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Did Stephen pray to Jesus? Acts 7:59


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27 minutes ago, Eoin Joyce said:

Well, there is no direction in your references to pray to Jesus, and the bone of contention with most protagonists for Jesus in this role is that Jehovahs Witnesses do not.

You are usually better researched and more ordered in your arguments I thought? 

And you're usually sharper than this.  

Obviously the WTS is calling it a prayer and it is directed to Jesus from John and JWs are told they should be doing it, too.  Can't be much plainer than that.

[w07 3/15 p.3] John earnestly prayed: “Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20) 

Do you "earnestly pray: "Come, Lord Jesus.'"?

And *** re chap. 44 p. 319 par. 19 Revelation and You ***19 Thus, with John, we fervently pray: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.”

Do you fervently pray, "Amen! Come, Lord Jesus."?


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Hello Mr Joyce,   Your response from the viewpoint of the Watchtower Society has to now be “no” (another flip flop), although they do agree that Stephen did; but in so answering they make so

Wow! That wasn't handled very well in 1959 was it?. Although, to be fair, the dictionary does state on the term "pray":     adverb formalarchaic     1. used as a preface to polite requests or ins

However, the context and wording of the passage in the other letter - the second one to the Corinthians - strongly suggests Paul was addressing Jesus. Let's take another look: Three times I begge

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4 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

Not conclusive arguments these, because wider context demands otherwise. I believe the Bible presents Jehovah alone as the Hearer of prayer at Ps 65:2. This (for me) overrides any narrower contextual argument otherwise. ...

... Jehovah's name is included at Acts 7:60 for clarity of understanding about which Lord is referenced. No more a problem than understanding Jesus's earlier reference to Ps 110:1 at Mat.22:44 and maybe asking the question: "Who was David's Lord?" (Oh dear!! Is that another WTS interpolation I see??)

The wider contextual argument has to factor in, surely, that Jesus was placed in the highest authority over the cosmos [you know the Scripture texts]. This, along with the immediate context of Stephen's appeal to Jesus (and how did he do that other than directly talking to him, or as we would term it as 'prayer'?) means that the 'Lord,' to whom Stephen appealed for his executioners' forgiveness, was indeed Jesus.

'Jehovah' at Acts 7:60 is incongruous with the explicit identification of the Lord's identity at v. 59. If the writer of Acts really wanted to convey that Stephen called upon Jehovah in v. 60 in contrast to 'Lord Jesus' in v. 59, he would have put 'Lord God' or 'Father' or even scratched in the Tetragrammaton.

Ps. 110:1 is a red herring here. We have, in the Hebrew manuscript 'YHWH' and 'my Lord' - a 'Lord' in addition to 'YHWH' so clearly differentiated. But yes, at Matt. 22:44, the Greek has κύριος so 'Lord' should have been translated in the main text rather than 'Jehovah.'

That Acts 7:59, 60 and 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 speak of Jesus being directly addressed are, to me, a slam-dunk . But I recognize, from within the JW mindset, how uncomfortable the thought is of talking to/praying to/supplicating Jesus directly. And so, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

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5 minutes ago, Ann O'Maly said:

he would have put 'Lord God' or 'Father' or even scratched in the Tetragrammaton.

who knows?

6 minutes ago, Ann O'Maly said:

'Lord' should have been translated in the main text rather than 'Jehovah.'

Agreed. And as this refers to the Ps110:1 quote, for me, Stephen's vision of what that that Psalm describes closes the door on the argument. The "red herring" assertion is just an anomaly (or even an AnnO'Maly).

11 minutes ago, Ann O'Maly said:

within the JW mindset, how uncomfortable the thought is of talking to/praying to/supplicating Jesus directly.

Substitute "unthinkable" for "uncomfortable".

13 minutes ago, Ann O'Maly said:

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

We will indeed.

As ever, enjoyed the exchange. :)

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13 minutes ago, Eoin Joyce said:


29 minutes ago, Ann O'Maly said:

within the JW mindset, how uncomfortable the thought is of talking to/praying to/supplicating Jesus directly.

Substitute "unthinkable" for "uncomfortable".

I believe the publications have also drawn on the fact that IF this is understood as praying to or supplicating Jesus directly, the situation has to be understood. Both Stephen and John (at Patmos) and Saul/Paul (c. Damascus) have just seen a vision or had an experience in which they knew that Jesus had just shown himself in some divine way. I think that any human, including any JW, would suddenly feel as if it were proper to pray to or supplicate Jesus directly in such a context where his immense power is somehow conveyed to us. After all, John even felt like bowing down to an angel, in Revelation 22:8-10:

8And I am John, the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had shown me these things. 9But he said to me,“Do not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”

Also, there was a time when the Christian Scriptures were just being written, when it was appropriate to emphasize the fact that Jesus was fully "divine," because the last thing most people would remember about him was that he had been humiliated and "broken" by Rome with the punishment meted out to common criminals. The reminder that he is NOW at God's right hand was especially important for the early Christians and it was almost the "motto" of the Greek Scriptures. (Psalms 110:1 is the most quoted verse from the Hebrew Scriptures.) Stephen's vision of a glorious Lord standing at God's right hand was a direct evidence of the fulfillment of Psalms 110:1.

With this in mind, we might be surprised that there are not more scriptures that raise Jesus to a level that makes him seem almost equal with his Father, who is also spoken of as his God. But even in these verses where the Bible is emphasizing the divinity of the Son of God as opposed to the humanity of the Son of God, there is almost always a clear path away from understanding these passages as a direct claim of equality. (And even if one or two of these verses appeared to make the claim unambiguously, we would still need to understand it in the wider context of many more passages that directly state that the Son of God is NOT equal with the Father.) This happens again and again. In John 1:1, in John 10:33, in John 20:28 (Thomas addressing "My Lord and My God"). I think that even many scholarly Trinitarians have noticed that what they sometimes call proof-texts almost always contain a loop-hole, or some ambiguity to overcome. We rightly point out the ambiguities, and believe they are purposeful. I think some Trinitarians believe that these few passages, even though they contain some amgiguity, are meant to override verses to the contrary. It seems much more reasonable to see them as necessary to raise awareness of the status of Jesus which might otherwise be unimaginable to the first Jewish Christians, but always in the wider context of many more scriptures that must be understood with these verses. 

I often get the impression that Trinitarians are claiming that 5 ambiguous verses somehow overcome the teaching of 50 unambiguous verses. Surely it's best to consider that 50 unambiguous verses are teaching the basic truth, yet, on their own, they might inadvertently emphasize the inferior position of the Son of God. And while that might be technically true (that the Son is inferior to Almighty God) a full understanding might be better tempered with some of the more ambiguous verses that will remind us that this "inferiority" is a technicality, but that it should not diminish our regard for Jesus and and the greatness and wonder of his new position in heaven that is still not fathomed by mere humans. 

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12 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

John even felt like bowing down to an angel

But was corrected as I think any faithful spirit creature would do when faced with an inappropriate human response.

15 minutes ago, JW Insider said:


I doubt that the Scriptures were written to counter this false doctorine. 

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11 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

But was corrected as I think any faithful spirit creature would do when faced with an inappropriate human response.

Yet, we do not know if Jesus would have corrected John, and Hebrews 1:6 indicates that he would not have.

(Hebrews 1:5-2:4) 5 For example, to which one of the angels did God ever say: “You are my son; today I have become your father”? And again: “I will become his father, and he will become my son”? 6 But when he again brings his Firstborn into the inhabited earth, he says: “And let all of God’s angels do obeisance to him.” . . .  8 But about the Son, he says: “God is your throne forever and ever, and the scepter of your Kingdom is the scepter of uprightness. 9 You loved righteousness, and you hated lawlessness. That is why God, your God, anointed you with the oil of exultation more than your companions.” 10 And: “At the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands. . . .  13 But about which of the angels has he ever said: “Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet”? . . . [2:3] For it began to be spoken through our Lord and was verified for us by those who heard him, 4 while God joined in bearing witness with signs and wonders and various powerful works and with the holy spirit distributed according to his will.

These have even been used as proof-texts for Trinitarians, since the method of worshiping was "doing obeisance." Same as John was doing when he fell down in front of the angel. But again these are NOT prooftexts, but are here to highlight the unfathomable greatness of Jesus in his position at God's right hand. 

(Revelation 5:8-10) . . .the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb, and each one had a harp and golden bowls that were full of incense. (The incense means the prayers of the holy ones.) 9 And they sing a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, for you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought people for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, . . .

(Revelation 5:13, 14) 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and underneath the earth and on the sea, and all the things in them, saying: “To the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever.” 14 The four living creatures were saying: “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshipped.

11 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

I doubt that the Scriptures were written to counter this false doctorine. 

That was my point. They were written to give an overall picture that fully equips us to understand the position of Christ whether we are from an environment where it was taught that he was no more than a human, or from an environment where it was taught that he was no less than Almighty God. There is no scripture that claims that the Mighty God, Jesus, the Son of God, is equal with the Almighty God, the Father. But John 1 and Hebrews 1, for examples, were written so that we do not think to diminish Christ's position, or consider him unworthy of "obeisance."

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5 hours ago, JW Insider said:

But John 1 and Hebrews 1, for examples, were written so that we do not think to diminish Christ's position,

Quite true. It's almost that those who continually argue for the misidentification and inappropriate worship of Jesus  partly acheive their aim by forcing a diminishing of appreciation in those eager to counter their false claims. We discussed this issue in Kingdom Ministry and Pioneer School.

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On ‎6‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 0:27 AM, Eoin Joyce said:

You are doing that thing again in trying to force an answer to a polar question but never mind.

I haven't got a problem with selective quoting here as the point is to address an interpolation in the King James version. It is hardly necessary really, as the marginal references in the KJ I use indicate this anyway, and I expect this is widely recognised as an example of the doctrinal insecurity that went on at 1 Jn .5:7-8.


Hello Mr. Joyce,


My apology for this late response.


The true church throughout the centuries has always said that Stephen, while being put to death prayed to Jesus. (for example see Irenaeus Against Heresies, Book 3 Chapter 12; Tertullian, part 3 Book 6 “Patience” chapter 14, etc).


A “polar question” or not, the fact remains that JW’s, on the other hand have flip flop on this matter.


Stephen did… (The Watchtower March 1, 1922 p. 78) (The Watchtower February 1, 1959 p. 96)


Stephen didn’t… (Aid to Bible Understanding 1971 p. 1329)


Stephen did… (The Watchtower June 1, 1980 p. 18)


Stephen didn’t… (The Watchtower December 15, 1994 p. 24)


Stephen did…  (Awake! February 22, 1999 p. 4)


Stephen didn’t…  (The Watchtower May 15, 2008 p. 31)


I’m sure that sooner or later the Watchtower will again flip the other way on this issue which highlights the real “doctrinal insecurity” of the JW religion, whereas the true church for the last 2000 years has maintained the same unwavering truth!


Stephen was a Jew and knew only to pray to God and in Acts he prays to Jesus, why, because Jesus is God just as the Father is God. <><

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4 hours ago, Cos said:

JW’s, on the other hand have flip flop on this matter.


The complexity of your argument both here and in other posts indicates a higher level of intelligence and comprehension than this quoted statement would appear to reveal superficially.

Even a cursory knowledge of the belief and practice of Jehovah's Witnesses provides for the fact that they pray to Jehovah in the name of Jesus Christ, and believe this to be in harmony with the personal instruction of Jesus at, for example, John 16:23:"Most truly I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything, he will give it to you in my name.". So both the name of Jehovah and His son Jesus would appropriately be included in worshipful address tp God, which fact your references appear to support.

Notwithstanding, to assert that a practice which obviously is at odds with Scripture, relies for support on a text that can be ambiguous in isolation, and that has also been subject to scribal interference is quite simply, inadequate. I will refrain from speculating on other motives for doing this.

So, unless you can provide sounder arguments of a less insulting nature, I will have to defer to another poster's words as below:

On 6/12/2017 at 0:00 AM, Ann O'Maly said:

And so, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.



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I have not read this whole stream; but yes, Stephen prayed/spoke to Jesus, the apostle Paul prayed/spoke to Jesus.  John spoke in vision to Jesus.  Are we not able to approach Christ when others have?  I am not a trinitarian, but I pray to Christ.  Early on in the Watchtower, Jesus was worshiped and prayed to directly, until the 1950’s.  (Sorry if someone has already brought this out).

Watchtower Kingdom Interlinear Greek Scriptures, word for word:

John 14:13 "and what likely you should ask in the name of me this I will do, in order that might be glorified the Father in the Son."

Vs 14 – "if ever anything you should ask ME in the name of me this I shall do".

Of course the right column removed “ME” in translating. 

The question should be, why did the Watchtower stop allowing the sheep to speak to the Shepherd? No doubt because he has become a “stumbling block” to the spiritual “Jews”, the GB, and foolishness to the rest- spiritual “Gentiles”.     1 Cor 1:20-25

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.  The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice."

 If a shepherd calls his sheep,  don't they normally bleat in response? If we were calling someone, wouldn't we expect to hear them answer us?  

"Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.  All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.  I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep."

John chapter 10.

You can't tell me that this descriptive relationship that Jesus has with his sheep is a one way conversation.  Even one's pet cat will answer its Master.   

Who would want to steal the sheep from Christ?  Satan and his human cohorts.  2 Cor 11:13-15

”May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,  encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thess 2:16,17














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