CAF Answers the WATCHTOWER Booklet
“Should You Believe In The Trinity?”
1. Introduction, Purpose, Definition
2. Nine Most Serious Errors: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
4. Annotated Listing of Scriptural Evidence for the Trinity:
1, 2, 3, 4
5. Appendix: A, B, C, D
(Should, subtitled Is Jesus Christ the Almighty God? Published by The WATCHTOWER Bible & Tract Society of New York, Inc. [WTBTS], 1989.)
Our headings and comments are in black. Should headings, quotations are blue. Scripture quotes are from the King James Bible (KJV) unless indicated.
NOTE: The interested reader is referred to the following hyperlink for an annotated listing of
Scriptural evidence for the Trinity.
Introduction, Purpose, Definition.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have consistently rejected the Trinity. Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916) taught that Christ was a merely created being, and that the Holy Spirit is merely God’s “active force.” In 1872 Mr. Russell began the WATCHTOWER movement and all subsequent WTBTS leaders have advanced Mr. Russell’s claims.
Should lays out the WTBTS’ favorite anti-Trinity attacks. Its opening flyleaf asks What, exactly, is the Trinity? Does the Bible teach it? Should You Believe It? Is Jesus Christ the Almighty God and part of the Trinity?
Should then says;
DO YOU believe in the Trinity? Most people in Christendom do. After all, it has been the central doctrine of the churches for centuries.
In view of this, you would think that there could be no question about it. But there is, and lately even some of its supporters have added fuel to the controversy.
Why should a subject like this be of any more than passing interest? Because Jesus himself said: “Eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” So our entire future hinges on our knowing the true nature of God, and that means getting to the root of the Trinity controversy. Therefore, why not examine it for yourself? – John 17:3, Catholic Jerusalem Bible (JB).
Should is not an unbiased study but a broadside of misleading arguments that either contend or imply that the Trinity doctrine is -
· Rooted in polytheistic paganism and immoral religious practices
· Diametrically opposed to Old Testament monotheism as taught by the prophets
· Contrary to teachings by Christ, the apostles and the early Christians
· A damnable, confused, unbiblical, illogical, apostate satanic heresy
· Antithetical to proper worship, and deserving of God’s eternal rejection.
Should page 31 concludes, Reject the Trinity.
Should’s back cover invites readers to request WTBTS literature to study with Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Ephesians 4:13-15; 2 Timothy 4:2-4; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 and Jude 3 exhort Christians to be doctrinally sound and to earnestly contend for the faith. Titus 3:9-11 also warns, But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject, Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself. (Our emphasis.)
Should’s anti-Trinity attack is based on foolish questions and contentions. Should also subverted history and plain Bible truths by material misrepresentations. While seeking to avoid foolish questions and contentions we answer nine of Should’s worst errors - and a host of its attending heresies - to earnestly contend for the faith. Our purpose is not to attack a person or organization but to stand for the truth, to defend the Trinity and to point the lost to the truth of the gospel.
Should page 3 says,
Various Trinitarian concepts exist. But generally the Trinity teaching is that in
the Godhead there are three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; yet, together they are but one God. The doctrine says that the three are coequal, almighty and uncreated, having existed eternally in the Godhead.
Others, however, say that the Trinity doctrine is false, that Almighty God stands alone as a separate, eternal, and all-powerful being. They say that Jesus in his prehuman existence was, like the angels, a separate spirit person created by God, and for this reason he must have had a beginning. They teach that Jesus has never been Almighty God’s equal in any sense; he has always been subject to God and still is. They also believe that the holy ghost is not a person but God’s spirit, his active force.
After a brief description of the Trinity doctrine, Should cites the opinion of Others who distort the Trinity. We first look to Unger’s Bible Dictionary, page 1118 for an outstanding definition of Trinity:
[T]he term by which is expressed the unity of three persons in the one God. The Christian doctrine is: 1. That there is only one God, one divine nature and being. 2. This one divine being is tri personal, involving the distinctions of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 3. These three are joint partakers of the same nature and majesty of God. This doctrine is preeminently one of revelation. And while it brings before us one of the great mysteries of revelation, and transcends the finite comprehension, it is essential to the understanding of the Scriptures; and, as we shall see, has its great value and uses. (M. F. Unger, Th.D. Ph.D, Moody Press, 1974)
In his sermon “Understanding The Trinity” the late D. James Kennedy said,
“The concept of Trinity means a . . . distinction of three co-existing Persons with an absolute unity and oneness and essence. If we fail to understand the Trinity, we cannot possibly understand the Christian religion. A misunderstanding of the Trinity will inevitably distort every other doctrine.”
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and unchanging members of a unique, united and eternal Godhead. In the power of God the Holy Spirit and in perfect obedience to His Father, the eternal Son was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Through the Virgin birth the Son was fully human and fully divine. To redeem mankind from sin, Jesus (the God-man) offered Himself as a vicarious substitute for a world of lost sinners.
On the third day Jesus rose bodily from the grave and showed Himself alive by many infallible proofs (Acts 1:3). After Jesus ascended back to His Father in heaven, the Father sent the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ name, to convict the world of sin and to comfort and teach believers (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7, 13). Today Jesus is seated at the right hand of Majesty. One day He will return in power and glory to rule earth for 1,000 years. At the end of the 1,000 years God will make a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Peter 3:13).
No Bible verse teaches that Jesus was created or that Jesus is inferior to Almighty God. The Hebrew El Shaddai (translated God Almighty) occurs in forty-seven Old Testament texts. As Shad means “breast” El Shaddai describes God’s care for His creation, and His provision, protection and blessing for His chosen people.
The Koine Greek word Pan·tok·rat´·ore (translated God Almighty) occurs nine times in the New Testament and means “omnipotent, absolute sovereign.” It first appears in Revelation 1:8 where it introduces the risen, glorified Christ.
No New Testament verse uses Pan·tok·rat´·ore to teach that the Son is inferior to the Father. For the purpose of securing our redemption the Son voluntarily placed Himself in subjection to the will of the Father. But that does not imply that the Son is inherently inferior to the Father.
We now expose and refute Should's nine most serious errors.
Error 1: The Trinity is pagan, polytheistic and confusing.
After asking How Is The Trinity Explained? Should pages 1-5, 11 implied that the Trinity is a Roman Catholic assimilation of ancient pagan triads such as Osiris-Isis-Horus and Brahma-Shiva-Vishnu.
We reply. Osiris was the Egyptian agriculture god who with Isis his wife begat Horus – the god of the underworld. These were put to everlasting shame in the days of Moses during the Exodus. Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu are said to create, sustain and destroy. Hindu works of art portray such in intimate (pornographic?) embrace.
1 Corinthians 10:20 says But I say, that the things that the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God:
Trinitarians historically have not only shunned that kin of idolatry but have led the way opposing its attending vices (unbiblical superstitions, temple prostitution, pedophilia and human sacrifices). Trinitarian Roman Catholic teachings are based on church councils which harmonize with the teachings of the Bible and apostolic teachings and the teachings of the early church fathers. No Roman Catholic Pope has ever stated that Rome’s Trinitarian belief sprang from idolatry.
Polytheism may distort but it does not explain the Holy Trinity.
Historian Dr. Peter Hammond notes,
“Most of the languages of the world were first codified and put into writing by Christian missionaries. More schools and universities have been started by Christians than any other religion, nation or group. Christian Reformers and missionaries have succeeded in bringing about the abolition of slavery, cannibalism, child sacrifice and widow burning [India]. Those countries which enjoy the most civil liberties are lands where the Gospel of Christ has penetrated.”
Under What Influenced It, Should page 11 called the Trinity “a corruption borrowed from the heathen religions, and in-grafted on the Christian faith.”
Should concluded that “The origin of the Trinity is entirely pagan.”
We reply. The Bible, not anti-Bible spin, is the foundation for truth about God. In Paganism there is no Triune, loving God Who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. No Pagan religion has an Eternal Son Who entered time to be born of a virgin, live a sinless human life and die to redeem all humanity.
No pagan religion offers Spirit-breathed, prophetic Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16).
What polytheistic, pagan religion tells of a benevolent Creator Who became man, died a vicarious death, and rose from the dead to redeem a lost, sinful race?
Paganism offers no risen Savior Who ascended to heaven as a glorified redeemer, Great High Priest, KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS. No polytheistic religion has a Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin, illumine the mind to Bible truths, indwell true believers and empower them to live uprightly.
Where outside of Christianity is there pardon for sin, a peace that endures and the sure hope of eternal bliss in God’s presence? Who but the Biblical God could preserve both His church and His chosen people?
Appendix A further contrasts Trinitarian teachings with extra-biblical worldviews
Should page 4 said The Encyclopedia Americana notes that the doctrine of the Trinity is considered to be “Beyond the grasp of human reason.” Should said this confusion is widespread.
We reply. The Encyclopedia Americana, 1977, page 116 concedes that the Trinity is thought to be ‘beyond the grasp of human reason,’ but then says the Trinity is no more contrary to human reason than physical phenomena which are not entirely comprehended. This is one of many instances where Should attacks the Trinity by misrepresenting and misquoting ‘authorities.’
Should page 4 asks, Is such reasoning hard to follow? Many sincere believers have found it confusing, contrary to normal reason, unlike anything in their experience. How, they ask, could the Father be God, Jesus be God, and the holy spirit be God, yet there be not three Gods but one God?
We reply. When it suits their purposes the WTBTS instructs people to accept things not humanly comprehended (like eternity or the size of the universe). On page 148 of their Reasoning From The Scriptures (1989), the WTBTS discusses God’s eternity thus: “Is that reasonable? Our minds cannot fully comprehend it. But that is not a sound reason for rejecting it . . . We do not reject the idea of time because there are aspects of it that we do not fully comprehend . . .”
Yet Should implied that because the Trinity doctrine is not fully comprehended, it must be false. Should page 4 further implied that Trinitarians are unsatisfied and divided amongst themselves in widespread confusion.
Under “Not a God of Confusion” Should page 4 cites Catholic theologians Karl Rahner and Herbert Vorgrimler: “The Trinity is a mystery...in the strict sense ...which could not be known without revelation, and even after revelation cannot become wholly intelligible.”
Should page 5 quips: However, contending that since the Trinity is such a confusing mystery, it must have come from divine revelation creates another major problem . . . “God is not a God of confusion.” – I Corinthians 14:33, Revised Standard Version (RS).
We reply. The above misrepresents Trinitarians and misuses the word mystery. Regarding the latter, Unger’s Bible Dictionary page 769 says:
The N. T. use of the term “mystery” has reference to some operation or plan of God hitherto unrevealed. It does not carry the idea of a secret to be withheld, but to be published (I Cor. 4:1). Paul uses the word 21 times. The term mystery, moreover, comprehends not only a previously hidden truth, presently divulged, but one that contains a supernatural element which still remains in spite of the revelation.
1 Corinthians 14:33, For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints, is not about the Trinity but an orderly use of spiritual gifts in the church. No mortal man fully understands God but His born-again children find His Triune Being awe-inspiring, rational and consistent with monotheism. While the WTBTS considers a Trinity three gods (1+1+1), the Biblical Trinity is One God in Three Persons (1x1x1=1).
Error 2: How Did the Trinity Doctrine Develop? Is It Clearly a Bible Teaching? (Should pages 5 and 7)
Should then said, First-century believers accepted the Scriptures as the authentic revelation of God. It was the basis for their beliefs, the final authority . . . Jesus, Paul and first-century believers used the Scriptures as the foundation for their teaching.
Should page 6 claimed, Thus, neither the . . . Hebrew Scriptures nor the . . . Greek Scriptures provide any clear teaching of the Trinity. To back that claim Should pages 5-12 posted third party quotes, historic revisions and odd arguments to imply that Jesus, the Bible, Paul and first-century believers rejected the Trinity doctrine.
We reply. Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against His church (Matthew 16:18) and He has kept His word, preserving the church physically and doctrinally. By AD 90 the New Testament canon was complete and by AD 175 the church had distinguished the 66 books of the Bible. From these, Christians built and solidified their belief in the deity of Christ. Many credible works tell how the apostles, first century saints and ante-Nicene church believed in Christ’s eternal deity (see Christianity Through the Centuries (Earle Cairn); Encyclopaedia Britannica and Zondervan’s Bible Dictionary, page 872 [Merrill Tenney, editor]).
For this belief the church was persecuted by Jews (ca. 33-70) and Romans (90 to 313). Multitudes of Christians endured death by torture rather than dishonor the Deity of Christ by emperor worship (then required by Roman law).
Rev. 2:10 says Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
Diocletian tried to rid the world of Scriptures. Nero executed Paul and killed the Christians for sport. All of the apostles were persecuted and most were martyred. Nevertheless, Christians did not compromise but boldly contended for the faith that was once for all time delivered to the holy ones (Jude 3, New World Translation [NWT]).
The early church also prevailed against heresies such as Gnosticism, Sabellianism and Arianism. In the 4th and 5th centuries as Rome began to deteriorate its political leaders sought to stabilize the empire by incorporating the church in state business.
Following leaders like Huss and Luther many Bible-based congregations endured through the “dark ages” (~AD 500–1500) until the Reformation provided liberty for the modern evangelical movement and today’s Trinitarian denominations.
Through these historical events the Trinity doctrine was preserved.
Should page 8 scoffs: For many years, there had been much opposition on Biblical grounds to the developing idea that Jesus was God. To try to solve the dispute, Roman emperor Constantine summoned all bishops to Nicaea. About 300, a fraction of the total, actually attended.
We reply. Contrary to Should’s claims, the ante-Nicene church fathers believed in the Trinity and the deity of Christ. For example, Ignatius, around AD 110-120 wrote, “We have also as a Physician the Lord our God, Jesus the Christ, the only-begotten Son and Word . . . .” Similarly, the church historian Irenaeus wrote in Against Heresies: “ . . . . in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, ‘every knee should bow . . . .’” Numerous other examples can be found in Beisner (1978).
According to Christianity Through the Centuries, the deity of Christ was taught by the apostles and early church fathers, and the first serious opposition to the Trinity arose in 318-319. At that time Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, debated Arius on “the unity of the Trinity.” Because Arius denied that Christ was the same essence as the Father he was excommunicated by Alexander. Arius spread his heretical teachings throughout Asia Minor, provoking sharp contentions that seriously disturbed the peace in eastern Rome.
Because Christians composed a sizable portion of Roman citizenry, the Roman emperor Constantine called for a church council at Nicaea in 325 to settle the Arian dispute. Should contended that Constantine swayed the council to make Christ a deity. Centuries and reputable church historians teach the bishops at the council, not Constantine, declared Christ to be the eternal Son Who is of the divine substance.
But as Dr. Cairns noted in Centuries, pages 144-145:
“Between 325 and 361 under Constantine and his sons orthodoxy had to face a reaction that led to its defeat and the temporary victory of Arianism. A second reaction against orthodoxy, with orthodoxy’s final victory in 381, came between 361 and 381. Theodosius defined as the faith of true Christians the views formulated by the orthodox at Nicaea....The council of Constantinople in 391 stated in Canon 1 of its decisions that the faith of the 318 fathers at Nicaea ‘shall not be set aside but shall remain dominant.’ This decision was approved at Chalcedon in 451. Thus it is the creed accepted at Constantinople in 391 that is today known as the Nicene Creed and is used in the Church. Between 381 and 590 the Church busied itself with the task of bringing Christianity to the Teutonic tribes and winning the Arian tribes back to Christianity.”
“…Nicaea cost the Church its independence, however, for the Church became imperial from this time and was increasingly dominated by the emperor. The Church in the West was able to rise above this domination, but the Church in the East never freed itself from domination by the political power of the state.”
After Arius’ death in 361 Athanasius championed Christ’s deity through 381. At the councils of Constantinople, Chalcedon and in Toledo (589) church leaders affirmed the eternal deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit. The Decisions of these councils were not based on pagan thought but on the Old and New Testament Scriptures which were affirmed by the teachings of the apostles and early church fathers.
Dr. Cairns calls these councils and decisions “providential.” Should page 9 called this portion of church history disreputable. The March 1, 2002 WATCHTOWER mentioned Arius’ denial of Christ’s eternal deity but otherwise tried to distance the WTBTS from Arius. Should did not even mention Arius!
Error 3: God Is One, Not Three.
Should page 12 asks, What Does the Bible Say About God and Jesus? IF PEOPLE were to read the Bible from cover to cover without any preconceived idea of a Trinity, would they arrive at such a concept on their own? Not at all.
We reply. The Trinity doctrine is the result of just that kind of Bible study!
Should pages1-12 primarily attack the Trinity by slanting or distorting extra-biblical references or by proffering anti-Trinity thought. Starting on page 12 Should began to attack the Trinity primarily by twisting and/or distorting Bible texts. Under headings God Is One, Not Three and Not a Plural God, Should implied that neither the Jewish culture nor the Old Testament Scriptures will tolerate the Trinity doctrine.
We reply. The angel of the Lord told Mary’s espoused husband, Joseph,
fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us (Matthew 1:20-23).
Luke also says,
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
For with God nothing shall be impossible.
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her (Luke 1:26-38 (our emphases)).
Isaiah 7:14 says, Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. This prophesy was fulfilled when the power of the Highest (Luke 1:35) overshadowed a Jewish maiden, Mary, enabling her to conceive the Holy One (Acts 2:27) by the Holy Ghost (Matthew 1:20).
John 5:43-44; 9:39-41 describes blindness due to Jewish unbelief and pride.
Romans 10:3 says that Jews being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
Romans 10:21 (NWT) says, But as respects Israel he says: “All day long I have spread out my hands toward a people that is disobedient and talks back.”
Romans 11:25 says, For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, least ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NWT) says,
If, now, the good news we declare is in fact veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.
1 Thessalonians 2:15-16 says unbelieving Jews
both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
1 Cor. 2:14 says, But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
These verses may help explain why men reject the Trinity but human unbelief does not make void a biblical truth. We know of no good reason for rejecting the Bible or the doctrine of the Trinity.
Should pages 12-13 quote anti-Trinitarian L. L. Paine saying that Jesus “accepted as his own belief the great text of Jewish monotheism: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one God.”’ Should thus contended that Jesus was not God.
We reply. Deuteronomy 6:4 says, Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD (our emphasis).
The NWT reads: Listen, O Israel: Jehovah (YHWH) our God (Elohim) is one Jehovah (parentheses ours).
There is both unity and plurality in the plural noun Elohim, Who is one YHWH.
Even the NWT says one Jehovah and not “one God.” Deuteronomy 6:4 presents God as a compound unity: a unified Being consisting of a plurality of persons.
Should page 13 protested, In the grammar of that verse, the word “one” has no plural modifiers to suggest that it means anything but one individual. Should also insisted that the -im suffix in Elohim did not denote plurality in Deut. 6:4.
We reply. The Hebrew renders nouns plural by adding -im. For example, the plural for the Hebrew word “cherub” is “cherubim” (Exodus 37:9). In Deut. 6:4 the Hebrew word for “one” is echad. Numbers 13:23 calls a grape cluster echad. Genesis 2:24 calls husband and wife echad flesh. Hence echad may mean one in number or unity. The Hebrew word for an absolute or solitary one, only is found in several Old Testament passages but never in connection with God. (See Strongs Hebrew Dictionary #3173 “yachiyd”; Vines Expository Dictionary, page 812 “yachid”)
Jesus a Separate Creation—refuted!
Should page 14 claimed that in Genesis 1:26 Jehovah said “us” and “our” to the prehuman Jesus… his first spirit creation, the master craftsman.
To teach that Christ was a created being, Should page 14-16, 26 misrepresented Colossians 1:15-17, Revelation 3:14 and Proverbs 8:1-12, 22, 25, 26 & 30.
We answer. Where Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 11:7 and Isaiah 6:8 use us, the contexts imply questions and discussions among equals. God does not discuss His purposes with angels. Note in Isaiah 6:8-10 words and actions of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit:
And I began to hear the voice of Jehovah saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I proceeded to say: “Here I am! Send me.”
And he went on to say: “Go, and you must say to this people, ‘Hear again and again, O men, but do not understand; and see again and again, but do not get any knowledge.’
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.” (Isaiah 6:8-10, NWT)
Matthew 13:14-15 indicates that Isaiah 6:10 found its fulfillment when Jesus was rejected by the Jews of His day. In Acts 28:25-27 Paul taught that the Holy Spirit uttered Isaiah 6:9-10. In Isaiah 6:1 and 6:8 the Hebrew word for Lord is Adonai (not Jehovah). (The Hebrew for LORD is YHWH, as in Isaiah 6:12). These verses do not prove the Trinity but strongly support the concept.
Jesus a Separate Creation—refuted again!
Should pages 14, 16 and 26 cite (but do not quote) Colossians 1:15-17 and Revelation 3:14 as basis to teach that Jesus was created by God, as the beginning of God’s invisible creations. Should said Jesus had a beginning and could never be coequal with God in power or eternity. Should identified Jesus as a created spirit being and the only one directly begotten by God as a junior partner in the creation.
Colossians 1:15-17 and Revelation 3:14 examined.
Colossians 1:13-19 (NWT) calls the Son firstborn of all creation and the beginning. The Koine´ Greek word firstborn (protótokos) can mean chronological firstborn or a position of honor, depending on the context. Similarly the Koine´ Greek word beginning (arché) can mean chronically first, or first in the sense of prominence.
The context indicates the proper interpretation.
Colossians 1:13-19 reads,
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into
the kingdom of his dear Son:
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell (our emphases).
Here firstborn and beginning declare the Son’s prominence over all creation. He is the Origin, Ruler, Sustainer and Redeemer of all creation!
The NWT Colossians 1:15-17 reads, because by means of him all [other] things were created. The intent of the [other] is to reduce the Son to a created “thing” (i.e. according to WTBTS reasoning the Son created all “other” things, being a created “thing” himself). But that position violates the meaning of the original language.
According to the Greek scholars H. E. Dana and J. R. Mantey, Colossians 1:16 presents Christ as the active agent in creation. (A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, pages 91, 201.)
In The Expositors’ Greek Testament, Vol. 3, pages 503-504 A. S. Peake states:
Paul now gives the ground for the designation of the Son as prototokos pasas ktisews [firstborn of all creation]. In Him all things (ta panta) were created. From this it follows that the Son cannot be a creature, for creation is exhausted by the “all things” which were so created in Him. (Brackets, emphasis ours.)
Thus Greek-English Interlinear New Testaments translate Col. 1:16-17 in Him, not by Him –as seen in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation and Emphatic Diaglott (both of which exclude the [other] injections in the NWT’s Col. 1:16-17).
That the Son made all things is also seen in John 1:1-3, 12-14.
Exodus 20:11; Acts 4:24 and Nehemiah 9:6 say God made the heavens, the earth and the sea.
Revelation 14:7 commands earth dwellers to worship the One who made the heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters (NWT).
Therefore worship is due to the Son!
Colossians 2:8-10 warns,
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (Our emphasis).
And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
(If Jesus were a creature He could not contain all the fulness of the Godhead. But Jesus is God incarnate.)
Respecting Col. 2:9, Arndt & Gingrich’s English-Greek Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, page 359 defines Godhead [theotatos] as the fullness of deity. This is recognized by The Emphatic Diaglott’s Colossians 2:9 also.
Colossians 2:8-9 (NWT) says in Christ all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily. The WTBTS distinguishes between the fullness of deity and the fullness of the divine quality. By so doing the WTBTS advances Arius’ polytheistic notion that the God Jehovah created a lesser “Mighty-God” who is a created divinity and “Eternal-Father” but not eternal Deity (Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1, NWT).
Revelation 3:14 describes the Son the beginning of the creation by God (NWT).
Hence, the WTBTS vigorously insists that Jesus is the beginning of God’s invisible creations.
Once again, we look to the context to see if arche´ means chronological beginning or a pre-eminent Being. For help we look back to Revelation 1:7-8:
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (Rev. 1:8 our emphasis)
The WTBTS admits Jesus is speaking in Rev. 1:7 but claims Jehovah (not Jesus) speaks in Rev. 1:8: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says Jehovah God, “the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.” (NWT)
The same Individual speaks in Rev. 22:12-13 (NWT): “‘Look! I am coming quickly, and the reward I give is with me, to render to each one as his work is. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
We ask Jehovah’s Witnesses who is the Alpha and the Omega who is “coming quickly.” Revelation 22:20 says, “He that bears witness of these things says, ‘Yes; I am coming quickly.’” “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.” (NWT)
Obviously, it is Jesus who is coming quickly as the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last and the beginning. Thus Jesus is the beginning in the sense of Creator…and the Almighty. Otherwise, the Alpha and the Omega (Whom the WTBTS claims is Jehovah God) is a creation!
The following verses also present Jesus as Jehovah God:
In John’s encounter with the risen Christ (Rev 1:9-18) Jesus calls himself as the first and the last. (Rev. 1:17) The NWT margin notes link Rev. 1:17 to Isaiah 44:6 and 48:12–where Jehovah (YHWH) reserves for Himself the exclusive title of the first and the last.
The Alpha and Omega; first and the last and the beginning describe One Who is Ruler over creation – not one who is the first of created beings.
We thus find the WTBTS’ aversion to the Trinity based on bias – alone.
Chambering its last round Should page 14 quoted NJB Proverbs 8:22, “Yahweh created me, first-fruits of his fashioning, before the oldest of his works.” Should claimed, While the term “Wisdom” is used to personify the one whom God created, most scholars agree that it is actually a figure of speech for Jesus as a spirit creature prior to his human existence.”
We reply. To conclude that the Son created Should applied circular reasoning and a literal spin on a symbolic text. But personification is a literary tool to bestow living attributes to non-living objects. The Son is alive, not an object or concept to be personified.
Regarding Proverbs 8:22, Charles John Ellicott’s Bible Commentary, page 470 says,
“When in Christian times it was observed how well the description of Wisdom in Job and Proverbs harmonized with that of God the Son in the New Testament, such passages as this were universally applied to Him, and the present one was rightly interpreted as describing his eternal generation from the Father.” (Emphasis ours.)
No conservative Bible scholar considers the Son a creature. Furthermore, the Son was not called ‘Jesus’ until after His incarnation.
Proverbs 8:22 says The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. (KJV, our emphasis.) This tells of Christ’s eternal union with His Father. To suggest otherwise is to imply that God once lacked wisdom, which He created. In truth, God is the eternal possessor and source of infinite wisdom.
Certain Old Testament teachings about wisdom harmonize with New Testament descriptions of Christ. But if we limit the interpretation of Wisdom in the Proverbs to the one whom God created then Wisdom (Christ) becomes a literal sister (see Proverbs 7:4) who was literally brought forth as with labor pains (Proverbs 8:23-25 (NWT)).
It is more reasonable to recognize in Proverbs 8:1-36 wisdom’s role in the creation set forth poetically and symbolically, to encourage the reader to seek the wisdom and her attending benefits.
Psalms 2:2, 12; 110:1; Proverbs 30:4; Isaiah 42:1 and Daniel 7:13, 14 directly refer to the eternal Son–but not to a spirit creature or to one whom God created.
Error 4: How Much Was the Ransom?
Should page 15 says,
Jesus, no more and no less than a perfect human, became a ransom that compensated exactly for what Adam lost – the right to perfect human life on earth.…If Jesus, however, were part of a Godhead, the ransom price would have been infinitely higher than what God’s own Law required.…It was only a perfect human, Adam, who sinned in Eden, not God. So the ransom, to be truly in line with God’s justice, had to be strictly an equivalent - a perfect human, “the last Adam.”
According to the WTBTS’ *Knowledge That Leads To Everlasting Life, Christ’s ransom enables “a great multitude” to rise from the dead, recover perfect human life and obtain the chance to prove their merit in an perfect earth ruled by Christ. Those deemed worthy will then live on earth forever. Another 144,000 live with Jehovah in heaven. *(1995. See pages 50, 60, 64-65, 68-69, 87-89, 186, 178-180, 185-187, 190)
We reply. We later deal with the 144,000. For now we object to the suggestion that Jesus is “part of a Godhead.” The word part refers to things. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are not objects but eternally and equally divine Persons. Together they make the Triune Godhead. And Christ was not merely a perfect human being to balance Adam’s sin and loss of perfect human life on earth. Redemption’s cost was the penalty for all sins committed against an infinitely Holy God.
Romans 5:12 says, Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death.
Romans 3:23-26 says,
For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
To declare, I say, at this time, his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary was for all sin. And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).
Isaiah 53:6 says, All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Jesus tasted death for every man (Heb. 2:9-10). Adam and Eve were privileged (not entitled) to live in the Garden of Eden where they disobeyed God’s command to not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). God confronted Adam and Eve, then told the serpent, And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (Genesis 3:15).
Expelled from the garden (Genesis 3:23) man lost perfect human life on earth and man began to die physically. But his greatest loss was spiritual life, and his upright relationship with God. From then, all sons of Adam are born dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). The sinfulness of sin is not measured by Adam’s person or environment but by the one against whom Adam sinned.
Because God is infinitely righteous, holy and perfect all sin is infinitely offensive. God is light (1 John 1:5). He will by no means give exemption from punishment (Exodus 34:7, NWT). Those who die in sin are eternally lost (Rev. 20:13-15).
God’s justice and God’s own Law require that those who die in their sins suffer endless torment (Revelation 14:10-11; 19:20; 20:10).
However 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, For he hath made him to be made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Jesus died on the cross to bear our punishment for sin. Christ’s suffering and death compensated for our sins against God. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead proves that His sacrifice was accepted by the Father. Hence we have a complete salvation from the penalty of sin. That salvation is received by faith.
The WTBTS erroneously cites John 17:3 to declare the Father as the only true God in contrast to Christ. But John 12:45 says and he that beholds me beholds [also] him that sent me. (NWT) And in John 14:8-9 Jesus said, Philip says to him, “Lord, show us the FATHER, and it is enough for us.” JESUS says to him, “So long a Time am I with you, and dost thou not know me, Philip? He HAVING SEEN me hath seen the FATHER; how sayest thou, Show us the FATHER?” The Emphatic [Greek-English Interlineary] Diaglott, 1942)
The Father, while invisible, is seen in the undiminished divinity and true humanity of Christ. Jesus is the all-knowing, all powerful, eternal, infinitely righteous Son.
As the righteousness of God Christ was made sin for us. Those who trust in Him are made the righteousness of God in Him. By this we have peace with God (Romans 8:1) and fellowship with God (I John 1:6).
Romans 5:15-19 (NWT) agrees;
:15 But it is not with the gift as it was with the trespass. For if by one man’s trespass many died, the undeserved kindness of God and his free gift with the undeserved kindness by the one man Jesus Christ abounded much more to many.
:16 Also, it is not with the free gift as it was with the way things worked through the one [man] that sinned. For the judgment resulted from one trespass in condemnation, but the gift resulted from many trespasses in a declaration of righteousness.
:17 For if by the trespass of the one [man] death rules as king through that one, much more will those who receive the abundance of the undeserved kindness and of the free gift of righteousness rule as kings in life through the one [person], Jesus Christ.
:18 So, then, as through one trespass the result to men of all sorts was condemnation, likewise also through one act of justification the result to men of all sorts is a declaring of them righteous for life.
:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were constituted sinners, likewise also through the obedience of the one [person] many will be constituted righteous.
Adam’s sin destroyed human innocence, severed man’s fellowship with God and brought condemnation to all. Jesus’ obedience imputes a permanent righteousness.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Cor. 15:22).
Now to the man that works the pay is counted, not as an undeserved kindness, but as a debt.
On the other hand, to the man that does not work but puts faith in him who declares the ungodly one righteous, his faith is counted as righteousness.
“Happy are those whose lawless deeds have been pardoned and whose sins have been covered.”
(Romans 4:4, 5, 7 NWT)
Romans 4:5 KJV says, But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
By this undeserved kindness, indeed, YOU have been saved through faith; and
this not owing to YOU, it is God’s gift. No, it is not owing to works, in order that no man should have ground for boasting (Ephesians 2:8, 9, NWT).
We add. Ephesians 2:8, 9 explains that salvation is present, not just future, and by faith alone apart from works. This is good news for those who are in distress over their sins. Good works follow salvation and are evidence of salvation but do not qualify us for God’s acceptance, or add to the finished work of His Christ.
WTBTS teachings about grace and works are discussed in Appendix D.
Jude 24, 25 says to believers,
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Christ’s death and resurrection is complete salvation. Romans 5:10 says, For if, when we were enemies, we became reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, now that we have become reconciled, we shall be saved by his life (NWT).
When He took our place on the cross Christ came under the curse of the broken law. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (Galatians 3:13).
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ satisfied God’s justice and met the righteous demands of God’s Law. God freely offers eternal life to all who admit their sin and accept by faith His perfect sacrifice. There is nothing else that man can do to be saved. Reconciliation is a gift to be received by faith alone.
We are not reconciled by the death of his Son plus our merit. Salvation is by a new birth regeneration (see John 3:3-5,18-21, 36, 1 Peter 1:23).
Norman Clayton wrote, “Once I was lost in sin’s degradation, Jesus came down to bring me salvation, Lifted me up from sorrow and shame, Now I belong to Him.”
Isaiah 53:11 says, He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied (KJV). My servant . . . will bring a righteous standing to many people (NWT).
Revelation 22:17 says, Let anyone thirsting come (NWT).
2 Corinthians 5:20 says Be reconciled to God.
Hebrews 2:3 says, How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?
Error 5: How the “Only-Begotten Son”?
Should page 15 says,
The Bible calls Jesus the “only-begotten Son” of God. (John 1:14; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9) Trinitarians say that since God is eternal, so the Son of God is eternal. But how can a person be a son and at the same time be as old as his father? …. Can a man father a son without begetting him?
Should page 16 says,
So Jesus, the only-begotten Son, had a beginning to his life. And Almighty God can rightly be called his Begetter, or Father, in the same sense that an earthly father, like Abraham, begets a son. (Hebrews 11:17)
Hence, when the Bible speaks of God as the “Father” of Jesus, it means what it says—that they are two separate individuals. God is the senior. Jesus is the junior—in time, position, power, and knowledge.
God is a Spirit (John 4:24), not a man (1 Samuel 15:29; Luke 1:37). God asks, “To whom will YOU people liken me or make [me] equal or compare me that we may resemble each other?” (Isaiah 46:5 (NWT))
God has not formed another Elohim. 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; before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me (Isaiah 43:10). The Son is called Mighty God in Isaiah 9:6 (NWT), so the Son is eternal and not formed.
Furthermore, Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of the Most High God (Hebrews 7:1, NWT) was made like the Son of God in that he was fatherless, motherless, without genealogy, having neither a beginning of days nor end of life.
No one can be a father any longer than their son’s age. To be an eternal Father requires an eternal, unchanging Son. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
Should page16 cites Gerhard Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: “[Mo·no·ge·nes´] means ‘of sole descent,’ i.e., without brothers or sisters.” Should claimed: This book also states that at John 1:18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9, “the relation of Jesus is not just compared to that of an only child to its father. It is the relation of the only-begotten to the Father.”
We checked these verses and theological reference books:
John 1:14 (NWT): So the Word became flesh and resided among us, and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten son from a father; and he was full of undeserved kindness and truth.
John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:18: He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
1 John 4:9: In this was manifested the love of God toward us, that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
These verses describe the Son’s role in redemption. It was not a created being who was offered on the cross but the Only begotten (Mo·no·ge·nes´). (See W. F. Arndt and F. W. Gingrich’s Greek-English Lexicon (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1957) and Vines Expository Dictionary, page 812.)
Genesis 16:4, 15-16 says Hagar bore Abraham Ishmael. Genesis 21:1-5 says that years later Abraham and Sarah had a son, Isaac. Genesis 22:2 and Hebrews 11:17 call Isaac Abraham’s only begotten son. There, the Mo·no·ge·nes´ was not of sole descent, or without brothers or sisters.
Heb. 11:17-19, Genesis 22:8 and John 8:56 teach that Abraham’s offer of Isaac pre-figured the Father’s offer of His Son. Jesus and Isaac were not Mo·no·ge·nes´ by creation but by their unique and intimate relationship with their respective fathers. Christ was a unique, incomparable Person in a special relationship with His Father that had no beginning.
Should pages 15-16 admitted that Isaac was “only-begotten” in his relationship to Abraham –but refused to acknowledge the Son is an eternal Mo·no·ge·nes´.
Appendixes B and C show how the LDS and WTBTS teach a procreated Christ. But according to Vines Expository Dictionary, page 812,
The [Apostle]…is not merely making a comparison with earthly relationships
…The glory was that of a unique relationship and the word “begotten” does not imply a beginning of His Sonship, It suggests relationship indeed, but must be distinguished from the creation as applied to man. We can only rightly understand the term “the only begotten” when used of the Son in the sense of un-originated relationship…He…possesses every attribute of pure Godhead.”
Hence Mo·no·ge·nes´ in respect to Christ means ‘one and only;’ ‘unique in kind;’ ‘incomparable.’
Error 6: Is God Always Superior to Jesus?
Should page16 said Jesus never claimed to be God. Should pages16-20 say Jesus did not declare deity for Himself because He could never be co-equal with God in power or eternity.
We reply. John 5:17-47 refutes the notion that the Father’s superiority.
John 5:17: But he answered them: “My Father has kept working until now, and I keep working.” (NWT)
John 5:18: On this account, indeed, the Jews began seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath but he was also calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God. (NWT)
Should pages 24-25 said, But who said that Jesus was making himself equal to God? Not Jesus. …. Can we imagine someone equal to Almighty God saying that he could “do nothing by himself”?
We reply: Should’s rejected John’s claim that Jesus is equal to God. The Son’s voluntary subjection was necessary to redeem man. That the Father and the Son are eternally united in their actions and their essence is seen in John 5:19- -24:
Therefore, in answer, Jesus went on to say to them: “Most truly I say to YOU, The Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative, but only what he beholds the Father doing. For whatever things that One does, these things the Son also does in like manner.
For the Father has affection for the Son, and shows him all the things he himself does, and he will show him works greater than these, in order that YOU may marvel.
For just as the Father raises the dead up and makes them alive, so the Son also makes those alive whom he wants to.
For the Father judges no one at all, but has committed all the judging to the Son,
in order that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He that does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
Most truly I say to YOU, He that hears my word and believes on him that sent me has everlasting life, and he does not come into judgment but has passed over from death to life.
(See also John 5:30; 6:37-40, 44; 10:17-18; 37-38 and 14:10.)
The Bible does not teach that the Father is superior to or m ore excellent to the Son, but that both the Father and the Son deserve infinite honor.
In John 8:44-47 (NWT) when the Jews rejected His claims Jesus said, .…YOU are from YOUR father the Devil, and YOU wish to do the desires of YOUR father. He that is from God listens to the sayings of God. This is why YOU do not listen, because YOU are not from God.
Should page 17 says Since Jesus had a God, his Father, he could not at the same time be that God.
We reply. This confuses rank with essence. In Hebrews 1:8 (KJV) the Father calls the Son “God.” In Acts 5:3-4 Peter calls the Holy Spirit “God.”
In John 5:31 (NWT) Jesus said, “If I alone bear witness about myself, my witness is not true.” Jesus’ equality with God was affirmed by several witnesses:
· His miraculous, unique works (John 5:19-30)
· John the Baptist (John 5:32-35)
· The Father (John 5:36-38)
· The Old Testament Scriptures (John 5:39-47).
Should page 17 posts the heading Jesus distinguished from God. Underneath is Jesus’ quote in Mark 10:18 (JB): “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” Should page 17 said, Jesus was saying that no one is as good as God is, not even Jesus himself. God is good in a way that separates him from Jesus.
We reply. In Mark 10:17-27 and Matthew 19:16-22 a young man ran to Jesus, calling Good Master and asking what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? The greeting was a normal salute to a rabbi. The young man had sidestepped Jesus’ claims to deity and demands for perfect righteous (Mt. 5-7). Jesus exposed the young man’s misconceptions: Jesus was not merely a good man. Man is not capable of earning eternal life by perfect obedience to God’s law.
Jesus exposed the man’s covetousness (Mk. 10:19-22). Had he humbled himself, admitted his sin and sought God’s mercy the young man might have found grace, forgiveness and eternal life. Instead, he left grieving.
Should pages 18-20 insisted that the Father is superior to the Son. Page 18 repeats the WTBTS battle cry that Jesus Never Claimed to be God.
Jesus said: Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not for myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. My Father is greater than I (John 14::10, 28).
Jesus’ subordinate role as Son of man did not confer personal inferiority. A loyal, submissive wife is not inferior to her husband. Jesus was subject to His human mother and foster father when He was young (Luke 2:51) but He was not inferior to Mary and Joseph. It is a grave error to confuse Christ’s role with His essence.
Pride, envy and arrogance prompt men to rule others in lower ranks. Men vie for prominence, power, prestige, privileges and possessions. The world deems loving obedience and selfless service as weakness and deficiency but Jesus said,
Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:25-28; see also Luke 22:24-27).
John 14:31 says, But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do,
James 3:14-17 says,
But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory
not, and lie not against the truth.
This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
God so loved the world that He sacrificed His Son for undeserving, lost sinners (John 3:16, Romans 4:5, 1 John 4:10). The Son voluntary assumed a servant’s role but retained His essential deity when He loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood (Revelation 1:5). By this obedience the Son demonstrated His love for the Father and for us.
The Bible does not quote Jesus saying ‘I am God.’ Such words would confuse the ancients and would blur the roles of Father, Son and Spirit. But Jesus did declare Himself to be deity in terms understandable to men of his day – and for all time. For example, Jesus said sins are forgiven on the basis of His name (Luke 24:46-47; Matthew 9:1-18; Mark 2:5-12).
Jesus raised Himself from the dead and Jesus raises the dead as the Father does (see Mark 5:35-42; Luke 7:14-15; John 5:21; 10:15-18 and 11:43-44; Acts 4:12).
All men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
(Jesus deserves the same honor as does the Father.)
Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live (John 5:23-25).
(Jesus role in our redemption is not that of a creature.)
Jesus said I and my Father are one (John 10:30). The Jews thought this blasphemy … because…thou, being a man, makest thyself God (John 10:33). Should denied this teaches Jesus’ deity. Should page 24 instead implied that the Jews mistakenly thought Jesus claimed to be God. Should also said John Calvin did not consider John 10:30 a unity of substance but agreement.
We reply. According to http://www.Bible.ca John Calvin did not think lost, un-regenerate men could understand the concept of “divine substance.” While arguing that Jesus had as much a claim to deity as the Father, Calvin preferred to say that both the Father and the Son were eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and immutable.
John 10:34-39 says,
Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If
he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture
cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent
into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I
do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe
not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is
in me, and I in him. Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped
out of their hand.
John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion Book 1, chapter 8, sections 1- 29, pages 120-159 teach the following Trinity topics:
Terms used in the doctrine of the Trinity by the orthodox fathers
The eternal deity of the Son
The eternal deity of the Spirit
Distinction and unity of the three Persons
Refutation of anti-Trinitarian heresies
These sections use keen logic, accurate history and Biblical truths to refute anti-Trinity teachings such as that used by the WTBTS. Should did not mention Calvin’s Institutes. The WTBTS does not encourage people to read the Institutes.
Many Bible commentators believe that John 10:30 teaches the oneness of essence between the Father and the Son. None quotes John 10:30 to deny such an essence.
No created being could make the claims that Jesus did. John Calvin believed that Christ’s works manifested His eternal Divinity more powerfully than His claims (such as John 4:26; 5:18; 8:58). Regarding John 10:34, Calvin said, “Is it not written in your Law? He clears himself of the crime charged against him, not by denying that he is the Son of God but by maintaining that he had justly said so.”
(If the Jews did not protest when God gave their unjust judges divine titles, why should they take offense when the Son of God assumes human form and proves equality with God by performing divine works?)
Regarding John 10:36, Calvin said,
“Do you say that I blaspheme? The Arians anciently tortured this passage to prove that Christ is not God by nature, but that he possesses a kind of borrowed Divinity. But this error is easily refuted, for Christ does not now argue what he is in himself, but what we ought to acknowledge him to be, from his miracles in human flesh. For we can never comprehend his eternal Divinity, unless we embrace him as a Redeemer, so far as the Father hath exhibited him to us.”
Hence John Calvin taught that John 10:30 assumes the Son’s eternal Divinity to be manifest.
When Jesus said I am the Jews took up stones to cast at Him (John 8:58-59). Should page 26 said Jesus used I am to explainhis prehuman existence as God’s created firstborn. In actual fact, the Jews understood that Jesus presented Himself as eternal YHWH.
After His arrest Jesus told the Jewish high priest Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven (Matthew 26:63-65).
In Luke 13:35 Jesus said the Jews would some day say Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. The Jews understood this statement to be Messianic. The account in Mark 14:61-64 says,
But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death (Emphasis ours.)
The Jewish leaders considered the Christ, the Son of the Blessed to be divine in essence and not merely angelic. Hence they charged Jesus with blasphemy.
Isaiah 48:16 declares; Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me. Here, the eternal Son was sent by the Lord GOD (Adonai Elohim) and his Spirit. Three Persons. One Deity.
Error 7: Jesus is not “Almighty God.”
The NWT Isaiah 9:6 reads, For there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us: and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Jesus’ mighty words and deeds prove He is the Mighty God. Should page 28 lamely protested:
But does not “Mighty God” with its capital letters indicate that Jesus is in some way equal to Jehovah God? Not at all. Isaiah merely prophesied this to be one of four names that Jesus would be called, and in the English language such names are capitalized. Still, even though Jesus was called “Mighty,” there can be only one who is “Almighty.” To call Jehovah God “Almighty” would have little significance unless there existed others who were also called gods but who occupied a lesser or inferior position.
We reply. Nowhere in the New Testament is Jesus called any of the four names. It strains credulity to think that Isaiah 9:6 lists names that Jesus would be called by people who would mistake Him for or likened him to the Mighty God.
The WTBTS assumes Jehovah is ‘Almighty’ while lesser beings are ‘Mighty.’ We note, however, that several NWT passages call Jehovah God mighty. For example:
Nehemiah 9:32: And now, O our God, the God great, mighty and fear inspiring . . .
Isaiah 10:21: A mere remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God.
Jeremiah 32:18: the mighty One, Jehovah of armies.
Zephaniah 3:17: Jehovah your God is in the midst of you. As a mighty One, he will save. He will exult over you with rejoicing . . .
According to the WTBTS, God could not be ‘Almighty’ unless there were others who were also called gods but who occupied a lesser or inferior position. Hence God Almighty created the Mighty (but lesser) God. The Gnostics taught a similar world view, in which a superior god created inferior gods. Colossians chapters 1 and 2 refute that polytheistic heresy.
The God of the Bible exists from eternity to eternity as a unique, omnipresent,
omnipotent, all knowing, unchanging God. Isaiah 45:5 (NWT) says, I am Jehovah, and there is no one else. With the exception of me there is no god.
The ‘gods’ are not divine by nature. They are but mythical (1 Cor. 8:5-6; Gal. 4:8). Angels and men are called ‘gods’ (Psalm 8:5; 82:6; 2 Corinthians 4:4) but are not eternal, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent or immutable. Such attributes are only possessed by the one true God who alone is inherent divine.
Error 8: Thy throne is God.
Hebrews 1:1-8 declares Jesus’ deity:
1. God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2. Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,
and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself
purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
4. Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
5. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
6. And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
7. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his
ministers a flame of fire.
8. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
That the original Greek Hebrews 1:8 is an articular vocative is demonstrated even in the WTBTS’ Emphatic Diaglott, which says Thy throne, O God. The NWT mistranslates Hebrews 1:8 thy throne is God but the NWT pronounces that Jesus -
Made the system of things and the earth’s foundations and the heavens (1:2,10)
Is the reflection of [his] glory, and the exact representation of His very being (1:3)
Sustains all things by the word of His power, made purification for sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in lofty places (1:3).
All of those descriptions clearly and powerfully affirm Jesus’ Deity.
Jude 9 (NWT) supports this, saying, But when Michael the archangel had a difference with the Devil and was disputing about Moses’ body, he did not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms, but said: “May Jehovah rebuke you.” Jesus did rebuke the devil (Matt. 4:10) so Jesus is not Michael but Jehovah!
Should pages 20-23 call the Holy Spirit God’s Active Force, citing theologians who place human reason ahead of the Bible. We answer this later.
Error 9: “Equal With God?”
Should page 25 says,
AT PHILIPPIANS 2:6 the Catholic Douay Version (Dy) of 1609 says of Jesus: “Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” The King James Version (KJ) of 1611 reads much the same. A number of such versions are still used by some to support the idea that Jesus was equal to God. But note how other translations render this verse:
Should then posted excerpts of Philippians 2:6 from lesser- read translations and the NWT: “who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that He should be equal to God” (New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, emphasis ours).
Some claim, however, that even these more accurate renderings imply that (1) Jesus already had equality but did not want to hold on to it or that (2) he did not need to grasp at equality because he already had it.
In this regard, Ralph Martin, in The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians, says of the original Greek: “It is questionable, however, whether the sense of the verb can glide from its real meaning of ‘to seize,’ ‘to snatch violently,’ to that of ‘to hold fast.’” The Expositors’ Greek Testament also says: “We cannot find any passage where ά?rpά?zw [har·pa´zo] or any of its derivatives has the sense of ‘holding in possession,’ ‘retaining’. It seems invariably to mean ‘seize,’ ‘snatch violently,’ Thus it is not permissible to glide from the true sense ‘grasp at’ into one which is totally different, ‘hold fast.’”
From the foregoing it is apparent that the translators of versions such as the Douay and the King James are bending the rules to support Trinitarian ends. Far from saying that Jesus thought it was appropriate to be equal to God, the Greek of Philippians 2:6, when read objectively, shows just the opposite, that Jesus did not think it was appropriate.
Thus Should implied that the active Greek verb har·pa´zo is found in Phil. 2:6 and improperly rendered ‘robbery’ in KJV and Douay Bibles. Should also implied that har·pa´zo is properly translated seizure in the NWT’s Phil 2:6.
Under this logic Christ was not equal to God and did not try to seize equality.
We reply. Should misrepresented Dr. Martin and the quote by Dr. H.A.A. Kennedy in Expositors Vol. 3, page 436. The two quotes do NOT concern Christ’s deity–in which both scholars believed and which the text teaches.
Should’s quote by Dr. Kennedy is lifted from the following paragraph:
“Lft., Hpt., Vinc. and others, regarding ά?r ·pά?g ·mό?s [har·pά?g·mos´] as =
ά?r ·pά?g ·ma [har·pά?g·ma´], translate, ‘Did not look upon His equality with God as a prize to be clutched’. That is to say…something which He already possessed and resolved to not cling to. But will ά?r ·pά?g ·mos admit of this meaning? We cannot find any passage where ά?r · ά? · ζ?ώ? [har·pά?·zo] or any of its derivatives has the sense of ‘holding in possession,’ ‘retaining.’”
Drs. Kennedy and Martin note har·pag·mos in Phil. 2:6 and argue that it should not be interpreted actively - as if it were har·pά?·zo.
Har·pag·mos is a noun within a passive setting in Philippians 2:6, where the KJV and Douay properly translate it “robbery.” Should’s quote implied that har·pa´zo is in Phil 2:6 but it is not! Har·pa´zo is not found anywhere in Philippians!
Phil. 2:2-11 describes Christ’s deity, humanity, obedience and exaltation:
Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of
one accord, of one mind.
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of
a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
This fulfills Isaiah 45:22-23 (NWT); to me every knee will bend down, every tongue will swear to Jehovah God.
While eternally existing in the form (essence) of God, the Son obeyed His Father and yielded His Divine rights to become a sinless servant and endure crucifixion to pay the price for all human sins. Three days later He arose bodily from the dead (Mt. 20:18-19; 12:23-25, 31-33). Forty days afterwards He returned to heaven where the Father gave Him the name that is above every name (Philippians 2:9).
The WTBTS cannot fathom absolute unity. It seems WTBTS leaders anticipate a contest of wills in the Godhead from which is to be determined “the greatest” (Almighty) and the lesser (inferior) god. But Christ said “Not my will, but Thine be done.”
Page 28 of Dr. F. Gingrich’ Shorter Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1975 says har·pag·mos´ may mean a piece of good fortune. Jesus did not think it ‘a piece of good fortune’ to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (Phil. 2:7).
Dr. H.A.A. Kennedy concluded,
“He has always (in Paul’s view) shared in the Divine nature. . . . But it is only as a result of His Incarnation, Atonement, Resurrection and Exaltation that he appears to men as on an equality with God, that He is worshipped by them in the way in which Jehovah is worshipped….
“This equality with God, therefore, consists of the kurioths, the Lordship to which He has been exalted.”
“It is to be noted that the increased glory that Paul and all the N. T. writers regard as pertaining to Christ after His Resurrection has only to do with His dignity, His “theocratic position,” [appearing to others as equal with God] not with His essential personality [His nature is Divine]. . . . He has simply become en dunamaei [in power], that which He already was substantially” [in substance] (The Expositors’ Greek Testament, Vol. 3, page 437 brackets ours).
Jesus was always equal with God by nature. He demonstrated the equality by His incarnation, perfect human life, vicarious death, resurrection from the dead and exaltation. After His ascension He was declared to be LORD by God the Father, and recognized as equal to God by men who worship Him.
Our high priest
Hebrews 4:15 says, For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 2:9, 14-18 says,
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
The eternal Son entered time, became human by miraculous conception, grew to manhood and experienced human limitations of thirst, hunger, fatigue, etc. yet without sin. As the God-man He walked on water, healed the sick, forgave sins, cleansed lepers, cast out demons, raised the dead, tasted death for every man and bore away the combined sins of all men.
After His exaltation Jesus became our merciful and faithful high priest.
No greater love
John 15:13 teaches that there is no greater love than to personally die for a friend. Adam’s sin condemned the human race and produced a cursed universe. Eternal separation and torment await those who die unrepentant in sin (Revelation 2:11, 20:14-15; 21:8). God did not create an inferior spirit being to die for us: He came in the Person of the eternal Son. As the God-man Jesus defeated death and Satan by paying the ransom for sin and making possible a new creation.
God keeps His own in this life then glorifies them in the next (Romans 8:28-39). This should prompt repentance, faith, gratitude and obedience not speculations about Jesus being inferior. We do not understand why God so loved us but the Bible says He did and we either accept or reject His offer of salvation.
Available to all
The WTBTS has taught that only 144,000 will be in heaven with Jehovah.
We reply. Revelation 7:1-8 says John saw 144,000 resurrected Jews worshipping God in heaven. But Rev. 7:9 says, After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
This multitude worships God before the throne and this throne is in heaven!
After His 1,000-year reign on earth Jesus makes a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Peter 3:13). Many more multitudes will then stand before the throne.
Romans 8:1 says, There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. The NWT translates this, Therefore those in union with Christ Jesus have no condemnation.
They shall never perish
John 10:27-30 says, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.
Jesus offers to pardon, adopt and ransom you (Ephesians 1:4-7) and make you His child (John 1:12). Let God’s Spirit baptize, enter and seal you (Romans 6:3-4 and 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:7, 13). God’s peace passes understanding (Phil 4:7). He can make you new (2 Cor. 5:17) and assure you that you are His (Rom. 8:16-17). After walking with Him here (Heb.13:3) you can spend eternity with Him there.
Should page 12 denies hellfire and the immortality of the soul.
We reply. The Bible does not teach annihilation. Mt. 25:41, 46; Mk. 3:29; Lk. 16:20-31; Jn. 3:36; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 14:9-11; 20:10-15 and other verses teach that everlasting, conscious suffering and punishment await those who reject God’s offer of salvation. In these Bible passages the same Greek word describes the duration of eternal life and everlasting punishment. The Koine´ Greek of the New Testament includes “punishment” (kólasin) and “destruction” (òlethros). Neither word means cutting off or annihilation. The word ‘annihilation’ does not occur in the Bible, in English, Hebrew, Greek or any other language we know.
“The Word was God”
John 1:1 says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The NWT and Emphatic Diaglott interpret John 1:1 to say In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.
Should pages 26-28 defended the translation a god by citing principles of Greek grammar and saying the testimony of the entire Bible is that Jesus is not Almighty God.
We reply. The original Koine´ Greek reads,
’En ά?rcή? ή?n ó lógos kaì ó lógos ή?n pròs tón qeón
In [the] beginning was the Word, and the Word was with - God,
kaì qeòs ή?n ó lógos.
and God was the Word.
Drs. H. E. Dana and Julius R. Mantey say in A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, page 140, “Pròs tón qeón refers to Christ’s fellowship with the person of the Father; qeòs ή?n ó lógos emphasizes Christ’s participation in the essence of the divine nature.”
The Manual Grammar, pages 148-149 emphasizes that qeòs hn ó lógos means “and the Word was deity”:
“The article points out the subject in these examples. Neither was the place the only market, nor was the word all of God, as it would mean if the article were also used with qeós. . . . Sometimes with a noun which the context proves to be definite the article is not used. This places stress upon the qualitative aspect of the noun, rather than its mere identity.”
In the beginning was the Word describes Christ as eternal; the Word was with God pertains to Christ’s locality; the Word was God stresses Christ’s essence.
The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Volume One, page 683 offers Dr. Marcus Dods’ John 1:1 insights. “He who was in the beginning, became in time; He who was with God, tabernacled among men; He who was God, became flesh.” Dr. Dods said the Logos was “of Divine nature” and “eternal” (Expositor’s Vol. 1, pages 683-684).
The renowned Greek scholar Julius R. Mantey also declared that the Word was God. Dr. Mantey also called the Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures “Diabolical deceitfulness.” In Depth Exploration in The New Testament pages 136-137 (Vantage Press, N.Y. 1980) Dr. Mantey said,
“I have never read any New Testament so badly translated as The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures . . . it is a distortion of the New Testament. The translators used what J.B. Rotherham had translated in 1893, in modern speech, and changed the readings in scores of passages to state what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe and teach. That is a distortion not a translation.”
We concur with Drs. Mantey and Dods. We have shown that the Bible teaches the Deity of the Son (Isaiah 6:8-10; 7:14; 9:6; 48:16; Matthew 1:20-21; 13:14-15; Mark 14:61-64; Lk. 1:26-38; 24:47; John 5:17-47; 8:58, 59; 14:9; 15:13; 20:27-28; 2 Cor. 4:3-4; Phil. 2:6; Col. 1:13-19; 2:8-10; Hebrews 1:8 and Rev. 1:12-18).
The WTBTS has never included a single Koine´ Greek scholar. That may explain why the WTBTS does not divulge the names of those who produced the NWT.
The Word was God!
My Lord and my God!
John 20:27-28 (NWT) says, Next he said to Thomas: “Put your finger here, and see my hands, and take your hand and stick it into my side, and stop being unbelieving but become believing.” In answer Thomas said to him: “My Lord and my God!” Should page 29 says,
But what about the apostle Thomas’ saying, “My Lord and my God!” to Jesus at John 20:28? To Thomas, Jesus was like “a god,” especially in the miraculous circumstances that prompted his exclamation. Some scholars suggest that Thomas may simply have made an emotional exclamation of astonishment, spoken to Jesus but directed to God. In either case, Thomas did not think that Jesus was Almighty God, for he and all the other apostles knew that Jesus never claimed to be God but taught that Jehovah alone is “the only true God.”–John 17:3.
The Koine´ Greek of John 20:27-28 indicates Jesus and Thomas are talking to each other. Thomas called Jesus ó kurios mou kai ó qeòs mou (“the Lord of me and the God of me.”) John 20:29-31 encourages everyone to believe in Christ as did Thomas. There is no ground to speculate that Thomas was emotionally misguided or considered Jesus like “a god.” Thomas called Jesus “the God of me.” Should said “the God” meant “Almighty God” in John 1:1. Why not here also?
We have already responded to Should’s misinterpretation of John 17:3, which says And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John 17:3 does not contradict what the Bible teaches about the deity of the Son and His union with His Father. Only through the Son can we know the Father.
Should page 20 is headed The Holy Spirit— God’s Active Force
Jehovah’s Witnesses claim the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force. J. F. Rutherford wrote, “After the resurrection of Jesus from the dead the holy spirit, which is the invisible power of God, came upon the faithful apostles . . . ” (Enemies, page147, J F Rutherford, WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, 1937).
We reply. The Bible describes the Holy Spirit as a Person. For example:
Mark 3:29 says, But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: (You cannot blaspheme an impersonal, “active force.” You can only blaspheme a person, so the Holy Spirit is a Person.)
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.(Isaiah 63:10). Only persons can be grieved or vexed. You can’t vex a force.
Romans 15:30 (NWT) says, Now I exhort YOU, brothers, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the spirit, that YOU exert yourselves with me in prayers to God for me. An impersonal force or influence is not able to love.
The Holy Spirit is the Comforter Who testifies of Christ (John 15:26) and reproves the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8). The Holy Spirit hears and speaks and guides in all truth. In the New Testament Scriptures He shows us things to come (John 16:13).
The Holy Spirit dwelt in Christ and the Holy Spirit indwells Christians: But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his (Romans 8:9).
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (Romans 8:16).
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26).
Christians commune with the Holy Ghost (2 Corinthians 13:14; Philippians 2:1).
(It is impossible to commune with an impersonal force.) The Spirit speaks to the churches (Rev. 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13, 22; 14:13; 22:17). Impersonal forces are incapable of speaking to or through persons. The Bible teaches that God the Holy Spirit is a Person, not an impersonal force.
In the Bible there is a Person called the Father, Who is also called God. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).
The Bible also speaks of a Person called the Son, Who also is called “God” (See Hebrews 1:8).
The Bible then speaks of the Holy Spirit as a Person and “God.”
Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to
keep back part of the price of the land? While it remained, was it not
thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast
thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but
unto God (Acts 5:3-4, our emphasis).
[You can’t lie to an impersonal force. You can only lie to a person.]
So the Bible teaches that the Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God. Since the Bible teaches that God is One, the eternal God consists of three Persons Who are each of the same divine substance and each fully God.
Annotated Listing of Scriptural Evidence for the Trinity
This document contains a partial listing of scriptural references that support the Trinity doctrine. All quotes are KJV. Our comments pertaining to the Scriptures are in italics. All emphases are ours.
1. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are Called “God,” but There is Only One True God.
It is true that the word “trinity” is not found in the Bible. However, the doctrine of the Trinity can be summarized in a series of four statements which, in turn, are directly supported by Scripture. These statements are:
A. There is a Person called the “Father” who is also called “God.”
B. There is a Person called the “Son” who is also called “God.”
C. There is a Person called the “Holy Spirit” who is also called “God.”
D. There is one, and only one, true God.
If these four statements can be shown to be true from the Bible, then the doctrine of the Trinity is supported. If any of the statements is not supported by Scripture, the doctrine of the Trinity is false.
NOTE: Scripture should always be studied in context. Never be content to simply read a verse and think you know what it means. For the verses presented here, please study them in context.
A. There is a Person called the “Father” who is also called “God.”
“...One God and Father of all who is above all and through all and in you all” (Eph. 4:6).
[This point hardly needs to be made, since no one argues that the Father is not God.]
B. There is a Person called the “Son” who is also called “God.”
1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth” (John 1:1,14).
2. “And Thomas answered and said unto him [Jesus], ‘My Lord and my God’ ” (John 20:28).
3. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).
4. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:5-7).
5. “And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20).
6. [The writer to the Hebrews quoted from the Psalm 45:6,7;] “But unto the Son, He saith; Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above all thy fellows” (Hebrews 1:8-9).
C. There is a Person called the “Holy Spirit” who is also called “God.”
1. [The Holy Spirit is a Person since He has a mind (Rom. 8:27), has love (Rom. 15:30), has a will (1 Cor. 12:11), appoints overseers (Acts 20:28), teaches (John 14:26) and speaks (1 Tim. 4:1). He is even quoted in Acts 13:2 and Acts 10:19-20. Personifications (of wisdom, death, etc.) are never quoted in Scripture as giving commands, which are then received and obeyed.]
“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, ‘Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them’ ” (Acts 13:2).
“...the Spirit said unto him, ‘Behold three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them’ ” (Acts 10:19-20).
2. “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost and to keep back part of the price of the land? . . . thou hast not lied unto men but unto God’ ” (Acts 5:3-4). [You can’t lie to a title, manifestation or attribute. The Holy Spirit is a Person Who is called God.]
3. “...Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:16-17).
D. There is one, and only one, true God.
1. “Hear O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD” (Deut. 6:4). Literally, it reads; “The YHWH our Elohim (plural God) is one LORD.” [The Hebrew word “one” is Echod, the same word used in Genesis 2:24, where God said Adam and Eve “…shall be one flesh.”]
2. “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: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and beside me there is no saviour” (Isaiah 43:10-11).
3. “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God” (Isa. 44:6).
4. “. . . Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any” (Isa. 44:8).
5. “Thou, even thou, art LORD alone . . .” (Neh. 9:6).
2. The Persons of the Trinity Possess the Characteristics of God.
1. The Son is eternal.
a. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2).
b. “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).
c. “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me ...I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Rev 22:12-13; compare with Isaiah 44:6 and Rev. 1:8).
2. The Holy Spirit is eternal.
“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14). [In Rom.16:26 the same word “aionios” is used with “God” and translated “...the everlasting God.…”.]
1. The Son of God is Omnipresent.
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20).
2. The Holy Spirit is Omnipresent.
“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there” (Psalm 139:7-8).
1. The Son of God is omniscient.
“...Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee” (John 21:17).
2. The Holy Spirit is omniscient.
“For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so, the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:11).
1. The Son of God is omnipotent.
a. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3).
b. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him and for him” (Col. 1:16). [Creation of the universe demands omnipotence.]
2. The Holy Spirit is omnipotent.
“The Spirit of God hath made me...” (Job 33:4).
[Only God is sinless]
1. Jesus is sinless.
a. “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). [Jesus had to be God to be sinless and Holy.]
b. 1 John 2:1: “We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” [Compare with Jesus’ own statement in Matt. 19:17; “And he said unto him, “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God . . .’”.]
2. The Holy Spirit is sinless.
“And declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). [Again, this point hardly needs to be made - the perfect holiness of the Spirit is everywhere evident in Scripture. He can be sinned against (Acts 5:3-4) but He is utterly without sin Himself. The Bible never even hints at the possibility that He could sin.]
3. Other Biblical Evidence.
A. The Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20)
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost...”
B. The Incarnation (Luke 1:35)
“And the angel answered and said unto her, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.’ ”
C. Jesus' Baptism (Matt. 3:16-17)
“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon him. And lo a voice from heaven saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ ”
D. The Promise of the Spirit (John 14:16)
“And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, [like I am, on the same par with Me], that He may abide with you forever.”
E. The Corinthian Blessing (2 Cor. 13:14)
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”
F. The Praise of the Seraphim (Isaiah 6:3)
Isaiah 6:3 records the seraphim calling, “Holy, holy, holy.” [Might not each “holy” be directed at One of the three Persons present in the Godhead?]
G. Peter’s Greeting to Christians (1 Peter 1:2)
“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification
of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.”
H. Biblical References to the Plurality of the Godhead
Gen. 1:26 “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
Gen. 1:7 “Come, let us go down and confound their language.”
In Eccl. 12:1 we read: “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.” [The word “Creator” is “Boreacho,” which means “Creators” (plural).]
4. Other Verses to Consider
Psalm 110:1 “The LORD (Yahweh) said unto my Lord (la-Adonai), ‘Sit Thou on My
right hand until I make thine enemies Thy footstool.’” [These are God’s words.
They describe two Persons, not one.]
Heb. 1:13 “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” [The form of the question makes it clear God has said this to none of the angels, but to Jesus Christ alone, who is not an angel!]
1 Peter 3:21-22 “ . . . by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.” [Angels are subject to Jesus.]
Prov. 30:4 “What is his (God’s) Son’s name, if thou canst tell.” [Even in the
Old Testament, the Bible refers to God and His Son.]
“For He [Jesus] shall grow up before Him [The Father] as a tender plant, and as a
root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see
him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” “All we like sheep have gone
astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD [God the Father] hath laid on him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all.” “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise
him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,
he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD
shall prosper in His hand.” “He [The Father] shall see of the travail of his [The
Son’s] soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall my righteous servant
justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” “Therefore will I [Father] divide
him [Son] a portion with the great, and he [Son] shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He [Son, Jesus] hath poured out his soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made
intercession for the transgressors.”
“And I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man [God the
Son] came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days [God the
Father], and they brought Him [Jesus] near before Him [God the Father]. And there was given Him [Jesus] dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people,
nations, and languages should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting
dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
John 14:10-11 “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not for myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.”
Appendix A: The Trinity v unbiblical worldviews.
Outside of Christianity, no worldview, religion or ism accepts -
· the Trinity, and the hypostatic union (God was in Christ)
· a vicarious atonement, and the way of the cross
· salvation by grace
· justification by faith
· the Bible as their final word.
This is true for the more populous world religions and philosophies, such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Humanism, as well as “New Age” religions and the innumerable, small cults. Latter-day saints (Mormons/LDS) and Jehovah’s Witnesses are more oriented to their leaders’ teachings than they are to the Bible.
In keeping with unbiblical/cult teachings, Should calls Christ divine but not Deity; a god but not God; Mighty God but not Almighty God; Son of God but not God the Son; a good man but not the God-man. The WTBTS teaches that the Father eternally dwelt alone as a solitary Being until He created the Son. So the WTBTS’ Jesus is a creature.
But the Bible teaches that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all co-eternal. (Discussed in more detail in our Conclusion).
Appendix B: A Comparison of WTBTS and LDS Distinctives.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (WTBTS) have similarities and mirror differences. Both of these organizations were 19th century American reactions against Bible orthodoxy. The Mormon founder, Joseph Smith, Jr. and the WTBTS founder, Charles T. Russell both abandoned denominational churches to start “new” religions.
But the LDS and the WTBTS both claim to be the restoration of the original faith of the early church.
LDS and WTBTS teach warmed-over versions of ancient, defunct heresies that the early Church rejected 2000 years ago.
LDS and WTBTS leaders profess to believe the Bible but ignore basic Bible truths and basic principles of Bible interpretation.
LDS and WTBTS doctrines attack orthodoxy by abusing logic, revising history, misrepresenting the original Bible languages and twisting selected Bible texts.
While teaching unbiblical heresy, LDS and WTBTS leaders blacklist Bible-centered churches as heretical. According to WTBTS leaders the early Church apostatized by forsaking monotheism for polytheism. LDS leaders claim that Trinitarianism distorts the true plurality of gods.
LDS and WTBTS leaders expect obedience and unquestioning loyalty from their followers.
Lay LDS and lay Jehovah’s Witness are expected to accommodate their leaders’ heresies, contradictions, false prophetic claims and mispredictions.
Both the LDS and the WTBTS teach that unbelievers may have a second chance to repent after death. (This is not a Bible teaching [see Hebrews 9:27].)
Both organizations reject the others’ claim to be “the” restored church.
A Comparison of Major WTBTS, Mormon and Bible Doctrines
The WTBTS says:
The Bible says:
Only the Father is God.
There are millions of gods.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the One God.
Jesus is God’s first creation.
Jesus is the spirit-brother of Lucifer, the devil.
Jesus is the eternal Son of God (God the Son).
The Holy Spirit is God’s “Active force.”
The Holy Spirit is “Spirit Person” God.
The Holy Spirit is a member of the Godhead
Salvation by works.
Salvation by works
. Salvation by grace.
No eternal hell, but annihilation for unbelievers.
Some measure of salvation for almost all persons.
Eternal hell for unbelievers.
The Bible is biased.
Bible translations full of errors.
The Bible is infallible.
Two classes of Christians-the 144,000 and the “Great Crowd.”
- Multiple classes of Christians depending upon works.
One Lord, one faith, one hope.
After death a second chance to recover perfect human life
After death, a second chance to hear and respond to thegospel.
After death, judgment
Appendix D: Watchtower Teachings on Grace
Aid To Bible Understanding (1971), a WTBTS’ dictionary of Bible terms lacks grace. Instead, it substitutes undeserved kindness. The WTBTS Jesus is a perfect man whose death is an undeserved kindness to pay for the effects of Adam’s sin.
The WTBTS teaches that at death the soul forever sleeps unless resurrected by Jehovah to live in a perfect human body in a perfect earthly kingdom. Those thus selected have the opportunity to live in perfect obedience to Jehovah in paradise.
Aid To Bible Understanding page 1399 says:
“The provision of a resurrection for humankind is indeed an undeserved
kindness of Jehovah God, for he was not obligated to provide a resurrection.
Love for the world of mankind moved him to give his only-begotten Son
so that . . . millions who have died without a real knowledge of God might have
opportunity to know and love him, and so that those who love and serve him
can have this hope and encouragement to faithful endurance, even as far as
death. . . . Jehovah God has the right to refuse to accept a ransom for anyone he
deems unworthy. Christ’s ransom covers the sins an individual has due to being
a child of sinful Adam, but a person can add to that by his own deliberate, willful
course of sin, and thus die for such sin that is beyond coverage by the ransom.”
We reply. Romans 5:6 says while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 4:5 says, But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness (Romans 4:5).
Salvation is by grace, not works (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5). God regenerates the ungodly but repentant, believing sinner and imputes His righteousness (John 1:12; 3:5; 1 Peter 1:23, 2 Corinthians 5:21). Good works follow as evidence of salvation (Ephesians 2:10) but do not secure God’s acceptance or add to the finished work of His Christ.
Psalm 19:1-3 and Romans 1:16-25 teach that God is known by the creation and human conscience. But men are dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). None seeks after God (Romans 3:10-11). The WTBTS gospel is for those who have never deliberately sinned. The others are “beyond coverage.”
The WTBTS considers it willful sin to trust Christ alone for salvation. But Christ shed His blood so that those willing to admit their lost condition might receive eternal life by trusting God’s eternal Son as personal Lord and Savior. We invite everyone, especially Jehovah’s Witnesses, to do just that.
Christian Awareness Fellowship
October 13, 2007