Observations for your Jehovah’s Witnesss Visitors
Observations for your Jehovah’s Witnesss Visitors
by Dr. Brent Kinman
1. According to the Old Testament, only Jehovah is a savior:
Is. 43:11 “I, even I, am the LORD; And there is no savior besides Me.
Is. 45:21 “Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me.
But in the New Testament, Jesus is called ‘Savior’:
Titus 1:3 but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior; 4 to Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;
2Pet. 1:1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:
2. According to the Old Testament, God (or Jehovah) alone is the creator:
Gen. 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Gen. 2:4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven.
Is. 44:24 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, “I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself, And spreading out the earth all alone,
But in the New Testament, Jesus is the creator of all things:
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
Col. 1:15 And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created by Him and for Him.
3. According to the Old Testament, Jehovah does not share his glory with anyone nor should his people worship anyone but him alone:
Ex. 34:14 — for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God —
Is. 42:8 “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.
But in the New Testament, Jesus shares God’s glory and is worshipped:
John 17:5 “And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.
Rev. 5:13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” 14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.
4. According to the Old Testament, there is no other God but Jehovah:
Is. 43:10 “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, In order that you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. 11 “I, even I, am the LORD; And there is no savior besides Me.
Is. 44:6 “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me.
Is. 45:5 “I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me;
Is. 45:21 “Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me. 22 “Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.
So why do Jehovah’s Witnesses say that John 1 teaches Jesus is ‘a god’?
5. Jesus spoke of himself in ways that caused his monotheistic Jewish audiences to believe he was claiming equality with God
John 8:52 The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he shall never taste of death.’ 53 Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; 55 and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I shall be a liar like you, but I do know Him, and keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57 The Jews therefore said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” 59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.
Ex. 3:13 Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” 14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
6. The New World Translation (that is, the translation of the Bible published by the Watchtower Society, an organization affiliated with the Jehovah’s Witnesses) of John 1:1-3 is neither good Greek Grammar nor is it consistent with similar constructions within the New World Translation itself.
Virtually every English translation (along with French and German ones, etc.) with the exception of the Jehovah’s Witnesses own New World Translation translates John 1:1-2 like this: “1In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God; 2he was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him, and apart from him nothing came into being that has come into being.”
The ‘word’ here is clearly a reference to the incarnate Jesus (look at John 1:14). The JWitnesses say v. 1 should be translated, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was a god.” They point out that the Greek article “the” (ho, oJ) does not precede the second ‘god’ in Greek (theos, qeo/ß) and thus should be rendered ‘a god’ rather than ‘God’.
A lengthy discussion explaining this is found in a recently published Greek reference work written by Dan Wallace: Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: an exegetical syntax of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, pp. 256-270, esp. pp. 266-70. It’s available at www.amazon.com. Wallace’s work demonstrates the flawed understanding of Greek grammar that apparently underlies the New World Translation.
It should be noted that in the New Testament there are 282 occurrences of the word ‘God’ (theos, qeo/ß) without the article; in only 16 of these places does the New World Translation render the word ‘a god’ or ‘god’ or ‘gods’ — in other places qeo/ß is translated ‘God’ or ‘the God’ — thus the New World Translation translators are true to their translation principle only 6% of the time!
Just one more thing: The JWs want to insist that Jesus is a created being, thus they say he is ‘a god’ — but John 1:3 says the ‘word’ created “everything that has been created”: but if Jesus (or ‘the word’) is a created being, does that mean he had to exist before he existed in order to create himself?
The bottom line is this: our English versions are correct in translating the verse as, “the word was with God and the word was God.”