The Watchtower Gospel (Part III)
Jesus and the Holy Spirit
Ronald D. Howes
Eagle River, Alaska
Have you ever heard a contradiction like this? There is one God, but there are two GODS. Such is the Deity invented by the overwrought Watchtower imagination. Their printers turn out volumes telling the faithful that the Word, the Son of God, is a created being, and that he is not equal to his Father in Deity .
. . . the Word was in the beginning with God and verse 18 says that 'no man hath seen God at any time,' yet men have seen Jesus Christ. For these reasons and in full harmony with the Greek text, some translations of verse 1 read: 'The Word was with God, and the word was divine,' or was 'a god', that is the Word was a powerful godlike one. (American Translation, Smith-Goodspeed 1935, and New World Translation)-(The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life, p. 24).
. . . In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." (Jno. 1:1The New World Translation).
". . . he is called 'the only begotten Son of God', for God had no partner in bringing forth his first begotten Son. He was the first of Jehovah God's creations." (Let God Be True, 1946 Ed., pp. 34, 35).
The Deity of Jesus Christ is one of the clearest claims of the New Testament. Chapter upon Chapter is expended to set forth his present position in great detail. There are many avenues of proof that could be pursued, but first let us answer the question of whether or not he was the first created being. Remember now that the Witnesses claim that he is a god, and the first created being. In a text the Witnesses themselves use to justify their name, God shatters their argument. "I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me" (Isa. 30:10). But the Witnesses tell us that Jesus was a god, and formed after the Father. Who are we to believe? Micah 5:2: "out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose going forth are from of old, from everlasting." The Micah prophecy has a two-fold importance. It tells us the birthplace of the Messiah, and also informs us of his eternal pre-existence. Because his goings forth are from everlasting, we rightly infer that He is not just the a god of the Witnesses, but the Mighty God of the Bible.
No clearer argument exists for the true divinity of Christ than his description as Jehovah. Both the O.T. and the N. T. agree that Jesus is Jehovah. The Witnesses claim that only the Father wears this name, but a comparison of the facts quickly demolishes this fragile distinction. Note: 1. (Eph. 4:8) It was Jesus who ascended on high and led captivity captive. (Psalm 68:18) But, David tells us that this is Jehovah who is ascending. 2'. (Isa. 44:6) Isaiah tells us that Jehovah is the first and the last. (Rev. 1:1-3) Another prophet of God, equally as authoritative, tells us that it is Jesus who is the Alpha and the Omega. 3. Jehovah is a stone of stumbling and rock of offence. (Isa. 8:14, 22:16) Will the Witnesses admit that "that rock was Christ?" (Rom. 9:33, I Cor. 10:4) There are many other arguments we could give, but let a short list of the more common suffice: 1. Isa. 9:6-the messiah would be "mighty God." 2. Heb. 1:8-9-Jesus is called God by the Father. 3. Colossians 2:9-In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 4. John 9:35-38, Heb. 1:6-7-on more than one occasion Jesus accepted worship; no mere glorified angelic being could get away with taking this honor to himself. 5. Gen. 1:1-In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Who? All things were made through him (Jesus).
The unfortunate thing about a study limited like this in space is that we are only able to scratch the surface on these vital topics. Volumes have been written on the various aspects of the Deity of Christ and we have just presented a few paragraphs.
The Active Force of God
Coupled with their skepticism concerning the eternal spirit of man is a rewriting of what the Bible says about the Spirit of God. We learned in section 1 of this series that the Watchtower teaches the soul or spirit of man to be something like a car battery, supplying power, but non-intelligent. Just imagine if you can, a giant car battery, and this is what they teach about the Holy Spirit: ". . . As for the 'HOLY SPIRIT,' the so-called third person of the Trinity, we have already seen that it is not a person, but God .'s active force" (emphasis mine-rdh). (The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life, p. 24).
In his Bible Class Notes on the Scheme of Redemption, Homer Hailey answers these questions for all time. This outline is an abridgement of that outline found on pg. 15 of his work.
The Personality Of The Spirit
A. He possesses the characteristics of a person:
1. Mind-Rom. 8:27
2. Knowledge-I Cor. 2:11
3. Affection-Rom. 15:30
4. Will-I Cor. 12:11
5. Goodness-Heb. 9:20
B. The things which he does manifest personality:
1. Speaks-I Tim. 4:1
2. Teaches-John 14:26
3. Guides-John 16:12-13
4. Leads and forbids-Acts 16:6-7 5. Searches-I Cor. 2:10
C. He suffers slights and injuries, an attribute of Personality.
1. Grieved and vexed-Eph. 4:30, Isa. 63:10
2. Despised-Heb. 10:29
3. Lied unto-Acts 5:3
Only a person can do or feel these things, not just some non-intelligent, dumb, active force. The Witnesses mistake on the spirit of man, has driven them to do great dishonor to the SPIRIT of God. As the third member of the Godhead, He ought to be given the respect and honor due Him, for His
work in the redemption of mankind, not just brushed off as non-intelligent force.
I wanted to reserve part of this third and last section on the "Watchtower Gospel" for a summary and to mention some other oddities about the Witnesses. Their leaders claim to be guided by the Holy Spirit. Now, they will not come out and admit it, but whenever pressed about differences in translation between the NWT and most other translations, as for instance on John .1:1, they will put their trust in their Elder Brothers with the Spirit of God to guide them.
They teach a dual system of premillennialism. Supposedly, when Christ returns to the earth to set up his kingdom, he is going to take away 144,000 faithful servants made up of O.T. era Jews and upper level Jehovah's Witnesses. The rest of us not-so-fortunate, second class spiritual citizens will be confined to a blissful existence on a paradise earth.
Any Jehovah's Witness can explain their organization to you. It is smooth running and efficient-you do not get too far up unless you are a pretty smart cookie. In addition, they refuse to serve in the armed forces, salute the flag, or vote. They will not undergo blood transfusion. These topics however, should not be made the point of discussion with Witnesses. The best possible course to pursue is to discuss the basic problems and shake their faith in their system and spirit guided brothers. Once that confidence has been shaken by such topics as the Deity of Christ and the Personality of the Spirit, go on to other subjects like Baptism and the nature of the Kingdom of God.
Can Witnesses be converted? Let's answer it this way. If we cannot convert them, let's make sure they cannot convert anyone else. Reports of hardline Witnesses being converted are as scarce as hen's teeth. However, there is room for hope. Two years ago, another brother and I were able to convince a young lady not to become a Witness, and we did that with the clear teaching of John 16 on the Personality of the Holy Spirit. I remain convinced that this approach will be our most productive field of work among the Witnesses.
Let me suggest that you go out into your communities on Saturday morning when the Servants of the Watchtower are pounding doors. Make up tracts and distribute them a couple of doors ahead of the Witnesses. Expose them for what they are. Buy up space to teach in your local paper, and preach it on the radio. Who has the courage to do it? Where is the Church that will stir up the Witnesses and force them to debate or suffer oblivion? The Witnesses succeed because we do not have the fortitude to fight back.
Truth Magazine, XVIII:26, p. 7-8