Response to the Jehovah’s Witness

Saturday had finally arrived and I was looking forward to a quiet morning, reading the paper, slowly eating my breakfast, the smell of bacon wafting from the stovetop. Then from the corner of my eye, barely over the newspaper and through the bay window I saw them. Then the knocking. Many have had similar experiences. We often open the door but most of the time we only halfheartedly listen to what is said. That needs to change. We as Christians should, through healthy dialogue reveal to these missionaries that no salvation is found in what they preach. Out of love and concern we are obliged to not only correct their false doctrines, but to show them why it’s wrong. Before I became a Christian I never knew what to say to the Jehovah’s Witness. In what follows I will provide you with sound, simple responses refuting the Jehovah’s Witness’s claim that Jesus is not God Almighty.

Scriptures Misused by Jehovah’s Witnesses

Colossians 1:16-17

Using their New World Translation of the bible Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus was not God Almighty. In a Jehovah’s Witness publication, “What the Bible Really Teaches” we are told that Jesus was created by God and then used by God to create everything else, “[Jesus] is called ‘the firstborn of all creation,’ for he was God’s first creation… Jesus is… the only one whom God used when He created all other things.”[1]

To bolster this claim, Jehovah’s Witnesses point to Colossians 1:16-17 of the New World Translation:

“By means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist.”

From this they argue that Jesus was created and then used by Jehovah to “create all other things in the universe.”[2]

But other translations are different. The NIV translates the same verse. “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

Notice that the Jehovah’s Witnesses insert the word other into the passage.  It’s important to note that “other” is not only absent from the NIV translation but from every translation except the New World Translation relied upon by the Jehovah’s Witness.  “It is so clear that the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not want it to appear that Christ is uncreated and that he existed before all things.”[3]

This issue cannot be resolved by a simple comparison of scripture though. Once the discrepancy in regards to the addition of “other” is raised the Jehovah’s Witness will rightly tell us that sometimes the original Greek text doesn’t translate well into English.  In trying to justify the insertion of “other” into the New World Translation bible the Watchtower Society may point to the Greek word “panta” which means “all.”  They rightfully show that panta is translated as “all other” in some translations of Luke 13:2 in order to make the English rendition more smooth. “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other [panta] Galileans, because they suffered this fate.” The Jehovah’s Witness reason that because it’s acceptable in Luke it’s acceptable in Colossians 1:16-17.[4]

At first this argument seems strong but once we look into it we’ll see how easy it is to pull apart. Let’s look to why the word “other” is added and if it’s legitimate. We’ve already agreed with the Jehovah’s Witness that words are often added to documents when translated in order to make the passage read more smoothly in English, as in Luke.  What hasn’t been mentioned is that when adding words to smooth out a translation it’s more important not to change the meaning of the original text. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, by appealing to Luke 13:2, show perfectly how the addition of words can smooth out a translation while preserving its meaning. But adding the word “other” four times in Colossians 1:16-17 “does not contribute to smoother reading but rather changes entirely the meaning of the text.”[5]

“[S]heer theological perversion leads the Jehovah’s Witness in their New World Translation to insert the bracketed word ‘other’… throughout the passage in order to justify their… view of the son as being properly part of the created order”[6] and not the Creator.

John 17:3

Another verse central to the claims made by the Jehovah’s Witnesses is John 17:3. The New World Translation renders it, “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”

They argue that eternal life is dependant upon knowing God and His true nature and in turn the belief that Jesus Christ is God Almighty does not lead to salvation but away from it.  They argue that this verse makes it clear that Jesus is calling God the Father the one and only true God, in effect denying his own deity.

But Ron Rhodes suggests that when Christians are confronted with John 17:3 they should ask if Jesus is a true or false God. If the Jehovah’s Witness answers that Jesus is a true God then we should point out that they are espousing polytheism as they believe in two true God’s, being that in their view Jesus and Jehovah are not the same, clearly espousing a non-biblical view as seen in Isaiah 44:6, “This is what the Lord says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and the last; apart from me there is no God.” We can also look to Mal. 2:10, Mark 12:32, Romans 3:30, Eph. 4:6 and Isa 43:10.

Ask them how many Gods there are. They will, as any Christian should, reply that there is only one true God.  Once we have this foundation to build on we can turn to simple logic. Point out to your visitors that what ever is not true is by nature false.  In response they’ll more than likely agree. Follow that by pointing out that if there is really only one true God then all other Gods must be by nature false Gods. Again the Jehovah’s Witness will agree. Now, ask them to flip to John 1:1 in the New World Translation. “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” They will read Jesus is “a god”.  Here we should stop them and ask if that is agreeable, they will say it is. Follow up by asking the same question that started this discussion, “Is Jesus a true or false God?” This will undoubtedly stop them in their tracks, possibly looking a little puzzled as to what just happened since by the use of their own translation they have just read that Jesus is a god.

Now it’s up to us to clarify the discussion by explaining that Jesus can’t be a false god without John, the apostle, being guilty of falsely worshiping Jesus as a god.  Meaning that Jesus must be a true God.  By claiming that Jehovah is the only true god and that there is only one true god then Jesus must be Jehovah.[7] “John 17:3 does not take away from Christ’s deity in any way.  [In fact] John firmly establishes Christ’s deity (as the true God) elsewhere in his gospel.” [8]

Scriptures Supporting Jesus’ Deity

John 20:28 – The Testimony of Thomas

When discussing the deity of Jesus Christ, the most powerful tool we have are the scriptures, which is why it’s important to bring to light the misinterpretations of the Jehovah’s Witnesses as we’ve been discussing. It’s not only important to respond to these misrepresentations but to take a proactive stance and demonstrate through the scriptures that Jesus was and is God, Jehovah. For this the testimony of Thomas in John 20 is very effective.

You may recall that Jesus appeared to his disciples behind closed doors at a meeting of which Thomas was absent. When the others went to Thomas declaring, “We have seen the Lord”[9] Thomas doubted them, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”[10] The story continues in John 20:26-28,

Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!’ ‘My Lord and my God!’ Thomas exclaimed. (Emphasis mine)

Thomas exclaimed “My Lord and my God!” Cult researcher Walter Martin wrote that, “No treatment of the Deity of Christ would be complete without mentioning the greatest single testimony recorded in the Scriptures. John 20:28 presents that testimony.”[11] By appearing to the twelve and confronting the ultimate skeptic Thomas, Jesus proved His identity as the one and only Lord God.

Now, when confronted with this verse the Jehovah’s Witness will dismiss Thomas’ words as just his surprise.  Akin to you or me saying “Oh my Gosh!” when caught off guard.

Did Thomas just respond out of surprise? Absolutely not! In saying “My Lord and my God” Thomas would have been blaspheming were he not referring to the risen Jesus as his Lord and his God. He would have been taken God’s name in vain, something a Jew of that day would never have done. Blasphemy was a very serous offense.

But, let’s suppose Thomas was blaspheming. Jesus would have corrected him without pause. Instead of rebuking Thomas Jesus calls Thomas to “[b]elieve” that He is the one and only God.

As a rebuttal to this your new friends may suggest that Jesus seemed “like” a god to Thomas in light of all that he was witnessing. That Thomas was somehow inferring that Jesus was a lesser god than Jehovah.

Here we must hold firm ground and declare that there is no way this view is correct. Thomas was not just calling Jesus a god but “my Lord and my God”. The Greek being used here is “o Theos mou”, which the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation avoids addressing, means “the God of me, or my God” and signifies “Jehovahisitic identity, and since it is in possession of the definite article, to use Jehovah’s Witnesses’ own argument, it must therefore mean ‘the only true God’ (Jehovah), not ‘a god.’”[12] If Jesus were not the same God as the Father, he without a doubt would have corrected Thomas by telling him that he is just a god. Jesus would have explained that he was a lesser god than Jehovah; he would have told Thomas that he was under the guidance and instruction of a more powerful god. As we can see, Jesus didn’t correct Thomas.  Jesus accepted Thomas’ words. Not only that but he commended Thomas for finally recognizing Him as God, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”[13]

Ultimately it comes down to a simple question, where in the New World Translation scriptures are there affirmation of any other god other than Jehovah? The answer is clear: absolutely nowhere. Any allusion to such would be idolatry, which is clearly sinful.  Look to 1 Corinthians 8:4-6 where Paul declares that there is no god other than Jehovah here on earth or in heaven no mater what people wish to invent. Martin says it well,

The picture then is clear. Thomas adored Christ as the risen incarnation of the Deity (Jehovah)… All of the pseudo-scholastic and elusive tactics ever utilized can never change the plain declarations of God’s Word. Jesus Christ is Lord of all; and like it or not, Jehovah’s Witnesses will never destroy or remove that truth.[14]

John 5:18 – Jesus is Equal with God

One of the most powerful scriptures to now mention is John 5:18. This scripture is not only vital to the topic of Jesus deity but self-explanatory as well.[15] “[Jesus] called God his Father, thereby making himself equal to God.”[16] What makes this verse vital is that the use of the word equal, cannot be debated by the Jehovah’s Witness. The Jehovah’s Witness only option is to claim that John is simply recording what the Jews said about Jesus. However, that is in error both grammatically and contextually. It is clear just by reading John 5:18 that John, not the Jews, makes the claim that Jesus is equal to the Father. According to Martin, “No serious scholar or commentator has ever questioned it.”[17] In the mind of the Jews, Jesus claim to be the Son of God was the same as claiming to be equal to God.

It’s here that we plainly see that Jesus Christ was equal to God the Father in His divine nature.  “This text alone is of enormous value and argues powerfully” to that.[18] It’s also with this verse where the Jehovah’s Witnesses has no rebuttal or argument.

Final Thought

We as Christians need to dialogue with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, showing them the errors they make, that Jesus Christ is in fact the Almighty God. In Out of Darkness into Light Peter Barnes, a former Jehovah’s Witnesses of 30 years now Christian, says, “When I think of my ex-brothers and sisters… I see them as sheep without a shepherd”.[19] Barnes has a heart for reaching these lost souls and desires “to reach out to them with the true gospel of Jesus Christ,” as we should too. Through the accurate representation of scripture and with a humbled heart we need to show these “lost souls” the truth about Christ. By opening the door when they knock we should take that opportunity to open their hearts to light. “But you are…a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light”.[20]


[1] What the Bible Really Teaches (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, 2006), 41.

[2] Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witness (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House, 1993), 75.

[3] Rhodes 75.

[4] Reasoning from the Scriptures (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1989), 408-409.

[5] Robert M. Bowman, Understanding Jehovah’s Witness (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1991), 66.

[6] Robert L. Reymond, Jesus, Divine Messiah: The New Testament Witness (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1990), 248.

[7] Rhodes 228

[8] Rhodes 229

[9] John 20:25, NLT

[10] John 20:25, NLT

[11] Walter R. Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults (Oakland, New Jersey: Bethany Fellowship, 1965), 83-84.

[12] Martin 84

[13] John 20:29, NLT

[14] Martin 85

[15] Martin 85

[16] John 5: 18 NLT

[17] Martin 85

[18] Martin 85

[19] Peter Barnes, Out of Darkness into Light: A Jehovah’s Witness Find he Truth in Jesus Christ (San Diego: Equippers, Inc, 1984), 118.

[20] 1 Peter 2:9 NASB

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

2 responses to “Response to the Jehovah’s Witness

  1. fromthesunrising

    What Jehovah said in Isaiah 44:6 is that He is the only God who is above all other gods that is why he is called Almighty God. If there are no gods then he won’t be called Almighty God. For what it would stands for right? It doesn’t mean when Jehovah said he is the only true God and no gods before me means Jesus is a false god. First consider the statement of him He said the “ONLY TRUE GOD” and HE ALSO SAID “BESIDES ME THERE IS NO GOD” Would you think if you would take this literally it will coincides? Of course he won’t be saying as he is the only true God (as it would sounds there are false gods) and yet he is saying “there is no god besides me”. So what he affirm here is that he is alone the REAL GOD and the others are just lower gods and false gods. It should not mean that Jesus is not a false god then he must be the true God. In John 17:3 he said Jehovah is the only true God and he never said he is God but the Son of God. 1 Corinthians 8:5 shows gods in heaven and on earth. Would you say that those gods in heaven and some god’s people are the true Gods? Jehovah said he is the only true God but it doesn’t mean that angels, and other’s God’s people and Jesus are false gods. They are just considered as gods subordinate to the only true God. Read my blogs entitled “TRINITY:A FALSE DOCTRINE OF A FALSE CHURCH” AND “THE UNDERLYING TRUTH IN JOHN 1:1” at http://www.??????????
    spread the truth to others by sharing the blogs…

    • jonjonjon

      Thank you for taking a look at the entry and then commenting. My friend, in order to fully understand Scripture we have to read everything in context. Reread 1 Cor. 8 only don’t stop at v. 5. What gods in heaven are you referring to? How many gods do you profess?

      Contrary to what you have been taught by the Watch Tower, Jesus is in fact the one and only living God. I challenge you to step out from under the NWT’s misleading and mistranslated scriptures and truly explore and come to know our Heavenly Father.

      “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” John 1:1, 18 Your NWT is the only translation to render “a god”.

      Thomas said to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:28 I discussed this in the blog entry.

      “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” Colossians 2:9

      “We wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:13

      “But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.” Hebrews 1:8

      “To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours.” 2 Peter 1:1

      “We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20

      It’s only in Jesus Christ and the cross where we find redemption and eternal life my friend. I pray that you, with honest eyes, reevaluate what you’ve been taught. If you are interested in further reading I would love to recommend a number of books to you.

      “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” – 2 Peter 2:1-3

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s