Jehovah`s Witness/John 5:18
Hello again Derrick. Can you please explain this verse to me. I understand that they wanted to kill Jesus because he claimed to be the Son of God,therefore making him equal to God. How is this so? It's my understanding that the Jews were pretty good on the old testament scriptures.
Now I have asked two JWs that I work with for their interpretation. The first one said that they were mistaken, but couldn't show me anything in the scriptures to support this. The second one just shrugged his shoulders and didn't seem like it was a big deal not to know why.
So is there any validity to the Jews being mistaken about the status of the Son of God?
Thanks again Kevin.
Hello, Kevin. Good to hear from you again. Its been awhile. I hope you are doing well.
This is one of the basic flaws in the JW argument. First, it must be stated that MOST JWs who spend time here commenting on the Trinity, don't even have an accurate understanding of what it is. This is obvious by some of the statements they make, which have nothing to do with the Trinity. Such as:
1. Jesus couldn't be the Father, because He prayed to the Father (No Trinitarian believes Jesus is the Father)
2. When Jesus was dead in the tomb, Who ran the universe for 3 days (No Trinitarian believes that God the Father was dead)
And finally, the argument under discussion here....
3. How can Jesus be both God, and the Son of God? Wouldn't this imply that He is His own Father/Son?
The fact is, Jesus is BOTH God and the Son of God, and there is no contradiction in the least. In fact, Jesus is also called the "Son of Man" quite often in the Scriptures, yet even JWs would not use their own argument in that context, and say...."Well, Jesus could not be both man AND the "Son of Man". Why? Because the title "Son of Man" actually IMPLIES Jesus' humanity, and proves He IS a man, just as the title "Son of God" implies His deity.
And this is the very way the Jews understood the claim. JWs can claim all they want that the Jews were simply mistaken, but they were not. They completely understood the claim, and I am quite certain that the Jews also understood in that time how literal "sons" were conceived, and realized that Jesus was not using the term in this manner. To the ones who were standing right there listening to Him, they understood His claim to be the Son of God, as making Him equal with God. No, they did not ALL make the same mistake, as would have to be the case, if the JW argument is correct. And they fully understood what He was claiming, and they all reached the conclusion that calling God His Father, was a claim to be equal with God. If this were a false understanding, why did all the Jews present, as far as we know, make the same mistake?
It is important to remember that Jesus is not the "Son of God", because of having literal relations with Mary, which is what the Mormon doctrine teaches. The term "Son of God" refers to Jesus' unique relationship with His Father.
Let's look at the passage in question:
John 5:18- "Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God."
Kevin, there is something important to notice about the way this verse is written. This is JOHN speaking, not the Jews. He is giving HIS summary as to what Jesus said, and what it was implying. He didn't say...."the Jews MISTAKENLY THOUGHT He was making Himself equal with God". No, John himself acknowledged that Jesus' claim to be the Son, was making Himself equal to God.
I am also enclosing a link, which deals with this concept a little more in depth......
Kevin, the key is what you said here...."Now I have asked two JWs that I work with for their interpretation. The first one said that they were mistaken, but couldn't show me anything in the scriptures to support this."
That's the key....JWs may try to say that the Jews were mistaken, but where is the Scriptural evidence here that this is so? It would seem that a correction would have been in order, had the Jews been mistaken in their accusation....either by Christ, or by John himself. And since it is the Gospel of John that contains so many other statements testifying to Christ's deity, this is consistent with the rest of the Book.
Bottom line....The Jews were correct in understanding that "Son of God", or calling God His "Father", was a claim to deity.
It is also important to point out, that Jesus' relationship to the Father as the "Son of God", is quite unique to others who are called "sons of God".
The Scripture contains 3 types of "sons of God":
1. Created "sons of God"....angels
2. Adopted "sons of God"....those of us who have been adopted into God's family, through the new birth
3. The only Begotten Son of God....There is only one Begotten Son of God, and that is Christ Jesus
No angel can use their sonship as a claim to deity, because they are created. No human can use their sonship as a claim to deity, because we are sons by adoption. But Christ is the Son by His very nature and essence, giving Him the right to claim that equality.
You also said that the other JW you asked, didn't seem inclined to even find out why this verse says what it does. This is sad, because you would think getting the identity of Jesus Christ right, would be a big deal.
You know, it seems to me it is all about the Organization, and not Christ. I was at a flea market last week in St. Augustine, Florida, when I was on vacation. My wife and I were walking through, and we came to a booth with 2 JWs sitting there. On the front table, there was a great deal of Watchtower publications, and a sign that said something about "answering Bible questions", and "having everlasting life".
These guys are there to show people the way to everlasting life, and yet, there was not ONE "Bible" on the table....only a collection of the Society's publications. I thought...."Really, Guys?" Now to be fair, one of the guys at the booth had his own personal NWT sitting on another table beside him, but on the table with the free literature, there was not ONE Bible for people to take.
Now, you tell me....Is it about the truth of the Scriptures, or about the Organization?
Just my thoughts on it.
I hope this answer helped, and please feel to ask for clarification if you need me to elaborate on something.
Take care, Kevin, and God bless.