Unwarrantedly Watchtower Society’s Translation Committee added “Jehovah” in 237 places in New Testament. By doing so, New World Translation (NWT), Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Bible, blurs many passages that depicts Christ Jesus as Lord (Kyrios) of Old Testament.
In Journal of Biblical Literature, Kurt Aland showed that the Tetragrammaton, YHWH, does not appear in any of the 5,255 known New Testament Greek manuscripts (Aland 1968: 184). The Tetragrammaton is also absent in the writing of the early Christians. For example, Clement’s epistle to the Corinthians written ca. 100 A.D quoted Joshua 2 cf. Heb. 11:31(“I[Rahab] know assuredly that the Lord(“κύριος”) your God hath given you this city [...](1 Clement 12), Ezekiel 33:11 “For as I live, said the Lord (Ky′ri·os), I do not desire the death of the sinner so much as his repentance”.(1 Clement 8). NWT’s unwarrantedly added “Jehovah” in front of “Lord”. Continue reading →
As any Christian apologist knows, there are vast differences between orthodox Christian and Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses) beliefs. The biggest difference that marks the Jehovah’s Witnesses (hereafter JW, or plural JWs) is their teachings on the nature of God. According to Dr. William Lane Craig from his “Defenders” (Series 1) podcasts the historic plumbline between orthodox Christianity and heresies has been the Trinity. The JWs do not hold to a trinitarian God while we Christians do. However, in my discussions with JWs, I have found it to be too difficult of a jump to go right into a discussion of the Trinity, just like it is nearly pointless to get into a circular discussion of eschatology with them. Going too far down these roads only delays talking about substantive issues and ultimately getting to the Gospel. Instead, I have found it more effective to present two items of orthodox Christianity to which JWs do not hold- the personhood of the Holy Spirit and the divinity of Jesus. These two doctrines are better starting points because they provide immediate clear differences that can be exposed in the JWs’ own Bible translation.
A Docetist argues that Christ Jesus only seemed to be (Gk. δοκέω - dokeō) human. He appeared to be a Jewish man but he did not possess a true corporal earthly body. Swayed by Gnosticism, that assumes the material creation is innately evil, it is foolish and shameful, according to a gnostic docetist, to think that Logos, who was in form of God, would take upon Himself an unworthy form of a creature.
Millard J. Erickson explained:
Docetism is in essence a Christology heavily influenced by basic Greek assumptions of both the Platonic and Aristotelian varieties. Plato taught the idea of gradations of reality. Spirit or mind or thought is the highest. Matter or the material is less real. With this distinction of ontological gradations of reality, there came to be ethical gradations as well. Thus, matter came to be thought of as morally bad. (Erickson 1998: 729) Continue reading →
Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that Jesus is archangel Michael (Jude 9) since He speaks “with the voice of archangel”. Watchtower’s “Aid To Bible Understanding? ” claimed:
Scriptural evidence indicates that the name Michael applied to God’s Son before he left heaven to become Jesus Christ and also after his return. Michael is the only one said to be the “archangel” […] At 1 Thessalonians 4:16 the voice of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ is described as being that of an archangel, suggesting that he is, in fact, himself the archangel. This text depicts him as descending from heaven with a “commanding call.” It is only logical, therefore, that the voice expressing this commanding call be described by a word that would not diminish or detract from the great authority that Christ Jesus now has as King of kings and Lord of lords. (Watchtower 1971:1152)
Going alongside this understanding of 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Jehovah’s Witnesses point out that Michael is called “the archangel” (Jude 9). “This suggests that there is only one such angel. In fact, the term “archangel” occurs in the Bible only in the singular, never in the plural.”(Watchtower 2005: 218-9) Hence Jesus is Michael. Continue reading →
In Watchtower’s “What Does The Bible Really Teach?” Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that “the Bible indicates that Michael is another name for Jesus Christ, before and after his life on earth.”(Watchtower 2005: 218) They maintained:
While there is no statement in the Bible that categorically identifies Michael the archangel as Jesus, there is one scripture that links Jesus with the office of archangel. In his letter to the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul prophesied: “The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16) In this scripture Jesus is described as having assumed his power as God’s Messianic King. Yet, he speaks with “an archangel’s voice.”(Awake! 2002: 17)
Does the Bible really indicate that Jesus is archangel Michael? Contra to Watchtower’s theology, I contended in this series of articles that 1 Thessalonians 4:16 does not indicate that Jesus is an archangel Michael but the Lord God himself (Psalm 47:5; Micah 1:3; Zech. 9:13; Isa. 27:13;). I explored the meaning of this text, how early Church(ca. 30- 325 A.D.) understood it to mean and Angelology. Continue reading →
In the official Watchtower publication, Should You Believe in the Trinity, Jehovah’s Witnesses proclaim that:
Jesus had an existence in heaven before coming to the earth…the Bible plainly states that in his pre-human existence, Jesus was a created spirit being, just as the angels were spirit beings created by God.Continue reading →
God-inspired Scriptures (i.e., John 1:1,14; John 20:28, Philippians 2:6-7, Hebrew 1:3; 2:17; 4:15 et cetera) explicitly portrays Christ Jesus as being perfect in his Divinity and perfect in his Humanity (see Christ: Perfect Divine, Perfect Human). How Christ’s natures should be correctly understood saw numerous disputes. Looking at the origin of hypostatic union in the early church, I selected four most important ecumenical councils that progressively penciled an orthodox understanding of the two natures of Christ Jesus.
Council of Nicaea
Nicaea I is the first ecumenical council summoned by the Emperor Constantine in A.D.325, near Constantinople to first and foremost address the teachings of Arius (b. ca. 256 – d.336), a presbyter in Alexandria, who denied the full Divinity of Christ Jesus. Arius argued that there was time in which Son of God did not exist. Pre-existent Logos, according to Arius, is indeed supernatural being but a first perfect creature created by God the Father. Continue reading →
In Tertullian’s (c. 160 – c. 225 AD) De carne Christi, we read “Was not God really crucified? And, been really crucified, did He not really die? And, having indeed really died, did He not really rise again?” How is this possible? We seldom ponder in depth the splendid and scandalous oxymoron of a born, died and risen God when we proclaim that Jesus died for us.
Early Christians wrestled with how Christ Jesus is fully God and fully Jewish man. The doctrine of hypostatic union is the fruit of their labor. Continue reading →