In this post I am going to show how the method [J]ehovah’s [W]itnesses employ to deny Jesus’ being Jehovah God in the flesh can be used to refute their belief that God the Father is Jehovah as well. I will be referencing the 2013 revision of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition).
JWs will often cite the following [N]ew [T]estament texts where the Father is identified as the one God or only true God to prove that the doctrine of the Trinity is unbiblical:
“How can you believe, when you are accepting glory from one another and you are not seeking the glory that is from the only God (tou monou Theou)?” John 5:44
“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
“For there is one God (heis gar Theos), and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus,” 1 Timothy 2:5
The JW reasoning is that since the Father is the only true God, and since the Father is not the Son, then the Son Jesus Christ cannot be the one true God Jehovah. The Father alone can rightly be described as Jehovah Almighty:
“Now the spirit of God came upon Az·a·riʹah the son of Oʹded. So he went out to meet Aʹsa and said to him: ‘Hear me, O Aʹsa and all Judah and Benjamin! Jehovah is with you as long as you remain with him; and if you search for him, he will let himself be found by you, but if you abandon him, he will abandon you. For a long time Israel had been without the true God, without a priest teaching, and without law. But when in their distress they returned to Jehovah the God of Israel and searched for him, he let himself be found by them.’” 2 Chronicles 15:1-4
“Hez·e·kiʹah took the letters out of the hand of the messengers and read them. Hez·e·kiʹah then went up to the house of Jehovah and spread them out before Jehovah. And Hez·e·kiʹah began to pray to Jehovah and say: ‘O Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, sitting enthroned above the cherubs, you alone are the true God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the heavens and the earth. Incline your ear, O Jehovah, and hear! Open your eyes, O Jehovah, and see! Hear all the words that Sen·nachʹer·ib has sent to taunt the living God. It is a fact, O Jehovah, that the kings of As·syrʹi·a have devastated all the lands, as well as their own land. And they have thrown their gods into the fire, because they were not gods but the work of human hands, wood and stone. That is why they could destroy them. But now, O Jehovah our God, save us out of his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are God, O Jehovah.’” Isaiah 37:14-20
“But Jehovah is truly God.He is the living God and the eternal King. Because of his indignation the earth will quake, And no nations will endure his denunciation. This is what you should say to them: ‘The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth Will perish from the earth and from under these heavens.’ He is the Maker of the earth by his power, The One who established the productive land by his wisdom And who stretched out the heavens by his understanding.” Jeremiah 10:10-12
With the foregoing in perspective, let us see what happens when we apply this same logic and interpretive method to texts where Jesus is identified in a similar fashion.
The NT describes Christ as the one great Shepherd whom believers have overseeing them:
“I am the fine shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I surrender my life in behalf of the sheep. And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those too I must bring in, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd (heis poimen).” John 10:14-16
“Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus, with the blood of an everlasting covenant,” Hebrews 13:20
The risen Jesus is further said to be the only sovereign Ruler in heaven who is the only One who is immortal by nature:
“to observe the commandment in a spotless and irreprehensible way until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, which the happy and ONLY Potentate (monos Dynastes) will show in its own appointed times. He is the King of those who rule as kings and Lord of those who rule as lords,the one ALONE having immortality (ho monos echon athanasian), who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal might. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:14-16
Remarkably, even the JW’s own Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society admit that the blessed Apostle is describing Jesus in 1 Timothy 6:15-16!
Jehovah is the “happy God” and his Son Jesus Christ is called “the happy and only Potentate” (1 Tim. 1:11; 6:15)… (Aid to Bible Understanding [Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., 1971], p. 711 http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200001868?q=Jehovah+is+the+%E2%80%9Chappy+God%E2%80%9D+and+his+Son+Jesus+Christ+is+called+%E2%80%9Cthe+happy+and+only+Potentate%E2%80%9D+%281+Tim.+1%3A11%3B+6%3A15%29&p=par; bold emphasis mine)
How can Jesus be “the one alone having immortality”? The first one described as being rewarded with immortality is Jesus Christ. That he did not possess immortality before his resurrection by God [sic] is seen from the inspired apostle’s words at Romans 6:9: “Christ, now that he has been raised from the dead, dies no more; death is master over him no more.” (Compare Re 1:17, 18). For this reason, when describing him as “the King of those who rule as kings and Lord of those who rule as lords,” 1 Timothy 6:15, 16 shows that Jesus is distinct from all other kings and lords in that he is “the one alone having immortality.” The other kings and lords, because of being mortal, die, even as did also the high priests of Israel. The glorified Jesus, God’s appointed High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, however, has “an indestructible life.” – Heb 7:15-17, 23-25. (Insight on the Scriptures [Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., Brooklyn, NY 1988], Volume 1. Aaron-Jehoshua, p. 1189 http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200002155#h=6– see also p. 1032; bold emphasis mine)(1)
The Son is even identified as the one and only Sovereign Lord who shall appear with his myriads to judge the wicked and grant mercy to the believers:
“My reason is that certain men have slipped in among you who were long ago appointed to this judgment by the Scriptures; they are ungodly men who turn the undeserved kindness of our God into an excuse for brazen conduct and who prove false to our ONLY owner and Lord, Jesus Christ (ton monon Despoten kai Kyrion hemon ‘Iesoun Christon). Although you are fully aware of all of this, I want to remind you that Jehovah (Kyrios), having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those not showing faith… Yes, the seventh one in line from Adam, Eʹnoch, also prophesied about them when he said: ‘Look! Jehovah (Kyrios) came with his holy myriads to execute judgment against all, and to convict all the ungodly concerning all their ungodly deeds that they did in an ungodly way, and concerning all the shocking things that ungodly sinners spoke against him.’… But you, beloved ones, build yourselves up on your most holy faith, and pray with holy spirit, in order to keep yourselves in God’s love, while you await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ with everlasting life in view.” Jude 1:4-5, 14-15, 20-21
That Jude is referring to the risen Jesus as that very Jehovah who comes with his heavenly host is made clear by the following NT passages where Christ is spoken of as the Lord of all creation that shall arrive with his angels to judge all the nations and punish the disobedient with everlasting destruction:
“He sent out the word to the sons of Israel to declare to them the good news of peace through Jesus Christ—this one is Lord of all.” Acts 10:36
“For to this end Christ died and came to life again, so that he might be Lord over both the dead and the living.” Romans 14:9
“When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will put the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right: ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. For I became hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you received me hospitably; naked and you clothed me. I fell sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous ones will answer him with the words: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and receive you hospitably, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ In reply the King will say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those on his left: ‘Go away from me, you who have been cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I became hungry, but you gave me nothing to eat; and I was thirsty, but you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger, but you did not receive me hospitably; naked, but you did not clothe me; sick and in prison, but you did not look after me.’ Then they too will answer with the words: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying: ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of these least ones, you did not do it to me.’ These will depart into everlasting cutting-off, but the righteous ones into everlasting life.” Matthew 25:31-46
“For whoever becomes ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:38
“so that he may make your hearts firm, blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the presence of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.” 1 Thessalonians 3:13
“But you who suffer tribulation will be given relief along with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels in a flaming fire, as he brings vengeance on those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus. These very ones will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction from before the Lord and from the glory of his strength, at the time when he comes to be glorified in connection with his holy ones and to be regarded in that day with wonder among all those who exercised faith, because the witness we gave met with faith among you.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
This brings me to my next. Jesus possesses a name that no one knows besides himself:
“I saw heaven opened, and look! a white horse. And the one seated on it is called Faithful and True, and he judges and carries on war in righteousness. His eyes are a fiery flame, and on his head are many diadems. He has a name written that NO ONE KNOWS but he himself, and he is clothed with an outer garment stained with blood, and he is called by the name The Word of God. Also, the armies in heaven were following him on white horses, and they were clothed in white, clean, fine linen. And out of his mouth protrudes a sharp, long sword with which to strike the nations, and he will shepherd them with a rod of iron. Moreover, he treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his outer garment, yes, on his thigh, he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords… And I saw the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the one seated on the horse and against his army. And the wild beast was caught, and along with it the false prophet that performed in front of it the signs with which he misled those who received the mark of the wild beast and those who worship its image. While still alive, they both were hurled into the fiery lake that burns with sulfur. But the rest were killed off with the long sword that proceeded out of the mouth of the one seated on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.” Revelation 19:11-16, 19-21
This is where the JWs’ woes begin.
The God-breathed Scriptures proclaim that Jehovah is immortal by nature:
“Are you not from everlasting, O Jehovah? O my God, my Holy One, you do not die. O Jehovah, you appointed them to execute judgment; My Rock, you established them for punishment.” Habakkuk 1:12
“Now to the King of eternity, incorruptible, invisible, the only God (mono Theo), be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17
The [O]ld [T]estament further teaches that Jehovah is the One that shepherds his people and who will come to judge and destroy evildoers with everlasting punishment:
“Jehovah is my Shepherd. I will lack nothing.” Psalm 23:1
“O Shepherd of Israel, listen, You who are guiding Joseph just like a flock. You who sit enthroned above the cherubs, Shine forth.” Psalm 80:1
“Bow down to Jehovah in holy adornment; Tremble before him, all the earth! Declare among the nations: ‘Jehovah has become King! The earth is firmly established, it cannot be moved. He will judge the peoples fairly.’ Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be joyful; Let the sea thunder and all that fills it; Let the fields and everything in them rejoice. At the same time let all the trees of the forest shout joyfully Before Jehovah, for he is coming, He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the inhabited earth with righteousness And the peoples with his faithfulness.” Psalm 96:9-13 – Cf. Pss. 9:7-8; 98:9
“Look! The Sovereign Lord Jehovah will come with power, And his arm will rule for him. Look! His reward is with him, And the wage he pays is before him. Like a shepherd he will care for his flock. With his arm he will gather together the lambs, And in his bosom he will carry them. He will gently lead those nursing their young.” Isaiah 40:10-11
“For Jehovah will come as a fire, And his chariots are like a storm wind, To repay in furious anger, To rebuke with flames of fire. For with fire Jehovah will execute judgment, Yes, with his sword, against all flesh; And the slain of Jehovah will be many.” Isaiah 66:15-16
Jehovah is also identified as the only sovereign Lord who rules in heaven above over all creation:
“Jehovah has firmly established his throne in the heavens; And his kingship rules over everything.” Psalm 103:19
“Who is like Jehovah our God, The one who dwells on high?” Psalm 113:5
“As for the heavens, they belong to Jehovah, But the earth he has given to the sons of men.” Psalm 115:16
“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
Therefore, since Jesus is described as doing the very things and possessing the essential characteristics which the OT attributes to Jehovah alone, this means that Christ is none other than Jehovah God Almighty in the flesh.
At the same time, however, Jesus is not the Father. Therefore, the Father cannot be Jehovah God Almighty since only the Son is thus described.
Nor can the Father be the only sovereign Ruler and Lord over all creation who shepherds believers, or immortal by nature, since only Jesus is said to be all these things. Neither is the Father all-knowing since he doesn’t know everything that the Son knows.
Here is a summation of the problems which the JW hermeneutical method raises for their belief in the Deity of the Father:
- Jesus is the only Potentate, Master and Lord who reigns in heaven over all creation, especially over all believers, and who comes with his myriads to judge all creation.
- Jesus alone possesses immortality.
- Jesus bears a specific name that he alone knows.
- Jesus is the one great Shepherd of the flock.
- Jehovah is described as the only sovereign Lord from heaven, being the Shepherd of his people, who never dies, and who alone comes to judge mankind.
- Jesus must, therefore, be Jehovah Almighty who became a human being.
- Jesus is not the Father.
- Therefore, the Father cannot be Jehovah God and is definitely not the heavenly Potentate, Master and Lord who rules over all creation.
- Nor can the Father be the Shepherd of the sheep.
- Moreover, the Father isn’t omniscient and does not know as much as the Son knows since the latter has knowledge which none but he possesses.
JWs, you have a problem!
(1) The explanation offered by the Society to explain why Christ is described in such a rather exalted fashion is rather desperate.
In the first place, the Society teaches the Man Jesus was never resurrected, and that Christ’s physical body was disposed of by Jehovah. They teach that Jehovah recreated the archangel Michael with the memories of the earthly Christ since the man Jesus remains forever dead:
“The man Jesus is dead, forever dead.” (Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 5, p. 454)
“We deny that he was raised in the flesh, and challenge any statement to that effect as being unscriptural.” (Studies, Volume 7, p. 57)
It is true that Jesus appeared in physical form to his disciples after his resurrection. But on certain occasions, why did they not at first recognize him? (Luke 24:15-32; John 20:14-16) On one occasion, for the benefit of Thomas, Jesus appeared with the physical evidence of nail prints in his hands and a spear wound in his side. But how was it possible on that occasion for him suddenly to appear in their midst even though the doors were locked? (John 20:26, 27) Jesus evidently materialized bodies on these occasions, as angels had done in the past when appearing to humans. Disposing of Jesus’ physical body at the time of his resurrection presented no problem for God. Interestingly, although the physical body was not left by God in the tomb (evidently to strengthen the conviction of the disciples that Jesus had actually been raised), the linen cloths in which it had been wrapped were left there; yet, the resurrected Jesus always appeared fully clothed.—John 20:6, 7.
Is Jesus Christ the same person as Michael the archangel?
The name of this Michael appears only five times in the Bible. The glorious spirit person who bears the name is referred to as “one of the chief princes,” “the great prince who has charge of your [Daniel’s] people,” and as “the archangel.” (Dan. 10:13; 12:1; Jude 9, RS) Michael means “Who Is Like God?” The name evidently designates Michael as the one who takes the lead in upholding Jehovah’s sovereignty and destroying God’s enemies.
At 1 Thessalonians 4:16 (RS), the command of Jesus Christ for the resurrection to begin is described as “the archangel’s call,” and Jude 9 says that the archangel is Michael. Would it be appropriate to liken Jesus’ commanding call to that of someone lesser in authority? Reasonably, then, the archangel Michael is Jesus Christ. (Interestingly, the expression “archangel” is never found in the plural in the Scriptures, thus implying that there is only one.)
Revelation 12:7-12 says that Michael and his angels would war against Satan and hurl him and his wicked angels out of heaven in connection with the conferring of kingly authority on Christ. Jesus is later depicted as leading the armies of heaven in war against the nations of the world. (Rev. 19:11-16) Is it not reasonable that Jesus would also be the one to take action against the one he described as “ruler of this world,” Satan the Devil? (John 12:31) Daniel 12:1 (RS) associates the ‘standing up of Michael’ to act with authority with “a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time.” That would certainly fit the experience of the nations when Christ as heavenly executioner takes action against them. So the evidence indicates that the Son of God was known as Michael before he came to earth and is known also by that name since his return to heaven where he resides as the GLOTIFIED SPIRIT Son of God. (Reasoning From the Scriptures, Jesus Christ; emphasis mine)
Therefore, it is simply dishonest and deceitful to teach that Christ was the first to be made immortal by resurrection since the human being known as Jesus was never raised to immortality.
This leads me to my next point. The righteous angels are also immortal who never die, and they also rule like Michael the archangel, which is why he is said to be one of the first/foremost princes. I.e., Michael is one among many ruling angelic creatures:
“But the prince of the royal realm of Persia stood in opposition to me for 21 days. But then Miʹcha·el, one of the foremost princes, came to help me; and I remained there beside the kings of Persia… Then he said: ‘Do you know why I have come to you? Now I will go back to fight with the prince of Persia. When I leave, the prince of Greece will come. However, I will tell you the things recorded in the writings of truth. There is no one strongly supporting me in these things but Miʹcha·el, your prince.’” Daniel 10:13, 20-21
As such, these spirit beings are immortal as well, with one glaring difference which puts JWs in a major dilemma. These angelic rulers never died, and therefore never ceased to consciously exist, since this is how the Society interprets death. As such they continued to remain immortal, unlike Michael who for a season ceased to exist as an angel once Jesus came into being with the life force and memories of the archangel. Later on, Christ ceased to be and Michael was then recreated or brought into existence in Jesus’ place. Talk about mass confusion!
Thirdly, and more importantly, the NT doesn’t teach that Christ possesses immortality because of the indestructible life he received by virtue of his resurrection. Rather, Jesus has this quality due to his being Life itself who gives life to every person:
“All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence. What has come into existence by means of him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:3-4
“For just as the Father raises the dead up and makes them alive, so the Son also makes alive whomever he wants to… Most truly I say to you, the hour is coming, and it is now, when the dead will hear THE VOICE OF THE SON OF GOD, and those who have paid attention will live… Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear HIS [the Son’s] VOICE and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, and those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.” John 5:21, 25, 28-29
“This is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose none out of all those whom he has given me, but that I should resurrect them on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who recognizes the Son and exercises faith in him should have everlasting life, and I will resurrect him on the last day… No man can come to me unless the Father, who sent me, draws him, and I will resurrect him on the last day.” John 6:39-40, 44
“My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them everlasting life, and they will by no means ever be destroyed, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is something greater than all other things, and no one can snatch them out of the hand of the Father. I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30
“Jesus said to her: ‘I am the resurrection and THE LIFE. The one who exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; and everyone who is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all. Do you believe this?’ She said to him: ‘Yes, Lord, I have believed that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.’” John 11:25-27
“Jesus said to him: ‘I am the way and the truth and THE LIFE. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:6
“The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our forefathers, has glorified his Servant, Jesus, whom you handed over and disowned before Pilate, even though he had decided to release him. Yes, you disowned that holy and righteous one, and you asked for a man who was a murderer to be given to you, whereas you killed the Chief Agent of life. But God raised him up from the dead, of which fact we are witnesses.” Acts 3:13-15
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have observed and our hands have felt, concerning THE WORD OF LIFE, (yes, THE LIFE was made manifest, and we have seen and are bearing witness and reporting to you THE EVERLASTING LIFE that was with the Father and was made manifest to us), that which we have seen and heard we are reporting also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us. And this fellowship of ours is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:1-3
Therefore, since Christ is the Life, the Eternal Life, and the Chief Agent of Life, who raises the dead and gives everlasting life to all who trust in him, it was impossible for him to remain dead:
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus the Naz·a·reneʹ was a man publicly shown to you by God through powerful works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, just as you yourselves know. This man, who was handed over by the determined will and foreknowledge of God, you fastened to a stake by the hand of lawless men, and you did away with him. But God resurrected him by releasing him from the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held fast by it.” Acts 2:22-24
In fact, the Lord himself said that no one could take his life away and that he would personally raise himself up from the dead in three days:
“Jesus replied to them: ‘Tear down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said: ‘This temple was built in 46 years, and will YOU raise it up in three days?’ But he was talking about the temple of his body. When, though, he was raised up from the dead, his disciples recalled that he used to say this, and they believed the scripture and what Jesus had spoken.” John 2:19-22
“This is why the Father loves me, because I surrender my life, so that I may receive it again. No man takes it away from me, but I surrender it of my own initiative. I have authority to surrender it, and I have authority to receive it again. This commandment I received from my Father.’” John 10:17-18
Yet despite the Society’s erroneous interpretation, their position regarding 1 Timothy 6:15-16 shows that even this anti-Trinitarian cult clearly sees and readily acknowledges that the Apostle Paul described the glorified Christ as the only Sovereign Lord and King, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light!