Category Archives: Deity

JEHOVAH’S WITNESS & THE DEITY OF JESUS

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The Jehovah’s Witness deny the deity of Jesus Christ.
On the contrary, I am very convinced the Bible teaches that Jesus is God. One of the clearer passages in the Bible that teaches Jesus is divine is John 1:1.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

The Jehovah’s Witness attempt to get around this passage by having their own translation of the Bible, known as the New World Translation. In the New World Translation, John 1:1 is translated as “…the Word was ‘a’ god.” Their alleged argument comes from the Greek language. They reason that since there is no definite article (“the”) in the Greek before the word “God” in John 1:1, then that means that Jesus wasn’t “the God,” but that He was “a god.” Is there any validity to their argument?

Analyzing their argument from Greek.

The problem with the Jehovah’s Witness argument from Greek is that it is overstated. Sentences of this form in Greek (two nouns joined by a form of the verb “to be”) normally placed the article only before the subject of the sentence, regardless of the word order. This simply means that the traditional translation, “The Word was God,” is the preferred translation among practically all Greek scholars and authorities.

To name just a few, this includes Dana & Mantey’s A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament (p.140, 149-151), Robertson & Davis’ A New Short Grammar of the Greek Testament (p. 279), A. T. Robertson’s The Minister and His Greek New Testament (p. 67), and Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (p. 266 ff.)

The Jehovah’s Witness also abandon their own argument in the very same context. Let me explain what I mean. If we were to follow their translation principle consistently in John 1:1, then “the beginning” should be “a beginning” (Jn. 1:1) life should be “a life” (v.4) and John should be “a John” in 1:6 (Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, 267).

Furthermore, the noun theos (God) is found some 1,343 times in the Greek Testament (Smith, Greek-English Concordance to the New Testament, p.173). In 282 of these texts, theos is without the article (Countess, The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New Testament: A Critical Analysis of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, 54-55).

If the Jehovah’s Witness were to apply their argument consistently, then every single one of these verses should be translated as “a god” in each of these passages in the New World Translation. However, there are only sixteen instances (6% of the time) where the New World Translation is consistent with their own alleged argument by translating these instances as “a god,” “god,” “gods” or “godly.” To put it another way, this means that 96% of the time the Jehovah’s Witness violate the very rule they believe should be enforced in John 1:1 (Countess, The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New Testament: A Critical Analysis of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, 54-55).

It will probably come as no surprise that the only time they enforce their rule is in locations where the nature of Jesus is at stake. This clearly indicates a translational bias. As Charles Feinberg said,

“I can assure you that the rendering which the Jehovah’s Witnesses give John 1:1 is not held by any reputable Greek scholar” (Rhodes, 99).

Context alone settles the issue.

While the Jehovah’s Witness have no legitimate argument that can be made from the Greek language, one doesn’t even have to appeal to the Greek to refute their argument. Contextually, one should reject the Jehovah’s Witness understanding of John 1:1.

If Jesus was just “a” god, then this would mean there are many gods. Yet, the Bible teaches that there is only one God (Isa. 43:10-11; 44:6, 8; 1 Cor. 8:6; Deut. 6:4; Eph. 4:6). So how do the Jehovah’s Witness respond? The Jehovah’s Witness argue that Jesus was only “a god” in a figurative sense. They reference Moses to allegedly prove their point. Consider the following passages that speak of Moses:

“Moreover, he shall speak for you to the people; and it shall come about that he shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be as God to him” (Ex. 4:16).

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet’” (Ex. 7:1).

The problem with this argument is that the Bible never says that Moses was God, or even “a god” for that matter. As the text says, Moses was going to be “like God” in the sense that he was given the authority and power to display powerful miracles that would prove God’s power over Egypt. Being “as God” or “like God” with regard to the power given to perform miracles over Egypt is not the same thing as being called “a god” or “God.” Therefore, this argument fails because this cannot be considered a fair parallel.

Furthermore, in Isaiah 9:6, Jesus is even called, “Mighty God.” This is a title and description reserved only for deity (And Moses was certainly never called, “Mighty God”).

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us, and the government will rest on His shoulders, and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6; Both Jesus & the Father are called Mighty God. See: Jer. 32:18; Isa. 10:21; etc.).

Conclusion

In conclusion, and based upon the aforementioned, John 1:1 should be accurately translated as, “…the Word was God.” This can be sustained linguistically and contextually. For further reasons that prove Jesus is God, please see the article entitled, “Is Jesus God?”

– Kevin Pendergrass

IS JESUS GOD?

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Is Jesus God? Let’s back up for a moment and define exactly what I mean by this question. When I say the word “God,” I am referring to the one and only divine nature (Also known as Deity). There is only one Deity and divine nature, which is known as God.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deut. 6:4).

“…there is no other God but one” (1 Cor. 8:4).

The Bible repeatedly states there is only one God (Deut. 6:4; 32:39; 2 Sam. 7:22; 1 Kgs. 8:20; Isa. 43:10; 1 Cor. 8:4, etc.). The Christian doctrine, known as the Trinity (or Godhead), teaches that there is only one divine nature, but that one divine nature exists in three distinct persons or beings known as the Father, Jesus/the Son and the Holy Spirit (Col. 2:9; Mt. 28:19).

In fact, the very first verse in the Bible speaks to this fact when the Hebrew word “Elohim” is used (Gen. 1:1). This word is plural in number (http://biblehub.com/hebrew/430.htm). So, while there is only one Godhead, there is a plurality within the Godhead. Furthermore, in passages such as Genesis 1:26 and Genesis 11:17, the Godhead is described as a “us,” not an“I.” I would go as far to say that then the Bible says there is one God, that simply means there is only one divine nature. I would further say that the one divine nature is possessed by the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

I believe sometimes we only equate God with the Father, but we must understand that God can be used to describe the Father separately, the Son/Jesus separately, the Holy Spirit separately or a combination of any of these three persons within the Godhead. The word God can also be referring to the Godhead as a whole. Context will always determine how the word God is being used.

Below are just a few scripture references that describe the Father, the Son/Jesus and the Holy Spirit as being part of and making up the one Deity/divine nature. I will make just quick references to these since our focus is on the Deity of Jesus in this article.

  • Here are a few passages that teach or imply the Father is God (Phil. 1:2; Isa. 64:8; Jn. 5:21; 1 Jn. 1:3; 1 Tim. 1:1; etc.).
  • Here are a few passages that teach or imply Jesus/the Son is God (Jn. 1:1, 14; Col. 2:9; Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:15-17; etc.).
  • Here are a few passages that teach or imply the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4; Rom. 8:11; Psa. 139:7-10; 1 Cor. 2:10-11; 1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Cor. 13:14; Heb. 9:14; etc.).

So, with all of the above being said, let’s now look at four major points that prove Jesus is Deity.

Point 1: Jesus Claimed to be Deity.

“Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Revelation 1:17-18).

In John 8:58, Jesus went so far as to use the very words by which God revealed Himself to Moses from the burning bush (Ex.3:14).

“Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (Jn. 8:58).

In John 10:30, Jesus claimed to be God when He stated that He and the Father are one. In fact, the Jews clearly realized the claim Jesus was making to the point of condemning Him for blasphemy.

“The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God” (Jn. 10:33).

Therefore, the first reason we should believe that Jesus is God/Deity is because He claimed to be.

Point 2: Jesus Accepted Worship.

The Bible teaches that only God can accept worship (Ex. 20:4-5). In fact, in Acts 10:26, Peter denied the worship that Cornelius attempted to bring Peter. Peter explained to Cornelius that he was just a man and only God is deserving of worship. In fact, Paul even condemns worshiping angels (Col. 2:18).

“…For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Mt. 4:10).

Jesus accepted worship on many occasions. From the time He was a child, until the time He was resurrected and ascended back to heaven, He received and accepted worship. He was worshiped when He was a child (Mt. 2:11). He was worshiped by His disciples (Mt. 14:33; 28:9, 17). The blind man worshiped Jesus after he was healed (Jn. 9:35-39). The disciples worshiped Jesus as He was ascending (Lk. 24:50-53).

Therefore, the second reason we should believe that Jesus is God/Deity is because He accepted worship.

Point 3: Testimonial From Others

The Father Himself testified that Jesus is God.

“But to the Son He says: ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.’ And: ‘You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands” (Heb. 1:8-10).

Many others also testified and/or recorded that Jesus is God. This includes John (Jn. 1:1-5, 14), Matthew (Mt. 1:23), Isaiah (Isiah 9:6), Peter (2 Pet. 1:1), Luke (Acts 20:28), Paul (1 Tim. 3:16; Titus 2:13), Thomas (Jn. 20:28), etc.

Therefore, the third reason we should believe that Jesus is God/Deity is because the testimonials of others.

Point 4: Jesus’ Divine Attributes and Characteristics

There are certain characteristics that are limited to Deity. Jesus exemplified and/or taught that He had these attributes. Jesus is eternal, not created (1 Tim. 6:16; Psa. 93:2; Isa. 57:15; Hab. 1:12; Mic. 5:2; Isa. 9:6; Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:16; etc.). Jesus could forgive sins (Mk. 2:7; Lk. 7:48; Mt. 9:1-8; etc.). Jesus could know and search the hearts of men (Jer. 17:10; 1 Kings 8:39; Jn. 2:23-25; Lk. 5:22; Mt. 9:4; etc.). Jesus was sinless (Rom. 6:23; Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:22; etc.).

Therefore, the fourth reason we should believe that Jesus is God/Deity is because He has attributes that only God possesses.

In conclusion, these are four strong reasons as to why we should believe the Bible teaches Jesus is God. In another article on my blog, you can dig deeper as we explore the question, “How can Jesus be both God and the Son of God?”

– Kevin Pendergrass

HOW CAN JESUS BE BOTH GOD AND THE SON OF GOD?

(Note: I would like to introduce you to Brandon Johnson. Brandon is going to be writing articles from time to time on this blog. Below is his first article posted on this site entitled, “HOW CAN JESUS BE BOTH GOD AND THE SON OF GOD?” Brandon is a faithful man of God who strives to pursue truth lovingly and objectively and I am pleased to have him join me in writing articles for the blog. You may contact Brandon directly at: brandonjohnson1008@gmail.com).

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There are those who claim to believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures while denying the divinity of Jesus. Some deny the deity of Jesus based upon the fact that Jesus is called the Son of God. These individuals reason that the term “son” inherently necessitates the idea of creation or beginning, therefore, a son cannot be eternal. Furthermore, they reason, since Jesus is called the Son of God, He must have been created by God the Father and cannot be both God and the Son of God. They argue that since Jesus is the Son of God (Matthew 26:63-64; Mark 1:1; 1Corinthians 1:9), He cannot therefore be God. They conclude that to be the Son of God and God at the same time would be an apparent contradiction. I believe their conclusion is faulty and unwarranted. I believe that Jesus is both divinely God and the Son of God based upon the following biblical evidence.

First, the phrase “sonship” is a position that was given to the Son (Jesus) by the Father. Positions do not intrinsically effect the eternality or divinity of a being. Jesus is and always has been God (Jn. 8:54-59; 14:8-9; Col. 1:17; Mt. 1:23; Isa. 9:6; 43: 10, 11; Rev. 1:17-18; 2 Pet. 1:1; Jn. 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:16; Titus 2:13; etc. ), but He was not always the Son of God. Jesus did not assume His position as “the Son of God” until the appointed time (John 1:1-18; Galatians 4:4-6). This can be seen in other positions Jesus holds as well. "And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth."  John 17:3For example, when Jesus built His church, He became the head of it (Matthew 16:18; Eph. 1:22-23). This position did not exist until the church was established on the Day of Pentecost in Acts (Acts 2:38-47). However, Jesus still existed before the position of “head of the church” existed. Furthermore, Jesus could not assume the role of “firstborn from the dead” until after He was resurrected from the dead (Colossians 1:18). Also, Jesus could not assume the position of “the author of eternal salvation” until after His suffering (Hebrews 5:8-9). In like manner, Jesus’ position as the Son of God does not negate the fact that Jesus is eternal, but instead, indicates that He took on that position at a specific time in accordance with divine will. Jesus has always been divine, but He has not always held the position, “Son of God.”

Second, it is helpful to know when Jesus became the Son of God. As has already been noted, Jesus did not always hold the position and title, “Son of God.” The time at which Jesus would become the Son of God was prophesied in the Old Testament (Psalm 2:7). “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You” (Psalm 2:7). There was a specific time that Jesus was to be begotten and take on the position “Son of God” (Phil. 2:5-11). The writer of Hebrews applies Psalm 2:7 to Jesus’ time on earth (Hebrews 1:5-6; 5:5-7). Paul quotes this same passage and also applies it to Jesus’ time on earth (Acts 13:33).

The writer of Hebrews applies another Old Testament passage to Jesus when he says “I will be to Him a Father and He shall be to Me a Son” (Hebrews 1:5; 2 Samuel 7:14; 1Chronicles 17:13; 22:10; 28:6). This phrase was spoken in the future tense when it was originally written in 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles (“I will be to Him a Father and He shall be to Me a Son”). Cross SunsetI believe this prophecy revealed that Jesus would become the Son of God, thus indicating that at the time of the prophecy Jesus was not the Son of God, but He was still divinely God (Jn. 1:1-19; Heb. 1:7-9; etc.). The writer of Hebrews and the Gospel of Luke inform us that this occurred when Jesus was brought into the world through the miraculous conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit: And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God’.” (Luke 1:35; Heb. 1:6).

Third, the phrase “only begotten” (Jn. 3:16) carries with it the idea of uniqueness, one of a kind (Jn. 1:14, 18; 3:18; 1 Jn. 4:9; etc.). This can be demonstrated by the example of Abraham and Isaac. Isaac is considered Abraham’s only begotten son (Heb. 11:17), even though Isaac wasn’t Abraham’s only son (Gal. 4:22; Gen. 25:1-2; etc.). Isaac was the only true son of the covenant (Gen. 17:19-21). Therefore, it is the uniqueness (i.e., one of a kind) of Isaac among the other sons that allows for him to be called “only begotten.” In the same way, Jesus became the Son while still sharing the same divine nature as the Father, as opposed to Christians who are God’s children only by adoption (Eph. 1:5; Gal. 4:6-7). Jesus became the “one and only” son of God.

In conclusion, Jesus was called the only begotten Son of God because His conception was a miraculous, unique, one of a kind conception by the Holy Spirit. No man brought Jesus into the world. God the Father brought Jesus into the world and at that point in time, the eternal Jesus became the “Son of God.”

– Brandon Johnson

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