Simply: The defining context and semantic of the Blind Man’s statement of “I am” is unmistakably different than the unpredicated egō eimi (“I am”) claims which Jesus made in Matt. 14:27; Mark. 6:50; John 6:20; 8:24, 28. 58; 13:19; 18:5, 6 (repeated by the narrator), and verse 8).    

JWs (as well as other unitarian groups) [1] deny that Jesus’ Ἐγώ εἰμι (egō eimi, “I am”)[2] were claims of being equal with God. Typically JWs appeal to John 9:9: “Some were saying: ‘This is he.’ others were saying: ‘No, but he looks like him.’ The man kept saying: ‘I am he’” (egō eimi, “I am”). In other words, because the syntactically (not contextually) unpredicated Greek phrase egō eimi was used of the blind man, JWs argue that Jesus’ claim of being the egō eimi, that is, the “I am,” cannot be a claim of deity.  

What quickly refutes this blank argument is simply the CONTEXT. Meanings of words (and phrases) are determined by context, not merely by lexical meaning. If this vital point is not considered, then, meanings become a mere pretext.     

In the Septuagint (LXX), the unpredicated egō eimi was an exclusive title for YHWH (Deut. 32:39; Isa. 41:4; 43:10; 46:4, translated from the Hebrew, ani hu). In these places, the title clearly indicates YHWH’s claim of eternal existence. Further, in Isa. 41:4, YHWH’s claim of being the “I am” is joined with the claim, “I am the first, and with the last,” and “I, the Lord, am the first, and with the last.” In the NT, only Jesus Christ claimed to be “the first and the last” (Rev. 1:17, 2:8; 22:13). So incontrovertibly, the unpredicated “I am” in the OT (LXX) was a clear claim of deity, that is, eternal existence, exclusively used of YHWH.- 

SeeJesus’ Ἐγώ εἰμι, Egō Eimi (“I Am”) Declarations- John 8:58for an expanded treatment on the title egō eimi used of Christ in the NT and YHWH in the OT LXX.    

Hence, when Jesus claimed to be the “I am,” esp. sandwiched between other divine implications and syntactical features [3], the Jews, against the backdrop of the LXX, clearly recognized the semantic force of what Christ was claiming: “They picked up stones to kill Him” (John 8:59). This was a legal stoning according to Jewish law (Lev. 24:16). In fact, the Jews understood and responded in the same way (wanting to kill Christ), when Jesus made other unique claims of deity. For example, Mark 14:61-64- claim: Son of God and Son of Man, “coming with the clouds of heaven”; John 5:17-18- claim: Son of God, “making Himself equal with God”; John 10:30-33- claim: giving eternal life to the His sheep, being essentially one (hen) with the Father, and being the Son of God.

Christ’s claims of being the “I am” were not isolated. In John 8, in which most of Jesus’ “I am” claims were recorded, are many additional claims of Christ as to His preexistence and deity (cf. 8:12, 19 [esp. the “I am” clams in vv. 24, 28, 58], 40, 51), which led up to His crowning claim of being the absolute, “I am,” that is, I am the Eternal One who spoke to Moses in the burning bush.[4]Thus, contextually, Jesus’ “I am” claims were unpredicated and unambiguous claims of being the eternal God, the YHWH of Deut. 32:39; Isaiah 43:10 et al. And the Jews knew this—for they wanted to kill Him for blasphemy (John 8:59)!

What about the blind man’s statement, “I am” in John 9:9?  

The contextual dissimilarity between Jesus’ “I am” claims and the blind man’s statement, cannot be missed. When Jesus stated, “I am,” it was a startling claim to be God incarnate, whereas when the blind man stated, “I am,” it was in mere response to the question of who it was that Christ healed. Note verses 8-9:

 So the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, “Is this not the one who used to sit and beg?” 9 Others were saying, “This is he,” still others were saying, “No, but he is like him.” The man himself kept saying, “I am the one [egō eimi].” 

The blind man simply explained, Yes, “I am” the man who Christ healed! Clearly, the “I am” has an implied predicate. Note the significantly different responses of the Jews to Jesus’ absolute “I am” statements in John 8:58; 18:5, 6, and verse 8 compared to the blind man’s “I am” statement in John 9:9:    

  1. John 9:9, when the blind said, “I am,” the Jews did not attempt to stone him, as they attempted to do to Christ in response to His claim of being “I am” (John 8:58-59).

 

  1. There was no adverse reaction by the Jews to the blind man saying “I am,” nor did one person fall back, contra the guards in response to Jesus’ “I am” claims in John 18. 

 

  1. In the entire content of John 9, there were no divine implications made by the blind man. Whereas, Christ made abounding divine implications all throughout John 8 leading up to verse 58, as pointed out above. 

 

  1. As also mentioned above, John 8:58 contains a verbal contrast between Abraham’s beginning (denoted by the aorist genesthai, “was”) and Jesus’ eternality, that is, being the eternal One (denoted by the present eimi, “am”): “Before Abraham was born” vs. “I am.”   

 

Therefore, there is absolutely no contextual similarity between Jesus’ multiple unambiguous claims to be the unpredicated “I am,” God incarnate, and the blind man’s response of being the man that Jesus healed.


NOTES

[1] A distinction, though, needs to be made between religious groups that are theologically “unitarian” (or unipersonal, i.e., seeing God as one person, thus rejecting the Trinity) and the official Unitarian religion itself. The former would include such religious systems as post-first century Judaism, Islam, Oneness Pentecostals, JWs, etc., while the latter is applied exclusively to the Unitarian Church as a religious denomination. Thus, “unitarian” refers to the unipersonal theology of the JWs as well as all other theological unitarian groups. Technically, a unitarian belief of God is synonymous with a unipersonal belief of God.

[2] Appearing mostly in, but not limited to, the Gospel of John (Matt. 14:27; Mark. 6:50; John 6:20; 8:24, 28. 58; 13:19; 18:5, 6 (repeated by the narrator), and v. 8).

[3] To laser light His eternal existence as God, in John 8:58 for example, Jesus asserted a sharp verbal contrast between Abraham, who had a beginning denoted by the aorist verb, genesthai (“was born.” from ginomai, “to come to be”), and His eternal existence denoted by the present indicative verb, eimi (“am,” as in egō eimi, “I am”). Thus, a “came to be” vs. “I am always being” contrast.

[4]. In Exod. 3:13, in response to Moses’s question regarding His “name,” the LXX records the angel of the LORD declaring, Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν (egō eimi ho ōn, “I am the One”). Although the phrase is not an exact syntactical parallel to the unpredicated egō eimi in John 8:58 et al., the semantic consequence is the same—namely, expressing eternal existence. Note the articular (or adjectival) participle ho ōn following egō eimi. This present tense participle ōn is from eimi (“I am, exist”)—linguistically, existing, being, subsisting (context and grammatical features determine its durational aspect). In particular contexts, the articular participle can denote timeless, eternal existence. It is used of God the Father in Revelation 1:4 and either Father or Son in 1:8 and 4:8. However, in the articular participle is applied to Christ at John 1:18 (ho ōn, “the One who is always, timelessly existing, in the bosom of the Farther”); 3:13 (M, TR); 6:46; and Romans 9:5 (Rev. 1:8). In these passages, the articular participle denotes the Son’s timeless existence. Therefore, although the LXX of Exodus 3:14 (egō eimi ho ōn) is not an exact syntactical parallel to John 8:58 et al., it is a semantic equivalent of eternal preexistence and thus, deity. Whereas the exact syntactical parallel (i.e., the unpredicated egō eimi) would be found in in the LXX of Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 41:4; 43:10; 46:4; and 48:12—, which are exclusively applied to YHWH.

SeeJesus’ Ἐγώ εἰμι, Egō Eimi (“I Am”) Declarations- John 8:58for an expanded treatment on the Exod. phrase and the articular participle, ho ōn.   

 

NASB: “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born I am’” (as in most trans.)  

NWT: “Jesus said to them: ‘Most truly I say to you, Before Abraham came into existence, I have been.’”

Greek: εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἰησοῦς· ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμί (eipen autois Iēsous: amēn amēn legō humin, prin Abraam genesthai egō eimi).

That Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is truly God (YHWH) and truly man, is a main theme in John’s literature (esp. seen in the response of the Jews in John 5:17-18; 8:58-59; 10:30-33). The rejection of the person and nature of the Son as truly God (and man) by unitarian groups such as JWs (and Muslims, Oneness Pentecostals et al.) is chiefly based on a unitarian (or unipersonal) pre-committed theology that God is one sole person (unipernal), and not the exegesis of the text.   

Jesus declared in John 8:24: “For if you should not believe that I am [egō eimi] you will perish in your sins” (lit. trans.). The unpredicated egō eimi (“I am”) affirmation of the Son were unequivocally claims of deity–that is, claims of being truly God (and truly man)- esp. in light of YHWH’s exclusive claims of being the unpredicated egō eimi (“I am”) in the LXX (Deut. 32:39; Isa. 41:4; 43:10; 46:4).  

See Jesus’ Ἐγώ εἰμι, Egō Eimi (“I Am”) Declarations- John 8:58 for a detailed presentation of Jesus “I Am” claims.   
 

Exegetical Refutation: The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society’s (JWs) attempt to
‘Reason from the Scriptures’ regarding  John 8:58    

So strong was Jesus’ affirmation of deity in John 8:58 that the JWs’ Bible the NWT mistranslated the present active indicative verb, eimi (“am”) turning it into a past tense: “I have been.” From this, the JW’s argue that Jesus was not claiming to be deity (“I am”), but rather He was claiming to be “older” than Abraham was (as Michael the archangel), which incited the Jews to want to kill Him. However, what immediately refutes this false notion is:

1) Simply, the Greek text contains the present indicative verb eimi (“am”) and not any kind of past tense. In 1969, WT published a Greek Interlinear called, The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (KIT) and a revised ed. in 1985. The KIT is a Greek NT with English equivalents under each Greek word and the NWT on the side margins. What is interesting is that the Greek is unchanged, only the NWT is altered from the Greek.

For example, notice the photocopy of John 8:58-59 from the KIT in which you can see the unaltered Greek phrase egō eimi (“I am”) and the NWT’s altered reading “I have been,” on the side:

This clearly shows that the NWT purposely altered the Greek NT text, from the present “I am” to a past “I have been” (cf. Watchtower, 1 Sept. 1974, 526-27); as if Jesus was merely saying that He is older than Abraham-  only to fit the distinctive theology of the WT.

2) Even more, throughout the years, the WT has offered at least three reasons as to why the present tense verb eimi (“am”) should be translated as a past action (“have been”). First, in the 1950 ed. of the NWT, there is a footnote referring to the “I have been” rendering, which states: “I have been— ἐγώ εἰμι [egō eimi] . . . properly rendered in the perfect indefinite tense. . . .” (p. 312).

This sounds legitimate to one who is not familiar with Greek, however, there is no such tense as a “perfect indefinite” in biblical Greek. The WT made up a phony tense. Some have defended the WT’s explanation saying that “perfect indefinite” refers to the English, not the Greek. But we are not aware of a single official WT source that states this.

Then, the WT argued that the verb eimi was a “perfect indicative” (KIT, 1985 ed. 451). Now, there is a perfect indicative in Greek, however, the verb eimi takes no such form. And currently, the WT asserts that eimi is a “historical present”[9] explaining that “The verb ei·mi’, at John 8:58, is evidently in the historical present, as Jesus was speaking about himself in relation to Abraham’s past” Reasoning from the Scriptures, 418). Thus, the JWs see Jesus as merely claiming that He pre-existed Abraham, which, according to the JWs, enraged the Jews to the point of wanting to kill Him (cf. v. 59). This assertion, however, is flawed both grammatically and contextually.

First, a historical present tense occurs primarily in narrative literature and only in third person. In this context, Jesus was arguing with the Jews—He was not narrating. Secondly, the equative verb eimi is not used as a historical present. As the recognized Greek scholar, Daniel Wallace, points out, “The historical present is used fairly frequently in narrative literature to describe a past event” (Wallace, GGBB, 526).. Wallace also comments: 

If this is a historical present, it is apparently the only historical present in the NT that uses the equative verb eimi. The burden of proof, therefore, lies with the one who sees eimi as ever being used as a historical present. . . If this is a historical present, it is apparently the only historical present in the NT that is in other than third person (ibid., 530). 

The weight against the historical present view is massive. The reason for these various assertions of eimi postulated by the WT throughout the years (viz. the phony perfect indefinite; perfect indicative, and historical present) is, of course, obvious. If Jesus’ divine statements of being the “I am,” stand unmodified, then, Jesus made some astonishing and unambiguous claims of being the eternal God (as with John 5:17 and 10:27-30), which clearly show the WT to be a false religion in need of salvation.


 

Never was there a more deceptive doctrine advanced than that of the Trinity. It could have originated only in one mind, and that the mind of Satan the Devil (Reconciliation [Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1928], p. 101).

Since the beginning of human history, the nature of God (i.e., how He revealed Himself) has been furiously attacked (esp. ontological monotheism).[1] Though, one of the first heresies that emerged in first century church was that of the Judaizers.[2] And the second heresy that the early church dealt with was that of the Gnostics.[3] Both of which were thoroughly refuted by the apostles in there writings.[4]

Jesus was clear on the subject: eternal life is to have “knowledge” of the true God (cf. John 17:3; 8:24; 1 John 5:20). And Scripture presents that there is one true God who revealed Himself in three coequal, coeternal, and coexistent *distinct* persons—thus, God is Triune. The biblical data is undeniable. But many today (and historically) deny, in some way, shape, or form, the doctrine of the Trinity. We are not speaking of some peripheral, non-essential doctrine here: The belief in the doctrine of the Trinity is essential to ones salvation, for it is how God revealed Himself—the very nature or essence of His essential Being, the only true God.

If one removes the Son from the Trinity (in any way), the Son is reduced to either to a created being (as with, for example, Oneness believers and Jehovah’s Witnesses [JWs]) or the Son becomes a “separate” God (as in Mormonism). The Trinity is the biblical explanation of how there is one God and yet the Son is presented as both Creator[5] and “God” (theos)[6] distinct from the Father and Holy Spirit who are likewise presented as God.[7]

 

Main Objections to the Trinity 

 

1) The term “Trinity” is not found in the Bible.

2) The Trinity teaches three Gods.

3) The Trinity was invented in the fourth century (viz. at the Council of Nicaea, A.D. 325) and thus, it is not taught in the Bible.

First objection. This argument is nonsensical for many reasons. It is true that the exact word “Trinity” does not appear in the Bible. If the individuals using this argument were consistent, then, they would not believe that God is “1 person” either, because the word “unitarian” does not appear in the Bible. In point of fact, Christians today (as well as the early Christian church, as noted above) use the doctrinal term Trinity to describe God because it simply adequately denotes the teaching and concept of a triune multi-personal God presented throughout Scripture. Consider that the terms: incarnation, coequal, coeternal (with the Father), and the phrases: hypostatic union, God the Son, substitutionary atonement, etc., which are all true of Christ, do not appear in the Bible. Also, the terms omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, self-existent, etc., which are all ascribed to God, do not appear in the Bible; however, the teachings or concepts of these doctrinal words and phrases do. They are clearly expressed in the biblical content.

Here are some of the doctrinal (nonbiblical) words mentioned above with their corresponding biblical passages expressing the teachings and concepts of these words:

Incarnation. This defines the teaching of God the Son becoming flesh – John 1:14 et al. God the Son (Mark 14:61-64; John 1:1, 18; Heb. 1:8, 10; 1 John 5:20 et al.). Hypostatic union of Jesus Christ. This describes the two natures of Christ, God and man (John 1:14; 1 Cor. 2:8; Phil. 2:6-7-8; 2 Tim. 2:8). The Son’s coequality and coeternality with the Father (Gen. 19:24; John 1:1c; 5:17-18; 10:30-33; 17:5; Heb. 1:3, 6, 8-12; Jude 1:4; Rev. 1:8, 5:13-14; 22:13).

Substitutionary atonement. This describes Jesus’ atoning cross work as a literal substitution for and on behalf of the elect (John 6:37-39; 10:17; Mark 10:45; Rom. 8:32; Gal. 1:4; Eph. 5:25; 1 Tim. 2:6).

Omnipresent. An attribute ascribed to God (Ps. 139:6-10; John 14:23 et al.).Although there are many more doctrinal words that can be mentioned that are not contained in the Bible, they all do indeed express the biblical teachings and concepts they represent.

Second objection (The Trinity = 3 separate Gods.): To say that the Trinity teaches three Gods is a gross misrepresentation of the doctrine. As noted, the very foundation of the Trinity is monotheism—namely, the Bible teaches that there is only one true God.
 
Three Gods/gods is not biblical trinitarianism rather, it is polytheism (many true Gods/gods. Or henotheism (hen, “one” Theos, “god”), which is the belief that although many true Gods/gods exist, worship and devotion is to only one God. Hinduism and the LDS Church, that is, Mormonism hold to this view. Mormons acknowledge the existence of many true Gods of other planets, but they only worship and the God for this planet. See our article: Are Mormons Christians? Contra to the many “true” Gods of Mormonism, both the OT and NT condemns that (Exod. 20:5; Isa. 43:10; 45:5; Mark 12:28-29; 1 Tim. 2:5 et al.). As shown above, the Bible teaches that there are three distinct persons who share the nature of the one true God. Or, there is one true God (one Being) who is revealed in three coequal coeternal coexistent distinct persons—the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As delineated above, the three biblical propositions or truths affirm the Trinity.

1. There is one true eternal God (viz., one Being).

2. There are three persons referred to as God, YHWH, and the Creator of all things— the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

3. These three persons are distinct from each other.

Third objection (The Trinity wasn’t invented until the Council of Nicaea, A.D. 325). First, the issue at the Council of Nicaea was not the Trinity, that had already been established in the early church decades before Nicaea. In point of fact, there are no primary source documents that came out of Nicaea that even mention the term “Trinity” or specifically discuss it. Instead, the Council primarily addressed the heretical teachings of Arius who openly taught that the Son was created, “a god,” but not “Almighty God,” similar to what the JWs teach. Arius taught that Jesus was of a “different substance” than that of the Father in direct opposition to the orthodox position, which taught that Jesus was of the “same substance” (homoousios, viz. coequal, consubstantial) as that of the Father, but not the same person. So, the chief issue at Nicaea was the question of the ontological relationship between the Father and the Son—not the Trinity per se

See Was the Trinity Conceived in the 4th Century?


 

NOTES

[1] Ontological (by nature) monotheism (one God) is the doctrine that there exists only one God by nature (cf. Deut. 4:35; Jer. 10:10-11). Mormons, although, claim that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are “one God,” but only in the sense of “unity,” not one in essence. But, as they assert, these three are three “separate” Gods, with the Father as the head God in whom they worshiped alone—thus, the Mormon view of the Godhead. But whether one or more Gods are worshiped is irreverent, the question is: how many true Gods exist? The fact that the Mormons believe that many “true” Gods exist, therefore, categorizes the Mormon people as overt polytheists (the belief in many true Gods) and hence, non-Christian. Not only in the OT, but in the NT as well, strict monotheism was strongly asserted (e.g., Mark 28:29; John 17:3; 1 Tim. 2:5).

[2] Simply, the Judaizers taught that one had to practice the OT law, rituals, ordinances, etc. (esp. circumcision), to obtain salvation. And this, was the primary reason as to why Paul wrote to the Galatians.

[3] The Gnostics (from gnōsis, meaning “knowledge”) held to a dualistic system: spirit was good and all “matter” (esp. flesh) was inherently evil; some even taught that “matter” did not exist; it was illusory—as with the theology of Christian Science today. Both the Apostle John and Paul specifically refuted this teaching (esp. in Col. and 1 & 2 John).

[4] As seen above.

[5] E.g., Isa. 9:6; John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17)

[6] E.g., John 1:1, 18; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:3, 8-10

[7] Of course, the OT and NT teaching of “one God” (i.e., monotheism) does indicate or equate “one person” as *unitarian* groups such as Jews, Muslims, JWs, Oneness Pentecostals, etc. presuppose. Monotheism simply means “one God” (viz. “one Being”). To argue that “one God” equals “one person” is to argue in a circle. It assumes what is meant to be proven.

 

Jehovah’s Witnesses[1]

 

Main Watchtower Theological Distinctives:

  • They reject the biblical doctrine of the Trinity.
  • They reject the full deity of Jesus Christ.
  • They reject the deity and personally of the Holy Spirit.
  • They reject the “physical” resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • They reject that justification is through faith alone.
  • They reject the biblical concept of God’s wrath (viz. hell) for the unregenerate

JW’s teach that they are the only “true” Christians and that the WT is God’s sole channel of communication on earth.

Even though the theology of the WT is clearly false, when Christians engage in dialogue with JWs (esp. on the Trinity and the deity of Christ) too often they become intimidated and, within minutes, doctrinally confused! For in dialogue, the JWs generally aim to dominate the conversation by “proving” his or her position by rapid-firing a host of biblical passages—most of which are wrenched out of context. Typically, they do not allow time for any meaningful exegetical discussion of each passage presented; they merely cite them—and at times, in one breath!

The problem is that many Christians who desire to reach out to JWs lack the basic knowledge of their own theology to provide a clear biblical affirmation and response to the assertions of the JWs. So, if your desire is to witness to the JWs, the first thing that you must do is to learn the basics of your own faith, then, the basics of what JWs believe.

If you can biblically communicate central doctrines such as the Trinity, deity of Christ, and salvation through faith alone, even without exhaustively understanding every doctrine of the WT, you can confidently and adequately defend and affirm the person and finished work of Christ—namely, the gospel.

 

The Jesus of the JWs, near identical to what Arius taught, is “a god” (John 1:1; NWT[2]), but not God almighty. They teach that Jesus was Michael, the created, archangel being the “firstborn” of Jehovah’s works. They even use some of the same passages as did Arius to prove their position (e.g., Prov. 8:22; Col. 1:15; Rev. 3:14) in the same erroneous way.

 As said, it is because of their prior theological commitment of unitarianism (God as one person) that they deny that Jesus Christ is truly God.[3] Further, the JWs deny the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to the JWs, Jesus did not die on a cross, but rather was impaled on a torture stake as a sacrifice for sins, but only as a “ransom payment” for the sins of Adam.[4] In this view, the biblical teaching of the atonement is wholly robbed and denied of its efficacy.

Response: The chief heresy of the JWs is the denial of the Trinity and thus, a denial of Jesus Christ as God in the flesh. As seen, the deity of the Son is a constant theme in the NT (as seen above). Unless one believes that the Son is the “I am,” that is, I am the eternal God;[5] he or she will die in his or her sins (John 8:24).

Aside from Proverbs 8:22 (appendix A below, )W,[6] most JWs appeal to Colossians 1:15 First We also saw the vast number of passages that clearly identified Jesus as YHWH, not merely in representation, but rather in an ontological sense. And many of these OT references were not merely speaking of the Son in prophecy, but rather in actual preexistence, that is, personally interacting with others (e.g., Gen. chaps. 18-19; the angel of the LORD references, as shown above; Dan. 7:13-14). Additionally, specific titles and attributes were applied to Jesus in the NT, which were either exclusively applied to YHWH/God in the OT or unequivocally signified the Son’s ontological identification as truly God. For example,   

 

The person of Jesus Christ is presented as: 

  • Lord over all” (Acts 10:36).
  • Son of God (Mark 1;1; 14:61-14; John 5:17-18).
  • Son of Man ( 7:13-14; Mark 10:45; 14:61-64; John 6:53; 8:28; 9:35-37 et al.).
  • “God over all” (Rom. 9:5, NET).
  • “The Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8; cf. 1 Sam. 15:29; Acts 7:2).
  • Always existing (subsisting) in the nature of God (Phil. 2:6).
  • Always dwelling all the fullness of Deity in bodily form (Col. 2:9).
  • The Creator of all things (John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:10-12).
  • “Savior” (Titus 2:13-14; 2 Pet. 3:18; cf. Isa. 45:21; Hosea 13:4).
  • The only means of salvation (faith in Him, apart from works; John 3:14-18; 6:47; 11:25-26; Rom. 4:4-8; 5:1; 8:1; Eph. 1:4-5; 1 John 5:12 et al.).
  • The Monogenēs Theos (“unique, one and only, God”).    
  • “The great God” (Titus 2:13; cf. 2 Pet. 1:1- Ps. 95:3).
  • The Ho ōn (“who is,” lit., “The One, timelessly existing” (John 1:18; Rom. 9:5; Rev. 1:8).
  • “The only Master and Lord” (Jude 1:4).
  • “The true God” (1 John 5:20; cf. 2 Chron. 15:3; Jer. 10:10).
  • The YHWH of Psalm 102-25-27 (cf. Heb. 1:10-12); Isaiah 6:1-10 (cf. John 12:39-41); Isaiah 8:12-13 (cf. 1 Peter 3:14-15); Isaiah 45:23 (cf. Phil. 2:10-11); Joel 2:32 (cf. Rom. 10:13) et al.

 

The Father directly addressed the Son as, 

  • “The God” whose throne is eternal (Heb. 1:8-9) and the “Lord” (viz., the YHWH) of Psalm 102:25-17, the unchangeable Creator (Heb. 1:10-12; cf. John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17).

 

Jesus claimed to be,  

  • Son of God (John 5:17-18; 17:5; Mark 14:61-64 et al.).
  • Son of Man” (Dan. 7:13-14; Mark 10:45; 14:61-64; John 6:53; 8:28; 9:35-37 et al.).
  • The “I am” (Mark 6:50; John 8:24, 28, 58 et al.; cf. Deut. 32:39; Isa. 41:4; 43:10; 46:4).
  • “Equal with God” (John 5:17-18; 10:30-33).
  • “The Alpha and Omega” and the “First and the Last” (Rev. 1:8, 17; 2:8; 22:13; cf. Isa. 41:4; 44:6; 48:12; cf. Dan. 7:14).

Jesus was, 

  • Worshiped in a religious context, thus, as God: (Matt. 14:33; John 9:38; 1:6; Rev. 5:13-14).
  • Preexisting together with the Father, and shared glory with Him, “before the world existed” (John 17:5).

 

JWs neither confess that Jesus is YHWH nor do they believe that He was physically resurrected from the dead: “This [the Son] is the true God and life eternal” (1 John 5:20).


 

APPENDEX A Proverbs 8:22

 

The NWT reads: “Jehovah produced me as the beginning of his way. The earliest of his achievements of long ago.” The JWs are taught that this passage teaches that Jesus was created. In refutation: .

  1. Even if the passage was referring to Christ, as some see it, it does not support the JW unitarian position that Christ was created. As seen, the Scripture positively affirms the eternal preexistence and true deity of the person of the Son (Dan. 7:13-14; John 1:1,3, 18; 8:24, 58 et al., 17:5; Phil. 2:6-11; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:10-12; Rev. 1:8; 22:13).
  2. The context of chapters 1-9 is wisdom, which is personified as a female (cf. 8:2; 9:1, 2, 3). It would be problematic to apply a female personification to the Messiah. Nowhere in the OT nor NT is this exampled.
  3. Since chapters 1-9 are contextually speaking of wisdom, then the reading: “Jehovah produced [created] me as the beginning of his way,” would prompt the question to JWs: Was there a time when Jehovah was without wisdom? Moreover, note that the phrase in 8:23: “From everlasting I was established” denotes eternality (similar phrase in Ps. 90:2). So, even if 8:22 is a description of Christ, it actually proves that He is eternal.
  4. The word translated “produced” (“Jehovah himself produced me”) is from the Hebrew term quanah. While qanah carries several meanings, the primary meaning is to acquire, buy, purchase, possess as seen especially throughout the book of Proverbs (1:5; 4:5; 15:32; 16:16; 17:16; 19:8; 20:14, etc.). The meaning of “create,” although possible (cf. BDB, Thayer), is rarely used in this way. The TLOT Lexicon points out that the Hebrew term may be used “in relation to birth cf. Psa 139:13 [“formed”] and perhaps Prov 8:22.” In this sense, Proverbs 8:22 may be speaking of the birth of Christ (incarnation, viz. His humanity, not deity), same sense is found in Psalm 22:10: “I was cast upon You from birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb.”

 


Notes 

[1] The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is the corporate name for the JWs.

[2] As mentioned above, the NWT (The New World Translation) is the biblical translation of the JWs, published by the Watchtower.  

[3] In the Watchtower publication, Should you Believe in the Trinity?, the JWs are repetitiously taught that Jesus was merely “a god” who had a beginning as a created angel:

The Bible is clear and consistent about the relationship of God to Jesus. Jehovah God alone is Almighty. He created the prehuman Jesus directly. Thus, Jesus had a beginning and could never be coequal with God in power or eternity (Should you Believe in the Trinity?: Is Jesus Christ the Almighty God? [Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1989], 16).

[4] The Watchtower position is clear: “Since one man’s sin (that of Adam) had been responsible for causing the entire human family to be sinners, the shed blood of another perfect human (in effect, a second Adam), being of corresponding value, could balance the scales of justice” (Reasoning from the Scriptures [Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1989], 308).

[5] In the LXX, there are several places where YHWH claims to be the (unpredicated) egō eimi (“I am”; Deut. 32:39; Isa. 41:4; 43:10; and 46:4), as seen, Christ made the same claims of Himself (Matt. 14:27; Mark 6:50; John 6:20; 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:5, 6, 8).]  

A FALSE PROPHET: BIBLICALLY DEFINED

 

“But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the names of other gods, that prophet shall die.’

“You might say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’

“When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. . . . ” (Deut. 18:20-22).

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you, They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the LORD. . . . I did not send these prophets, But they ran. I did not speak to them, But they prophesied. . . .I heard what the prophets who prophesy falsely in My name, saying, ‘I had a dream, I had a dream!’ “How long? Is there anything in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy falsely, even these prophets of the deception of their own heart, . . . Therefore behold, I as against the prophets,” declares the LORD, “who steal words from each other. Behold, I am against the prophets,” declares the LORD, “who use their own tongues and declare, ‘the LORD declares. . . ’ I will bring punishment upon that man and his household” (Jer. 23:16, 21, 25-26, 30-32, 34).

Clearly, a biblical description of a false prophet was someone that prophesied in the name of the Lord and what he prophesied did not come to pass and a “false prophet” always taught a false God (cf. Deut. 13:1ff.; Matt. 7:15-29; 2 Pet. 2:1-2; 1 John 4:1-3). The biblical definition is clear; there are no modifications or conditions. The New Testament definition of a false prophet is the same as the Old Testament. When Jesus was discussing the events that would mark the last days, He was concerned that false prophets would not deceive His church:

And Jesus answered and said to them, “See that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.… Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. . . . For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible even the elect” (Matt. 24:4, 11, 24).

Thus, what I found to be effective in witnessing to the Jehovah’s Witnesses (hereafter JWs) is to ask first, “What is a false Prophet?” They will usually admit the above definition is true, that is, someone who prophesies falsely. Even more, most agree that anyone who says, “the Lord says,” and then it does not come to pass, he or she is a false prophet. And after they clearly define what a “false prophet” is, then it is most important to demonstrate by their own material (i.e., photocopies, references, etc.) that the Watchtower (hereafter WT) is a false prophet. Again, under his or her own definition the WT is shown to be a false prophet.

Keep in mind, the main reason that the JWs do not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity of Jesus Christ, justification by faith alone, and other essential doctrines of biblical Christianity is that their religious organization, their source, told them that these doctrines are false.

Therefore, you need to undermine the source first. By demonstrating that the source is unreliable, the door swings open to utilize Scripture.

Just as David killed Goliath with his own sword, the theology of the JWs can be demolished by using their own material. For that reason, it is productive to discuss first the subject of the WT’s failed prophecies. Think about it, if the WT is really a true “mouthpiece for Jehovah,” as they arrogantly assert, then what they prophesy should come to pass. Though when the JWs are confronted with the WT’s false prophecies, the common response is asserted: “We never claimed to be a prophet . . . people can make mistakes.” But the fact is, the WT has claimed to be a prophet many times!

 

Note the examples below of statements made by the WT in its own publications:

So does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of the dangers to come? These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet? . . . This prophet was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was a small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses (WT, 1 April 1972, 197).

Who will be Jehovah’s prophet? Who will be the modern day Jeremiah? The plain facts show God has been pleased to use Jehovah’s Witnesses (ibid., 15 January 1959, 40-41).

God has on earth a people, all whom are prophets, or witnesses for God . . . Jehovah’s Witnesses (Awake, 8 June 1986, 9).

This of course is but a few of the many times that the WT has claimed to be a prophet. Although many times when confronted on this subject the JWs will also argue that “The Apostle Peter was wrong concerning the second coming of Jesus, so we can be mistaken, we are not perfect.”

However, it must be pointed out to them that Peter never claimed to be a prophet nor did he say, “Thus saith the Lord.”[1] However, the excuse most utilized by the JWs in their effort to defend their blundering prophetic track record is that “The light is getting brighter and brighter, we are consistently seeing new light, that is how we know that we are Jehovah’s mouthpiece on the earth.” First of all, this idea of “new light” is derived from a faulty interpretation of Proverbs 4:18 which reads:

But the path of the righteous ones is like a bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established. However, they stop at verse 18, but notice verse 19: The way of the wicked ones is like the gloom; they have not known at what they keep stumbling (NWT).

In context and in complete opposition to their interpretation, verses 18 and 19 are contrasting “the path of the righteous” with “the way of the wicked.” Therefore, ask the JWs if they think using the concept of “new light” would have been a valid excuse for a so-called prophet in the Old Testament who promulgated false prophecies. As we seen above, God clearly defines what a false prophet is:

“When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. . . . ” (Deut. 18:22).

Interestingly, the WT’s own magazine said: “Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a ‘prophet’ of God. It is another thing to prove it. The only way that this can be done is to review the record” (WT, 1 April 1972, 197).

But after reviewing the record, all we find is false prophecies and consistent changes in the WT’s doctrine. The fact is, according to its own statements printed in its own publications, and according to the biblical definition, the WT is clearly a false prophet of Jehovah.

 

WATCHTOWER FAILED PROPHECIES

The following are examples of false prophecies and doctrinal changes that will no doubt, be an effective way to reach out to the JWs when they come to your door. Also take into account that there are no biblical scholars or Greek grammarians involved with or in the WT. Hence, it is of no great wonder as to why the JWs undeniably lack a clear understanding of the basic rules of biblical interpretation. As with all non-Christian cults—the JWs only believe what their ultimate authority, that is, their religious organization (i.e., the WT) has taught them.

False Prophecies about 1874:

Our Lord, the appointed King, is now present since October 1874, A.D. . . . and the formal inauguration if his kingly office dates form April 1878, A.D. (Studies in the Scriptures, vol. 4, 621).

Fall 1874 A.D. Second Advent of the Lord (ibid., vol. 7, 60).

the beginning of the Times of Restitution, A.D. 1874 (ibid., 64).

The Millennium began in 1874, with the Return of Christ (ibid., 386).

The second coming of the Lord therefore began in 1874. . . . (Creation, early ed., 289; and late ed., 312).

The Scriptural proof is that the second presence of the Lord Jesus Christ began in 1874 A.D. (Prophecy, 65).

Note, there are many more WT prophecies of the alleged “invisible return” of Christ in the year 1874.

 

False Prophecies about 1914:

the battle of the great day of God Almighty’ (Revelation 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced (Studies In The Scriptures, vol. 2, 1908 ed., 101).

That the deliverance of the saints must take place some time before 1914 is manifest. . . . (ibid., vol. 3, 1913 ed., 228; emphasis added).

That the deliverance of the saints must take place very soon after 1914 is manifest. . . . (ibid., vol. 3, 1923 ed., 228; emphasis added).

We did not say positively that this would be the year (WT, 1 November 1914, 5565).

 

False Prophecies about 1918:

It seems conclusive that the hour of Nominal Zion’ travail is fixed for the Passover of 1918 . . . the fallen angels will invade the minds of many of the Normal Church people . . . leading their destruction at the hands of the enraged masses. . . . (Studies in the Scriptures, vol. 7, 128).

It is the Day of Vengeance, which began in the world war of 1914 and which will break like a furious morning storm in 1918 (ibid., 404).

The churches will cease to be. . . . culminating in 1918, to remove it with a stroke or plague of erroneous doctrines and deeds Divinely permitted (ibid., 1917 ed., 484).

Note, the 1926 edition of Studies in the Scriptures removed the phrase “culminating in 1918” and replaced it with “culminating shortly.”

False Prophecies about 1925:

Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old. . . . (Millions Now Will Never Die, 89-90; note: for an original photocopy of this citation please contact us. 

1925 shall mark the resurrection of the faithful worthies of old. . . . (ibid., 97).

1914 ended the Gentile Times. . . . The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures … by then the great crisis will be reached and probably passed (WT, 1 September 1922, 262).

1925 is definitely settled by the Scripture . . . the Christian has much more upon which to base his faith than Noah had (so far as the Scriptures reveal) upon which to base his faith in a coming deluge (ibid., 1 April 1923, 106).

The year 1925 is a dated definitely and clearly marked in the Scriptures, even more clearly than that of 1914 (ibid., 15 July 1924, 211).

The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during the year. This may be accomplished. It may not be (ibid., 1 January 1925, 3).

As the year 1925 finally arrived, the WT began to tone down this prophecy that was, a few years prior: “definitely settled by the Scripture.” Thus, the year 1925 came and left.

The year 1925 came and went. Jesus’ anointed followers were still on the earth as a class. The faithful men of old times-Abraham, David and others-had not been resurrected to become princes in the earth. (Ps. 45:16) So, as Anna MacDonald recalls:

1925 was a sad year for many brothers. Some of them were stumbled; their hopes were dashed. . . . Instead of it being considered a “probability,” they read into it that it was a “certainty,” and some prepared for their own loved ones with expectancy of their resurrection (1975 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 146).

Still, the JWs did not learn their lesson. After 1925, the JWs continued to promulgate false prophecies and fixing dates (e.g., 1975); claiming that these prophecies were “definitely settled by the Scripture.”

FLIP- FLOPS

Again, when the JWs are questioned concerning false prophecies, the usual response is: “We know that we are the only true church because the light keeps getting brighter and brighter” (see response to this Prov. 4:18 assertion above, p. 5). However, if that is true, then, why do the JWs go back to the old light? In other words, if the “light” is getting “brighter and brighter” it would follow that at the time when the WT held to and taught the old teachings the WT was in darkness. Anything but doctrinal brightness is the WT, who after receiving the so-called “new light” returned to its old teaching on that subject—the darkness!

Many times the WT has gone back-and-forth on various teachings. Simply, if they were really Jehovah’s “mouth piece” as they claim, they would not flip-flop from old light to new light and return back again to the old light.

Keep in mind that the WT has claimed to be “a modern day Jeremiah” and the “prophet … known as Jehovah’s Witnesses” (see p. 4 above). Let us now observed some of the WT’s doctrinal flip-flops:

 

Prophecies about the Men of Sodom:

The men of Sodom will be resurrected (WT, July 1879, 8).

The men of Sodom will not be resurrected (ibid., 1 June 1952, 338).

The men of Sodom will be resurrected (Ibid., 1 August 1965, 479).

The men of Sodom will not be resurrected (ibid., 1 June 1988, 31).

The men of Sodom will be resurrected (You Can Live Forever In Paradise On Earth, early ed. 179).

The men of Sodom will not be resurrected (ibid., later ed., 179).

The men of Sodom will be resurrected (Insight On The Scriptures, vol. 2, 985).

The men of Sodom will not be resurrected (Revelation- Its Grand Climax at Hand, 273).

In point of fact, the WT has changed its position concerning the men of Sodom no less then eight different times! As one writer said, the light is not getting brighter and brighter but rather it’s flickering on and off.

“Higher Powers” (Rom. 13:1-7)

The WT, as with most biblical commentators, first taught that the “higher powers” in Romans 13:1-7 were human rulers, man’s government. Before long, a decade after World War 1, the WT taught that the “higher powers” were Jehovah and Jesus (cf. The Truth Shall Make You Free, 312).

However, in 1959 they switched back to their original view (cf. Jehovah’s Witnesses In The Divine Purpose, 91). Then, soon afterward, they changed again to the teaching that the “higher powers” were Jehovah and Jesus (cf. Babylon The Great Has Fallen! 1963, 548).

Even more, and not at all surprising, 17 years later they changed it again back to the old teaching that man’s government was the “higher powers (cf. WT, 15 May 1980, 4).

The Generation That Will Not Pass Away

The WT prophecy of the “generation that will not pass away” (taken from Matt. 24:34). is the most recent of the WT’s prophetic blunders. It must be understood first, that the JWs are taught that the “1914 generation” (i.e., those who witnessed the signs of the invisible return of Christ in 1914) is part of the “anointed class.” That is, as the JWs tell us, they are included in the so-called group of the “144,000” which are the only ones that will enter into heaven.[2]

The rest of the JWs, well, as they inform us, will reside on earth (i.e., “paradise”) forever. According to “Jehovah’s prophetic word” as claimed by the WT (see p. 14) the 1914 generation would not die off until Jehovah restores a peaceful new secure world (as we will see below). Nevertheless, as the years passed so did the 1914 generation.[3] Hence, this caused a serious dilemma for the WT. What was the WT to do?

Well for starters, they could say that the 1914 generation included young teenagers to buy more time. And, that’s exactly what they did.

So, in 1968 they defined the 1914 generation as:

Those who were old enough to witness with understanding what took place when the ‘last days’ began. . . Even if we presume youngsters 15 years of age would be perceptive enough to realize the import of what happened in 1914, it would still make the youngest of ‘this generation’ nearly 70 years old today. . . . Jesus said that at the end of this wicked world would come before that generation passed away in death (Awake, 8 October 1968, 13-14).

The WT made that statement above in 1968. But by 1984, many of that “generation” died. So to accommodate the decreasing numbers, they started to teach that babies were now a part of the 1914 generation! This enabled the WT to buy even more time and avoid the possibility of yet another failed prophecy. Again, they were prophesying that the earth would be restored to a “peaceful and secure new world”: before the 1914 generation dies.

Digging the hole even further, as early as 1975 the WT started claiming that the prophecy “of a new order of lasting peace and true security within our generation” was now the “Creator’s promise,” who the JWs say is Jehovah! On page 2 of the Awake magazine, January 8, 1975, the WT stated:

Most importantly, “Awake!” provides hope, giving you a basis for confidence in the Creator’s promise of a new order of lasting peace and true security within our generation (emphasis added).

Then, by 1982, the WT became even more explicit. For on the same page, they added to the former prophecy in order to make a bolder pronouncement. Now it was the “Creator’s promise” that before the 1914 generation passes away He (Jehovah) will restore the world to a “peaceful and secure new order”:

Most importantly, this magazine builds confidence in the Creator’s [Jehovah’s] promise of a peaceful and secure new order before the generation that saw 1914 C.E. passes away (Awake, 8 January 1982, 2).

The above purpose statement remained until the January issue of 1987. Then, they redesigned their statement, moving it to page 4 with a slight rewording. However the “thus saith the Lord” pronouncement: the “Creator’s promise,” that before the 1914 generation passes away there will be a new world, was still staring at all of its readers:

Most importantly, this magazine builds confidence in the Creator’s promise of a peaceful and secure new world before the generation that saw the events of 1914 passes away (Awake, 8 January 1987 through 8 October 1995, 4).

That the JWs say, “We never said, ‘thus saith the Lord’” or “We never spoke for Jehovah” is an assertion that is contradicted by their own Awake magazine declaration: “the Creator’s promise.” The Creator is Jehovah, and I do not think that any JW would ever disagree. Easily shown then, is that the WT was speaking for Jehovah for 13 years! (1982 through 1995). However, it was not only in the Awake magazine that the WT spoke in the name of Jehovah. We find the same speaking for Jehovah pronouncements in other WT literature:

From a purely human view point, it could appear that these developments could hardly take place before the generation of 1914 disappears from the scene. But the fulfillment of all the foretold events affecting the generation of 1914 does not depend on comparatively slow human action. Jehovah’s prophetic word through Christ Jesus is: ‘This generation (of 1914) will by no means pass away until all things occur.’ (Luke 21:32 And Jehovah, who is the source of inspired and unfailing prophecy, will bring about the fulfillment of his Son’s words in a relatively short time. . . . (WT, 15 May, 1984, 6-7).

Which generation is this [1914], and how long is it? . . . It applies to Christ’s followers and others who were able to observe that war and the other things that have occurred in fulfillment of Jesus’ ‘composite sign.’ Some of such persons ‘will by no means pass away until’ all of the present wicked system (ibid., 1 October 1978, 31).

 

Change of Prophecy

Now, we saw above how for over 13 years the WT spoke in the name of Jehovah, that is, it was the “Creator’s promise of a peaceful and secure new world before the generation that saw the events of 1914 passes away.” But that “generation” of 1914, is dying off and only a relatively few are left. Just as little children will cross their fingers behind their back and say, “it doesn’t count,” the WT totally changed the 1914 generation prophecy with no explanation whatsoever.

On page 4 of the November 8th 1995 edition of the Awake magazine, they omitted the words “before the generation that saw 1914 passes away.” Notice how the change now reads:

Most importantly, this magazine builds confidence in the Creator’s promise of a peaceful and secure new world that is about to replace the present wicked, lawless system of things (note that all present eds. of the Awake magazine contain this reading—so far).

Builds confidence? In a God who cannot get it right the first time? Remember this is not some human fallible error, the WT said that it was Jehovah’s promise, His “prophetic word.” For 13 years (concerning the “generation” prophecy alone), they allowed themselves to be the Deuteronomy 18 false prophets.

Additionally, the WT’s entire doctrine of “this generation” has changed. Before 1995, the “1914 generation” was the faithful “anointed class” (i.e., part of the 144,000). Now, since November 8, 1995, the “generation” is defined as the “lawless wicked ones” that saw the signs of the invisible return of Christ in 1914 but did not change their evil ways and become JWs (cf. WT, 1 November 1995, 19). Clearly then, the WT is a false prophet that tells its devotees that Jehovah spoke to them when in fact Jehovah did not.

Along with the many false prophecies, the WT has also countless doctrinal flip-flops. They declare (as Jehovah’s mouthpiece on earth) principles and doctrines for its people. Then, years later, change it, because of the supposed “new light.” But then, after a while, they change it again back to the original teaching, as with the men of Sodom being resurrected. Jehovah’s mouthpiece?

Sadly, millions of faithful followers are told that the WT is Jehovah’s sole channel of communication:

Those who are convinced that The Watchtower is publishing the opinion or expression of a man should not waste time in looking at it at all. . . . Those who believe that God uses The Watchtower as a means of communication to his people, or of calling attention to his prophecies, should study The Watchtower (WT, 1 January 1942, 5).

 

Who is the False Prophet?

8 January 1982 through 8 October 1995:

Most importantly, this magazine builds confidence in the Creator’s promise of a peaceful and secure new world [order] before the generation that saw the events of 1914 [C.E.] passes away (Awake, 8 January, 1982 through 8 October, 1995, 2[1982-1987], 4 [1987-1995]).

November 8, 1995 to the present:

Most importantly, this magazine builds confidence in the Creator’s promise of a peaceful and secure new world that is about to replace the present wicked, lawless system of things (4; and in all present eds. of the Awake magazine).

Whom can you trust? You cannot trust the Watchtower.

“For I, the LORD, do not change. . . . ” (Mal. 3:6).


 

 

APPENDIX I
Jesus is presented and called “The God”

John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God” (NET; note the ;ast clause in Greek: Kai theos ēn ho logos, “And God was the Word.”    

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 Greek interlinear: The Kingdom Interlinear Translation). Ps. 35:23 reads the same: “Stir Yourself, and awake to my right And to my cause, my God and my Lord.”  The Greek (LXX) reads: ho theos mou kai ho kurios mou (lit., “the God of me and the Lord of me”). almost identical to 20:28, except only that “Lord” and “God” are inverted—Further, note Rev 4:11: axios ei, ho kurios kai ho theos hēmōn, lit., “Worthy are [You], the Lord and the God of us.” In these two passages, both “Lord” and “God” refer to one person.  

 Titus 2:13: 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 [“the”-“God”-“and”-“Jesus”]): tou theou hēmōn kai sōtēros Iēsou Christou, lit. “the God of us and Savior Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Peter 1:11; 2:20; 3:2, 18; 2 Thess. 1:12; see Gk.).

Jude 1:4 (same construction as Titus 2:13 and 2 Pet. 1:1- The one article, and the “and” connects both nouns which refer to the first named person, Jesus Christ. Here in Jude: The Only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ”: NWT reads: “… and who prove false to our only owner [or Master] and Lord, Jesus Christ.” How can Jesus be the Only Master/Owner and Lord?- what about Jehovah? 

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”).

Hebews 1:10-12. God Father is directly addressing the Son as the “Lord” [Jehovah [YHWH] of Ps. 102:25-27- the unchangeable Creator of al things (same as John 1:3, 10; Col. 1:16-17; 1 Cor. 8:6; Heb. 1:2 and 2:10).     

Jesus’ Absolute claim to BE the “I AM” (egō eimi): Mark 6:50; John 8:24; 8:28; 8:58; 13:19; 18:5, 6, and 8). In the OT LXX, only YHWH claimed to be the unpredicated egō eimi, “I am” (Deut. 32:39; Isa. 41:4; 43:10; 46:4; 48:12) 

*Why is it important to know and teach that Jesus IS God? Besides that of John 4:24; 17:3 and 1 John 2:22-23, Jesus declares in 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., lit.: “Unless you believe that I AM you will die in your sins”; no supplied predicate). 

*See also: John 1:18; Romans 9:5; Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 2:9 (theotētos); Hebrews 1:3; 1 John 5:20; and Revelation 5:13-14. [The Trinity: One God revealed in three distinct coequal and coeternal Persons].

___________________________________________________________________________________________

NOTES

[1] Only by way of biblical authorship (viz. 1 & 2 Peter) were Peter’s words theopneustos, “God breathed out” (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16).

[2] Specifically, the JWs are taught that in 1935 God stopped calling people to heaven (cf. WT, 15 December, 1982, 19). Thus, the total number of people that will enter into heaven is 144.000 (also called the “anointed class” and “little flock”). The JWs say that they will be “spirit creatures” (without “flesh and blood”) as Christ is. Also included in the 144.000 are the ones (viz. the 1914 generation) who witnessed the signs of the so-called invisible return of Christ in 1914. The rest (i.e., the “other sheep” or the “great crowd” which comprises the majority of JWs) will have to live on earth for eternity. It is only the 144.000 that can be “born again” (cf. WT, 1 April, 1988, 18); be justified before God (cf. Life Everlasting-in Freedom of the Sons of God, 1966, 391); and partake in communion services. Note that in WT theology, the Old Testament prophets are not even a part of the heaven bound “anointed class” rather they will live on earth forever.

[3] According to the Statistics: 2001 Report of Jehovah’s Witnesses Worldwide there are only 8,730 left of the 1914 generation.

 

The JWs are taught that the term “Jehovah” is the *true* name of God.[1] Further, they assert that the term “Jehovah” was actually removed from the original Greek NT and thus faithfully restored by the NWT.[2] However, consider the following statements made by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (i.e., the organization of the JWs; hereafter WT):

The WT acknowledges that “Jehovah” is not the true pronunciation of God’s name.

While inclining to view the pronunciation “Yah.weh” as the more correct way, we have retained the form “Jehovah” because of people’s familiarity with it since the 14th century. Moreover, it preserves, equally with other forms, the four letters of the tetragrammaton JHVH (NWT, 1950 ed., Foreword, p. 25 [note: This admission was removed from the 1961, 1970, 1984 editions of the NWT]).

 

The WT acknowledges that most Hebrew scholars prefer “Yahweh” as the true pronunciation:

Yes, many Bible scholars acknowledge that “Yahweh” more nearly represents the Hebrew pronunciation of the Divine Name (WT,[3] July 15, 1964, p. 423).

Hebrew scholars generally favor “Yahweh” as the most likely pronunciation (Aid To Bible Understanding, 1971, 885).

“Jehovah” is the best known English pronunciation of the Divine name, although “Yahweh” is favored by most Hebrew scholars (Insight on the Scriptures, 1988, vol. 2, p. 5).

The WT acknowledges that the exact pronunciation of God’s name is unknown:

Yet no one today actually can say with certainty how Moses, for example, pronounced the Divine name (WT, May 1, 1978, p. 12).

Due to religious disuse, the original pronunciation of the Hebrew has been lost . . . there is no way of knowing what pronunciation is correct (WT, December 1, 1983, p. 5).

The WT acknowledges that the pronunciation “Jehovah” was originally a “blunder”:

As to the Old Testament name of God, certainly the spelling and pronunciation “Jehovah” were originally a blunder (The Bible in Living English, 1972, p.7).

 

The WT acknowledges that the pronunciation “Jehovah” originated not until the thirteenth century A.D.:

The first recorded use of this form [Jehovah] dates from the thirteenth century C.E. Raymundus Martini, a Spanish [Roman Catholic] monk of the Dominican Order, used it in his book Pugeo Fidei of the year 1270 C.E. (Aid To Bible Understanding, 1971, p. 884-5).

But “Jehovah” did not appear until Martine’s 1381 ed. In the earlier eds. he used Yohoua.

The WT acknowledges that there is no NT Greek manuscript that contains “the divine name”:

One of the remarkable facts, not only about the extent manuscripts of the original Greek text, but of many versions, ancient and modern, is the absence of the Divine name (NWT, 1950 ed., Foreword, p. 10; the same quote is found in the Awake magazine, 1957, January 8, 25).

No ancient Greek manuscript that we possess today of the books from Matthew to Revelation contains God’s name in full (The Divine Name That Will Endure Forever, 1984, p. 23).

 

The fact is, “Jehovah” is not and has never been God’s name. As seen above, the WT acknowledges this fact.

Here’s the point: God was known by many names. In the OT, for example, God is called, “Yahweh” (YHWH, “LORD”, Deut. 6:4); “LORD God” (Gen. 1:4); “Lord” (Adonai, Isa. 6:1); “God” (Elohim, Gen. 1:1); “God of Abraham” (Gen. 26:24); “God of Daniel” (Dan. 6:26); “God of Israel” (Num. 16:9); “Glory of Israel” (1 Sam. 15:29); “God of heaven” (Dan. 2:44); “Creator” (Isa. 40:28); “Everlasting God” (Isa. 40:28); “I am” (egō eimi in the LXX;[4] Deut. 32:39; 43:10); “First and the Last” (Isa. 44:6); “mighty God” (Isa. 10:21); “God of gods,” “Lord of lords” (Deut. 10:17); “Holy One” (Isa. 40:25); “Rock of Israel” (Isa. 30:29); and many other names and titles were used to refer to God in the OT.

And in the NT, God[5] is referred to as “Father” over 250 times. Jesus refers to Him as “Father” about 179 times. The apostle Paul (and other apostles) also refers to God as “Father” (Abba in Rom. 8:15 and Gal. 4:6). But not once did any NT author use the Hebrew Tetragrammaton (“YHWH”) to refer to God.

Note: the manuscript evidence indicates that the NT was written in Greek, not Hebrew nor Aramaic—thus, the Hebrew Tetragrammaton (YHWH) is not found in any of over 5,800 NT manuscripts. When citing passages from the OT, the NT authors used kurios (“Lord”) to translate YHWH. As well, the LXX primarily used kurios to translate the Tetragrammaton.

To recall:

1. The term “Jehovah” was the invention of a Catholic monk (Raymundus Martini) in A.D. 1202.

2. “Jehovah” is a mispronunciation and an incorrect transliteration of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton (YHWH) to which virtually all biblical scholars concur.

3. God was referred to by many names and titles: There is no passage in the OT or NT that commands the people of God to call Him by a specific name—and definitely not “Jehovah.” In fact, Jesus normally used “Father” and sometimes kurios (“Lord”; e.g., Luke 10:21) to refer to God (His Father).

4. When citing passages from the OT, the NT authors used kurios (“Lord”) to translate YHWH (e.g., Rom. 10:13). Note: most of the OT quotations in the NT were from the Greek LXX where kurios, not YHWH was used.

5. As seen, even the WT agrees with point 1 and 2 above.

Since the JWs believe that the “true name” of God (“Jehovah” as they assume) is essential in honoring Him, then, why would they mispronounce and mistransliterate (as the WT admits) the Tetragrammaton—YHWH?

*Witnessing Tip*

Romans 10:13 reads (Paul here quoting from Joel 2:32): “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved” (NWT). Ask the JW: “If “Jehovah” is not the true and correct name (as agreed by the WT), how can a JW be saved since he or she calls on the wrong name?[6]- See, Jesus as YHWH and the erroneous assertions of the JWs.

Contrary to the JW’s false and fixed notion regarding the term “Jehovah,” Jesus Christ instructed His followers: “After this manner therefore pray ye: ‘Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. . . .’” (Matt. 6:9; KJV).

Remember, it is not merely the mispronunciation of YHWH that condemns JWs (for many Christians use the term “Jehovah”), but rather it is their denial that Jesus IS YHWH that condemns them before God (cf. John 8:24).


 

NOTES

[1] The term “LORD” in the English OT is translated from YHWH (viz. Tetragrammaton, lit., “word with four letters”). Original Hebrew had only consonants—no vowels, though, vowels were verbally pronounced (thus, “Yahweh” as most scholars coincide). Vowels were added to the written text by the Masoretes (cf. Masoretic Text) around the ninth century A.D.

[2] The WT’s New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures is the translation that the JWs use. Prior to the NWT (1950), the WT distributed and utilized the Kings James Version. However, in order to stay coherent to WT doctrines, the NWT departed from the translational norm of the KJV. The brunt of the translational deviations reflect the theological distinctives of the WT (e.g., Matt. 25:46: “everlasting cutting-off”; John 1:1: “a god”; Col. 1:16-17: the insertion of “other” four times in order to teach that Christ was not the Creator of ALL THINGS as the original Greek [grammar/context] indicates (but in John 1:3, the NWT did not add “other”); Col. 2:9: “divine quality” and, of course, the NWT inserted “Jehovah” (in the NT)—some 237 times).

[3] I.e., The Watchtower magazine.

[4] LXX is the abbreviation for the Septuagint (meaning “seventy,” i.e., the traditional number of scholars that translated the OT Heb. into Greek). The NT authors primarily used the LXX when citing the OT. Also note, the LXX was used exclusively in the book of Hebrews.

[5] I.e., God the Father.

[6] Note on Romans 10:13:

The phrase “Jesus as Lord” (Kurion Iēsoun [Κύριον Ἰησοῦν], lit., “Lord Jesus”) in Romans 10:9 is clearly the antecedent to the occurrences of the pronoun “Him” and “Lord” following up to verse 13:

9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

11 For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;

13 For “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD [YHWH] WILL BE SAVED” (from Joel 2:32).

“Jesus as Lord” is the object of salvation from verse 9-13. Throughout these passages, it is the same “Him” and same “Lord” beginning in verse 9. To say that the “Lord” in verse 9 is a different “Lord” than in verse 13 completely breaks the flow of the passages. The Lord that one confesses (v. 9) is the same Lord that one calls upon for salvation (v. 13). In verse 13, Paul cites Joel 2:32: “whoever calls on the name of the Lord [Heb. YHWH] will be delivered.” Just as he does in Philippians 2:10-11, Paul cites a passage referring to YHWH and applies it to Jesus. Thus, whoever confessing and calls upon Jesus as Lord, that is, Jesus as YHWH will be saved.

In fact, there are many places where the NT authors cite OT passages referring to YHWH and apply them to Jesus Christ. This is a great way to share the truth about Jesus to JWs. For example, compare Psalm 102:25-27 with Hebrews 1:10-12; Isaiah 6:1-10 with John 12:39-41; Isaiah 8:12-13 with 1 Peter 3:14-15; Isaiah 45:23 with Philippians 2:10-11; Joel 2:32 with Romans 10:13. The most productive way to use this witnessing tactic is to first take the JW to the OT passage first, then have him read the NT passage where the author cites the OT passage and applies it to Jesus.