But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they didn’t believe in him,
that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, “[Jehovah], who has believed our report? To whom has the arm of [Jehovah] been revealed?”
For this cause they couldn’t believe, for Isaiah said again,
“He [Jehovah] has blinded their eyes and he hardened their heart, Lest they should see with their eyes, And perceive with their heart, And would turn, And I [Jehovah] would heal them.”
Isaiah said these things when he saw his glory, and he spoke of him. == World English Bible translation, Holy Name Supplied by us in brackets.
Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of Jehovah revealed? — Isaiah 53:1, Green’s Literal Translation.
Make the heart of this people fat, and make his ears heavy, and shut his eyes, that he not see with his eyes, and hear with his ears, and understand with his heart, and turn back, and one heals him. — Isaiah 6:10, Green’s Literal.
For Jehovah has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes. He has covered the prophets and your heads, the seers. — Isaiah 29:10, Green’s Literal Translation.
This study is being moved to:
John’s words recorded in John 12:41 are often quoted by trinitarians and some others as proof the trinity doctrine, or that Jesus is Jehovah. One should first note that there is nothing in John 12 that states that Jesus is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There is nothing in John 12 that indicates that it was John’s intent to claim that Jesus is Jehovah. There is definitely nothing in John 12 that reveals the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as being more than one person, and/or that Jesus is a person of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. All such thoughts have to imagined beyond what John actually stated, and they have to be added to, and read into, what John stated. Indeed, throughout the entire Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is ALWAYS presented as being one person, and not once is he presented as being more than one person. Additionally, the Messiah whom the Lord Jehovah anointed and sent (Isaiah 61:1) is always — throughout the entire Bible — distinguished from being the Lord Jehovah.
“These things” that John speaks of above directly pertain to at least two different chapters of Isaiah as quoted by John: Isaiah 6 and Isaiah 53; Isaiah 29:10 could also be included. Nevertheless, the quotes are not what we today would call direct quotes, and they appear to be what we today might call paraphrased quotes from various verses in Isaiah. We should note that the words “he” and “I” in John 12:40 are referring to Jehovah — the same Lord Jehovah of Isaiah 61:1; in Isaiah 61:1, the Lord Jehovah is distinguished the Messiah. Thus, it is quite possible that “his” in “His glory” refers to the glory of Jehovah, not the the glory of Jesus, despite the fact that some translators have replaced “his” with “Jesus”. [Jesus’ name does not appear in the Greek texts of John 12:41] Isaiah did indeed, in prophetic vision, see the glory of Jehovah, and thus he spoke of Jehovah and his glory. One should also note that the time being spoken of when Isaiah saw the glory of Jehovah covers all the time recorded at least from Isaiah chapter 6 to Isaiah chapter 53.
Nevertheless, based on the assumption that John was speaking of Jesus’ glory, many claim that there is “clear” proof that Jesus is Jehovah in John’s statements as recorded in John 12:37-41. One attacks what Charles Taze Russell’s stated on John 12:41, as though this should settle the matter. One states: “John is clearly speaking about the Lord Jesus Christ in this verse and is applying the glory which Isaiah saw, to the second person of the Trinity.” Another states “John says in John 12:41 that Isaiah saw Jesus on the throne (Isaiah 6)”. Similarly, one claims: “The Apostle John states that the glory seen by Isaiah was that of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 12:41)” Another claims: “John 12:41 is pointing back to say that the one on the throne is Jesus Christ.”
In actuality, if John’s intent was to show that Jesus is Jehovah, he certainly did it in a very vague and obscure manner. However, there is no indication that this was John’s intent, especially since he quoted Jesus as denying that he — Jesus — is the only true God. (John 17:1,3) His intent was to show how Jehovah had prophesied through Isaiah concerning the blindness of Israel as a whole respecting the arm of Jehovah. The “arm of Jehovah” represents Jehovah’s power and rulership, but it appears in at least two places in Isaiah to be applied as His power given to His son. (Psalm 10:15; Ezekiel 30:21; Jeremiah 48:25; Isaiah 40:10; 52:10) The unipersonal God and Father of Jesus gives to His son, not just authority, but also all power is given to Jesus by the only true God, so that when the Most High Jehovah comes to judge the world (Psalm 96:13; 98:9), He does so by means of His son. (John 5:22,23; Acts 10:42; 17:31; Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 4:5) It is this unipersonal God and Father of Jesus who gives Jesus this dominion, all authority and power (with the evident exception of the position of being the Most High Himself — 1 Corinthians 15:27), yet the exercise of this power and authority by Jesus is all to the praise and glory of Jehovah, the unipersonal God and Father of the Lord Jesus. The Bible writers never claimed that Jesus is the ultimate “source” of his own power. — Psalm 2:6-8; 45:7; 110:1,2; Isaiah 9:6,7; 11:2; 42:1; 61:1-3; Jeremiah 23:5; Daniel 7:13,14; Matthew 12:28; 28:18; Luke 1:32; 4:14,18; 5:17; John 3:34; 5:19,27,30; 10:18,36-38; Acts 2:22; 10:38; Romans 1:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:27; 2 Corinthians 13:4; Colossians 1:15,16; 2:10; Ephesians 1:17-22; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 1:2,4,6,9; 1 Peter 3:22.
As noted, John quotes from two different chapters of Isaiah: chapters 6 and 53. John 12:40 is derived from Isaiah 6:10. However, IF John was speaking of Isaiah’s seeing the glory of Jesus, his seeing that glory is not confined to Isaiah 6, but would include all the chapters between Isaiah 6 up to and including Isaiah 53. Isaiah 53 certainly speaks of Jesus’ glorification, for in Isaiah 53, the arm of Jehovah is Jesus, and the revealing of that arm will certainly reveal also the glory of Jesus.
John, however, refers to what Isaiah stated, not to speak of Jesus’ glory, but to show why the Jews cannot believe in Jesus — by whom the arm — the power, strength — of Jehovah is made known. (In this sense, the “arm” of Jehovah represents power and authority given to Jesus.) The scriptures show that that the people do not believe because Jehovah has concealed the truth from them. Nevertheless, John 12:41, we believe refers back to Isaiah 6:10 as well as Isaiah 53:1, in the context of which Isaiah had seen not only the glory of Jehovah, but also Jesus.
Additionally, in Isaiah 6:8, it is Isaiah that says: “Here I am, send me!”, to Jehovah when asked who will go to tell the people concerning “us”. — that is, Jehovah and all the in the temple glory just seen by Isaiah. We might also note that John reports that it is Isaiah who said (John 12:39), “I would heal them.” (John 12:40) It should be obvious that John was not saying that Isaiah is Jehovah, but rather the obvious conclusion is that John was saying that Isaiah wrote the words of Jehovah.
There is some difference of opinion as to whether the form presented by the Masoretes, often transliterated as Adonai (or, Adonay) in Isaiah 6:1,8 refers to Jesus or Jehovah. The Great Isaiah Scroll, however, does have the tetragrammton in Isaiah 6:8, thus, we conclude that in these two verses the text originally had the Hebrew form of the Holy Name. Thus, Isaiah says he will speak of Jehovah to the people, which could correspond to the John’s last remark in John 12:41, “and he [God or Isaiah?] spoke of him [Jehovah].” Many believe that in Isaiah 6:8, Isaiah is using himself to depict the Messiah, and that it was to be the Messiah who was to fulfill this role of speaking to the people of his God, Jehovah. (Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22; John 1:18; 14:6,9; 17:1,3,6,27; Acts 3:13-26; Romans 5:12; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Hebrews 2:12; 1 John 5:20) Nevertheless, Jehovah lets Isaiah know that the people will hear, but not understand, and, in effect, says that He [Jehovah] has blinded them, etc., which is the verse referenced indirectly in John 12:40. In view of this, the reasonable conclusion is that John was referring back to the God of Jesus, Jehovah, mentioned in John 12:38 as the one who did the blinding in John 12:40. Thus “his glory” spoken of in John 12:42 would be the glory of Jehovah that Isaiah saw, and not directly the glory of Jesus although the glory of Jehovah is also seen in (through, by means of) Jesus.
We might add that many individuals did believe in Jesus, as John states in John 12:42. However, the present evil world is not the time when Jesus and his saints are revealed to all — but, rather, only to a few who believe and thus “see” by means of faith. (Deuteronomy 29:4; Isaiah 6:9; 44:18; Matthew 13:13,14,16; John 12:40; Acts 28:26,27; Romans 11:7-10; 2 Corinthians 5:7) The revealing of the glory the Jesus and his God to the world will be in the next age — while Satan is abyssed, for which time the world is ignorantly waiting for. (Romans 8:19-22; Revelation 20:1-3; Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:9; 25:7) Thus, in this present age, the world is still blinded by Satan’s deceptions. — 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9.
On the other hand, it is possible that John did mean that Isaiah had seen the glory of Jesus. While we do not subscribe to this viewpoint, we believe that it is possible. From this viewpoint we need to note in the Isaiah scene, verse one in the Masoretic does not have the Hebrew tetragrammaton for Jehovah, but “ADONAI” sitting on the throne. Some translations put Yahweh or Jehovah here, but the Great Isaiah Scroll (Dead Sea Scroll) does not have Jehovah here*, but rather what could be transliterated as “adonai” or “adoni”. The scribes who added the vowel points to try to distinguish adonai and adoni did so many centuries after Jesus was on earth. They added the vowel point in each place where they believed the text referred to Jehovah, but their work is not infallible, so it is possible — assuming that the original text did not have the Hebrew tetragrammaton of the Holy Name here — that their addition of the vowel point in Isaiah 6:1 is actually an error on their part. Thus, we conclude that it is possible that Isaiah actually referred to “my Lord”, regarding the coming Messiah, as did David in Psalm 110:1. However, in view of the fact the Great Isaiah Scroll refers to Jehovah as King in Isaiah 6:5, we find that it is highly likely that Isaiah 6:1 does refer to Jehovah as sitting on the throne. We should not that Gingsburg claims that Isaiah 6:5 is one of the places where it is believed that the copyists changed the Holy Name to a form of ADON.
Notwithstanding, it is declared that “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” (John 1:18, New King James Version. If one one accepts the Masoretic text of Isaiah 6:5, Isaiah, in seeing the glory of Jesus, also saw the glory of God “in the face of Jesus Christ,” who is “the brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of his person.” (See 2 Corinthians 4:6) In Isaiah 6:8 also it is (in the Masoretic text) Adonai (or adoni, my Lord, the Lord Jesus) who gives the message and pronounces the judgment. If this be true. then it is probable that adonai as it appears in the Masoretic text of Isaiah 6:1,5 should actually be adoni, referring to Isaiah’s Lord (as David refers to “my Lord” in Psalm 110:1), that is, Jesus. However, since the Great Isaiah Scroll does have the tetragrammaton in Isaiah 6:5, we highly doubt that Isaiah 6:8 refers to Jesus.
*The Great Isaiah Scroll does support that the word rendered “Lord” in Isaiah 6:1,8 is not Jehovah, but that it was originally Adonai (High Lord), or Adoni (my Lord). Nevertheless, the Massorah supports the claim that the tetragrammaton was originally in these verses, and that the copyists had changed the Holy Name to ADONAI. The Great Isaiah Scroll has the tetragrammaton in Isaiah 6:5,11, which adds evidence that the tetragrammaton was originally in Isaiah 6:1,8 also.
Additionally, Jesus reflects the glory of God, thus Jehovah’s glory was being seen in Jesus as the representative of Jehovah. As Jesus performed his miracles, the glory of Jehovah was being seen in Jesus. (Matthew 9:8; Matthew 15:31; Mark 2:12; Luke 5:26; 7:16; 13:13; 23:47; John 11:40; 13:31,32) All will bow to Jesus to the glory of God. (Philippians 2:11) It is the glory of Jehovah that will be revealed through Jesus and the church during the Millennial rule. – Psalm 2:6; Isaiah 11:9; 9:6,7; 60:2; John 11:40; 13:31; Revelation 21:10,11.
At any rate, the reference in John 21:41 certainly does not identify Jesus as being Jehovah, as is taught by many trinity believers, as well as some others who wish to believe that Jesus is Jehovah.
Some Other Viewpoints
While we do not necessarily subscribe to these viewpoints, neither do we outright reject them.
John 12:41 and Trinitarian Apologists — Patrick Navas.
June 1, 2009
Edited and Republished:
May 31, 2015
Copyright 2015 Jesus and His God