Is Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Jesus Adequate?

Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

If you ask Jehovah’s Witnesses what the greatest act of love Jehovah has performed for us, oftentimes they will say that the most loving thing He has done is to send Jesus to die for our sins. In actuality, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jehovah created Jesus and allowed Him to perform the greatest act of love. But their Jehovah is incapable of performing a greater act of love than Jesus.

We know that God is love (1 John 4:16). Is it possible that the whole purpose of creation was to give God a reason to express His love–and to do it in the greatest way possible–by laying down His life for His friends? As a Trinitarian and a Christian, I believe Jehovah has performed the greatest act of love, because Jesus is Jehovah. God Himself laid down His life for us.

Jesus’ blood paid for our sins. His blood, of infinite value, is adequate for paying the infinite penalty for our sins.

I have a few questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses: Do you believe Jesus is infinite? Is your Jesus’ blood adequate to make the infinite payment required? Does Jehovah creating a god to take his wrath properly express his love?

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52 Responses to Is Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Jesus Adequate?

  1. I am curious to see the response to this.

  2. Tom says:

    Great questions Bill. I too am looking forward to the responses.

    I think you make an excellent point when you correctly stated that “God Himself laid down His life for us”. This is a basic understanding that we must all have.

  3. billphillips says:

    Tom and TT,

    I hope that a Jehovah’s Witness will respond as well, but I doubt that they will. After having talked to Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, I think it’s safe to say that while they both have twisted the Bible, Jehovah’s Witnesses are truly in a cult–a full-blown, mind-control cult. They can’t associate with non JW family for holidays, and can’t even read the Bible without a Watchtower magazine nearby. So, hopefully a JW will be interested in having a conversation, and hopefully I will be proven wrong.

    Bill

  4. TJ says:

    Hello, I’m one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Hopefully I can answer some of your questions above.

    You asked, “Do you believe Jesus is infinite?”

    That’s a general question, but I’m guessing your speaking in terms of the value of his blood. We believe the Bible teaches that Jesus’ blood had the same value as Adam’s when he was created.

    God created Adam as a sinless, perfect man with the prospect of living on earth forever. But Adam consciously chose to rebel against God by disobeying him, thereby effectively selling himself and his future children into slavery to sin and death. If Adam chose instead to obey God, all of his children would have had the prospect of living forever on earth. So God’s principle of justice required that a ransom sacrifice be paid to cover over what had Adam foolishly lost for us; a perfect human life (represented by the blood) for a perfect human life.

    This is foreshadowed in the Law Covenant when the Israelites were taught to sacrifice unblemished, ‘perfect’, animals to cover over their sins and learned that God required “soul for soul, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.” (Lev. 22:21; Ex. 21:23-24) Jesus came to provide that ransom price. He was the equal of Adam, a perfect man with the ability to live on earth forever and to have children that live on earth forever. This is why Jesus is called “the last Adam” and Adam is said to ‘bear a resemblance to him that was to come.” (1 Cor. 15:45; Rom. 5:14)

    When Jesus died as a sacrifice, he voluntarily gave up his perfect human life (along with his potential human childrens’) so that we can again have the prospect of living as sinless, perfect human beings on earth forever. By covering Adam’s original sin, this really covers over the root cause of all of our sins and the death that results. (Rom. 5:12)

    So Jesus’ blood, the value of which was his life as a perfect, sinless human being, equaled the value of what God originally gave Adam, which he subsequently ‘sold.’

    You asked, “Is your Jesus’ blood adequate to make the infinite payment required?”

    That is answered above.

    And finally, you asked, “Does Jehovah creating a god to take his wrath properly express his love?”

    One thing we seem to disagree on is God’s ability to die. We believe flatly that Jehovah God cannot die; he is immortal; he is “from time indefinite even to time indefinite”; he is the “King of eternity.” (Hab. 1:12; 1 Chron. 29:10; 1 Tim. 1:17) That is why he sent his beloved Son to become a perfect (though mortal) human, and provide the ransom sacrifice.

    This arrangement was foreshadowed in Abraham’s illustrative sacrifice of his only-begotten son, Isaac. (Heb. 11:19)

    Please let me know if you have anymore questions for me.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  5. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    Thanks for your comment, and for the kindness in your response. I think Jehovah’s Witnesses can get a little bit snarky sometimes, and I’m sure Christians have been snarky with you. I think it’s so cool how Jesus was foreshadowed through all of those Old Testament stories. Truly the Bible is the Word of God.

    The penalty for our sin is eternal contempt (Daniel 12:2), everlasting destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9), eternal fire (Matt 25:41). We have sinned against an infinitely holy God and therefore our punishment is infinite.

    If Jesus’ blood isn’t of infinite value, we still owe God the difference between Jesus’ blood and infinity. Alternately, if Jesus’ blood is the equivalent of Adam’s blood, His death (at best) was only sufficient to pay for one man’s sin, right?

    Another question I’ve had that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with this topic concerns John 1:1. The NWT says something like Jesus was a god. This suggests that Jesus was a second god. Isaiah 9:6 says Jesus is a Mighty God. If Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus is a mighty god separate from Jehovah, isn’t this polytheism (believing in more than one god)?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  6. TJ says:

    Hi Bill,

    I’m glad to hear that you hold such respect for the Bible. As you probably know, that’s not something you can take for granted when speaking with others about it.

    You asked (in part), “if Jesus’ blood is the equivalent of Adam’s blood, His death (at best) was only sufficient to pay for one man’s sin, right?”

    That’s a great question. Before I address it directly, consider what is written about Levi paying tithes to Melchizedek. “Behold, then, how great this man {Melchizedek}was to whom Abraham, the family head, gave a tenth out of the chief spoils . . . And, if I may use the expression, through Abraham even Levi who receives tithes has paid tithes, for he was still in the loins of his forefather when Melchizedek met him.” (Heb. 7:4,9-10)

    So Levi’s paying tithes to Melchizedek was really the result of Abraham paying tithes to Melchizedek. This shows that a father’s decision or action can have a real and lasting impact on his future children.

    Now let’s apply this to Adam and his descendants. Adam received life as a perfect and sinless human being with the prospect of living forever. He also was given the gift of free will. Since he had not yet had any children, how he chose to use his free will in the present would affect any children he had in the future.

    He could choose to obey God, and pass on perfection and everlasting life, or he could choose to disobey, and sell himself and his future progeny into slavery to sin and death. He chose to disobey. So the far majority of sins committed by Adam’s descendants directly result from this one sin (there is one exception to this that I’ll get to later). (Rom. 5:12)

    Now Jesus was sent to the earth with no human father, and so like Adam, he was made perfect and sinless. He fulfilled the Law, in part, by obeying all of its commands. He too was tempted to sin by Satan, but unlike Adam, Jesus chose to obey God.

    So Jesus, as a perfect human, had the right to live forever (as would any future progeny of his). But instead of keeping that right for himself and any descendants of his, he sacrificed it on our behalf.

    Now the soul or life is represented by the blood. (Lev. 17:11) If God’s sense of justice requires a ransom price equaling what was lost to set matters right, then what was required for mankind to make atonement with God was blood carrying the value of a perfect, sinless human life. That is what Adam was given by God, and that is what he sold. It had to be bought back.

    So Jesus’ surrendered his right to live forever and perfect as a human, and instead gave that right as a free gift to Adam’s descendants. Therefore, all of these ones who have died as a direct result of Adam’s sin will be resurrected and brought back to a state of perfection. (Acts 24:15) Then, like Adam and Jesus, each individual, free from sin and death, will have the choice to either obey or disobey God.

    The one exception to those being resurrected are those that commit the unforgivable sin. These are ones, like the Pharisees, who are completely aware of God’s spirit operating and yet choose to actively oppose it. So they are effectively rejecting Jesus’ ransom on their behalf. The common thread to all those who receive everlasting destruction is that they all consciously and purposefully choose to disobey God. It isn’t sin due to slavery to sin, which can include personal weakness and/or ignorance, but it is willfully embracing sin against God.

    I’m sure you’ll have a good bit to say about my response, so I tried to keep it pretty general (though it’s admittedly lengthy). I’d be happy to go through the specifics and evidence of the different aspects with you. But I’ll just ask you to really take some time to comprehend the bigger picture of what I’m trying to get across and see if it makes sense to you, rather than quickly dismissing it. If you see the overall view that I’m presenting, you’ll see how the smaller pieces I present fit into it.

    I’ll get to your other question a little bit later (that’s another good question, by the way).

    Thanks,
    TJ

  7. TJ says:

    Hi Bill,

    Regarding John 1:1 and polytheism, this a topic we are commonly questioned about. Really the solution to this seeming problem is fairly simple and it is this, Biblically-defined monotheism differs from most people’s definition of monotheism. I’ll demonstrate this.

    First, it is important to understand the meaning of “God.” The Hebrew word “elohim” and the Greek word “theos” basically convey the sense of one who is mighty and powerful, and that is what “God” means.

    Jesus calls his Father “the only true God.” (John 17:1-3) He is indeed mighty. There are also, of course, many man-made false gods mentioned in the Bible. These are false because they contain no real power or might at all. But there is another category of gods.

    Take a look at Psalms 82:6. There Jehovah says to some human judges living in Israel, ““I myself have said, ‘You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High.'” These men couldn’t be false gods, because they held real power through the theocratic arrangement.

    This is where the difference in definitions becomes apparent. In the Bible, the title “god” can properly be given to a person to whom “the only true God” has given or allowed to carry real power, though the title is understood to be in a *relative* sense. So in addition to the judges, angels are referred to as gods (Ps. 8:5; compare Heb. 2:7), and even Moses when he is commissioned to go to Pharaoh (Ex. 7:1). Satan too is referred to as a god because Jehovah allows him to rule this world; he has real power. (2 Cor. 4:4)

    So given that these titles can be applied to human servants and angels, we see no problem with Jesus being called “the only begotten god” and “Mighty God.” (John 1:18; Isa. 9:6) He has been given an enormous amount of power and authority by his Father. But he is not “the only true God” nor the “Almighty” God. His godship is relative to Jehovah’s.

    This is not polytheism, rather it is Biblical monotheism. We only give our worship and sacred service to “the only true God,” the Father, Jehovah.

    TJ

  8. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    I think that the therm “gods” in Psalm 82 is almost being used sarcastically. These men are perverting justice (Psalm 82:2-5). They think they are gods, and they act like gods, but they are in no way any type of god. They will die like mere men (Psalm 82:7).

    I believe there is only one true God and false gods. Isaiah 43:10 says, “Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.” Isaiah 44:6 (NIV) says, “This is what the LORD says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.” I think these verses make it clear that there is only one true God. There are plenty of false gods, but only one true God.

    Satan is certainly a false god who God has allowed to roam free for the time being. I really don’t think we can put Jesus in the same class as Satan. If you’re going to say angels are gods, or Satan is any type of valid god, then that is polytheism. Polytheism doesn’t imply that all gods are of equal power, or equally good, or equally worshipped. It just means the belief that there is more than one god. I still don’t understand how if Jesus is a separate mighty god from Jehovah that that isn’t polytheism.

    I believe there is ample evidence in the Bible for Jesus being the one true almighty God. Compare Revelation 22:13 with Isaiah 44:6. In Isaiah 44:6, Jehovah is the First and the Last. In Revelation 22:13, Jesus claims to be the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. If Jesus is a mighty God who is the First and the Last, how many other gods are there besides Him? In Revelation 1:8, the Alpha and Omega claims to be the Almighty.

    One more quick one. In Deuteronomy 10:17 Jehovah is the Lord of Lords. In Revelation 17:14, and 19:16, Jesus is the Lord of Lords. How many Lords of Lords can there really be?

    I appreciate your thourough responses. Hopefully this topic will be quicker, as I don’t want to take too much of your time. Are you born again? What do you think about John 3:3, and 1 John 5:1?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  9. TJ says:

    Here’s a response I tried posting before my last one, but evidently it didn’t go up. So I’ll try again:

    Hi Bill,

    I’m glad to hear that you hold such respect for the Bible. As you probably know, that’s not something you can take for granted when speaking with others about it.

    You asked (in part), “if Jesus’ blood is the equivalent of Adam’s blood, His death (at best) was only sufficient to pay for one man’s sin, right?”

    That’s a great question. Before I address it directly, consider what is written about Levi paying tithes to Melchizedek. “Behold, then, how great this man {Melchizedek}was to whom Abraham, the family head, gave a tenth out of the chief spoils . . . And, if I may use the expression, through Abraham even Levi who receives tithes has paid tithes, for he was still in the loins of his forefather when Melchizedek met him.” (Heb. 7:4,9-10)

    So Levi’s paying tithes to Melchizedek was really the result of Abraham paying tithes to Melchizedek. This shows that a father’s decision or action can have a real and lasting impact on his future children.

    Now let’s apply this to Adam and his descendants. Adam received life as a perfect and sinless human being with the prospect of living forever. He also was given the gift of free will. Since he had not yet had any children, how he chose to use his free will in the present would affect any children he had in the future.

    He could choose to obey God, and pass on perfection and everlasting life, or he could choose to disobey, and sell himself and his future progeny into slavery to sin and death. He chose to disobey. So the far majority of sins committed by Adam’s descendants directly result from this one sin (there is one exception to this that I’ll get to later). (Rom. 5:12)

    Now Jesus was sent to the earth with no human father, and so like Adam, he was made perfect and sinless. He fulfilled the Law, in part, by obeying all of its commands. He too was tempted to sin by Satan, but unlike Adam, Jesus chose to obey God.

    So Jesus, as a perfect human, had the right to live forever (as would any future progeny of his). But instead of keeping that right for himself and any descendants of his, he sacrificed it on our behalf.

    Now the soul or life is represented by the blood. (Lev. 17:11) If God’s sense of justice requires a ransom price equaling what was lost to set matters right, then what was required for mankind to make atonement with God was blood carrying the value of a perfect, sinless human life. That is what Adam was given by God, and that is what he sold. It had to be bought back.

    So Jesus’ surrendered his right to live forever and perfect as a human, and instead gave that right as a free gift to Adam’s descendants. Therefore, all of these ones who have died as a direct result of Adam’s sin will be resurrected and brought back to a state of perfection. (Acts 24:15) Then, like Adam and Jesus, each individual, free from sin and death, will have the choice to either obey or disobey God.

    The one exception to those being resurrected are those that commit the unforgivable sin. These are ones, like the Pharisees, who are completely aware of God’s spirit operating and yet choose to actively oppose it. So they are effectively rejecting Jesus’ ransom on their behalf. The common thread to all those who receive everlasting destruction is that they all consciously and purposefully choose to disobey God. It isn’t sin due to slavery to sin, which can include personal weakness and/or ignorance, but it is willfully embracing sin against God.

    I’m sure you’ll have a good bit to say about my response, so I tried to keep it pretty general (though it’s admittedly lengthy). I’d be happy to go through the specifics and evidence of the different aspects with you. But I’ll just ask you to really take some time to comprehend the bigger picture of what I’m trying to get across and see if it makes sense to you, rather than quickly dismissing it. If you see the overall view that I’m presenting, you’ll see how the smaller pieces I present fit into it.

    I’ll get to your other question a little bit later (that’s another good question, by the way).

    Thanks,
    TJ

  10. TJ says:

    Hi Bill,

    Before we continue, I would like to get your input on something. You brought up Isaiah 43:10, showing that there is one God. In verse 11 it continues, “I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.”

    How do you reconcile that absolute statement with what is said of the Judges Othniel and Ehud; “Then Jehovah raised a savior up for the sons of Israel that he might save them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, the younger brother of Caleb . . . So Jehovah raised up for them a savior, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a left-handed man.” (Judges 3:9,15)

    Also, I tried posting a response to your first question before I posted on John 1:1 and polytheism. I’m guessing it didn’t show up because it was too long. Should I try braking it into parts?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  11. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    I checked my junk mail, and I found your comments. Sorry about that. Hopefully it won’t happen again, but it doesn’t look like there’s any place to change the settings. I’m not sure why they went to junk mail, but I’ll be sure to check it periodically from now on.

    I think Savior, in Isaiah 43:10-11, means both saving Israel from it’s enemies, and saving everyone from their sin. God is the only savior. A man leading Israel to military victory isn’t a savior in the same way.

    As far as Jesus’ sacrifice, I think we’re born dead in our transgressions, and enemies with God (Ephesians 2:1, and Colossians 1:18), because we inherit Adam’s sinful nature. Nevertheless we’re still accountable for our own actions (Matt. 12:36). If Jesus sacrifice covered only our Adamic nature, we’re still in big trouble. If Adam’s nature is a sin against an infinite God, all of this is a moot point, anyway.

    If I lie to a stranger, there’s not much they can do to me. If I lie to my boss, I can be fired. If I lie while under oath, in court, I can go to jail. If I lie to the U.S. government, under the right circumstances, I can be executed for treason. My punishment is handed out according to the importance of the one I lied to. Our sins are against an infinitely holy God. How is the punishment not infinite?

    If I’m standing in front of a judge, and I get a fine, the only way I can avoid going to jail is to pay the fine in full. Even if you don’t believe in hell, the penalty is still infinite. I need my infinite fine paid, no partial payment on infinity is going to get me any closer to infinity.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  12. TJ says:

    Hi Bill,

    Lol, both of my earlier attempts at posting my long response are now up.

    I would agree with you that the title “savior” is used in different ways and to different extents with regard to the Judges and Jehovah. But still we are told plainly, “besides me {Jehovah} there is no savior.” This statement is just as absolute as the statement about no other gods. So if we apply the same dichotomy of true and false to the title “savior” that you are applying to the title “god” (which means “mighty one”), then we are left with two conclusions. Either Ehud and Othniel are false saviors, or they are Jehovah.

    But when looking at the context of Isaiah 43:10, we find that the topic being discussed is how *the gods of the nations* measure up to Jehovah God. No one else is being considered here. “Who has formed a god or cast a mere molten image? Of no benefit at all has it been.” (Isa. 44:10) These carved idols are false gods because they contain no power or might, which is required to be a god, and they are not saviors because they do not contain the power to save anyone.

    Yet Jehovah himself told Moses, “I have made you God to Pharaoh.” (Exodus 7:1) This directly contradicts the true/false god dichotomy. Was Moses God in the same sense as Jehovah? Absolutely not, but he did receive an amount of power and authority from Jehovah for the purpose of going before Pharaoh, and this made him a mighty one, a god, in a relative sense. In the same way then, we recognize Jesus as a “Mighty God”, but not the Almighty God.

    You have presented evidence arguing in favor of Jesus being the Almighty, and I’m glad that you’ve researched reasons for your beliefs. I’ll go through each of them.

    You said, “Compare Revelation 22:13 with Isaiah 44:6. In Isaiah 44:6, Jehovah is the First and the Last. In Revelation 22:13, Jesus claims to be the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.”

    Revelation chapter 22 contains many quick shifts between speakers. In verse 6 it is evidently Jesus speaking through the angel; in verses 9 and 10 it is the angel himself speaking; in verse 16 it is obviously Jesus speaking; in verse 17 it is “the spirit and the bride” speaking; in the latter part of verse 20, it is John speaking. So who is speaking in verses 12 through 15? It really cannot be Jesus, and here’s why.

    The speaker in verse 13 identifies himself as “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” But as you mentioned, at Revelation 1:8 “the Alpha and the Omega” identifies himself as “the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.” Just a few verses earlier, John wrote, “May you have undeserved kindness and peace from ‘The One who is and who was and who is coming,’ . . . and from Jesus Christ.” (Rev. 1:4,5)

    So Jesus is not “The One who is and who was and who is coming,” nor “the Alpha and the Omega,” nor “the Almighty.”

    You also said, “One more quick one. In Deuteronomy 10:17 Jehovah is the Lord of Lords. In Revelation 17:14, and 19:16, Jesus is the Lord of Lords. How many Lords of Lords can there really be?”

    There is one very big difference between their respective lordships, and it is brought out nicely here, “God made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you impaled.” (Acts 2:36) Jesus has been exalted by God and given rulership above all others. This was not his authority to begin with. After Jesus’ Messianic Kingdom accomplishes its purpose, Jesus will subject himself to God. (1 Cor. 15:27-28)

    I’ll address your born-again questions in another post.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  13. TJ says:

    Hey Bill,

    On the topic of the ransom, could you please provide some Biblical support for this infinite value you are contending? I believe the punishment for any and all sin is clearly spelled out, “the wages sin pays is death.” (Rom. 6:23)

    I think there is some disconnect here. I’ll go through some of your comments and give a response.

    “As far as Jesus’ sacrifice, I think we’re born dead in our transgressions, and enemies with God (Ephesians 2:1, and Colossians 1:18), because we inherit Adam’s sinful nature”

    I can agree with that.

    “Nevertheless we’re still accountable for our own actions (Matt. 12:36). If Jesus sacrifice covered only our Adamic nature, we’re still in big trouble.”

    I don’t see why. Jesus’ sacrifice covers all sin stemming from Adam’s original sin as you say above. Thus, the majority of mankind is covered by Jesus’ sacrifice and will be resurrected, brought back to a state of perfection, and then each can make his own choice in serving God or not. We will no longer have ‘sin’s law in our members’ and so we will have a real choice in obeying God completely or not, just as Adam and “the last Adam,” Jesus, had. (Rom. 7:23; 1 Cor. 15:45)

    Only those who have committed the unforgivable sin will not be resurrected, due to the fact that they have knowingly rejected the value of Jesus’ sacrifice by purposefully opposing God’s holy spirit. (Mark 3:29; Heb. 10:26)

    I’m interested to know, since you disagree that Jesus was the equivalent of Adam, i.e. a perfect man, just why is Jesus referred to as “the last Adam”?

    And in the statement, “Nevertheless, death ruled as king from Adam down to Moses, even over those who had not sinned after the likeness of the transgression by Adam, who bears a resemblance to him that was to come.” (Romans 5:14) In what way does Adam ‘bear a resemblance to him that was to come’ and who were the ones that ‘sinned after the likeness of the transgression by Adam’? How did they do that?

    Thanks for your patience with me,
    TJ

  14. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    If you don’t like Isaiah 43:10 to show there is one God, there are dozens of other verses, both Old and New Testament that say that. If you want to believe there is more than one god, that’s fine, but it’s not monotheism. Even if you believe that one god is less than another, that is still polytheism.

    Exodus 4:16 (NWT) says, “And he must speak for you to the people; and it must occur that he will serve as a mouth to you, and you will serve as God to him.” My Bible says Moses was like God in Exodus 7:1. Moses is not any type of god. God made Him like God to Pharoh. You can be a polytheist if you like, but you should at least be honest with yourself about it.

    Isaiah 10:21 (NWT) says, “A mere remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God” (referring to Jehovah).

    Jeremiah 32:18 (NWT) says “the One exercising loving-kindness toward thousands, and repaying the error of the fathers into the bosom of their sons after them, the [true] God, the great One, the mighty One, Jehovah of armies being his name” (again, Mighty One refers to Jehovah). As a monotheist, I say there is only one Mighty God.

    Revelation 1:17-18 (NWT) says, “And when I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet. And he laid his right hand upon me and said: “Do not be fearful. I am the First and the Last, and the living one; and I became dead, but, look! I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of Ha´des.” Clearly, the First and the Last was dead. We know from Isaiah 44:6 that the First and the Last is Jehovah. We know that the First and the Last is the Alpha and Omega–the Almighty. When was Jehovah dead? Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I don’t know how much clearer it can get.

    The penalty for our sin is eternal, infinite, everlasting, conscious, destruction in a like of fire that burns with sulfur (Daniel 12:2, 2 Thess 1:8-9, Matt 25:41, Revelation 21:8). Jesus told the true story of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:19-31. This actually happened. Jesus never named names in any parable. Today, the rich man is still in hell wishing for a drop of water.

    I don’t want that to happen to you or anyone else. If you’ve ever told a lie, you’ve broken the 9th Commandment. If you’ve ever stolen anything, even when you were a kid, you’re a thief. If you’ve ever looked at a woman with lust, you’ve committed adultery with her in your heart (Matt 5:27-28). I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone who has kept any of the Ten Commandments. If you’re guilty of those three, you’re going to stand before God on Judgment Day as a liar, thief, and adulterer-at-heart. You’ve broken the law of an infinitely holy God. The penalty is eternity in hell.

    The Jesus you believe in, by your own admission, can’t pay the infinite penalty. You need to have your punishment taken by Almighty Jesus, whose blood is the only blood adequate to pay your ransom, and Adam’s ransom. Jesus was fully man and fully God. He voluntarily took on the limitations of a human, so that He could take our punishment. He voluntarily submitted Himself to the Father. Jesus is the I AM (John 8:58). If you don’t believe He is the I AM, you will die in your sins (John 8:24).

    I ask you to please take an honest look at the Watchtower. If it really is true, they will come out smelling like a rose. If it really is the truth, they’ll reccomend that you do so. If they really didn’t have any false prophecies, they’ll pass the test of perfection in Detuteronomy 18:20-22. If the Bible is God’s word, you can read it without guidance from them.

    If you want to be born again, repent and put your faith in Jesus. You will receive the free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9) of eternal life. If you have to earn a gift, it’s not a gift. If you try to get to heaven by your own works, it’s not going to work (Galatians 3:10, 5:3-4). Jehovah showed us the greatest love when He died for our sins. He wants all the glory for saving you. He’s not interested in sharing the glory with anyone.

    Please think seriously about this. The consequences are eternity in heaven or eternity in hell.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  15. TJ says:

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for allowing this discussion on your blog. Please know that though I may disagree with you on some points and not hold back from explaining my views, the spirit of my comments are meant to be respectful of your beliefs. I find that when communicating with others via written text, all kinds of misunderstandings can (and usually do) occur.

    You said, “If you don’t like Isaiah 43:10 to show there is one God, there are dozens of other verses, both Old and New Testament that say that.”

    It’s not a question of whether or not I like it to show that. But isn’t it true that if we use your same dichotomy of true/false for “savior” in the next verse, which is just as absolute in saying that there is no savior besides Jehovah, it would mean that Othniel and Ehud are false saviors?

    You said, “My Bible says Moses was like God in Exodus 7:1.”

    The word “like” has been added to your Bible. In the Hebrew it simply says that he was made elohim, he was made God to Pharaoh. The NET Bible, which has “like God” at Exodus 7:1, says in its footnotes, “The word ‘like’ is added for clarity, making explicit the implied comparison in the statement ‘I have made you God to Pharaoh.’ The word אֱלֹהִים (’elohim) is used a few times in the Bible for humans (e.g., Pss 45:6; 82:1), and always clearly in the sense of a subordinate to GOD – they are his representatives on earth.”

    In Psalm 8:5 humans are said to be created “a little lower than the heavenly beings.” Who are these “heavenly beings”? Well, the Hebrew word there is elohim. The NET Bible footnote says, “Heb ‘and you make him lack a little from {the} gods {or “God”}.'” We know that these are angels since Paul quotes from the LXX version at Hebrews 2:7, “You made him a little lower than angels.”

    You can call this polytheism if you like, but it is a fact that certain persons in the Bible are referred to as gods, meant in a limited extent, just as you have acknowledged that there are saviors besides Jehovah, albeit saviors to a limited extent. These gods hold real power that makes them mighty ones.

    You said, “As a monotheist, I say there is only one Mighty God.” If others below Jehovah are referred to as elohim, as gods, it makes sense there would be varying degrees of power that they hold. After all, some saviors do more saving than other saviors. Jesus is mighty because he has been given all authority by God. Jehovah too is mighty, because he alone is “the most high over all the earth.” (Ps. 83:18)

    At Revelation 1:17-18 Jesus is indeed called “the First and the Last.” But the context has to be considered. After all, Jesus is also called an “apostle,” but you wouldn’t take that verse and use it in an attempt to prove that he is the same person as or of equal rank to his disciples that are also called apostles, would you? (Heb. 3:1) You would take the time to investigate how and in what manner the title was being applied to Jesus.

    When Jesus is calls himself “the First and the Last” it is, as you note, in regards to his death and resurrection. He continues, “I am . . . the living one; and I became dead, but, look! I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” Jesus was the first one resurrected by God to everlasting life, and he is the last to be resurrected by God himself. (Acts 2:32) From this point on, Jesus has the keys of death and Hades, so he will now be doing the resurrecting.

    At Isaiah 44:6, Jehovah calls himself the first and the last in regards to his godship, in comparison to the false gods of the nations. This title is not applied in regards to the resurrection. So a similar title, but two different meanings.

    You said, “The Jesus you believe in, by your own admission, can’t pay the infinite penalty.”

    I’m not sure what you mean here. All of the sins you mention would most likely stem from the sinful nature we inherited from Adam. Christ’s sacrifice absolutely does cover over these.

    Bill, you didn’t answer the questions I asked you last time which I would really like to hear your view on. Here they are:

    “I’m interested to know, since you disagree that Jesus was the equivalent of Adam, i.e. a perfect man, just why is Jesus referred to as ‘the last Adam’?

    “And in the statement, ‘Nevertheless, death ruled as king from Adam down to Moses, even over those who had not sinned after the likeness of the transgression by Adam, who bears a resemblance to him that was to come.’ (Romans 5:14) In what way does Adam ‘bear a resemblance to him that was to come’ and who were the ones that ’sinned after the likeness of the transgression by Adam’? How did they do that?”

    These are important aspects that seem (to me) to conflict with your position.

    Many thanks,
    TJ

  16. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    Thank you for admitting to being a polytheist. I think that’s an important step.

    So, Moses gets the honor of being called God in Exodus 7:1, but you make a big deal of demoting Jesus to a god in John 1:1. Furthermore, there are many, many verses that differ between the NWT and other versions that indicate that Jesus is God, such as Titus 2:13, Acts 20:28, John 8:58, Hebrews 1:8, 2 Peter 1:1, 1 John 5:20, etc. Why is “[other]” inserted so many times in Colossians 1? Why go through the painstaking effort to rewrite those, but readily admit that Moses is God? Moses is not a god, or the God or any type of God. He was like God to Pharoh (Exodus 4:16).

    Your explanation of Revelation 1:17-18 is woefully lacking. You’re betting your eternity that you’re right.

    Regarding how Jesus is the 2nd Adam: Jesus is 100% man and 100% God.

    You have an infinite penalty to be paid before God for what you did yesterday. I have no idea what you did, and you haven’t done anything against me, and I’m excluding idolatry for the sake of this conversation. You did something that broke God’s holy law. Whether it was a lustful thought, a greedy, covetous thought, a lie, not keeping God first in your life for all 86,400 seconds. Not loving others as you love yourself, or whatever. You sinned against an infinitely holy God. Your penalty is infinite. How are you going to get your infinite penalty paid?

    I am a wicked, evil sinner. There is nothing in me and nothing I could do to make God pleased with me. I was an enemy of God in my mind through my wicked works, but Jesus died for me, and saved me. “The Spirit himself testifies with [my] spirit that [I am] God’s [child]” (Romans 8:16). I know that I am born again. I know that Jesus’ sacrifice is adequate to pay my infinite penalty. I have the Holy Spirit living in me, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6). I know that I have eternal life (1 John 5:13). I know that I am born again and that I am going to spend eternity with Jesus in heaven. I gained none of these precious gifts through anything I did or am. It is a gift. I boast only in the love and mercy of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    I did nothing to get this, and I can do nothing to keep it. Nevertheless, I would do anything God called me to do, because He’s done so much for me. I have a personal relationship with the infinite Creator of the universe. Being born again is the most precious gift, and the Holy Spirit living in me bears testimony that all of this is true. I trust in Jesus’ sacrifice alone. I know for a fact that I am going to be with Jesus in heaven when I die.

    What is going to happen to you when you die?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  17. TJ says:

    Hi Bill,

    You said, “Thank you for admitting to being a polytheist. I think that’s an important step.”

    Like I said, if you insist on using that word to label me because of all of the baggage it carries and the fact that you refuse to acknowledge how the term “god” is actual used in the scriptures, that is up to you. But I suppose you must also label the NET Bible translators polytheists for saying, “The word אֱלֹהִים (’elohim) is used a few times in the Bible for humans (e.g., Pss 45:6; 82:1), and always clearly in the sense of a subordinate to GOD – they are his representatives on earth.” I suppose also that the translators of the New American Bible are polytheists for saying, “{Ps.} 82, 6: I declare: ‘Gods though you be’: in Jn 10, 34 Jesus uses the verse to prove that those to whom the word of God is addressed can fittingly be called ‘gods.'”

    Throughout this discussion, I have found your position regarding this topic completely inconsistent. You use a verse that says matter-of-factly that Jehovah is the only God, ignoring the context, and conclude from this that no one else can rightfully be called “god” in a limited sense. But in the very next verse that states just as clearly that there are no saviors besides Jehovah, suddenly the context and the way the term is used becomes important. Othniel and Ehud are indeed saviors, according to you, but just in a different way from Jehovah. Does this make you a polysoterist (believing in multiple saviors)? This is the same way you have labeled me a polytheist.

    You said, “Your explanation of Revelation 1:17-18 is woefully lacking.” Well, I’m sorry you feel that way, but again you are being inconsistent. You take a (partial) title used of Jesus and match it with one used of Jehovah, again ignoring the context and the way the titles are used, and conclude that they must be the same person. But what about when Jesus is called an “apostle” or where humans or angels are called “gods”, now suddenly context and the way the term is used becomes extremely important to you.

    The common thread to this inconsistency lies in your theology. You are interpreting the scriptures according to your theology, and then using that resulting interpretation to prove your theology, which makes the reasoning circular and a fallacy. If it was Jesus’ name instead of Moses’ name that appeared at Exodus 4:16 and 7:1 (he’s called “God” twice actually), would you not be using those verses in an attempt to prove Jesus is God? I certainly would expect it. But because it doesn’t fall in line with your theology the way it actually appears you are positive it couldn’t mean Moses is actually called “God” and you have to insert a word that doesn’t appear in the Hebrew to support this claim. That doesn’t make for a very convincing argument, unless your audience already subscribes to your theology and are also willing to use it in a circular manner.

    Honestly, I don’t understand how the rest of your post answers my question about Jesus being the “last Adam.” But again, you start with your theology, saying, “Regarding how Jesus is the 2nd Adam: Jesus is 100% man and 100% God.” Does this mean you think Adam was 100% man and 100% God? Can you show me, from the scriptures, where it says that Jesus is 100% man and 100% God? And again, who were the ones that ’sinned after the likeness of the transgression by Adam’ and who were the ones that didn’t?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  18. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    Jesus is 100% man and 100% God. Verses saying Jesus is God: Titus 2:13, Acts 20:28, John 8:58, Hebrews 1:8, 2 Peter 1:1, 1 John 5:20, Colossians 1 (Jesus creating all things), etc. Verses saying Jesus is a man: Colossians 2:9, Romans 5, etc.

    I have never heard of NET or New American Bible, and I don’t have any idea what their translators believe. I like NIV, KJV, and NKJV.

    Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) – Cite This Source – Share This
    pol·y·the·ism /ˈpɒliθiˌɪzəm, ˌpɒliˈθiɪzəm/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[pol-ee-thee-iz-uhm, pol-ee-thee-iz-uhm] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation
    –noun the doctrine of or belief in more than one god or in many gods.

    If you believe there are two or more Mighty Gods, that is polytheism. I acknowledge that there are many false gods. I could carve one out right now. However, there is only one true God (John 17:3). There is only one true Savior. Jehovah is the Savior. Jesus is the Savior. Jesus is Jehovah.

    We can discuss verses all day long. I’m sure you have an explanation for every verse in the Bible, and so do I. We need to discuss how you have sinned against an infinitely holy God, and need your infinite penalty paid. Adam needs his infinite penalty paid, and a mere man can never pay the infinite penalty.

    All liars will have their part in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). If you’ve told one lie in your life, you’re a liar. I readily admit to breaking all ten of the Ten Commandments in spirit if not in letter. You are in big trouble for all of eternity if you’re not right about the Watchtower. Have you heard about their false prophecies about Jesus’ return? Do they meet the standard of perfection for a prophet (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)? Can you have a Bible study without the Watchtower literature to guide you?

    When you are born again, you become a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”). I am a new creature. When you believe Jesus is the Christ, you will be born again (1 John 5:1). It’s not your belief that is important, but that you believe in the right Jesus. If you aren’t born again, wouldn’t that indicate that there is something wrong with your theology regarding Christ–that you’re believing in the wrong Jesus?

    Would you consider yourself to be a good person? What is your hope for what will happen to you when you die? Is this just a hope, or a certainty?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  19. TJ says:

    Hi Bill,

    You said, “I have never heard of NET or New American Bible, and I don’t have any idea what their translators believe. I like NIV, KJV, and NKJV.”

    So what are you saying here, I have to restrict my quotes to Bible versions you have heard of or only versions you like? These are pretty popular translations made by scholars (many or all of whom are Trinitarians) and it really would not be difficult to find more resources saying the same thing. Would you or would you not classify the producers of those translations as polytheists? Please give me a straight answer on that. You were willing to label me a polytheist because I acknowledge limited gods, so I don’t see why you should be hesitant to label them as such for the same reason.

    You said, “If you believe there are two or more Mighty Gods, that is polytheism. I acknowledge that there are many false gods. I could carve one out right now. However, there is only one true God (John 17:3). There is only one true Savior. Jehovah is the Savior. Jesus is the Savior. Jesus is Jehovah.”

    By a strict interpretation of your dictionary reference, you are also a polytheist when you acknowledge even false gods. After all, the dictionary doesn’t distinguish between whether you believe they are true or false or even just gods in a limited sense.

    But it is interesting that you reference John 17:3 in your quote above. Who is Jesus talking about here, Bill? “Jesus spoke these things, and, raising his eyes to heaven, he said: “Father . . . This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:1-3) Jesus calls his Father “the only true God.” So Jesus cannot be “the only true God” if you are approaching this verse objectively and without an agenda. It’s as simple as that.

    You mention that “there is only one true Savior.” OK, but what about Othniel and Ehud? Are they that one true Savior, meaning that they too are Jehovah, or are they false saviors that Jehovah raised up? This is the inconsistency in your reasoning I’m talking about that you are continuing to ignore. If they are saviors in a smaller, more restricted sense than Jehovah, then why can’t their be “gods” in a smaller, more restricted sense as even Trinitarian Bible translators acknowledge?

    You listed many verses you felt show that Jesus is 100% man and 100% God. So I would like to test this out. At Luke 18:19, after a inquirer addressed Jesus as “Good Teacher,” Jesus objects, saying, “Why do you call me good? Nobody is good, except one, God.” Reading this naturally, doesn’t this imply that Jesus is *not* God? But if it is only the 100%-man part of Jesus speaking, whereas in John 8:58 it is supposedly the 100%-God part of Jesus speaking, what indicator(s) in the text itself do you use to understand which part of Jesus, the God or man part, is speaking in each location?

    The reason why that question is important is because if there is nothing in the text itself telling you when it is Jesus-the-man speaking and when it is Jesus-the-God speaking, then you are deciding that based on factors outside of the text. You are in fact deciding it based on your theology. And after you have used your theology to decide what Jesus is saying, you then turnaround and use these verses as proof for your theology, making the entire argument circular. That is a big problem.

    You said, “We need to discuss how you have sinned against an infinitely holy God, and need your infinite penalty paid. Adam needs his infinite penalty paid, and a mere man can never pay the infinite penalty.”

    Again, Bill, I don’t accept this premise. I have asked you to show me from the Bible where it says that we have sinned infinitely against God and so we need and blood of infinite value to cover it. I still haven’t seen that. According to Romans 6:23, the punishment for sin is death, rather than some infinite penalty.

    I take it that you are not going to address my questions about Jesus being the “last Adam.” To me, they contradict the argument you’re trying to make, and by not addressing them, it makes me think you don’t want to.

    I need these important questions answered before I can continue on with your questions on different topics.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  20. eL says:

    -sorry for interrupt your discussion-

    dear TJ,
    not only NKJV, KJV, etc.. but u should read from aramaic version, and you will find out the truth and the answer. Jesus/Yeshua is Jehovah/YHWH.. New World Translation made the words by their own understanding. please back to original language, and not only from 1 source (your bible) i bet you will find out.

  21. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    In Luke 18:19, the rich young ruler walks up to Jesus and calls him “good teacher.” It was clear from how he answered the subsequent question that the rich young ruler believed that he wasn’t a sinner, and that he was a good person. Jesus said no one is good except God. Good means morally excellent and righteous. Do you believe Jesus has moral excellence and righteousness? Is Jesus not good?

    I know Jehovah’s Witnesses love John 17:3. I love it, too. My pastor has a t-shirt with that verse on it. Jesus doesn’t say that He isn’t the one true God. He just says the Father is the one true God. I say the Father is the one true God. Jesus is the one true God (1 John 5:20), and the Holy Spirit is the one true God. Also, In John 17:5, Jesus said that He had glory with God before the world began. But Isaiah 42:8, 48:11 say Jehovah will not share His glory with anyone. We can play this game for a long time, and I will do that because I care about where you spend eternity. You are betting your eternity on the Watchtower. Are you sure you want to do that?

    Concerning what the NET and NAB people said, I think we’ve covered that. These men of Psalm 82 were referred to as gods. I said these men were false gods. They weren’t really gods, they were acting like gods and perverting justice. There is one true God. I don’t know how much clearer God can get. I don’t know why it’s so hard to understand. I can go through and list off all of the dozens of verses that say that if you like, but I know you already know them. There is only one true God. That is a basic fundamental truth. The rest of Scripture has to be interpreted with that in mind. There is one true God and false gods which are not gods at all (Galatians 4:8). I really think you need to decide whether Jesus is a false god or the one true God.

    If some guy has a nice car, and makes that his priority in life, that is his god. He puts the car before his family, his work and the one true God. If I believe that car is his god, does that make me a polytheist? The question isn’t whether I believe it is his god, but whether his car really is a god. I don’t believe any false god is really a god. If you count up the number of true Gods I believe in, you arrive at one, making me a monotheist. I will stop accusing you of polytheism, and let you answer that simple question. How many true, gods do you believe exist?

    You raise a good question with Isaiah 43:10-11. I’m still trying to get that straight in my mind. I believe Isaiah 43:10-11 to be literally true, because so many other verses say the same thing. There are no gods before Jehovah, and none after. There is no Savior besides Jehovah.

    You don’t accept that you’ve sinned against an infinitely holy God, or you don’t believe that your penalty for doing so is infinite? I can show you more verses that say your penalty is infinite, but why do you reject the three I’ve given? Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. Is death not eternal and infinite? Is there only physical death, and not spiritual also?

    I believe I’ve answered the questions about Jesus being the last Adam. We inherit our sin nature from the first Adam. We can inherit righteousness from the last Adam. I don’t understand what you’re trying to get at other than that.

    Going back to Revelation 1:17-18, Jesus being the First and the Last, I think your explanation doesn’t make any sense. How do you know Jesus was referring to being the first to be resurrected by God to God? He wasn’t the first to be resurrected. Jesus resurrected Lazarus, but I’ll agree Jesus was the first to be resurrected to God, but the context doesn’t support your explanation. Second, I would agree that God alone is the only one who can resurrect anyone. But, Jesus took the credit for raising Himself from the dead (John 2:19-22, 10:17-18). That’s just another reason to believe Jesus is God. 1 Corinthians 15, specifically 15:38, says God will raise everyone. So Jesus isn’t the last to be raised by God or to God. Also, I’m sure you know that alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet (the beginning), and omega the last (the end). So, alpha and omega is the same thing as first and last, beginning and end (Revelation 22:13).

    In Revelation 22, you say that the Father is the one who claims to be the Alpha and Omega. But, in verse 12, the Alpha and Omega says He is coming soon. In verse 16, Jesus identifies Himself as the one who gives His testimony. In verse 20, the one who testifies is the one who is coming soon. I really don’t see how it’s not Jesus speaking from Revelation 22:12-16, 20. Do you have an alternate explanation?

    I appreciate the conversation.
    Bill

  22. TJ says:

    Hi eL,

    Thanks for your suggestion. In fact I do use a large number of different translations and not just one. I have utilized the Greek, Aramaic, Coptic, and Latin versions of the New Testament in my studies, though I have a better understanding of the Greek and Coptic than the other two.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  23. TJ says:

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. Alright, so you understand Jesus to be saying that he is God at Luke 18:19. Still, what I was asking you was at any verses where you believe Jesus to be speaking from his human nature, what indicator(s) in the text tell you that he is speaking from his human nature? What indicator(s) in the text do you use to understand him to be speaking from his divine nature? Or is it simply your theology that decides this for you? If you don’t understand what I’m asking, we can put this aside for now, but it is important that I understand what basis you are using for this distinction if you want me to accept your interpretation.

    You said with regards to John 17:3, “He just says the Father is the one true God. I say the Father is the one true God. Jesus is the one true God (1 John 5:20), and the Holy Spirit is the one true God.”

    But here is a clear instance where you have to use your theology to trump the natural reading of the text. The word “only” excludes all others, the Father is the “only” true God, which under normal conditions would mean that no one else is the true God. I see nothing in the immediate context that should cause me to understand that phrase in any other way than absolute.

    You said, “Concerning what the NET and NAB people said, I think we’ve covered that. These men of Psalm 82 were referred to as gods. I said these men were false gods.”

    Bill, it is important that you recognize that you are primarily using your theology to decide they are false, the text itself does *not* say that. This same theology causes you to insist Moses is “like” God, when the text itself does not say that. Do you see what I mean?

    It’s equivalent to me insisting that Othniel and Ehud are only “like” the (true) Savior or are in fact false saviors. The problem is, they actually did act as saviors, to a limited extent, in that they actually did save people. Did these “gods” actually have power and authority granted to them from God? If they did, then they were gods to a limited extent.

    And the NET and NAB are *not* saying that these men were false gods, they are saying that they are “his representatives” and “can fittingly be called ‘gods.'” Why are you being inconsistent with your polytheist label? Why won’t you condemn them for acknowledging that the Bible uses the title “god” in a limited sense as I have, or is this some type of bias?

    You said, “You raise a good question with Isaiah 43:10-11. I’m still trying to get that straight in my mind . . . There is no Savior besides Jehovah.”

    I’m glad you are acknowledging a problem in your interpretation here; that really makes me feel much better about your motives in discussing these things. You say, on the one hand, “There is no Savior besides Jehovah,” yet on the other hand you said earlier regarding Othniel and Ehud, “A man leading Israel to military victory isn’t a savior in the same way.”

    So you too recognize those who are saviors not “in the same way” as Jehovah. Great. Then why can’t you recognize those who are gods not “in the same way” as Jehovah??? This is where your theology is holding you back. I’d just appreciate it, while you’re still trying to get things straight in your mind, if you’d acknowledge for the time being that there is a *possibility* that, as the NET and NAB Bibles acknowledge, the title “god” can be used in a restricted (not absolute) manner. A search for truth should be more important than defending a particular theology.

    You said, “We inherit our sin nature from the first Adam. We can inherit righteousness from the last Adam.”

    Well great, I agree! Last time you said, “Regarding how Jesus is the 2nd Adam: Jesus is 100% man and 100% God.” That is a completely different answer to me than what you’re saying above. So we inherit sin and death from Adam, and righteousness and life from Jesus. What is the difference between the two? It was their respective decisions to obey God. Adam disobeyed, passing on sin and death to mankind, whereas Jesus obeyed. Had Jesus had human children, he would have passed on righteousness and life to them only, but instead he gave up these possessions on our behalf so that we could receive them back again.

    This would make the human life Adam received and the human life Jesus received, represented by their blood, equivalent. They both were made righteous with everlasting life in view *if* they remained faithful, with the ability of passing these possessions on to their children.

    Here is the related question you haven’t even attempted to answer: who were the ones that “sinned after the likeness of the transgression by Adam” and who were the ones that didn’t? (Romans 5:14) I believe the answer to this directly contradicts your argument that any sin at all against God is infinite, so it’s an important question.

    You asked, “How do you know Jesus was referring to being the first to be resurrected by God to God? He wasn’t the first to be resurrected.”

    The Bible records resurrections performed through Elijah, Elisha, Jesus, and some apostles. But these resurrections were only temporary (those resurrected died again eventually), as a kind of demonstration foreshadowing the permanent resurrections that God’s Kingdom will accomplish in the future.

    The context absolutely guides us to this resurrection-based understanding of Jesus’ title “the First and the Last.” After he calls himself that, he explains it as, “. . . and the living one; and I became dead, but, look! I am living forever and ever”. So he was living, then died, then resurrected so that he is living forever and ever. Thus he was the very first one resurrected to everlasting life; absolutely no one else received such a resurrection before Jesus. But he continues, “. . . and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” God owned the keys to death and Hades, but he has given them to Jesus, so that from now on, Jesus has the authority and power to resurrect mankind. So Jesus ended up being the very last person raised to everlasting life by God directly.

    In Revelation 2:8, again the title “the First and the Last” is applied to Jesus, and again it is qualified immediately with “who became dead and came to life again.” So the resurrection is undeniably tied to the title as it is applied to Jesus. When a similar title is used of God, it has nothing to do with the resurrection. His Godship is what that title is applied to. (Isa. 44:6) If we ignore how these titles are applied, there’s nothing to stop you from thinking that Jesus is an apostle of the same rank as his disciples. And if we ignore how these titles are used in some instances and not in others, we are being inconsistent and/or biased in our interpretation.

    You said, “Jesus isn’t the last to be raised by God or to God.” Others can be said to be resurrected by God, but this must be understood in harmony with Jesus’ statement that “that everyone that beholds the Son and exercises faith in him should have everlasting life, and I will resurrect him at the last day.” Jesus resurrects mankind *directly*, in that he actually does the resurrecting now that he has the keys to death and Hades, and God resurrects mankind *indirectly*, in that he has given the keys to his Son to resurrect mankind.

    This is the same kind of situation as when God appointed Joseph over Egypt indirectly, through Pharaoh. “And Pharaoh added to Joseph: ‘See, I do place you over all the land of Egypt.'” (Gen. 41:41) This says that Pharaoh directly appointed Joseph, but notice how Joseph explains it. “This is what your son Joseph has said: ‘God has appointed me lord for all Egypt.'” (Gen. 45:9) Joseph wasn’t saying Pharaoh was God, he was saying God indirectly appointed him through Pharaoh. The same is true with the resurrection, God resurrects mankind by giving Jesus the power to do so.

    As for Revelation 22, the speakers change rapidly. And think about it, why would Jesus introduce himself, saying, “I, Jesus,” halfway through his statement? It would seem to make more sense for him to introduce himself at the beginning of his statement if at all, especially if it was another speaker speaking immediately before him. This introduction would mark a shift in speakers for the readers. So I think this argues against your position.

    In verse 20, Jesus says he’s coming. Jehovah too can say that he is coming. Even the angels could be said to be coming. They are all on the same side, so it should be relatively easy to understand that language. Take for example the D-day invasion. If I said in one instance that President Roosevelt invaded occupied France, and in another instance I said that General Eisenhower invaded occupied France, would you conclude that they must be the same individual? Of course not! Take a step back from your theology, which causes you to see Jesus and God as identical, and look to see if these simple alternatives are there, because they are.

    Thanks for your time,
    TJ

  24. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    I’m not insisting Moses was like God. That is what even the NWT says in Exodus 4:16. If there is one thing I am certain of in the Bible, as it is written dozens of times, there is no other God besides Jehovah. It is probably the clearest idea expressed, from beginning to end.

    You accuse me of allowing my theology to dictate how I interpret the Bible. I don’t think I do that. It seems to me that you are the one grasping at straws on the Alpha and Omega thing. I would encourage you to read it plainly without letting your theology affect your interpretation. Why does the Alpha and Omega call Himself the First and the Last in Revelation 22:13?

    Revelation 1:8 & Revelation 1:17-18

    “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” … “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

    I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!

    You have to let the Bible interpret the Bible. What does “who is, and who was, and who is to come” mean?
    First=Alpha;
    Last=Omega;
    I am the Living One=who is;
    I was dead=who was;
    I am alive for ever and ever=who is to come.

    First and Last has nothing to do with the order of resurrection. It has to do with the character of God.

    In Revelation 21:6, it says, “He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.” Who gives living water? Take a look at John 4:10. If all of this doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will. I’ve taken it as far as I can, and I won’t bring it up again. Don’t let pride take you to hell for eternity. It’s between you and God to decide what this means, but it is crystal clear. If you just don’t like it, there’s about 20 more similar things we can go through.

    Doesn’t the presupposition that Jesus is not God affect the way the NWT is translated? Why is “ego eimi” in John 8:58 translated differently than everywhere else? Why is “[other]” blatantly inserted so many times in Colossians 1? Jehovah made all things (Isaiah 44:24). Does it really matter whether Jesus created other things, when Jehovah created all things? Why such a radical interpretation in 1 Peter 3:15? Why is “proskuneo” always translataed as obeisance when it concerns Jesus. Is it proper for us to do obeisance to anyone except God, anyway? I could go on and on. Anyone of these translated properly is enough to believe that Jesus is God.

    Saying Jesus is the last Adam doesn’t mean He was a carbon copy of Adam, anymore than saying Jesus is the Lamb is saying He has the characteristics of a sheep.

    Adam had one command and broke it. There were no laws from Adam until Moses. Those people nevertheless sinned against an infinitely holy God.

    I agree that Jesus is the one who resurrects people, including Himself. Only God can resurrect people.

    Concerning how you can tell when Jesus’ flesh is speaking, and when His deity is speaking is simple. Jesus had to obey the law (Galatians 4:4), while He was on earth. He was made lower than the angels (Hebrew 2:7), while He was on earth. This means he had physical human weaknesses, it means He had to pray, and have no other gods before the Father, including Himself. He is no longer on earth, and is no longer lower than angels. A woman is supposed to submit to her husband. Does this make her inferior to her husband?

    Do you believe Jesus is good? I said I would stop accusing you of being a polytheist, if you would please answer my question: how many true gods do you believe exist?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  25. TJ says:

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for your response; but I’m sorry to say that it seems to me that you avoid many of my same questions over and over again. This is slowing the progress of the discussion towards related topics.

    You said, “I’m not insisting Moses was like God. That is what even the NWT says in Exodus 4:16.”

    No it doesn’t. “. . . and you will serve as God to him” (NWT). Moses was given authority and power, so that he was called “God” to a limited extent. It is now clear to me that you are willing to inconsistently label me a polytheist for acknowledging this, and yet *not* willing to label the NET and NAB people polytheists for acknowledging the same. You are biased here Bill.

    Please answer two questions for me in regards to the title “the First and the Last.” 1) Can two different people be called a similar title, without it making them the same individual? 2) Can Jesus be the speaker at Revelation 1:8, given the distinction made at Revelation 1:4-5? If you want to convince me that Jesus is God using this evidence, you must confront these issues directly. They are being ignored in your posts.

    Again, you have brought up your issues with the NWT and the way it handles certain verses. Believe me, I’d be more than happy to get to those, but we’d be getting ahead of ourselves. There’s still the issues we’ve started that need to be settled. I need direct answers.

    You said, “Adam had one command and broke it. There were no laws from Adam until Moses. Those people nevertheless sinned against an infinitely holy God.”

    Bill, please take some time to explain how that answers the question I’ve asked you repeatedly: “who were the ones that ‘sinned after the likeness of the transgression by Adam’ and who were the ones that didn’t?” I keep asking this over and over and I still have no idea of what you believe regarding it.

    You said, “Only God can resurrect people.”

    That is quite the statement, and a great example of how you get yourself into trouble taking everything as absolutes. “Only God can resurrect people.” Therefore, according to your statement, Elijah is God (1 Ki. 17:17-24); Elisha is God (2 Ki 4:32-37); Peter is God (Ac 9:36-42); and Paul is God (Ac 20:7-12). But I don’t think you mean that of course, I think you mean that God resurrected *through* these men. And that is the same situation that exists between God and Jesus.

    You said, “Concerning how you can tell when Jesus’ flesh is speaking, and when His deity is speaking is simple.”

    You really didn’t answer my question in what follows the above. I want to know what it is in the words themselves that tell you when his human nature is speaking and when his divine nature is speaking. Like does it say, “Jesus, speaking from his human nature, said to them . . . ” and vice-versa? That would be the text speaking for itself. Or do you read what Jesus says, and then go to your theology and decide from that whether or not it is his human or divine nature speaking?

    You asked, “Do you believe Jesus is good?”

    Of course, relative to Jehovah (remember to be careful of absolutes). Jesus, when on earth, was good in the same way that Jehovah pronounced Adam “good”. (Gen. 1:31) Jesus, like Adam, was a perfect and good man and a son of God.

    You said, “I said I would stop accusing you of being a polytheist, if you would please answer my question: how many true gods do you believe exist?”

    I have answered this many times. There is “only one true God,” the Father. (John 17:3) He is the one and only true God, the one Almighty God. He is also the only true Savior. But just as there can be saviors in a restricted sense, there can also be gods in a restricted sense, which your theology is currently holding you back from admitting.

    Your problem in understanding my position stems from your inability to see this in any other terms than black-and-white, true-and-false. You were able to break out of this perspective when it came to the title “Savior”, and your eyes were opened to see that Othniel and Ehud could rightfully be called saviors in a very limited way. But with the title “God”, the modern views and restrictions of this word are so ingrained in your thinking that it is apparently more difficult for you to see how the Bible actually uses the term. This is why you are having some difficulty getting Isaiah 43:10-11 straight.

    I really hope we can break through the modern restrictions applied to the word “god” (can be used only in an absolute way) and get consistency in how we use these titles.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  26. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    Exodus 4:16 says, “you will serve as God to him.” It doesn’t say you will be God.

    1) Can 2 people be called by the same name? Yes. If you’re not specific enough, many individuals can identify themselves by the same name or title. However, if you are specific enough, you can identify an individual. If someone refers to themselves as a name God has reserved for Himself, then that is blasphemy.

    That’s my point. The Alpha and Omega reserves the title First and Last for Himself. How can Jesus take that title without it being blasphemy, especially in the same book of the Bible, especially names that are synonyms? The same thing with the title “God” (but according to you, Moses is an exception, while even Jesus doesn’t get an exception). But then again, even in the NWT, three different persons are called God (Jesus in John 20:28, Holy Spirit in Acts 5:3-5).

    2) Can Jesus be the Alpha and Omega in spite of verse 4? Yes. Jesus is Jehovah. The Father is Jehovah. Jesus is one with the Father (John 10:30). I understand you’re not convinced of this yet, so I offered to move on to other passages.

    Those who sinned after the likeness of Adam are everyone who lives after Moses gets the law. Those who didn’t sin in the same manner as Adam are those who didn’t have the law between Adam and Moses. In my mind I answered this question. I understand if you need clarification, but we should be extra patient with each other as means of communication has it’s strengths and weaknesses.

    I agree that God resurrects people through people. I should change what I said to God is the only one who ultimately resurrects people. Who ultimately resurrected Jesus? Who ultimately resurrected Lazarus? Who ultimately resurrected the others you cited? Did Elijah, Elisha, Peter, or Paul ever say they resurrected them, or take credit?

    Concerning how I tell when Jesus human nature or divine nature is speaking, I go through the entire Bible, determine that Jesus is fully God and fully man, and apply that knowledge to verses that are more confusing. When Jesus said the Father is greater than He, does that mean He isn’t God? If you start with John 14:28, you still have to reconcile that verse with the others. Are you reading into that verse, or letting it speak for itself? Are you taking a few verses and running with them?

    There are no contradictions in the Bible and when there are hundreds of verses saying Jesus is God, one verse won’t dissuade me from believing He is God. The Bible says Jesus is a man. The Bible says Jesus is God. That seems contradictory, but that is still what it says. We have to make it work. The Bible dictates to us. We don’t dictate to it. You can’t pretend that you’re taking the high road when the Watchtower changes the Bible to fit its theology.

    You have to define “good” by the context. Adam was a good creation, like the seed-bearing plants. Good in the context of Luke 18:19 is perfect, morally excellent, or always keeping the commandments. If the rich young ruler had really kept the commandments, he would be good (in this context), too. Do you disagree with my definition (perfect, or morally excellent)?

    I don’t understand how you can say there is only one true God in one sentence, and say there are gods in a restricted sense in the next, unless they are all false. Even if they’re restricted-sense gods, they’re still either true or false or somewhere inbetween. How do you classify Jesus? How do you classify Moses, Satan and the judges of Psalm 82? Is it a sliding scale of partial truth and partial falsehood? I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but what percentage truth does Jesus get?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  27. TJ says:

    Hi Bill,

    Again, thanks for the discussion; overall I am enjoying it. I see that you are not objecting to my claim that you are being biased for labeling me a polytheist but not the NET and NAB people. I guess you are conceding that point?

    You said, “Exodus 4:16 says, ‘you will serve as God to him.’ It doesn’t say you will be God.”

    Yes, it says he will serve as God to Pharaoh, and then in Exodus 7:1 Jehovah says that he made him God to Pharaoh. The only reason you would need to add words here is if your theology requires it due to the fact that you cannot recognize the term “God” in anything other than an absolute sense. This is seems to be a recurring point in our discussion.

    You said, “If someone refers to themselves as a name God has reserved for Himself, then that is blasphemy.”

    OK, you are making a definite rule here. I would appreciate it if you would provide examples of names or titles that Jehovah God has reserved for himself that no one but Jehovah can take upon themselves without committing blasphemy. Be careful here, it’s much more tricky than you think.

    You continued, “How can Jesus take that title without it being blasphemy.”

    Well, Jesus is referred to as “the First and the Last” twice for sure (but not “the Alpha and the Omega”, “the Almighty”, etc.), and twice it is in relation to the resurrection. Context, context, context. I keep referring you to *how* the title is being used, and you keep saying that it doesn’t matter [i]in this particular instance[/i]. The only thing that seems to matter to you is that a (similar) title used of Jehovah elsewhere is used in reference to the person you are trying to prove is God, so the context only gets in the way of proving this. Your theology is driving your interpretation.

    When it comes to the title “Savior”, which Jehovah clearly reserves for himself at Isaiah 43:11, and is then applied to certain servants elsewhere, suddenly context becomes everything to you. Why? Because your theology doesn’t allow for these men to be God. So you change your method of interpretation and carefully analyze the context and *how* the title is used, concluding that these men are saviors to a lesser extent than Jehovah, so they are not God. Your theology is now safe.

    But in a post you made on June 22, 2007, there you match up two occurrences of “Savior” in an attempt to identify Jesus with God. Apparently we don’t need to understand in what way Jesus is a savior, as we did with Othniel and Ehud; all that matters is that a similar title is used of two individuals that your theology requires you to identify.

    Perhaps you have been unaware that your theology changes your method of interpretation so drastically from one situation to another. But this is why your argument, which seems so strong and solid to you, appears very weak to myself and other Jehovah’s Witnesses. We don’t have the ‘need’ (brought on by loyalty to your theology) to see everything as proof that Jesus is God. If the Bible actually teaches that, so be it, I will accept it happily. But I won’t accept blindly matching up titles (only in favored instances) as a foolproof method for identifying Jesus with God.

    You said, “In my mind I answered this question. I understand if you need clarification, but we should be extra patient with each other as means of communication has it’s strengths and weaknesses.”

    I agree. But I asked that same question at least three times before you even bothered to attempt an answer, and that was only two lines in length. I can understand missing it once or even twice, but it becomes strange when I have to beg you to answer something.

    You said, “I agree that God resurrects people through people. I should change what I said to God is the only one who ultimately resurrects people.”

    Excellent Bill! I can totally agree with you on this now. God is indeed “the only one who ultimately resurrects people.” He is the source of resurrection power, which he can give to his servants. If a servant of his uses this power to resurrect a person, the servant is the one that did the resurrecting [i]directly[/i], whereas God resurrected the person [i]indirectly[/i]; like you said, “God resurrects people through people.” Remember how both God and Pharaoh are said to have appointed Joseph?

    So when Jesus resurrects people, he does so with God’s power. He told his disciples after his resurrection, “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.” (Mat. 28:18) So the ultimate power to resurrect is from God, which has been “given” to Jesus, along with “all authority.”

    You said, “Concerning how I tell when Jesus human nature or divine nature is speaking, I go through the entire Bible, determine that Jesus is fully God and fully man, and apply that knowledge to verses that are more confusing.”

    Here’s my problem with your method. Let’s use John 8:58 as test case. You said in an earlier post, “Jesus is 100% man and 100% God. Verses saying Jesus is God: . . . John 8:58”. OK, so you are using this particular verse as proof for your belief that Jesus is God. In that verse, Jesus says “ego eimi” which you believe is referencing Exodus 3:14 (I do have other problems with this supposed reference that I won’t go into here).

    But just a few verses later, at John 9:9, the man Jesus healed from blindness is quoted as saying “ego eimi.” Even David is quoted as saying “ego eimi” in the Greek Septuagint. So there is nothing inherent in these two words that means the person uttering them is claiming to be God.

    So the text itself is not telling you that Jesus was claiming to be God, you are reading that meaning into “ego eimi” primarily based on your theology. And this is the problem. It is circular (and so false) reasoning to first use your theology to guide your interpretation of a text, and then proceed to use that same interpretation of that text as proof for your theology. It goes round and round, with no real foundation.

    At the very most, you can rightfully use your theology, your entire understanding of the Bible, to guide your interpretation of John 8:58 and then leave it as that, a possible interpretation that you believe to be the best. But you overstep your boundaries when you say, ‘Jesus is 100% God, and John 8:58 is proof.’ It is not proof of that, it is in fact a conclusion reached on the premise that Jesus is 100% God. There is at least one alternate (and I believe better, for a number of reasons) interpretation that fits that text in which Jesus is not referencing Exodus 3:14. Even some Trinitarians prefer this interpretation over yours.

    Do you see how your reasoning is circular?

    You said, “You have to define ‘good’ by the context.”

    Again you are proving my assertion that how a word is used and the context only become important to you when it doesn’t fit your theology. We are told that [i]only[/i] God is good, but wait, Adam is called good along with the rest of God’s earthly creation. Suddenly we have to adopt a qualified meaning for “good” because you ‘know’ that Adam can’t be good in the same way that [i]only[/i] God is good.

    I do agree with you here, but you do not consider the context in places where a superficial glance at the word or title used serves to support your theology. Then the context becomes irrelevant to you. I hope you can see this.

    You asked, “Do you disagree with my definition (perfect, or morally excellent)?”

    No, actually. In fact, I understand it to a fuller extent. I believe ‘only God is good’ in that he is, in the absolute sense of the word, good and complete in all things. Adam was created perfect and morally excellent as were the angels, but this is all in a relative (not absolute) sense.

    You said, “I don’t understand how you can say there is only one true God in one sentence, and say there are gods in a restricted sense in the next, unless they are all false.”

    This is exactly why you have to break out of the true/false, black/white mold. You did so with the title “Savior” by acknowledging lesser saviors, i.e. saviors to a limited extent. They weren’t ‘false’ to you. But when it comes to the title “God”, you are having trouble seeing the term applied in anything but absolutes.

    If a god is a mighty one, which is what the word means, it should be easier to see that there is an Almighty, all-powerful, God on one end of the scale and false, completely powerless and fake, gods at the other end. But when the Almighty God delegates some measure of power to certain servants of his, they too become mighty ones, or gods, but to a very limited extent. They are neither true (meaning almighty and all-powerful) nor false (meaning powerless and fake). They have [i]some[/i] real power that was given to them.

    At Isaiah 43:10-11, the context, which you haven’t given much consideration to due to your theology, is talking about absolutes. That is why it says that there is only one God, the only true God (the only Almighty) is being compared to the false (completely powerless) gods of the nations. Servants of the Almighty that have been given a measure of power by him aren’t even being considered here.

    I understand that it may be difficult to break out of one perspective and see things from another. But I hope going through this again in detail helps you to start seeing things from the truly Biblical view of the term. I’m not running around praying to and worshipping all different gods, I recognize only one true Almighty God, and I recognize that he has delegated certain amounts of power to certain servants of his at certain times, so that they can carry the title “god” in a limited way.

    In the USA, there are many people that carry the title “president”, presidents of businesses for example, but when the term is used in its absolute sense, we know that there is only one President. No one would accuse a president of a company of trying to make himself identical to the President in the White House, simply by carrying the title “president.”

    Sorry for the length,
    TJ

  28. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    I appreciate the conversation, too. It’s been somewhat melancholy, because I see the lengths you’re willing to go to to deny what is obvious. If I didn’t care about your eternity in hell, I could take full pleasure in the intellectual challenge, but I do care.

    I hereby give you permission to call the NET and NAB people whatever you like. I don’t know who they are. I’ve never heard of them. For all I know they’re Mormons. If you want to call them polytheists that’s fine. I only care what the Bible says. Not what people say. Can you really say the same thing, or do you genuinely care what the Watchtower says? If you want me to reccomend some websites, Bible versions, books, or individuals to read, I can do that.

    I totally disagree with what you’re saying about Moses. If Moses is God, that’s a problem for you. It doesn’t say Moses is a god. Moses in no way was a deity of any type. Moses was a human.

    There are some specific titles that if someone claimed to be those things, it would be blasphemy. There are some titles, such as First and Last, that in the proper context, you can call yourself that without it being blasphemy, like I could say I’m the first and last to get a perfect score on a test. However, Jesus was speaking in the same context as the Alpha and Omega. I’ve showed you the context that I believe is abundantly clear. You’ve showed me a context that doesn’t make any sense. Jesus isn’t the first and last regarding resurrection. If you want to strip Jesus of His deity, and approach the Bible with that presupposition, that’s fine. You can explain away what is clearly being said because of your bias, and accept a completely bogus explanation. This is America; you’re free to do that. However, if you’re wrong, the consequences are eternal.

    I have an answer regarding how Jehovah is the only Savior. I’m sure you won’t like it, because your house of cards will crumble, but it’s for your own eternity that you should consider this carefully. Jehovah is the only Savior. If I saved a kid from drowning, yes I would be his savior. Ehud and Othneil were saviors in their way. Savior in the context of Isaiah 43 is a Savior from the oppression of Egypt and Babylon, and from the oppression of sin.

    Hosea 13:4 says, “But I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me.” I acknowledge no other Savior than the LORD. Jesus is my Savior. The Father is my Savior. The Holy Spirit is my Savior.

    If you don’t like Isaiah 43:10 to show there is one God, that’s fine. I’ll show you a dozen others. Would you like me to do that?

    In regards to the true and false gods, I really think you need to reconsider your definition of “gods.” I agree that God can give anyone a measure of power, or take it away at anytime. He’s given everyone alive some sort of power. I guess in your book this makes us all gods. I don’t like that definition. It’s not a biblical definition. There are no gods. There is only one God. Maybe in a small way you’ve fallen for the lie Satan told to Adam and Even in the garden of Eden–we can all be like God.

    Obviously, context is extremely important when Jesus says “I AM.” I’ve said, “I am” many times in my life, as we all have. The question is whether Jesus was claiming to be the I AM of Exodus 3. If the Watchtower disagrees with this interpretation for John 8:58, why have they gone to such lengths to reinterpret ego eimi? Why do they claim different tenses for “I have been” for each edition of the NWT (1950, 1969, 1985). I can see a mistake from 1950 being corrected in 1969, but 19 years between editions seems like adequate time to make up your mind about the tense of a verb. It shouldn’t need to be changed again in 1985, unless they’re grasping at straws.

    In the context of John 8, Jesus was discussing the Old Testament. It would have been clear in the Pharisees mind that when Jesus said “I AM,” He was claiming to be God. Their reaction clearly confirms this. They were about to stone Him for claiming to be God. They didn’t have the limitations of translating into English, like you and I have to. They fully understood Him. They believe He claimed to be God. Isn’t it ironic that you agree with the Pharisees that Jesus isn’t God?

    I’m going to quote a few Scriptures, and you have to reconcile them in your own mind. Remember, the consequences of your interpretation of this are eternal. You don’t have to convince me or anyone else; it’s between you and God. I agree that while any one verse may have its shortcomings in proving Jesus is God, they all have to be reconciled, and believing Jesus is Michael the archangel just doesn’t cut it.

    • Isaiah 44:24 says, “This is what Jehovah has said, your Repurchaser and the Former of you from the belly: “I, Jehovah, am doing everything, stretching out the heavens by myself, laying out the earth. Who was with me? (NWT )
    • John 1:3 All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even
    one thing came into existence. (NWT)

    John the Baptist’s prophecy:
    • Isaiah 40:3 Listen! Someone is calling out in the wilderness: “Clear up the way of Jehovah, YOU people! MAKE the highway for our God through the desert plain straight. 4 Let every valley be raised up, and every mountain and hill be made low. And the knobby ground must become level land, and the rugged ground a valley plain. 5 And the glory of Jehovah will certainly be revealed, and all flesh must see [it] together, for the very mouth of Jehovah has spoken [it].”
    • Matthew 3: 1-3 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Ju•de´a, 2 saying: “REPENT, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.” 3 This, in fact, is the one spoken of through Isaiah the prophet in these words: “Listen! Someone is crying out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of Jehovah, YOU people! Make his roads straight.’” (NWT)

    Witnesses for Jehovah:
    • Isaiah 43:10-12 10 “YOU are my witnesses,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that YOU may know and have faith in me, and that YOU may understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none. 11 I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.”
    • Acts 1:8 but YOU will receive power when the holy spirit arrives upon YOU, and YOU will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Ju•de´a and Sa•mar´i•a and to the most distant part of the earth.” Jesus told the disciples to be His witnesses. Did Jehovah’s command to be His witnesses expire?

    Jehovah will not share His glory:
    • Isaiah 42:8 “I am Jehovah. That is my name; and to no one else shall I give my own glory, neither my praise to graven images. (NWT)
    • John 17:5 “So now you, Father, glorify me alongside yourself with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was.” (NWT)
    • Rev. 5:12 “Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” (KJV)

    • Isaiah 43:11 “I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.”
    • Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (See also Matt. 1:21).

    • Luke 8:38-39 “However, the man from whom the demons had gone out kept begging to continue with him; but he dismissed the man, saying: 39 “Be on your way back home, and keep on relating what things God did for you.” Accordingly he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what things Jesus did for him.” Was this man disobedient to Jesus’ command when he went around saying what Jesus did for him? Why didn’t Jesus correct him?

    • Isaiah 45:22-23, ” “Turn to me and be saved, all YOU [at the] ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no one else. 23By my own self I have sworn—out of my own mouth in righteousness the word has gone forth, so that it will not return—that to me every knee will bend down, every tongue will swear”
    • Philippians 2:10-11 “so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground, 11 and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

    • John 5:18 “On this account, indeed, the Jews began seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath but he was also calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God.” If you ever quote John 14:28 without quoting John 5:18 in the future, your conscience should scream. Why don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses take John 5:18, and create a theology out of it?

    • John 20:28, “In answer Thomas said to him: “My Lord and my God!” Do you really believe that Thomas was taking the Lord’s name in vain? Why didn’t Jesus correct Thomas if he was blaspheming or mistakenly referring to Jesus as God.

    • Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore Jehovah himself will give YOU men a sign: Look! The maiden herself will actually become pregnant, and she is giving birth to a son, and she will certainly call his name Im·man´u·el.”
    • Isaiah 8:7-10, “even therefore, look! Jehovah is bringing up against them the mighty … fill the breadth of your land, O Im·man´u·el!” …Speak any word, and it will not stand, for God is with us!
    Immanuel means “God with us.” In Isaiah 7, Jesus is Immanuel. In Isaiah 8, Jehovah is Immanuel. Either Isaiah was a false prophet or Jesus is Jehovah.

    • Isaiah 9:6, “For there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
    • Isaiah 10:21, “A mere remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God.”
    In Isaiah 9, Jesus is the Mighty God. In Isaiah 10, Jehovah is the Mighty God. Either Isaiah was a false prophet or Jesus is Jehovah.

    If you’re not born again, you don’t believe that Jesus is the Christ (1 John 5:1). You believe your idolatrous Jesus is the Christ, but you’re an unbeliever in the true Jesus. 2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” You’re an unbeliever, and Satan has blinded your mind.

    Your good works are like filthy rags to the one true God (Isaiah 64:6). If you put one shred of faith in your own works, you’re going to hell. Galatians 5:2-3 says, “Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.” If you say you have to be baptized, I hope you never commit another sin.

    Please repent of your idolatry, and all other sins, and put all of your faith in the true Jesus Christ. You will be born again, made a new creature, the Spirit will bear witness to you that you are a child of God, and you will spend eternity in heaven.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  29. TJ says:

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for your response. Please answer the following clearly for me before I continue.

    According to you, Isaiah 43:10-11 rules out the possibility of anyone besides Jehovah from being called “god”, but it does *not* rule out the possibility of anyone besides Jehovah from being called “savior”. Yes or No?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  30. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    Thanks for raising this question concerning Isaiah 43:10-11. I had never heard it before, and it’s taken me longer than it should have to figure it out.

    There is no other Savior besides Jehovah. There is no other God besides Jehovah. There are plenty of verses that say there is only one God. I guess I really am going to have to put together a nice, long list for you.

    There is no other Savior, in this context, means that there is no one else to save Israel from Egypt, Babylon and from their sins. God can use other saviors, as he uses others in the process of resurrecting people, but only God resurrects, and only God saves. Using Ehud, Othneil and the guy down the street to save in their situation doesn’t make them God.

    I agree that using Jesus to save doesn’t necessarily make Him God all by itself. But, when Acts 4:12 says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” it’s a pretty clear indication. Is Jesus the only name given to men by which to be saved, or Jehovah?

    I see no reason to reject Isaiah 43:10 to prove there is only one God, but I’m open to discussing it. If you convince me I should reject that verse for that purpose, we can move on to the remaining dozens of verses that say that.

    We’ve got caught up in the minutae of analyzing all of these passages, and I think it might be time to take a step back and look at where we are. You are defending Moses as God. You are defending polytheism tooth and nail. Your whole theology hinges on all of the verses indicating only one God not being plainly true. I urge you to take a look in the mirror, and make sure this is really what you want to be doing. If this wasn’t a religion with millions of people in it, it would be funny. I don’t say that to be mean; I say it because you need to be awakened.

    I understand that you’ve invested a lot of time in the Watchtower, and you probably have family members involved, and to even consider that the Watchtower is wrong would be extremely painful. I empathize with you on that. But your eternity depends on it, and the eternity of those who you can influence depends on it.

    Thanks,
    Bill

    P.s. I got that list of monotheism verses together. Check out https://billphillips.wordpress.com/2007/11/02/how-many-gods-are-there/

  31. TJ says:

    Hi Bill,

    I’m trying to take this extremely slow, since we’ve been over this point many times and still haven’t found common ground on it.

    I asked you whether or not Isaiah 43:10-11 rules out the possibility of anyone besides Jehovah being called “savior” in any context. Above you say that others can be called saviors in *different* contexts. OK, good, we agree.

    So why can’t anyone besides Jehovah be called a “god” in a *different* context, in a lesser sense than Jehovah, Bill? Why do you keep ignoring the fact that the Bible uses that title in anything other than an absolute sense? This is the glaring inconsistency in your argument that you keep ignoring over and over again.

    The King James Version, a Bible you approve of, says, “And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh.”

    Now you can interpret this any way you want, but the Bible actually calls Moses a god. That is indisputable; it’s right there explicitly spelled out in the text. Does it mean that Moses is the only true God, Jehovah? Of course not, but he has been given enough power and authority that he can be called a god IN A RELATIVE WAY.

    It’s exactly the same situation when you acknowledge Othniel and Ehud as saviors in a relative way. So if you’re not prepared to admit this obvious inconsistency in your argument, I really don’t see much point in continuing. I have many problems with your arguments above, but this one is the most simple and most obvious. If you can’t see it, you surely won’t see the others.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  32. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    Again, you can’t just say that since one verse uses “savior” in context, the preceding verse allows for the term “no gods” to mean something other than “no gods.” I’m willing to consider what you have to say, but you need to come up with some specific reason that “no gods” doesn’t mean what it plainly says.

    I really don’t want to argue about whether Moses was God, or a god. If you want to take that position it’s up to you. You take Exodus 7:1, and ignore Exodus 4:16. There are no contradictions in the Bible. You have to reconcile Exodus 7:1 with Exodus 4:16, and the (at least) 33 verses that say Moses isn’t any type of god.

    Exodus 4:16 (KJV) says, “And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.”

    Thanks,
    Bill

  33. TJ says:

    Bill,

    Here’s the problem. You have attempted to use Isaiah 43:10 to PROVE that there is necessarily no one else that can be called god that is not a false god. Why? Because the verse says that there is absolutely no other gods than Jehovah. But the very next verse says that there is absolutely no other saviors than Jehovah, yet you are willing to see exceptions to this. Your insistence that there CANNOT be exceptions to the title “god” makes your argument inconsistent.

    All I have asked you to do is recognize the fact that Isaiah 43:10 DOES NOT rule out the possibility of *relative* “gods” just as you have recognized that Isaiah 43:11 DOES NOT rule out the possibility of *relative* “saviors”. Now are you or are you not willing to recognize this?

    You said, “You take Exodus 7:1, and ignore Exodus 4:16.”

    Who was it that first brought up Exodus 4:16, Bill? It was me, and if I didn’t bring it up, you probably wouldn’t even be aware of it. And yet you say that I’m ignoring it?

    Nevertheless, it says exactly the same thing there; Moses is elohim (“god”). I know the KJV says “instead of God”, but “instead of” has been added and is not in the Hebrew. Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says here, “Instead of God – The word ‘God’ is used of persons who represent the Deity, as kings or judges, and it is understood in this sense here: ‘Thou shalt be to him a master.'”

    The widely-respected Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament says in its notes at Exodus 7:1, “According to Exo 4:16, Moses was to be a god to Aaron; and in harmony with that, Aaron is here called the prophet of Moses, as being the person who would announce to Pharaoh the revelations of Moses. At the same time Moses was also made a god to Pharaoh; i.e., he was promised divine authority and power over Pharaoh, so that henceforth there was no more necessity for him to be afraid of the king of Egypt.”

    Do you just chalk up all these resources to the ‘polytheist’ category, or could there be something to this?

    I know this particular use of the title “god” may be completely new to you, but you have to keep an open mind about how the original words are used in the Bible, and keep from projecting your modern understanding of the term into the Bible. The ancients were not nearly as black-and-white with most terms as there modern equivalents are used today. They did recognize gray areas of meaning.

    So, based on what is said at Isaiah 43:10 (for the moment putting aside other verses teaching that there is one God), is it still *POSSIBLE* that there exist gods who are only ‘gods’ in a certain context?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  34. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    I still don’t know of any reason to reject the plain reading of Isaiah 43:10. I’ve said at least twice that I’m willing to consider what you have to say about the use of “gods” in Isaiah 43:10. However, saying verse 11 uses “savior” in a certain context doesn’t mean that verse 10 doesn’t mean what it plainly says. I have to have some specific reason to reject my interpretation of verse 10.

    Moses was a god to Pharoh. Pharoh, I’m sure, had all kinds of gods. Moses had more power than any of those gods, because God was working through Moses. It’s not that big of a deal to be a god to Pharoh. Do you really think the Jews considered Moses to be a god? Do you deny they’re monotheists?

    You’re never going to convince me that Moses was a true god. I’m sorry if all of the reasons I’ve given for my strict monotheism aren’t persuasive to you, but I have to go with the what the Bible says. Even if Exodus 7:1 were confusing to me (and it’s not), I would still have to reject Moses being a god, because there are zero other verses indicating there is any type of true God except Yahweh, and many, many verses indicating He is the only true God.

    The most you can accomplish with compromising the plain reading of Isaiah 43:10 is to show that that verse is useless. If you really want to spend time doing that, I guess we can. It might be more useful if you had an argument against all of the monotheism verses, or at least some reason why they don’t mean the same thing to you as they do to me.

    Do you understand you’re arguing for polytheism? Is that really what you want to do? Are you keeping track of the time you spend writing here to turn in to the Watchtower or someone in your congregation?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  35. TJ says:

    Hi Bill,

    You, again, miss the point when you say, “I still don’t know of any reason to reject the plain reading of Isaiah 43:10. I’ve said at least twice that I’m willing to consider what you have to say about the use of ‘gods’ in Isaiah 43:10.”

    There is no way to word this any clearer that I’m aware of, so I’m starting to think that you are purposely dodging my question. I am NOT asking you to reject your interpretation of Isaiah 43:10, as you keep concluding. I am asking you whether or not it would be POSSIBLE for others to be called gods in a limited way given what is written at Isaiah 43:10. I am NOT asking whether or not others ARE called gods or not, I am asking whether or not it is POSSIBLE for others to be called gods in a limited way, just as you acknowledge others can be called saviors in a limited way. Yes or No? Is it possible or not?

    If you don’t want to answer this with a simple Yes or No, for whatever reason, please just tell me so that we don’t have to go round and round like this anymore.

    You said, “Moses was a god to Pharoh.”

    So Jehovah made Moses a false god to Pharaoh? What about the fact that Moses was said to serve as elohim (god) to Aaron at Exodus 4:16? Did Jehovah make Moses into a false god for Aaron too?

    You asked, “Do you really think the Jews considered Moses to be a god? Do you deny they’re monotheists?”

    The Jews considered Moses to be an elohim, which means a powerful person. The Bible says that. But you still refuse to acknowledge the meaning of this term, which is why you can’t understand it in this context (Moses is powerful to an extent). You do understand the meaning of ‘savior’, which is why you can understand it being used in reference to Othniel and Ehud (they save to an extent). Your definition of God simply does not match with how elohim and theos are used in the Bible. This is why all of these inconsistencies are popping up.

    The same goes for your definition of monotheists. To me, and I believe the ancient Jews, monotheism meant that there is only ONE true God, Jehovah. The many gods of the nations are powerless, and so they are not gods at all (‘god’ means powerful one). Certain men and angels who are given an amount of power by Jehovah can be called elohim or theos in a restricted sense, but they are not the one true God. This is my definition of monotheism, and it is in harmony with the Bible, the commentaries I quoted, and the translation notes I quoted.

    You said, “You’re never going to convince me that Moses was a true god.”

    Good Bill, because I am NOT trying to convince you of that. Please cite just one instance where I tell you that Moses was a “true god.” It doesn’t exist.

    It’s becoming pretty clear that you are unwilling to even listen to what I am saying over and over and over. You are looking at the term “god” in a black-and-white, true-and-false, perspective ONLY, and you absolutely refuse to see a gray area, i.e. “gods” in a restricted (NOT absolute) sense. When it comes to the term “savior”, you do allow for the gray area.

    What is really astounding is that you read YOUR perspective into MY definition for “god”. I argue for ‘gods’ (meaning powerful ones) to a limited extent that are not “true” gods (“true” in the sense of Almighty), yet you take it upon yourself to tell me that I am arguing for them to be true gods. That is called a strawman argument, and it is another fallacy.

    That’s like me saying that you are trying to convince me that Othniel and Ehud are true saviors, making them equivalent to the only true Savior, Jehovah.

    You said, “Do you understand you’re arguing for polytheism?”

    Bill, are the commentaries I quoted “arguing for polytheism”, or are you going to let your bias against Jehovah’s Witnesses in particular show through again and refuse to say that?

    To be honest, I’m not sure that this discussion is really worth continuing much further, unless you or some other poster is willing to address the very real problems with the arguments being presented without resorting to tactics like selective name-calling, strawman arguments, and the like.

    If you really want to be a “Fisher of Men”, as your blog title suggests, you have to start addressing the holes in your fishing net and stop blaming the ‘fish’ for swimming through them.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  36. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    I don’t know how much clearer I can get. There is no God besides Jehovah. Isaiah 43:10 is plainly true. If that doesn’t answer your question, I don’t know how else to say it. There are no “limited way” gods.

    Moses is not a god in any way shape or imagination. You’re right. I refuse to see “shades of gray” gods, and I refuse to see “shades of gray” saviors. You have to look at the context. Jehovah is the only one who can save from sins. There are no others of any shade. He is the only Savior. He is the only God.

    I don’t care about commentaries. I only care about what the Bible says. Why do you ignore all of the monotheism verses? Would you continue to ignore them if I found 40? What about 50? What about 100? How many do you need before you stop ignoring them? You’re basing this polytheism belief on one verse about Moses, and your intepretation is clearly contradicted by many verses.

    I’m starting to think you don’t want to move the discussion along.

    This is simply a friendly question, for my own interest sake. If you say “yes,” I have nothing further to say about it. If you say “no,” I’ll certainly believe you. Are you keeping track of the time you spend talking to me to turn into the Watchtower or someone in your congregation?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  37. TJ says:

    Hi Bill,

    You didn’t give me a straight Yes or No to my question, but I have come to expect that. I think I know why you won’t deal with my questions directly and I think you know why too. Effectively, you have said, ‘No, it is not possible for Isaiah 43:10 to allow for others to be called gods in a restricted sense elsewhere.’ This is a completely inconsistent method of interpretation, given how you handle Isaiah 43:11, and is a clear example of your bias.

    You said, “I refuse to see ‘shades of gray’ saviors . . . [Jehovah] is the only Savior.”

    This directly contradicts your statement above, where you said, “God can use other saviors.” When you make that statement you are using a gray-meaning of the term “savior”; you mean that they are saviors in a lesser sense than Jehovah.

    You said, “I don’t care about commentaries.”

    Then you shouldn’t imply that Jehovah’s Witnesses only believe these things because they are brainwashed by ‘the Watchtower’. These commentaries and Bible translations I have quoted from are completely independent resources, and they acknowledge the same obvious points we do. But it is hypocritical of you to call me a polytheist while at the same time you refuse to call the writers of these commentaries the same. Every time I bring this hypocrisy to your attention, you dodge and ignore.

    You asked, “Why do you ignore all of the monotheism verses?”

    I don’t. I believe absolutely that there is only one true God according to the Bible. But I don’t believe that the Bible teaches that no one besides Jehovah can be properly termed elohim or theos in a limited way, in a distinctive context, which is what you are saying. You take this same position on the term “savior”, but only with the term “god” is your position so extreme.

    You said, “You’re basing this polytheism belief on one verse about Moses.”

    No, actually I’ve focused my counterexamples (there are more) to this one in an effort to try and muster a direct answer from you. I have not gotten one. You have tried out two different answers that haven’t worked out so well. The first answer to this that you tried is that your NIV inserts the word “like” into the text, so you say that that is how you interpret it. That is not a good answer.

    The Hebrew text applies the term elohim to Moses. That is a fact. Neither of us believe this means that Moses is the only true God. So this leaves us with two options. Either he is a false god, or he is a “god” in a restricted sense, meaning he has been given real power. So the second answer you tried was that Moses was made a false god to Pharaoh. I then asked you why Jehovah would make Moses into a false god and what type of god Moses was in relation to Aaron. You apparently couldn’t come up with an answer to these questions.

    Really, I shouldn’t even have to point all of this out to you, and it is becoming tiring. Your logic of using Isaiah 43:10 along with a verse in which Jesus is called theos is not new at all. Most people I speak with acknowledge right away the fact that there may well be exceptions to the absolute statement in Isaiah 43:10, based on how the term “savior” is used in the next verse. So I find it hard to believe that after all of this discussion, you still genuinely don’t see how your use of this verse is inconsistent.

    You said, “I’m starting to think you don’t want to move the discussion along.”

    Sigh. I would be more than happy to get to the next point, but we both know that you are sidestepping my very direct questions. And it’s a pattern too, so I don’t see why we should even attempt to continue.

    I’m sure there is some kind of agenda to your last “friendly” question, probably a covert attempt to confirm our “cult” and “brainwashed” status in your mind, but I’ll answer anyway. You asked, “Are you keeping track of the time you spend talking to me to turn into the Watchtower or someone in your congregation?”

    No, I have not been keeping track of the time I have spent reading and responding to your answers. I could if I wanted to, since I am witnessing about the Bible’s message to you, but I haven’t. So you tell me, have I been brainwashed enough, or am I do for another wash?

    Thanks for allowing the discussion on your blog,
    TJ

  38. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    I don’t think either one of us can accuse the other of dodging questions. Just by looking at the length of our responses, you can tell that. If my responses aren’t adequate for you, that’s fine. I’m willing to clarify.

    Moses was someone with divine authority. That’s all it means. He wasn’t any type of god. I realize ‘elohim’ is used elsewhere, but all it means is someone with divine authority. One word can have more than one meaning. George Bush has divine authority (Romans 13:1). Does this make him a god. Is the mayor of my town a god? Where do we draw the line?

    If God gives Moses certain powers, and this makes Moses a god, is there a certain set of powers that you say makes someone a god? Does turning water into blood make someone a god? Why aren’t the Egyptian magicians who turned water into blood gods? Humans have the ability to bring children into the world. This is amazing power. Why aren’t parents considered gods? Why isn’t someone who builds skyscrapers a god? Why isn’t someone who builds doghouses a god? What makes a person a god?

    Isaiah 43:11 is true. We define Savior in verse 11 according to its context. Accordingly we define god in verse 10 by its context. Because verse 11 seemingly has exceptions (even though it doesn’t when you have the proper definition of savior), you say that verse 10 must also have exceptions. This is the only reason I’ve heard from you about why you don’t take verse 10 literally. The truth is, you have to perform the same analysis on verse 10 as you do on verse 11. I’m satisfied with my definition of gods. You apparently have a completely different definition of gods.

    As far as commentaries you cite, I have seen the lengths the Watchtower will go to find sources to support its doctrines. This includes Johannes Greber, who, according to him, got his translation of the Bible from spirits (which are demons).

    In the April 1, 1983 Watchtower they printed the following:

    Why, in recent years, has The Watchtower not made use of the translation by the former Catholic priest, Johannes Greber?

    This translation was used occasionally in support of renderings of Matthew 27:52, 53 and John 1:1, as given in the New World Translation and other authoritative Bible versions. But as indicated in a foreword to the 1980 edition of The New Testament by Johannes Greber, this translator relied on “God’s Spirit World” to clarify for him how he should translate difficult passages. It is stated: “His wife, a medium of God’s Spiritworld was often instrumental in conveying the correct answers from God’s Messengers to Pastor Greber.” The Watchtower has deemed it improper to make use of a translation that has such a close rapport with spiritism. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) The scholarship that forms the basis for the rendering of the above-cited texts in the New World Translation is sound and for this reason does not depend at all on Greber’s translation for authority. Nothing is lost, therefore, by ceasing to use his New Testament.

    You can find more info on this topic at http://seanet.com/~raines/wtgreber.html
    You’ll forgive me if I distrust sources you cite that I’ve never heard of. If the Watchtower is willing to cite someone they know to be an occultist, I have to question those that currently support your interpretation. There are I’m sure many sources that support your beliefs from outside the Watchtower, but as you can see they may or may not be Satanists. The Bible is an adequate source for this discussion, and I don’t see any reason to bring other sources into this.

    The practice of keeping track of your time spent in service to God to turn into a man-made organization could suggest that you’re in a cult where someone above you wants to control every aspect of your life, or it might suggest that you want to be held accountable to others as the Bible suggests. I guess which one it suggests would be determined by how the leaders react to people not living up to expectations. I really have no idea how they react, so while the practice is suspicious to me, it doesn’t indicate anything in particular without more info.

    How long have you been a Jehovah’s Witness? Have you been one your entire life? Realizing this is the internet, where are you from? I’m from Colordado if you didn’t catch that from elsewhere on my blog.

  39. TJ says:

    Hi Bill,

    Please clarify for me before we move on, is Moses referred to as elohim in scripture? Yes or No?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  40. TJ says:

    Thanks Bill.

    You said two posts ago, “Moses was someone with divine authority. That’s all it means.”

    If you take a look at my second October 25th response, I tried to explain that meaning from the outset. I said, “First, it is important to understand the meaning of ‘God.’ The Hebrew word ‘elohim’ and the Greek word ‘theos’ basically convey the sense of one who is mighty and powerful, and that is what ‘God’ means.”

    I subsequently explained, “Was Moses God in the same sense as Jehovah? Absolutely not, but he did receive an amount of power and authority from Jehovah for the purpose of going before Pharaoh, and this made him a mighty one, a god, in a relative sense.”

    Now it seems the only difference between what we are saying is that you object the the English word “god” being used of Moses, though you acknowledge that its Hebrew equivalent, elohim, is applied to him. So how would you prefer we translate elohim when it is used for Moses if we can’t use “god”?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  41. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    The NWT translation of Exodus 7:1 is fine. So is KJV, so is NKJV and NIV. They all say it slightly differently, but they all mean that Moses is a representative of God. If this was the only verse that said anything about Moses, and there weren’t all of the verses saying there is only one God, I might agree that Moses was some type of god. However, Moses was human. That is clear. I can’t believe we’re still talking about it.

    While I may have fallen short in convincing you that Moses is not a god, You have fallen short in convincing me. Can we please move on? You have many unanswered questions above.

    Isaiah 43:10 says, “Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.”

    Isaiah 46:8-9 says, “Remember this, fix it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.”

    Thanks,
    Bill

  42. TJ says:

    Bill,

    This is a very strange discussion. You say that Moses is NOT a god, but that he is called elohim in Hebrew. You also say that translations, such as the NWT and KJV, that call him a god are fine. That just doesn’t add up.

    Anyways. you are saying that Moses being called elohim means that he is a representative of God, “someone with divine authority”. This is what I have been arguing all along.

    Would you say that Jesus is also “someone with divine authority”, considering that he actually tells us, “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth”? Couldn’t Jesus be an elohim in a similar sense as Moses?

    Thanks,
    TJ

  43. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    When you take one verse, and make a doctrine around it, anything is possible. (Mormons get a whole perverse doctrine of baptizing dead people from 1 Corinthians 15:29.) However, there is only one God. Verse after verse after verse from beginning to end says there is only one God. How specific must God get with you? If you deny that fact, you are being irrational, and it becomes clear that you no longer care about the truth. Is there any way God could word a verse to get you to believe He is the only God? I don’t understand what more you could ask of Him. Isaiah 46:8-9 calls you a rebel or a transgressor for believing there is any god besides the one true God.

    Moses can’t be a god. Jesus can’t be a god. Like I’ve said at least twice now, having divine authority doesn’t make someone a god. George Bush has divine authority (Romans 13:1). Do you believe George Bush is a god? Are the Egyptian magicians gods? Do you believe parents are gods? These aren’t rhetorical questions. These are questions you have to answer if you insist on continuing to discuss this topic. Otherwise, please move on.

    NWT doesn’t call Moses a god. It calls him God. If it’s no big deal to call Moses God, why can’t Jesus be called God? Why are so many verses that say Jesus is God changed in the NWT? Please answer these questions, or move on to a different topic.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  44. TJ says:

    Bill,

    You seemed to be confused on this issue quite a bit, since your statements don’t harmonize with each other. The KJV calls Moses “a god”, yet you say, “Moses can’t be a god”. Well how in the world can you say that that translation of Exodus 7:1 is “fine” with you??? It is completely incompatible with what you are saying!

    Now you are asking me if I think George Bush, Egyptian magicians, and parents are gods. I suppose they could be if you consider them to be mighty ones. A god, an elohim, can simply refer to a mighty person. But your questions don’t matter because we are considering what the Bible DOES say, not what it DOESN’T say. The Bible DOES say that there is only one elohim, Jehovah, at Isaiah 43:10, but it also calls Moses an elohim. We have to harmonize these Biblical statements.

    You said, again, “Verse after verse after verse from beginning to end says there is only one God.”

    Yes, it says that there is one elohim, but it also calls Moses elohim. DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEM???

    Moses is not the only true elohim/theos/god, he is an elohim/theos/god in a RELATIVE (or lesser) sense. It means he has divine authority, as you said before. This PROVES that the term elohim/theos/god can be used of others who are not Jehovah and are not false gods.

    You said, “If you deny that fact, you are being irrational, and it becomes clear that you no longer care about the truth.”

    Bill, seriously, I don’t even know what is going on with what you are thinking/doing here. But your argument which equates Jesus with Jehovah because the term elohim/theos/God is applied to both is completely destroyed by the fact that Moses is called elohim/theos/God. If you can’t accept that or understand it, it doesn’t change the fact that your argument is no good.

    I’ll try to answer your last questions. You asked, “NWT doesn’t call Moses a god. It calls him God. If it’s no big deal to call Moses God, why can’t Jesus be called God? Why are so many verses that say Jesus is God changed in the NWT?”

    Bill, there is no real difference between “God” and “god”, they both represent the same Hebrew and Greek words. And yes, the NWT does assign the title of G/god to Jesus at Isaiah 9:6 and John 1:1,18, if not elsewhere. But we understand Jesus to be a G/god in the same sense that Moses was. He was given divine authority and power by Jehovah.

    And no verses are “changed” in the NWT. They appear “changed” to you because you are assuming that the Bible(s) you are using have the only correct translation of those verses. Every single verse that you can supply, every single one, that you think has been “changed” in the NWT, I can provide other independent translations or scholars that agree with its rendering. I can also provide solid reasoning as to why it is rendered the way it is.

    From the beginning of this discussion all the way through to that last question, you have presupposed that the Trinity must be true. Perhaps you don’t see it, but the theology you have been taught is your main basis for your beliefs, not the Bible. You read the Bible in light of the theology you have been taught, so the Bible is secondary in the process. You didn’t read the Bible and then develop your theology from that, rather you read your theology into the Bible.

    This is the reason you would say that the NWT “changed” verses. You are not looking at whether or not its translations are actually acceptable renderings of the Greek and Hebrew texts, you are looking at whether or not its renderings agree with your theology. When they do not, you conclude that the NWT has “changed” them.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  45. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    I completely disagree that Moses is a god of any type. I believe in only one God. The fact that you even leave the possibility open that George Bush may be a god reveals that your definition of god may not be biblical. If you see no problem with being a polytheist, then I guess I have nothing further to say about it.

    I think we’ve both covered what we believe on this topic, and failed to convince each other. We both adamantly believe our own position, and think the other is being illogical. That’s fine.

    Getting back to what we were discussing before, why do you believe there isn’t an infinite penalty for sinning against an infinitely holy God?

    Are you born of the Spirit/born from above/born of God/born again?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  46. TJ says:

    Hi Bill,

    Since you can’t seem to formulate a single cohesive answer explaining how Moses is called an elohim in scripture, it’s more than obvious your true interest is not in determining what the Bible says. I’m now taking my leave.

    Thanks,
    TJ

  47. billphillips says:

    TJ,

    There is no doubt that we disagree, and we’ve failed miserably to convince each other of anything. I’m equally disappointed that you insist on believing in more than one god as you are that I don’t see Moses as a god. Nevertheless, I would encourage you to find an answer to the 2 questions I asked at the end of my previous comment here, even just for your own benefit.

    I truly appreciate all the time you took to have this conversation.

    Bill

  48. Who are Jehovah’s Witnesses?
    Up close and personal Jehovah’s Witnesses can be wolves in sheep’s clothing.
    Think about this-When the devil comes knocking on your door he may not have the ‘dark goth look’.They could be smartly dressed and wielding the Christian Bible.
    The central core dogma of the Watchtower is Jesus second coming (invisibly) in 1914 and is a lie.Jehovah’s Witnesses are a spin-off of the man made Millerite movement of 1840.
    A destructive cult of false teachings, that frequently result in spiritual and psychological abuse, as well as needless deaths (bogus blood transfusion ban).
    Yes,you can ‘check out anytime you want but you can never leave’,because they can and will hold your family hostage.

    The Watchtower is a truly Orwellian world.
    —-
    Danny Haszard Jehovah’s Witness X 33 years and 3rd generation

  49. mike says:

    Most parents would give up their life for their children.
    This proves that they value the lives of their children more than their own.

    While this is an amazing display of love, their is an even more loving display.
    Give up the life of your first child to save your ungrateful children.

    The fact that God sacrificed his firstborn of all creation is not less of a display of love, it is a greater display of love.

  50. billphillips says:

    Mike,

    Jesus told us what the greatest act of love is, and the Jehovah of Jehovah’s Witnesses has not performed the greatest act of love by Jesus’ definition. Do you disagree with Jesus that the greatest act of love is to give up your life for a friend?

    On a different topic, I keep asking Jehovah’s Witnesses this (and I assume you are one), but I can’t seem to get anyone to answer: Are you born again?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  51. 1930’s egyptian king…

    I Googled for something completely different, but found your page…and have to say thanks. nice read….

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