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Who was Jesus?

By Richard Gunther


A friend of mine gave me a small book, which some Jehovah’s Witnesses had given to him. He asked me to check it through and see if there were any errors in it. I reluctantly agreed – I say reluctantly because I am already familiar with the many errors, which characterise the JW teachings. However, with the possibility that a few comments might help to illuminate the difference between a cult teaching and Bible truth, I took the book home and began to read.

I reached page 15 and stopped in amazement. The error was outstanding! It was blatant and undisguised. Anyone with a bit of time and a Bible could have spotted it – so why do JW’s teach it?

I refer to these three statements:

Jehovah alone is referred to as "the Almighty" (Rev.15:3)

He alone has always existed ((Psalm 90:2)

He alone is the Creator (Rev.4:11)

But having affirmed these true things the book goes on to say that Jesus is not God. This is a heresy that crept into the church hundreds of years ago, spawned by, among others, a man called Arius. His idea that Jesus was created. Arius lived in Alexandria, Egypt, about 400 AD, but not long afterwards he and his doctrines were banished from the Church.

The main JW teaching is simply this: "Jesus is not God. Jesus was created by God." Added to this teaching is the extra: "The Holy Spirit is not God either." But it is the first statement which matters most, because it is tied to salvation. If we do not believe the right things about Jesus we cannot be saved. Who Jesus is, is crucial to redemption, atonement and forgiveness of sins.

If anyone wants to pursue the wide range of other errors taught by JW’s I suggest they read ‘The Kingdom of the Cults’ by Walter Martin, or Josh McDowell’s ‘A Ready Defense’, or any number of other books and there are many Internet sites which can easily refute the errors.

The claim about Christ’s deity is worth looking at, but first let us make sure that jehovah does claim for Himself uniqueness:

"That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else." 1 Kings 8:60

"I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me" Isaiah 45:5

"That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else". Isaiah 45:6

"Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God".(apart from Me) Isaiah 45:14

"For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else". Isaiah 45:18

"Who has declared this from ancient time? who has told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me". Isaiah 45:21

"Look to me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." Isaiah 45:22

"Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me." Isaiah 46:9

Scripture is clear. There is but one God. He is the only one true God.

Now let us turn to Isaiah 6:1-3. Isaiah is speaking:

"In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory."

We must be clear here. Isaiah says he saw the Lord (Jehovah) in the temple. This is the one true God, who has no rivals? This is the one and only God. Now read on and see the titles which Jehovah uses of Himself: the Lord your redeemer – 44:24, and creator, 45:12, 18, and the saviour- 45:22. He also calls Himself "the first and the last", and the one who "laid the foundation of the earth" – 48:12-17. So in summary, Jehovah calls Himself the creator, redeemer, Lord God of Israel, God alone, first and last, creator, the sender of His Spirit, the Lord, the redeemer and God.


"But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:

That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

He has blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him." John 12:37 on.

Now who did Isaiah see in the temple? Jehovah. Who was Isaiah speaking of? Jesus.

Another way to approach the question of Jesus’ deity is to look at prophecy. For example Isaiah 9:6 –

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace". Isaiah 9:6

"But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Micah 5:2

"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14 The name means ‘God with us’ – not ‘a’god with us. Literally it means Jehovah with us.

All these prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus, yet they call him "the mighty God, the everlasting Father, He who is "from everlasting" and "God with us".

The JW claim that Jesus was less than God is true, in the sense that Jesus humbled Himself and became a servant. He was lower in rank so to speak, but not in any other way. The humbling is described in Philippians5-11:

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (This means, he thought it not ‘something to be grasped at’ because there was no need)

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

God humbled Himself so low He was actually willing to die for sinners. The same God who gave the Law to Mankind, was willing to die for Man’s breaking of that Law. Only the one who gave the Law could do that. It is illogical to suppose that a mere created being, even a perfect one, could pay the price for Man’s sin. Only God Himself could redeem us.

"For in him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Colossians 2:9

Jesus Himself calls Himself by the same names which Jehovahin the Old testament uses:

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:8

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." Revelation 22:13

In order to sidestep the obvious, some JW’s claim that there are two mighty Gods, a greater one and a lesser one, yet this must be impossible, since we know from many verses that there is only one God. So who is Jesus? Is He an imposter? Is He a small god who makes huge claims for Himself? Did the one true God really create Jesus, and then allow this mere created man to claim all the power and prerogatives of the one true God for Himself? The true God could never tolerate such impudent rivalry

Another approach is to look at the grounds on which a person could, under the law of Moses be put to death.

There were five legal reasons:

1.                      Having familiar spirits – Lev.20:27,

2.                      Cursing or blasphemy – Lev.24:10-23,

3.                      False prophets, who lead to idolatry – Deuteronomy 13:5-10

4.                      Stubborn and rebellious adult son – Deuteronomy 21:18-21

5.                      Adultery and rape- Deuteronomy 22:21-24 and Lev.20:10.

The Jews were legalists, so they were seeking a legal way of getting rid of Jesus. The only charge they could raise was ‘blasphemy’ (which ironically was not valid). Some JW’s claim that the Jews tried to stone Jesus because He called them children of the devil (John 8:44) but if this were true why did they not try to stone Him on other occasions, such as Mat.23:33, when he called them sons of vipers. The answer is simple. They could not kill him on the grounds of "insult" because it was illegal.

To understand the context we must understand where the name "I AM" comes from. It was the name given to Moses for Israel, in fact it is a special name God uses to signify His covenant relationship with His people Israel. It is a nationally-applied name. It was not a name given to the Church, or to the Gentiles.

"And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me to you." Exodus 3:14 The Hebrew alphabet has no vowels so the name appears as four consonants: YHWH. The name Jehovah is derived from these letters, but a more literal translation is actually YAWEH.

We must make no mistake here. YHWH or "I AM" refers to the one true God, Jehovah, the only God. So, when Jesus used it of Himself what was He implying?


"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

Then said the Jews to him, You art not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?

Jesus said to them, Verily, verily, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by." John 8:56 on.

On another occasion Jesus was in danger of being stoned for similar statements:

"Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God." John 5:18 Equal with Jehovah, the one true God? That’s right – equal.

One of the followers of Jesus, formerly a doubter, was utterly convinced about the deity of Christ:

"And Thomas answered and said to him, My Lord and my God." John 20:28

On another occasion, when Jesus commanded a storm to cease, his disciples reasoned correctly:

"And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" Mark 4:41

The Old Testament supplies the answer. This man was God, because God alone can command the wind and sea:

"You (Jehovah) did blow with your wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters." Exodus 15:10

Even the enemies of Jesus could not escape the logical conclusion:

"And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" Luke 5:21

The above summary of basic Bible teaching about Jesus’ deity shows how wrong the JW point of view is, yet they continue to add new converts to their ranks, so the question arises: how can so many people be deceived by a so obviously fraudulent religion?

To understand this we need to note several aspects of JW membership.

1.                      No member of the Watchtower Society is allowed to think independently for him or herself. Independent Bible study is discouraged if it questions the accepted teachings.

2.                      All opposition to their teaching – including this essay – is instantly labeled a "vain philosophy of men” and placed in the’ false’ bin.

3.                      The Scriptures are always made to conform to the Watchtower beliefs never the other way round.

4.                      Much of JW literature is a masterpiece of illogical reasoning, invalid arguments, mistranslations of Scripture and opinions which appeal to the gullible mind

5.                      The Society, as far as I can discover, has no Greek scholars of any repute in their ranks. If they did, they would not twist and contort such scriptures as John 1:1, 8:58 and Col. 2:9 (to mention but a few) to suit their own views.

6.                      Their publications avoid attributing authorship to articles, so no-one knows who wrote what. This is a good way of avoiding criticism or questions.

Obviously the far better path to take is to read the Bible and believe it as it is written. Whether we like it or not, one day every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord – that is, God.

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