Questions From Readers
● Does Stephen’s prayer to Jesus, as found in Acts 7:59, show that he understood Jesus to be Jehovah?—W. R., U.S.A.
The prayer offered by Stephen when he was being martyred is recorded at Acts 7:59, 60, which says: “And they went on casting stones at Stephen as he made appeal and said: ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then, bending his knees, he cried out with a strong voice: ‘Jehovah, do not charge this sin against them.’ And after saying this he fell asleep in death.” Rather than indicating that Stephen understood both Jesus and Jehovah to be the same person, his prayer shows that he knew they were not, because he differentiates between the two. His request to Jesus he does not address merely to the Lord, but to the Lord Jesus, thus doing away with any ambiguity. Further, his statement shortly prior to this, as recorded in Ac 7 verse 56, indicates two persons: “And he said: ‘Look! I behold the heavens opened up and the Son of man standing at God’s right hand.’” He does not say the Son of man, Christ Jesus, is Jehovah God, but that he was standing at God’s right hand.
Not only does Stephen’s request, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” not prove the trinity, but Jesus’ similar fervent prayer, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit,” conclusively shows that Jesus is not the same as his Father Jehovah.—Luke 23:46.
In the wording of his prayer Stephen showed that he understood the difference between Jehovah and the Lord Jesus as set out in Psalm 110:1 and applied by Jesus at Matthew 22:42-46. He was not perplexed by Jesus’ application of it, as were the Pharisees to whom Jesus spoke and who were silenced by his answer.
Jesus had taught his followers that the Father authorized him to raise others to life. (John 5:26; 6:40; 11:25, 26) So it was proper for Stephen to petition Jesus over this matter, and his prayer indicates proper understanding on his part. It does not support the trinity.
During February Jehovah’s witnesses will call on persons in all parts of the world, many of whom want to know the divine will concerning world happenings. To aid these persons of good will, they will offer them The Watchtower on a subscription basis, together with three Bible booklets, for $1. If you are not now associated with a congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses but would like to have a share in this activity, write to this office for further information.
WHEN YOUTH WILL FADE NO MORE
“Utopia” and the “fountain of youth” are two dreams of unending happiness sought by men throughout the world. Such false hopes and disappointment have they brought that most men now believe them nonexistent. But are they? Yes, in the form that men have sought them. But the fondest dreams of men cannot compare with the paradise Almighty God has promised to restore to earth. This hope is real and certain for our generation! Would you like the proof? Then send 75c at once for the beautifully illustrated hard-bound book From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained. It is based on God’s unfailing Word, the Holy Bible.
“WATCHTOWER” STUDIES FOR THE WEEKS
March 1: Paradise, ¶11-22. Page 69.
March 8: Paradise, ¶23-30, and Maintaining Our Spiritual Paradise, ¶1-15. Page 75.
March 15: Maintaining Our Spiritual Paradise, ¶16-39. Page 81.