home   about us    doctrinal statement   seminars   products     contact us  

 

 

 

 

A Concise Look at the Deity of Jesus Christ

 

 En archē ēn ho logos, kai ho logos ēn pros ton theon, kai theos ēn ho logos   

 

It is observably clear that in every book of the New Testament the deity and humanity of the Person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was taught implicitly or explicitly. The Person and nature of the risen Savior Christ defines the orthodox Christian religion. He is God the Son, the Lord of glory, “perfect God and perfect man, of a rational soul and a body” (Council of Ephesus) Since the Founder and thus, Cornerstone of Christianity is Jesus Christ, any such denial or distortion of the biblical revelation of either His Person, nature (God-man), or finished work is a denial of “the true God and eternal a life” (1 John 5:20).


 

See also: The Substance & Essence of Jesus Christ and Jesus was Worshiped as God  



I Jesus is God in the Old Testament

 

Angels of the LORD references (Christophanies)

 

Daniel 7:9-14

 

Old Testaments Prophesies

Immanuel: "The God with us" (Isa. 7:14)

He will be called: "Mighty God" (Isa. 9:6)

 



II Jesus is God in the New Testament

John 1:1-3 John 1:18 

John 5:17-18: The Son of God—in Essence (i.e., God the Son)

John 10:30; John 20:28
 
Colossians 2:9;  Philippians 2:5-11;

 

Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter1:1;  Granville Sharp's Greek Grammar Rule #1
  

Hebrew 1:3
, Hebrews 1:8

 

Jesus Christ: The Eternal, egō eimi, "I am"
 
Jesus as the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, and the Beginning and the End
  

Jesus is called “The God” (ho theos)

 

Jesus was Worshiped as God in a Religious context 

 

Jesus as YHWH: Old Testament passages of referring to YHWH (Jehovah) applied specifically to Jesus Christ, the Son,

in the New Testament  

 

    
Historically, the deity of Christ was not a peripheral issue--rather they saw it as essential to Christian faith. The church Fathers from late first century onward, taught and defended the full deity and humanity of Jesus Christ (as God-man) against heretics who introduced teachings that were opposed to the regula fide, that is, "rule of faith"
1 for the church.

 

   

Jesus is identified as YHWH in the Old Testament

 


Angel of the LORD References (Christophanies)


Old Testaments Prophesies


Immanuel: "The God with us" (Is. 7:14)

He will be called: "Mighty God" (Is. 9:6)
 

 

 

 

Christophanies: The Angel of the LORD

 

    In the Old Testament we read of: "the angel of the LORD." This angel (lit. messenger) claim to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (cf. Exod. 3:1-6). He claimed to be the great "I Am" (LXX. egō eimi ho ōn,  "I am the One") in Exodus 3:13-14. In Genesis 22, we see the angel of the LORD instructing Abraham as to the sacrifice of his son Isaac. In verse 12, the angel of the LORD told Abraham, "I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son. . . .  from me." In Genesis 31:11 the angel of God (the angel of "God" or "LORD" are used interchangeably in the OT) called Jacob in a dream. And in verse 13 the angel of God said, "I am the God of Bethel. . . . " Clearly then, the angel of the LORD or God, claimed to be God Almighty Himself (see also Gen. 32:22-30; Judg. 6:11-22, 13:17-22).

 

This angel could not have been the God the Father, Scripture is clear: NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN THE FATHER AT ANY TIME (cf. John 1:18; 1 Tim. 6:16; 1 John 4:12). God the Father is invisible (cf. Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 1:17). So if this angel of the LORD is not the Father (nor is it the Holy Spirit)2  who then? The most probable answer is that this angel was the pre-incarnate Jesus. In Zechariah 1:12 the angel of the LORD (Jesus Christ) prays to the LORD Almighty (Father) demonstrating a clear distinction. It is Christ who reveals, that is, explains the Father (cf. John 1:18). And in the New Testament we do not find "the" angel of the Lord only "an" (indefinite) angel of the Lord. Hence, I would assert, as others, that it was Jesus Christ the Eternal Word (pre-incarnate) who was the angel of the LORD in the Old Testament. No agent of God, angel, prophet, or judge  can make these claims.

Old Testament Prophesies

 

    The coming Messiah, of course, is repetitiously foretold in the Old Testament. On the road to Emmaus, Jesus was dialoguing with two disciples, whom God kept from recognizing Jesus. They had told Jesus what had happen after the crucifixion and they were downcast. But then Jesus said: 

How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself (Luke 24:13-27; emphasis added). 

And when Jesus met with the rest of His disciples, He after which explained that He was the entire theme of the Old Testament:

"This is what I told you while I was with you: Every thing must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms" (ibid., v. 44; emphasis added).

 


Immanuel: "The God with us"

The prophets of the Old Testament predicted that the coming Christ would be God:

Therefore the LORD himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Isa. 7:14).

Matthew interprets this passages and applies it to Jesus Christ:

And all this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said though the prophet: 'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel'- which means "God with us" (Matt. 1:22-23).

It should be pointed out that the Watchtower's own Greek text called: The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (hereafter: KIT)3 reads: "they will call the name of him Immanuel; which is being translated With us the God" (lit., rendering).



He will be called: "Mighty God"

Two chapters later, Isaiah prophesies concerning the character of the coming Christ:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God [El gibbor]4 Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. . . .(Isa. 9:6; emphasis added).

The prophets understood that the coming Christ would be God. It should also be brought out to the JWs that in the Old Testament the Hebrew phrase El gibbor was applied to YHWH (cf. Deut. 10:17; Ps. 24:8; Jer. 32:18). In Isaiah, many times El denoted the true YHWH contrasted to false El's  (e.g., 43:10; 44:10).  Note Targum rendering:

 

“The prophet said to the house of David, For unto us a child is born [Heb yeled yalad], unto us a Son is given, and He has taken the law upon Himself to keep it. His name is called from eternity, Wonderful, The Mighty God, who liveth to eternity, The Messiah, whose peace shall be great upon us in His days.” (Jonathan b. Uzziel; emphasis added)

 

YHWH is called El gibbor in Isaiah 10:21. Thus, ask the JW: If El gibbor ("Mighty God") means less than the Almighty God, then, how is it that Jehovah can be called El gibbor in Isaiah 10:21 (NWT)?   

 

 


JESUS IS GOD IN THE NEW TESTAMENT


John 1:1-3 John 1:18; John 5:17-18: The Son of God—in Essence (i.e., God the Son); John 10:30; John 20:28

 

Jesus Christ: The Eternal, egō eimi, "I am"


Jesus as the "Alpha and Omega," the "First and the Last," and the "Beginning and the End"

 

Colossians 2:9;  Philippians 2:5-11; Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter1:1;  Granville Sharp's Greek Grammar Rule #1
 

Hebrew 1:3 Hebrews 1:8


Jesus is called “The God” (ho theos)


Jesus was Worshiped as God in a Religious context 


Jesus as YHWH: Old Testament passages of referring to YHWH (Jehovah) applied specifically to Jesus Christ, the Son,

in the New Testament  

 

 

The New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old. No one can come to the New Testament, without any predilections, and not discover clearly that JESUS IS GOD. The full deity of Jesus Christ is taught unequivocally and plainly. Hence, that is why the NWT tortures the text specifically in passages that clearly present Jesus Christ as the ETERNAL GOD. Let us therefore, examine some of the plain passages that do so.

 


JOHN 1:1-3

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God [en archē ēn ho logos, kai ho logos ēn pros ton theon, kai theos ēn ho logos]. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made (emphasis added)

These passages are exegetically clear: 

 

 

1. Jesus (the "Word"; cf. v. 14) was eternal: Grammatically the verb translated "was" (ēn) ("In the beginning was the Word")  is an imperfect tense indicating continued existence in this context. Hence, the Word was eternal, without origin. The grammar is clear: Jesus did not have a beginning nor was He created at some point in time (as JWs teach). 

 

2. The Word was fully God (1:1c;  theos ēn ho logos; also see John 1:18; 20:28; 1 John 5:20).  

 

3. Jesus was the Creator, (1:3). He made ALL THINGS ( panta di' autou, "all things through Him," ; dia with the gen., same as in Col. 1:16-17; 1 Cor. 8:6l; and Heb. 1:2). In fact, the deity of Christ is so plain that the NWT had to change John 1:1c to read: "and the Word was a god."

 

Of course, the insertion of an indefinite article ("a") inexorably teaches that Jesus is one god of many gods and hence violates the clear monotheism of God's Word. The idea of a big God and a little "g" god was a pagan construct not Christian. From Genesis to Revelation: There is only ONE TRUE ETERNAL GOD.  

 

 

 Note: For a grammatical and contextual analysis of John 1:1, see my article:
The New World Translation and the Gospel of John.

 

Accordingly, throughout church history, John 1:1 has been successfully used to demonstrate that Jesus Christ, the eternal Word, was fully God. The early church also used the passage to refute heresies that denied, in some way, the Person and nature of Jesus Christ as taught in Scripture.

 

Clement of Alexandria (c. A.D. 195):

That the Son was always the Word is signified by saying, 'In the beginning was the Word' (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, 2.574).

Hippolytus (c. A.D. 205):

If, then the Word was with God and was also God, what follows? Would one say that I speak of two Gods? I will not indeed speak of two Gods, but of one. I speak of two Persons, however, and of a third Economy-the grace of the Holy Spirit (ibid., 5.228)

Origen (c. A.D. 228):

The arrangement of the sentences seem to indicate an order. First we have, 'In the beginning was the Word.' Next, 'And the Word was with God.' And thirdly, 'And the Word was God.' It was arranged this way so that it might be seen that it is the Word's being with God that makes Him God (ibid., 9.323)

The Word that was in the beginning with God (who is also very God) may come to us (ibid., 4. 449)

Tertullian (c. A.D. 213):

The Word was in the beginning 'with God,' the Father. It was not the Father who was with the Word. For although the Word was God, He was with God, for He is God of God (ibid., 3.610)

Now, if He too is God, for according to John, 'The Word was God,' then you have two Beings-One who commands that the thing to be made, and the other who creates. In what sense, however, you ought to understand Him to be another. I have already explained: on the ground of personality, not of substance. And in the way of distinction, not of division. I must everywhere hold only one substance, in three coherent and inseparable [persons] (ibid., 3. 607)

Commenting on John 1:1, Reformed theologian, Benjamin B. Warfield states:

According to the predicates which he [John] here applies to Him he can mean by the "Word" nothing else but God Himself, "considered in His creative, operative, self-revealing, and communicating character," the sum total of what is Divine (C. F. Schmid). In three crisp sentences he declares at the outset His eternal subsistence, His eternal intercommunion with God, His eternal identity with God: 'In the beginning the Word was; and the Word was with God; and the Word was God' (Jn. i. 1). . . .  He was not was nevertheless not a separate being from God: "And the Word was"-still the eternal "was" - "God." In some sense distinguishable from God, He was in an equally true sense identical with God. There is but one eternal God; this eternal God, the Word is; in whatever sense we may distinguish Him from the God whom He is "with," He is yet not another than this God, but Himself is this God… John would have us realize that what the Word was in eternity was not merely God's coeternal fellow, but the eternal God's self (emphasis added).5

Biblical scholar, David J. Ellis, explains further:

The fullness of the Godhead and the Word are identified. The active Word immanent in the world is no less God than the transcendent God beyond all time and space. The absence of the definite article in front of 'God' taken by some to mean that the Word possessed something less than full deity, implies, however, that other persons exists outside the second Person of the Trinity6

From the first century to the present, Christians have used and enjoyed John 1:1 as a clear proof-text that affirms the Person and nature of Jesus Christ.


 


JOHN 1:18

"No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explain Him" (NASB).

Some translations read, "the only begotten Son" (e.g., KJV; emphasis added). However, the earliest and best Greek manuscripts along with patristic (i.e., church Fathers) quotations, support the reading the "only begotten God" (monogenēs theos).7 The term "only begotten" or as the NIV reads, "One and Only" is from the Greek word "monogenēs," monos meaning "alone" or "only" and genos meaning "kind" or "type" (cf. BDAG).

 

See Hebrews 11:17, where Isaac is called Abraham's "only-begotten" (monogenē) and yet Abraham had another son (Ishmael). Thus, Isaac was the "unique son" from who "his descendents will be called." Therefore in John 1:18, Jesus is the "unique God," who explains or reveals God the Father (cf. John. 14:6-11; also cf. Isa. 6:1ff with John 12:41).  

Also what intensifies John's assertion of the deity of Christ is the articular presence tense participle phrase ho ōn, translated, "who is." Where Jesus’ eternal existence is shown: who is [ho ōn, “the One always being ] in the bosom of the Father.”

 

 

Here the active present tense participle ōn (“being”) is used to denote that God the Son, was always “being” (pre-existing) in the bosom of the Father. The participle ōn is from the verb eimi (“I am/exist”). Referring to John 1:18, systematic theologian, Robert Reymond remarks in the significance of the articular participle: “The present participle ho ōn . . . indicates a continuing state of being: ‘who is continually in the bosom of the Father’” (Systematic Theology, 1998, 303).  

 

The Apostle Paul also uses the articular participle in Romans 9:5 to denote the timeless existence of the Son: “Whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is [ho ōn, i.e., “the One who is/being always”] over all, God blessed forever. Amen” (emphasis added).

 

As mentioned, the participle ōn is from the verb eimi (“I am/exist”). Jesus used this verb (egō eimi, “I am”) at several different places with no predicate to affirm His eternal existence as God (at John 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:5, 6, and v. 8). So here at verse 18, John states that Jesus Christ is always (ho ōn, “who is,” thus, “the One who is/being always”) at the Father bosom. Hence, there never was time when God the Son did not exist: No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”

 

We also find the use of the present active participle ōn, in contexts where the deity of the Son is clearly in view. In Hebrews 1:3, the present active participle (i.e., hos ōn, “who being”) “marks the Son’s continuous action of being, which denotes total and full deity” says Robertson (Word Pictures, 5:17-18; cf. M. C. Tenney, “The Gospel of John,” in Expositor's Bible Commentary [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981], 9:34).

    

 

John 5:17-18: The Son of God—in Essence (i.e., God the Son)

 Unitarian groups deny that Jesus’ claim to be the “Son of God” was in fact a claim of deity. Muslims, for example, are taught that Jesus was only speaking metaphorically when He referred to Himself as the Son of God (cf. John 10:36). In other words, Muslims and JWs argue that Jesus was the Son of God by doing good works, being humble, glorifying God the Father, representing God, etc. thus denying that Jesus was the “one and only” (monogenēs) Son in a unique sense. They further point out that in both the Old Testament and New Testament, “son(s) of God” was applied to both angels and men (cf. Gen. 6:2; Job 1:6; Luke 3:38). So, as they argue, when Jesus claimed to be God’s Son, it could not have been a title of deity. In response, however,  

1.      The meaning of biblical words and phrases are determined by the context (as with the term Elohim). In a Semitic (Jewish) context, to be the “son of” something meant that one possesses or shares the nature of that something. In Ephesians 2:2-3, for example, the unsaved are said to be the “sons of disobedience . . . by nature children of wrath” in that they possess the nature of disobedience and wrath. Unbelievers are sons of the devil (cf. John 8:44), whereas believers are sons of God by adoption (cf. Eph. 1:5), through faith (cf. Gal. 3:26).  

2.      “Son of God” in nature. Even though the phrase “son(s) of God” was applied to angels and men, when applied to Jesus, it was in a context of essence or nature. Whereas Christians are sons of God by adoption, Jesus is the Son of God by nature—which was a clear claim of deity.    

3.      John 5:17-18: Son of God = God the Son.  One of the best examples of where Jesus’ claim to be the “Son of God” denoted ontological (viz. in very nature) equality with God is found in the Gospel of John chapter 5. In verse 17, Jesus affirms: “My Father has been working until now (He is always working), and I have been working.” This was Jesus’ response to the charges brought against Him: The Father’s creative activity stop after six days, but not His governing and upholding the universe. However, the Son’s activity of mediating, rewarding, punishing, etc. keeps on going. Then we read in verse 18: “For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He was not only breaking the Sabbath, but He was also calling God His Father, making Himself equal with God” (emphasis added). The Jews (and the Apostle John) clearly understood that by claiming God was His Father (i.e., the Son of God), Jesus was claiming to be “equal with God.”

      This is especially confirmed by the response of the Jews to Jesus’ claim: “For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He was . . . calling God His Father, making Himself equal with God” (emphasis added). Note in John 19:7, the Jews response to Jesus’ recurring claims of being God’s Son: “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.” Again, this sharply opposes the position of those who assert that Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God was not a claim to be equal with God. There is one more notable feature in this text. The verbs translated, “breaking” (eluen, lit., “relaxing”) and “calling” (elegen) as in “calling God His Father” are both in the imperfect tense. The force of an imperfect tense indicates a continuous or repeated action normally occurring in the past.  Thus, this was not the first time Jesus claimed God was His Father in the sense of essence.  Apparently, He had been making (repeating) this claim.

As will discussed below, whereas Jesus affirms that He is the Son of God, God the Father affirms that Jesus is God the Son in the prologue of Hebrews by directly addressing the "Son" as ho theos ("the God"; v. 8) and the unchangeable Creator, the YHWH of Ps. 10:25-17 (vv. 10-12). 

 

 JOHN 10:30: “I and the Father are one"

Egō kai ho patēr hen esmen.

 Both historically and in present-day, Christians have rightfully pointed to this passage to show that Jesus Christ claimed equality with God the Father: “I and the Father are one.”  As with Jesus’ other undeniable claims to be equal God (cf. John 5:17-18; 8:58-59 et al), the response of the Jews in verse 10:33 is an irrefutable confirmation of Jesus’ claim of being equal with God—God Himself: “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God” (emphasis added). However, it is not merely in verse 30 where we see Jesus claiming to be equal with God. Rather, it is the passages leading up to verse 30 that prove His claim of absolute. In verses 27-29, Jesus claims that He is the Shepherd and He gives His sheep eternal life and no one can snatch them from His or His Father’s hand.

Now, the Jews were well acquainted with Psalm 95:7: “For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.” Knowing that only YHWH can make this claim of having sheep in His hand as well as giving them eternal life (cf. Deut. 32:39; Isa. 43:11), when Jesus made this noticeably divine claim and then added, “I and the Father are one,” it’s easy to understand the response of the Jews: “You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” If Jesus was only claiming to be “one” with the Father in the sense of mere representation as with judges or Moses, Jesus’ claim would not have warranted blasphemy (cf. Lev. 24:16). Jesus claimed the exclusive attributes of YHWH (vv. 27-29) then claimed He was one in essence with the Father, which naturally prompted the Jews to stone Him for blasphemy—for making Himself out to be God.




JOHN 20:28

Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hands and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing." Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God' "

Notice first that Jesus is called “the God.” The Greek reads: Apekrithē Thōmas kai eipen autō, ho kurios mou kai ho theos mou (lit., “Answered Thomas and said to Him: the Lord of me and the God of me”). [1] Here Thomas addresses Jesus as “the Lord” and “the God.” In the LXX of Psalm 34:23 (Eng. 35:23), a near identical phrase is used to address YHWH[2]: “Stir up Yourself, and awake to my right And to my cause, my God and my Lord (emphasis added). The LXX renders the last phrase as, ho theos mou kai ho kurios mou (lit., “the God of me and the Lord of me”).[3]

The typical response of the JWs here is that the phrase “my Lord and my God” was Thomas merely expressing excitement or surprise seeing Jesus (something like, “Oh my God!). Of course, the argument is completely destroyed by the fact that first, Thomas was directly addressing Jesus: “he [Thomas] said to Him.” The phrase translated “to Him” is from the Greek personal pronoun autō.[4] The reason why it is translated (in virtually every translation) as “to Him” (even in the NWT) is due to the pronoun being in the dative case, thus, something Thomas said “to Jesus.”[5]

 And second, if the phrase, “the Lord of Me and the God of me” as the literal Greek reads, was merely a statement of excitement used in the presence of Jesus, a perfect Rabbi, Thomas would have certainly been rebuked by Jesus on the spot for taking the Lord’s name in vain (cf. Exod. 20:7). In other words, if Jesus were not “the Lord” and “the God,” He would have not only corrected Thomas (as the angel corrected John in Rev. 19:10)[6], but He would have also rebuked him for addressing a creature as “the Lord and the God.”

 

However, Jesus’ silence is tantamount to acceptance and consent as God.[7] When Thomas said those words to Jesus, He was not rebuked, rather he was blessed: “Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed’” (John 20:29).

 


Notes for John 20:28

[1] The same reading is found in the WT’s Greek interlinear: The Kingdom Interlinear Translation).

[2] YHWH is the Hebrew proper name for the LORD, called Tetragrammaton, which in Greek means,  a word having four letters, with the vowel points, YHWH.

[3] In Revelation 4:11 we have a very similar phrase to that of 20:28 where theos is in the nominative case with the vocative force, that is, in direct address: “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God” (axios ei, ho kurios kai ho theos hēmōn, lit., “Worthy are [You], the Lord and the God of us”). Here we have both kurios and theos in the nominative case, but used with the vocative force (i.e., direct address) by the “twenty-four elders” (v. 10), as with John 20:28 and the countless other examples. Also similar to John 20:28 (“my Lord and my God”) is Psalm 5:2, which is directly addressed to YHWH: “my King and my God.”

[4] The personal pronoun autō is the dative of autos (“him”).

[5] The phrase eipen autō or eipan/ eipon autō (“said to him”) is used frequently in John’s Gospel to clearly denote direct address (e.g., John 3:26; 4:52-53; 5:14; 7:3; 21:17; 21:19).

[6] When the Apostles John “fell at the angel’s feet to worship him in Revelation 19:10, the angel immediately admonished him: “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. . . .”

[7] Note the non-acceptance divine praise/worship in Acts 14:8-18 and Revelation 19:9-10: “Worship God [only]”.

 

 

 

PHILIPPIANS 2:6-11

 

    The task of the Christian exegete is to seek-out the plain meaning of the text. After all, it is not what we think the passage may or may not mean but what was the author's intention and meaning. Philippians 2:5-11, is an early and beautiful Christian hymn. In seven short verses, the Person, nature and finished work of Jesus Christ is so clearly expressed.

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (NIV; emphasis added).

The word "being" (huparchōn) is a present tense participle, which indicates: continuous existence or continually subsisting. Hence, Jesus did not become God at a certain point in time. He was always existing as God just as Paul indicates.

    Concerning the term "nature" (morphē) or as the NASB and KJV translates, "form," theologian, Charles Ryrie notes that the word nature (morphē) in the Greek connotes:

that which is intrinsic and essential to the thing. Thus here [Phil. 2:6, 7] it means that our Lord in His preincarnate state possessed essential deity9

Rev. Benjamin B. Warfield, Reformed theologian and Professor of Didactic and Polemic Theology in the Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church in the US, at Princeton comments on the word morphē, as used in Philippians 2:6:

Paul does not simply say, 'He was God.' He says, 'He was in the form of God,' employing a turn of speech which throws emphasis upon Our Lord's possession of the specific quality of God. 'Form' is a term which expresses the sum of those characterizing qualities which make a thing the precise thing that it is… And 'the form of God' is the sum of the characteristics which make the being we call 'God,' specifically God, rather than some other being-an angel, say, or a man. When Our Lord is said to be in 'the form of God,' therefore, He is declared, in the most express manner possible, to be all that God is, to possess the whole fullness of attributes which make God God10

That one denies that Jesus was truly the morphē (nature) of God is to deny that Jesus was truly the morphē of man (same word used in verse 7: "taking the very "nature" (morphē) of a servant").

 

For a more expanded treatment of Philippians 2:6-11 go here

 

 

 

 

 

 

COLOSSIANS 2:9

 

 

 "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form"

 

hoti en autō katoikei pan to plērōma tēs theotētos sōmatikōs  

 

 

 Historically Paul's letter to the Colossians was a pointed refutation against Gnosticism. Paul was very concern of the heretical teachings that were creeping into the church. Paul specifically refutes the Gnostic teaching that asserted Jesus was not the supreme ETERNAL GOD in flesh. The Gnostic Jesus was a "lesser god," that is, an emanation from the supreme God. According Gnosticism, the supreme God was pure spirit. Hence, spirit is good and all "matter" or the material world was inherently evil, thus, God or anything good cannot, really, dwell in flesh. Therefore, Jesus, to the Gnostics, only "seemed" to posses a body. The Apostle John also deals with this error, in 1 John 4:1 and 2 John 7:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that that Jesus has come [elēluthota (perfect tense); lit. "has come and remains] in the flesh is from God. . . . 

many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming [erchomenon; (present tense); lit. "and remaining"] in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist (1 John 4:1-2; 2 John 7; emphasis added).

Bearing that in mind, we can understand plainly as to why the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, choose this specific wording in this verse. The verse is clear: Jesus is fully God in human flesh. This idea, God becoming flesh, was a sickening thought to the Gnostics of the day.  Because of the clarity of verse, in terms of demonstrating the deity of Christ, it caused great difficulty for JWs who endlessly denied this. Hence, the JWs change it.

 

Contrary to the Greek the NWT translates Colossians 2:9 as: "In him that all the fullness of divine quality dwells bodily (emphasis added):   

hoti              en   autō      katoikei  pan   to      plērōma    tes  theotētos   sōmatikōs
because       in   Him       dwells     all    the     fullness of the   Deity          bodily 

The NWT uses the phrase, "divine quality" (theiotēs) which means "divinity" as with angels or things that are "godlike" as the word (theiotēs) is used in Romans 1:20. However, the adjective theiotēs is derived from theios. Whereas the word theotētos is derived from theos (God). There is a qualitative difference of these two Greek terms.

 

 

Recognized Greek lexicographer, Joseph Thayer, defines (translated from Grimms lexicon) theotētos as: "the state of being God."8 In fact he comments on the difference of the two words:

"theot. deity differs from theiot. divinity, as essence differs from quality or attribute; cf. Fritzsche on Rom. I. 20.]" (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament), 288.

That no Greek scholars were involved in the making of their NWT is obvious when one analyzes the NWT. 

Keep in mind that chapter 1:16-17 presents Jesus as the Creator of all things as John did in John 1:3; and as the author of Hebrews did in 1:2 and especially verses 10-12, which proves that Jesus was indeed God.   

For further exegetical  analysis on Colossians 2:9 see:  NWT

 

 

 


TITUS 2:13 and 2 PETER 1:1


(The Granville Sharp's Greek Rule #1)

 

JWs would have us believe that the apostles (who were monotheistic Jews) held to the same teaching that they do: Jesus was a created little "g" god, a second god. That the apostles believed in two true Deities does not follow as well as controverts the Old Testament teaching: THERE IS ONE TRUE GOD. The great error of Watchtower thinking (along with the Mormons) is the assertion of more than one true God, thus forcing polytheism into Scripture. The Apostle Paul, who was completely monotheistic (e.g., 1 Cor. 8:4-6; Gal. 4:8; 1 Tim. 2:5), writes:

 

looking for that blessed hope an the appearing of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus (NASB; emphasis added)

And notice, the same phrase "God and Savior" is utilized by the Apostle Peter uses:

by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:1; emphasis added)


Even in the face of the plain reading of the verse, the JWs will forcefully argue that this verse is not saying that Jesus is God and Savior, only that Jesus the "Savior," "God" they explain, is referring to the Father. In other words, they say, that in this verse there are two Persons that are being referred to: Jesus ("Savior")  and the Father ("the great God"). This is partly due because of the way their Bible, and the KJV,
11 translates the verse:

while we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of [the] Savior of us, Christ Jesus" (Titus 2:13; NWT; emphasis added).

And 2 Peter 1:1:

by the righteousness of our God and [the] Savior Jesus Christ (NWT; emphasis added).


With no grammatical justification at all, the NWT inserts the article "the" preceding the word "Savior." Contrary to the Greek which does not contain the article before "Savior" which, as we will see, is highly significant to the meaning. Now, if the verses had been written that way in Greek, then, it really would be saying that there are two Persons being spoken of here: God the Father and Jesus, the Savior. The NWT does put brackets around the article "the" admitting that it was not originally in the text. 


Starting with Titus 2:13, let us read the verse in the Greek (Eng. below): 

prosdechomenoi  tēn   makarian   elpida   kai    epiphaneian   tēs      doxēs
 expecting         the    blessed     hope   and     appearance    of the    glory
tou      megalou   theou   kai    sōtēros    hēmōn    Iēsou Christou
of the  great    God  and   Savior   of us    Jesus  Christ   

And 2 Peter 1:1:

en     dikaiosunē         tou       theou     hēmōn      kai     sōtēros    Iēsou   Christou 
in      righteousness  of the   God    of us     and   Savior  Jesus   Christ

 

 

 Now keep in mind, in the Watchtower's Greek text (KIT) has the same Greek rendering for both Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1.    These two verses grammatically and unequivocally speak for themselves: JESUS IS THE GREAT GOD AND SAVIOR. Hence I will stress this point again and again: The Watchtower has no Greek scholars in their organization. Naively then, they argue that the above verses are really speaking of two Persons: the Father and Jesus. However we must submit to the intended meaning of the authors and not read into a meaning that, we feel fits our own theology. Especially in light of grammar of the Greek, in which Paul and Peter wrote. Additionally by the JWs interpretation of Titus 2:13, requires that both the Father and Son are the referent to the "glorious manifestation" that we eagerly await. But Scripture teaches no where that both the Father and the Son will be appearing. Jesus will be coming back for His church. There is no passage in Scripture that says that the Father will be coming back.




Granville Sharp Greek Grammar Rule #1

 

    The grammar of the Greek cannot be missed. As said, if the article ("the") appeared before "Savior" in the Greek text, then, and only then can we justify the "two Persons" argument asserted by the JWs.  But there is not. Specifically though, these verses fall under an important Greek rule: Granville Sharp #1 (however there are six Sharp rules). Also known as the TSKS rule (i.e., "The"-"Substantive"-"Kai"-"Substantive"). Sharp's Greek rule simply stated: When the copulative kai ("and") connects two personal nouns ("God," "Savior") which are singular and not proper nouns12 both nouns refer to the first-named person.13

If the JWs insist that these verses cannot possibly be referring to only Jesus, please read to them, even from their Bible (NWT) 2 Peter 1:11; 2:20, 3:18:

the entrance to the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:11; NWT; emphasis added).

 

Certainly if, after escaped from the defilements of the world by an accurate knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2:20; NWT; emphasis added).

 

go on growing in the undeserved kindness and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (3:18; NWT; emphasis added).

No one would say that these verses above are speaking of two Persons. And the Greek construction is virtually the same at Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1. Notice, 2 Peter 1:1 compared to verse 11:


	Verse 1:       tou      theou    hēmōn    kai       sōtēros  Iēsou   Christou
                 	 of the    God      of us       and       Savior   Jesus   Christ


	           Verse 11:    tou      kuriou   hēmōn    kai      sōtēros    Iēsou  Christou
                            of the     Lord     of us      and       Savior      Jesus   Christ

 

The JWs will admit that "Lord and Savior" in verses 1:11, 2:20 and 3:18 are in reference to Jesus only. But these verses are the same Granville Sharp TSKS constructions as 2 Peter 1:1 and Titus 2:13. This is, I found, is a great witnessing point to demonstrate that Jesus is "the God." You would do well to pick up their Greek text the KIT. You can get it just by calling your local Kingdom Hall. But obtain a KIT before you have Bible study with them.

 

 



HEBREWS 1:3

 

    The prologue in the letter to the Hebrews is pregnant with theology. It is highly Christological comparing Jesus Christ with the things that are created. For He is the Creator, everything else is created (John 1:3; Col. 15-17; Heb. 1:2). Hebrews 1:3, teaches clearly that Jesus is of the same substance or nature as God the Father.

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation [charaktēr] of His nature [hupostaseōs]. . . 


    The JWs, as well as the Mormons, say that Jesus is not the same substance or nature as God the Father, however the author of Hebrews expressively contradicts that idea.  Jesus is the, "exact representation of God the Father's nature. . . ." (charaktēr tes hupostaseōs). "Hupostaseōs" denotes nature or substance. "Charaktēr" denotes, exact or perfect expression of God. Only God (the Son) can perfectly and exactly represent God (the Father). Creatures such as Michael the archangel, as the JWs assert Jesus to be, cannot do so. For Jesus is the very image of the invisible God (cf. Col. 1:15).  We must be careful though when explaining Hebrews 1:3. The JWs constantly accuse Christians of believing in Modalism, which is the heretical belief that Jesus is the Father. However, Hebrews 1:1-14 clearly differentiates Jesus from the Father. Jesus is of the same substance or nature as God the Father, as stated in Hebrews, however they are clearly distinct Persons. As the first part of the Athanasius Creed declares:

We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance.



 HEBREWS 1:8

[8] But of the Son He says [pros de ton huion], “YOUR THRONE, O GOD [ho thronos sou ho theos], IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM.

In these passages, we read that the Father directly addresses the “Son.”

   To avoid the clear teaching that Jesus Christ is God, many anti-Trinitarians deliberately misquote the Greek here. Example the Watchtower's Bible, NWT, reads: 

But with reference to the Son: God is your throne forever and ever, and the scepter of your kingdom is the specter of uprightness (emphasis added).

Contrary to the NWT's rendering, never in Scripture is God said to be somebody's throne! Of course, if the Watchtower had not tampered with the text, this passage would cut right through their most taught and hence  primary doctrine that Jesus is not God. Moreover, never has there been any Rabbi or Jewish Old Testament commentary that agrees with the Watchtower's "way of doing things." 

 

NOTE: For an expanded exegetical response to the denial of the Son being addressed as ho theos "the God" in Hebrews 1:8 Go Here. 

 

 

 

 

 



Jesus Christ: The Eternal
Egō Eimi, "I Am"

 

    In the New Testament, Jesus claimed Himself to be the great "I am." In fact, there are seven (possibly eight counting Mark 6:50) "I AM" absolute claims (gram. at end of the clause) made by Jesus (cf. Mark 6:50; John 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:5-6, 8). Jesus' absolute "I AM" claims were not some kind of ambiguous esoteric statement. The full import of the phrase egō eimi is directly connected to the Hebrew phrase ani hu. The Hebrew phrase ani hu (“I am He”) is translated by the LXX14  as egō eimi, "I am." This phrase was a frequent title for YHWH (e.g., Deut. 32:39; Isa. 41:4; 43:10; 46:4). Thus, the Jews understood clearly that  egō eimi was a title reserved for YHWH alone.

"See now that I, I am He [egō eimi],  And there is no god besides Me…" (Deut. 32:39; NASB; "He" is not in the LXX; emphasis added).

 

"Who has performed and accomplished it, Calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, am the first, and with the last. I am He [egō eimi]" (Is. 41:4; NASB; "He" is not in the LXX; emphasis added).

Also, in Isaiah 43:10 the LORD declares:

"Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: That ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he [egō eimi], before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me" (Isa. 43:10; emphasis added; note, the pronoun, "he" is not contained in the LXX; emphasis added).

There are many other places were this term egō eimi is applied to the LORD in the Old Testament (e.g., Exod. 3:14; Isa. 46:4; etc.; LXX). Again, the Jews were very familiar with the LXX thus they understood that egō eimi was a title which was reserved for LORD and frequently applied to Him in the LXX: The eternal God.




The Absolute Egō Eimi Claims

    

MARK 6:50:

"for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, 'take courage; it is I [egō eimi] , do not be afraid'" (lit. Gk. reads: "Be you taking courage, I AM, not be you fearful"; emphasis added)

 

JOHN 8:24:

"Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM He [egō eimi] , you will die in your sins ("He" is not in the Gk.; emphasis added).

Notice, according to Jesus, believing that He is the "I AM," that is, the Eternal God, is a prerequisite to salvation. The literal Greek reading is clear:

"I said therefore to you that ye will die in the sins of you; for if ye believe not that I am [egō eimi]  ye will die in the sins of you"15 (emphasis added).

In fact, in Isaiah 43:10, Jehovah asserts the same:

"You are My witness, declares the LORD, And My servants whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He [ egō eimi; cf, LXX] . Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me" (43:10; emphasis added).

In the LXX, "He" is not there. Thus: "declares the LORD . . .  that you may . . .  believe . . .  that I am." Jesus in John 8:24, I believe, purposely drew from Isaiah 43:10 to assert His identify.


*NOTE: The full force of Jesus’ assertion is striking: ean gar mē pisteusēte hoti egō eimi apothaneisthe en hamartiais humōn, “For if you should believe not that I am [egō eimi] you will die in the sins of you.” He did not say, “If you do not believe that “I am He” or “I am the one I claimed to be” as most translations read (i.e., there is no supplied predicate). Jesus clearly asserts here that salvation rests on believing that He (as the Person of the Son; cf. vv. 16-18, 27) is the eternal God. Jesus applied the divine title “I AM” (egō eimi) in the absolute (i.e., appearing at the end of the clause) to Himself on seven (or possibility eight; cf. Mark 6:50) different occasions these would be John 8:24, 28; 8:58; 13:19; and John 18:5, 6, 8). Egō eimi was a frequent title used of YHWH alone (e.g., Deut. 32:39; Is. 43:10; 41:4; cf. LXX).

 

JOHN 8:28:

So Jesus said, "when you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM He [egō eimi]. . . . " ("He" is not in the Gk.; emphasis added)

As with John 8:24, "He" is supplied by the translators and hence not in the Greek text.

    Interesting note, just as John 8:24 had the same wording as Isaiah 43:10, emphasizing believing: "believe that I AM," in this passage though, we find the emphasis on knowing that Jesus is the I AM: "that you may know."  

"You are My witness, declares the LORD, And My servants whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I AM He [egō eimi]. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me" (43:10; emphasis added)


JOHN 8:58:

Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM" [egō eimi]. Therefore they pick up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple" (vv. 58-59; emphasis added).

 

The New World Translation is antagonistic to this reading so they altered the rendering to "I have been"). Ever since the NWT altered the rendering, the Watchtower has provided various reasons as to why they did so. The NWT reads as 8:24:

"Jesus said to them: Most truly I say to you, Before Abraham came into existence, I have been" (emphasis added).

JWs argue that Jesus here was merely claim His age (see v. 56). Conversely though, verse 59 cuts right through their argument: "Therefore they pick up stones to throw at Him. . . ." Legally the Jews could not stone someone for just anything even if someone claims he was there with Abraham. But they understood with certainty what He was saying: they wanted to stone Him for blasphemy; not age claiming. Similar to John 10:30, when Jesus said, "I and the Father are one," the Jews were enraged:

"The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, 'I showed you many goods works from the father; for which of them are you stoning Me?' The Jews answered Him, 'For good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God" (John 10:31-33; emphasis added).

To the Jews, if someone claimed to be the Eternal God, egō eimi, "I AM" was to be sure, blasphemy, in which stoning was legal.

With absolutely no grammatical justification at all, they changed a the Greek present tense verb (eimi, "am) to a past tense! The prior-theological biases of the Watchtower's translators prompted them to make deviations from the biblical Greek text. Even at places where their own Greek (KIT) disagrees.16  

 

For more grammatical details, see my article: The Eternal Egō Eimi "I AM"


JOHN 13:19:

"From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I AM He" [egō eimi] ("He" is not in the Gk.; emphasis added)

Again, compare this verse to the Isaiah 43:10 reading above.


JOHN 18:5-6, 8:

They answered Him, 'Jesus the Nazarene.' He said to them, "I AM He [egō eimi]" So when they He said to them, "I AM He, [egō eimi]" they drew back and fell on the to the ground… Jesus answered, "I told you that I AM He [egō eimi]. . . . " (in vv. 5, 6, 8, "He" is not in the Gk.; emphasis added)

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus as the "Alpha and Omega," the "First and the Last," and
the "Beginning and the End"

   

In Revelation 1:8, Jesus addresses Himself as “the Alpha and the Omega”; in 22:13, He claims He is the “Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end”; and in both 1:17 and 2:8, He claims Himself to be the “first and the last.” The Rabbinical writers utilized the Hebrew phrase, Aleph (א) and Tau (תּ), the first and the last letters of the Hebrew alphabet to indicate entirely the beginning to the end. Thus, as it said: “Adam transgressed the whole law from aleph even to tau”; “Abraham kept the whole law, from aleph to tau.”

It is equivalent in denotation, as seen, to John and Paul’s use of the present tense participle ho ōn expressing the eternality of Christ— “the One who is/being always.”  The Apostle John, writing in Greek, corresponds to the Hebrew import by providing the first letter, alpha (Α) and last letter, omega (Ω) of the entire Greek alphabet. To argue that the phrase, “the first and the last” was not a title full deity expressing eternality is refuted by the Old Testament usage where the phrase is applied solely to YHWH:  

 

“Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD -with the first of them and with the last—I am He” (Isa. 41:4)

This is what the LORD says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: “I am the first and I am the last; apart from Me there is no God” (Isa. 44:6)

“Listen to me, O Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am He; I am the first and I am the last” (Isa. 48:12).

This title indicated that the LORD is eternal. This title of Deity was appropriately applied to Jesus Christ Jesus in the book of Revelation:

"BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, AND EVERY EYE WILL SEE Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. 'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty" (Rev. 1:7-8; emphasis added)

 

"When I saw Him, I fell at His feet, like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, 'Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. . . ." (1:17-18). 

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, say this" (2:8).

"'Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me to render to every man according to what he has done. 'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end…' 'I Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you these things for the churches. . . ." (ibid., vv. 22:13, 16; emphasis added).

Also note, that the title, "first and last," was exclusively applied to Jesus in the book of Revelation. Clearly Jesus is presented as the "first and the last," and the "Alpha and Omega." And in verses 7, 8 Jesus is also called the Lord Almighty. If anyone wishes to dispute this it must be remembered that it is only Jesus that is said to be returning, not the Father.

Interestingly, the Watchtower's taught that Jesus should be called the Almighty!:

Which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty-It is since His resurrection that the message has gone forth -'All power in Heaven and in earth is given unto Me.' (Matt. 28:18) Consequently it is only since then that He could be called the Almighty (Studies in Scripture, The Message for this Day, vol. 7, p. 15, 1926 ed.; emphasis added).

Presenting this statement from their founder, I feel, is a effective witnessing point. It should not be difficult for the inquisitive JWs to acquire this citation in Studies in Scripture. But if not, you may write us @: Dept. of Christian Defense, for a original photocopy of Studies in Scripture, vol. 7, p. 15.


 

 

 

 

Jesus is presented as “the God” (ho theos)--in a religious context

 

 

John 20:28: Thomas said to Jesus (direct address): ho kurios mou kai ho theos mou, lit. “the Lord of me and the God of me” (see the WT’s own Greek interlinear called: The Kingdom Interlinear Translation).

 

Titus 2:13: “The great God and Savior”: tou megalou theou kai sōtēros hēmōn Christou Iēsou, lit. “the great God and Savior of us Christ Jesus.” Note: in 2 Peter 1:1 is the same grammatical construction (i.e., article-noun-kai-noun): tou theou hēmōn kai sōtēros Iēsou Christou, lit. “the God of us and Savior Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Pet. 1:11; 2:20; 3:2, 18; 2 Thess. 1:12; see Gk.) See above.

 

 Hebrews 1:8: “But of the Son He [the Father] says, “YOUR THRONE, O GOD IS FOREVER AND EVER. . . . ” (ho thronos sou ho theos, lit. “the throne of thee the God. . . . ”). For more exegetical information on Hebrews 1:8 (esp. on the vocative theos) GO HERE. 

 

2 Peter 1:1: "The God and Savior, Jesus Christ: tou [“the”] theou [“God”] hēmōn kai [“and”] sōtēros [“Savior”] Iēsou Christou (lit., “The God of us and Savior, Jesus Christ”).

 

1 John 5:20: And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God [ho alēthinos theos] and eternal life (emphasis added). The JWs attempt to deny this reading by asserting that the pronoun houtos (“this one”) refers not to the Son, but to the Father—Jehovah. Even though the grammar is somewhat unclear, there are solid reasons that support the position of houtos referring to the Son. First, the closest antecedent to houtos is “Jesus Christ.” Second, although the Father is said to possess “life” (cf. John 5:26 and 6:57), just as the Son does (cf. John 1:4, 6:57, 1 John 5:11), “life” is never attributed to the Father in the NT, but it is to the Son in John 11:25 and 14:6 (cf. John 1:1, 18; and Rom. 9:5 where Jesus is called "God").

 

 

 

Jesus as YHWH (Jehovah)

 

Old Testament Passages of YHWH Applied to Jesus in the New Testament


   
What I found extremely effective in witnessing to the JWs, is to show verses that are specifically applied to YHWH (or "Jehovah," which JWs use) in the Old Testament but yet applied to Jesus in the New Testament. There are many.
I would suggest to start with the Old Testament passages referring to Jehovah (to which the JWs agree), then, have them turn to the New Testament passages (or passage) where the author applies it to Jesus clearly identifying Him with YHWH.


PSALM 102:25-27 with HEBREWS 1:10-12:

Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. Even they will perish, But you endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end (Ps. 102:25-27).

These passages, are without a doubt, are referring to Jehovah as Creator (cf. Isa. 44:24). Now, how does the author of Hebrews interpret these passages? He applies them to Jesus as the unchangeable Creator17 in Hebrews 1:2, 10-12:

But about the Son He [the Father; cf. v. 5] says, "You, Lord, in the beginning, laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands; They will perish, but You remain; And they all will become old like a garment, And like a mantle You will roll them up; Like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end"  (Heb. 1:10-12; emphasis added)

Clearly, these verses are directly addressed to the Son (see verses 5-8). Even more, in the NWT, at the end of Psalm 102:25, there is a cross-reference pointing to Hebrew 1:10!


ISAIAH 6:1-10 with JOHN 12:41

 

The next verse is Isaiah 6:1-10. Where Isaiah sees a vision of Jehovah. Reading from the NWT:

In the year that King Uz-zi'ah died I, however, got to see Jehovah, sitting on his sitting on a throne lofty and lifted up. . . .  And this one [seraphs] called to that one and said: "Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah. . . . The fullness of all the earth is his glory" (vv. 1, 3; emphasis added).

In Isaiah's vision, we know that firstly, it was Jehovah that Isaiah saw and secondly, the earth was full of His glory. Then, in verse 10, Jehovah gives these words of prophecy to Isaiah:

Make the heart of this people unreceptive, and make their very ears unresponsive, and paste their very eyes together, that they may not see with their eyes and with their ears they may not hear, and that their own heart may not understand and that they may not actually turn back and get healing for themselves.

This prophecy was quoted (and fulfilled) in John 12:40. But in verse 41, John says concerning back to the prophecy in verse 40, that:

Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory, and he spoke about him (NWT; emphasis added).

Both John 12:41 and the LXX of Isaiah 6:1, 3 even use the same terms, horaō ("to see") and doxa autou ("the glory of Him").

 

John 12:41: "These things Isaiah said because he saw [eiden--the 3rd pers. aorist of horaō] His glory [doxan autou], and he spoke of Him"

 

Isaiah 6:1, 3: "I saw [eidon--the first pers. aorist of horaō] the Lord sitting on a throne. . . . Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory [doxēs autou]"

 

The NIV reads, "Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory, and spoke about him" (emphasis added). The reason as to why the translators inserted "Jesus" ("Jesus" not contained in the Gk.) is simply because of the context and our main point: We find the context of the Isaiah prophecy (John 12:40) starting in verse 37:

 

But although he had performed so many signs before them, they were not putting faith in him (NWT; emphasis added).

Faith in who? Jesus. Then in verse 39 we read: "The reason why they were not able to believe is that again Isaiah said" (NWT). Believe what? Jesus, "they were not putting faith in him" (v. 37). And the reason that, "they were not able to believe is that again Isaiah said":

He had blinded their eyes and he has made their hearts hard, that they should not see with their eyes and get the thought with their hearts and turn around and I should heal them (v. 40).

 

And in verse 41, John then tells us why Isaiah said this above: "Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory, and he spoke about him" (NWT; emphasis added). Who then is the "him" according to the context (see vv. 37, 39 above)? It was Jesus, whom they did not believe in. And the glory that Isaiah saw was JEHOVAH'S GLORY in Isaiah 6:1, 3. It was certainly not the Father he saw:

"No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explain Him" (the Father is invisible, which no one has seen; cf. 1 Tim. 6:16; Col. 1:15).

There are many other significant passages that show that Jesus is Jehovah. Scripture presents that "Jehovah" (YHWH) is the only Creator in Isaiah 44:24 and yet in the New Testament Jesus is presented the the Creator of all things (e.g., John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2), proving He is the eternal God. To sum up then, read the Old Testament passages to the JWs first, then read the New Testament passages where the author applies the Old Testament passage to the Son.

 

There are other well noted examples:  

 

  • "I will not give My glory to another": Isaiah 48:11 with John 17:5.

  • Be a witnesses to who?: Isaiah 43:10 with Acts 1:8 (also John 8:24).

  • Calling on the name of Jehovah: Joel 2:32 with Romans 10:13.

  • Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess of Jehovah: Isaiah 45:23 with Philippians 2:10-11.

  • "Taste and see that Jehovah is good": Psalm 34:8 with 1 Peter 2:3 (NWT).

  • "YOUR THRONE, O GOD IS FOREVER AND EVER. . . . " Psalm 45:6-7 with Hebrews 1:8 (as seen above). 

  • "and the object of their fear YOU men must not fear, nor must you tremble. Jehovah he is the one you should treat as holy [sanctify]": Isaiah 8:12-13 with 1 Peter 3:14-15 (NWT).

 

"Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins" (John 8:24; NASB, "He" is not in the Gk.; emphasis added).

 

Additional passages that clearly present Jesus Christ as God: Dan. 7:9-14; Matt. 12:6, 8; John 2:19-22; 5:21; Rom. 1:3-4; 9:5; 1 Cor. 2:8; 2 Cor. 8:9; Gal. 4:4; Eph. 2:18ff; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 1:6; Jude 4.

 

 

Notes


1,
The "rule of faith" was, for the early church, the apostolic tradition or teaching. Any teachings that did not square with the teachings of the apostles were rejected.

2, The angel of the LORD could not have been the Holy Spirit who is also invisible.

3, The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures. Unlike their Bible, the NWT, the KIT is a "non-tampered with" Greek text. Hence, I would suggest to use when you are dialoguing with them.

4, That term "mighty God" (Heb. El gibbor) as in Isaiah 9:6, was a common name for Jehovah God in Old Testament is not considered by the JWs (e.g., Deut. 10:17; Ps. 24:8; Jer. 32:18). In fact, even their own Bible (NWT) Jehovah is called "mighty God" (Isa. 10:21; Jer. 32:18). The term, "mighty" God is an adjective, as with El shaddai that denoted only the true "God" (El). Again, contrary to the plural Elohim, in Isaiah the Hebrew term El (singular) was applied to YHWH normally in antithesis to false gods (cf. 43:10; 44:10). Furthermore, the Jews were strict monotheists hence they would not have put-up with such an utterly pagan concept as two true Gods: a big God and a little g god, as the JWs teach. The belief of two true Gods is flat out polytheism not monotheism.

5, Benjamin B. Warfield, Biblical Doctrines, 190-92.

6, The International Bible Commentary with the New International Version, F. F. Bruce (General Editor), 1232.

7, E.g., P66; P75; Codex Sinaiticus; Codex B; Codex C; contain the reading, "monogenēs theos." Interestingly, the NWT translates John 1:18 as, "No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom [position] with the Father is the one that explained him." Concerning their rendering, two points should be made; 1, the NWT rightly translates the verse calling Jesus: THE ONLY BEGOTTEN GOD ( ho monogenēs theos). Moreover, there were only capitals letters in the original NT Greek text thus there was no such thing as lower case "g" as the NWT ascribes to Jesus in John 1:1 and 1:18. And 2, the definite article "the" is used before "God " (ho . . . theos) to refer to Jesus.

8, Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament,  288. Interesting note, Thayer's Greek Lexicon is called "comprehensive" by the Watchtower Society. Even though much of Thayer's lexicon was the work Lutheran lexicographers, Wilke and Grimm, which Thayer translated from Latin into English, Thayer was a Unitarian, he did not believe that Jesus was God. But in spite of his views, he stayed faithful to the Greek definition and produced a solid Greek Lexicon.

9, Quoted from, Ron Rhodes, Christ Before the Manger (Baker), 194.   

10, Biblical Doctrines, 177.

11, At Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1, the KJV reads, "God and our Savior Jesus Christ." The insertion of "our" before "Savior" can have the possible meaning of two persons in these passages; the Father "God" and Jesus the "Savior." However, that is not how the Greek reads. In 1611 though, they did not have thousands of manuscripts as we have today (5,686 NT Gk. MSS.). Further, many Greek grammatical rules and constructions were not yet discovered in 1611 (e.g., Grandville Sharp’s six grammatical rules and the grammatical rule and construction of E. C. Colwell). But, unlike the NWT, the KJV translators were capable men who believed that Jesus was God in the flesh. In 1 Timothy 3:16, the KJV reads, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh. . . ." Whereas modern translations read, "He was manifested in the flesh." Of course, there is no doctrinal dispute between the KJV and modern translations, only textual and translational differences. For more details on the textual and translational differences particularly the nomina sacra, (i.e., sacred names), see James R. White, The King James Only Controversy (Bethany House), 207-08.

12, Proper nouns are nouns that cannot be pluralized as with, "Paul," "John," "Peter," etc. In which case would not fit the TSKS rule.

13, For comprehensive treatment of this subject see D. B. Wallace, "The Article with Multiple Substantives Connected by Kai in the New Testament: Semantics and Significance" (Ph.D. dissertation, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1995) to be published by Peter Lang Publishers, c. 1997. 

14, The Septuagint (LXX) was the Greek version of the Old Testament, (Greek being the universal language of the day). It was utilized by Jesus Christ, and the New Testament authors would usually quote from it when they would cite an Old Testament passage (e.g., exclusively in the book of Heb.) at times, even deviating from the Hebrew text.

15, Cf. Greek text: Eberhand Nestle's, Novum Testamentum Graece 21st ed. In point of fact, the JWs Greek text, The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, (which was based on Westcott and Hort's: The New Testament in Original Greek) have the same word-for-word reading!

16, There are many places in the KIT (where the Eng. reading is on one side and the Gk. on the other) where the NWT is at grammatical odds with the Greek. Example, at John 8:58, the literal Greek reads: "Before Abraham to become I am" ( prin Abraam genesthai egō eimi). And next to the Greek reading, is the English, which reads: "Before Abraham came to be, I have been." Also in Colossians 1:16-17 where (four times) the Greek is clear: Jesus is Creator of ALL THINGS (panta). Whereas the English side says Jesus created "all other things." The word "other" was inserted four times contrary to the Greek wherein Paul stresses the strongest word for "all things"--panta (see my article: The New World Translation and the Gospel of John). Additionally the NWT makes the same change in Philippians 2:9: "gave him the name that is above every other name," again contradicting their Greek text. JWs would do well to stick with the Greek even their own Greek text, (or a recognized translation), and hence remove themselves from the Divine judgment of tampering with God's.

17, Primary to the rules hermeneutics (i.e., critical and objective interpretation) is to interpret the Old Testament in light of the New. In other words when a New Testament author quotes an Old Testament passage, it is that interpretation that is the intended meaning. Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law and the Prophets [i.e., the OT] I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished" (Matt. 5:17-18). Example, Isaiah 53 is significant only in light of the New Testament application.

 

 

 

copyright:2013 Department of Christian Defense, all rights reserved