Tom & Ella McCrea
THE Bible clearly teaches there is only one God, Isaiah 45:5. He alone is the true God. But the Bible also teaches there are many gods. Because the same Hebrew and Greek words are used for “God”and “gods”, the Bible translations have used a capital letter when referring to God.
Christians believe this God to be the Creator, Sustainer of our world and Saviour. Because of this, He alone is worshipped.
We cannot bow down to, serve, pray to, sing praises to or sacrifice at the table of any other god.
The article asks a very important question. Unless Jesus is god, we cannot bow down to Him, serve Him, pray to Him, sing His praises or sit at His table. To do any of these things would be idolatry.
Firstly then: Is Jesus the Creator? The Bible says “Yes” He is!
Hebrews 1:10 addressed to the Son (verse 8) states:-
“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth and the heavens are the work of your hands”
Colossians 1:16 says:- “All things were created by Him and for Him.”
Secondly: Does the Son sustain all things? Yes!
Colossians 1:17:- “by Him all things consist – cohere, are held together” – The Amplified Bible. Hebrews 1:3:- “upholding all things by the word of His power – upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe” – The Amplified Bible.
Thirdly: Is the Son the Saviour? Indeed He is!
Acts 4:12:- “and there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved.” – The Amplified Bible.
Because of the clarity of these teachings, our Bibles in the New Testament render “theos” as God when referring to Jesus Christ.
To call Jesus – god – would mean we could not bow down or serve Him. We could not call on His name in prayer, sing praises to Him or sit at His table.
If Jesus is a creature, to do any of these things would constitute idolatry.
Jeremiah 10:11 states, “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”
1. If Jesus is not Creator – He is one of the gods who will perish.
2. If Jesus is not God – we should not bow down before Him. Compare Exodus 20:5 – “You shall not bow down to them” (i.e. any god) with Philippians 2:10 – “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.”
3. If Jesus is not God – it would be wrong to serve him. Compare Exodus 20:5 – “You shall not serve them” (any god) with Colossians 3:24 – “You serve the Lord Christ.”
4. If Jesus is not God – we dare not call on His name in prayer. Compare 1 Kings 18:24 – “And call on the name of your gods and I will call on the name of the Lord” with 1 Cor. 1:2 – “with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.”
5. What then of singing praises to Jesus? Compare Exodus 15:11 -“Who among the gods is like you, O Jehovah?….. The one to be feared with songs of praise.” with Revelation 5:8, 9, 12 – “fell down before the lamb and they sing – a new song saying you are worthy….. the Lamb that was slaughtered is worthy to receive the power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing.” Consider Matthew 21: 9,15,16 and Luke 19:40.
6. If Jesus is not God – we should never sit at the Lord’s table. 1 Corinthians 10: 16, 17, 20, 21 – “The cup of blessing … we participate in and share a fellowship in the blood of Christ …. are not those who eat the sacrifices partners of the alter …. I do not want you to fellowship and be partners with diabolical spirits …. you cannot drink the Lord’s cup and the demon’s cup. You cannot partake of the Lord’s table and the demon’s table” Amplified Bible. 1 Corinthians 10:21 New World Translation by the Watch Tower Society reads – “You cannot be drinking the cup of Jehovah and the cup of demons, you cannot be partaking the table of Jehovah and the table of demons.” note especially 1 Corinthians 10:20 NWT “no; but I say that the things which the nations sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God ….”
We need to be clear in our own minds. When we speak of the Lord’s evening meal or the Lord’s supper, who is this Lord? If this Lord is “a god” and not God, then indeed we are sharing communion with one who is a creature and so we are guilty of idolatry.
In view of all this, it would be very revealing to examine the material found in the Watchtower magazine of January 15th, 1992 on pages 20 – 23.
The article poses the question “What do the scriptures say about the Divinity of Christ?”
The article finishes by saying this:- “Clearly, therefore, the scriptures do not support the idea of the divinity of Christ.”
In looking at this most peculiar statement we find, as usual, that Watch Tower material contradicts itself. For example, in the Watch Tower booklet “Should you Believe in the Trinity?” (pages 25 and 27), they quote references from various translations in support of their views:-
“He – truly of divine nature.” Friedric Pfafflin p.25.
“and the word was a divine being”
“and the word was divine”
“and of a divine kind was the word” etc. p27.
These translations are declaring the divinity of Christ.
The article begins on page 20 of this Watchtower and of the seven Scriptures mentioned, four are incorrectly translated in their version of the Bible, called “The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.” (NWT).
1. John 8:58 – “Before Abraham came into existence, I have been” (NWT) Here the words are the same words used by Jesus in John 10:11, John 15:1 etc. and are correctly translated “I am”. This is how The Bible in Living English, printed in 1972 by the Watchtower Society reads;“Before there was an Abraham I am.”
2. John 1:1 “The Word was a god” (NWT). No reliable translation agrees with this rendering. Indeed the Watch Tower’s The Bible in Living English reads; “The Word was God.”
3. Philippians 2: 5-7. (NWT) The Scripture starts off correctly by saying Jesus existed in God’s form (note; not in the form of a god) but goes on to say he… “gave no consideration to a seizure, namely that he should be equal to God”. This is a misleading translation. If Jesus existed in the form of God, we cannot then say He didn’t seek to seize what was already His! The Bible in Living English reads; “who, when he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as a prize…” This whole passage is about humility, that this One in God’s form didn’t prize all that he had so highly, that he held on to it but that he was willing to leave heaven and identify with mankind even to the point of dying a cruel death for our sin. (Matthew 1:21, 1 Timothy 1:15).
4. Colossians 1:13-16 – “…because by means of him all other things were created.” (NWT) Here again we have an addition to the Word of God. The Bible does not say Jesus created all OTHER things, but that He created ALL things. Only God can create. Isaiah 44:24; Psalm 96:4,5.
Page 21 of the Watchtower has a section entitled “Not divine on earth” in which they deny the incarnation. Jesus, they say was a human. But if Jesus was the one who left heaven then it is obvious that he had to be both Son of God and Son of Man.
To teach otherwise is to deny Scripture and make Jesus an entirely new person. And not the Lord from heaven. Luke 1:35; Matthew 16:16; John 1:34 (note: Jesus did not become son of God or Christ at His baptism – Luke 2: 11, 26 also Luke 2:49).
This fact does not contradict that Jesus was indeed man on earth.
Consider the case of an influential king, who decides to leave his beautiful palace, with its many servants, and live for a time in the city slums as a beggar. He chooses to live like his poorest subjects, becoming dependant on others and so can sympathise with their problems. Certainly he has lowered his station, but he is still the king!
In the same sense the one who existed in heaven in god’s form, sharing His glory (John 17:5) was willing to come to our world, to become a little baby and to grow up with the limitations of the flesh. He was dependent on others to feed Him, clothe Him and care for Him. The creator becoming as one of His creatures, yet still the creator. (John 1:10)
1 Corinthians 15:47 – “The first man is of the earth, earthly, the second man is the Lord from heaven.”
Colossians 2:9 says – “In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”(AV)
“In him all the fullness of deity is resident in bodily form.” The Bible in Living English.
“Because in him dwells all the fullness of the Deity bodily.” Emphatic Diaglott (also published by Watch Tower Society).
If Jesus had been nothing more than a man, His death could only have redeemed one perfect man (Deuteronomy 19:21) but the Bible says Jesus would save His people from sin. Matthew 1:21; Matthew 20:28.
Continued in the next issue of