Cults – Jehovah’s Witnesses
This is the third in a series of articles about the doctrines and practices of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Read part two.
Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the deity of Christ, deny that He is God made flesh, deny that He is to be worshipped, and deny that it was God who shed His own blood on the cross for sinners. In their New World Translation, they have mistranslated many passages of Scripture simply to make them agree with these false doctrines.
Not God, But a “god”
Jehovah’s Witnesses teach a form of Arianism, the false teaching that Jesus Christ is a created being and not God the Son from all eternity. They teach that Christ is not God, but “a god.” For this reason, they consistently refuse to refer to Jesus Christ as God with a capital G, and they mistranslate many passages to make Jesus a “god” who is positionally in a close relationship with God, but not a co-equal Person of the Godhead.
In the passages below, we compare the New King James Version and the Watchtower Society’s New World Translation. Note how Jehovah’s Witnesses have changed the words of the Bible to support their false teachings.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1, NKJV)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” (John 1:1, NWT)
Comment: The Greek word theos without a preceding article cannot be translated “a god,” and the correct literal rendering of the text “kai theos hehn ho logos” is actually “and God was the Word” – emphasizing the deity of Christ.
“No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” (John 1:18, NKJV)
“No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom position with the Father is the one that has explained him.” John 1:18, NWT)
“The Jews answered Him, saying, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.’ ” (John 10:33, NKJV)
“The Jews answered him: ‘We are stoning you, not for a fine work, but for blasphemy, even because you, although being a man, make yourself a god.’ ” (John 10:33, NWT)
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:15-17, NKJV)
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All other things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all other things and by means of him all other things were made to exist.” (Colossians 1:15-17, NWT)
Comment: “Firstborn” (protokos) is a term having to do with the position and inheritance rights of a firstborn son, not with temporal birth. The word “other,” which is here inserted four times in the NWT, is not in the original Greek text, nor is it implied. There are two Greek words for “other” – heteros (another of a different kind) and allos (another of the same kind). Neither word is used at all in this passage. This passage in the original teaches that Jesus is the Creator of all things, God Himself. But the Jehovah’s Witnesses have inserted the word “other” not once, but four times, to support their false teaching that Jesus is a created being who existed before all “other” things, and denying that He is God.
“But to the Son He says: ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.’ ” (Hebrews 1:8, NKJV)
“But with reference to the Son: “God is your throne forever and ever, and the scepter of your kingdom is the scepter of uprightness.’ ” (Hebrews 1:8, NWT)
Comment: In the original, this is a verse where God the Father is addressing Jesus the Son as God. Since Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus is merely a “god” they have changed the Bible to agree with their theology. “Your throne, O God” becomes “God is your throne.” The problem is that this verse is a quotation of Psalm 45:6, which in the Hebrew reads exactly as it is translated in the NKJV above. To justify their New Testament mistranslation, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have also mistranslated Psalm 45:6 in the NWT.
“But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him.’ ” (Hebrews 1:6, NKJV)
“But when he again brings his Firstborn into the inhabited earth, he says: ‘And let all God’s angels do obeisance to him.’ ” (Hebrews 1:6, NWT)
Comment: The word translated “worship” in the NKJV is proskyneo. It is consistently translated “worship” in the KJV and NKJV. In the NWT, Jehovah’s witnesses translate proskyneo as “worship” when it is used in connection with God (e.g., Luke 4:8, John 4:21-22, 1 Corinthians 14:25). But when proskyneo is used in connection with Jesus, they translate it as “do obeisance” (here as well as other passages such as Matthew 2:2, 2:11, 14:33, and 28:9) because they believe that Jesus is a created being and therefore is not to be worshipped.
“Thus says the Lord…I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:1, 10, NKJV)
“…the utterance of Jehovah…I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of favor and entreaties, and they will certainly look to the One whom they pierced through, and they will certainly wail over Him as in the wailing over an only son; and there will be a bitter lamentation over him as when there is bitter lamentation over the firstborn son.” (Zechariah 12:10, NWT)
Comment: In the original, it is God who is saying, “they shall look on Me (God) whom they pierced. The Watchtower Society mistranslates “look on Me” as “look to the One” in order to establish an artificial dividing line between God and Jesus Christ, because they believe He is only a created “god”, and therefore it was not God Himself who was pierced on the cross. Also, Jehovah’s Witnesses here (and in many other places) refuse to capitalize references to the Holy Spirit, since they believe the “spirit” is merely an impersonal force and not the Third Person of the Godhead.
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28, NKJV)
Pay attention to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the holy spirit has appointed you overseers, to shepherd the congregation of God, which he purchased with the blood of his own Son.” (Acts 20:28, NWT)
Comment: The Watchtower Society has translated this passage to separate the word ‘God’ from the word ‘blood’ by adding the word “Son” which does not exist in the original. The reason for this addition to God’s Word is to deny the fact that it was God Himself who shed His blood on the cross for sinners, but merely a created being. Notice also that God the Holy Spirit has once again been blasphemously reduced to a lower-case impersonal force, to conform to Watchtower teachings.
Authentic Christianity in Contrast
God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, existed from eternity, is God from all eternity, and is the Creator of all things (John 1:1-3, 8:58). He is spoken of as “the Son” in Psalm 45:6-7, and the writer of Hebrews (1:8ff) attributes the designation of “Son” in this passage to Christ.
Before His incarnation the Son was, according to Philippians 2:6, in the form of God (morphe, outward appearance being in agreement with inward essence), and equal with God (isa, the same as). Jesus Himself claimed to be equal with God (John 5:19-31). In His incarnation, He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, not of a human father (Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:31-35, Matthew 1:20). The virgin-born Christ is given the name Immanuel, “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23). In the incarnate Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead in a body (Colossians 2:9).
Scripture teaches Christ’s deity in His names (e.g., Hebrews 1:8, John 20:28, Titus 2:13, Matthew 22:44, John 5:25). Scripture also teaches Christ’s deity in His attributes, including omnipresence (Matthew 28:20, John 14:23, Ephesians 3:17, Colossians 1:27, Acts 7:55-56); omniscience (e.g., Matthew 9:4, John 2:25, John 16:30); omnipotence (e.g., Matthew 28:18, Mark 2:5-10); immutability (e.g., John 8:58, Hebrews 1:12, 13:8); and the fact that He is life itself (e.g., John 1:4, 14:6; 1 John 5:11). Scripture further teaches Christ’s deity by His works as creator of the universe (John 1:3); sustainer of the universe (Colossians 1:7, Hebrews 1:3), forgiver of sin (Mark 2:1-12), and worker of miracles (e.g., Psalm 146:8, John 9:32). Only God is to be worshipped (Deuteronomy 10:20, Mathew 4:10, Acts 10:25-26), and Jesus said that He is to be worshipped just as God the Father is to be worshipped (John 5:23).