts are in the presence of the 4th. But for some reason, lexicons just shoehorn Daniel 7:7 into a special case definition of meaning prior when the usage of that word doesn't support it. It seems as though this is pre-conceived notion coloring the definition. Especially since there is already a word to mean prior in Aramaic and that gets used in the Aramaic Targums in the same places that terem is used in the Hebrew. Rather than rely on the lexicons, do a word search for these in the text and just read the verses where it appears. X prior to Y is not what you will find, but somehow Daniel 7:7 is a special (dubious) case. I simply can't buy that. It stinks a little too much of confirmation bias.

I am still inclined to believe the little horn is the Antichrist. I see Daniel 2 as describing the political sequence that leads up to the coming of Jesus. I lean towards it meaning the first coming, but it could be second. I guess it would depend on when you believe the Kingdom initially began, with the resurrection/ministry or with the total dominion on Earth. I think whether one believes in the early doctrine of the 2 Kingdoms (light and dark) might color that. However, I see Daniel 7, not as a retelling of Daniel 2, but as a description of the political scene at the time of the end. So I can't connect the beasts specifically to political entities as of yet, but I believe they are described there for us to be able to identify them when we are actually in the time of the Antichrist and this will help us recognize that. We may not know who they are until we are at that point, having a confirmatory rather than predictive effect. To me this makes more sense since Revelation 13 describes a beast that is the amalgamation of the 4 beasts of Daniel 7. The 3 beasts submit to the 4th either willfully or through conquest and then all 4 are under the control of Antichrist, hence why they are amalgamated in Revelation 13. It also makes more sense since Daniel 7:11-12 has the 3 beasts outliving the 4th beast and having their dominion taken at that time. If they had already fallen prior to the 4th beast coming on scene, this would be confusing.

I watched the video linked below and this was the initial reason for looking into this further. I'm a bit o a language nerd so my ears and attention really perk up when I hear stuff like this, especially when it's something that drastically changes something I've taken for granted before. So when the claim about before was made, I went and looked into it further and I'm convinced he's right about the word usage. So that changes Daniel 7 for me and now I'm trying to rethink my eschatology regarding this point. Still in flux as of right now.


goghtherefore
Posts: 128
Joined: 2 years ago

Re: Is the New World Translation Accurate

#34 Post by goghtherefore » 2 years ago

Hi StoneCrier

Thank you so very much for presenting your/this research!

To recap: to remember "Before" has an option to be understood as "prior to" or "in front of" !


Christian love and appreciation,

goghtherefore
“This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!”
Luke 9:35

StoneCrier
Posts: 137
Joined: 4 years ago

Re: Is the New World Translation Accurate

#35 Post by StoneCrier » 2 years ago

goghtherefore wrote:
2 years ago
Hi StoneCrier

Thank you so very much for presenting your/this research!

To recap: to remember "Before" has an option to be understood as "prior to" or "in front of" !


Christian love and appreciation,

goghtherefore
Hi gogtherefore,

Thanks for the reminder. I should have put a TL;DR.

TL;DR
Qodam (Strong's H6925) in Daniel 7:7 should not be translated as "prior to." The NWT is incorrect here. Translating it as "before" is acceptable, but is ambiguous leading to confusion. The best translation in this context should be "in the presence of" or "in front of" which would eliminate any ambiguity on what the meaning of the text is. According to the text, the 3 beasts are in the presence of the 4th, not preceding it in time.

John S
Posts: 1159
Joined: 5 years ago

Re: Is the New World Translation Accurate

#36 Post by John S » 2 years ago

I must add a thumbs up too.

This will put a better perspective on identifying the players as the time foretold occurs.

Make sure you are right on this.....

Makes a big difference!

Bobcat
Posts: 3316
Joined: 7 years ago

Re: Is the New World Translation Accurate

#37 Post by Bobcat » 2 years ago

I'm afraid I have to play 'the devil's advocate' here. Actually, an advocate for what is called "the traditional view" of Daniel chapter 7. Anyways . . . as Daniel puts it:

Whilst watching and describing the "the first one," (the one like a lion - Dan 7:4), Daniel says, "And behold, a second beast appeared." (Dan 7:5 NET)

Dan 7:6 NET: "After these things . . . another beast . . ."

Dan 7:7 NET: "After these things . . . a fourth beast appeared . . ."

The NET's "after these things" is literally, "in the place (or track) of." (As if each was following the footsteps of the previous one. See here.)

IMO, both the numbering ("the first one . . . a second beast . . . another beast . . . a fourth beast"), and the exclamatory phrasing in Dan 7:5, "and behold" (Strong's # 718; indicating some surprise at the sudden appearance of another beast), followed in Dan 7:6-7 by "after these things" (twice), lends itself to the sequential appearance of the beasts. So I would say that the NWT (along with most other translations) are rendering "qodam (Strong's H6925)" correctly based on their take of the context leading up to it. (Dan 7:4-7 NET)

OTOH, in the vision, despite the beasts appearing sequentially, nothing is said (initially) about them disappearing when the next in line comes on stage. In fact, they are each given 'a lengthening of life for a time and a season.' (Dan 7:12) So, from that standpoint, I could see it possible that qodam could mean "in the presence of" in the sense that the 4th one comes onto the stage (as it were) with the other beasts still there. So, in effect, the 4th comes on stage "in the presence of" the other three.

So I could see a translator opting for either rendering of qodam. Yet, the opening phrasing in verses Dan 7:5, 6, 7 still lends itself to Daniel seeing the beasts appear one at a time. The idea that qodam must mean that they all appear at the same time is, in effect, a red herring. The sequential appearance of the beasts does not depend on how one renders qodam at all.

The first 4 beasts have 'their ruling authority removed whilst still being permitted to continue living afterwards for a time and a season.' This is in contrast to the one that starts out as a "small horn." When his "ruling authority" is removed, it is to destroy him. (Dan 7:11-12)

Historically these things do fit Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Each of these has a recognizable post-dominant existence. Babylon=Iraq, Medo-Persia=Iran, Greece=Greece, and Rome=Italy. On the other hand, if the 'small horn' is taken as the Anglo-American (or 7th) world power, it is followed by the 8th, which only lasts for "one hour." Thus, the 7th also has its rulership taken away (like the first four), but it has no significant post-dominant existence.

Further discussion of this can be found in this thread.

Bobcat

Dajo1
Posts: 345
Joined: 5 years ago

Re: Is the New World Translation Accurate

#38 Post by Dajo1 » 2 years ago

Evening StoneCrier,
I started to watch the video on the discussion of Dan 2 and Dan 7 ... then the Mrs came home from the meeting (ours is Saturday pm) so will look at the rest tomorrow. I’ve always struggled with the term Antichrist and trying to attach it to an entity or ruling authority as such but I will consider the topic.
I see Bobcat has linked this to the King of the North topic, that would be appropriate.

Dajo1
Posts: 345
Joined: 5 years ago

Re: Is the New World Translation Accurate

#39 Post by Dajo1 » 2 years ago

Evening Bobcat,

You said:
“Historically these things do fit Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Each of these has a recognizable post-dominant existence. Babylon=Iraq, Medo-Persia=Iran, Greece=Greece, and Rome=Italy. On the other hand, if the 'small horn' is taken as the Anglo-American (or 7th) world power, it is followed by the 8th, which only lasts for "one hour." Thus, the 7th does have its rulership taken away, but it has no significant post-dominant existence.“

That’s not bad reasoning. I need to watch the the video StoneCrier posted - it is worth considering.

AmosAu2
Posts: 440
Joined: 4 years ago

Re: Is the New World Translation Accurate

#40 Post by AmosAu2 » 2 years ago

Greetings everyone,

For a different perspective on this prophecy of Daniel, I'll post chapter 7:7, 8 from a Hebrew Tanach with the comments on these verses by one of the most respected Jewish Rabbi's, Rashi. Rashi lived in the 11th12th century. I believe that he had it nailed down firmly.

7 After this, I saw in the visions of the night, and behold a fourth beast, awesome and dreadful and exceedingly strong, and it had huge iron teeth. It ate and crushed, and trampled the rest with its feet, and it was different from all the beasts that were before me, and it had ten horns.

in the visions of the night: on another night. The first three he saw on one night, and this one on another night, because it is equal to them all. In Leviticus Rabbah (13:5).
and it had… iron teeth: [as translated,] iron teeth.
and crushed: It crushed and ground finely.
and… the rest: what it left over from its eating.
and… ten horns: Aram. וְקַרְנַיִן עֲשַר . The angel explained to him that these are the ten kings who would ascend [the throne] of Rome before Vespasian, who would destroy the Temple.

8 I looked at these horns and behold another small horn came up among them, and three of the first horns were plucked out before it, and behold eyes like human eyes were on this horn, and a mouth speaking arrogantly.

and behold: Aram. וַאֲלוּ , like וַאֲרוּ , an expression of “behold.”
speaking arrogantly: words of arrogance. That is Titus, about whom the Rabbis, of blessed memory, said (Gittin 56b) that he blasphemed and berated and entered the Heichal with brazenness. (The Heichal, is the Temple)

Please notice that at the end of verse 7, Daniel says the beasts were "before me". I've not checked to se how this is with regad to the correct Hebrew translating would be.

Some food for thought.

Regards, Amos.

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