Jesus Christ is God: A Response to Jehovah's
There is no issue in the Bible of greater importance than the identity
of the one who died for us to be our Savior -- Jesus Christ. We must therefore
be sure that we are accepting Jesus for who He really is, because if we are
not, we are following a false Christ (2 Cor. 11:4,13). Therefore, we will
examine the biblical evidence that Jesus Christ is not only fully man, but also
Is God the Savior of the world?
"Before me there was no God formed and there will be none after Me. I,
even I, am the LORD; and there is no savior besides Me," God tells us in
Isaiah 43:10,11. This verse teaches several significant things:
1. There always has been and always will be only one true God.
2. There is no Savior of the world except for this one true God.
3. Therefore, the Savior of the world must be the one true God.
Is Jesus the Savior of the world?
I do not think that anyone who has read the New Testament would dispute
this. Even the Jehovah's Witnesses New World Translation (NWT)
refers to Jesus
as the Savior: "...and of the Savior of us, Christ Jesus" --Titus 2:13.
1. The one true God is the only Savior of the world (Isaiah 43:10,11),
2. Jesus is the Savior of the world (Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1),
3. Jesus must therefore be the one true God.
To deny that Jesus is the one true God, one would either have to deny
Jesus is the Savior, or say that God is lying to us in Isaiah 43:11. Neither
alternative fits with Scripture.
Does Titus 2:13 teach that Jesus is God our Savior?
Titus 2:13 reads: "While we wait for the blessed hope -- the glorious
appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (NIV). Paul is
stating that it is Jesus who is our great God and Savior. But the Jehovah's
witnesses dispute this, rendering the passage in their NWT: "While we
the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of [the] Savior
of us, Christ Jesus." The NWT adds the word the, putting it in
front of the word Savior. This obscures the fact that Paul clearly called
Jesus "our God and Savior," making it read as if he were speaking of two
separate persons here.
The NWT has the incorrect rendering of this passage, evident because it
violates what Greek grammarians call Granville Sharp's rule. "Sharp's
states that when two singular personal nouns (such as God and Savior) of the
same case (as we have here) are connected by `and' (the Greek word is
the modifying article `the' (the Greek word is ho) appears only
first noun, not before the second, both nouns must refer to the same
In this passage, `God' and `Savior' are connected by `and.' Also, `the'
appears only before `God.' Therefore, `God' and `Savior' must refer to
person--Jesus...In an exhaustive study, C. Kuehne found SharpUs rule to be
without demonstrable exception in the entire New Testament. Thus, honest and
unbiased scholarship requires that the words in these verses must be translated
'our God and Savior, Jesus Christ'" (John Ankerberg, The Facts on
Witnesses, pp. 22-23). A few of the eminent Greek scholars who will
this rendering include P.W. Schmiedel, J.H. Moulton, A.T. Robertson, and
Even the context of the passage shows that Paul had one person -- not
two -- in mind, for he speaks of "the glorious appearing" of that
person. As Ankerberg points out, the
Bible knows of only one such appearing--that of Jesus. And how could it be
possible for the invisible God to appear other than as the
Christ, who is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15)?
Does Colossians 1:15 teach that Jesus was created?
In this passage, Jesus is called the "first-born" of all creation.
This does not mean that Jesus is a part of creation. To this statement,
Jehovah's witnesses may level the charge that we are not taking the Bible to
mean what it says. That is not the case; in fact the opposite is true -- the
Jehovah's witnesses are not taking the Bible to mean what it says. We
saying that "first-born" does not mean first born; we are saying that
"first-born" does not mean "first-created," which is what the Jehovah's
Witnesses teach. They are reading into the text something that is clearly not
there, namely that Jesus is not the "first-born," but "first-created."
Evidence that Paul is not teaching that Jesus was
1. Birth and creation are not equivalent terms. For example, the
Bible teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin, but even Jehovah's
Witnesses would not hold that this means that He was created
the day He was born of Mary. Since birth and creation happen
at different times, they cannot mean the same thing.
are two different Greek words for "first-born" and "first-created," and
Paul used the word which means "first-born," not "first-created." In
3. Paul goes on to say that Christ is actually the creator of
all things, so clearly He was not teaching that Christ is a created
being. If all things were created by Christ, He must not be
created, otherwise there is something that Christ did not
create and this verse would be in error when it states that Christ
created all things.
Jehovah's witnesses reply to this third point that the correct
translation of the passage is that "by Christ all (other) things were
created," inserting the word "other." There is absolutely no
basis in the Greek text for doing this, and no reputable
translation includes it. Even Jehovah's Witnesses will admit
that the equivalent of the word "other" is not included in the Greek
text; their own Greek interlinear (page 896) shows that the Greek word
panta means "all things," not "all other things." They will hold, however,
that it is implied. But, as Stedman writes, "There is no such
implication in Colossians 1:15-17 unless one presupposes that Christ
Himself was nothing but a creature. But no translator has the right
presuppose on a doctrinal issue. If the text were simply rendered as it
leaving out the inserted word Rother, it would agree exactly with other New
Testament passages that declare plainly that the Lord Jesus Christ is Creator
of everything that has been created." Hebrews 1:10 and John 1:3
confirm that Christ is Creator of everything, and thus He must not be
created, but God.
What does the title "first-born" mean?
refers to Christ's
preeminent position and sovereignty over creation, not that He Himself is a
part of creation. In the Old Testament, the first-born had certain rights and
a certain status, such as preeminence, a double share of the inheritance, the
right of the priesthood, and supremacy. And it can be distinctly seen
Genesis 49:3 that the meaning "priority of birth" or in "in time" has been
overshadowed and even sometimes lost to the implication of the term meaning
"supremacy" or "preeminence." In other words, one does not have to have been
"born first" to be called "first-born" because the term's primary meaning came
to be "preeminence" and "supremacy," sometimes with nothing to do about
When Paul calls Jesus the first-born, He is saying that Jesus has all
the rights of the first-born and that He has the first-born status of supremacy
and preeminence. When Paul adds that He is the first-born of all creation, He
is merely specifying what Christ's preeminence (i.e., His first-born status)
applies to -- namely, all creation.
Additionally, this passage clearly teaches Christ's deity. Since
Jehovah God alone created all things (Isaiah 44:24; Hebrews 3:4), and
Colossians tells us that Christ is the creator, we can conclude that Jesus is
Further, it is demonstrated that born does not mean created from Jesus'
title "Son of God." Some might understand this to mean that He must have
into existence at some point and that He is less than God (the Son of God, not
God), in just the same way that a human son comes into existence after their
human father. This sounds plausible at first, but upon examination it becomes
apparent that this cannot be the case. The Bible is very clear in defining the
title "Son of God" to mean that Jesus is of the same nature as God, just
child is of the same nature as their parent. And if Jesus has God's nature,
then He is, by definition, God, and therefore without a beginning. For proof
of this, let's examine the issue further.
What does it mean to call Jesus the Son of God?
Does the title applied to Jesus, Son of God, imply that He is
different than God? No. Jesus is the only begotten Son of God (John
while Christians are adopted sons of God (Romans 8:15-17).
called adopted sons of God because we are different from God and must become
His children (hence, adopted, not begotten). Jesus is not called adopted
because He never became God's Son, but has always been God's Son. Calling
Jesus the only begotten Son of God means that He is of the
same nature as God,
not a different nature, as C.S. Lewis explains: "To beget is to become the
father of: to create is to make. And the difference is this. When you
you beget something of the same kind as yourself. A man begets human
beaver begets little beavers...But when you make, you make something of a
different kind from yourself. A bird makes a nest, a beaver builds a dam...
Now that is the first thing to get clear. What God begets is God;
what man begets is man. What God creates is not God, just as what man makes is
not man. That is why men are not Sons of God in the sense that Christ
They may be like God in certain ways, but they are not things of the same
kind." There is a clear distinction between making and begetting -- you
make what you beget. What you make is different from yourself, what you beget
has your nature. Therefore to call Jesus the only begotten Son is to
He has God's nature and was not made. Since He has God's nature, He is, by
definition, God and therefore eternal. If Jesus was created by God, He could
not have been begotten, and John 3:16; 1:18, 1 John 4:9, etc. are in
In sum,when the Bible says that Jesus is the only begotten Son of
God, it means that Jesus is equal to God, not less than God.
Doesn't John 14:28 teach that Jesus is less than God?
In this passage, Jesus says, "My Father is greater than I." The
"greater than I" refers to Jesus' position, not person, in that during Jesus
earthly life He willingly placed Himself in submission to the Father. It says
nothing about His nature, only His temporary rank on earth.
The New Testament evidence that Jesus is God
This passage says,"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
God, and the Word was God." Here we see that
THE WORD = GOD
In John 1:14,15 it states "The Word became flesh, and made His dwelling
among us." Here we see that
JESUS = THE WORD
Simple logic declares that if A=B and B=C then A=C. Therefore,
JESUS = THE WORD and
THE WORD = GOD, then
JESUS = GOD
Jehovah's Witnesses teach that John 1:1 should be
translated "The Word was a god," not "The Word was God." They
since theos (the Greek word for God) is preceded by the definite
when it first appears in the verse, and the second time it appears it is not
preceded by the definite article, they are therefore justified in translating
the last part of John 1:1 "the Word was a god," because God appears
definite article. Thus, they claim that John 1:1 does not say anything about
Jesus' identity (i.e.. that He is God), but refers to a quality about Him.
There are, however, no reputable authorities or translations that support the
Jehovah's Witnesses translation of this verse. In fact, their New
Translation has caused considerable outrage among Greek scholars because
it is a major distortion of the text.
In addition, the Jehovah's witnesses do not even stick to their own
rule; it is inconsistently applied throughout their NWT. Theos
times without the definite article in the first 18 verses of John's gospel
(1,6,12,13 and twice in 18). Yet, in the NWT, it is rendered God (referring to
Jehovah), not a god, in each instance except for the last clause of 1:1, when
it refers to Jesus!
To remain consistent, Jehovah's witnesses must hold that verse six
should read, "There arose a man that was sent forth as a representative
god," that verse 12 should read "to become a god's children,"
etc. It should
also be noted that the absence of the definite article does not refer to
someone other than the true God. The scholarly Arndt and Gingrich Greek
Lexicon, p. 357, states that theos is used "quite
the true God, sometimes with, sometimes without, the article."
In answer to the question "How can the Word be with God if He is God?"
see my article Understanding the Trinity.
Revelation 21:5-7 reads: "He who is seated on the throne said 'I am
making everything new!' Then He said `write this down, for these words are
trustworthy and true'. He said to me: `It is done. I am the Alpha and the
Omega, the Beginning and the End...he who overcomes will inherit all this and I
will be his God, and he will be my son.'" Here God says that He is the
beginning and the end. In Revelation 22:12,13, Jesus (see 22:16) says that He
is the beginning and the end: "Behold I am coming soon! My reward is
and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and
the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." Jesus clearly
shows that He is God by saying things about Himself that only God can say about
This is another clear passage teaching that Jesus is God: "(Christ
speaking) `I and the Father are one.' Again the Jews picked up stones to
Him, but Jesus said to them: `I have shown you many miracles from the Father,
for which of these do you stone me?' `We are not stoning you for any of
these,' replied the Jews, 'but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man,
be God.'" When studying the original Greek of Jesus statement "I and the
Father are one," the word translated `one' means one in essence, or
nature, not merely one in purpose.
Some hold that Jesus goes on to correct the Jews in verses
34-36. This is not the case. What Jesus is simply doing is taking the Jew's
statement about Him blaspheming to its logical conclusion to show that they are
being inconsistent. In effect, Jesus is saying "If you say that I am
blaspheming, you must also hold that God is blaspheming because He said to
those by whom the word of God came, `ye are gods.'" Nowhere does Jesus take
back His statement and say that He is not one with the Father. He in fact
draws a clear distinction between Himself and those Rby whom the word of God
cameS when He says that He was sanctified and sent into the world by
Jesus is specifically called God in this passage: "But of the Son He
says, 'Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever."
This tells us that Jesus is of the exact same nature of God: "And He
is the radiance of His glory, and the exact representation of His nature."
This is a strong statement about the full deity and humanity of Christ:
"In Him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form."
God declares that, "to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear
allegiance"--Isaiah 45:22-23. But Paul declares that Rat the name of Jesus
"every knee should bow . . . and that every tongue should confess that Jesus
Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father"--Philippians 2:10,11.
Either these passages contradict one another, or Jesus is God.
Paul writes "...and from them [the Jews] is traced the human ancestry
of Christ, who is God overall..."
Jesus says, "Before Abraham was, I am." I AM was the most revered
divine name of God in the Old Testament (Ex. 3:14). Christ was not merely
claiming that He existed before Abraham, but that He was still in
before Abraham. Dr. A.T. Robertson, one of the greatest Greek scholars who
ever lived, had this to say about John 8:58 after translating it "I am":
"Undoubtedly here Jesus claims eternal existence with the absolute phrase
used of God."
The New World Translation mistranslates this verse as "Before
came into existence, I have been," eliminating Christ's clear claim of
possessing absolute eternal existence, and therefore divinity . But the Greek
reads ego eimi, which is in the present tense, indicative mood, so
possible translation is "I am." And once again, the New World
does not follow its own rules. "In John 8:42-9:12, the verb `to be'
times in the indicative mood, and the New World Translation correctly renders
21 out of 22. John 8:58 is the only incorrect rendering." This
passage is another clear reference to Christ's deity.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." This passage
teaches that Jesus is immutable -- unchanging in His nature. Thus, He could
not have been created, because He would have then undergone change in His
nature, from nonexistence to existence. Compare this with Malachi 3:6, where
God says that He is immutable.
Also see Luke 3:22, Romans 9:5, 1 John 5:20,21, John 1:18, Romans 1:4,
The Jews also understood Jesus' claims to be God
John 5:18 tells us that "For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking
all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but
also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with
God." If Jesus
did not mean for the JewUs to think that He was claiming to be God in this
passage, then why did Jesus not correct the Jews when they interpreted it this
Jesus possess attributes that only belong to God
He is omnipresent (Mt. 18:20; 28:20; Acts 18:10) omniscient (Mt. 16:21;
Lk. 11:17; Jn. 4:29), omnipotent (Mt. 8:26, 27; 28:18; Jn. 11:38-44; Lk
7:14-15; Rev. 1:8), and self existent (John 1:4; 14:6; 8:58). Only God has
these attributes, so if Jesus also has them, He must be God. God says in
Isaiah 46:9 "There is no one like Me."
Jesus accepted worship as God
John 20:28 states: "Thomas said to Him, `My Lord and My
Jesus is not God, as Thomas exclaimed, then why didn't Jesus correct
his "error"? Some contend that Thomas was merely exclaiming "My Lord and My
God!" as many people today do when they are surprised. If this were true,
however, Jesus would have rebuked him for taking God's name in vain.
The disciples, who lived with Jesus for three years, believed He is
God, and so at many other times worshiped Him. Jesus accepted their worship
(see Matthew 28:17, Luke 5:8)! Since God alone is to be worshiped (Luke 4:8),
why did Jesus not correct these "mistakes" if He truly is just a man? Every
other man of God in the New Testament who receives worship immediately refuses
the worship, declaring that God alone is to be worshiped (Acts 14: 10-16, Rev.
22:8-9). Why didn't Jesus do this in a forceful way like His followers did?
1. Since only God is to be worship, and
2. Jesus accepted worship, either
A. Jesus sinned when accepting the
worship, thus disqualifying Him as Savior, or
B. Jesus is God
Clearly option A is unbiblical (Hebrews 4:15), so it must be true that
Jesus is God.
Perhaps even most striking is Hebrews 1:6, where God commands the
angels to worship Jesus: "And when He again brought the first-born into the
world, He says, 'And let all the angels of God worship Him.'" If Jesus is not
God, then God is contradicting Himself when He lets the angels worship
Jesus forgave sins
This is evidenced in Mark 2:5 and Luke 7:48. By Jewish law, this was
something that only God could do. In Mark 2:7, the scribes say, "He is
blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?" I may be able to forgive
someone for sins committed against me, but never for sins they commit against
God, and this is what Jesus claimed to do. But only God can forgive sins that
are committed against Him. So,
1. Only God can forgive sins committed against Himself (and all sins
are against God).
2. Jesus forgave people for their sins, which were against God, so
3. Jesus has to be God
Jesus had to be fully God as well as fully man in order to pay the penalty for
the sins of the world. While only a man can pay the penalty for a man, only
someone who is infinite can pay the penalty for more than one person. Only God
is infinite, therefore Jesus had to be God in order to pay for the sins of more
than one other human. He also had to be man to pay for the sins of a man. If
Jesus was only human, He could have only died for one other person, not the
From these passages, it is clear that the Bible teaches
is God. As William Biederwolf has said, "A man who can read the New Testament
and not see that Christ claims to be more than a man, can look all over the sky
at high noon on a cloudless day and not see the sun." Therefore, any other
passages that JehovahUs witnesses put forth trying to teach that Jesus was
created have no validity, unless they want to hold that the Bible contradicts
1. For proof of Sharpe's Rule, see H.E. Dana and Julius R. Mantey, A
Manual of the Greek New Testament, p. 147.
2. H.A.W. Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Epistles to
the Philippians and Colossians and to Philemon, p. 226.
3. Ray C. Stedman, "The New World Translation of the Christian Greek
Scriptures," Our Hope, 50:32, July, 1953.
4. I.M. Casanowicz, "Primogeniture," The Jewish Encyclopedia, X,
5. Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Understanding the Cults, p. 59.
6. Understanding the Cults, p. 77.
7. Thomas Robertson Archibald, Word Pictures in the New
Testament, p. 186.
8. Dr. A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol.
V, pp. 158-159.
9. Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. V, pp. 158-159. Also
see any Greek New Testament and dictionary for confirmation of this.
10. Understanding the Cults, p. 79.
Acknowledgement: McDowell and Stewart's book was a major source
for this article, including the source of notes 3, 4, 7, 8, 9.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1977, by the Lockman Foundation.
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