Jehovah`s Witness/Jesus and God - Understanding is Needed
QUESTION: Hello Brother Gunbaum:
As I was reading through the questions and answers and came across the question concerning Jesus and God. Although I know this is not going to be popular, I would invite the questioner to re-examine his question and interpretation of Rev. 3:14 and Rev. 22:13; for God, nowhere in scripture states, implies and gives way too infer that he has a beginning.
If the Scripture is read properly, the questioner will find that Jesus is continually testifying of He being the "First" of all creation and there is no mention of the God and his period of existence per se.
If you will allow me as a Baptist Preacher in total agreement with your position on this issue to expound and bring clarity to the proper interpretation of the scriptures as relates to Jesus and God for the benefit of the readers, and in invitation for them to "Study" the Word of God Properly:
Let us start with Rev. 3:14
The questioner stated that the "Witnesses" say this passage makes Jesus the first of all creation. However, it is the scriptures themselves that state this fact:
King James Version #KJV#
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
This passage of scripture literally says: To the messenger and overseer of the called out congregation of Laodiceans record; These things says the Faithful and True; The Faithful and True Witness who is the "beginning" the "first" of all things "created" "brought forth" by God # the Existing One#
Other Scriptures that testify to Jesus being "First" in creation:
King James Version #KJV#
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
In the beginning of time was the spoken 'Word" the "principle reason" and the Word was with/towards God, and the Word was "of" God; Divine. This although unpopular to Trinitarians can also be translated "a" "Lower CASE god", meaning the Word was of divinity; authority; a ruler and creator; However not "THE DEITY" "TRUE DEITY" but "OF IT" "FROM IT"
23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.
There are many other scripture that state Jesus is the beginning of all creation. If the scriptures are read in context and not according to some man made theosophy, plain understanding can be found.
Jesus a creator? Yes!
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
In understanding the above, we must first understand the "Beginning"
King James Version #KJV#
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
The Hebrew word for God in the above is "Elohyim". This word has a plural and singular meaning and usage. We must first understand that the opening verse of our Bibles tell us that Jesus and the Father created the Heaven and the Earth. This verse literally means:
In the beginning the "Divine Ones" " Rulers" created the Heaven and the Earth. Proof?
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
Now to those who may not understand; the problem is created by trying to make Jesus not "a" god; but "The God" as the Trinitarian Doctrine teaches. This is why when scriptures such as Rev. 22:13 comes into discussion, one will definitely in error state God has a beginning.
Does the Trinity exist? Yes and No!
There is God The Father..The Son..and the Holy Spirit. The Son and Holy Spirit are directly "Of and From GOD" and of his essence..Although to my recollection, there is no mention of a beginning for the "Holy Spirit" and understandably so, the Bible clearly shows a beginning for the Son. So as the Trinity teaches Coeternal, it is limited in the fact that the Son has a beginning however will forever exist.
The are not Co-equal for everything comes from the Father and done under the direction of the Father.
So yes the trinity does exist in the above manner, but the Trinity of a 3 in 1 God does not exist and is not Scripturally supported. The prophecies are not that God himself will come down and save mankind, but that a "Son" would be sent.
Examine what the book of Hebrews says of Jesus before his earthly life:
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
7 Then said I, Lo, I come #in the volume of the book it is written of me,# to do thy will, O God.
8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.
Ask yourself..who was it that prepared the body?
For sake of length I will cut this short and get right to Rev. 22:13
13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Simply put: I am the beginning of all things the ending of all things; the first of all creation and the last! Pray that you get understanding of this!
Now so it is not confused. I am Rev. Darryl Murphy, A Baptist Minister and fellow expert on this site. What I have written is not JW Theology or Doctrine, nor are they endorsed by the JWS. I have written this because too many times there are unlearned questions and unfounded attacks on issues that are clearly stated in the Bible. We have failed to challenge the old philosophies and theosophies of those so called early church fathers who introduced certain theories and formulas that they themselves borrowed from philosophers to try and explain what they themselves did not understand.
If you would research particular scriptures will come to mind:
24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
The relationship of The Father and Son has been complicated throughout time although it is simply explained throughout Genesis to Revelations.
It should also be known that I and Brother Grunbaum, as well as the JWS have numerous theological and doctrinal differences; however I asked that this be shared because on this issue as concerns Trinity...we agree!
Rev. Darryl Murphy
ANSWER: As a cleric you have heard all the arguments against this teaching and when I come up against the clergy I just try to simplify things and reason on the substance and essence of God.
We know that God is behind scripture so I try to capture as a teacher the intrinsic nature the very essence of not who he is but what he is.
He tells us:
(John 4:24) . . .God is a Spirit. . .
So that is what he is,a spirit person,so its reasonable to conclude his family is made up as he is :
(1 Corinthians 15:44) . . .If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one. . .
So we from scripture has captured the very intrinsic nature of what God and angels are:
Now we are also told he is holy:
(Leviticus 19:2) . . .because I Jehovah YOUR God am holy.
So we know for certain God is a holy spirit.
So a teaching that says there is the holy spirit apart from God the holy spirit needs not only defined scripturally but so it can be clearly understood because he is speaking to us so he wants us to understand the truth.
So the same indispensable properties that serve to characterize or identify the son of God would then be the same,he is a holy spirit.
Then his angels who are also said in scripture to be holy and are spirits are themselves holy spirits
(Mark 8:38) . . .in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
So a doctrine that there is a distinct separate entity that is the holy spirit when there are literally untold millions of spirits that are holy needs to be clearly defined in scripture.
So as a JW teacher I just focus on one scripture where Jesus is talking about sin against the holy spirit.
(Matthew 12:31-32) . . .Every sort of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the spirit will not be forgiven. 32 For example, whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the holy spirit, it will not be forgiven him, . . .
So God can be blasphemed and Jesus but not the holy spirit
(Luke 22:65) . . .And they went on saying many other things in blasphemy against him.
If we can understand exactly what this sin is and how it apply to the holy spirit then we can understand this teaching of a trinity in any form is not supported in scripture.
Assuming this is supported in scripture then two thirds of the very nature of God can be sinned against ,so somehow one part is above the others.
The Bible provides a specific example of one who blasphemed God and Christ but did not become guilty of unforgivable sin:
(1 Timothy 1:13) . . .although formerly I was a blasphemer and a persecutor and an insolent man. Nevertheless, I was shown mercy, because I was ignorant. . .
He didn't commit the sin against the spirit even though he did against God and Jesus because he said:
(1 Timothy 1:13# . . .I was shown mercy, because I was ignorant . . .
And thats the key,God is a spirit,Jesus is a spirit and I proved they are holy so he should have been guilty of sin against the spirit simply because God the holy spirit he sinned against.
It has nothing to do if the spirit is a force or a person its the sin itself not sinning on the person of the spirit.
We have an example of this sin:
Religious leaders deliberately placed themselves in opposition to the operation of the holy spirit,HOW?
After Jesus resurrected Lazarus from the dead, they were determined to have Jesus put to death.
#John 11:47-48# 47 Consequently the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the San´he·drin together and began to say: “What are we to do, because this man performs many signs? 48 If we let him alone this way, they will all put faith in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. . .
Then they wanted Lazarus dead:
#John 12:10-11) . . .The chief priests now took counsel to kill Laz´a·rus also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going there and putting faith in Jesus.
This is sin against the holy spirit,it has nothing to do with what the spirit is or who it is,
this sin against the spirit involves acting knowingly and deliberately against the evidence of the holy spirits operation,in this case the power of Jesus resurrected Lazarus from the dead.
Jesus was the one who resurrected Lazarus by the power of God,Jesus prayed to God not the holy spirit.
So working against what a person knows is from God is this sin,Judas committed this sin because he knew and seen the power.
When soldier guards stationed at the tomb brought back a report that Jesus had been raised from the dead, the chief priests were determined to hide the facts,so at this point its not who the spirit is or even what the spirit is ,its fighting against the actions of the spirit.
So understanding this passage and how the spirit can be sinned against while God and Jesus who both are spirits and holy cant helps one to understand the doctrine of the trinity.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hello again Brother Grunbaum
Well..guess what? We agree again. Not long ago, a yong man wrote to me worried that he had blasphemed the Holy Spirit. He told me of the things that he said and did and expressed that he was serioulsy stressed over the issue. After contacting several persons to help him understand, and numerous hours researching the issue, he was still unsettled because no one could explain what the sin was, but only told him that if he was worried about it, he probably didnt do it.
To make a long story short, I explained to him that it was all about "Intent" and gave him several examples. I gave him examples of things done in ignorance and things done knowingly and intentionally. He then was placed at ease.
Now I must say you make an excellent point and your approach using blasphemy is very simple and could be very effective in making one understand not only the sin but Trinity as well. I plan to use this next time I get into the issue. Thank you.
As always, it has been good corresponding with you
Rev. Darryl Murphy
ANSWER: You agree again? thats surprising now,because as a Cleric you are taught the holy spirit is a person not a force from God.
I need clarification as to what you agree on .I take it you agree to the nature of the sin not if the holy spirit is a person thats sinned against,so I will assume this is what you agree to.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hello again Brother Grunbaum:
I agree that the Holy Spirit is 'NOT A PERSON' as well as too the nature of the sin.
The first problem in the Trinitarian Doctrine is that the philosophers that developed and explained the formula, attempt to redefine "person" with failure. "Person", would imply human nature.
The proper term would be "being".
There is a Trinity of three Distinct "Beings" operating in total agreement. They are coeternal#existing forever#, consubstantial# of the same nature and essence#, but not coequal.
It is of no mystery..the HOLY SPIRIT IS A SPIRIT...The SON is Spirit that became flesh and returned to Spirit...The Father is Spirit.
Hope that clarifies things.
Rev. Darryl Murphy
"There is a Trinity of three Distinct "Beings" operating in total agreement. They are coeternal#existing forever#, consubstantial# of the same nature and essence#, but not coequal
What is the scriptural basis for this belief,here we have 3 different Gods that have always existed but one or two is greater ,yet one and the same substance,I like to see the scriptural support for this.
Then if they are not co-equal that present a major problem that one third or more is not God because in the OT we read there is no one like him and has no equal.
Provide scriptural support