JWs on Jesus

JWs on Jesus
- John Guzzetta

A religious group called the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been going door to door. Though their dedication is commendable, their teachings contradict God’s word, especially on the person of Jesus. Witnesses teach that Jesus Christ is not the eternal and divine Son of God, equal to God the Father, but instead a high-ranking angel named Michael created before all the other angels.

The Bible is very clear that Jesus Christ is both divine and eternal. Isaiah 7:14 predicts that a child named Immanuel—that is, “God with us”—will be born to a virgin. Matthew 1:23 identifies the child as Jesus. Isaiah 9:6-7 describes this promised child further, saying, “a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over His kingdom.”

Witnesses will make a distinction between “mighty God,” whom they identify as Christ, and “Almighty God,” whom they identify as Jehovah. That would be a silly distinction, even if it worked out. But the distinction doesn’t hold up. Jehovah is called “mighty God” in Isaiah 10:20-21, and Christ is called “Almighty God” in Revelation 1:8. It’s pretty obvious that Isaiah 9 identifies Jesus as God.

In John 20:28, Thomas called out to Jesus, “My Lord and My God!” to which Jesus responded favorably. Witnesses will try to say that Thomas was just expressing surprise. If that were the case, Jesus would not have responded favorably, but would have rebuked Thomas for taking the Lord’s name in vain.

John 1:1 teaches that Jesus Christ, the Word, is God. To avoid drawing this conclusion, the Witnesses’ New World Translation (NWT) has changed “the word was God” to “the word was a god,” based on the fact that there is no definite article before the word “god” in the Greek. There is no need to debate Greek sentence structure with the Witnesses (although, the NWT does not follow this so- called “rule” consistently—there is no article before the word “God” in John 1:6, either). Just point out Isaiah 43:10, in which Jehovah says, “Before Me, there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me.” The Witnesses’ interpretation of John 1:1 cannot fit with this passage.

There are several other passages which teach the divinity of Christ, but which the Witnesses’ NWT has changed, and therefore you won’t be able to use to prove anything to them. But I print them for your own edification.

In Acts 20:28, Paul tells the Ephesian elders to “shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Note that Jesus’ blood purchased the church, but Paul identifies it as God’s blood. The NWT eliminates the significance of this statement, reading: “shepherd the congregation of God, which he purchased with the blood of his own Son.” The word “Son” is nowhere to be found in the original Greek.

Colossians 2:9 reads, “in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” NWT reads, “it is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily.” Greek scholars are in agreement that the word translated “Deity,” theotetos, means “god-hood.” The word “motherhood” means more than a person has mother-like qualities—it means a person actually is a mother. Jesus has more than the qualities of a god; He possesses the very essence of God. He is God.

Hebrews 1 points out that Jesus Christ is far greater than the angels, including the archangel Michael. In verse 8, the writer quotes Psalm 45 as words that the Father addresses toward the Son. “But of the Son He says, ‘Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.’ ” God the Father calls Jesus Christ “God”! Unfortunately, the NWT has contorted the passage to read, “with reference to the Son, ‘God is your throne forever.’”

In Titus 2:13, Paul speaks of the grace of God to Titus, and says that we must be “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” Clearly, Paul identifies Jesus as both God and Savior. Again, the NWT has contorted the passage to read, “we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of the Savior of us, Christ Jesus. Witness translators have added the word “of,” restructuring the sentence so that “God” and “Savior” no longer describe Jesus, but instead refer to two different beings who are to make an appearance.

As an application of their doctrine, Witnesses teach that since Jesus Christ is not God, He must not be worshiped. Here is an obvious weakness in their teaching. Christ accepted worship favorably countless times in the Bible! The list includes the magi (Matt. 2:2, 11); a leper (8:2); Peter and those in the boat (14:32-33); Mary and the other Mary (28:9); the eleven (28:17); a blind man (John 9:38); Stephen (Acts 7:59); the angels (Hebrews 1:6); and the elders (Revelation 5:13-14). In these cases, the NWT renders the Greek word proskuneo as “does obeisance” rather than “worship;” suggesting a show of loyalty but not of actual worship. There is absolutely no justification for translating the same word that means “worship” everywhere else as “does obeisance” simply because it is in the context of Christ. The Witnesses are reading their own bias into the inspired text. Besides, if Jesus were not the one true God, then even “doing obeisance” would be too much. When Cornelius fell down at Peter’s feet, Peter refused it (Acts 10:25). When John fell down at an angel’s feet, the angel refused it and said, “do not do that ... worship God” (Revelation 22:8-9).

The main JW prooftext is Colossians 1:15, in which Jesus is called the “first-born of all creation.” “First-born” does not mean Jesus was created first, placing Him on the list of created things. The word prototokos often means “preeminent.” For example, David is called the “firstborn” in Psalm 89:27, but he was the youngest among his brothers. And Ephraim is called the “firstborn” in Jeremiah 31:9, but he was the younger than Manasseh. The whole context of Colossians 1:15- 20 is to teach not that Jesus is the first created over all creation, but that He is the preeminent ruler of it all. The Witnesses “preach another Jesus whom we have not preached,” (2 Cor. 11:4) and therefore must be rejected.