At John 8:56, Jesus made an interesting statement regarding His appearances to humankind prior to the incarnation. He said to the Jews: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” He also alluded to the fact that He was directly involved in Old Testament history when at Luke 24:27: “…beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” Likewise, at John 5:39-40, Jesus chided the Jews with this statement: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” In all their studies of the Old Testament Scriptures, the religious experts of the day missed the whole point of the Scriptures: “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10) Continue reading “Is Jesus Christ the Angel of the LORD? Appendix – Yes, You Should Believe in the Trinity”
- SHOULD GOD’S NAME BE TRANSLATED JEHOVAH, YAHWEH OR LORD?
- WAS GOD’S NAME REMOVED FROM THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT?
- DOES PAUL’S USE OF THE WORD “LORD” IN HIS QUOTE OF JOEL 2:32 IN ROMANS 10:13 CONFUSE JESUS WITH JEHOVAH?
- DO THE HEBREW J MANUSCRIPTS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CALL JESUS YHWH?
- 1 PETER 3:15: “sanctify YHWH, the Messiah”
- PHILIPPIANS 2:11: “Yeshua the Messiah is YHWH”
Throughout the years, Hebrew translations of the Christian Greek New Testament Scriptures have been made. Some of the earliest Hebrew translations that we possess today are DuTillet’s Matthew confiscated from the Jews in Rome in 1553 A.D. and Shem Tob’s Matthew transcribed in approximately 1380 A.D. Other Hebrew manuscripts include The Old Syriac Gospels, The Peshitta New Testament which may have come into existence at the time of Josephus, and The Crawford Aramaic version of Revelation purchased by Earl of Crawford around 1860. 1. The Watchtower refers to these Hebrew translations as “J” manuscripts and these documents provide most of the manuscript support for the Watchtower’s insertion of God’s name “Jehovah” into the New Testament portion of their New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.2. Continue reading “Did the Hebrew writers of the New Testament call Jesus YHWH (Jehovah)? – Chapter 10 – Yes, You Should Believe in the Trinity”
By Justin T. Alfred, MA 1.
NEW AMERICAN STANDARD
NEW WORLD TRANSLATION
|EXODUS 3:14: “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’; and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.” ’ ”||EXODUS 3:14: “At this, God said to Moses: ‘I SHALL PROVE TO BE WHAT I SHALL PROVE TO BE.’ And he added: ‘This is what you re to say to the sons of Israel, “I SHALL PROVE TO BE has sent me to you.” ’ ”2.|
|JOHN 8:58: “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.’ ”||JOHN 8:58: “Jesus said to them: ‘Most truly I say to YOU, Before Abraham came into existence, I have been.’ ”|
The identity of Jesus’ statement in John 8:58 with God’s revelation of Himself to Moses in Exodus 3:14 is the primary issue of John 8:58. The argument presented by The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures is as follows: Continue reading “Exodus 3:14 and John 8:58 – The Great “I Am” – Appendix – Yes, You Should Believe in the Trinity!”
QUICK ANSWERS GUIDE TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON THE DEITY OF JESUS CHRIST
Below is a list of common questions raised by Jehovah’s Witnesses and other anti-Trinitarians. Following the questions are brief Biblical responses and references to chapters and sections within this book that will aid further research on the topics being addressed.
How can Jesus be God when He can only do what He sees the Father do (John 5:19)?
Just as a human “son” is able to physically do what a human “father” is able to do, so Jesus demonstrates His power as the “Son of God” by claming that He can do everything His “Father” God does (John 5:19, 21-23). Continue reading “Quick Answers to Frequent Objections to the Trinity Doctrine – Chapter 14 – Yes, You Should Believe in the Trinity!”
.:SHOULD WE PRAY DIRECTLY TO JESUS? —If we are encouraged to pray to Jesus, when should we pray to the Father?
“I read the Acts 7:59 verse quoted on your website to support the idea that we can pray directly to Jesus, but I am still unsure about this because I have been taught to pray to Jehovah the Father and not to Jesus the Son. Can you please send me more Scriptures that explain why we can pray to Jesus? Also, if we are supposed to pray directly to Jesus, what do you say about the Lord’s prayer where Jesus taught us to pray saying: ‘Our Father…’ Since Jesus taught us to pray to the Father, why should we pray to Jesus?”
We agree with you that prayer is a form of worship that belongs exclusively to the Jehovah, the true God. Thus, when we see verses like Acts 7:59 where Stephen said: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,”1. we conclude that Scripture elevates Jesus to the level of Jehovah God because He not only receives prayer, but He is also worshipped along with the Father (see Revelation 5:11-14). Yet, Jehovah’s Witnesses often argue that this verse at Acts 7:59 does not support the idea of “prayer” because a few verses earlier, Stephen saw Jesus in a vision. They maintain that Stephen was merely talking to Jesus like he would any other being whom would appear to him (as the angel Gabriel that spoke to Daniel in a vision at Daniel 9:21-22). Continue reading “Who Should We Pray To? – The Father or the Son? – Chapter 9 – Yes, You Should Believe in the Trinity!”
.: Letter from a Jehovah’s Witness – “How Can Anyone Believe Jesus is God?”
I’m one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Yet, before studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses, I found the Bible to teach that Jesus is not Almighty God, nor part of a Trinity. I don’t see the equality of the Father and Son. The Son was tempted by the Devil (Matthew 4:1), whereas God cannot be tempted by evil (James 1:13). If the Son were God, how could there be any real temptation in offering God something back that He Himself had already given to Satan (Matthew 4:8-9)? The Son doesn’t know the day or hour, only the Father knows (Matthew 24:36). The Son’s will is distinct and can be different from the Father’s will (Matthew 26:39). The Son can only do what He sees the Father do (John 5:19), whereas God can do all things (Matthew 19:26). The Son only has the power and authority “given” to Him by the Father (Matt 28:18), and the Son will relinquish that power in the future (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). Above all, the Son says that the Father is “greater” than him and that his Father is his “God.” If the Son has a God, how can he be God Himself? There is much more I could write, but this is certainly a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt. Isn’t it? May the “King over all [other] gods,” Jehovah bless you. – Psalm 95:3.
Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your conviction that Jesus is not God. It is indeed an admirable task to seek to be a true “witness” of Jehovah by studying to accurately defend the identity of this only true God (John 17:3; 1 John 5:20). Your studious examination of Scripture in this regard is to be commended.
In response to your concerns, let’s start by first discussing what traditional Christians mean when they/we say that “Jesus is God.” We believe that as God (John 1:1), Jesus possesses the full nature of the only true God (Colossians 1:19; 2:9), yet we DO NOT believe that Jesus is the Father. As you correctly note when you mentioned how the Son’s will is distinct from the Father’s will, Scripture makes a clear distinction between the person of the Father and the person of the Son. Continue reading “How Can Anyone Believe Jesus is God?”
Most objections Jehovah’s Witnesses raise against the Doctrine of the Trinity can be answered by accurately defining the doctrine.
For example, many Jehovah’s Witnesses think that when Christians claim that Jesus is “God,” they are claiming He is the same Person as the Father. This misunderstanding is easily corrected by quoting the Creed of Athanasius, the most authoritative Creed that Christianity has used for centuries to define the Trinity. It demonstrates how the Son is a distinct “Person” from the “Person” of the Father, yet “one God” with the Father:
“For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost… So the Father is God, the Son is God: and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods: but one God.” (View PDF of the Athanasius Creed)
So, when Jesus was praying to the Father, He wasn’t praying to Himself, but to the Person of the Father who is just as much “God” by nature as Jesus is “God.” Another misconception Jehovah’s Witnesses embrace is the idea that since “in this Trinity none is before, or after other: none is greater, or less than other,” Jesus could not have said, “the Father is greater than I” at John 14:28. This objection is easily answered by the following statement found in the Creed: “Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead: and inferior to the Father, as touching His Manhood.” Thus, many of the occasions where Jesus operated under the limitations of His humanity, the Father was indeed in a “greater” position than He was, but this does not prove that Jesus in His God nature is less “God” than God the Father is “God.” Continue reading “10 Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses on the Watchtower Trinity Brochure – Chapter 12 – Yes, You Should Believe in the Trinity!”
1. How many true Gods exist?
- John 17:3: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” **
2. Is Satan a true or false God? Do demons believe he is a god?
- 2 Corinthians 4:4: “among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers…”
- James 2:19: “You believe there is one God, do you? You are doing quite well. And yet the demons believe and shudder.”
3. So if demons don’t consider Satan is a real god, why is he called “the god” of this world? Wouldn’t you agree that these beings that are called “gods” are not really gods, but are rather false gods?
- 1 Corinthians 8:5-6: “For even though there are those who are called ‘gods,’ whether in heaven or on earth, just as there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords,’ there is actually to us one God the Father … and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ…”
- NOTE: Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to put Jesus in a neutral category of “god” beings that are merely divine, but are not the true God. By demonstrating that Satan is a false “god” because he is worshipped by false religion, and that even his followers, the demons, don’t believe he is a real “god,” this demonstrates that a neutral category of “divine/god” beings that are neither true nor false does not exist. Continue reading “Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses on the True God and the Trinity – Chapter 13 – Yes, You Should Believe in the Trinity!”
“I have read on your website how to answer people who argue that Jesus can’t be God because He calls the Father ‘My God’ at John 20:17. I understand how to explain that when Jesus called the Father ‘My God’ in John, He was saying it as a ‘man’ because He was under the limitations of His humanity, but here at Revelation 3:12, Jesus is from Heaven calling the Father His ‘God’. Since Jesus is glorified as God at this point, why is He still calling the Father ‘My God’?”
You are correct that in many instances where Jesus calls the Father “My God” on earth, it is from His human perspective, but here in Revelation, He is speaking as God Himself. In addition to Jesus’ humanity, there is another aspect in which the Father is Jesus’ “God” and that is in the area of His submission to the will of the Father. Jesus has always been and will always be under the authority of the Father because this is how the Trinity functions as 1 Corinthians 15:28 explains:
“When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.”
Throughout Scripture, we read how the Father directs the Son (1 Corinthians 11:3) and Holy Spirit (John 3:34; 14:16). That is why Jesus calls the Father “God” when He is in His Divine Nature. This would be like your son calling you “the Man of the House”. When your son calls you “the Man”, he does not mean to imply that he is less human than you, does he? Of course not! So, it is with Jesus calling the Father “My God”. He is not saying that the He is less “God” because the Father is His God. Rather, He is demonstrating that He is still under the authority of His Father God.
In addition to seeing Jesus and the Holy Spirit under the authority of the Father, we also read that the Son directs the Holy Spirit under the will of the Father (Galatians 4:6; John 15:26). So just as in a family where the wife and children follow the lead of the father (1 Corinthians 11:3), so it is with the order of the Trinity. Thus, the authority structure looks like this:
Just as this authority structure that exists within the human family doesn’t change the fact that the wife and children are just as much “human” as the “husband” or “father” is, so it is with the Triune God. The simple fact that Jesus is under the Father’s authority doesn’t change the fact that Jesus, in His Divine nature, is just as much “God” as His Father is “God”. As John 5:18 explains:
“For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.”
So being under authority doesn’t make a person less human or in Jesus’ case, less God, than His Father.
JOHN 14:14 — DID JESUS SAY “ASK ME ANYTHING” OR DID HE SAY “ASK ANYTHING”? —Does John 14:14 indicate that Christians should pray directly to Jesus?
NEW AMERICAN STANDARD:
KINGDOM INTERLINEAR TRANSLATION
NEW WORLD TRANSLATION
JOHN 14:14: : “If ever anything you should ask me in the name of me this I shall do.”
JOHN 14:14: “If You ask anything in my name, I will do it.”
Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses agree that if Jesus is not God, He should not be prayed to because prayer is a form of worship. However, when we see that Scripture supports the idea that Jesus is worthy of prayer and worship, we must conclude that Jesus is indeed God by nature. Thus, the idea that Jesus receives prayer in Scripture is strongly contended against by Jehovah’s Witnesses who maintain that no such practice exists in Scripture.
One Scripture that Christians appeal to in support of the idea that Jesus receives prayer is John 14:14. It says in the New American Standard Bible: “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” Christians appeal to the fact that not only does Jesus encourage believers to pray to Him by saying, “ask Me anything,” but He is the One who answers the prayer when He promises, “I will do it.” Continue reading “PRAYER TO JESUS: John 14:14 – Did Jesus Say “Ask Me” Anything? – Appendix – Yes, You Should Believe in the Trinity!”
Have you ever felt dismay after presenting the standard Biblical Scripture proof texts for the Deity of Jesus Christ and the Trinity, only to find your Jehovah’s Witness friend unconvinced? There are three reasons for this:
- MISCONCEPTIONS REGARDING THE TRINITY: Jehovah’s Witnesses have several misconceptions about what Christians believe regarding the Deity of Christ and the Triune God. We must address their misconceptions and deal with the verses they rely on to support their position, before they can adequately grasp the Biblical support we have for our position.
- FALSE AUTHORITY: Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the leaders of their Watchtower organization are appointed by God to act as His supreme representatives on earth. In order to maintain good standing with the organization, they are required to accept, without question, all beliefs and policies presented by their leaders. So, when the plain reading of a Scripture passage contradicts a doctrinal belief held by their leaders, they will question their own ability to understand the meaning of that Scripture passage before they will question the belief itself. We must undercut their trust in their leaders before they will be free to accept the plain and simple interpretation of Scripture passages that differ from what they have been taught.
- SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS: Satan, “the god of this world,” has blinded the minds of Jehovah’s Witnesses so that they cannot see “Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). We must remember that we are engaged in a spiritual battle for their minds and hearts. This battle transcends mere intellectual understanding. We must implore the Spirit of the Living God to free them so that they can say, “Jesus is indeed Lord, Jehovah!” (See 1 Corinthians 12:3).
The following steps will guide you to effectively present the Deity of Jesus Christ in terms your Jehovah’s Witness friend will be able to grasp. Although there is no guarantee that he or she will be convinced by the concepts we present here, in our ministry to Jehovah’s Witnesses, we have found these steps essential to breaking the faulty reasoning Jehovah’s Witnesses have embraced on these issues. Continue reading “How To Discuss The Deity Of Jesus Christ With Jehovah’s Witnesses – Chapter 11 – Yes, You Should Believe in the Trinity!”
CHAPTER 8: “WORSHIP GOD ON HIS TERMS”
- SHOULD WE WORSHIP JESUS?
- IS JESUS CHRIST THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL?
- TITLES AND ATTRIBUTES OF JEHOVAH APPLIED TO JESUS
“Therefore, if we want God’s approval, we need to ask ourselves: What does God say about himself? How does he want to be worshiped? What are his purposes, and how should we fit in with them? An accurate knowledge of the truth gives us the right answers to such questions. Then we can worship God on his terms.”—Should You Believe in the Trinity?, p. 30
CHAPTER 7: JESUS IS GOD!
- WHAT ABOUT TRINITY “PROOF TEXTS”?
- COMBATING THE HENOTHEISTIC BIAS OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
- JOHN 10:30: “I and the Father Are One”
- JOHN 10:34: “…‘I said you are gods’?”
- JOHN 5:18: “Making Himself Equal To God”
- PHILIPPIANS 2:6: “Equal With God”
- JOHN 8:58: “I Am”
- JOHN 1:1: “The Word Was God”
- ISAIAH 9:6: Jesus is the “Everlasting Father”
- THE NEW TESTAMENT IN AN IMPROVED VERSION, Upon the Basis of Archbishop Newcome’s New Translation: With a Corrected Text, 1808: “…and the word was a god.”
- THE EMPHATIC DIAGLOTT, interlinear reading, by Benjamin Wilson
- THE JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE
- A MANUAL GRAMMAR OF THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT
- JOSEPH HENRY THAYER
- DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE, by John L. McKenzie
- THE NEW TESTAMENT by Johannes Greber translated with Spirit-Mediums
- 4 REASONS THE SOCIETY’S TRANSLATION OF JOHN 1:1 IS UNTENABLE
- THEOS = GOD OR “DIVINE QUALITY”?
- ARE THERE TWO “MIGHTY GODS”? Continue reading “Jesus is God! – Chapter 7 – Yes, You Should Believe in the Trinity!”
- PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
- THE HOLY SPIRIT IS TREATED AS A PERSON
- MATTHEW 24:36 – THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES NOT KNOW…?
- THE HOLY SPIRIT INDWELLS BELIEVERS
- PERSONIFICATION AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
- THE HOLY SPIRIT – A NEUTER NOUN
- THE TRIUNE GOD
“THE Bible’s use of ‘holy spirit’ indicates that it is a controlled force…it can be likened to electricity, a force that can be adapted to perform a great variety of operations.…On one occasion the holy spirit appeared as a dove. On another occasion it appeared as tongues of fire—never as a person.…some Bible texts say that the spirit speaks.…The action of the spirit in such instances is like that of radio waves….”—Should You Believe in the Trinity?, pp. 20-22
We have already discussed how a personal being does not need to possess a physical body in order to qualify as a “person.” For example, Satan has never appeared in a physical body, yet even Jehovah’s Witnesses agree that this fact does not imply that he is not a personal being. Yet, the Watchtower Society asserts that the Holy Spirit “never” appears as a person in the Biblical text and discounts all of the personhood texts about the Holy Spirit by attributing the actions of the Holy Spirit seen in the text to being a mere force like “electricity” or “radio waves” and pointing to examples where the Spirit is described in non-personal ways such as the “tongues of fire” of Acts chapter two. Yet, simply because the Holy Spirit has appeared in forms other than that of a physical being, does not indicate that He is not a person. In fact, the opposite is true as we will see in the following Scripture texts where the Holy Spirit is described as possessing all of the qualifying attributes of personhood: Continue reading “The Holy Spirit — a Person or Force? – Chapter 6 – Yes, You Should Believe in the Trinity!”
- WHAT ABOUT JESUS’ SUBMISSION TO THE FATHER’S WILL?
- JOHN 20:17
- REVELATION 3:12
- 1 CORINTHIANS 8:5-6
- MARK 10:17-18
- HABAKKUK 1:12
- MARK 13:32
- 1 CORINTHIANS 11:3 AND 15:28
- JOHN 14:28
- BULLETIN OF THE JOHN RYLANDS LIBRARY
The Watchtower Society argues that because Jesus is “distinguished from God” as a distinct person from the Father, He is considered “subordinate” to God, in a “secondary position” to that of the Father, is “submissive” to God’s will, and had “limited knowledge,” He cannot be God. After all, the Society declares, “Jesus never claimed to be God.” (See Should You Believe in the Trinity?, pp. 16-20)
Many of these arguments against the Trinity are groundless when viewed in light of the incarnation. As already discussed, when Jesus became a man, He laid aside His privileges as God in order to experience all the struggles of humanity.1. In His Deity, Christ is “equal” to God the Father, but in His humanity, He is in a lesser position than that of the Father (John 14:28). Let’s discuss some of the passages addressed in the Trinity brochure:
“…I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.”
The Society argues that “Since Jesus had a God, his Father, he could not at the same time be that God.” —Should You Believe in the Trinity?, p. 17
One fact about this passage that the Society fails to note is that Jesus was always very careful to distinguish His relationship with the Father from the relationship His disciples had with the Father. He never addressed God as “our Father” in reference to Himself and the disciples, but rather addressed Him as “My Father” and “your Father.”2. This is significant to note because Jesus is God’s Son by nature; whereas, His disciples are God’s sons by adoption (John 1:12). As the “Son of God,” Jesus has the same nature as God (John 5:18, 19:7), but in the incarnation, Jesus took on the nature of man and thus became the “Son of Man.”3. While in His Divine nature, Jesus still possessed all the power and authority of God, in His human nature he chose to limit that authority. By calling the Father His “God,” He demonstrated perfect submission to the Father both on earth and in Heaven.
“And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.…”—Hebrews 1:3
In human affairs, the “right hand” is the symbol of strength and power. Someone who is said to be the president’s “right hand man” is someone who is in a high position of honor. Thus, Scripture often employs the phrase “sitting at the right hand of the Father” to denote Christ’s preeminence as the one in the highest position of authority.
“Before the LORD; for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.”
“For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”
For more on this topic of Jesus calling the Father His God, see also Revelation 3:12 – Why Does Jesus Call the Father “My God”?
“For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father…and one Lord, Jesus Christ….”
The context of 1 Corinthians 8:6 is not contrasting the relationship between the Father and the Son, but rather the relationship between them and false idols that pagans worship as “gods.” Yet, the Watchtower Society ignores the context of this passage and claims that this verse is contrasting the relationship between the Father and the Son. Then the Society points out that the Father is called “God” while Jesus is distinguished as the “Lord” and claims that Jesus cannot be God because the Father is called God. (See Should You Believe in the Trinity?, p. 17)
When one considers the fact that no Jehovah’s Witness would argue that the Father is not “Lord” simply because Jesus is “Lord,” it is evident that this argument is groundless. Furthermore, the Father is called the “Lord of Lords” at Deuteronomy 10:17 while Jesus is called the “Lord of Lords” at Revelation 17:14 and 19:16. Yet, Jude 4 points out that there is only one “Lord.” Thus, in the same way that both Jesus and the Father are both called “the Lord,” Jesus is just as much God as the Father is God as He is addressed as God on several occasions. 4. Yet, 1 Timothy 1:17 reveals that there is only one God. So here we have yet another example of Scripture that supports the Trinitarian position that Jesus is the same “God” as the Father.
JEHOVAH IS LORD OF ALL
JESUS IS LORD OF ALL
MATTHEW 11:25: “At that time Jesus answered and said, ‘I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth….’ ”
ACTS 10:36: “The word which he sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)….”5.
DEUTERONOMY 10:17: “For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God….”
REVELATION 17:14; 19:16: “…and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings….And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.’”
“…ungodly persons who…deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”—Jude 4
“And as He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.’ ”
The Society argues that “…Jesus was saying that no one is as good as God is, not even Jesus himself.” —Should You Believe in the Trinity?, p. 17
Nowhere in this passage does Jesus imply that He is not good. On the contrary, according to the context, Jesus was helping the rich ruler recognize that the attribute of “goodness” which the ruler had applied to Him was a quality that only God possesses. Thus, Jesus was forcing the ruler to recognize that either He is “good” and is therefore God, or He is bad and is therefore only a man.
“…Are you not from long ago, O Jehovah? O my God, my Holy One, you do not die.”
—New World Translation
The Society argues that Jesus can’t be God because God doesn’t die, and the Bible clearly reveals that Jesus died. (See Should You Believe in the Trinity?, p. 18)
One of the attributes of our immutable God is that He does not die; and in this passage, Jehovah God is called “the Holy One” who does not die. Yet, at Acts 2:27, 3:14, and John 6:69 we read that this “Holy One” is Jesus who, as foretold by David at Psalm 16:10, was to die but whose body would not “undergo decay.” How can this be? If the Holy One does not die, how can Jesus as the “Holy One” die? We can reconcile this by recognizing that according to Psalm 49:7, more was required than just a mere man to atone for the sins of mankind. 6. Thus, it was necessary for Jehovah God to become man in the person of Christ in order to die and atone for the sins of the world. Although Jesus (in His human nature) had completely died, He (in His Divine nature) still possessed the power to raise Himself.
“…I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.…Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”—John 10:17-18; 2:19
ISAIAH 43:15; 47:4; 54:5
“I am Jehovah your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.…There is One repurchasing us. Jehovah of armies is his name, the Holy One of Israel.… Jehovah of armies being his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Repurchaser. The God of the whole earth he will be called.”—New World Translation
“And we have believed and come to know that you are the Holy One of God.”—New World Translation
“But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven,
nor the Son, but the Father alone.”
“Had Jesus been the equal Son part of a Godhead, he would have known what the Father knows. But Jesus did not know, for he was not equal to God.”—Should You Believe in the Trinity?, p. 19
Prior to the incarnation, Jesus was one in person and one in nature, being totally Divine. At the incarnation, Jesus took on a human nature and henceforth became two in nature while yet remaining one in person. As a result, attributes from His Divine and human natures both became credited to His one person. In this passage, Jesus was speaking from the standpoint of His human nature; thus, demonstrating the limitations of His human nature by not being able to foretell the future. Nevertheless, there were many other occasions where Jesus, speaking from the perspective of His divinity, demonstrated the Divine quality of omniscience. Note the following passages:
1 KINGS 8:39
“Then hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place, and forgive and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart thou knowest, for Thou alone dost know the hearts of all the sons of men;”
“But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man for He Himself knew what was in man.”
· JOHN 16:30: “Now we know that You know all things….”
· JOHN 18:4: “Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth….”
· MATTHEW 9:4: “And Jesus knowing their thoughts said….”
· JOHN 21:17: “…And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love you….’ ”
REVELATION 2:18, 23
“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.”
“The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this: ‘….and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.’ ”
At 1 Kings 8:39, we read that God is the only one who knows the hearts of all men; yet as seen in these and many other passages, Jesus knew the hearts of all men. How can Jesus have the very omniscience of Jehovah and not be Jehovah Himself?
“But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. …When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.”
The Society uses this passage as well as 1 Corinthians 15:28 to try to prove that since Jesus is “subordinate” to the Father, He cannot be God. (See Should You Believe in the Trinity?, p. 20)
1 Corinthians 11:3 states that “the man is the head of a woman.” Are women inferior or less human than men simply because husbands are to be in authority over their wives? No! Just as a woman is fully human even though she submits to her husband, so Jesus is fully God even though He submits to the will of His Father God. Another example of this can be seen at Luke 2:51 where we read that Christ was in “subjection” to Mary and Joseph. Was Christ inferior to them because He was in “subjection” to them? Of course not! In all of these cases, we see a type of functional subordination that is necessary to maintain order, but this subordination does not in anyway denote an inferior nature.
While it is true that a functional subordination or functional hierarchy exists among the Persons of the Triune God, they are still equal in their Divine nature. So Jesus is equal to God the Father in His Divine Being (John 10:30). Yet, once everything is subdued under Him at 1 Corinthians 15:28, He continues His submission to the Father as a picture of the unity of the Godhead..
In the same way that a wife is not considered “inferior” to her husband because she is in subjection to his authority, the functional subordination that exists among the persons of the Trinity does not in any way imply that Jesus is inferior to the Father or any less God than the Father is God. What 1 Corinthians 15:28 is really teaching concerning the subjection of Christ is that once Jesus’ mediator role is completed and all things are in subjection to Him, He will surrender His kingdom to the Triune Jehovah God who will rule forever.
“ ‘Thou hast put all things in subjection under His feet.’ For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.”—Hebrews 2:8
JOHN 5:21; 10:28; ACTS 9:34
“See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded, and it is I who heal; and there is no one who can deliver from My hand.”
“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes….and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand….And Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; arise, and make your bed.’ And immediately he arose.”
“…I go to the Father; for the Father is greater [meizon —meizon] than I.”
“The Bible’s position is clear. Not only is Almighty God, Jehovah, a personality separate from Jesus but He is at all times his superior….And this is why Jesus himself said: ‘The Father is greater than I.’—John 14:28”—Should You Believe in the Trinity?, p. 20
There is a significant reason why Jesus (in indicating His relationship to the Father) chose to use the term meizon (meizwn) translated “greater” rather than the term kreitton (kreittwn) which means “better”. Meizon denotes a greater position, whereas kreitton denotes a better nature. The difference between these two words can be seen at John 14:12, where we read that believers will do “greater” (meizon) works than Jesus. Since we know that this verse is not implying that we will do “better” works than Jesus, it is clear from the context that Jesus used this same word to demonstrate the greatness of the Father’s position (being in heaven) as opposed to Jesus’ position (being here on earth).
A modern illustration of this type of relationship can be seen when we analyze the Watchtower’s own authority structure: A Presiding Overseer can be said to be “greater” than an elder. Yet, by saying this, one is not implying that the elder is of an inferior nature than the Overseer, but rather, that the Overseer’s jurisdiction is “greater” than the elder’s jurisdiction. In the same way, it is only in Jesus’ human nature that the Father can be said to be “greater” than He. However, this illustration cannot be used to refer to Jesus’ relationship to angels because at Hebrews 1:4 the other term (kreitton), translated “better,” is employed to demonstrate that Jesus is “better” than the angels in His very nature.
On pages 19-20 and 28 of the Society’s brochure, they reference the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library in England endeavoring to support their assertion that Jesus is not God and never claimed to be. They quote the Bulletin as stating: “The fact has to be faced that New Testament research over, say, the last thirty or forty years has been leading an increasing number of reputable New Testament scholars to the conclusion that Jesus…certainly never believed himself to be God.” However, the Society left out a very important statement in their quotation. The part they left out is as follows:
“…New Testament scholars to the conclusion that Jesus himself may not have claimed any of the christological titles which the Gospels ascribe to him, not even the functional designation ‘Christ’, and certainly never believed himself to be God.” —Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, vol. 50, p. 251
The idea that Jesus never claimed to be the “Christ” is unquestionably against the plain teaching of Scripture. For Matthew 16:20 specifically says: “Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.” Even the Watchtower Society would agree that the idea that Jesus never “claimed” the title of “Christ” is erroneous. Thus, in order to conceal the fact that this source is not credible, they placed an ellipsis in the quotation and concealed this inaccurate statement from their readers.
On page 28, in reference to the Greek word for God (theos) being used for Christ, the Society goes on to cite the Bulletin as stating that Catholic theologian Karl Rahner taught that “in none of these instances is ‘theos’ used in such a manner as to identify Jesus with him who elsewhere in the New Testament figures as ‘ho Theos,’ that is, the Supreme God.” However, it is difficult to justify Rahner’s position on this subject in light of the fact that the Bulletin mentioned that Rahner “considers that there are reliable applications of ‘theos’ to Christ in six texts (Romans ix. 5f.; John i. I, 18. xx. 28: I John v. 20: and Titus ii. 13).”—Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, vol. 50, p. 253.
1. That is, He had limited knowledge and “learned obedience” (Hebrews 5:8) through suffering, experiencing hunger, sleep, pain, death, etc.
2. In the Lord’s prayer of Matthew 6:9 where Jesus address the Father as “Our Father,” Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray rather than including Himself in that prayer.
3. See John 6:62 c.f. Daniel 7:13. The term “Son of Man” is a Messianic title which points to Jesus’ humanity as His second coming will be in the flesh.
4. See Matthew 1:23; John 1:1,18; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1
5. The Watchtower’s New World Translation mistranslates this verse by adding the word “[other]” to the text of Acts 10:36: “…through Jesus Christ: this One is Lord of all [others].”—New World Translation
6. Psalm 49:7: “No man can by any means redeem his brother, Or give to God a ransom for him.”
- DOES MONOTHEISM (BELIEF IN ONE GOD) SUPPORT THE TRINITY?
- ANSWERING WATCHTOWER PROOF TEXTS
- COLOSSIANS 1:15-16
- REVELATION 3:14
- PROVERBS 8:12, 22-23
- “HOW MUCH WAS THE RANSOM?”
- JESUS THE “ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON”
“THE Bible teaching that God is one is called monotheism. And L.L. Paine, professor of ecclesiastical history, indicates that monotheism in its purest form does not allow for a Trinity….‘Here, O Israel, the Lord our God is one God.’ Those words are found at Deuteronomy 6:4.…In the grammar of that verse, the word ‘one’ has no plural modifiers to suggest that it means anything but one individual.…Thousands of times throughout the Bible, God is spoken of as one person. When he speaks, it is as one undivided individual. The Bible could not be any clearer on this….Surely, if God were composed of three persons, he would have had his Bible writers make it abundantly clear so that there could be no doubt about it.”—Should You Believe in the Trinity?, pp. 12-13
The Watchtower quotes Levi Leodard Paine in support of their claims that monotheism rules out trinitarianism, but just like other authors the Society has quoted, Paine is a liberal scholar who does not believe the Bible is “of a divine miraculous origin and character, differentiating the Bible from all other religious literature.…”1. Therefore, one must conclude that he is not a reputable source that one should consult for information on the Bible. After quoting Paine, the Society quotes Deuteronomy 6:4, stating that the word “one” should not be interpreted to mean “anything but one individual.” While Deuteronomy 6:4, known as the Hebrew Shema, is a clear declaration from God stating that He alone is God, the Hebrew word echod translated “one” in this passage can refer to plurality within unity. Notice how echod is used in the following passages: Continue reading “Trinity in the Bible – Chapter 4 – Yes, You Should Believe in the Trinity!”
- WHAT ABOUT EGYPTIAN, BABYLONIAN, AND HINDU TRIADS?
- THE STORY OF CIVILIZATION: Part III, Caesar and Christ, by Will Durant
- EGYPTIAN RELIGION, by Siegfried Morenz
- THE PAGANISM IN OUR CHRISTIANITY, by Arthur Weigall
- ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF RELIGION AND ETHICS, by James Hastings
- THE NEW SCHAFF-HERZOG ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE
- THE CHURCH OF THE FIRST THREE CENTURIES, by Alvan Lamson
- OUTLINES OF THE HISTORY OF DOGMA, by Adolf Harnack
- A STATEMENT OF REASONS, by Andrews Norton
- IS THE STORY OF JESUS DERIVED FROM THE PAGAN LEGENDS OF OSIRIS, HORUS, MITHRAS AND OTHER MYTHICAL GODS?
At this point, the Watchtower booklet endeavors to validate their claims against the Trinity by trying to establish a link between the doctrine of the Trinity found in Christianity and the pagan “gods” of ancient religions. On page 10 of the Trinity brochure, endeavoring to convey the idea that the doctrine of the Trinity is of pagan origin, the Society pictures sculptures of Egyptian, Babylonian, and Hindu false gods of past centuries along with pictures of Trinitarian figures in more recent centuries. However, the Society totally overlooks one of the major difference between pagan false gods and Trinitarian doctrine.
- TAUGHT BY EARLY CHRISTIANS
- “WHAT THE ANTE-NICENE FATHERS TAUGHT”
- IGNATIUS (30-107 A.D.)
- JUSTIN MARTYR (165 A.D.)
- IRENAEUS (200 A.D.)
- CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA (215 A.D.)
- TERTULLIAN (230 A.D.)
- HIPPOLYTUS (235 A.D.)
- ORIGEN (250 A.D.)
- ALVAN LAMSON – THE CHURCH OF THE FIRST THREE CENTURIES
- LAMSON’S STATEMENTS ABOUT JUSTIN MARTYR
- LAMSON’S STATEMENTS ABOUT CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA
- LAMSON’S STATEMENTS ABOUT TERTULLIAN
- THE COUNCIL OF NICAEA
- THREE VIEWS OF CHRIST DISCUSSED AT THE COUNCIL
- “CONSTANTINE’S ROLE AT NICAEA”
“DID the early Christians teach the Trinity? Note the following comments by historians and theologians:… ‘At first the Christian faith was not Trinitarian…It was not so in the apostolic and sub-apostolic ages, as reflected in the N[ew] T[estament] and other early Christian writings.’—Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics.”—Should You Believe in the Trinity?, pp. 6-7
The following is the complete quote from this encyclopedia in context:
“Economic and essential trinity.—(a) The transition from the Trinity of experience to the Trinity of dogma is describable in other terms as the transition from the economic or dispensational Trinity (tropoV apokaluyewV) to the essential, immanent, or ontological Trinity (tropoV uparxewV). At first the Christian faith was not Trinitarian in the strictly ontological reference. It was not so in the apostolic and sub-apostolic ages, as reflected in the NT and other early Christian writings….It should be observed that there is no real cleavage or antithesis between the doctrines of the economic and the essential Trinity, and naturally so. The Triunity represents the effort to think out the Trinity, and so to afford it a reasonable basis.” —Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, vol. 12, p. 461 Continue reading “Historical Background of the Trinity – Chapter 2 – Yes, You Should Believe in the Trinity!”
- WHAT IS THE TRINITY?
- “BEYOND THE GRASP OF HUMAN REASON”
- “IS IT CLEARLY A BIBLE TEACHING?”
- TESTIMONY OF THE HEBREW AND GREEK SCRIPTURES
- THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION
- NEW CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA
- THE TRIUNE GOD, by Jesuit Edmund Fortman
- THE NEW ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA
- “PROTESTANT THEOLOGIAN KARL BARTH”
The Trinity is the view that the 3 Persons mentioned in the Bible: Father, Son (Jesus) and Holy Spirit are one God, equal in nature and eternal and uncreated in substance. They co-exist, co-create and co-rule this present world and are distinct in their personhoods, yet they share their eternal nature as the one and only True God. Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the Trinity doctrine and argue against the Deity of Jesus Christ based on a misconception of what the Trinity Doctrine is and what it stands for. Below we will examine their arguments in-depth as we discuss their 1989 publication, Should You Believe in the Trinity? Continue reading “Defining The Trinity – Chapter 1 – Yes, You Should Believe in the Trinity!”
“Do YOU believe in the Trinity? Most people in Christendom do. After all, it has been the central doctrine of the churches for centuries. …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.” —Should You Believe in the Trinity?, 1989, p. 3
It has often been said that every theological heresy begins with a misconception of the nature of God. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we have a clear and accurate understanding of the nature of God and the identity of Jesus Christ, for Scripture declares:
“But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.” —2 Corinthians 11:3-4
“For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”—1 Corinthians 3:11
“I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.”—John 8:24
At John 8:24, Jesus proclaims the seriousness of not believing He is who He claimed to be. He states: “…unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.” The reason the word “He” is italicized in the statement “I am He” is due to the fact that it is not found in the Greek text from which our English translations are derived. Thus, Jesus is literally proclaiming that He is the “I AM” of Exodus 3:14: “And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM…Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.’” This is significant when we consider the fact that Scripture also proclaims that we must call on the name of Jesus in order to “wash away” our sins: Continue reading “Introduction: Why You Should Believe in the Trinity”