This week Pastor Miles continued his series on cults. To introduce the topic, a short drama portrayed two Jehovah's Witnesses visiting a man's home. The man was a Christian, and had invited them to return to his home after a previous visit so that he could share his beliefs with them.
But he was unprepared for their onslaught of verses and points, and had to ask them to return after he had done more studying and talked to his small group leader. While his intentions were good, it was very evident that he needed to be more prepared before he could confidently counter their points with biblical truth.
The drama touched on the six main teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses, which Pastor Miles went on to explain in greater detail and answer with the truth of the Bible.
False Teaching One: Jesus had a beginning and was therefore created.
Revelation 3:14 states, ...These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God. Jesus is the Faithful and True Witness. Jehovah's Witnesses take the last phrase of the verse, which describes Jesus as the beginning of the creation, and argue that if Jesus had a beginning, He must have been created.
This teaching is false because the word beginning in the Greek means architect or originator. Jesus was the beginner of creation, the one who brought all creation into existence. Colossians 1:16 reads, 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.
In a similar instance, Revelation 1:8 states, "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." Alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet, and Omega is the last letter. But this does not mean that Christ had a beginning and an end. Instead, it means that He is the originator and the terminator. He brought everything into existence and He will be the final judge of all creation.
The best way to argue this point is to look at Isaiah 44:24, which states that Yahweh, God, has made all things. In Colossians 1:16, Paul says that by him [Jesus] all things were created. The two must be the same person.
False Teaching Two: Jesus was the firstborn, so He is not God.
Colossians 1:15 states, He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the word firstborn means that He was the first to be born. However, the word firstborn in this context is a title and a status symbol. It is not referring to birth order.
There are a few instances in the Bible that reveal that the word firstborn is not always used to refer to birth order. In Genesis 48, Jacob gives a blessing to Joseph's two sons, and he decides to bless the younger son, Ephraim. Normally, that blessing goes to the older son.
Jeremiah 31:9 refers to this instance with the phrase because I am Israel's father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son. Ephraim was not the firstborn, but he received the blessing of the firstborn and therefore had the status of the firstborn. Like Ephraim, Jesus has the status of the firstborn.
Another instance is found in reference to King David. Psalm 89:27 states, I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth. King David had seven older brothers. He was not the first or the last king of Israel. But God chose him to be the preeminent one, and made his line the line of Jesus. Again, firstborn simply refers to status.
False Teaching Three: Jesus submits to the Father, so He is less than the Father.
Jehovah's Witnesses teach that if Jesus receives from and submits to the Father, He must be less than God. They refer to John 14:28, which states, You heard me say, "I am going away and I am coming back to you." If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. They believe since Jesus says that the Father is greater, He must be lesser.
Their view, however, ignores the fact that Jesus had two natures, man and God, and thus had two roles. He was representing God to man and man to God. Just as the role of the husband is to lead by being a servant, Jesus' role is to be a living example to us of how to obey the will of the Father.
Philippians 2:5-8 states, Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Jesus did not consider it robbery to be equal with God. You cannot rob something you already own. Jesus was and is equal with God. In John 10:30, Jesus states, I and the Father are one.
False Teaching Four: Jesus was brought forth or created.
Proverbs 8:24 reads, When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no fountains abounding with water. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that this verse shows that Jesus was created. But in Proverbs 8, wisdom, not Jesus, is the speaker throughout. For example, Proverbs 8:12 reads, I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And find out knowledge and discretion. The whole chapter is about wisdom.
False Teaching Five: Jesus is Michael, the archangel.
Jehovah's Witnesses make the claim that Jesus is Michael, the archangel. But the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is superior to the angels in many ways.
Jesus received worship many times and never told anyone not to worship him. One example is found in Matthew 14:33, which reads, Then those who were in the boat came and worshipped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God." Jesus did not stop them.
Angels, unlike Jesus, did not receive worship. Revelation 22:8-9 states, Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then he said to me, "See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God." The angel tells John not to worship him, but to worship God. Jesus never had to say this to anyone who worshipped Him because He is God.
Another example of the superiority of Jesus can be seen by comparing the interaction of Michael and the devil to the temptation of Jesus in the desert. Jude 9 states, Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" Michael did not rebuke the devil on his own strength, but on the Lord's strength.
When Jesus faced the devil in the desert, He did not need anyone else's name to rebuke him. Matthew 4:10 reads, Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.'"
False Teaching Six: John 1:1 says, "The Word was "a" God."
Jehovah's Witnesses added "a" to John 1:1 in their Bible. John 1:1 actually reads, The Word was God. The best way to question them about this lie is to ask how many gods there are. Are there one or two? If the word is a god and God is a god, there are two. They will answer that there is only one God.
Isaiah 9:6 reads, For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Jehovah's Witnesses may try to point out that the description of Jesus as Mighty God is different than descriptions of God the Father as Almighty God. This is absolutely not true, because Everlasting Father is also used to describe Jesus, directly after Mighty God.
Pastor Miles wanted to encourage us to study the Bible very closely in order to be able to defend our faith. Jehovah's Witnesses have created a very confusing cult, and it is not a simple matter to argue with them. Faith comes by hearing-so keep studying the Word!