Unless indicated otherwise I will be employing the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (2013 Revision). The readers can access the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ (JWs) various Bible translations from their website: Online Bible.
In this post I am going to apply the Society’s own reasoning, which they employ to disprove the eternal Deity of Christ, against them. I will highlight how the objection they use to refute Trinitarianism backfires since it ends up actually proving that Jesus is indeed Jehovah God Almighty. At the same time the Holy Bible is equally clear that Jesus is not the Father or the Holy Spirit, but the Son of God who is essentially equal to God the Father.
The Society is fond of citing the following passage, where theLord testifies to the Father being the only true God, to disprove the Trinity:
“This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God (ton monon alethinon theon), and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” John 17:3
Here is what the Society says in respect to this text:
Does the Bible teach that each of those said to be part of the Trinity is God?
Jesus said in prayer: “Father, . . . this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:1-3, RS; italics added.) (Most translations here use the expression “the only true God” with reference to the Father. NE reads “who alone art truly God.” He cannot be “the only true God,” the one “who alone [is] truly God,” if there are two others who are God to the same degree as he is, can he? Any others referred to as “gods” must be either false or merely a reflection of the true God.) (Reasoning From the Scriptures, Trinity)
Not a Plural God
JESUS called God “the only true God.” (John 17:3) Never did he refer to God as a deity of plural persons. That is why nowhere in the Bible is anyone but Jehovah called Almighty. Otherwise, it voids the meaning of the word “almighty.” Neither Jesus nor the holy spirit is ever called that, for Jehovah alone is supreme. At Genesis 17:1 he declares: “I am God Almighty.” And Exodus 18:11 says: “Jehovah is greater than all the other gods.” (Should You Believe in the Trinity?, What Does the Bible Say About God and Jesus?)
Jesus Distinguished From God
TIME and again, Jesus showed that he was a creature separate from God and that he, Jesus, had a God above him, a God whom he worshiped, a God whom he called “Father.” In prayer to God, that is, the Father, Jesus said, “You, the only true God.” (John 17:3) At John 20:17 he said to Mary Magdalene: “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” (RS, Catholic edition) At 2 Corinthians 1:3 the apostle Paul confirms this relationship: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Since Jesus had a God, his Father, he could not at the same time be that God. (Ibid., Is God Always Superior to Jesus?)
The Society’s reasoning goes something like this:
- The Father is the only true God.
- Jesus is distinct from the Father, being his unique beloved Son.
- Jesus, therefore, cannot be the only true God.
Let us now see what happens when we apply the Society’s logic to the following text:
“My reason is that certain men have slipped in who have long ago been appointed by the Scriptures to this judgment, ungodly men, turning the undeserved kindness of our God into an excuse for loose conduct and proving false to our ONLY Owner and Lord, Jesus Christ (ton MONON despoten kai kyrion hemon ‘Iesoun Christon).” Jude 1:4 New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (1984 Edition)
Christ is expressly identified as the only Owner and Lord of all believers. This isn’t the only place where the inspired Scriptures identify the risen Jesus as the Owner and Lord:
“However, there also came to be false prophets among the people, as there will also be false teachers among you. These will quietly bring in destructive sects, and they will even disown the owner (despoten) who bought them, bringing speedy destruction upon themselves… Certainly if after escaping from the defilements of the world by an accurate knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they get involved again with these very things and are overcome, their final state has become worse for them than the first.” 2 Peter 2:1, 20
“In fact, in this way you will be richly granted entrance into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:11
Christ is our only Owner and Lord whose kingdom is eternal.
The Holy Bible even describes Jesus as the heavenly Lord whom all believers must wholeheartedly serve in everything they do:
“Servants, obey in every respect those who are your masters in the way of flesh, not in eye-services as man-pleasers do but in single-heartedness, fearing the Lord (ton Kyrion); whatever you are doing, work at it with a will, as doing it for the Lord (to Kyrio) and not for men, knowing that you will be paid up for it by the Lord (Kyriou) in your inheritance; you are in the service of the Lord Christ (to Kyrio Christo). Masters, let your servants have justice and equal rights, knowing that you too have a master in heaven (Kyrion en ourano).” Colossians 3:22-24; 4:1-2 The Bible in Living English
This is why Christian assemblies are said to belong to Christ, being his spiritual body and bride:
“Also, I say to you: You are Peter, and on this rock I will build MY congregation, and the gates of the Grave will not overpower it.” Matthew 16:18
“Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the congregations of the Christ greet you.” Romans 16:16
“Be in subjection to one another in fear of Christ. Let wives be in subjection to their husbands as to the Lord, because a husband is head of his wife just as the Christ is head of the congregation, he being a savior of this body. In fact, as the congregation is in subjection to the Christ, wives should also be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, continue loving your wives, just as the Christ also loved the congregation and gave himself up for it, in order that he might sanctify it, cleansing it with the bath of water by means of the word, so that he might present the congregation to himself in its splendor, without a spot or a wrinkle or any of such things, but holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself, for no man ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cherishes it, just as the Christ does the congregation, because we are members of his body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and he will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh.’ This sacred secret is great. Now I am speaking about Christ and the congregation.” Ephesians 5:21-32
“And he is the head of the body, the church, he who is the beginning, the firstborn out of the dead, in order that he may take the first place in every respect, because in him all the fullness was pleased to make its home and through him to reconcile everything to him, making peace through the blood of his cross, through him whether it were the things on earth or the things in the heavens,” Colossians 1:18-20 The Bible in Living English
The New Testament further describes Christ as the sovereign Lord of all creation that reigns in heaven as Lord of lords and King of kings:
“And Jesus approached them and spoke to them, saying ‘I have been given ALL authority in heaven and on earth:’” Matthew 28:18
“The word he sent to the sons of Israel bringing the news of peace through Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all—” Acts 10:36
“For it was for this that Christ died and came to life, that he might be lord over both dead and living.” Romans 14:9
“These shall make war with the lamb, and the lamb shall defeat them, because he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings and those who are with him are called and chosen and faithful.” Revelation 17:14 – Cf. 19:16
Herein lies the problem for JWs.
The God-breathed Scriptures attest that Jehovah is the only one Lord in heaven whom believers are to serve and look to, and that he alone is the supreme Lord over all other lords:
“To you I raise my eyes, You who are enthroned in the heavens. As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, And the eyes of a servant girl to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to Jehovah our God Until he shows us favor.” Psalm 123:1-2
“Give thanks to the Lord of lords, For his loyal love endures forever.” Psalm 136:3
“For Jehovah your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the God great, mighty, and awe-inspiring, who treats none with partiality and does not accept a bribe.” Deuteronomy 10:17
“No one can slave for two masters (dysi kyriois); for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. You cannot slave for God and for Riches.” Matthew 6:24
Jehovah is also the Lord who owns all true believers, being the only Lord that they are to call upon:
“Despite that, the solid foundation of God remains standing, having this seal, ‘Jehovah knows those who belong to him,’ and, ‘Let everyone calling on the name of Jehovah renounce unrighteousness.’ Now in a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and earthenware, and some for an honorable use but others for a use lacking honor. So if anyone keeps clear of the latter ones, he will be an instrument for an honorable use, sanctified, useful to his owner, prepared for every good work. So flee from youthful desires, but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a clean heart.” 2 Timothy 2:19-22
And yet Christians are those who are characterized by their practice of calling upon the risen Jesus as their ascended Lord who rules from/in heaven!
“There was a disciple named An·a·niʹas in Damascus, and the Lord said to him in a vision: ‘An·a·niʹas!’ He said: ‘Here I am, Lord.’ The Lord said to him: ‘Get up, go to the street called Straight, and look for a man named Saul, from Tarsus, at the house of Judas. For look! he is praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named An·a·niʹas come in and lay his hands on him so that he may recover sight.’ But An·a·niʹas answered: ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, about all the harm he did to YOUR holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to arrest all those calling on YOUR name.’ But the Lord said to him: ‘Go! because this man is a chosen vessel to ME to bear MY name to the nations as well as to kings and the sons of Israel. For I will show him plainly how many things he must suffer for MY name.’ So An·a·niʹas went and entered the house, and he laid his hands on him and said: ‘Saul, brother, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road along which you were coming, has sent me so that you may recover sight and be filled with holy spirit.’ And immediately, what looked like scales fell from his eyes, and he recovered his sight. He then got up and was baptized, and he ate some food and gained strength. He stayed for some days with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately in the synagogues he began to preach about Jesus, that this one is the Son of God. But all those hearing him were astonished and were saying: ‘Is this not the man who ravaged those in Jerusalem who call on THIS name? Did he not come here for the purpose of arresting them and taking them to the chief priests?’” Acts 9:10-21
“… to you who have been sanctified in union with Christ Jesus, called to be holy ones, together with all those everywhere who are calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:” 1 Corinthians 1:2b
Notice the dilemma this puts the JWs in, provided they apply their argument against the Trinity consistently.
- Jesus is the only Owner and Lord of all believers.
- Jesus reigns as the sovereign Lord of all creation from heaven itself, being the Lord of lords and King of kings.
- The Hebrew Bible testifies that Jehovah is the only One who reigns as Lord from heaven, and that he is Lord of lords.
- Jesus must, therefore, be Jehovah God in the flesh.
- And yet Jesus is not the Father.
- Therefore, the Father cannot possibly be the believers’ Owner or Lord, nor can he be Jehovah God.
Obviously, this reasoning is fallacious since the Father is most definitely the Owner and Lord of all believers, as the following texts affirm:
“to the congregation of God that is in Corinth…” 1 Corinthians 1:2a
“However, if anyone wants to argue in favor of some other custom, we have no other, nor do the congregations of God.” 1 Corinthians 11:16
“(for if any man does not know how to preside over his own household, how will he care for the congregation of God?),… but in case I am delayed, so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in God’s household, which is the congregation of the living God, a pillar and support of the truth.” 1 Timothy 3:5, 15
“Now Moses was faithful as an attendant in all the house of that One as a testimony of the things that were to be spoken afterward, but Christ was faithful as a son over God’s house. We are His house if, indeed, we hold on firmly to our freeness of speech and the hope of which we boast down to the end.” Hebrews 3:5-6
Furthermore, the Father reigns alongside the Son in heaven since it is his throne that the Son occupies:
“So, being raised on high by God’s right hand and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you both see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, but he himself says ‘The Lord said to my lord “Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’” Acts 2:33-35 The Bible in Living English
“To the one who conquers I will grant to sit down with me on my throne, just as I conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” Revelation 3:21
“Then a great sign was seen in heaven: A woman was arrayed with the sun, and the moon was beneath her feet, and on her head was a crown of 12 stars, and she was pregnant. And she was crying out in her pains and in her agony to give birth. Another sign was seen in heaven. Look! A great fiery-colored dragon, with seven heads and ten horns and on its heads seven diadems; and its tail drags a third of the stars of heaven, and it hurled them down to the earth. And the dragon kept standing before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she did give birth, it might devour her child. And she gave birth to a son, a male, who is to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away to God and to his throne… I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God!’” Revelation 12:1-5, 10
“And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of its main street. On both sides of the river were trees of life producing 12 crops of fruit, yielding their fruit each month. And the leaves of the trees were for the healing of the nations. And there will no longer be any curse. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his slaves will offer him sacred service;” Revelation 22:1-3
The foregoing, therefore, shows that there is something obviously wrong, in fact erroneous, with the reasoning of the JWs. Just as it is obvious that the Son is not the believers’ only Owner and Lord to the exclusion of the Father, but rather in union with him, similarly, the Father isn’t the only true God to the exclusion of the Son, but rather is so in perfect union with him. I.e., the Father is only true God inseparably from his Son and the Holy Spirit, just like Jesus is the Christian’s only Owner and Lord not apart from, but in perfect union with, the Father and the eternal Spirit.
This is why the Father demands that all honor the Son in the exact same way that they honor the Father:
“The Father is no man’s judge: he has put judgment entirely into the Son’s hands, so that all men may honour the Son equally with the Father. The man who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him.” John 5:22-23 J. B. Philips New Testament
“so that all men may honor the Son just as much as they honor the Father. Whoever refuses to honor the Son refuses to honor the Father who sent him.” John 5:23 Edgar J. Goodspeed New Testament
“so that all people will honor the Son as much as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” New Century Version
Since Jesus is also the one and only true God who is coequal to the Father in essence, glory and honor, he is therefore deserving of the exact same worship that the Father receives from the whole entire creation which he and the Son (along with the Holy Spirit) brought into existence:
“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.’ The four living creatures were saying: ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshipped.” Revelation 5:13-14