The Word of our Lord:
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad (Jn 8:56).
Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I Am (Jn 8:58).
We received a comment from some Belgian students who took issue with our post, Beware the False Prophets.
Some of their critiques:
Charles T. Russell did not found or install the organisation known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
About John 1:1, it does not say Christ Jesus was God. It is God’s Word that became reality when Jesus was born.
In Scripture God declares Jesus to be His son, and God is not a liar.
Also, Jesus never proclaimed to be the Creator of heaven and earth.
In the hierarchy of heaven God takes the highest place with Christ Jesus seated at His right hand.
Charles Taze Russell did, in fact, sow the seed of what became the Jehovah’s Witness cult. There were factions and splinter groups that separated from his organization due to his rejection of orthodox Christian doctrines. Russell was assistant editor of Herald of the Morning until his falling out with editor Nelson Barbour in 1879 when Russell began publishing The Watchtower. A few years later he formed Zion’s Watchtower and Tract Society which we know today as The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, or Jehovah’s Witness.
Russell was a false prophet, and the JW’s espouse heretical doctrine. They impose upon their members a rigid adherence of teaching and behavior that essentially controls what they read and think, and with whom they may associate. They are not Christian for they preach a different Gospel than that which is taught in Holy Scripture.
To your other point, the Gospel of John is very clear regarding the Deity of Jesus Christ. We don’t dispute the passages of scripture that you quote, but it is evident that you hold to a doctrine that was dismissed at the Nicene Council in 325 A.D. The prevailing judgement of the church was that the Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God as three distinct personalities of the Godhead. It was a Trinitarian doctrine that was supported by the church long before the council even met, or the Catholic Church was established. The early church fathers (including Tertullian and Theophilus) taught the Trinitas doctrine which was the orthodoxy of Christian thought since the first century A.D. It is a difficult concept to understand—the nature of God—but we know that He is spirit, and we must worship Him in spirit and truth (Jn 4:24).
[Common among cults and false teaching is the denial of our Lord Jesus Christ; that He was just a man gifted with prophetic teaching and spiritual guidance; or that He was a lesser god which, in itself, denies the singular uniqueness of a creator God.]
The triunity of God was established in Ge 1:26: Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. In this passage the word Elohim is used to suggest the plural existence of God (not gods). In his letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul wrote: For in Him (that is, Christ Jesus) all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form (Col 2:9). That is to say, Christ was God in the flesh.
The church at Colosse was plagued with false doctrine, legalism and mysticism. Gnostic teaching, that Christ was merely a created being, had infected the church. (Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians while imprisoned in Rome thus it was labelled as one of the prison epistles.) Epaphras, who most likely started the church, had journeyed to Rome to advise Paul of the heretical condition of the Colossian assembly. In his letter, Paul tells the Colossians: He (Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth…all things have been created through Him and for Him (Col 1:15-16).
The phrase, firstborn of all creation, is a stumbling block for anti-Trinitarians like the JW’s who can’t wrap their mind around the concept of a pre-existent Christ. We have examples throughout the Tanakh (Old Testament) of pre-incarnate appearances of Jesus Christ including the personage of Melchizedek, a priest and king of God Most High (Ge 14:18-20).
The writer of the Book of Hebrews tells us that Melchizedek had no beginning and no end: Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually (Heb 7:3). And, quoting from Ps 110:4, he writes that Christ is a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
We understand, then, that Christ has no beginning or end. He always existed as a member of the Godhead even as we are members of His body. He is firstborn in the Hebrew sense of the word which conveys the meaning of inheritance (not creation or birth). He is not a created being, but by Him all things were created.
This makes Him…God. (Please see our post, Who Do You Say I Am?)
Your statement that John 1:1 does not declare Christ to be God is simply wrong. We would agree that the Father and Son are distinct personalities, but please read all of what John wrote. He teaches that Christ was with God in the beginning; that all things were created through Him just as Paul taught in Colossians; and that He became flesh as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
The word begotten is, again, a stumbling block for those who are blinded to the truth of Christ since the Greek word for begotten was mistranslated from the original text meaning beloved as in the only beloved from the Father.
Finally, you state that Christ never proclaimed to be the Creator. What exactly did He proclaim? Seven times in the New Testament, Christ made an I am statement:
I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger (Jn 6:35).
I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (Jn 8:12).
I am the gate; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture (Jn 10:9).
I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for His sheep (Jn 10:11).
I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies (Jn 11:25).
I am the way, and the truth, and the light; no one comes to the Father, but through Me (Jn 14:6).
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser (Jn 15:1).
Where did we first see the declaration, I Am? Turn your Bible to the second Book of Moses (Exodus), and there we read the instructions from YHWH for Moshe to go to Pharaoh and demand the release of the sons of Israel. Moses said he would go in the name of the God of their fathers, but they will ask, What is His name? And God said to Moses:
I AM WHO I AM; Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you” (Ex 3:14).
Throughout the Old Testament, God is called Savior for He saved His people from bondage:
They forgot God their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt (Ps 106:21).
I, even I, am the Lord, and there is no Savior besides Me (Is 43:11).
In his letter to the brothers residing in Galatia and Cappadocia, Simon Peter writes of the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ (2Pe 1:1); and Paul exhorted Titus that we are looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus (Titus 2:13).
The Apostles taught that Jesus Christ is the Word…and the Word was with God…and the Word was God…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. If you disagree then your argument is not with us, but with Peter, John and Paul.
We pray that the Holy Spirit will open your heart to the truth of our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.