RESPONDblogs: Is the Jehovah’s Witness “Jesus” the Genuine Article?

watchtower_2010454c

I was getting ready to go out on Saturday morning when our front doorbell rang. I opened the door to a young lady who greeted me and began to talk to me about “religious” issues. My heart sank – I was just on my way out to a friend’s wedding! But – she seemed very earnest. And I felt a tug to stay and talk for a while. I let her speak…and then she asked whether these religious issues interested me.

 

I scratched my head a bit. “I’m a Christian”, I responded, “so God is very much at the centre of life…I’m not so keen on religion tho. However – let me ask you something.”

 

She nodded expectantly.

 

I asked, “Who do you say that Jesus is?”

 

Without a blink she responded, “Well he is God’s son.” I nodded – “Yes…but what does that mean?” She began to look a bit puzzled now. “Well I guess it means…” She stopped. I volunteered an ending to her sentence. “You reckon it means that God created Jesus? He is created BY God?” She nodded. “Yes – that’s it”, she said.

 

“Okay – that’s interesting because my view of Jesus is completely different from yours. He’s God. He’s not created BY God.”

 

She nodded and without a thought she shot back, “Let me ask you then. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray…who did he teach them to pray to?” It was my turn to look puzzled now. However many times I engage with a Jehovah’s Witness…this bit always strikes me as incredible. I carried on.

 

“You are right. The Bible records that Jesus taught his disciples to pray to God the Father. But you know what else the Bible shows us? That Jesus himself RECEIVED worship…personally. More than that, the Bible’s overall presentation of God has always been that three persons exist. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” She looked at me incredulous. This bit in the conversation that always hits me hard. I’m gutted that the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach their poor people to ignore and deny such a central biblical doctrine as the Trinity.

 

I really felt for this young lady. I was glad I’d stopped to chat with her. My heart so wanted her to get who Jesus really is! I decided to leave her with a statement and a question.

 

“You know, based on what we read in scripture the early church wrestled with but ultimately agreed on Jesus identity. The Jesus I am describing to you – the one who points to the other members of the Trinity and receives worship also for himself – is the prevailing view. Yes it’s tough to wrap our heads around. It looks like what I am saying has mystified you. Let me ask you. If there was no mystery to God…if we understood everything there is to know about God…it wouldn’t make him much of a God. Would it?” She smiled and nodded. And as my time had gone – we said goodbye.

 

As I closed the door – my heart ached. It matters who we understand Jesus to be. Why? If Jesus is NOT God – then we are completely lost! Why do I say that?

The Bible explains what humanity’s main problem is. Actually it’s not poverty or petrol prices or religious terrorism. It is sin. We underestimate the extent of our problem.

“all people…are under the power of sin.  For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:9 – 23, NLT

Why is sin a problem? Because it ruins any connection we could have with God, it messes up our relationships with other people and it ultimately leads to our demise…physically, spiritually, completely.

“For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23, ESV

“It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.” Isaiah 59:2, NLT

We all limp along carrying this crippling sin problem. It leads to our demise and our isolation from the God who made us.

Only God himself can sort out this problem. It is too big an issue for anyone else to fix! And so the Bible tells the tale of God preparing the nation of Israel and then coming in person…Jesus Christ…to give all people…you and me a way out of our sinful rebellion against God. He came to Earth to forgive sins. Only God can do that job. Because at heart, sin is mankind’s direct rejection of God.

“Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.””, Luke 7:48, NLT 

“For this is how God loved the world; He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16, NLT

 

That’s not me disagreeing with my friend at my front door. It’s the Bible I share with my Jehovah’s Witness friend (although her New World Translation has been slightly modified by un-scholarly people to trip her up in her understanding – outrageous!). It’s also the Church Fathers who studied under Jesus Disciples and led the first Christian Churches.

 

And then it struck me. It’s only valuable items that are counterfeited. People only go to the effort of creating fake 50 pound notes…because the real ones are so valuable. There’s no one in human history more valuable than the God-man Jesus Christ. Not to me…not to the writers of the Bible…not to all true Christians down thru history. No wonder there are counterfeit versions available to anyone who is unfortunate enough to accept them.

Advertisements

Published by

stuartgrayuk

I live in the UK, I'm married to Janet and I'm passionate about proposing a case for the historic Christian faith. You can find me on Twitter at @stuhgray.

6 thoughts on “RESPONDblogs: Is the Jehovah’s Witness “Jesus” the Genuine Article?”

  1. IF YOUR ONLY SOURCE FOR TRUTH…..? -BY STEVE FINNELL

    If your only source for truth was the Bible, would you still believe and teach the doctrines you now hold? If you discarded your Bible dictionary, your creed book, your writings of the early church fathers, your denominational statement of faith, your church catechism, your books written about the Bible, your Greek lexicon, your Bible commentaries, and all other sources not authored by God. Can you honestly say you would still reach the same conclusions you now hold about God and His instructions to you?

    IF THE BIBLE WAS YOUR ONLY SOURCE FOR TRUTH WOULD YOU STILL BELIEVE…..?
    1. That it God took billions of years to create the heavens and the earth?
    2. That God predetermined a few to be saved and chose all others to burn in hell?
    3. That water baptism is not essential for the forgiveness of sins?
    4. That God forces certain men to have faith so that they may believe and be saved?
    5. That God proclaimed that sprinkling and pouring water are equal forms of water baptism, along with immersion?
    6. That once men are save they can never be lost?
    7. That it does not make any difference what men believe as long as they are sincere, because we are all going to the same place anyway?
    8. That men can pray to the virgin Mary and other dead saints as mediators on their behalf?
    9. That church teaching overrules what the Bible teaches?
    10. That God is still giving new revelation to men today?
    11. That Jesus is not the only Savior and not the only way to be saved?
    12. That men are saved by grace alone? That God does it all and men have no responsibility to believe, repent, confess, nor be baptized?
    13. That once men become Christians, they can continue in a sinful lifestyle and still go to heaven?
    14. That men are saved the minute they believe?
    15. That the Bible has been mistranslated and filled with errors and contradictions?
    16. That men do not have free-will to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior?
    17. That there are many gods and you can some day be a god?
    18. That salvation by grace alone is God’s doctrine?
    19. That salvation is attained by faith only?
    20. That sins are forgiven before water baptism?

    CAN YOU BELIEVE THESE THINGS WITHOUT RELYING ON EXTRA-BIBLICAL SOURCES?

    THE BIBLE IS THE ONLY SOURCE FOR THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH. WHETHER TO BELIEVE IT, IS A PERSONAL CHOICE.

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

  2. The Bible may show that some people wanted to show respect and awe to Jesus, but Jesus never wanted to be worshipped; He himself told people he could do nothing without his heavenly Father to Whom he prayed and learned others to pray to.

    The Bible’s overall presentation of God has never been that God would exist out of three persons . Where can you find elements to proof the Bible says Jesus is God? But if that would be true than God and Jesus would often not be telling the truth and as such would be considered telling lies though the Bible, which we consider the Word of God tells us that God does not tell lies.

    1. Hey there –

      Thanks so much for responding to my blog post. That’s a really interesting position you are taking there.

      I think what you are saying is – Jesus never claimed to be God. Yes? Are you willing to explore that position further? You also have a wider issue on the Trinity and whether it is presented in scripture. Lets leave that one aside for now…?

      When we do the work to read the Gospels and the letters of the New Testament as the original hearers did (this is a challenging task in itself and requires much care) then we notice that Jesus claims to Divinity are tacit claims. In other words – he implied it rather than overtly stated it. What is the evidence to support my claim of Jesus tacit claim of divinity?

      1 – Jesus made statements about his place of origin
      eg John 8:23-24, john 18:36-37
      If you look at these – Jesus is different from any other human teacher who knows he is a flawed human being. Why is he different? because he distances himself from his audience.

      2 – Jesus made statements about his position and authority
      Time and again he claims divine authority over his hearers.
      e.g. Matthew 13:41, Luke 12:8-9, john 14:6-9, john 14:23
      Review these passages and what we notice is Jesus claiming ownership that belongs to God alone. We also see the beginnings of a Trinitarian understanding of god – the son and the father are one yet distinct

      3 – Jesus made statements about his equality with God
      john 10:25-29. Who is giving eternal life here? Jesus and God are meshed together somehow

      4 – Jesus never speaks for God. He always speaks for himself.
      The old testament prophets claimed to speak Gods words. We see this time and again in the OT. However – Jesus never does this – he speaks for HIMSELF
      Have a look at John 3:3, 16:7, 23:42-43
      Jesus speaks for himself. How presumptuous that would be (this is exactly what the Pharisees thought!). But not if he was who he claimed to be – God.

      5 – One day he DID come right out and say the 1st century equivalent of “I AM GOD”
      How do we know this? Because of the reaction of his audience.
      John 8:58-59 (understood in the context of exodus 3:14)

      This is powerful cumulative case. If we accept Jesus as a great teacher – we therefore have to take seriously the claims of identity he made to strict monotheistic Jews. And how did his disciples respond?

      “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. John 20:28.

      Did Jesus correct Thomas – no he didn’t. The first Christians intuitively sensed that God the father and God the Son were both persons of the one Godhead.

      So my question is – how do you respond to the cumulative case above?

      Stu

  3. when Jesus speaks coming form above he directs to his heavenly Father Who placed him (Jesus) in the womb of the young girl (virgin) He does not see he is God who came down form heaven. In verse 26 Jesus himself says he was sent by that O,e Who was above, and refers to Him as his Father.
    You also quote verses which speak clearly of the two different persons: 1. God the Father & 2. God His son, the seed of Abraham (= coming after Abraham), clearly indicating not God Himself.

    In the next verses you yourself bring to present your Trinity Jesus once more speaks about
    “”The Son of Man “, which means, the one who is man and born out of man. This man of flesh and blood who was first lower than angels (though God was, is and always shall be the most High) has received authority from his heavenly Father so that he can send forth God His angels. Everybody should recognise what Jesus really has don. He was born, seen by many people, though nobody can see God or they would fall death. Jesus was tempted more than once, though Scripture tells us God can not be tempted. Jesus also could sin but did not. He never claimed to be God, but told even he could not do anything without his heavenly Father, the Only One God.

    Look also how Jesus says to his disciples that everyone who confesses him before men, he, the Son of Man, shall confess him also before the angels of God. Though that man who really died and afterwards showed his wounds to proof that he was not a spirit, though God is Spirit, was here on earth to let his heavenly Father be known and to preach the good News, like we should also preach the Good News of the coming Kingdom.This son of Abraham also told those around him that those who who would deny him before men shall be denied before the angels of God. (Luke 12:8-9)

    You yourself seem to know that Jesus has said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”I but still seem to think he is the Father himself!?!

    He does not say we would see literally God when we see Jesus, but in Jesus we can see the elements of God. Though we are all created in the image of God, and we all should come like Christ and in Christ, this would not make us Christ nor God, like Christ was and is also not God.

    by getting to know Christ Jesus we will be able to get to know his Father i n heaven, the Only One God,Who does not tell lies and knows everything. Jessu had to learn everything and even did not know when he would be coming back or who was going to sit next to him in heaven or in the Kingdom of God that he would hand over again to his Father after some time.

    We should come to see Jesus like he really was and appreciate what he has done. He was not God who prayed to himself or called on Himself “Why He had abandoned himself” or faked His death (because God cannot die).

    Only by accepting the ransom offer and looking at Jesus being the man who managed to do totally the will of his father we can give the full love Jesus earned.
    If anyone loves Jesus he will believe who he is and who had sent him , but he will also keep to Jesus his words, who said that the Father is greater than him. Those who are willing to accept that may also trust Jesus to be the mediator between God and man, as is written in the Holy Scriptures.

    Being a high priest for God, and not for himself, because a person does not need himself to be a priest for himself nor can mediate for himself, Jesus shall be able to defend the other human beings. Those who love Jesus you should see from the verses you yourself brought forward shall be loved by Jesus his Father Who we also may call our Father now Jesus restored the relationship between God and man.

    Those verses do not tell that Jesus is God, but clearly talk about the son of man, send by his heavenly Father:

    “the son of man will send forth his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all the things that cause people to sin and all the people who are far from \@torah\@;” (Matthew 13:41 CJB)

    “8 “moreover, I tell you, whoever acknowledges me in the presence of others, the son of man will also acknowledge in the presence of god’s angels. 9 but whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before god’s angels.” (Luke 12:8-9 CJB)

    “6 Yeshua said, “I AM the way—and the truth and the life; no one comes to the father except through me. 7 because you have known me, you will also know my father; from now on, you do know him—in fact, you have seen him.” 8 Philip said to him, “lord, show us the father, and it will be enough for us.” 9 Yeshua replied to him, “have I been with you so long without your knowing me, Philip? whoever has seen me has seen the father; so how can you say, ‘show us the father’?” (John 14:6-9 CJB)

    “Yeshua answered him, “if someone loves me, he will keep my word; and my father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23 CJB)

    Also John 10:25-29 does not say Jesus is equal to God as you want us to believe:

    “25 Yeshua answered them, “I have already told you, and you don’t trust me. the works I do in my father’s name testify on my behalf, 26 but the reason you don’t trust is that you are not included among my sheep. 27 my sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me, 28 and I give them eternal life. they will absolutely never be destroyed, and no one will snatch them from my hands. 29 my father, who gave them to me, is greater than all; and no one can snatch them from the father’s hands.” (John 10:25-29 CJB)

    Look also at other words from Christ Jesus:
    “therefore, Yeshua said this to them: “yes, indeed! I tell you that the son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the father doing; whatever the father does, the son does too.” (John 5:19 CJB)

    “you heard me tell you, ‘I am leaving, and I will come back to you.’ if you loved me, you would have been glad that I am going to the father; because the father is greater than I.” (John 14:28 CJB)

    “5 let your attitude toward one another be governed by your being in union with the Messiah Yeshua: 6 though he was in the form of god, he did not regard equality with god something to be possessed by force. 7 on the contrary, he emptied himself, in that he took the form of a slave by becoming like human beings are. and when he appeared as a human being, 8 he humbled himself still more by becoming obedient even to death – death on a stake as a criminal!” (Philippians 2:5-8 CJB)

    “but I want you to understand that the head of every man is the Messiah, and the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of the Messiah is god.” (1 Corinthians 11:3 CJB)

    “now when everything has been subjected to the son, then he will subject himself to god, who subjected everything to him; so that god may be everything in everyone.” (1 Corinthians 15:28 CJB)

    As you see Jesus can not be God himself when he is less, knows less, can be tempted, can sin, can die, can not do as much as God can do, shall be under God, shall sit next to Him, shall hand the Kingdom over to God.

    Plus most importantly What would be the use of all this waiting for such a long time having people to suffer and still suffering, when God Himself could bring straight ahead a correction in His creation and have done with evil in the world. What use would all that circus have, to do such schizophrenic acts, doing as if he was praying to God, asking things to God, when he himself would have been God?
    What would God proof by faking his death and resurrection?

    1. Hello again

      Thanks for your reply. I think what might help – is that you look at the overall case that I have laid out for you from the New Testament. And respond perhaps to that cumulative case that I have provided you?

      You see, Christianity does not impose an understanding of God’s nature onto the Biblical text. It recognizes the Trinitarian nature of God within the Biblical text. So when you point to the places where Jesus is teaching about God the Father…yes you are right. This is what he is doing. But that does not take away from the way that – as I have laid out for you – Jesus also bears witness to his identity as God the son. Yes indeed – the Godhead is a mystery. The Father and the Son are different persons…as is the Holy Spirit. Yet there is only one God. A profound mystery indeed. But we see hints of this throughout scripture…starting with the plural reference to God in the opening chapters of Genesis…

      Are you saying that I am claiming that God faked his own death? Not at all. History records robustly that Jesus of Nazareth dead on a Roman cross. But history also records that he rose from the dead again and appeared to his followers for weeks afterwards. We find robust evidence of his death and his resurrection thru internal and external evidence.

      You quote matthew 13:41- whose angels are they? The Son of man’s angels. Surely thats a position that only God can take because only he creates angels. I wonder whether you might want to consider what you understand by Jesus’ phrase used of himself…”Son of Man”

      You also mention John 14:28 – again, I think we need to view this verse in the context of the argument I have laid out. If we do not interpret this verse with the rest of scripture – we will get confused about the nature of God…and his 3 personhood. Just because the father is greater than the Son – does not immediately imply that Jesus does not believe in his divinity. What it does suggest however – is that there is a relationship between the 3 persons of the Godhead. One God…three distinct persons.

      You say God cannot be tempted. Well – the Old Testament warns about the dangers of “tempting God”. Malachi 3:15, Deuteronomy 6:16. but really scholars believe this means “put god to the test” not solicit him to do evil.

      So – we must not put god to the test. But jesus was clearly tested in his life. What does this point to? Well it points to the dual nature of Jesus – both God and Man. He was the sinless Son of God – both man and God – as the new testament teaches. He was tested…and he never sinned in his human nature. again – i invite you to look at the wider implications of the Bible’s view of God’s nature…and the personhoods of our one God.

      Hope this helps!

      Stu

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s