Deity of Jesus
The final part of our discussion took us back to the very beginning where he was asking my Christian friend a question about the Trinity. I wasn't convinced that David received an answer that was satisfying [Essentially its a mystery, God is too big to understand etc..] I wanted to talk about that more.
[me] Ok David, If you don't mind, I would like to talk about the Divinity of Jesus one more time, you seemed a little confused before.
You said that the "Trinity" doctrine was very confusing to you. Do you mind telling me what YOU believe the doctrine of the Trinity is.
[David] Well again, I do believe its confusing, and Jehovah isn't a God of confusion. And your right, I prob. will butcher an official definition. But as Far as I understand its "Three in one"
[Me] I think that's a good start but yes, there is a little more to it then that. I want to address your concern about Jehovah not being a God of confusion. I agree with that. However there are some things that I find in scripture that I simply cannot understand, yet I accept them because its revealed by scripture. Wouldn't you agree?
[David] ummm... I think so.
[Me] Well lets start with Jehovah having "No beginning and no end" can you wrap your mind around God not having a beginning?
[David] Oh I see what you mean, No I cannot
[me] lol, me neither, but I accept that because scripture reveals that being the case. The same is true with Jesus being Divine. This doctrine isn't a result of quibbling scholars in a council who just made it up. The debate centers around revelation found in scripture. I can give you an example if you want.
[Daivd] Ok sure..
37Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: “Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”h 39For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:40“He has blinded their eyes and nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.”i
41Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.
42Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
[ME] Ok, Jesus just finished doing miracles in front of the Pharisees, yet in spite of this. THEY DID NOT BELEIVE. John [the writer of this passage] said that this unbelief was actually a prophecy from Isaiah. Who is it that Isaiah said he Saw in the vision in vs. 41?
[ME] ok, in your New World Translation, it has a parallel passage in the center reference, what Scripture does it List?
[Daivd] It says: Isaiah 6:1..."In the year that King Uz·zi′ah died,+ I saw Jehovah sitting on a lofty and elevated throne,+ and the skirts of his robe filled the temple.
[Again I let David just sit there for a moment to soak in the information]
[Me] This is just one of many examples that I can show you. But here you have Isaiah Seeing Jehovah in the Temple, and John later on, speaks about this very same vision telling us that this is Jesus. I know what you may be thinking. How can Jesus and Jehovah be the same thing? Does the bible contradict itself?
The problem is the Watchtower has told you that Jehovah=God the Father. This is not exclusively the case. Jehovah comes from YHWH which is a REPRESENTATION of Gods name, It isn't a literal name of God. Since you cannot pronounce it. To make a long story short the bible often times uses ATTRIBUTES of God to identify Him. [God is rest, God is salvation, God is War etc..] Those attributes on any given time become his name, since God cannot be identified by any one attribute [as is the case with Pagan gods]
So when you see Jesus literal name [YESHUA or Joshua] His name means= God is our Salvation. So God in the form of Jesus becomes our Salvation.
[Daivd] Wow, ok this is a little much. How can Jesus be Jehovah? I see specific instances in scripture where Jesus prays to the father? What is he, talking to himself?
[Me] Ok, what you are talking about is a doctrine called "Modalism" this is the belief that "The Father, the son and the Holy Spirit" exist in different Modes at different times. This is not what I believe either. I believe that Jesus is different in person from God the Father, but same in Essence/nature.
[Daivd] Ok, but then you have scriptures where Jesus says the Father is Greater then I.
[Me] So you would say that Greater=Better or superior in essence?
[David] Yes I would
[Me] David are you "Better" then your wife?
[Daivd] lol, no....
[Me] ok...are you "Greater then your wife"?
[Daivd] Well, in a sense I have a greater role....ok I see where your going with this.
[ME] yep.. Both you and your wife are Humans by nature. IN no way are you BETTER then your wife. But you are given a role that is greater in position. IN other words you are accountable to God for how you treat her. You are to put HER needs ahead of your own. This is your responsibility to lead as Jesus would lead.
The same is true with Jesus, he took upon flesh, in the form of a slave, lower then the angels. His position with God the father was in submission to His will. But in Hebrews it shows us that after his death, he was lifted up to a position greater then the angels. where his name was above all names.
At least you can see now that there is a lot more to this belief then a casual dismissal [as the Watchtower portrays]
[David] Ok but what about the scripture that says that Jesus was the FIRSTBORN of all creation.
[Me] Ok, well I have got to go, but I can tackle this one really quick. First comes a misunderstanding or misapplication of the word "Firstborn"
You tell me, who was the firstborn: Jacob or Esau?
[Daivd] Esau was.....wait Jacob was because he received the birthright.
[Me] Ok your right in both instances... Esau was the LITERAL firstborn [as in first out of the womb] but Jacob received the right of firstborn [as in Preeminence] or above his family.
So HOW you use the word First born really depends on the context. This brings us back to making sure you understand the context of the verse you are reading. Turn to Colossians 1 and here you have an example of Jesus being called "Firstborn"
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
[me] So here you have Paul exhausting the Greek language to describe the NATURE of Jesus. He starts with telling us he is the "image" of God. The greek word essentially means "The same as" .. then Paul says he is the "Firstborn"
Now we have to ask the question: Does this means Firstborn as in creation, or firstborn as in Preeminence?
Go ahead and read versus 18....
[David] Ok I see what you mean.. but the NWT says all "OTHER" things.
[ME] I want you to read your Kingdom Interlinear Translation in your own time and verify if the "Other" appears in the greek. You can do that in your own time. But I will say this. By inserting the word other, the translator would essentially be changing the entire meaning of this passage to where it would not make sense in its context.
For example: The declaration of independence says: "All men are created equal" .... do you think by saying "All [other] men are created equal" that would change the meaning??
[Daivd] ok ill check it out....
***We ended our conversation by us exchanging phone numbers. David said he would do some research on all the points discussed. We both agreed that a mutual understanding of each others positions are actually a good thing. because when he goes from door to door, having that understanding would make him more effective at communicating and relating to them.
We shook hands and told him if he has anymore questions, please call**
My final thoughts on the entirety of this discussion was somewhat positive. I never know how a person will respond to new information. I know this for sure, He has been presented with information that will fester in his mind for years to come. What he does with that really depends on how far entrenched he is in the Watchtower. I am fully convinced that membership in the Watchtower is an emotional issue at its core. Be that by Fear, or by obligation to family. No amount of facts will separate that emotion. I don't know David's individual circumstances. And none of us will know if something happens in the years to come which will prompt him to actually research these issues further. But my job is done. I was loving, honest, and open with david the entire time.