Overview Part 1

If you were to ask a Jehovah’s Witness who Jesus is they would say “The Son of God”. Such a succinic confession without qualification could convince a Christian that JW’s believe in the Jesus of orthodoxy, however that is not the case.

At the Jehovah’s Witness “Gods Word is Truth” 2013-district convention at Coventry I was among several Christians who spent the morning in outreach to the visiting delegates. A question I kept posing was “Do you know the Son of God – do you know Jesus”? [1]

Let us examine together the Watchtower Society’s view of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. I have taken the two quotes below directly from their official website http://www.jw.org. Together we will explore the Watchtower claims, then in part two we will examine in more detail statements made in their ‘Insight book Vol. 2’, [2]. To do justice to the material this study will take some time so please bear with me. I hope you will find this essay constructive and useful in your ministry. Watch out for footnote references as they fill in a lot of background information. These are found at the end of the article.

“Why is Jesus called God’s Son – the Bible’s answer” [3]

“God does not have a literal wife with whom he fathered children. But he is the Creator of all life. (Revelation 4:11) Therefore, the first human that God created, Adam, is called a “son of God.” (Luke 3:38) Similarly, the Bible teaches that Jesus was created by God. So Jesus is also called a “Son of God.”—John 1:49.

God created Jesus before he created Adam. Regarding Jesus, the apostle Paul wrote: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Colossians 1:15) Jesus’ life began long before he was born in a stable in Bethlehem. In fact, the Bible says that his “origin is from early times, from the days of time indefinite” [4] (Micah 5:2) As God’s firstborn Son, Jesus was a spirit creature in heaven before he was born as a human on earth. Jesus himself said: “I have come down from heaven.”—John 6:38; 8:23.”

Let us examine The Watchtowers theological position. Firstly they use the analogy of the creator God (Jehovah) making Adam and calling him a “Son of God”. Using the term “Son of God” they apply their logic to Jesus concluding that if Adam as a created being is called a “Son of God” then it stands to reason Jesus as a “Son of God” must have been created. You see their logic?

Let us follow the Watchtowers line of reasoning. If God [5] is the creator then naturally his very first creation can be labeled “His unique Son”. Consequently God who existed for all eternity [6] now becomes a Father and Jesus as the first of all God’s creation becomes the Son of God.

You will find in witness thinking the philosophy of logic is continually applied to scripture and a whole host of proof texts [7] will be presented in order to “make sense” of a preconceived idea. In the case of Jesus as “first born Son” it is not rational for a JW to view Jesus in any other way than as a created son.

Using this logical approach the above statement goes on to claim that Jesus as the first born of all creation is therefore the closest to God and thus best reflects God’s image or character. Notice they “cut and paste” together scriptures from various parts of the Bible in order to “prove” their point and make it as rational as possible.

Having established Jesus is a created creature or the first-born Son, they acknowledge Jesus pre- existence [8] and then subtly slip in additional information viz. before coming to earth Jesus was a “spirit creature”. You see for a witness it is logical that if Jesus is a created Son then he must have pre-existed in the form of an angel [9] or as they say here a “spirit creature”.

Before addressing these statements let us look further at the Jehovah’s Witness view of Jesus in relation to his deity. Under the Heading “Is Jesus Almighty God – the Bible’s answer” [10] the article says:

“Jesus’ opposers accused him of making himself equal to God. (John 5:18; 10:30-33) However, Jesus never claimed to be on the same level as Almighty God. He said: “The Father is greater than I am.”—John 14:28.

Jesus’ early followers did not view him as being equal to Almighty God. For example, the apostle Paul wrote that after Jesus was resurrected, God “exalted him [Jesus] to a superior position.” Obviously, Paul did not believe that Jesus was Almighty God. Otherwise, how could God exalt Jesus to a superior position? —Philippians 2:9.”

Notice what we have here is a “straw man” first a true statement is made concerning Jesus opponents that they “accused him [Jesus] of making himself equal with God” then comes the knockdown “However, Jesus never claimed to be on the same level as Almighty God”.

What the WT authors [11] do is assume that the Jews had drawn a wrong conclusion because their presupposition that Jesus is a created angel demands that they reject any notion that Jesus claimed to be God. Thus to the JW the ancient Jews were simpletons who had misunderstood Jesus words. To bolster there logical conclusion they use as a proof text John 14:28 wherein Jesus say’s “the Father is greater than I” [12] Watch out for these methods throughout WT doctrine.

It is interesting to note how quickly one error begets another. By beginning with Jesus as a created angel all other scriptures must be reworked, spiritualized or ignored in order to maintain this position. So what do they do next? They claim that none of Jesus early followers (apostles and disciples) acknowledged Jesus as the Almighty God. It is important to understand that the WBTS will major on the term “Almighty” as opposed to “Mighty” in order to differentiate between the creator; God the Father (Jehovah) who they label the “The Almighty God” [13] and Jesus the created angel who they say can be rightly called a “Mighty god”. [14]

The Watchtower authors now jump to Philippians 2:9 as their next proof text. Again they reason logically from a biased position in order to deny Jesus deity. They say “Paul wrote…God “exalted him [Jesus] to a superior position.” Obviously, Paul did not believe that Jesus was Almighty God. Otherwise, how could God exalt Jesus to a superior position?”

Note how the presupposition that Jesus is NOT God MUST dictate interpretation. They choose to break up the context of Paul’s letter to the Philippines and isolate part of verse nine. The desired pericope are used to subjugate Jesus and deny his deity. Notice the loaded language; “Paul ‘Obviously’ did not believe that Jesus was Almighty God” Herein the WT authors introduce the “straw man” namely the term “Almighty God” suggesting Paul differentiated between an Almighty God (Jehovah) and Mighty god (Jesus). They finish off with what appears to be a watertight argument asking “how can Jesus be God when it was God who exalted him to a superior position”? Good question!

In order to tackle the witness view of Jesus as outlined above I wish to journey through eight major views of Jesus as taught by the Watchtower in their Insight Book Volume 2. I will quote each WT doctrinal position then analyse these one by one in order to deconstruct the WT position. I hope you enjoy in-depth study! So here we go!

Part two Summary of the Jehovah’s Witness view of Jesus.

(Quotes Taken from WBTS publication ‘Insight on the scriptures’ Volume 2.)

1) Jesus Christ = “The name or title of the Son of God from the time of his anointing on earth…Jesus Christ name is more excellent than that of God’s Angels in that it stands for the vast executive authority that Jehovah has placed in him” Page 52 & 61.

Let us remember that all the Watchtower statements are predicated on Jesus being a created spirit creature, the first creative act of Jehovah God consequently the Son is simply the vehicle or agent by which Jehovah accomplishes his purpose.

So did Jesus become the Christ at his Baptism?

Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

The Angel Gabriel did not announce the birth of a future Messiah (Christ) who received his name at Baptism but that the child born was indeed the Messiah. Likewise, the Holy Spirit confirms this in the account of Jesus circumcision.

Luke 2:26-32 “And it had been revealed to him [Simeon] by the Holy Spirit [15] that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ…he took him [Jesus] up in his arms and said…my eyes have seen your salvation” [16].

So while it is true that Jesus Baptism confirmed his appointment as Messiah in History, Jesus appointment to the office of Christ was from eternity past. Baptism as Berkhof points out “served to qualify him for his great task” [17].

The second point made in the insight book is that the name ‘Jesus Christ’ (supposedly given at his Baptism) elevated him above all the other Angels and therefore the name Jesus Christ stands for the “executive authority Jehovah has placed in him”.

While it is true that Jesus in his humanity carried out the ‘Will of the Father’ (John 8:28) the mistake is made by The Watchtower of viewing Jesus solely from this perspective namely Christ humanity. The conclusion the Watchtower draws is that Jesus is the agent who works for Jehovah and as such Jesus carries the authority of Jehovah much like a messenger sent by a reigning King.

However is that the full revelation of Jesus in the NT documents? Is Jesus simply the OT messenger (Malak)? Well if we emphasize Jesus humanity then that view can be supported however it is the whole council of God that we are to evaluate. Also what did Jesus think about himself? The self-revelation of Jesus must ultimately define who he truly is. You see to call Jesus the agent or messenger is to refer to the function rather than to the nature of the agent. The agent could just as well refer to one who is divine or human or both. In other words, the nature of the agent is something that can’t be determined by the name alone but has to be determined by other factors. How do we determine the nature of the agent? – By an analysis of overall context [18].

Before we go onto the Insight Books second view of Jesus let us see what Hebrews 1:2-8 reveals about the Son of God. While a lengthy exercise our conclusions will help lay foundational truths that will debunk subsequent Watchtower views. Let us begin!

Verse 2. “but in these last days he [God] has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” (ESV)

Here we see God who once spoke through the Prophets has now spoken and speaks through his Son [Jesus]. The verse acknowledges that functionally Jesus is appointed heir of all things [19] and the world was created through [20] him. It should be noted that “World” refers to the visible and invisible realm [21], thus removing Jesus from the order of created things and placing him in the realm of eternity. As the agent of God’s final revelation to mankind the writer now identifies whom this Son is in terms of relationship with God [22].

Verse 3. “He [Jesus the Son of God] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (ESV)

This is a key verse [23]. Let us understand what exactly is being conveyed in the description of Jesus as “the radiance of the glory of God” Radiance in Greek (ἀπαύγασμα) literally means ‘that which shines out from a source of light’ [24] In other words the Son reflects the glory of God. How can a created spirit creature radiate or reflect the glory [25] of God?

Even more profound are the pericope “exact imprint of his nature” [26]. As Ellingworth points out the use of χαρακτήρ describes “the essential unity and exact resemblance between God and his Son” [27]

“The Greek word χαρακτήρ (character) translated “representation [imprint],” occurs only here in the New Testament. Greek writers used it to describe the emperor’s picture on Roman coins and the clear-cut impression made by a seal (a facsimile). It did not express a general likeness but an exact duplication of the original” [28].

What is the writer of Hebrews implying? He is announcing that Jehovah God has been revealed in the Son. In other words Jesus has come forth from Jehovah not as created being but very God of very God. This is confirmed for us in John 1:18;

“No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

Notice that John states no one has ever seen God, but the God who is at the Fathers side has revealed God! What is a Jehovah Witness to do with such a verse? We have what looks to be two god’s? Jesus is here referred to as the God whom has made know [29] God! The only conclusion from the data is that God the Son explains and radiates the glory of God the Father [30].

Verse 4 “having become as much superior [31] to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” (ESV)

You may recall the Watchtower interprets this verse as Jesus receiving authority from Jehovah elevating his name above his fellow spirit creatures. However I think we have already established Christ deity. So what in fact we have in this pericope is the writer of Hebrews developing a line of contrasts between the Son and angels. Thus while angels can be called “Son’s of God” [32] as can Christians [33] what we have here is a contrast in hierarchal status which pertains to nature. Jesus eternal sonship is an eternal attribute not a title consequently the name that is now superior has become so at the exultation of Jesus Christ. Simply put the Son of God the incarnate Word has now resumed the true dignity of God, which he had temporarily laid aside at his incarnation. Thus the exultation refers to reclaiming his exalted position in heaven and highlighting his superior nature in comparison to angels.

Verse 5-8 “For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son [34], today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? “And again, when he brings the firstborn [35] into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” [36] Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.” But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of your kingdom.”  (ESV)

I think the text above is self-explanatory. The contrast is made between the Son of God and the angelic creation. The point made is that God the Father has NEVER given the title THE “Son of God” to a spirit creature. Rather God the Father here recognizes THE ‘Son of God’ in his fullness that includes a unique relationship of divine beings. God the Father charges the created angelic host to “Worship the Son” [37]. The writer of Hebrews then contrasts the angelic host who are created ministers of his will with the unique Son of God [38] who is acknowledged as God forever.

2) Pre-existence = “The scriptures identify the Word as God’s first creation, his firstborn Son…in his prehumen existence Jesus was called the Word…The Word identifies the function that God’s firstborn Son performed” Page 52-53.

While we can agree with the Watchtower concerning the pre-existence of Jesus as the Word we cannot agree that Jesus pre-existence began at a point in time, i.e that Jesus was created. So can we prove that Jesus has always existed and thus is the eternal Jehovah?

In John 8:58 Jesus said “Before Abraham was, I AM (ἐγώ εἰμί)” At first glance it looks like Jesus is simply making a claim to pre-existence before Abraham hence the NWT translates “ἐγώ εἰμί  (I AM) as “I have been” By translating in this way the Watchtower implies pre-existence but ignores the emphatic link with YHWH as the eternal I AM [39]. Jesus Jewish audience had no such misunderstanding but they “Picked up stones to stone him” Why? Because by making such a statement Jesus was indeed making himself equal with Jehovah and that was blasphemy under the Mosaic Law. Had Jesus wanted to say in Greek that he simply pre-existed he would have said ἐγώ εν (I was) but he used the absolute sense I AM with no clarifying noun the expression was a direct claim to be Jehovah (YHWH).

Was this just a one off? Did Jesus make a blunder? Well in John 10:30-33 Jesus once again made a profound self-revelation. He said, “I and the Father are one” the response of the Jewish audience was they “picked up stones to stone him” Why? Because he had made himself equal with God as the Jews said “We are stoning you…because you a mere man, claim to be God

We can agree with the Watchtower that functionally the “Word [logos] of God” in his pre- incarnation brought all things into existence [40]. However this act was not simply as a lesser agent of Jehovah. In Psalm 33:6 we are told, “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host” (ESV). The point to be noted is the ‘Word’ issues from God and thus is by nature God. The ‘Word’ is never referred to as a created creature. That the ‘Word’ is indeed God is confirmed at the incarnation John 1:1-2;

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God [41]. He was in the beginning with God.”

Here we have a very carefully constructed statement, which identifies whom the ‘Word’ is. Drawing directly from Genesis 1, John uses corresponding language to explain that ‘in the beginning’ that is prior to anything existing the creative God spoke his ‘Word’ (Genesis 1:3 et al) and things came into existence. Thus the ‘Word’ existed eternally with God! The killer statement for Arians [42] is “and the Word was God”. Having established the ‘Word’ IS ‘God’ John goes on to explain that the “Word of God” became flesh this is the incarnation where the Word of God enters time and History as the God-man.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 ESV)

Suffice to say the biblical data reveals a very different Jesus from the view held by the Watchtower.

3) Michael = “Scriptural evidence indicates that the name Michael applied to God’s Son before he left heaven to become Jesus Christ and also after his return…Michael is actually the Son of God.” Page 393-394.

While I have come across some Christians who feel Michael could be a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus [43] I prefer to edge on the side of caution. Certainly there is evidence that manifestations of the “Angel of the Lord” [44] could well be Christophanies but the problem with linking Jesus to Michael is very quickly we can loose Jesus deity [45]. Hence I will argue against the Watchtower’s position. It should be noted that founders of the Watchtower did not believe Jesus to be Michael the Archangel. [46]

I refer you back to the book of Hebrews where God said that all Gods angels should worship the Son (Hebrews 1:6). If Jesus were an angel he would be worshiping himself. Therefore Jesus cannot be an angel. It should be noted that faithful angels never accepted worship from humans (Revelation 19:10, 22:9). The scene of heaven portrayed in the Revelation 5:11-13 pictures the angels of heaven worshipping the lamb ‘who was slain’ who was that? Jesus Christ. Thus again such worship given to Jesus prohibits him from being an angel.

Finally Isaiah 45:22b-23 reads “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.” (ESV)

Ask a JW whom is this scripture referring too? And their answer will be ‘Jehovah’. Then get them to turn to Philippines 2:9-11 where Paul quotes this exact verse from Isaiah.

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (ESV)

Wow! Paul has taken a statement about YHWH and applied it directly to Jesus. Who then must Jesus be? Can an angel receive divine prerogatives? The only conclusion we can draw is that Jesus Christ is the incarnate YHWH; viz. God the Father in a relational setting acknowledges God the Son and the name Jesus. [47]

4) Not a Creator = “Jesus was the agent or instrumentality through whom Jehovah the creator worked” Page 52.

In one sense we can agree with the Watchtower that Jesus is the agent of God. However, the mistake the Watchtower makes is to see the agent as less than God. For a witness the agent is a creation rather than the creator. This is in stark contrast to the true nature of Jesus as revealed in scripture, which I have compressively established above. However let us address the witness claim.

According the John 1:3 “Through him [Jesus] all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (NIV).

The JW’s will emphasize the word “through” mistakenly thinking this proves Jesus is just an agent through which Jehovah acts. However we have already established Jesus role, as ‘agent’ does not impact on Jesus nature as God the Son.

“John described the Word as God’s agent. The Word did not act independently from the Father. Thus John presented Jesus as under God the Father’s authority but over every created thing in authority. Jesus’ work of revealing God began with Creation because all creation reveals God (Ps. 19:1-6; Rom. 1:19-20)…The Word is the second person of the triune God” [48]

Colossians 1:16-17 is another excellent scripture, that presents Jesus as creator;

“For by him [Jesus] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (ESV)

However, the Watchtower try’s to obscure the plain truth of the text by adding the word ‘other’ to ‘all things’ so the NWT reads “by him all OTHER things were created”.  In so doing Jesus is presented as the beginning of the creation before all ‘other’ things. However, the Greek is emphatic, πᾶς in the context is “a primary word; all, any, every, the whole: – all” [49]. Therefore Jesus could not be created for he existed before ALL things were created making him the creator.

I also submit how could a mere angel no matter how powerful “hold all things together” (Colossians 1:17) that is the invisible and visible realms. It is impossible only the creator has such infinite power.

We have thus established Jesus as the creator, but when we explore the OT we find what appears to be a contradiction for Isaiah 44:24 says “I am the LORD (YHWH) who has made all things” So how do we square the data? If Jesus is a creator and Jehovah is a creator do we have two creators? No we cannot for there is but ONE GOD (Deuteronomy 6:4). So the answer is to understand the nature of God as a plural unity wherein God exists as three distinct persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit yet together they make the one true God being co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial.

Likewise at Hebrews 2:8 we read that “all things” are in subjection to Jesus and “for whom and by whom all things exist” No created agent other than God has creative power, thus Jesus while the agent of creation I.e. the Word, he is no mere Angel, rather as the data examined proves Jesus the Word is none other than YHWH viz. God the Son.

5) Only begotten Son = “By virtue of being the sole direct creation of his Father, the firstborn Son was unique, different from all others of God’s Sons…all others were created or begotten by Jehovah through his firstborn Son…Jesus was begotten by God as his Spiritual Son at his baptism” Page 53 & 60.

I think if you review the material above you will see that we have debunked these positions. The term ‘only begotten’ son does not mean Jesus was simply positionaly unique in comparison to the other ‘sons of God’ but rather Jesus as the ‘Son of God’ was unique in nature. As Paul explains “It pleased God to have his full being live in his Son…For in him, bodily dwells the fullness of all that God is” Colossians 1:19; 2:9 (CJB). The confession of Paul at Philippines 2:11 was “Yeshua the Messiah is Adonai” (CJB).

So the Son is unique in the sense of being “God the Son” the second person of the triune God YHWH. Jesus baptism was in the sense of inauguration to office rather than being begotten as a spiritual son. Jesus sonship had eternally existed as part of the Godhead as we have already established in this essay.

6) Messiah = “The outpouring of holy Spirit at the time of Jesus Baptism marked the time of his becoming in actual fact the Messiah” Page 59.

Again I have dealt with this above. In salvation history Jesus was Messiah from his birth and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit actualized his position as he began his earthly ministry. Jesus Messiahship is in this sense one of office rather than nature.

While the Holy Spirit strengthened and supported Jesus in his humanity, in his deity Jesus acted sovereignly in unity with the 2nd and 3rd persons of the Godhead (Matthew 8:26; Luke 7:48) thus proving his divinity.

7) Jesus purpose = “Jesus life course of integrity to God, including his sacrifice accomplished the ‘one act of justification’ (Romans 5:17-18) that proved him qualified to serve as God’s anointed King-Priest in heaven…Jesus accomplished his primary purpose of sanctifying his Father’s name” Page 72.

Note here the Watchtower interprets Jesus life of integrity as the “one act of justification” which “proved and qualified Jesus to serve as Gods King”.

This is an outrageous statement. Let us take note; throughout Watchtower writings you will discover they employ a method of interpretation, which is heavily dependent on proof texting. How this works is; a statement is made or doctrine presented and then to validate the claim a proof text either half quoted or put in brackets is included as qualification. This method of making statements then adding scriptures is known as proof texting. While the Watchtower does publish several books, which are supposed to be verse-by-verse commentaries the same, method is employed.

The reason I raise this idiosyncrasy is because the result of this method is that Jehovah’s witnesses do not know how to actually study the Bible. That is they do not know how to read verse-by-verse and check context, or apply objectively the grammatical-historical method [50] of interpretation. The result for the average Jehovah’s Witness is complete and utter dependence on the Society for biblical interpretation [51]. The result of bad hermeneutics is inevitable error in interpretation.

The above interpretation of Romans 5:17-18 by the Watchtower that Jesus ‘one act of justification’ [52] was ‘to qualify himself as God’s King’ is an outrageous misrepresentation of what Paul was actually conveying. Let us briefly look at what the text actually says.

“For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (ESV)

I ask you where in these pericope can we exegete the interpretation that ‘one act of sanctification’ – ‘proves Jesus worthy to be Gods King?’ This is a ludicrous proof text. Paul has been discussing with his audience the wonders of justification by faith alone and in these pericope repeats that through Christ ‘act of righteousness’ i.e. his propitiatory death means ‘justification and life for all men’. Christ obedience to death was not so he could be Gods worthy King for Jesus is already the King of King’s (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14, 19:16) rather Jesus obedience unto death means ‘many will be made righteous’.

“Many will become righteous (v. 19) both forensically (justified), as they believe, and finally (glorified). “The many” here, of course, means the justified…His death as the ultimate act of obedience rather than to His life of obedience since it is His death that saves us.” [53]

So the verses refer to the restorative affects of justification! It is outrageous how the Watchtower misapplies and misrepresents Holy writ! Rather than help their readership understand the wonders of Grace and justification by faith they promulgate a terrible error.

Next the Watchtower announces that Jesus purpose was primarily to ‘sanctify his Fathers name’. As a faithful obedient Jew in his humanity Jesus was faithful to the Mosaic law and therefore faithful to ‘his God’ but as we have established Jesus is more than just a perfect man or a created angel he is himself “God in the flesh” therefore far from having to prove his worth to the Father, Jesus “always did the things pleasing to the Father” (John 8:29) Why? Because Jesus was ‘ONE’ with the Father, John 5:19 reads;

“ So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”  (ESV)

The intimate relationship of Father and Son highlights the divine unity. How sad that the Watchtower downgrades the beloved Son and presents him like a groveling servant trying to prove himself to his master.

The obsession [54] with the divine name ‘Jehovah’ [55] is apparent in their warped interpretation of Romans 5. Let us remember according to scripture Jesus IS the embodiment of the divine name!

John 17:11 “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” (ESV)

John 14:13 “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (ESV)

Ephesians 1:21 “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” (ESV)

How can Jesus name be above every name? (Which by definition must also be above the divine name Jehovah). Because Jesus is YHWH therefore Jesus and YHWH are synonymous!

8) Jesus Resurrection = “Jesus resurrection was in the Spirit [56] …he was granted immortality and incorruption…second only to Jehovah…his resurrection was performed by Jehovah…like Angels Jesus had the power to construct and disintegrate fleshly bodies at will for the purpose of proving he had been resurrected” Page 786.

Let us examine each of these points concerning Jesus resurrection. Firstly it is asserted Jesus was raised as a spirit creature. The position is easily understood because of the Watchtowers view that Jesus is a created angel. As an angel he would have what witnesses call a ‘spirit body’ and at death would therefore be raised ‘in a spirit body’.

This doctrine proffers some serious questions. For example if Jesus existed as a ‘spirit creature’ prior to coming to earth did Jehovah dissolve the ‘spirit body’? If he did then what exactly did he transfer to the womb of Mary? The same problem occurs at the resurrection. If Jesus physical body was dissolved and a new spirit body prepared, what was it that was transferred between bodies? I ask this question, as witnesses do not believe in a soul. Instead they believe at death a person ceases to exist (annihilation) and at some future time is re-created.

The fundamental error here is that if when Jesus died he ceased to exist, where did he go for three days? Also, how did Jesus come back to life in a spirit body when death had supposedly annihilated him? The same problem exists when applied to humans. If we cease to exist at death how can we come back to life? If we are stored in God’s memory as some JW’s suggest then we actually still exist. You see the ludicrous end to such error!

Another reason the Watchtower teaches that Jesus must have been raised in a ‘Spirit body’ is their view that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50).

However, the Watchtower not only quotes half a verse [57] they misunderstand Paul’s whole teaching on the resurrection.

In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul tackles a false teaching. Some Corinthian’s were teaching there was ‘no resurrection’ by this they meant no BODILY resurrection. You see the Greco-Roman understanding was dualistic. They believed the body of flesh was inherently evil and that the human soul needed releasing from the body. Hence some Greek converts to Christianity were struggling to accept the teaching of a ‘bodily resurrection’. To the Greek it conjured up images of walking corpses.

So what Paul does is remind them of Jesus literal bodily resurrection! He refutes any idea that Jesus was simply raised ‘in the spirit’! Rather Paul explains that Jesus literal body was raised in a glorified condition. To emphasize this he lists all the eyewitnesses to this event (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).

So fundamental to faith is belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus that Paul refers to it as part of the Gospel message (v. 3-4) “he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures”…v. 12 “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (ESV)

Paul links Jesus bodily resurrection with the future resurrection of the saints. He goes on in v. 17 “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” What is Paul saying? Simply this, if Christ has not been raised bodily from the dead then neither can we be raised bodily from the dead and worst still if Christ has not been raised in the body then no sacrifice for sins was made and we are all still dead in our sins!

So the Corinthian view that Jesus was raised as a ‘spirit’ is the very same error that Jehovah’s witnesses are perpetuating. This notion that Jesus as a spirit creature simply materialized in different bodies [58] is an outright denial of the bodily resurrection consequently witnesses are yet ‘dead in their sins’. It is worth reading this whole chapter in context to grasp fully the resurrection doctrine.

Finally in order to highlight the absolute dependence and superiority of Jehovah over Jesus the Watchtower claims Jehovah raised Jesus. However we find in scripture that all three members of the triune YHWH raised Jesus! It is axiomatic that the Father raised Jesus but let us look at the role of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the resurrection.

John 2:19-22 “Jesus answered them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.”

So here we have Jesus announcing he would raise himself! Was Jesus a helpless angel? No indeed! Jesus the God-man raised himself according to the prophetic timetable. The disciples acknowledged this truth. It’s no wonder that Thomas at Jesus post-resurrection appearance called Jesus “My LORD & my GOD”.

“Thomas answer is simple and clear. It is directed to the Lord Jesus, not to anyone else…his confession is plain and unambiguous…Jesus is Thomas’s Lord…there is simply no reason – grammatical, contextual or otherwise – to deny that in the very same breath Thomas call Jesus Christ his GOD” – What could be clearer? Should not such a passage banish all doubt?” [59]

Finally the Holy Spirit the third person the Godhead raised Jesus from the dead NOT as a spirit creature but as the first born of a new creation in a gloried body hallelujah!

Romans 8:11 “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (KJV)

CONCLUSION.

This has been a long study and I hope I have not bored you too much! Every time I thought I should cut something out I just felt it needed covering. Forgive me if I’ve rambled on. The fact is we each need to be aware of the insidious machinations of the Watchtower. Their reasoning’s took at face value can seem plausible and logical even appealing. However as we have seen each false doctrine can be overturned using the ‘whole council of God’.

So in summary, “Who is the biblical Jesus”? – Jesus is identified in scripture as fully human and fully God. His nature is twofold. At times we see him in his human state at others his divine. His appearance in History was to bring Salvation to all people by his sacrificial death, through which sins are forgiven and on the basis of faith in Jesus all who believe in him are saved. This God-man after death was raised in a glorified body the first fruit of a new creation. Jesus is The ‘Word of God’ very God of very God. Jesus is not only the agent of creation but also the creator and sustainer of the visible and invisible realms and his name is above all names. His name encapsulates the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) and he has revealed himself to humanity as the great ‘I AM’. As the Son of God Jesus is the ‘unique Son’ who fully knows the Father because he and the Father are ‘One’. Jesus exists in an eternal relationship with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, one God in three persons. This is the real Jesus. Do you know the Son of God? I pray you do!

God bless – Shalom

Jason

FOOTNOTES:

1. Interestingly a witness did hand me a WT tract entitled “Who is Jesus” which explained their theological position, however I was not asking for an explanation of who Jesus was but rather I wanted to know if they “knew” in a personal way the Savior Jesus. Clearly they did not and sadly cannot because of the inferior position of Jesus in witness doctrine.

2. The WBTS publish two books for personal witnesses study namely the ‘Insight Books Vol. 1 & 2’. These are an A-Z of Watchtower doctrine, working similar to a Bible encyclopedia or dictionary.

3. Notice the WT uses loaded language prior to explanation, i.e. “the Bible’s answer” comes before they make their theological statement. In this way it appears to the reader that they are candidly presenting the facts of scripture not their own views. This highly suggestive method presupposes the WT statements are in fact true. Watch out for similar subtle language in WT publications.

4. The term “time indefinite” translates the Hebrew (Olam) which literally means ‘immeasurable time’ in other words eternity. As Dr. Constable points out “This messianic prophecy not only gives the birthplace of Messiah, and thus assures His humanity, but it also asserts His deity. No mere human could be said to have been carrying out the will of Yahweh eternally.” (Notes on Micah 2012 Page 25) Although a clear link is made between the eternality of YHWH & the Messiah the witnesses limit this spatial term to a point of creation in the distance past. They have no other choice but to interpret in this way because their view of Jesus as a created being dictates and supersedes clear biblical statements to the contrary.

5. In witness thinking the creator God is Jehovah also God the Father but never Jesus.

6. If God’s nature is truly singular it’s worth asking a JW the question why would an eternal being who is absolute and complete within himself and in need of nothing bother creating anything? Ask the question if “God is Love” who did he love before he created Jesus? Did he love himself? These are the problems encountered by all who abandon the plural unity of God namely Father, Son & Holy Spirit. The mystery of the Godhead helps us understand God’s relational love within himself a love that exploded through the creation of other sentient being’s in a relational existence as part of the family of God.

7. A proof text is a verse (pericope) that is used to prop up a doctrinal statement. These proof texts are pulled out of their context and rarely relate to authorial intent or the sitz-im-leben of the audience.

8. Christians of orthodox doctrine acknowledge Jesus pre-existence.

9. Watchtower theology teaches that Jesus was in fact the Archangel Michael before his incarnation. So Jesus is actually the spirit creature Michael come in the flesh.

10. Notice again the authors insistence that this is the “Bible’s answer” not their own.

11. All WT authorship (since Judge Rutherford) is kept anonymous. The Watchtower explains that anonymity avoids elevating men therefore all honor and glory goes to Jehovah alone. However what anonymity helps the authors avoid is accountability. Producing literature in this way adds an air of mystery to the publications so much so that most witnesses view watchtower publications as “from Jehovah” rather than the work of human authors. I call this the “Wizard of Oz factor”.

12. Greater simply means positionaly, i.e. while Jesus was restricted in human form the Father was positionaly greater. However, greater does not mean better therefore in nature the two are equal.

13. The Watchtower also emphasizes the use of capital letters, i.e “big ‘G’ = Jehovah, small ‘g’ = Jesus”. Such idiosyncrasies are farcical as the original koine Greek autographs were all written in what we call “capital letters” (uncials) with neither punctuation nor gaps between words and sentences.

14. Interestingly such a conclusion produces two gods a greater “God” and a lesser “god” although the witnesses see no contradiction here. However this teaching is in fact not Monotheistic but Polytheistic.

15. It is worth noting the Holy Spirit ‘told’ Simeon emphasizing the personality of the Holy Spirit.

16. Simeon acknowledged to YHWH that the Christ had arrived.

17. Louis Berkhof “Systematic Theology” The Banner of Truth Trust, reprint 1981 Page 313.

18. “The root idea of ַמ ְלאָך [malak], then, is one sent, a messenger, or an envoy. Only in context does the term take on specificity.” (James Borland, “Christ in the Old Testament: Old Testament Appearances of Christ in Human Form” Christian Focus Publications, 1999, p. 36-37.

19. What the logos created he inherits.

20. Cf. John 1:3, 10; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16.

21. “There is little doubt that the derived spatial sense of “world” best suits the context here…the plural αἰῶνας is to be taken…as referring to the visible and invisible worlds.” New International Greek Testament Commentary, “The Epistle to the Hebrews” by Paul Ellingworth. Paternoster 1993, page 96.

22. Cf. Jesus self-revelation John 10:30, John 14:7-9, John 8:58.

23. “The verbs in vv. 1-2 have God as their subject; Christ is related to God in v.3 as ἀπαύγασμα and χαρακτήρ. What is said or implied about God thus forms the essential basis for what is said about Christ”. (Ellingworth 1993:89)

24. This is the active sense, ἀπαύγασμα can also be understand in a passive way in the sense of reflection although the Nicene Creed enshrines the active sense. God is seen as light from which comes forth the Son (1 John 1:5, Revelation 21:23).

25. δόξης (glory) – “uses the image of light to indicate the nature of God”. (Elligworth 1993:99)

26. The NWT translates these pericope “the exact representation of his very being”.

27. Ellingworth 1993:99.

28. Notes on Hebrews 2012 Edition Dr. Thomas L. Constable Page 9.

29. ἐξηγήσατο = exegeted or explained him.

30. We do not have two Gods but two persons whom exist as one God. The third person is the Holy Spirit forming the triune being YHWH.

31. The NWT translates “superior” as “better” The Greek κρείττων refers to ‘pertaining to having a higher status in comparison to something else—‘better, greater, superior to.’ So this is not a qualitative statement of one angel being higher than another but a statement of superiority in nature. Thus the point being made is the angels by nature as created beings are plainly lesser than the creator Son. Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.). New York: United Bible Societies.

32. bên ‘ĕlôhıŷ m cf. Genesis 6:2, 4; Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7.

33. Cf. Galatians 3:26, 4:6; Romans 8:14.

34. “To summarise, the title “Son” refers to Jesus in three separate respects. He was always the pre-existent Son (v. 3a-b; cf. 5:8), He became the incarnate Son at His birth (v. 2a), and He became the exalted Son when He returned to heaven.” William L. Lane, Hebrews 1—8, pp. lxii-lxvi; Andrew H. Trotter Jr., “Interpreting the Epistle to the Hebrews” baker Books 1997, Page 47.

35. “ ‘first-born’ reflects the sovereignty, uniqueness, and superiority of Messiah (Ps. 89:27). It does not always mean born first chronologically.” (Constable 2012:19)

36. This quote is from Deuteronomy 32:43 (LXX) wherein the angles worship YHWH this is now applied to the Son of God which by implication underscores the Son of God’s divinity and equality with the Father.

37. This subordination of the angelic host to Christ implies a dialogue of divine persons in which the Father presents the Son to the angels, to be worshipped by them. (Ellingworth 1993:116-120) Instead of being sovereign, the angels are servants. The fourth quotation is from Psalm 104:4. By describing the angels as “winds” the psalmist was drawing attention to their spirit nature, invisibility, power, and role as servants of a higher Power. (Constable 2012:15).

38. In Jewish thought to be a Son was to be of the same substance of the Father. One comes from the other. Hence Jesus claim to be the Son of God was a claim to be from divinity.

39. In the LXX Exodus 3:14 reads εγω ειμι ο ων, Jesus used the abbreviated form εγω ειμι. A.R. Robertson said “Undoubtedly here Jesus claims eternal existence with the absolute phrase used of God” Word Pictures in the New Testament Harper Bros. 1932 Vol.5 page 158.

40. Cf. Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 14 20, 24.

41. The Watchtower insists the article ‘a’ can be added to this pericope. The objective in doing so is to restrict the nature of the Word to that of a created subject of God. However the construction of the Greek grammar prohibits such an additional article.

42. Arianism refers to “Arius of Alexandria” who first postulated that Jesus was a created being A.D. 250-336. It is this heresy that Jehovah’s witnesses perpetuate.

43. I have found Trinitarians who uphold this position. See Max Hatton “Understanding the Trinity” Autumn House 2001, page 54-60. 44 See also the Metatron in Jewish thought. The idea here is that the logos appeared in both human and angelic forms (Michael, Angel of the Lord) yet remained part of the triune YHWH.

45. Please note that a Christian who believes in Jesus pre-incarnate appearances as Michael does not see Jesus as AN ANGEL, i.e a spirit creature. Rather they view Michael as a temporary pre-incarnation. This is far different from the Watchtower that claims Jesus IS the Archangel Michael in angelic form, i.e. a spirit creature.

46. Interestingly, John H. Paton, the most frequently used contributing writer in 1879 admitted in The Watchtower magazine “Hence it is said, ‘let all the angels of God worship him’: (that must include Michael, the chief angel, hence Michael is not the Son of God)…” (1879, p. 4). Link here to article.

47. The NT authors “portray Jesus like two sides of a coin. They are continually presenting his human face to us and then as it were a few verses later turning the coin over and presenting his divine nature to us.” Peter Barnes “The Watchtower in Light of Scripture” Challenge Ministries 2003 Page 212.

48. Constable Notes on John 2012 Page 14.

49. Strongs G3956.

50. This interpretive method starts by placing us back in the context of the author and reader. Rather than read into the text an idea, we read out of the text what the original authorial intent was. As my lecturer once said the golden rule of hermeneutics is; “Never make a text say what it never meant to say”.

51. The Watchtower hierarchy teaches that only they (the faithful salve) can provide “true spiritual food” and therefore for members to do independent Bible study is tantamount to rebelling against Jehovah. Such a doctrine holds millions of witnesses in spiritual bondage.

52. It is both ironic and alarming that such a central truth of Christianity namely “Justification by faith” is so completely missed by the Watchtower interpreters.

53. Constable “Notes on Romans” 2012 Page 58.

54. See my article “What is the Jehovah’s Witness view of God the Father in relation to Jehovah” 

55. Most scholars believe “Jehovah” to be a late (c. 1100 CE) hybrid form derived by combining the Latin letters JHVH with the vowels of Adonai.

56. The reasoning here is that flesh and blood cannot enter heaven, therefore Jesus could not have been raised in his literal body. Rather Jesus was raised as a spirit creature his body of flesh being dissolved by Jehovah. Therefore in his post-mortem appearances Jesus actually materialized turning from spirit creature to human in different bodies.

57. 1 Corinthians 15:50 (ESV) “I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” Paul is referring to the adamic human body, NOT the glorified body that all Christians one day receive.

58. Witnesses will argue that because various disciples did not recognize Jesus he must have been in a different body. However as God, Jesus could easily veil his identity probably in a psychological way until he wished to reveal his true self. The fact that Jesus could appear and disappear at will in no way deny the bodily resurrection. What the witnesses fail to understand is that Jesus flesh- body was glorified at the resurrection not annihilated. What exactly a glorified body can do we will have to wait and see but certainly Jesus in his glorified body was able to pass through space-time dimensions.

59. James White “The Forgotten Trinity” Betheny House Pub. 1998. Page 69.


Source: WatchTower Investigated