Monday, December 19, 2016

Isaiah 44:24 - Jehovah Stretched Forth the Heavens Alone

Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; King James Version
Thus says Yahweh, your Redeemer, and he who formed you from the womb: I am Yahweh, who makes all things; who stretches forth the heavens alone; who spreads abroad the earth (who is with me?); -- World English Bible.
Isaiah 44:24 is often quoted as support for the extra-Biblical trinity doctrine. It is claimed that God was all by himself in the creation of the world of mankind, and therefore there could not have been another person there, not unless the other person was also God himself, as is claimed in the trinity dogma. In truth, however, we do not need the extra-Biblical trinity rhetoric about three persons in order for this scripture to be harmonized with other scriptures.
It is often further claimed by many that Jesus is identified as the Creator in John 1:3,10; Colossians 1:16,17 and Hebrews 1:10, and thus Jesus must be Jehovah of Isaiah 44:24.
Evidently, Jehovah was indeed alone when he first produced the material universe, but, after that, he most certainly was not alone in the creation of the world of mankind, the heavens and the earth being spoken of in Genesis 1,2. Jesus was indeed present at the beginning of the world that was made through him, as spoken of in John 1:1,3,10; 17:5. So were the angels present during the creation of that "world", with its heavens and earth. (Job 38:4-7 -- Should one also reason that all of these sons of God are also persons of God?) That "world", and all that was in it, was indeed created through, or by means of Jesus. That "world" did not include the angels, since we read in John 1:10 that this that was made through Jesus did not recognize him when he came into the world. On the other hand, even the fallen angels did recognize who Jesus was during the days of his flesh. (Mark 3:11; 5:7; Luke 8:28; Hebrews 5:7) Thus Jesus was evidently brought forth into being as the firstborn creature (Colossians 1:15) sometime after the creation of the material universe, but before the beginning of the creation of the world of mankind that is spoken of in Genesis 1:1-2:4; Exodus 20:11; 31:17; John 1:1,10 and 17:5.
See "In the Beginning"
From this standpoint, we can see that Isaiah 44:24 is not speaking of the creation of the world of mankind, as in Genesis 1:1-2:4; Exodus 20:11; 31:17; John 1:1,10 and 17:5, but rather to the event before that creation, that is, the creation of the material universe itself.
However, even if Isaiah 44:24 should be thought to be speaking of the same creation as the Genesis 1,2, Exodus 20:11; 31:17; John 1:1,10; 17:5, and Hebrew 1:10 it would not necessarily follow that the word "alone" as used in that verse would lead to the conclusion that Jesus' presence with Jehovah in that creation would mean that Jesus would have to be Jehovah whom John says that Jesus was with (or toward) in the beginning. The word "alone" is often used in relation to what is being spoken, either as of a kind, or in context.
The word translated "alone" in the World English Bible translation is Strong's #905; it is the same word used of Adam in Genesis 2:18. Of course, we know that Adam was not totally alone, for he had God with whom he could speak; however, as regards a mate or a fellow human, he was alone. -- Genesis 2:20.
When Jacob said to Reuben concerning taking Benjamin to Egypt: "My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone [Strong's #905]." (Genesis 44:28; 44:20) Jacob did not mean that Benjamin was totally alone, but in reference to what he was speaking, his sons by Rachel, whom he loved. (Genesis 29:18,30; 35:24) Jacob did not know that Joseph was still alive, and thought him to be dead.
One could find more references, but the point of these examples is that the word "alone" does not necessarily mean totally alone, but in many cases must be viewed in the context of which it is speaking.
From this standpoint, the context in Isaiah 44:24 shows that Jehovah is talking about the idol-gods and the men who worshiped them. Jehovah was without any of these gods (nor the men who worshiped them) in the creation of the heavens and earth. A comparison scripture shows this:
Jehovah alone did lead him, There was no foreign god with him. -- Deuteronomy 32:12.
Was Jehovah saying here that actually no one else led the nation of Israel? Or is he saying that he was without any of the foreign gods in leading the nation?
Exodus 15:22: Moses led Israel onward from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.
Here we read that Moses led Israel. Should we assume, like our trinitarians neighbors do with Jesus, that Moses is God Almighty, since Jehovah said that he alone led Israel? After all, isn't Moses also called elohim? -- Exodus 7:1.
Now, let us look at one more scripture:
Psalm 77:20: You led your people like a flock, By the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Here we read that Jehovah led his people by the hand of Moses and Aaron. Thus we can realize that Jehovah alone did lead them, but that he did so by the hand of Moses and Aaron. Likewise, Jehovah alone is the creator, yet he made the creation by the hand of Jesus.
The context of Isaiah 44:24 shows he was comparing himself to the people of Israel here on earth and the idols they were making. (verses 1-23) None of these people who were forming these idols nor any of these formed idols were with Jehovah in the creation. So from this standpoint, even if Jehovah's words are speaking of the same creation as spoken of in John 1:1, it is not saying that Jehovah was not using Jesus in the instrument of creation, but rather that the idols gods of the nations were not with him at that creation.
In verse 19 it says "None calls to mind, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say,..." Taken out of context, this appears to be saying that there is no one [which taken to extremes could include even the angels] that calls to mind, etc. The context tells us that it is speaking of those who form idols from wood, however.
The word translated "alone" in Isaiah 44:24 is the Hebrew word bad (Strongs Hebrew #905). It is a word that used in comparison, and does not necessarily mean totally alone, but rather alone in relation to what is being spoken of. (Genesis 2:18; 32:24; Judges 6:40) Thus, in Isaiah 44:24 Jehovah could be seen in comparison with the idol-gods spoken of in the context (Isiah 44:9-20); only Jehovah stretched forth the heavens and spread abroad the earth. None of the idol-gods were with him in this.
Another point: Assuming that Isaiah 44:24 is speaking of the beginning of creation of the world of mankind as in John 1:1,10, if the last phrase of Isaiah 44:24 ("who is with me?") should be read to mean there was absolutely no one present when Jehovah spread abroad the earth, then it would contradict the scriptures in Job, which show that the angels were present at the creation of earth (as related to that spoken of in Genesis 1,2, and John 1:1,10; 17:5. At the beginning of creation spoken of in Mark 10:6, we do find that there were spirit sons of God at least present: "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." -- Job 38:4-7; see also Job 1:6; 2:1,2.
Thus we conclude that Jehovah could have been asking, "Who of these gods or their makers were with me when I created the heavens and the earth?"
Something else we need to note in Mark 10:6: Jesus says God (Jehovah -- whom he sits at the right hand of: Psalm 110:1; Mark 16:19; Acts 2:33; 7:55,56; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 10:12; 1 Peter 3:22) is the maker referred to here in creation: "But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female." Thus only Jehovah is properly called the "Creator". -- Isaiah 40:28.
Furthermore, a business owner may say that he built his business all by himself, meaning that he was the one who originated the plans and and the force behind the business' growth. He does not mean that he had absolutely no one working with him in his business.
The scriptures abound with cases where Jehovah uses various servants but is given the credit for their actions, since he was the directing force. -- Exodus 3:10,12; 12:17; 18:10; Numbers 16:28; Judges 2:6,18; 3:9,10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:24,25; 14:6,19; 15:14,18; 16:20,28-30, 2 Kings 4:27; Isaiah 43:11, 45:1-6; etc.
Jesus is not directly called creator; yet he is the means by which Jehovah carried out his creation. In Mark 10:6, Jesus says of God (Jehovah -- whom he sits at the right hand of -- Psalm 110:1; Mark 16:19; Acts 2:33; 7:55,56; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 10:12; 1 Peter 3:22) is the maker in creation: "But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female." Thus only Jehovah is properly called the "Creator". -- Isaiah 40:28.
See "Is Jesus the Creator?"
Therefore, we find nothing in Isaiah 44:24 that would give us any reason to add to the scriptures the extra-Biblical story about three persons in one being, nor any idea that Jesus is Jehovah his God.
See also:
Does Jehovah Speak to Jehovah? -- Includes a discussion of Hebrews 1:10, as related to that which made by the hand of Jesus.
Originally published April 2009; Updated and republished November 2014.

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