Questions From Readers
● What is the definition of “Christendom” as used in Watch Tower publications?
Most often the term “Christendom” is used in the Society’s publications in the more restricted way in which the word is first defined in the dictionary: “Christianity”; actually, professed Christianity, in contrast to the true Christianity of the Bible. This focuses primarily on the religious aspects. However, the word is sometimes used in our publications in its enlarged second meaning: “the portion of the world in which Christianity prevails.”
Whether the more restricted religious use or the enlarged territorial use of the word is intended will be apparent from the context. For example, if reference is being made to Christendom as a part of the world empire of false religion (“Babylon the Great”), and to the fact that this empire of false religion will be destroyed first at the “great tribulation,” it will be evident to the reader that the more restricted use of the word is intended. This is the case since the political and commercial features of the realm of Christendom will not go down at the same time as the religious.—Rev., chap. 17; Matt. 24:21.
● The appendix of the 1970 edition of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (pages 1455 and 1456) states that the Hebrew expression ha-A·dōnʹ is limited to Jehovah God. Why, then, does the footnote to Romans 10:9 (in the 1971 edition) show that this expression does not there refer to Jehovah?
The footnote on Romans 10:9 merely acknowledges that some translators, in rendering the Greek Scriptures into the Hebrew language, have used this expression ha-A·dōnʹ (meaning, literally, “the Lord”) in translating the Greek word kyʹri·os (meaning “Lord”).
The word “Lord” here obviously refers to Jesus because the scripture says: “For if you publicly declare that ‘word in your own mouth,’ that Jesus is Lord [Kyʹri·os], and exercise faith in your heart that God raised him up from the dead, you will be saved.” Translating the Greek word Kyʹri·os into Hebrew as ha-A·dōnʹ is merely the opinion of certain translators, for in the Greek text the definite article does not occur with “Lord” in this verse.
The word “lord” is a term that is applied in the Scriptures to Jehovah, Jesus, angels, humans and even false deities. The basic meaning is “master” or “owner.” It is also a title of respect. In the appendix, the translators of the New World Translation make the observation that each time ha-A·dōnʹ occurs in the Hebrew Scriptures, it refers to Jehovah. This is a fact, and appropriately so, since the definite article (ha) points to him exclusively as “Lord” in the highest sense.
Jesus is also properly referred to by Christians as their Lord because of his being their “Master” and “Owner.” By his sacrificial blood he purchased them and he is the head of the Christian congregation. (John 13:13, 16; Col. 3:24; Jude 4; Rev. 5:9, 10) Paul acknowledges that while there are many “gods” and many “lords,” “there is actually to us one God the Father . . . and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 8:5, 6) But Jesus’ authority as Lord was given to him by the Father. (Matt. 28:18; John 3:35; 5:19, 30) Jesus has great authority, glory and power, but “every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9-11) All credit goes to the Father for what he has done and will do through his only-begotten Son. At the end of his thousand-year reign, Jesus “hands over the kingdom to his God and Father” and, in turn, will “subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone.”—1 Cor. 15:24-28.
So, with the above in mind, it can be seen that while certain Hebrew translations of the Greek Scriptures employ the expression ha-A·dōnʹ at Romans 10:9, we are not to conclude from this that the “Lord” here is Jehovah, making Jesus and God one and the same Lord, as claimed by the Trinitarians. Nevertheless, wherever this expression occurs in the Hebrew Scriptures, it refers to Jehovah.