If you are a Jehovah’s Witness, or simply someone who is interested in what the Watchtower has to say about Jesus Christ, do please take five minutes to read the following, and then prayerfully consider it.
First of all, I would like to say that I am genuinely impressed with the zeal that Jehovah’s Witnesses show in pursuing faith in God. Paul writes, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.” (Rom. 8:11) We are told about Jesus that zeal for God’s house consumed him in his earthly ministry (John 2:17). So zeal is an excellent quality – but it can also be very dangerous if it is not tempered by knowledge. Paul himself was extremely zealous for God in his pre-Christian days, but it led him to persecute the church, because he did not know Jesus as Lord (Acts 26:9-15).
So, after his conversion, Paul spoke about his fellow Jews as being zealous for God, but with a zeal not based on knowledge, because they had not understood the righteousness that comes from God through Christ (Romans 10:1-4). What is this knowledge?
If it was simply knowledge of the Scriptures, then the Jews would not have had a problem – they knew their Scriptures back-to-front, as indeed do many JWs. But the crucial thing is whether that knowledge of the Scriptures leads people to a saving encounter with Jesus Christ. Jesus says to the Jews, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39-40). Jesus is the author of life (Acts 3:15), and came to bring eternal life to those who would accept him and believe in his name (John 1:12-13; 5:21).
This is not something that God can delegate to a lesser being, such as an angel, who is a created being. Unless Jesus is fully God, he cannot release people from their sins, cast out evil spirits, raise dead people to life, impart spiritual life to sinners, or give the gift of eternal life. But Jesus claims all these powers. As a result, we are clearly told he is to be honoured just as the Father is honoured (John 5:23) – that means that Jesus is to be worshipped, which indeed the disciples did (Matthew 28:17). Now, we know that only God can be worshipped, and if anyone worships a created being, he or she is committing a serious error (see Revelation 22:8-9). The conclusion can only be that Jesus is God!
Moreover, in the Old Testament book of Isaiah in particular, God elevates the name of YHWH (English = Jehovah) as the unique name by which the Jewish people were to know him and find salvation. He makes it clear that he will not share his glory with another (Isaiah 42:8). Isaiah 43:1-13 speaks of this great saving power – a passage which is very important to the Watchtower. But note verse 11: “apart from me there is no saviour”. Yet clearly, in the New Testament, Jesus Christ is revealed as Saviour! Peter speaks about the power of the name of Jesus in the book of Acts, as the good news of salvation is preached: “Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
The New Testament brings us the final and complete revelation of God; it supercedes the Old, as the writer to the Hebrews makes clear. Jesus is God’s final revelation of himself – that is the only way to make sense of these passages – otherwise God is sharing his glory with someone other than himself, and this he cannot do. And if we reduce Jesus to a created being, a glorified angel or some other spirit, we are in grave danger of committing the same sin as the Jewish people, and become alienated from God Himself.
This matters, because our eternal destinies will be decided by our relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the One appointed by God to be judge of the world (Acts 17:31), and to separate sheep from goats (Matt. 25:31f). Will you call him Lord, and worship him? This is what the Bible calls you to do.
It may be that you are in possession of the New World translation of the Scriptures, which the Watchtower produced in 1961 in order to have a version of the Bible that accords with their denial of the divinity of Jesus Christ. If this is the case, and you are not sure whether you can trust modern versions, can I suggest you find a King James Version of the Bible (published in 1611), and check the Bible references above in this version. If you would like a modern, reliable translation of your own, do please get in touch with me and we will provide one, free of charge.