A Question I Was Asked:

Where Does This 'Jehovah's Witnesses' Quote Come From?

The Questions:

In 'Questions,' from 'The Watchtower,' 1st March, 2013 (page 6), I found this:

Question: If Jesus is God, as some churches teach, who resurrected Jesus?
Answer: Jesus is not God - whose name is Jehovah - but he is the Son of God. Jehovah resurrected Jesus from the dead (Romans 10:9). One Bible scholar comments: "It is unthinkable that anyone - even Christ - could raise himself."

I have four questions that I would raise about this:

1. Who is the "Bible scholar" who is quoted?
2. What is the reference for this quote? book? magazine? academic paper?
3. Has this "Bible scholar" produced a clear Bible verse, or verses, that states/state that Jesus didn't or couldn't raise Himself from the dead?
4. What might be the view of this "Bible scholar" on John 2:18-22?

18. The Jews then responded to him, "What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?"
19. Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."
20. They replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?"
21. But the temple he had spoken of was his body.
22. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. (John 2:18-22, NIV).

Would you add any further comments?

Is Jesus God?

All of credal, established Christianity, whether Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Congregational, or Pentecostal has recognised Jesus as the Second Person of the Trinity and very God. Even most of the cults and sects recognise this, the Jehovah's Witnesses being a glaring exception.

Peter recognised Jesus as 'God' in Matthew 16:16, and some of the other Scriptures which can be considered include Matthew 28:19-20; John 1:1-12; John 3:34-36; John 4:25-26, 29; 5:42-43; 6:6, 44-69;16:19,30-33; 17:1-5; 19:28; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 3:9-11; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:12-24 and Hebrews 1:2-10.

Let us just quote part of Hebrews 1:

'...In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father...' (Hebrews 1:2b-5a).

In contrast to that, Jehovah's Witnesses place Jesus in the high angelic realm as a created being. Was Jesus a created being or was He higher than that? Let us allow John the Apostle to answer:

'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.' (John 1:1-4).
'The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.' (John 1:9-11).

And that, one must say, is pretty conclusive!

UK Apologetics Reply:

It is indeed sad and depressing that the JWs don't seem to move on in Bible knowledge.

We need to start here with the very "question" which, we are told, was put to the WT magazine,

"If Jesus is God, as some churches teach..."

So I would break my response here down to a few points:

1. Initial Mis-information Fed Into the Q and A:

At the 'question' stage, there is already something seriously wrong here! Do "some churches" teach that Jesus is God? Absolutely not! The whole of Christianity makes this a fundamental point! The great Christian creeds never contest this point, because it is fundamental to New Testament teaching. Jesus had to be both Man and God for His supreme sacrifice to be of such inestimable value that it could pay for the sins of mankind! Only among certain cults and sects (primarily the 'Jehovah's Witnesses') is this point ever seriously questioned. So in stating that "some churches" believe this, confusion and mis-information is already being fed into this Q and A. All of organised and established Christianity believes and accepts this, not just "some churches."

2. JW's Rejection of the Trinity Complicates This Whole Matter.

The JWs separate Jesus and God because they reject the Holy Trinity. They set up Jehovah as God and Jesus becomes merely His Son, for sure, the first-born of Creation but not, in any sense, God. This is the ancient heresy of Arianism which was rejected by the great Christian creeds for the very reason that it is unbiblical. So 'Jehovah' alone becomes God.

3. "Jehovah" (despite appearing in the old KJV) is not a correct name.

Most JWs are adamant that this word ('Jehovah') is the name of God, but the word is an invention, even though proposed by some very sincere men. The original Hebrew had no vowels. The closest we can get is something like 'YHWH.' All serious Bible scholars agree on this, only the JWs stubbornly cling to the use of this word and insist on its continued use. In fact, in the past, Jehovah's Witnesses have very occasionally admitted that this name is partly an extra-biblical construction but, in my experience, many members seen unaware of this. Yet the organisation (apparently) does not seek to change its popularly-used name.

4. Jehovah Alone is Stated to be 'God' (that is, within JW teaching) - Roughly equivalent to 'God the Father.'

Yet the overwhelming biblical evidence is that YHWH is the Second Person of the Godhead Who was later born as Jesus!

Perhaps one only really needs to read the first chapter of John to confirm this point, but let us note what the Apostle Paul wrote about Jesus:

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him (Colossians 1:16).

Psalm 102 states this:

So I said: 'Do not take me away, O my God, in the midst of my days; your years go on through all generations. In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end' (Psalm 102:24-27).

Notice the similarity to the words of Paul there. The Lord Jesus shocked the unbelieving Jews in his day when he identified himself as the YHWH of the O.T. by identifying himself as the "I AM" that appeared to Moses in Exodus 3:13,14. That Scripture reads:

Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' "

So Jesus revealed his identity, as he stated that He Himself spoke to Moses at John 8:58:

"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"

Then, of course, we have the seven 'I AM' sections within the Gospel of John; this section is heavily Jesus-focused. The 'I AM' is YHWH.

Then later, the Apostle Paul stated the following: They [the Israelites] were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:2-4)

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 (Isaiah 44:6).

Listen to me, O Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last (Isaiah 48:12).

Jesus described himself in the same manner in the New Testament:

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last (Revelation 1:17).

To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again (Revelation 2:8).

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:13).

Further Scriptures could be added here but let us simply conclude that the evidence that the One born as Jesus, the Second Person of the Godhead, was the YHWH - the 'I AM' - of the Old Testament, is pretty much irrefutable and agreed upon probably by the vast majority of Bible scholars for hundreds of years.

In contrast to that, how long have the JWs even been in existence? Something like 150-180 years?

So whilst understanding that God is a Trinity, any attempt to equate YHWH purely with The Father (rather than with the Son) has enormous biblical problems.

5. Who Is the Quoted "Bible Scholar."

My friend, who sent me this quote from the WT, is perfectly correct to challenge just which "Bible scholar" stated/wrote that : "It is unthinkable that anyone - even Christ - could raise himself." After all, we have John 2:18-22 which my friend already quoted. But since this group do not accept the divinity of Jesus they obviously have problems here. But, to look at John 2 once again,

18. The Jews then responded to him, "What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?"
19. Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."
20. They replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?"
21. But the temple he had spoken of was his body.
22. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. (John 2:18-22, NIV).

So the JWs find themselves in confusion here because they do not accept the Trinity. To say, "It is unthinkable that anyone - even Christ - could raise himself," is simply to demonstrate ignorance of many New Testament Trinity-revealing Scriptures, such as John 1:1-3; 14-18; John 20:28-29; 1 John 1:1-4; 5:20; Philippians 2:5-8; Revelation 1:17-18; Revelation 22:12-20 and more besides. Also regarding identifyng the Holy Spirit as God, see John 14:16-17; John 15:26; John 16:7-15; Acts 5:3-4; Acts 13:2; 1 Corinthians 12:4-18; Hebrews 9:14, and Hebrews 10:15-18.

Christ could have complete confidence in His resurrection because He Himself is God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. But even the John 2:18-22 Scripture - all on its own - as quoted by my friend, is sufficient to show a clear error in understanding in this attempt to answer a question which (apparently) has been sent into the 'Watchtower magazine.'

Robin A. Brace. April 4th, 2013.