Discussing the Nature of Jesus With Jehovah's Witnesses

Subject: Discussing the Nature of Jesus With Jehovah's Witnesses
From: Ves
Date: 30 Jan 2024

The typical Christian views Jehovah's Witnesses as a cult. One of the key characteristics of a cult is they control the information which their members use; don't encourage independent investigation outside of their sources. In the case of the JW's, who isn't aware of all the books and pamphlets they put out? They are extremely prolific! But they also have their own interpretation of the Bible (the New World Translation), which incidentally came out in the 20th Century. That right, there is a red flag; someone comes along 2000 years after Jesus and says they understand the testimonies better than those in the first and second century AD. But, let's let that slide. The point is that that their interpretation, though containing only subtle changes, ends up changing the nature of Jesus. That is no small thing.

But first, let's talk about the common ground of beliefs; what Christians and JW's agree on:

We both confess Jesus as Lord
We both receive the Holy Spirit at baptism.
We both pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ
We agree Jesus was with the Father in the beginning and all things were created through him.
We agree Jesus is the full images of the Father, making him known to us. God's fullness dwelt in Jesus.
We know the Father put everything under Jesus, expect the Father.
We agree there is eternal life for those who believe
We agree that Jesus is at the Father's right hand now
We believe he will return to establish his physical Kingdom
And we will live here on the Earth

Wow! I mean, that's a lot of agreement. Of course the split is right at the first line; both confess Jesus, but it doesn't seem to be the same Jesus.

The other question one could ask about JW's is what kind of fruit do they produce. Jesus said that his followers will be known by their fruit, their behaviour. Generally they will be kind, caring, loving, help people, etc.. all those "good" qualities that we would associate with a loving God, and his followers. Because what good is your faith, if God is not transforming you into a better human being?

If I compare the fruit of a JW with that of a typical biblical Christian. I would say both are equally likely to live a life pleasing to God, and certainly the JW put most Christian churches to shame as far as spreading the Gospel, it's true! Not, that that saves you but it is a part of Christian life, to share the good news of reconciliation with God and the coming of his Kingdom.

So, what's all the argument about? It mainly rears it's ugly head in the book of John, Chapter 1, verse 1 (but it's not the only place). In most Bibles you will find something like:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

The Word is another name for Jesus. The living Word of God. But the JW Bible (NWT) end this verse with "a god". Implying that Jesus was not there with God, that he is not an inherent part of God, but the first created spiritual being; like the angels or other heavenly beings. Which raises the question, well who's your Savior? Some lesser created being than God, or God himself?

Although the JW bring this argument with them, this was actually discussed starting in the second century. Our oldest surviving copies of the book of John are from the second and third century, but both are damaged and don't have John 1:1 ! The first whole surviving copies are the Codex from the 4th century. BUT we do have quotes of John 1:1 from Iraneus of Lyons (Early Church Father, 130-202 AD) and Origen of Alexandria (184-253 AD), both of which agree Jesus was with God and is God. So, since that is the oldest wording, for us to come along later (1950), and start debating it again seems a bit ridiculous.

Now, in the Bible, Titus 2:13, the earliest quotes are from the second century, and they also adhere to the "God and Savior" wording. Meaning Jesus is God and our Savior. "...while we wait for the blessed hope - the appearance of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ." In the NWT that is rendered as "... of our great God and of our Savior..." Subtle, but it separates God from Jesus, unlike the original writings.

But, the New Testament is not the only place, this association between God and Savior is made. Isaiah 43:11 it says there is no Savior besides YHWY (Jehovah, God). AND Isaiah 45:21 says there is no other God beside me, a righteous God and Savior.

AND both of those say basically the same thing in the JW NWT! I would hope so, because the book of Isaiah is about 680 BC. So, once again, the earliest texts confirm that there is no other Savior besides God. Jesus, our Savior is God.

So, sorry, on this point, it seems Christians are correct in disagreeing, with the JW's.

Now, will the grace of God which covers over all our sins (mistakes) cover this error being made? I would hope so, at least with those that are being mislead. But given this information, adhering to the "a god" wording, I can't see how one can justify holding that position. Of course, this shakes the Jehovah's Witnesses to their core, so I doubt they will change their minds.

I didn't do this to bash anyone. I genuinely researched it to find out what the truth is. It's helped me and I hope it helps others who read this.

Now, there are other differences in what JW's believe from mainline Biblical Christians. I'm not going to get into those. My advice to them is if you're wrong about who your Savior is, it's time to throw out your Bible and go back to the interpretation which the early Church accepted, and is reinforced by the Old Testament idea of God and Savior.

Disagreements happen. The key is to listen to each other, look at the evidence, and have a dialog.

Christians should pray for Jehovah's Witnesses, that they can come to a more complete knowledge of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ.

(And throw out their Bibles, because they won't even say who was on the team that wrote it... Sheeeeeshhh!)