Author: answeringislamblog

THE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES AND JESUS CHRIST

A Biblical and Theological Appraisal

By Bruce M. Metzger

Theology Today 10/1 (April 1953), pp. 65-85.

I. Who Are the Jehovah’s Witnesses?

The sect known today as the Jehovah’s Witnesses originated about 1872 when Charles Taze Russell (born February 16, 1852) of Allegheny, Pennsylvania, and a group of like-minded followers began studying the Bible from a special point of view. In 1884 the group secured a charter from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and adopted the name “Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society.”

Because of the energetic tours of preaching and lecturing which Russell undertook, within several years earnest groups of his Bible Students were organized in many states, and headquarters were established at Brooklyn, New York. His ideas were given still wider circulation through his books. Chief among these were seven volumes of “Studies in the Scriptures,” also called “Millennial Dawn,” the first volume of which, entitled The Divine Plan of the Ages (1886), laid down certain guiding principles and motifs of Biblical interpretation. It is said that fifteen million copies of this series have been distributed.

During the latter part of the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the present century, the scope of the sect took on an international aspect, when branch offices for the distribution of tracts and books were opened in various cities of Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The growth of the movement, however, did not lack its reverses. In 1909 some of Russell’s followers seceded from the group on the grounds that he had come to regard his own utterances as of equal or greater authority than the Bible itself. This defection of a relatively small group, however, was nothing compared with the much larger number who left the movement in 1913 when Mrs. Russell brought suit for divorce from her husband on the grounds of “his conceit, egotism, domination, and improper conduct in relation to other women.” This is not the place to rehearse all the details of the divorce proceedings. 1 It is sufficient to observe that the movement weathered the storm and that, after the death of Russell on October 31, 1916, the guidance of the group fell upon the willing shoulders of Joseph Franklin Rutherford, commonly called Judge Rutherford. Under his leadership and particularly by means of his writings, the Watch Tower Society grew in numbers and influence abroad as well as in this country. It has been claimed that more than one hundred books and pamphlets came from his pen and that one or more of these were translated into seventy-eight languages and distributed to more than three million people.

Although hewing in the main to the line marked by Russell, in several respects Rutherford modified previous teachings of the sect. Thus, discreet alterations were made at various crucial points in reprints of various volumes of Russell’s “Studies in the Scriptures.” The course of history after 1914 proved several of Russell’s prophetic calculations and confident deductions to be erroneous. For example, in editions before 1914 the following declaration was made: “That the deliverance of the saints must take place some time before 1914 is manifest. … Just how long before 1914 the last living members of the body of Christ will be glorified, we are not directly informed.” 2 In the 1923 edition of the same volume the embarrassing statement was changed to read: “That the deliverance of the saints must take place very soon after 1914 is manifest. … Just how long after 1914 the last living member of the body of Christ will be glorified, we are not directly informed.” 3

Not all of Rutherford’s corrections, however, were made as unobtrusively as those just mentioned; another of more basic significance was rectified publicly. Russell had worked out an elaborate theory that certain measurements of the Great Pyramid of Egypt disclosed the whole history of the human race and the time when Jesus would appear again on earth. 4 In 1929, however, Rutherford officially condemned any attempt to find God’s will outside the Bible, and deprecated Russell’s interpretation of the Pyramid. As a result many followers left the movement. Another innovation was the adoption of the name, “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” a designation proposed by Rutherford at an international convention of members held at Columbus, Ohio, in 1931. 5

After Rutherford’s death on January 8, 1942, the vice president of the organization, Nathan H. Knorr, became the chief officer. Under his leadership the numbers and the vigor of active Witnesses have apparently increased and, in addition to the publication of still more volumes setting forth anonymously the teachings of the group, there has also been issued a translation of the New Testament. 6 This last is a more or less faithful rendering of the Westcott and Hort Greek text into vernacular English. Furthermore, the footnotes contain a certain amount of technical information regarding variant readings in manuscripts and early versions. This information, however, is mingled with totally irrelevant material from various translations of the New Testament into Hebrew, made in the sixteenth and succeeding centuries. The quotation of these latter translations, which understandably use the tetragram (yhwh) in rendering certain passages, provides a kind of spurious authority for the introduction of “Jehovah” into 237 passages of the New Testament.

The total membership of the sect is unknown. From the beginning, so far as is known to outsiders, no records of membership were kept. Various estimates, however, both official and unofficial, have been made. At the time of his death, Rutherford, for example, claimed to have 2,000,000 followers. According to statistics published in the latest edition of the official Yearbook, during 1952 there were 426,704 “ministers” who bore testimony by visiting homes and distributing over fourteen million Bibles, books, and booklets as well as fifty-eight million copies of the magazines entitled Watchtower and Awake! in thirty-six languages throughout 127 countries of the world. 7

II. Good and Bad in the Sect

Although this article is designed to point out several of the more flagrant errors in the teaching of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, it must not be concluded that they have nothing to teach the established churches. Obviously the self-sacrificing zeal in propagating their beliefs is a challenge to many nominal church members. Jehovah’s Witnesses are, so to speak, “in good and regular standing” as long as they seek opportunity to witness. Likewise their diligence in searching the Scriptures (albeit to seek support for a prearranged system) puts to shame the indifferent ignorance of the Bible which characterizes a large number of professed Christians. These and certain other features which the Witnesses share with the early Christians of apostolic times might well be imitated by all of God’s people.

At the same time the system taught by the sect, while liberally buttressed with Scriptural quotations, teems with erroneous and heretical notions. These are of two main varieties. On the one hand, the teaching of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, although making a pretense of being “all the Bible and nothing but the Bible,” is absolutely silent on several of the most central facets of the Christian Faith. For example, nothing is said about what the Apostle Paul emphasized with untiring insistence, namely, that the Christian is “in Christ.” This phrase, or some cognate such as “in the Lord,” “in Him,” and the like, occurs 164 times in Paul’s Epistles, and represents what he had found to be the central and all unifying source of his Christian life. Yet the officially approved teaching of this sect does not and, indeed, cannot logically include this glorious Christian truth. It cannot do so because its teaching is directly and fundamentally anti-Trinitarian. It is only because Jesus Christ is God that we can be in him.

On the other hand, the second main variety of errors in the teaching of the Jehovah’s Witnesses arises not from a minimizing or exclusion of part of the Biblical teaching, but rather from a one-sided emphasis upon certain Scriptural passages, interpreted in a purely wooden fashion without taking into account the context or the analogy of faith. By thus joining together portions of Scripture which were never intended to go together it is possible, of course, to prove anything from the Bible. The method, if it can be called a method, is seen to be reduced to an absurdity if one should quote in succession the following three passages of Scripture: “Judas went out and hanged himself” (Matt. 27:5); “Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:37); “What thou doest, do quickly” (John 13:27)! To be specific, the bizarre eschatological teaching of the sect is due quite largely to an arbitrary combining of certain Biblical passages mingled with many a gratuitous assertion. According to the time-table prepared by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, “In 1914 Jehovah set his anointed One upon his throne; therefore at that time Christ Jesus took his authority as King. Three and one-half years thereafter, to wit, in 1918, the Lord came to his temple, which is the Temple of God.” 8 At this time Christ began to gather to himself a faithful remnant and commissioned them to be Witnesses of Jehovah and his Kingdom. In spite of opposition, those who persevere in this task may hope, after death, to become immortal spirits ruling with Jesus Christ. The number of these will be limited to 144,000; no others will be in heaven. 9

III. The Basic Error

It is manifestly impossible to attempt to refute in one brief article even a fraction of the distortions of Biblical interpretation perpetrated in the voluminous writings of this sect. It is proposed, rather, to give consideration to one of the fundamental errors of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, namely, that which concerns the person of Jesus Christ. Today as of old, a proper response to the primary question, “What think ye of Christ? Whose son is he?” (Matt. 22:42), constitutes a veritable touchstone of historic Christianity. Certain other aberrations in Biblical understanding may doubtless be tolerated if one is, so to speak, turned in the right direction with regard to Christology. But if a sect’s basic orientation toward Jesus Christ be erroneous, it must be seriously doubted whether the name “Christian” can rightly be applied to such a system. (It will be observed that no judgment is here passed upon individual adherents to such a system, some of whom may be better than they have a right to be on the basis of their professed denial of central Biblical truths.)

One of the continuing features of this sect, which is taught in the early 10 as well as in the latest writings, 11 is a modern form of the ancient heresy of Arianism. According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christ before his earthly life was a spirit-creature named Michael, the first of God’s creation, through whom God made the other created things. As a consequence of his birth on earth, which was not an incarnation, Jesus became a perfect human being, the equal of Adam prior to the Fall. In his death Jesus’ human nature, being sacrificed, was annihilated. As a reward for his sacrificial obedience God gave him a divine, spirit nature. Throughout his existence, therefore, Jesus Christ never was co-equal with God. He is not eternal, for there was a time when he was not. While he was on earth he was nothing more than a man, and therefore the atoning effect of his death can have no more significance than that of a perfect human being. Throughout there is an ill-concealed discontinuity between the pre-existent spirit creature, the earthly man Jesus, and the present spirit existence of Christ Jesus.

Since the Jehovah’s Witness makes his appeal to the inspired Scriptures to substantiate his beliefs, the only mode of argument which he will heed is the attempt to show (1) that he neglects to take into account certain important passages which bear upon the deity of Jesus Christ and (2) that he twists the clear meaning of other passages in forcing them to support his Unitarian views.

Attention will first be given to certain Biblical statements which teach the true deity of Jesus Christ, but which are not given proper consideration by the sect. The passages will be quoted according to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ own translation of the New Testament, The New World Translation.

1. The Apostle Thomas addressed the risen Lord Jesus Christ with a confession of his deity when he said, “My Master 12 and my God!” (John 20:28). If Jesus were not truly divine as God is divine, Thomas erred seriously in thus adoring him as God. Furthermore, if his Apostle had been in error, it is passing strange that Jesus made no effort to correct him. In fact, Jesus is represented not only as accepting such an open ascription of deity, 13 but as commending all those who share Thomas’s faith (verse 29, “Jesus said to him: ‘Because you have seen me have you believed? Happy are those who do not see and yet believe.’”).

2. While Stephen, the first martyr, was being stoned, “he made appeal 14 and said, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit’” (Acts 7:59). Here Stephen invoked the Lord Jesus. It is obviously both foolish and sinful to pray to anyone except God. If therefore the opinion of the Jehovah’s Witnesses be correct, namely, that Jesus is only a spirit creature, then Stephen was an idolater in praying to one who was not truly God.

3. The Epistle to the Galatians begins as follows: “Paul, an apostle, neither from (απο) men nor through (δια) a man, but through (δια) Jesus Christ and God the Father …” Here the Apostle declares that his apostleship was derived neither from men as a source nor through a man as a channel. Instead of receiving his appointment as an Apostle from or through any human being, he declares emphatically that it was “through Jesus Christ and God the Father.” In these words, Paul clearly distinguishes Jesus Christ from men and ranges him with God the Father. It is to be noted also that, although he uses two prepositions when speaking of “men” and “a man,” here he uses only one preposition, “through (δια) Jesus Christ and God the Father.” J. B. Lightfoot comments succinctly on this verse, “The channel of his [Paul’s] authority (δια) coincides with its source (απο).” 15

The testimony of Paul is all the more impressive when one considers the following three circumstances. (a) Although it is evidently no part of the Apostle’s purpose in this verse to refer explicitly to the nature of Christ, yet so habitually did Paul think of Christ as fully divine that it comes naturally to him to refer, even in passing, to Jesus Christ and God in the same breath, using the same preposition for both persons of the Trinity. (b) When one considers Paul’s strict Jewish monotheistic background and thorough rabbinical training, one is all the more surprised to find Paul using language such as this. Evidently his Jewish faith had been enlarged so as to enable him to regard Jesus Christ in this exalted light. (c) Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that Paul not only holds this stupendous view of Jesus, but he assumes that everyone agrees with him about it. He does not argue the point, nor does he seem to be under necessity to defend it against attack within the Church. Even those whom he combats in this Epistle to the Galatians, the Judaizers, so far as we can see, had no quarrel with Paul’s lofty view of Christ. In this matter they agreed with Paul and other early Apostles who had seen Jesus as he had walked on the Galilean hills, subjected to all the petty limitations of human life. Here then is a truly amazing thing: the consensus of various groups within the early Church was that Jesus Christ must be ranged alongside God the Father.

4. Not only do Thomas, Stephen, Paul, and others regard Jesus as God, but according to John 10:30, Jesus himself claimed, “I and the Father are one.” 16 (So all translations, including that of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, render this verse. The marginal note of their translation, suggesting that “are one” means “are at unity,” is an alternative interpretation which is so lacking in justification that the translators did not dare to introduce it into the text itself.) Here Jesus is represented as claiming much more than having one purpose or outlook with the Father. He claims to be one with the Father in essence; and the Jews understand him to mean this, for they took up stones to stone him for blasphemy (verses 31-33). Psychologically, there was no reason for them to become angry at Jesus if all he asserted was his being one in purpose and outlook with the Father. Many prophets and psalmists had done that much. The anger of the Jews against Jesus is explicable only on the basis of their understanding him to claim for himself equality with God.

The argument of verses 34-36, which Jehovah’s Witnesses frequently distort, can be succinctly summarized as follows. “If the fallible and sinful judges of Israel were rightly called ‘gods,’ much more may I, who am one with the Father and free from sin, claim the title of ‘the Son of God.’” Furthermore, verse 38, which refers to the Son being in the Father and the Father in the Son, illuminates Jesus’ assertion in verse 30, “I and the Father are one.”

5. There are many other passages in the New Testament which reveal how deeply the Trinitarian pattern was impressed upon the thinking of primitive Christianity. Thus, besides the direct and obvious statements in Matt. 28:19 and II Cor. 13:14, there are such texts as I Cor. 6:11, 12:4-5; II Cor. 1:21-22; Gal. 3:11-14; I Thess. 5:18-19; I Pet. 1:2; and others. 17 (Because the manuscript evidence of I John 5:7-8, King James Version, is insufficient, this text should not be used. There is, however, abundant proof for the doctrine of the Trinity elsewhere in the New Testament.)

Some Jehovah’s Witnesses make much of the fact that because the word “Trinity” does not appear in the Bible, therefore the doctrine of the Trinity is not taught in the Scripture. The fallacy of such an argument will be brought home to them by pointing out that their favorite term, “theocracy,” likewise appears nowhere in the Bible. In neither case, however, does the absence of the word for “Trinity” or the word for “God’s rule” (theocracy) imply that the realities expressed by these two words are absent from the Scripture.

6. Although Jehovah’s Witnesses seek to differentiate sharply between Jehovah God and Jesus his creature, it is a remarkable fact that occasionally writers in the New Testament apply to Jesus Christ passages from the Old Testament which refer to Jehovah. (Since the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who have not yet translated the Old Testament, prefer the American Standard Version (1901) of the Old Testament, all of the following quotations are taken from this version.)

(a) Isaiah promises that “Jehovah will be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory” (60:19). Luke applies this to Jesus, quoting it in the form, “A light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (2:32).

(b) Isaiah’s vision in the temple (6:1, 3, 10) was of Jehovah. In the Gospel of John, however, it is said that Isaiah saw the glory of Jesus Christ and spoke of him (12:37-41, see especially verse 41).

(c) In Psalm 23:1 and Isaiah 40:10-11, Jehovah is said to be our shepherd. In John 10:11 Jesus, with obvious reference to the Old Testament passages, claims to be the good shepherd.

(d) Paul quotes the promise in Joel, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of Jehovah shall be delivered” (2:32), and refers it to Jesus: “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved … for, whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:9, 13).

Such passages as these (and it should be emphasized that they constitute merely a sampling chosen out of many others of similar import) agree with the representation throughout the Gospels that Jesus both claimed and exercised the prerogatives of the Lord God himself. Thus Jesus forgives sins (Mark 2:10, etc.), raises the dead (Luke 7:12-15, etc.), controls nature (Matt. 8:26), will judge the secret motives of men (Matt. 7:22-23), and willingly receives divine homage (John 20:28-29). The statement, therefore, in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one,” is but the epitome of the constant claim of Jesus. As has often been pointed out, Jesus’ statement is either true or false. If it is true, then he is God. If it is false, he either knew it to be false or he did not know it to be false. If while claiming to be God he knew this claim to be false, he was a liar. If while claiming to be God he did not know this claim to be false, he was demented. There is no other alternative.

IV. Erroneous Translations

Besides refusing to take into account the evidence set forth above, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have incorporated in their translation of the New Testament several quite erroneous renderings of the Greek.

1. In the New World Translation the opening verse of the Gospel according to John is mistranslated as follows: “Originally the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” A footnote which is added to the first word, “Originally,” reads, “Literally, In (At) a beginning.” By using here the indefinite article “a” the translators have overlooked the well-known fact that in Greek grammar nouns may be definite for various reasons, whether or not the Greek definite article is present. A prepositional phrase, for example, where the definite article is not expressed, can be quite definite in Greek, 18 as in fact it is in John 1:1. The customary translation, “In the beginning was the Word,” is therefore to be preferred to either alternative suggested by the New World translators.

Far more pernicious in this same verse is the rendering, “… and the Word was a god,” with the following footnote: “‘A god.’ In contrast with ‘the God.’” It must be stated quite frankly that, if the Jehovah’s Witnesses take this translation seriously, they are polytheists. In view of the additional light which is available during this age of Grace, such a representation is even more reprehensible than were the heathenish, polytheistic errors into which ancient Israel was so prone to fall.

As a matter of solid fact, however, such a rendering is a frightful mistranslation. It overlooks entirely an established rule of Greek grammar which necessitates the rendering, “… and the Word was God.” Some years ago Dr. Ernest Cadman Colwell of the University of Chicago pointed out in a study of the Greek definite article that, “A definite predicate nominative has the article when it follows the verb; it does not have the article when it precedes the verb. … The opening verse of John’s Gospel contains one of the many passages where this rule suggests the translation of a predicate as a definite noun. The absence of the article [before θεος] does not make the predicate indefinite or qualitative when it precedes the verb; it is indefinite in this position only when the context demands it. The context makes no such demand in the Gospel of John, for this statement cannot be regarded as strange in the prologue of the gospel which reaches its climax in the confession of Thomas [John 20:28, ‘My Lord and my God’].” 19

In a lengthy Appendix in the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ translation, which was added to support the mistranslation of John 1:1, there are quoted thirty-five other passages in John where the predicate noun has the definite article in Greek. 20 These are intended to prove that the absence of the article in John 1:1 requires that θεος must be translated “a god.” None of the thirty-five instances is parallel, however, for in every case the predicate noun stands after the verb, and so, according to Colwell’s rule, properly has the article. So far, therefore, from being evidence against the usual translation of John 1:1, these instances add confirmation to the full enunciation of the rule of the Greek definite article.

Furthermore, the additional references quoted in the New World Translation from the Greek of the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, 21 in order to give further support to the erroneous rendering in the opening verse of John, are exactly in conformity with Colwell’s rule, and therefore are added proof of the accuracy of the rule. The other passages adduced in the Appendix are, for one reason or another, not applicable to the question at issue. One must conclude, therefore, that no sound reason has been advanced for altering the traditional rendering of the opening verse of John’s Gospel, “… and the Word was God.”

2. In Col. 1:15-17 the Jehovah’s Witnesses translation falsifies what Paul originally wrote, rendering it: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and upon the earth. … All other things have been created through him and for him. Also he is before all other things and by means of him all other things were made to exist.” Here the word “other” has been unwarrantably inserted four times. It is not present in the original Greek, and was obviously used by the translators in order to make the passage refer to Jesus as being on a par with other created things. As a matter of fact, the ancient Colossian heresy which Paul had to combat resembled the opinion of the modern Jehovah’s Witnesses, for some of the Colossians advocated the Gnostic notion that Jesus was the first of many other created intermediaries between God and men. For the true meaning of Paul’s exalted description of the Son of God, therefore, the above translation must be read without the fourfold addition of the word “other.”

Frequently Jehovah’s Witnesses make the assertion that this passage teaches that God created the Son. 22 Actually the verb “to create” in reference to the relation of the Son of God to the Father appears neither here nor anywhere else in the New Testament. Here he is spoken of as “the first begotten of all creation,” which is something quite different from saying that he was made or created. If Paul had wished to express the latter idea, he had available a Greek word to do so, the word πρωτοκτιστος, meaning “first created.” Actually, however, Paul uses the word πρωτοτοκος, meaning “first begotten,” which signifies something quite different, as the following explanation by a modern lay theologian makes clear.

One of the creeds says that Christ is the Son of God “begotten, not created”; and it adds “begotten by his Father before all worlds.” Will you please get it quite clear that this has nothing to do with the fact that when Christ was born on earth as a man, that man was the son of a virgin? We are not now thinking about the Virgin Birth. We’re thinking about something that happened before Nature was created at all, before time began. “Before all worlds” Christ is begotten, not created. What does it mean?

We don’t use the words begetting or begotten much in modern English, but everyone still knows what they mean. To beget is to become the father of: to create is to make. And the difference is just this. When you beget, you beget something of the same kind as yourself. A man begets human babies, a beaver begets little beavers, and a bird begets eggs which turn into little birds. But when you make, you make something of a different kind from yourself. A bird makes a nest, a beaver builds a dam, a man makes a wireless set. … Now that’s the first thing to get clear. What God begets is God; just as what man begets is man. What God creates is not God; just as what man makes is not man. 23

To return now to Col. 1:15 where Paul speaks of Christ as “the first begotten of all creation,” it is important to observe that the adjective “first” refers both to rank as well as time. In other words, the Apostle alludes here not only to Christ’s priority to all creation, but also to his sovereignty over all creation.

Later in the Epistle to the Colossians (2:9) Paul declares, “It is in him [Jesus Christ] that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily” (using the marginal reading of the New World Translation). Nothing could be clearer or more emphatic than this declaration. It means that everything without exception which goes to make up the godhead, or divine quality, dwells or resides in Jesus Christ bodily, that is, is invested with a body in Jesus Christ. It is to be noticed also that Paul uses the present tense of the verb, “dwells.” He does not say that the fullness of the divine quality “has dwelt” or “will dwell” in Jesus Christ, but that it “dwells” there. All that the creeds of the Church mean by speaking of Jesus Christ as eternally the only begotten Son of the Father is contained in Paul’s deliberate use of the present tense of the verb “dwells.”

3. The exalted description of the pre-existent Christ in Phil. 2:6 is given a characteristic twist in the translation prepared by the Jehovah’s Witnesses: “Christ Jesus, who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God.” A footnote to the first part gives as an alternative, “who, although he was existing in God’s form, scorned …” Another footnote supplies an alternative rendering of αρπαγμος, “a seizure,” namely, “a thing to be seized.” Paul’s language is thus made to agree with the Unitarianism of the Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus was not equal with God and, in fact, scorned such an equality.

That this translation is a misunderstanding of the Greek may be shown by referring to the standard Greek lexicon of the New Testament edited by J. H. Thayer. (This book is selected as an authority here both because of its intrinsic merit and because the Jehovah’s Witnesses translators themselves refer to it more than once on other occasions.) Thayer explains the passages as follows: “[Christ Jesus], who, although (formerly when he was λογος ασαρκος) he bore the form (in which he appeared to the inhabitants of heaven) of God (the sovereign, opposite to μορφη δουλου) yet did not think that this equality with God was to be eagerly clung to or retained” (p. 418, col. b). In similar language, Arthur S. Way, the learned and skillful translator of many of the Greek and Latin classics, renders Phil. 2:6, “He, even when He subsisted in the form of God, did not selfishly cling to His prerogative of equality with God …” 24 The admirable paraphrastic rendering recently published by J. B. Phillips agrees with Way’s translation: “For He, Who had always been God by nature, did not cling to His prerogatives as God’s Equal, but stripped Himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born as mortal man.” 25

4. In still another crucial verse the New World Translation has garbled the meaning of the original so as to avoid referring to Jesus Christ as God. In Titus 2:13 it reads, “We wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of our Savior Christ Jesus.” This rendering, by separating “the great God” from “our Savior Christ Jesus,” overlooks a principle of Greek grammar which was detected and formulated in a rule by Granville Sharp in 1798. This rule, in brief, is that when the copulative και connects two nouns of the same case, if the article precedes the first noun and is not repeated before the second noun, the latter always refers to the same person that is expressed or described by the first noun. This verse in Titus, therefore, must be translated, as in fact the Revised Standard Version (1952) renders it, “Awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” In support of this translation there may be quoted such eminent grammarians of the Greek New Testament as P. W. Schmiedel, 26 J. H. Moulton,27 A. T. Robertson, 28 and Blass-Debrunner. 28 All of these scholars concur in the judgment that only one person is referred to in Titus 2:13 and that therefore it must be rendered, “Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

5. Exactly similar to the last error considered above is the rendering of II Pet. 1:1 in the New World Translation, “… by the righteousness of our God and the Savior Jesus Christ.” All that has been written in the preceding section, including the judgment of the grammatical authorities cited there, applies with equal appropriateness to the correct rendering of II Pet. 1:1. Accordingly, in this verse also there is an express declaration of the deity of Jesus Christ, “… of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

6. The New World Translation, in harmony with its bold twisting of Col. 1:15-17 (considered above), is also in error at Rev. 3:14, where it makes the exalted Christ refer to himself as “the beginning of the creation by God.” The Greek text of this verse (ἡ αρχη της κτισεως του θεου) is far from saying that Christ was created by God, for the genitive case, του θεου, means “of God” and not “by God” (which would require the preposition ὑπο). Actually the word αρχη, translated “beginning,” carries with it the Pauline idea expressed in Col. 1:15-18, and signifies that Christ is the origin, or primary source, of God’s creation (compare also John 1:3, “Apart from him not even one thing came into existence”).

7. The passage in the Old Testament to which Jehovah’s Witnesses (and Arians of every age) appeal most frequently is Proverbs 8:22 ff. The translation usually given is the following, or something similar to it: “Jehovah made me [that is, Wisdom, interpreted as the Son] in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.” This rendering understands the verb קנה to be used here with the meaning “to create.” The true translation of this passage, however, according to a learned study by the eminent Semitic scholar, F.C. Burney, must be, “The Lord begat me as the beginning of his way …” 31 The context favors this rendering, for the growth of the embryo is described in the following verse (verse 23, where the verb appears, as a footnote in Kittel’s Hebrew Bible suggests, to be from the root סכך “knit together,” as in Job 10:11 and Psalm 139:13), and the birth of Wisdom is described in the two following verses (24 and 25). Thus, in the context, the verb קנה in verse 22 appears with certainty to mean “got” or “begot.”

In any case, however, irrespective of the meaning of the Hebrew verb in Prov. 8:22, it is clearly an instance of strabismic exegesis, if one may coin the phrase, to abandon the consistent New Testament representation of Jesus Christ as uncreated and to seize upon a disputed interpretation of a verse in the Old Testament as the only satisfactory description of him. The proper methodology, of course, is to begin with the New Testament, and then to search in the Old Testament for foregleams, types, and prophecies which found their fulfillment in him.

The passages cited above are more than sufficient to prove that the New Testament refers to Jesus Christ as God. For a complete understanding of the Biblical teaching on the subject, however, something must now be added regarding the equally clear Scriptural teaching of the subordination of the Son to the Father.

V. The Subordination of the Son

Alongside the passages of Scripture which teach the equality of the Son with the Father are also others which refer to a principle of subordination. As has often been pointed out, the Father is first, the Son is second, and the Spirit is third, in the operations of God by which redemption is accomplished. Whatever the Father does, he does through the Son by the Spirit. This principle of subordination in the “modes of operation” (as it is technically called) in the functions ascribed to the several Persons of the Trinity in the redemptive process, is reflected also in what may be called the liturgical precedence. For example, it is eminently appropriate that the baptismal formula should be in the sequence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who together constitute one God (“baptizing in the name … ,” not names).

One of the several passages which refer to the principle of subordination of the Son to the Father is John 14:28, where Jesus declares, “My Father is greater than I.” From the way in which Arians of all ages have seized upon this text, one would suppose it to be the only passage in the New Testament which bears upon the relation of the Son to the Father.

In seeking to bring this statement into harmony with other passages which teach an equality of the Father and the Son, some have utilized the formulation of the Athanasian creed: “Equal to the Father, as touching His Godhead: and inferior to the Father, as touching His Manhood.” That is to say, according to this explanation the assumption of humanity by the Son renders him, as man, inferior to the Father who remained in his unapproachable glory.

It appears, however, that this verse has been commonly misunderstood by both the orthodox and the Arians. The larger context of Jesus’ statement makes it clear that, as Calvin succinctly phrased it, “Christ does not here compare the divinity of the Father with his own, nor his own human nature with the divine essence of the Father; but rather his present condition with the celestial glory to which he would be presently received.” 32 It is a fact that the question treated in the context is not about Christ’s being born but the comforting of his disciples. In the penetrating words or a modern commentator:

In the Fourth Gospel the phrase greater than means of greater power and authority than (4:12; 8:53; 10:29; 13:16; cf. I John 3:20), and this meaning must be relevant here. The humiliation of the Son involved in some real sense a separation from the Father; His glorification and return to the Father restores to Him a position from which He can communicate to His disciples greater power, greater works than these shall he do (the believer); because I go unto the Father (14:12). It is the certainty of union with the Father through faith in the Son, and the promise of the greater power which is to be theirs because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, that renders the saying a consolation to the disciples. 33

By reading the entire fourteenth chapter of John one can perceive both the insight revealed in the two preceding quotations, and also the ineptness of forcing Jesus’ statement to refer to a permanent relation between the divine Persons.

Three other passages which bear upon the “modes of operation” are Paul’s statement that Christ is God’s, even as we are Christ’s (I Cor. 3:23); that as Christ is “the head of every man,” so God is “the head of Christ” (I Cor. 11:3); and that, in the end, when Christ delivers the kingdom to God the Father after subjugating all enemies, then “the Son himself will also subject himself to the one who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone” (I Cor. 15:24 and 28, New World Translation). As would be expected, both the Church Fathers and modern theologians have discussed these statements at great length. In the space available here, but two observations may be offered. In the first place, what the “subjection” means Paul does not say. In the second place, such statements represent one side, but not the whole, of Paul’s thought. There is thus no need to find in these verses anything which contradicts the clear teaching elsewhere in the New Testament regarding the identity of essence of the Father and the Son.

VI. Theological and Philosophical Considerations

More than enough has been said, it will probably be agreed, to prove that the Jehovah’s Witnesses, though they profess to teach nothing but what is in the Bible, are actually in the most direct conflict with Scripture on the subject of the Person of Christ. It may be added also that theologically and philosophically, as well as scripturally, their Unitarian leaching cannot stand scrutiny. The Unitarian professes to agree with the statement that “God is love.” But these words, “God is love,” have no real meaning unless God is at least two Persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God were a single person, then before the universe was made, he was not love. For, if love be of the essence of God, he must always love, and, being eternal, he must have possessed an eternal object of love. Furthermore, perfect love is possible only between equals. Just as a man cannot satisfy or realize his powers of love by loving the lower animals, so God cannot satisfy or realize his love by loving man or any creature. Being infinite, he must have eternally possessed an infinite object of his love, some alter ego, or, to use the language of traditional Christian theology, a consubstantial, co-eternal, and co-equal Son.

Again, to approach the matter from another side, a human being becomes self-conscious only when he distinguishes himself from what is not himself. Now the doctrine of the Trinity indicates that from eternity the Father and the Son were personally distinct beings, knowing one another and themselves as such. The Trinitarian, therefore, has no difficulty in understanding how God was self-conscious even before the universe was created, that is, before there was any created not-self from which he could distinguish himself. It is the Unitarian, on the other hand, who has difficulty in showing how God can be eternally self-conscious—in other words, how God could say “I” if there were no person eternally objective to God to whom he could say “Thou.”

It is to be understood that these considerations will not of themselves prove the reality of the Trinity. They do, however, convey to the thinking mind in a very suggestive way the superiority of the Trinitarian conception of God to the conception of him as an abstract monad, and thus bring a certain support to the doctrine of the Trinity, when once that doctrine has been given by revelation. Perhaps it may not be inappropriate at this point to utter a warning. In all these discussions it must never be forgotten that there is but one living and true God. Christians do not worship three Gods. How in the unity of the Godhead there can be three persons of one substance, power, and eternity is a mystery beyond human comprehension. Jehovah’s Witnesses take delight in ridiculing the orthodox Christian teaching of the Trinity, but in so doing they overlook several pertinent considerations, (a) The belief in the Trinity is not contrary to reason, but beyond it. (b) A God who would be fully understood by our finite intelligences would be unworthy to be called God. (c) If the Christian doctrine of God and Jesus Christ were something invented by men irrespective of the data of Scripture, it could, of course, be formulated so as to give no offense to Jehovah’s Witnesses. But, as C. S. Lewis pungently puts it, “We can’t compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We’re dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about!” 34 (d) When speaking of the unity of the Triune God, 35 it is necessary to revise, or rather to expand, our idea of the nature of unity. As Leonard Hodgson suggestively pointed out in his Croall Lectures, people ordinarily assume that the only kind of unity is that which is involved in a mathematical criterion, “where one is one and three is three, and what is one is not three and what are three are not one. But we have long been acquainted with unities which are not so simple. There is, for example, aesthetic unity, the unity of a work of art. And there is organic unity, the unity of a living creature. In both of these the unity is far from being simple.” 36 An organism unifies various constitutive elements in a single life, and the higher the organism, the more complex is its unity. The creature which most nearly approximates to the ideal of arithmetical unity is the unicellular amoeba; but who would compare God to an amoeba! In the organic unity of a single man there is a trinity of feeling, willing, and thinking. In such an organic type “the degree of unity,” Hodgson reminds us, “is to be measured by a scale of intensity of unifying power; if the elements in the Godhead are Persons in the full sense of the word, then the unity of the Godhead must exceed in intensity the lesser unity known on earth. All existent earthly unities are imperfect analogies of the divine.” 37

VII. Conclusion

It will doubtless be in order to conclude this brief consideration of certain deficiencies and errors of the teaching of the Jehovah’s Witnesses with several suggestions as to the most effective ways of reclaiming members of established, orthodox Churches who have been led astray.

1. In some cases it may have happened that a Christian believer was eager to take part in serious Bible study. Not finding in the local church an opportunity to satisfy this spiritual hunger, he may have supposed that the meetings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses would supply this lack. The obvious remedy is to organize a serious and thorough Bible study group, which shall make the Scriptures the object of patient search for God’s will and purpose instead of an arsenal of proof-texts to support the system of teaching popularized by Judge Rutherford.

2. In personal work among Jehovah’s Witnesses attention should be concentrated on the doctrines which are central to the Christian faith. It may often happen that the Jehovah’s Witness will seek to divert the discussion from what is central to something that is peripheral. Quite deliberately and firmly a decision should be sought on the basis of the clear teaching of Scripture regarding the chief doctrines of the Christian faith.

3. The whole approach should be that the Bible, properly understood, and the historic Christian faith offer far more than does the distorted and aberrant teaching of Pastor Russell and his followers. To be specific, the Christian knows Jehovah as God and Father through his Son, Jesus Christ, who is truly God and truly man. The Christian can experience a vital union with the Deity, for being “in Christ” he has access to the Father. Furthermore, he has the joyous confidence that his divine Lord’s mediatorial work is sufficient to bring into heaven itself not only 144,000, but a great multitude which no man can number. The emphasis, therefore, should be that of inviting the Jehovah’s Witnesses to enter into the larger inheritance of life and knowledge and assurance which the historic Christian faith provides.

NOTES

1 See, for example, the account in Herbert Hewitt Stroup, The Jehovah’s Witnesses (New York, 1945), pp. 9-11. Stroup’s book, it may be mentioned, is the best description of the sect written from an objective point of view.

2. C. T. Russell, Studies in the Scriptures, vol. Ill (Brooklyn, 1891; reprinted 1910), p. 228. The italics in the quotation above are due to the present writer.

3. Ibid. The italics are due to the present writer. For further examples of similar alterations, see Milton Stacey Cratt, The International Bible Students: Jehovah’s Witnesses (Yale Studies in Religion, No. 4. 1933), pp. 8-9.

4. Volume three of “Studies in the Scriptures,” entitled Thy Kingdom Come (Brooklyn, 1891).

5. J. F. Rutherford, The Theocracy (Brooklyn, 1941). pp. 32-38.

6. The title page reads, New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, Rendered from the Original Language by the New World Bible Translation Committee, A.D. 1950. The first edition, comprising 480,000 copies, was made available August 2, 1950. A second edition, containing several minor additions in the margins and in the concluding notes, was published May 1, 1951. One of the books referred to in the footnotes of the New World Translation is the Emphatic Diaglott, published in 1864 by Benjamin Wilson, a self-educated newspaper editor of Geneva, Illinois, who also published a semi-monthly magazine, The Gospel Banner and Millennial Advocate. His so-called Diaglott is a curious edition of J. J. Griesbach’s Greek text of the New Testament (1806) with a wooden interlinear translation which, in several particulars, is an ancestor of the New World Translation. It is this antiquated edition of the Greek text to which most Jehovah’s Witnesses appeal in their confident assertions that “the literal meaning of the Greek is thus and so.” Dr. Isaac H. Hall termed it a “notorious” and “astonishing” edition (A Critical Bibliography of the Greek New Testament as Published in America, Philadelphia, 1883, p. 31).

7. 1953 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses Containing Report for the Service Year of 1952; Also Daily Texts and Comments (Brooklyn, 1952), p. 27. In 1950 the Witnesses held an international convention in the Yankee Stadium in New York, lasting eight days, which drew an estimated 123,000 people from 78 countries. According to Marley Cole’s enthusiastic article in the non-religious magazine Color, December, 1952, pp. 30-35, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are the “World’s Fastest Growing Religion”— which is also the title of Cole’s article. More objective reports of the sect are given by Stanley High, “Armageddon, Inc.,” Saturday Evening Post, September 14, 1940, pp. 14 ff.; Jerome Beatty, “Peddlers of Paradise,” American Magazine, November, 1940, pp. 52 ff. (condensed in Reader’s Digest, January, 1941, pp. 78-81); and Bill Davidson, “Jehovah’s Traveling Salesmen,” Collier’s, November 2, 1946 (condensed in Reader’s Digest, January, 1947, pp. 77-80).

8. J. F. Rutherford, Prophecy (Brooklyn, no date), pp. 73-74: see also the chapter on “The Lord’s Return” in the book, Let God Be True (Brooklyn, 1916), pp. 185-196.

9. J. F. Rutherford, Government (Brooklyn. 1928), pp. 277-300; Riches (Brooklyn, 1936), pp. 293-337; The New World (Brooklyn, 1942), pp. 95-116; This Means Everlasting Life (Brooklyn, 1950), pp. 273-276.

After the acknowledged followers of this group had exceeded 144,000 a way was sought to avoid the embarrassing conclusion that evidently the number of the elect had already been filled. It is now taught that besides the 144,000, who alone will be permitted to enter heaven, a “great crowd” of those termed “Armageddon survivors” will he granted an earthly destiny of everlasting felicity.

10. The Divine Plan of the Ages (Brooklyn, 1886), pp. 173-184.

11. “Jesus the Faithful Son of God,” The Watchtower (magazine), October, 1950, pp. 377-380, and What Has Religion Done for Mankind? (Brooklyn, 1951), pp. 36-37, 231, and 257-261.

12. The footnote gives, “Or, ‘Lord.’”

13. It it not permissible to divide Thomas’s exclamation (as is done by certain Witnesses), maintaining that Thomas addressed the first half of it to Jesus and the second half to Jehovah God. Such a high-handed expedient overlooks the plain introductory words, “Thomas said to him [that is, to Jesus]: ‘My Master and my God!’”

14. The footnote gives as alternatives of “appeal,” either “invocation” or “prayer.”

15. J. B. Lightfoot, St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, 6th ed. (London, 1880), p. 72.

16. Not only in John, the latest of the Gospels, is our Lord represented as claiming to he God, but also in the earliest source of Matthew and Luke (the source which scholars have called “Q”) is Jesus also represented as claiming to be more than human. Thus in Matt. 11:27, according to the New World Translation, he solemnly affirms: “All things have been delivered unto me by my Father, and no one fully knows the Son but the Father, and no one fully knows the Father but the Son, neither does any one fully know the Father but the Son and any one to whom the Son is willing to reveal him” (compare the parallel in Luke 10:22). Here the text asserts (a) that he, the Son, is so great that only the Father fully knows him, and (b) that he alone knows God truly as Father and for that supreme knowledge all men must become debtors to him. This is Jesus’ “unshared sonship.”

17. For a full list of such passages see J. N. D. Kelley, Early Christian Creeds (London, 1950), p. 23.

18. Thus, for example, in Heb. 10:31, εις χειρας θεου ζωντος is properly rendered (even by the New World Translation) with the definite article expressed twice, “into the hands of the living God.”

19. E. C. Colwell. “A Definite Rule for the Use of the Article in the Greek New Testament,” Journal of Biblical Literature, LII (1933), 12-21. Cf. also B. M. Metzger, “On the Translation of John i. 1.” Expository Times, LXIII (1951-52), 125 f., and C. F. D. Moule, The Language of the New Testament, Inaugural Lecture, delivered at Cambridge University on May 23, 1952, pp. 12-14.

20. P. 776

21. Ibid.

22. See, for example, “The Truth Shall Make You Free” (Brooklyn, 1943), pp. 48-50; Let God Be True (Brooklyn, 1946), p. 35; and What Has Religion Done for Mankind? (Brooklyn, 1951), pp. 36-37.

23. C. S. Lewis, Beyond Personality: The Christian Idea of God (New York, 1945), pp. 4-5.

24. Arthur S. Way, The Letters of St. Paul, 5th ed. (London, 1921), p. 155.

25. J. B. Phillips, Letters to Young Churches (New York, 1948), p. 113.

26. In his edition of G. B. Winer’s Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Sprachidioms (Göttingen, 1894), p. 158.

27. A Grammar of New Testament Greek, vol. I, Prolegomena, 3rd ed. (Edinburgh, 1908), p. 84.

28. A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, 5th ed. (New York, 1931), pp. 785-786.

29. Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Griechisch, 8te Aufl. (Göttingen, 1949), § 276. 3.

30. “In the proverbs of wisdom he [the Son] speaks of himself as wisdom and calls attention to his being a creation of the eternal heavenly Father.” What Has Religion Done for Mankind? (Brooklyn, 1951), p. 37.

31. F.C. Burney, “Christ as the ΑΡΧΗ of creation,” Journal of Theological Studies, XXVII (1926), 160-177.

32. Calvin, Commentary on the Gospel According to John, II (Edinburgh, 1847), 103.

33. Sir Edwyn C. Hoskyns, The Fourth Gospel, 2nd ed. (London, 1947), p. 464.

34. Op. cit., p. 13.

35. The evidence of the Scriptures, part of which is given above, has been expressed with classic succinctness in the familiar statement of the Westminster Confession of Faith: “In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons of one substance, power, and eternity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost” (chap. II, sect. iii).

36. Leonard Hodgson, The Doctrine of the Trinity (London, 1943), p. 90.

37. Ibid., p. 10.

The Quran Confirms: Jesus Is God’s Divine Partner

The hadith record an invocation which the Arabs of Muhammad’s time would pray, confessing that Allah has a partner who was subject to Allah:

“… As-Suddi and Malik said, narrating from Zayd bin Aslam and Ibn Zayd…

(only that they may bring us near to Allah.) means, ‘So that they may intercede for us and bring us closer to Him.’ During Jahiliyyah, they used to recite the following for their Talbiyah when they performed Hajj; ‘At Your service, You have no partner except the partner You have; he and all that he owns belong to You.’ This pretentious argument which the idolators of all times, ancient and modern, used as evidence is what the Messengers came to refute and forbid, and to call people to worship Allah Alone with no partner or associate. This is something that the idolators themselves invented; Allah did not give them permission for it, nor does He approve of it; indeed, He hates it and forbids it.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 39:3 https://www.alim.org/quran/tafsir/ibn-kathir/surah/39/1; bold emphasis mine)

In the following articles and rebuttals,

At the Service of Allah and his Associate

Allah & Mo., Inc. – Islam’s Foundational Partnership

Revealing Allah’s Partner in Dispensing Divine Grace

Muhammad – The Praise of all Creation!?

Revealing Allah’s Partner in Praise Pt. 1

Revealing Allah’s Partner in Praise Pt. 2

Revealing Allah’s Partner in Praise Pt. 3

Revealing Allah’s Partner in Dispensing Forgiveness

Revealing Allah’s Partner in Receiving Pleasure

I have shown how Muhammad turned himself into Allah’s partner by essentially making himself the human manifestation of his deity. The sources I cited prove that the Muslim god virtually does nothing without involving Muhammad in some way.

In this post I will demonstrate from God’s only inspired Scripture, the Holy Bible, that it is Christ whom the God-breathed revelations identify as God’s coequal Partner. This will prove that Satan raised up Muhammad to rob Jesus of his glory by usurping and replacing him in the minds of Muslims in order to keep them away from their only hope of salvation.  

The Hebrew Bible speaks of a Man that God himself refers to as his equal who shall be struck down in death:

Awake, O Cherev (sword), against My Ro’eh (shepherd, i.e. Moshiach, see Isa 40:11; Ezek 34:23,24; 37:24), against the Gever (man) that is My Amit (fellow, intimate companion, associate), saith Hashem Tzva’os; strike the Ro’eh (shepherd), and the Tzon (sheep, flock) shall be scattered; and I will turn Mine hand upon the tzo’arim (little ones; see Zech 11:7; see Mt 26:31,56) Zechariah 13:7 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)

Note how the following versions rendering this particular text:

“‘Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, the man who is my partner,’” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. ‘Strike down the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn against the lambs.’” Zechariah 13:7 New Living Translation (NLT)

“‘Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, the man who is my associate and equal,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘Strike down the Shepherd and the sheep will scatter, but I will come back and comfort and care for the lambs.’” Living Bible (TLB)

The Lord applied this verse to himself on the night of his betrayal where he was led away to be killed by crucifixion, resulting in his disciples, i.e. the sheep, scattering:  

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: “I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered.” But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.’” Mark 14:27-28 New King James Version (NKJV)

The God-breathed Scriptures further identify Christ as God’s uniquely beloved Son and Divine Heir, who possesses everything that belongs to God:

“It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” Mark 1:9-11 NKJV

“Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’—because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid. And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!’” Mark 9:2-7 NKJV

“Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those vinedressers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard.” Mark 12:6-8 NKJV

“He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” John 16:14-15 NKJV

“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him… And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.’” John 17:1-2, 10 NKJV

Since God owns the entire creation, this means that the whole creation belongs to Christ as his rightful inheritance:

“Now Christ is the visible expression of the invisible God. He existed before creation began, for it was through him that every thing was made, whether spiritual or material, seen or unseen. Through him, and FOR HIM, also, were created power and dominion, ownership and authority. In fact, every single thing was created through, and FOR HIM. He is both the first principle and the upholding principle of the whole scheme of creation. And now he is the head of the body which is composed of all Christian people. Life from nothing began through him, and life from the dead began through him, and he is, therefore, justly called the Lord of all. It was in him that the full nature of God chose to live, and through him God planned to reconcile in his own person, as it were, everything on earth and everything in Heaven by virtue of the sacrifice of the cross.” Colossians 1:15-20 J. B. Phillips (PHILLIPS)

“Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” Hebrews 1:1-3a New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

“A man who builds a house receives more honor than the house itself. In the same way Jesus is worthy of much greater honor than Moses. Every house, of course, is built by someone—and God is the one who has built all things. Moses was faithful in God’s house as a servant, and he spoke of the things that God would say in the future. But Christ is faithful as the Son in charge of God’s house. We are his house if we keep up our courage and our confidence in what we hope for.” Hebrews 3:3-6 Good News Translation (GNT)

The Hebrew Bible itself testifies that the Messiah, who is Jesus, is God’s Co-Regent and Heir that owns the whole earth and all the nations dwelling therein:

“‘Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.”’ Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” Psalm 2:6-12 NKJV

The New Testament either directly quotes this Psalm, or alludes to it, to describe Christ’s resurrection and physical, bodily ascension into heaven to sit enthroned at the right of the Father. It also cites it in reference to the hostility and opposition shown to Christ by the Gentile leaders and the Jewish ruling establishment:

“And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: ‘Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: “Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.” For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.’ And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:23-31 NKJV

“And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’” Acts 13:32-33 NKJV

“… when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You’? And again: ‘I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son’?” Hebrews 1:3b-5 NKJV

“So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’” Hebrews 5:5 NKJV

“Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’” Revelation 11:15 NKJV

“… And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne… Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.’” Revelation 12:4b-5, 10 NKJV

This means that Jesus is the sovereign Lord and King of the world, in fact of all creation, whose possesses all the nations as his rightful inheritance:

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’” Matthew 28:18

Interestingly, both the Hebrew Bible and the Quran concur that God is the true Heir who possesses the nations as his rightful inheritance!

“Arise, O God, judge the earth; For You shall inherit all nations.” Psalm 82:8

But as for those who are niggardly with the bounty God has given them, let them not suppose it is better for them; nay, it is worse for them; that they were niggardly with they shall have hung about their necks on the Resurrection Day; and to God belongs the inheritance of the heavens and earth; and God is aware of the things you do. S. 3:180 Arberry   

To God belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and of the earth; and God is powerful over everything. S. 3:189 Arberry    

It is We who give life, and make to die, and it is We who are the inheritors. 15:23 Arberry       

Surely We shall inherit the earth and all that are upon it, and unto Us they shall be returned. 19:40 Arberry    

and We shall inherit from him that he says, and he shall come to Us alone. S. 19:80 Arberry     

In fact, the Islamic scripture goes as far as to proclaim the Muslim deity as the best heir of them all!

And Zachariah — when he called unto his Lord, ‘O my Lord, leave me not solitary; though Thou art the best of inheritors.’ S. 21:89 Arberry   

More importantly, unlike Muhammad who was a transgressing doubter whose god would often threaten with punishment and shameful death,

Lo! We reveal unto thee the Scripture with the truth, that thou mayst judge between mankind by that which Allah showeth thee. And be not thou a pleader for the treacherous; And seek forgiveness of Allah. Lo! Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. And plead not on behalf of (people) who deceive themselves. Lo! Allah loveth not one who is treacherous and sinful. S. 4:105-107 Pickthall

Allah forgive thee (O Muhammad)! Wherefor didst thou grant them leave ere those who told the truth were manifest to thee and thou didst know the liars? S. 9:43 Pickthall

And when Our clear revelations are recited unto them, they who look not for the meeting with Us say: Bring a Lecture other than this, or change it. Say (O Muhammad): It is not for me to change it of my accord. I only follow that which is inspired in me. Lo! if I disobey my Lord I fear the retribution of an awful Day. S. 10:15 Pickthall

And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee. Verily the Truth from thy Lord hath come unto thee. So be not thou of the waverers. S. 10:94 Pickthall     

And they indeed strove hard to beguile thee (Muhammad) away from that wherewith We have inspired thee, that thou shouldst invent other than it against Us; and then would they have accepted thee as a friend. And if We had not made thee wholly firm thou mightest almost have inclined unto them a little. Then had we made thee taste a double (punishment) of living and a double (punishment) of dying, then hadst thou found no helper against Us. S. 17:73-75 Pickthall

Or thou have a house of gold; or thou ascend up into heaven, and even then we will put no faith in thine ascension till thou bring down for us a book that we can read. Say (O Muhammad): My Lord be Glorified! Am I aught save a mortal messenger? S. 17:93 Pickthall       

Say: I am only a mortal like you. My Lord inspireth in me that your God is only One God. And whoever hopeth for the meeting with his Lord, let him do righteous work, and make none sharer of the worship due unto his Lord. S. 18:110 Pickthall

O Prophet! Keep thy duty to Allah and obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise. S. 33:1 Pickthall

And verily it hath been revealed unto thee as unto those before thee (saying): If thou ascribe a partner to Allah thy work will fail and thou indeed wilt be among the losers. S. 39:65 Pickthall

Then have patience (O Muhammad). Lo! the promise of Allah is true. And ask forgiveness of thy sin, and hymn the praise of thy Lord at fall of night and in the early hours. S. 40:55

Say (unto them O Muhammad): I am only a mortal like you. It is inspired in me that your God is One God, therefor take the straight path unto Him and seek forgiveness of Him. And woe unto the idolaters, S. 41:6 Pickthall

So know (O Muhammad) that there is no God save Allah, and ask forgiveness for thy sin and for believing men and believing women. Allah knoweth (both) your place of turmoil and your place of rest. S. 47:19 Pickthall

And if he had invented false sayings concerning Us, We assuredly had taken him by the right hand And then severed his life-artery, And not one of you could have held Us off from him. S. 69:44-47 Pickthall

Say: Lo! I control not hurt nor benefit for you. Say: Lo! none can protect me from Allah, nor can I find any refuge beside Him S. 72:22-23 Pickthall

(The Prophet) frowned and turned away, Because there came to him the blind man (i.e. ‘Abdullah bin Umm-Maktum, who came to the Prophet while he was preaching to one or some of the Quraish chiefs). But what could tell you that per chance he might become pure (from sins)? Or that he might receive admonition, and that the admonition might profit him? As for him who thinks himself self-sufficient, To him you attend; What does it matter to you if he will not become pure (from disbelief, you are only a Messenger, your duty is to convey the Message of Allah). But as to him who came to you running. And is afraid (of Allah and His Punishment), Of him you are neglectful and divert your attention to another, S. 80:1-10 Hilali-Khan

Then hymn the praises of thy Lord, and seek forgiveness of Him. Lo! He is ever ready to show mercy. S. 110:3 Pickthall

Jesus is absolutely holy and pure, who always pleases God and perfectly obeys him:

“But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. Yet He warned them not to make Him known, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust.’ Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.” Matthew 12:15-22 NKJV

“Then a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” Mark 1:11 NKJV

“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.” John 7:18 NKJV

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.’” John 8:28-29 NKJV

“For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.” John 12:49-50 NKJV

“But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.” John 14:31 NKJV

“And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was… Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:5, 24

“You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Creator of Life, whom God has raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.” Acts 3:14-15 Modern English Version (MEV)

“Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,” Acts 7:52 NKJV

“Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth.’” Acts 22:14 NKJV

“that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:19-21 NKJV

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 NKJV

“For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens;” Hebrews 7:26 NKJV

“how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:14 NKJV

“knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 NKJV

“‘Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth’;” 1 Peter 2:22 NKJV

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,” 1 Peter 3:18 NKJV

“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1 NKJV

“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure… And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin… Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:2-3, 5, 7-8 NKJV

He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless son. S. 19:19 Pickthall

He said: I am only an apostle of your Lord: That I will give you a pure boy. Shakir

Hence, the very Scriptures which Muhammad confirmed to be the perfect words of God,

O Children of Israel! call to mind the (special) favour which I bestowed upon you, and fulfil your covenant with Me as I fulfil My Covenant with you, and fear none but Me. And believe in what I reveal, confirming the revelation which is with you, and be not the first to reject Faith therein, nor sell My Signs for a small price; and fear Me, and Me alone. And cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when ye know (what it is). And be steadfast in prayer; practise regular charity; and bow down your heads with those who bow down (in worship). Do ye enjoin right conduct on the people, and forget (To practise it) yourselves, and yet ye study the Scripture? Will ye not understand? S. 2:40-44 Y. Ali

And when there comes to them a Book from God, confirming what is with them, – although from of old they had prayed for victory against those without Faith, – when there comes to them that which they (should) have recognised, they refuse to believe in it but the curse of God is on those without Faith. S. 2:89 Y. Ali

When it is said to them, “Believe in what God Hath sent down,” they say, “We believe in what was sent down to us:” yet they reject all besides, even if it be Truth confirming what is with them. Say: “Why then have ye slain the prophets of God in times gone by, if ye did indeed believe?” S. 2:91 Y. Ali

Say: Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel – for he brings down the (revelation) to thy heart by God’s will, a confirmation of what went before, and guidance and glad tidings for those who believe, – S. 2:97 Y. Ali

And when there came to them an apostle from God, confirming what was with them, a party of the people of the Book threw away the Book of God behind their backs, as if (it had been something) they did not know! S. 2:101 Y. Ali

Those to whom We have sent the Book study it as it should be studied: They are the ones that believe therein: Those who reject faith therein, – the loss is their own. S. 2:121 Y. Ali

It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) Before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong). Then those who reject Faith in the Signs of God will suffer the severest penalty, and God is Exalted in Might, Lord of Retribution. S. 3:3-4   

O ye People of the Book! believe in what We have (now) revealed, confirming what was (already) with you, before We change the face and fame of some (of you) beyond all recognition, and turn them hindwards, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-breakers, for the decision of God Must be carried out. S. 4:47 Y. Ali

There is, in their stories, instruction for men endued with understanding. It is not a tale invented, but a confirmation of what went before it, – a detailed exposition of all things, and a guide and a mercy to any such as believe. S. 12:111 Y. Ali

Testify that Jesus is God’s co-equal Partner who owns all that God possesses and whom God owns completely since he is God’s the unique, divine Son and Heir.  

It is therefore time for Muslims to reject Muhammad as an imposter and turn to God’s true Heir and divine Partner, the Lord Jesus, since there is no salvation apart from him:

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:6 NKJV

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 NKJV

BIBLE VERSIONS AND THE DEITY OF CHRIST

In this post I will be citing some of the most common verses used to affirm the eternal nature and essential Deity of Christ from several version which I feel best capture and/or explain these texts.

JOHN 1

CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH TRANSLATION (CEV)

“In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God. From the very beginning the Word was with God. And with this Word, God created all things. Nothing was made without the Word. Everything that was created received its life from him, and his life gave light to everyone… The Word was in the world, but no one knew him, though God had made the world with his Word… The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us… No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like.” John 1:1-4, 10, 14, 18

GOOD NEWS TRANSLATION (GNT)

“In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God.From the very beginning the Word was with God.Through him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him.The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to people… The Word was in the world, and though God made the world through him, yet the world did not recognize him… The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father’s only Son… No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is the same as God and is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

LIVING BIBLE (TLB)

“Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is himself God.He created everything there is—nothing exists that he didn’t make. Eternal life is in him, and this life gives light to all mankind… But although he made the world, the world didn’t recognize him when he came… And Christ became a human being and lived here on earth among us and was full of loving forgiveness and truth. And some of us have seen his glory—the glory of the only Son of the heavenly Father!… No one has ever actually seen God, but, of course, his only Son has, for he is the companion of the Father and has told us all about him.”

NEW ENGLISH BIBLE (NEB)

“WHEN ALL THINGS BEGAN, the Word already was. The Word dwelt with God, and what God was, the Word was. [Or: The Word was at the creation.] The Word, then, was with God at the beginning, and through him all things came to be; no single thing was created without him. All that came to be was alive with his life, [Or: no single created thing came into being without him. There was life in him …] and that life was the light of men… He was in the world; [Or: The Word, then, was in the world.] but the world, though it owed its being to him, did not recognize him… So the Word became flesh; he came to dwell among us, and we saw his glory, such glory as befits the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth… No one has ever seen God; but God’s only Son, he who is nearest to the Father’s heart, he has made him known. [Some witnesses read: but the only one, the one nearest to the Father’s heart, has made him known; others read: but the only one, himself God, the nearest to the Father’s heart, has made him known.]”

NEW LIVING TRANSALTION (NLT)

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone… He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him… So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son… No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.”

J. B. PHILLIPS (PHILLIPS)

“At the beginning God expressed himself. That personal expression, that word, was with God, and was God, and he existed with God from the beginning. All creation took place through him, and none took place without him. In him appeared life and this life was the light of mankind… That was the true light which shines upon every man as he comes into the world. He came into the world—the world he had created—and the world failed to recognise him. He came into his own creation, and his own people would not accept him… So the word of God became a human being and lived among us. We saw his splendour (the splendour as of a father’s only son), full of grace and truth… It is true that no one has ever seen God at any time. Yet the divine and only Son, who lives in the closest intimacy with the Father, has made him known.”

JOHN 8:58

CEV

“‘Your father Abraham was really glad to see me.’ ‘You are not even fifty years old!’ they said. ‘How could you have seen Abraham?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you for certain that even before Abraham was, I was, and I am.’ The people picked up stones to kill Jesus, but he hid and left the temple.” John 8:56-59

JB

“‘Your father Abraham rejoiced to think that he would see my Day; he saw it and was glad.’ The Jews then said, ‘You are not fifty yet, and you have seen Abraham!’ Jesus replied: ‘I tell you most solemnly, before Abraham ever was, I Am.’ At this they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself and left the Temple.”

TLB

“‘Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day. He knew I was coming and was glad.’ The Jewish leaders: ‘You aren’t even fifty years old—sure, you’ve seen Abraham!’ Jesus: ‘The absolute truth is that I was in existence before Abraham was ever born!’ At that point the Jewish leaders picked up stones to kill him. But Jesus was hidden from them, and walked past them and left the Temple.”

NLT

“‘Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.’ The people said, ‘You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?[a]’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I am![b]’At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.”

Footnotes:

a. 8:57 Some manuscripts read How can you say Abraham has seen you?

b. 8:58 Or before Abraham was even born, I have always been alive; Greek reads before Abraham was, I am. See Exod 3:14.

PHILLIPS

“‘As for your father, Abraham, his great joy was that he would see my coming. Now he has seen it and he is overjoyed.’ ‘Look,’ said the Jews to him, ‘you are not fifty yet, and has Abraham seen you?’ ‘I tell you in solemn truth,’ returned Jesus, ‘before there was an Abraham, I AM!’ At this, they picked up stones to hurl at him, but Jesus disappeared and made his way out of the Temple.”

JOHN 17:5

CEV

“Now, Father, give me back the glory that I had with you before the world was created.”

GNT

“Father! Give me glory in your presence now, the same glory I had with you before the world was made.”

JERUSALEM BIBLE (JB)

“Now, Father, it is time for you to glorify me with that glory I had with.”

TLB

“And now, Father, reveal my glory as I stand in your presence, the glory we shared before the world began.”

NLT

“Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.”

ACTS 20:28

TLB

“And now beware! Be sure that you feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his blood—for the Holy Spirit is holding you responsible as overseers.”

 JB

“Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you the overseers, to feed the Church of God which he bought with his own blood.”

PHILLIPS

“Now be on your guard for yourselves and for every flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you guardians—you are to be shepherds to the Church of God, which he won at the cost of his own blood.” 

ROMANS 9:5

JB

“They are descended from the patriarchs and from their flesh and blood came Christ who is above all, God for ever blessed! Amen.”

NLT

“Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.”

1 CORINTHIANS 8:6

CEV

“We have only one God, and he is the Father. He created everything, and we live for him. Jesus Christ is our only Lord. Everything was made by him, and by him life was given to us.”

GNT

“yet there is for us only one God, the Father, who is the Creator of all things and for whom we live; and there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created and through whom we live.”

TLB

“But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created all things and made us to be his own; and one Lord Jesus Christ, who made everything and gives us life.”

NLT

“But for us, There is one God, the Father, by whom all things were created, and for whom we live. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created, and through whom we live.”

PHILIPPIANS 2

CEV

Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us.” Philippians 2:6-7

GNT

He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God. Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness.”

TLB

“who, though he was God, did not demand and cling to his rights as God, but laid aside his mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men.”

PHILLIPS

“For he, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his prerogatives as God’s equal, but stripped himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born as mortal man.”

COLOSSIANS 1

CEV

Christ is exactly like God, who cannot be seen. He is the first-born Son, superior to all creation. Everything was created by him, everything in heaven and on earth, everything seen and unseen, including all forces and powers, and all rulers and authorities. All things were created by God’s Son, and everything was made for him. God’s Son was before all else, and by him everything is held together. He is the head of his body, which is the church. He is the very beginning, the first to be raised from death, so that he would be above all others. God himself was pleased to live fully in his Son.” Colossians 1:15-19

GNT

“Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God. He is the first-born Son, superior to all created things.For through him God created everything in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen things, including spiritual powers, lords, rulers, and authorities. God created the whole universe through him and for him. Christ existed before all things, and in union with him all things have their proper place. He is the head of his body, the church; he is the source of the body’s life. He is the first-born Son, who was raised from death, in order that he alone might have the first place in all things.For it was by God’s own decision that the Son has in himself the full nature of God.”

JB

“He is the image of the unseen God and the first-born of all creation, for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth: everything visible and everything invisible, Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers all things were created through him and for him. Before anything was created, he existed, and he holds all things in unity. Now the Church is his body, he is its head. As he is the Beginning, he was first to be born from the dead, so that he should be first in every way; because God wanted all perfection to be found in him”

TLB

“Christ is the exact likeness of the unseen God. He existed before God made anything at all, and, in fact, Christ himself is the Creator who made everything in heaven and earth, the things we can see and the things we can’t; the spirit world with its kings and kingdoms, its rulers and authorities; all were made by Christ for his own use and glory.He was before all else began and it is his power that holds everything together. He is the Head of the body made up of his people—that is, his Church—which he began; and he is the Leader of all those who arise from the dead, so that he is first in everything; for God wanted all of himself to be in his Son.”

NEB

“He is the image of the invisible God; his is the primacy over [Or: image of the invisible God, born before …] all created things. In him everything in heaven and on earth was created, not only things visible but also the invisible orders of thrones, sovereignties, authorities, and powers: the whole universe has been created through him and for him. And he exists before everything, and all things are held together in him. He is, moreover, the head of the body, the church. He is its origin, the first to return from the dead, to be in all things alone supreme. For in him the complete being of God, by God’s own choice, came to dwell.”

NLT

“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,”

PHILLIPS

“Now Christ is the visible expression of the invisible God. He existed before creation began, for it was through him that every thing was made, whether spiritual or material, seen or unseen. Through him, and for him, also, were created power and dominion, ownership and authority. In fact, every single thing was created through, and for him. He is both the first principle and the upholding principle of the whole scheme of creation. And now he is the head of the body which is composed of all Christian people. Life from nothing began through him, and life from the dead began through him, and he is, therefore, justly called the Lord of all. It was in him that the full nature of God chose to live,” 

HEBREWS 1

CEV

“Long ago in many ways and at many times God’s prophets spoke his message to our ancestors. But now at last, God sent his Son to bring his message to us. God created the universe by his Son, and everything will someday belong to the Son. God’s Son has all the brightness of God’s own glory and is like him in every way. By his own mighty word, he holds the universe together. After the Son had washed away our sins, he sat down at the right side of the glorious God in heaven.He had become much greater than the angels, and the name he was given is far greater than any of theirs. God has never said to any of the angels, ‘You are my Son, because today I have become your Father!’ Neither has God said to any of them, ‘I will be his Father, and he will be my Son!’ When God brings his first-born Son into the world, he commands all of his angels to worship him… But God says about his Son, ‘You are God, and you will rule as King forever! Your royal power brings about justice. You loved justice and hated evil, and so I, your God, have chosen you. I appointed you and made you happier than any of your friends.’ The Scriptures also say, ‘In the beginning, Lord, you were the one who laid the foundation of the earth and created the heavens. They will all disappear and wear out like clothes, but you will last forever. You will roll them up like a robe and change them like a garment. But you are always the same, and you will live forever.’” Hebrews 1:1-6, 8-12

GNT

“In the past God spoke to our ancestors many times and in many ways through the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us through his Son. He is the one through whom God created the universe, the one whom God has chosen to possess all things at the end. He reflects the brightness of God’s glory and is the exact likeness of God’s own being, sustaining the universe with his powerful word. After achieving forgiveness for the sins of all human beings, he sat down in heaven at the right side of God, the Supreme Power… For God never said to any of his angels, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.’ Nor did God say about any angel, ‘I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.’ But when God was about to send his first-born Son into the world, he said, ‘All of God’s angels must worship him.’… About the Son, however, God said: ‘Your kingdom, O God, will last forever and ever! You rule over your people with justice. You love what is right and hate what is wrong. That is why God, your God, has chosen you and has given you the joy of an honor far greater than he gave to your companions.’ He also said, ‘You, Lord, in the beginning created the earth, and with your own hands you made the heavens. They will disappear, but you will remain; they will all wear out like clothes. You will fold them up like a coat, and they will be changed like clothes. But you are always the same, and your life never ends.’”

JB

“At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son, the Son that he has appointed to inherit everything and through whom he made everything there is. He is the radiant light of God’s glory and the perfect copy of his nature, sustaining the universe by his powerful command; and now that he has destroyed the defilement of sin, he has gone to take his place in heaven at the right hand of divine Majesty. So he is now as far above the angels as the title which he has inherited is higher than their own name. God as never said to any angel: You are my Son, today I have become your father; or: I will be a father to him and he a son to me. Again, when he brings the First-born into the world, he says: Let all the angels of God worship him… but to his Son he says: God, your throne shall last for ever and ever; and: his royal scepter is the scepter of virtue; virtue you love as much as you hate wickedness. This is why God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness, above all your rivals. And again: It is you, Lord, who laid earth’s foundations in the beginning, the heavens are the work of your hands; all will vanish, though you remain, all wear out like a garment; you will roll them up like a cloak, and like a garment they will be changed. But yourself, you never change and your years are unending.”

TLB

“Long ago God spoke in many different ways to our fathers through the prophets, in visions, dreams, and even face to face, telling them little by little about his plans. But now in these days he has spoken to us through his Son to whom he has given everything and through whom he made the world and everything there is. God’s Son shines out with God’s glory, and all that God’s Son is and does marks him as God. He regulates the universe by the mighty power of his command. He is the one who died to cleanse us and clear our record of all sin, and then sat down in highest honor beside the great God of heaven. Thus he became far greater than the angels, as proved by the fact that his name ‘Son of God,’ which was passed on to him from his Father, is far greater than the names and titles of the angels. For God never said to any angel, ‘You are my Son, and today I have given you the honor that goes with that name.’ But God said it about Jesus. Another time he said, ‘I am his Father and he is my Son.’ And still another time—when his firstborn Son came to earth—God said, ‘Let all the angels of God worship him.’… but of his Son he says, ‘Your Kingdom, O God, will last forever and ever; its commands are always just and right.You love right and hate wrong; so God, even your God, has poured out more gladness upon you than on anyone else.’ God also called him ‘Lord’ when he said, ‘Lord, in the beginning you made the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.They will disappear into nothingness, but you will remain forever. They will become worn out like old clothes,and some day you will fold them up and replace them. But you yourself will never change, and your years will never end.’”

NEB

“WHEN IN FORMER TIMES God spoke to our forefathers, he spoke in fragmentary and varied fashion through the prophets. But in this the final age he has spoken to us in the Son whom he has made heir to the whole universe, and through whom he created all orders of existence: the Son who is the effulgence of God’s splendour and the stamp of God’s very being, and sustains [Or: bears along.] the universe by his word of power. When he had brought about the purgation of sins, he took his seat at the right hand of Majesty on high, raised as far above the angels, as the title he has inherited is superior to theirs. For God never said to any angel, ‘Thou art my Son; today I have begotten thee’, or again, ‘I will be father to him, and he shall be my son.’ Again, when he presents the first-born to the world, he says, ‘Let all the angels of God pay him homage.’… but of the Son, ‘Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, and the sceptre [Or: God is thy throne for ever and ever, and thy sceptre …] of justice is the sceptre of his kingdom. Thou hast loved right and hated wrong; therefore, O God, thy God [Or: therefore God who is thy God …] has set thee above thy fellows, by anointing with the oil of exultation.’… And again, ‘By thee. Lord, were earth’s foundations laid of old, and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall pass away, but thou endurest; like clothes they shall all grow old; thou shalt fold them up like a cloak; yes, they shall be changed like any garment. But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.’”

NLT

“Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe.The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names. For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus: ‘You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.’ God also said, ‘I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.’ And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said, ‘Let all of God’s angels worship him.’… But to the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.’ He also says to the Son, ‘In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. They will perish, but you remain forever. They will wear out like old clothing. You will fold them up like a cloak and discard them like old clothing. But you are always the same; you will live forever.’”

2 PETER 1:1

CEV

“From Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ. To everyone who shares with us in the privilege of believing that our God and Savior Jesus Christ will do what is just and fair.”

GNT

From: Simon Peter, a servant and missionary of Jesus Christ. To: All of you who have our kind of faith. The faith I speak of is the kind that Jesus Christ our God and Savior gives to us. How precious it is, and how just and good he is to give this same faith to each of us.”

NLT

“This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior.”

SUMMARY

The New Testament authors have attributed to the Lord Jesus Christ the very unique characteristics, roles, functions, and worship which the Hebrew Bible ascribe to Jehovah God Almighty alone:

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth… God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” Genesis 1:1-31 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground—then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:1-7 NRSV

“Praise, O heavens, his people, worship him, all you gods! For he will avenge the blood of his children, and take vengeance on his adversaries; he will repay those who hate him, and cleanse the land for his people.” Deuteronomy 32:43 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

“And Ezra said: ‘You are the LORD, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life, and the host of heaven worships you.’” Nehemiah 9:6 NRSV

“All worshipers of images are put to shame, those who make their boast in worthless idols; all gods bow down before him.” Psalm 97:7 NRSV

“A prayer of one afflicted, when faint and pleading before the LORD. Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry come to you… But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever; your name endures to all generations… Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you endure; they will all wear out like a garment. You change them like clothing, and they pass away; but you are the same, and your years have no end.” Psalm 102:1, 12, 25-27 NRSV

“I will say to the north, ‘Give them up,’ and to the south, ‘Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.’… The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.” Isaiah 43:6-7, 20-21 NRSV

“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who made all things, who ALONE stretched out the heavens, who by MYSELF spread out the earth;” Isaiah 44:24 NRSV

“I made the earth, and created humankind upon it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host… For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it a chaos, he formed it to be inhabited!): I am the LORD, and there is no other. I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in chaos.’ I the LORD speak the truth, I declare what is right. Assemble yourselves and come together, draw near, you survivors of the nations! They have no knowledge— those who carry about their wooden idols, and keep on praying to a god that cannot save. Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? There is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is no one besides me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:12, 18-22 NRSV

“But you, O LORD, reign forever; your throne endures to all generations.” Lamentations 5:19 NRSV

The reason why these inspired writers did should be obviously clear. To them, Jesus Christ is the very incarnation, the human enfleshment, of Jehovah God Almighty (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit).

New World Translation On Jehovah Becoming Flesh

In this post I will employ the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (2013 Revision) to prove that Jesus Christ is identified as Jehovah God Almighty in the flesh.

A. Jesus is the Jehovah who comes to repay every person according to what s/he has earned.

B. Jesus is the Jehovah who searches the hearts and minds of every person.

JEHOVAH

“then may you hear from the heavens, your dwelling place, and may you forgive and take action; and reward each one according to all his ways, for you know his heart (you alone truly know every human heart),” 1 Kings 8:39

“Will not God discover this? He is aware of the secrets of the heart.” Psalm 44:21

“Also loyal love is yours, O Jehovah, For you repay each one according to his deeds.” Psalm 62:12

“If you say, ‘But we did not know about this,’ Does not the One who examines hearts discern it? Yes, the One who watches you will know And will repay each man according to his activity.”  Proverbs 24:12

“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.” Isaiah 40:10

“Look! Jehovah has proclaimed to the ends of the earth: ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, “Look! Your salvation is coming. Look! His reward is with him, And the wage he pays is before him.”’” Isaiah 62:11

“But Jehovah of armies judges with righteousness; He examines the innermost thoughts and the heart. Let me see your vengeance on them, For to you I have committed my legal case.” Jeremiah 11:20

“‘for they have acted disgracefully in Israel, committing adultery with the wives of their neighbors and speaking false words in my name that I did not command them. I am the One who knows, and I am a witness,’ declares Jehovah.” Jeremiah 29:23

“I, Jehovah, am searching the heart, Examining the innermost thoughts, To give to each one according to his ways, According to the fruitage of his works.” Jeremiah 17:10

JESUS

“For the Son of man is to come in the glory of HIS Father with his angels, and then he will repay each one according to his behavior.” Matthew 16:27

“To the angel of the congregation in Thy·a·tiʹra write: These are the things that the Son of God says, the one who has eyes like a fiery flame and whose feet are like fine copper: ‘I KNOW your deeds, and your love and faith and ministry and endurance, and that your deeds of late are more than those you did at first. Nevertheless, I do hold this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezʹe·bel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and misleads my slaves to commit sexual immorality and to eat things sacrificed to idols.And I gave her time to repent, but she is not willing to repent of her sexual immorality. Look! I am about to throw her into a sickbed, and those committing adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with deadly plague, so that all the congregations will know that I am the one who searches the innermost thoughts and hearts, and I will give to you individually according to your deeds.’” Revelation 2:18-23

C. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

JEHOVAH

“Who has acted and done this, Summoning the generations from the beginning? I Jehovah, am the First One; And with the last ones I am the same.” Isaiah 41:4

“For my own sake, for my own sake I will act, For how could I let myself be profaned? I give my glory to no one else.  Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I have called. I am the same One. I am the first; I am also the last.” Isaiah 48:11-12 – Cf. 44:6

“And the One seated on the throne said: ‘Look! I am making all things new.’ Also he says: ‘Write, for these words are faithful and true.’ And he said to me: ‘They have come to pass! I am the Alʹpha and the O·meʹga, the beginning and the end. To anyone thirsting I will give from the spring of the water of life free. Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son.’” Revelation 21:5-7 

JESUS

“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.’” Matthew 25:31-34

For the Father judges NO ONE AT ALL, but he has entrusted all the judging to the Son,so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” John 5:22-23

Note that the Father judges no one since it is Jesus who comes to judge all creation. And Jesus is also the One who gives to those who believe in him the spring of living waters:

“In answer Jesus said to her: ‘If you had known of the free gift of God and who it is who says to you, “Give me a drink,” you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’…In answer Jesus said to her: ‘Everyone drinking from this water will get thirsty again. Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty at all, but the water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water bubbling up to impart everlasting life.’” John 4:10, 13-14

“On the last day, the great day of the festival, Jesus stood up and he called out: ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever puts faith in me, just as the scripture has said: “From deep within him streams of living water will flow.”’ However, he said this concerning the spirit, which those who put faith in him were about to receive; for as yet there was no spirit, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.” John 7:37-39

“because the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them and will guide them to springs of waters of life. And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17

This, therefore, proves that it is Jesus that is speaking in the following passage:

“‘Look! I am coming quickly, and the reward I give is with me, to repay each one according to his work. I am the Alʹpha and the O·meʹga, the first and the last, the beginning and the endI, Jesus, sent my angel to bear witness to you about these things for the congregations. I am the root and the offspring of David and the bright morning star.’… The one who bears witness of these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.’ May the undeserved kindness of the Lord Jesus be with the holy ones.” Revelation 22:12-13, 16, 20-21

D. Jesus is the Jehovah Whom Children Praise.

E. Hosanna to Jehovah Jesus.

JEHOVAH

O Jehovah our Lord, how majestic your name is throughout the earth; You have set your splendor even higher than the heavens!Out of the mouth of children and infants you have established strength On account of your adversaries, To silence the enemy and the avenger.” Psalm 8:1-2

“Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will enter them and praise Jah. This is the gate of Jehovah. The righteous will enter through it. I will praise you, for you answered me And you became my salvation.The stone that the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This has come from Jehovah; It is wonderful in our eyes. This is the day that Jehovah has made; We will be joyful and rejoice in it.Jehovah, save us, please (hoshiah na), we beg! Jehovah, grant us victory, please!Blessed is the one who comes in the name of Jehovah; We bless you from the house of Jehovah.Jehovah is God; He gives us light. Join in the festival procession with branches in hand, Up to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will praise you; My God, I will exalt you. Give thanks to Jehovah, for he is good; His loyal love endures forever.” Psalm 118:19-29

JESUS

Not only did the risen Lord cite Psalm 118:25-26 in relation to the Jewish rejection of himself,

“‘Lastly he sent his son to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” On seeing the son, the cultivators said among themselves, “This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and get his inheritance!” So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those cultivators?’ They said to him: ‘Because they are evil, he will bring a terrible destruction on them and will lease the vineyard to other cultivators, who will give him the fruits when they become due.’ Jesus said to them: ‘Did you never read in the Scriptures, “The stone that the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstone. This has come from Jehovah, and it is marvelous in our eyes”?’” Matthew 21:37-42

He also permitted children to praise him by attributing the words hoshiah na (Greek hosanna) to his very own Person, and justified doing so by quoting Psalm 8:2!

“Moreover, the crowds going ahead of him and those following him kept shouting: ‘Save, we pray (hosanna), the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in Jehovah’s name! Save him, we pray, in the heights above!’ And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in an uproar, saying: ‘Who is this?’ The crowds kept saying: ‘This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazʹa·reth of Galʹi·lee!’ Jesus entered the temple and threw out all those selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.And he said to them: ‘It is written, “My house will be called a house of prayer,” but you are making it a cave of robbers.’Also, blind and lame people came to him in the temple, and he cured them. When the chief priests and the scribes saw the marvelous things he did and the boys who were shouting in the temple, ‘Save, we pray (hosanna), the Son of David!’ they became indignant and said to him: ‘Do you hear what these are saying?’ Jesus said to them: ‘Yes. Did you never read this, “Out of the mouth of children and infants, you have brought forth praise”?’” Matthew 21:9-16

The only way Christ could accept the very worship attributed to Jehovah to silence his enemies is if Jesus believed that he is Jehovah God in the flesh, and therefore deserving of such honor.

F. The God Whom The OT Prophets Beheld.

It gets more astonishing:

“The next day the large crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, and they began to shout: ‘Save, we pray you (hosanna)! Blessed is the one who comes in Jehovah’s name, the King of Israel!When Jesus found a young donkey, he sat on it, just as it is written: ‘Have no fear, daughter of Zion. Look! Your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.’ These things his disciples did not understand at first, but when Jesus was glorified, they recalled that these things were written about him and that they did these things to him.” John 12:12-16

The inspired Apostle has not only attributed hoshiah na to the Son, he has also cited Zechariah’s prophecy as having been fulfilled when the Lord Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey:

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion. Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem. Look! Your KING is coming to you. He is righteous, bringing salvation, Humble and riding on a donkey, On a colt, the foal of a female donkey. I will take away the war chariot from Eʹphra·im And the horse from Jerusalem. The battle bow will be taken away. And he will proclaim peace to the nations; His rulership will be from sea to sea And from the River to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah 9:9-10

The reason why this is a remarkable prediction is because the context of Zechariah shows that the King who comes riding on a foal is none other than Jehovah God Almighty himself!  

“Look! The day is coming, a day belonging to Jehovah, when the spoil from you will be divided in your midst. I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for the war; and the city will be captured and the houses plundered and the women raped. And half of the city will go into exile, but the remaining ones of the people will not be cut off from the city.Jehovah will go out and war against those nations as when he fights in the day of a battle. In that day HIS FEET will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in half, from east to west, forming a very great valley; and half of the mountain will move to the north, and half of it to the south. You will flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains will extend all the way to Aʹzel. You will have to flee, just as you fled because of the earthquake in the days of King Uz·ziʹah of Judah. And Jehovah my God will come, and all the holy ones will be with himAnd Jehovah will be KING OVER ALL THE EARTH. In that day Jehovah WILL BE ONE, and his name ONE… Everyone who is left remaining out of all the nations that come against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to bow down to THE KING, Jehovah of armies, and to celebrate the Festival of Booths.But if anyone among the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to bow down to THE KING, Jehovah of armies, no rain will fall on them.” Zechariah 14:1-5, 9, 16-17

The prophet unambiguously affirms that Jehovah his God will physically descend upon the Mount of Olives with his holy ones for the express purpose of reigning over the whole earth from Jerusalem as the sole universal King!

The fact that the Mount of Olives physically split in half from the touch of Jehovah’s feet, and the fact that Jehovah is the King who physically mounts on a donkey, presuppose that Jehovah is actually appearing in the flesh, that Jehovah who is Spirit by nature has become a physically embodied Being.

Zechariah’s depiction of Jehovah makes perfect sense when we realize that it is Jesus who physically descends to the Mount of Olives from heaven with all his holy ones:

“After he had said these things, while they were looking on, he was lifted up and a cloud caught him up from their sight. And as they were gazing into the sky while he was on his way, suddenly two men in white garments stood beside them and said: ‘Men of Galʹi·lee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus who was taken up from you into the sky will come in the same manner as you have seen him going into the sky.’ Then they returned to Jerusalem from a mountain called the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem, only a sabbath day’s journey away.” Acts 1:9-12

“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

This means that Jesus is being described as the physical embodiment, the human enfleshment of Jehovah God Almighty!

John further identifies Christ as the One who not only gives light, but as the very divine Being whom the prophets and Israel beheld:

“So Jesus said to them: ‘The light will be among you a little while longer. Walk while you still have the light, so that darkness does not overpower you; whoever walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, exercise faith in the light, so that you may become sons of light.’ Jesus said these things and went off and hid from them. Although he had performed so many signs before them, they were not putting faith in him, so that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, who said: ‘Jehovah, who has put faith in the thing heard from us? And as for the arm of Jehovah, to whom has it been revealed?’ The reason why they were not able to believe is that again Isaiah said: ‘He has blinded their eyes and has made their hearts hard, so that they would not see with their eyes and understand with their hearts and turn around and I heal them.’ Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory, and he spoke about him. All the same, many even of the rulers actually put faith in him, but they would not acknowledge him because of the Pharisees, so that they would not be expelled from the synagogue;for they loved the glory of men even more than the glory of God… I have come as a light into the world, so that everyone putting faith in me may not remain in the darkness.’” John 12:35-43, 46

Remarkably, the inspired Evangelist has attributed to Christ the complaint that Jehovah lodged to Moses against his covenant people:

“Then Jehovah said to Moses: ‘How much longer will this people treat me without respect, and how much longer will they not put faith in me in spite of all the signs that I performed among them?’” Numbers 14:11

For John, Jesus is the very OT God whose covenant community have been rejecting ever since the time of Moses despite the host of miracles he performed in their midst.

The Apostle then follows this up with a quotation from Isaiah 6:10, and states that Isaiah wrote this after seeing the glory of the prehuman Christ.

Here is the context of that particular citation:

“In the year that King Uz·ziʹah died, I saw Jehovah sitting on a lofty and elevated throne, and the skirts of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were standing above him; each had six wings. Each covered his face with two and covered his feet with two, and each of them would fly about with two. And one called to the other: ‘Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of armies. The whole earth is filled with his glory.’ And the pivots of the thresholds quivered at the sound of the shouting, and the house was filled with smoke. Then I said: ‘Woe to me! I am as good as dead, For I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For MY EYES have seen the King, Jehovah of armies himself!’ At that, one of the seraphs flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth and said: ‘Look! This has touched your lips. Your guilt is removed, And your sin is atoned for.’ Then I heard the voice of Jehovah saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said: ‘Here I am! Send me!’ And he replied, ‘Go, and say to this people: “You will hear again and again, But you will not understand; You will see again and again, But you will not get any knowledge.” Make the heart of this people unreceptive, Make their ears unresponsive, And paste their eyes together, So that they may not see with their eyes And hear with their ears, So that their heart may not understand And they may not turn back and be healed.’” Isaiah 6:1-10

Astonishingly, the prophet beholds Jehovah appearing in a visible form and seated on a visible throne!

And yet according to John, the Jehovah whom the prophet saw with his very own physical eyes was none other than Jesus Christ in his prehuman existence!

This raises a major problem for the Jehovah’s Witnesses since one of the arguments their society uses to deny the Deity of Christ is the fact that the Holy Bible says no one has ever seen God:

“Hence, the phrase ‘Son of God’ refers to Jesus as a separate created being, not as part of a Trinity. As the Son of God, he could not be God himself, for John 1:18 says: ‘No one has ever seen God.’—RS, Catholic edition.” (Should You Believe in the Trinity?, What Does the Bible Say About God and Jesus?, Was Jesus Considered to Be God?, p. 16)

When we actually read the entire verse which the Society has only partially referenced, we better appreciate the point John was intending to make:

“No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god (monogenes Theos) who is at the Father’s side is the one who has explained Him.” John 1:18

The Apostle’s position is much more nuanced than merely claiming that no person has ever beheld God. Rather, the point that the inspired Evangelist was actually making is that no one has seen God apart from the revelation of the only-begotten God, i.e., the Son.

In other words, John is arguing is that it is the Son, who resides and springs forth from the Father’s side (Greek kolpon – literally “bosom”), that has been making God known to all who hear and believe in him:

“All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one fully knows the Son except the Father; neither does anyone fully know the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son is willing to reveal him. Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for yourselves. For my yoke is kindly, and my load is light.” Matthew 11:27-30

The reason why the Son (in union with the Holy Spirit [Cf. John 14:26; 16:12-15]) has been revealing God to mankind is because he is the exact representation of God’s infinite, uncreated Being,

“Now at the end of these days he has spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power. And after he had made a purification for our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 1:2-3

Who remains in complete inseparable union with the Father, and therefore perfectly expresses the Father in all that the Father says and does:  

“For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things during the Sabbath. But he answered them: ‘My Father has kept working until now, and I keep working.’ This is why the Jews began seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath but he was also calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God. Therefore, in response Jesus said to them: ‘Most truly I say to you, the Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things that One does, these things the Son does also in like manner. For the Father has affection for the Son and shows him all the things he himself does, and he will show him works greater than these, so that you may marvel. For just as the Father raises the dead up and makes them alive, so the Son also makes alive whomever he wants to. For the Father judges no one at all, but he has entrusted all the judging to the Son, so that all may honor the Son JUST AS they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Most truly I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes the One who sent me has everlasting life, and he does not come into judgment but has passed over from death to life. 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. For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted also to the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to do judging, because he is the Son of man. 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. I cannot do a single thing of my own initiative. Just as I hear, I judge, and my judgment is righteous because I seek, not my own will, but the will of him who sent me.’” John 5:16-30

“Jesus then said: ‘After you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing of my own initiative; but just as the Father taught me, I speak these things. And the One who sent me is with me; he did not abandon me to myself, because I always do the things pleasing to him.’” John 8:28-29

“However, Jesus called out and said: ‘Whoever puts faith in me puts faith not only in me but also in him who sent me; and whoever sees me sees also the One who sent me… For I have not spoken of my own initiative, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment means everlasting life.’” John 12:44-45, 49-50

“Jesus said to him: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you men had known me, you would have known my Father also; from this moment on you know him and have seen him.’ Philip said to him: ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.’ Jesus said to him: ‘Even after I have been with you men for such a long time, Philip, have you not come to know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father also. How is it you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in union with the Father and the Father is in union with me? The things I say to you I do not speak of my own originality, but the Father who remains in union with me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in union with the Father and the Father is in union with me; otherwise, believe because of the works themselves.’” John 14:6-11

Here’s how the Society’s own Greek interlinear translates the relevant part of the foregoing words of our Lord:

“Not you are believing that I IN the Father and the Father IN me is (ego en to Patri kai ho Patri en emoi estin)?… the but Father IN me remaining (ho de Pater en emoi menon) is doing the works of him. Be you believing to me that I IN the Father and the Father is IN me (ego en to Patri kai ho pater en emoi)…” John 14:10-11 (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures)

This is why whenever God wants to reveal himself to an individual he leads that person to the Son:

“‘All those whom the Father gives me will come to me, and I will never drive away the one who comes to me; for I have come down from heaven to do, not my own will, but the will of him who sent me. 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.’ Then the Jews began to murmur about him because he had said: “I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ And they began saying: ‘Is this not Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’  In response Jesus said to them: ‘Stop murmuring among yourselves.No man can come to me unless the Father, who sent me, draws him, and I will resurrect him on the last day.  It is written in the Prophets: “They will all be taught by Jehovah.” Everyone who has listened to the Father and has learned comes to me. Not that any man has seen the Father except the one who is from God; this one has seen the Father.” John 6:37-46

In light of the foregoing, it only makes sense that John would say that the Jehovah whom Isaiah beheld with his own physical eyes was actually the Lord Jesus Christ in his preincarnate state.

FURTHER READING

Jesus Christ: The God of the Patriarchs and Prophets

Who Did Abraham See?

Jesus Christ: The God Whose Glory Isaiah Beheld