Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Deity of Christ
The deity of Jesus Christ is the foundation of Christianity. Without a full acceptance of His deity, salvation from sin is impossible. Jesus said, “If you believe not that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). Please evaluate the following and see if, to you, it sounds like an expression of faith in His deity. “It is also easy to be seen that Jesus could not be part God and part man, because that would be more than the law required; hence divine justice could not accept such as a ransom.” (The Harp of God, page 129). The Harp of God is published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Brooklyn, New York, parent of the entire Jehovah’s Witness family, and an official statement of their beliefs. This part deals with “The Atonement between God and Man” and is written by J.F. Rutherford, one of the founders of the Jehovah’s Witness Organization.
As our friends in the Jehovah’s Witness Organization speak of Christ they use terms that need definition. For example their description of Jesus as a “spirit being” is vague. What exactly is a “spirit being?” To them it is a bodiless being or a disembodied spirit which is invisible. As they refer to Christ’s “pre-human state” they do not mean Jesus existed eternally; they mean he was another being, not the eternal son at all. They erroneously conclude that when Jesus was born he ceased being a “spirit being,” and became human only. They allege that Jesus was no more than a perfect human being while on earth. Even worse is their denial that Jesus was bodily raised from the dead. They contend that at his resurrection he was raised back to be in his “spirit being” state. In each of these intriguing notions they are wrong.
The Bible clearly shows that before Jesus came to earth he was equal with God. Paul wrote, “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God” (Phil. 2:6). Equal with God means Jesus possessed all divine attributes identifying God as what he is. One divine attribute is an eternal nature. Our Jehovah’s Witness friends have problems with the word eternal or immortal. They seem not to understand that something that is eternal has no beginning, no end. Jesus Christ, to the Jehovah’s Witness Organization, was a created being; thus he had a beginning and was never equal with God. The following correctly represents their erroneous position.
“Previous to the Son’s coming to earth as a man he was not known in heaven as Jesus Christ, but as Michael; when we read in Jude 9 about Michael the archangel, we are to understand this expression as a designation of Jesus Christ in his prehuman state.” (New Heavens and a New Earth, pages 28-30, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Brooklyn, NY).
Jehovah’s Witness reject the biblical truth of the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Here is their own statement:
“He did not appear in the body that was crucified. Had he done so they would have been inclined to think that it was merely the man Jesus that had gone to sleep and had awakened again. Somewhere Jehovah miraculously preserved that body. It did not see corruption, because the Lord said it should not see corruption. When Jesus was raised from the dead he was no longer a man, but on the contrary he was the express image of Jehovah, and sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Deliverance, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Brooklyn, NY, pages 169-170.)
This is a clear denial of the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Further, it shows what the Jehovah’s Witness scholars mean by a “spirit being.” To them, it means an invisible being with no body or physical being. They tell us the appearances Jesus made following the resurrection were merely temporary visualizations of a spirit being. There is no clearer example of false doctrine than this.
Jesus appeared to His disciples in bodily form after the resurrection. His body was not hidden away by the Father. When Thomas was told Jesus was risen, he said, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails and stick my finger into the print of the nails and stick my hand into his side, I will certainly not believe” (John 20:25, New World Translation, - the Official Jehovah’s Witness Organization’s Bible.) Later, Jesus appeared to Thomas and the other disciples, and told Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands, and take your hand and stick it into my side” (Verse 27, NWT).
What do you suppose the Lord was telling Thomas to touch? Was it an shadow, apparition, visualized spirit, or his resurrected body? God promised that Jesus’ body would not see corruption. That affirms his physical body would be raised in tact. But Jehovah’s Witnesses tell us, “We know nothing about what became of it, except that it did not decay or corrupt. Whether it was dissolved into gases or whether it is still preserved somewhere as the grand memorial of God’s love, of Christ’s obedience, and of our redemption, no one knows, nor is such knowledge necessary.” (Studies in the Scriptures, Series 2, pages 129-130). To the contrary, it is absolutely essential that we know what happened to the physical body of Christ. The resurrection of that body is the keystone of our faith in him as the Son of the Most High God.
Jesus was bodily raised from death. When he was asked for a “sign,” he responded, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then the Jews said, It has taken forty six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days? But He was speaking of the temple of His body” (John 2:18-22). Body, in this passage, is from the Greek word soma. That word means, “the human body.” (Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, -- Abbott-Smith, page 437.) The same lexicon adds, “Of any corporeal substance.” It is the opposite of the spirit or of a shadow. The word “temple” refers to Jesus’ body and can not possibly mean “spirit.”
After he was raised from the dead, Jesus said plainly he was not a spirit. Jehovah’s Witnesses have to believe that he was a bodyless invisible “spirit being” after his resurrection. Listen to Christ Jesus. “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:39-40). Even the heavily biased Jehovah’s Witness Bible reads, “a spirit does not have flesh and bones just as YOU behold that I have.”
Compare that with the blasphemous way Jesus is described by Jehovah’s Witness scholars. They say the raised Savior was “no longer human-flesh and bones-but a spirit being who could go and come as the wind, so that none could tell whence he came or whither he went, but who, for the purpose of instructing them, appears as a man in various bodies of flesh and bones which he created and dissolved as occasion required.” (Studies in the Scriptures, Series 2, pages 130-131). The difference in Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Bible is simple: They reject the fundamental fact that Jesus was raised bodily from the tomb; the Bible clearly teaches it.
Not only do the Jehovah’s Witnesses err concerning the bodily resurrection of Christ, they miss the mark completely on his natural deity. Their position is: “Neither was Jesus a combination of the two natures, human and spiritual. The blending of two natures produces neither the one nor the other, but an imperfect, hybrid thing, which is obnoxious to the divine arrangement.” (Studies in the Scriptures, Series 1, page 179).
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus Christ was only a perfect human. They deny Jesus was God. To them he was just a man, not God and man. Here is their official doctrine.
“It is also easy to be seen that Jesus could not be part God and part man, because that would be more than the law required; hence divine justice could not accept such as a ransom.” (The Harp of God, page 129).
The infallible word of God tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He as in the beginning with God. ... And the Word became 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 1:1-2, 14). The Word is Jesus who was with the Father in the beginning. That Word was Jesus, the virgin born son of Mary.
His very name Emmanuel means “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). Paul proclaimed, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory” (1 Tim. 3:16). The Jehovah’s Witness Organization denies this basic truth. Shame!
Paul’s wrote, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God” (Phil.2:6).
Jesus was “equal with God,” but he did not regard that as something to be retained at all costs. He voluntarily condescended to become a man temporarily. His equality with God means he is identical to Almighty God. That is not how Jehovah’s Witnesses understand this. They believe Jesus was never equal with God. Their own New Testament reads, “Who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God.” Notice how Jehovah’s Witnesses comment on this passage. “Jesus did not grasp covetously after being superior to God, nor even equal to Him in power and glory.” (The Kingdom is at Hand, page 50).
Paul’s words are just the opposite. He declared that Jesus who was equal with God, condescended to become a slave in the fashion of a man. The question is very simple. Who do we accept-the Bible or the perverted views of the Jehovah’s Witness organization?
Jesus is, and ever will be, God. He is not the Father, nor the Holy Spirit, but possesses eternally all the attributes that make God what God is. He manifested his power and glory, showing he came from above and was, therefore, not just a perfect man. He set himself apart from all others by saying, “Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world” (John 8:23). He maintained an unique communion with the Father that only could be true of deity. “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). John the Baptist said of him, “He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all” (John 3:31).
I urge all in the Jehovah’s Witness Organization to reject those doctrines that are so obviously contradicted and condemned in the Bible and obey Christ now and live a life of faithful service for whatever future remains.
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