By Tom Smith, Last updated September 15, 2006
Jehovah’s Witnesses consider that the doctrine of the Trinity and the belief that Jesus is God are false and unbiblical doctrines. The Watchtower Society teaches them that this is the meaning of the numerous verses which state that there is one God by also teaching them that Christians believe in three gods when they refer to the doctrine of the trinity. As a result of this, they teach that Jesus cannot be God, but rather they claim that Jesus is "a god". The Watchtower Society differentiates Jesus (a god) from God the Father by claiming that God the father is "Almighty God", whereas Jesus is called "Mighty God" in Isaiah 9:6.
Though the trinity will be dealt with in a different article, in more detail, it is important to note that the doctrine that states that Jesus is God and the document of the trinity are closely intertwined. Regardless, the test of truth of any doctrine is to use scripture to see if it is true. The basis for all our beliefs and doctrine must be scripture alone. So let’s move on and be as the Bereans (acts 17:10-11) and let’s test to see if scripture actually says that Jesus is God.
In the book of Isaiah, we read:
6 "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: 'I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God. 7 And who can proclaim as I do?
Let's take this one part at a time, because there is so much in this verse:
6 "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel,
Let’s see what scripture has to say about the identities of the King of Israel and the Lord:
King of Israel: The King of Israel? Scripture does not record this as a reference to God other than here. King of Israel refers only to the historical kings of Israel and to Jesus Christ himself.
The Lord: The Lord refers to God, as shown at the end of the line. So this says that God is the King of Israel. None of the ordinary human kings of Israel are God, so this can only have one of two meanings - either Jesus is God, or that God the Father is proclaiming himself as King of Israel, even though it would not be consistent with the rest of scripture.
The next line goes on to say “And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts”. Clearly, this is speaking of a different person or second person because of the phrase "and His Redeemer".
Who is the Redeemer? That is Jesus. I think that we all can agree that the Redeemer is Jesus.
Who is the Lord of Hosts, according to scripture?
1 Sam 17:45-46
But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
This is only one example, but scripture only records the Lord of Hosts to be God. Thus the Redeemer is the Lord of Hosts (God), or in fact since the Redeemer is Jesus, this verse says that Jesus (Redeemer) is God (Lord of Hosts).
Let’s read on further:
'I am the First and I am the Last;
First thing to note in this phrase is that we have two persons speaking with one voice, and as a single person. God and Jesus say together, in the singular, "I am the First and the Last.". Now we have God saying that he is the first and the last. This phrase “The First and the Last” is found four other places in scripture, all in the book of Revelation, for example:
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,"
In all 4 times in the book of Revelation, this phrase is spoken by Jesus. This confirms the fact that Jehovah and Jesus are one and the same. Now, we are near the end. The last line is:
Besides Me there is no God.
7 And who can proclaim as I do?
Now, remember above where it said "and" and appeared to be speaking of two persons? Now these two persons again speak as one and say, "...besides me there is no God". We see Jesus and God represented in this verse, and in three different ways these verses tell us that Jesus is God, and then at the end, the two speak with one voice and proclaim themselves to be the one true God. Earlier in Isaiah, we have another indication of the identity of the Messiah:
Who do the Watchtower Say that He is?
1 Thess 4:16-17
In this verse we see that he will have the “voice” of an archangel, which suggests that he will be leading the angels with him. This does not mean that he is an angel nor does it even imply that he is Michael. Further, he has the trumpet of God. If the Jehovah Witnesses are to make the reference to the voice of an archangel of major significance surely we cannot disregard the fact that he has the trumpet of God. Regardless, this verse cannot be used as a standalone to definitively resolve the question either way, but it clearly does not say that Jesus is Michael or that Jesus is an angel. They also base this belief on Daniel 10:13:
13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.
There first is no reference here to Jesus or to the Messiah. Therefore use of this term “chief prince” as meaning “Messiah” is not supported by scripture. Further, it says that Michael is “one of the chief princes”, indicating that there are more. If indeed it meant Messiah, then that would suggest more than one Messiah, which contradicts scripture, as well as being a contradiction to the Watch Tower Society teachings. Their views on creation are also disputed by scripture:
16 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.
The NWT translation changes this verse to read “all other things” in order to support their doctrines. Further, Jesus is referred to in scripture as everlasting or eternal, and it states that he has existed from everlasting or from eternity.
There is much more, but a book could be written on the scriptural evidence for Jesus being God. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have another problem. That is that the Watchtower Society has changed their view on this topic over the years. Here is a quote from an 1879 issue of the Watchtower:
Twice in this passage this word is used, first to describe the worship that John gave to the angel, which was rejected by the angel, and second in the command that the angel makes to John to worship God. If it were simply “honour” then it would be no problem for the angel to accept honour, if indeed Jesus is an angel as the Jehovah’s Witness claim. It is also used twice in the verse where Jesus is tempted by Satan to worship him:
Scripture is abundantly clear that Jesus is God. The position that the WTBTS has taken is inconsistent, varies over time and connate be reconciled with scripture, especially when one looks at the original languages. Further, though the Jehovah’s Witness state that they are monotheistic, they actually practice a form of polytheism with one supreme God and at least one lesser god.
1) New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, Copy right 1961, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
2) Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.
3) Watchtower, May 15, 1969, Page 307, Published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
4) Watchtower, November 1879, Page 4, Published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
5) Watchtower, July 15, 1898, P.216, Published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
6) Watchtower, October 15, 1945, P.313, Published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
7) Make Sure of All Things—Hold Fast to what is Fine, 1965, P.249, Published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
8) Watchtower, February 15, 1983, P.18, right hand column, Published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by Permission. All rights reserved.