Refuting JW’s claims against Jesus Christ 

aaron-burden-9zsHNt5OpqE-unsplashPhoto by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

 

Introduction

            The cults have been on the rise lately especially the Jehovah Witnesses because of their sincerity and commitment in their belief. They are very tactful in their approach and might become tough for us to share the truth if we are not well equipped. However, the problem with them is that they start talking about everything under the sun like the name of God, heaven, hell, etc. but our goal should be to bring them to the topic of Jesus Christ and stick to it. That is where you have the opportunity to make them rethink their beliefs and hopefully bring them to light. The purpose here would be to examine their attacks against the Deity of Christ and provide proper refutations to their claims so that one can properly sit down and have a conversation with such a lost soul.

 

Jesus is not God Almighty and therefore shouldn’t be worshipped

            Jehovah’s witnesses repeatedly make claims that Jesus is not God Almighty. They also argue that Scriptures have shown clearly that Jesus is not God almighty. They admit that they do not worship Jesus as they do not believe that He is God Almighty. However, we do agree that God alone is worthy of worship and even the Bible reveals that God alone is to be worshipped. The problem with Jehovah’s Witnesses is that they believe Jesus was a good man and prophet, but Jesus, unlike other angels and prophets, accepted worship. If only God is to be worshiped and if Jesus accepts worship then it logically leads us to the conclusion that Jesus is God. There are multiple occasions when Jesus was worshipped like for example Matthew 28:9 – where women worshipped the risen Christ, Matthew 28:17 – Apostles worshipped him when Jesus appeared to them Galilee, Luke 24:52 – his disciples worshipped him in Bethany. Part of the problem also lies in the way the watchtower has changed the word ‘worship’. Eric Lyons, writing for Apologetics Press, explains

“Sadly, Jehovah’s Witnesses have attempted to circumvent the obvious references to Jesus accepting worship by changing the word “worship” in their New World Translation to “obeisance” every time the Greek word proskuneo (the most prominent word for worship in the New Testament) is used about Jesus. Over 30 times in the New World Translation (first published by the Jehovah’s Witnesses Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in 1950) proskuneo is correctly translated “worship” when God the Father is the recipient of glory and praise. This Greek word occurs 14 times in the New Testament about Jesus, yet not once do more recent editions of the New World Translation render it “worship;” instead, every time it is translated “obeisance.” Allegedly, Mary Magdalene, the apostles, the blind man whom Jesus healed, etc., never worshiped Jesus; rather, they only paid “obeisance” to Him.”[1]

We can easily make out the distinction between the two words ‘worship’ and ‘obeisance’. This speaks volume about how they have changed the word purposefully to deceive people into believing their lies.

 

Jesus is a created being

            Another favorite argument that the Jehovah’s Witnesses like to use is that Jesus was the firstborn of all creation. They refer to Colossians 1:15 so that they can propagate and solidify their belief. What we need to understand here is that Jesus was not the “first-created” since the very next verse states that He created all things. If he was a created being then he couldn’t have created all things. The other thing we need to remember is that the scripture teaches that firstborn either means supreme or preeminent and not first created. Responding to such claims, Sky Cline, the founder of evangelicalbible.com, explains

 

“Firstborn” doesn’t necessarily mean “first.”  King David is referred to in Scripture (Psalm 89:27) as the “firstborn,” though he had 7 older brothers!  David was not “first-created;” David was preeminent. Scripture teaches David was “firstborn” over all the kings of the earth. (Psalm 89:27)  Clearly, he was preeminent over all kings, not the first-created king. Israel is the LORD’s “firstborn son” (Exodus 4:22).  Israel was by no means the “first-created” people of God.  Many nations precede Israel.  Similarly in Jeremiah 31:9 the LORD says, “Ephraim is my firstborn son.”  Ephraim was not the LORD’s “first-created” son.  He was one of Joseph’s sons and became the name of the northern kingdom. Therefore it is abundantly clear that in Scripture firstborn does not mean first created.  This is a clear misunderstanding.” [2]

 

The other important fact that we need to understand is that their translation adds an extra “other” before “things”. So their translation reads something like this, “because by all means of him all other things were created.” But the problem here is that they insert such a word which isn’t present in any of the original Greek manuscripts in the first place. Neither heteros nor allos (translated ‘other’) is found in any of the original manuscripts. [3]

Apart from Colossians 1:15 they also use Revelation 3:14: “And to the angel of the congregation in Laodicea write: These are the things that the Amen says, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation by God.”  Their interpretation is that “the beginning of the creation by God” means Jesus was the first thing created by God. To understand this particular verse and the context, we need to understand the meaning of the word ‘arche’ which is the Greek for the beginning. That particular word has been used to denote the beginning of time as well as it is used for the ruler. Mike Licona, writing for bethinking, explains that,

 

“The Greek word for “beginning”, arche, is used in several ways. In John 1:1 it means the “beginning of time.” In Colossians 1:16 it means a “ruler.” In Revelation 3:14 arche can be used in a passive sense (he was created), or in an active sense (he was creating). The context provides no clue to what he means. So we look at other Scriptures. John 1:3 and Colossians 1:16 speak of Jesus as Creator and justify taking arche in the active sense. Unless the JWs can give you any Scriptures that speak of Jesus being created, they cannot use this verse as proof that he was.”[4]

 

Jesus said that Father is greater than He, so He cannot be God.

            Here the Jehovah’s witnesses miss out the very important fact that Jesus said this because his position was different from that of God the Father but not his nature. As we read in Galatians 4:4, it says that Jesus was under the law and Heb.2:9 mention that Jesus was made for a little while lower than the angels. Therefore, as a man, he was in a lesser position than the Father but wasn’t different in nature. This in itself explains why he grew in wisdom and stature. Matt Slick explains that,

 

“By comparison, a husband is the head of the family and the wife is not.  Though their positions are different, he has greater authority; their natures are the same.  This is how it works with Jesus.  His nature is the same as the Father, but he was sent by the Father (John 6:44) and was in a lesser position due to his incarnation and being under the Law.”[5]

 

Jesus is not Jehovah

            Jehovah’s witnesses are quick to argue that Jesus is not Jehovah but they forget that we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and therefore we acknowledge him as Yahweh. Paul in Ephesians 4:5 mentions that there is only “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” and in this very verse he is echoing what Zechariah said in Zechariah 14:9. The title “Lord” is used for Yahweh since Genesis 2 and because we are using it for Jesus we are acknowledging him as God. Yahweh is called Lord. Jesus is called Lord. Both Paul and Zechariah say there is only one Lord. Therefore, Jesus must be Yahweh. [6]

Robert Bowman argues that if we follow their Christology then most of the texts would change. For example if we look at Matthew 28:19, where Jesus told his followers to make disciples and to “baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit” and apply their Christology it would look something like this “Baptize disciples in the name of Jehovah the Almighty God, the name of God’s first created angelic son, and the name of God’s invisible active force.”  Similarly we can have a look at John 1:1,14: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” and if we apply their interpretation it would read as At the beginning of the creation of the physical world, Michael the archangel, who was God’s created Wisdom son, had already been created. He was with God and was himself a god, a lesser divine being. He later became a perfect man, Jesus.” Bowman explains this by comparing with other Non-Trinitarian views as well and shows how illogical they all sound. He goes on to mention that,

 

“With each biblical text, each Christology offers a different interpretation of the text. There is no such thing as simply “taking the text for what it says,” if by this is meant reading it without interpreting it. To read any text with comprehension means to place that text in a larger context of understanding or belief—to make sense of it in light of everything else you believe. It also means using words or concepts not found directly in the Bible to explain what the Bible means. The question is which of those interpretations best fits the text.

The next time you hear someone critical of the Trinitarian view of Christ claim a biblical text in support of their position, try to paraphrase that text in a way that expresses in a direct, explicit way what the non-Trinitarian thinks the text means. Doing so will help you understand and explain the issues more clearly. It will also help you show the non-Trinitarian that he needs to show that his view is correct rather than just raising apparent difficulties for the Trinitarian view of Jesus Christ.” [7]

 

J. Warner Wallace, a detective by profession and the famous writer of Cold case Christianity argues that the totality of the scripture teaches that Jesus is God. He summarizes the biblical evidence in brief as follows:

Jesus Claimed to Be God:
He Prefaced His Statements As Though He Was God
He Identified Himself With God’s Own Name (“I Am”)
He Said that He and the Father Were From the Same World
He Talked As Though He Was Equal With God
He Said That He and God Were One

Jesus Demonstrated that He Had the Nature of God:
He Demonstrated Omniscience
He Demonstrated Omnipresence
He Demonstrated Omnibenevolence
He Demonstrated Omnipotence

Jesus Was Worshiped As God by Those Who Knew Him:
The wise men worshiped him from the moment He was born
The leper worshiped Him at his healing
The synagogue ruler worshiped Him
The disciples worshiped him in the boat
The Canaanite woman worshiped Him
The mother of James and John worshiped Him
The blind man worshiped Him at his healing
The women worshiped Him at the empty tomb
The disciples worshiped Him at the Ascension.”[8]

 

With this sort of evidence where Scripture repeatedly describes Jesus as Divine, Jehovah’s witnesses cannot go about denying Jesus as God if they are for the truth.

Another Brilliant argument, which is airtight, is put forth by Tim Barnett of ‘Stand to Reason’. He uses two straightforward scripture passages from Jehovah’s Witness Bible and urges us not to use our Bible in this case. In doing so, he argues that it completely avoids the debate over whose translation is accurate. Another point that he makes is that the arguments will have a greater impact because you are using a book they believe is trustworthy. The other reason is that the JWs will never take your literature and read. So when you show them who Jesus using their own book, then they will take the truth with them. The first passage that he is talking about in Psalm 102:25-27. The Psalmist writes,

 

[25] Long ago you laid the foundations of the earth,
And the heavens are the work of your hands.
[26] They will perish, but you will remain;
Just like a garment they will all wear out.
Just like clothing you will replace them, and they will pass away.
[27] But you are the same, and your years will never end. 

 

Tim explains that we need to ask them who is this text about. If they know their scriptures they will answer that it is talking about Jehovah. Next thing is to focus on the description of Jehovah. He is talked about as the one who doesn’t change, he is immutable and finally that he is eternal. Once all this is sorted, it’s time to flip over to the New Testament and refer to Hebrews 1:10-12. He also emphasizes on establishing the context by starting back at verse 6, so that we can agree that these verses are speaking about the Son. Moving on from there, he explains

“At this point, I would also suggest passing over the dangling carrot in verse 8. Here the Father says to the Son, “Your throne, O God.” Of course, the NWT must reinterpret this passage to say, “God is your throne.” Also, verse 6 has the angels doing obeisance to the Son. Every modern translation uses the term worship. The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ presuppositions will not allow angels to worship Jesus, so they avoid the term.

            Putting these erroneous interpretations aside, you need to emphasize the beginning of verse 8, “But of the Son he says.” Now, still talking about the Son, the author of Hebrews continues:  

[10] And: “At the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands. [11] They will perish, but you will remain; and just like a garment, they will all wear out, [12] and you will wrap them up just as a cloak, as a garment, and they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will never come to an end.”   

            Do you recognize these words? This is a quote from Psalm 102:25-27. Remember that our new Jehovah’s Witness friend has already agreed that Psalm 102:25-27 is a description of the eternal, changeless, creator Jehovah. The “you” in Psalm 102:25-27 is Jehovah! Yet, the author of Hebrews, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, clearly attributes this same identification to the Son. The “you” in Hebrews 1:10-12 is Jesus! Therefore, Jesus is being identified as Jehovah. So is Psalm 102:25-27 about Jesus, or is it about Jehovah? The answer is, yes, because Jesus is Jehovah.”[9]

 

By doing so, we can easily establish the fact that Jesus, in fact, is Jehovah and therefore He is God.

 

Conclusion

            We have seen that the objections raised by Jehovah’s Witness are unsubstantiated and hold no water against the evidence that we have in the scriptures. We have established that Jesus is God and therefore He accepted worship. We also proved that Jesus is not a created being and Jesus is Jehovah himself. However, we need to be compassionate with them while having conversations and shouldn’t play games. We should care about their souls because they aren’t Christian and are lost. [10]

 

References 

[1] Lyons, Eric. 2015. “Jehovah’s witnesses and the Worship of Jesus.” Accessed July 17, 2019. http://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1206

[2] Cline, Sky. 2019. “Jehovah Witness And The Deity Of Christ.” Accessed July 18, 2019. https://evangelicalbible.com/apologetics/jehovah-witness-and-the-deity-of-christ/

[3] Sala, Nate. 2015. “A Conversation with Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Accessed July 19, 2019. https://clearlens.org/a-conversation-with-jehovahs-witnesses/

[4] Licona, Mike. 1998. “What to say to Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Accessed July 18, 2019. https://www.bethinking.org/jehovahs-witnesses/what-to-say-to-jehovahs-witnesses/3-biblical-texts-against

[5] Slick, Matt. 2009. “Responding to the Jehovah’s Witness attacks on the deity of Christ.” Accessed July 19, 2019. https://carm.org/responding-to-jehovahs-witness-attacks-on-the-deity-of-christ

[6] SNU missions. 2019. “Responses to Jehovah’s witnesses.” Accessed July 19, 2019. http://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/jehovahf.htm

[7] Bowman, Robert. 2017. “What’s in Your Christology? Comparing Trinitarian and Nontrinitarian Views of Jesus Christ.” Accessed July 19, 2019. https://robertbowman.net/2017/10/01/whats-in-your-christology-comparing-trinitarian-and-nontrinitarian-views-of-jesus-christ/

[8] Wallace, Warner. J. 2014. “10 IMPORTANT QUESTIONS FOR THE JEHOVAH’s WITNESS WORLDVIEW.” Accessed July 19, 2019. https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/some-important-questions-for-the-jehovahs-witness-worldview/

[9] Barnett, Tim. 2015. “An Argument for Jehovah’s Witnesses: Jesus is Jehovah.” Accessed July 19, 2019. https://www.str.org/articles/an-argument-for-jehovah-s-witnesses-jesus-is-jehovah#.XS2aiuszbIU

[10] Piper, John. 2017. “How to Talk to Jehovah’s Witnesses about Jesus.” Accessed July 19, 2019. https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/in-the-beginning-was-the-word/excerpts/how-to-talk-to-jehovahs-witnesses-about-jesus

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