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This is made clearer still in Mark 14v61-64 where the high priest asks Him:
''Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?'
And Jesus said, 'I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.'
And tearing his clothes the high priest said, 'What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the BLASPHEMY; how does it seem to you?' And they ALL condemned Him to be deserving of death.'
Notice that Matthew 26 has basically the same account but, in verse 61, witnesses stated:
'This man stated, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.''
What Jesus really said is recorded in John 2v20-22; but He clearly claimed that He would raise the temple (which the disciples realised afterwards was His body) and, as noted earlier, He claimed that He would raise His own body. That this Scripture can stand alone (as compared with John 10v17-18) as evidence that Jesus was equal with God, is shown by the reply He gave in John 5v17-23 where He showed that whatever the Father does the Son also does.
If you look at the scriptural reasons for putting to death (see the discussion under John 8v58, for instance) then you will see that Jesus was obviously not guilty of any of them. However, consider these points:
He had many opportunities to deny His claim if He really had not meant to claim that He was equal to God - but He never ever denied that He was equal with God - in fact He made so many claims of Oneness with the Father, that no listener could be in any doubt as to His origin. Jesus never made any attempt to deny their assertion, or to show them that they had put the wrong construction on His claim.
On the many occasions when the Jews were wrong in their use of the Law, or were hypocritical (e.g., Matthew 22v18 & 23v13, Luke 11v44), Jesus quickly pointed out their error. Is there a single example in the New Testament where Jesus failed to make it clear (to the Pharisees, Sadducees, Jews) that they were wrong? Even when His answer was not direct so that they were forced into silence because they knew He was speaking about them, He always made it clear when they were in error. If Jesus was not the Son of God and was not equal to God, why would He not make this plain to the Jews when He knew the penalty for such a claim was horrendous death on a cross!?
It is inconceivable that the Jews condemned Him simply because they misunderstood the true nature of his claims. It is plain from the Scriptural records that they put him to death because they clearly recognised the claims He was making - but refused to accept Him despite the evidence of the miracles which, it is clear, only God could do!
Peter reminded them of this soon after:
'You denied the Holy and Righteous One.' (Acts 3v14)
Closely connected with His claim to be God's Son was His claim to be the Christ or the Messiah. What kind of Messiah had the Jewish prophets led the people to expect?
Isaiah had described the coming one as:
(Isaiah 7v14): 'Immanuel - God with us'
(Isaiah 9v6): 'Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.'
Jeremiah 23v5: 'See the days are coming - it is 'Yahweh' who speaks - when I will raise a virtuous Branch for David, who will reign as true king and be wise, practising honesty and integrity in the land. In His days Judah will be saved and Israel dwell in confidence. And this is the name he will be called: 'Jehovah-our-righteousness.'
Micah spoke of His eternal pre-existence (Micah 5v2); Daniel predicted His everlasting dominion (Daniel 7v14); Zechariah refers to Him as 'the man that is my fellow' (Zechariah 13v7); and, in Malachi, His advent is described as 'Jehovah' coming suddenly to His temple' (Malachi 3v1).
Page 8 continued - Awake! April 22, 2005
WBTS statement: Yet, a person may ask, in what sense is Jesus a "Mighty God." and didn't the apostle John say that Jesus is himself God?' In the King James version of the Bible, John 1:1 reads: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Some argue that this means that "the Word," who was born on earth as the baby Jesus, is Almighty God himself. Is this true?WHY TRUST IN THE DECEIVERS OF THE WBTS WHO KNOWINGLY QUOTED FROM A BIBLE TRANSLATION INSPIRED BY DEMONS - FOR NEARLY 30 YEARS!
If this verse were interpreted to mean Jesus was himself God Almighty, it would contradict the preceding statement, "the Word was with God." Someone who is "with" another person cannot be the same as that other person. Many Bible translations thus draw a distinction, making clear that the Word was not God Almighty. For example, a sampling of Bible translations say the following: "The Word was a God," "a god was the Word," and "the Word was divine". [* See The New Testament by James L. Tomanek: The Emphatic Diaglott interlinear reading, by Benjamin Wilson: The Bible - An American Translation by J.M.P. Smith and E. J. Goodspeed.
[Orthodox Christian Reply: Until around 1950, Jehovah's Witnesses carried with them a copy of the American Standard Version of the Bible (because it features the name 'Jehovah' throughout the Old Testament). But they faced the embarrassing problem of trying to deny the deity of Christ, while the very Bible they held in their hand said plainly that "the Word was God." This problem was 'solved' when the Watchtower Society published its own New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.
Now, when Christians refer Jehovah's Witnesses to John 1:1, the Witnesses can answer, "That's not in my Bible!" They can turn to John 1:1 in their own translation, and read "… the Word was a god." By reducing Jesus Christ to "a god," the WBTS places him among the "many 'gods' and many 'lords' " of 1 Corinthians 8:5 - on the same level as Satan, "the god of this system of things" (2 Corinthians 4:4, NWT).
The WBTS presents the New World Translation as the anonymous work of the New World Bible Translation Committee - and resists all efforts to identify the members of the committee. They say they do this in order that all credit for the work will go to God. But an unbiased observer will quickly note that they were content to include the authors name on all their earlier books by C.T. Russell and 'Judge' Rutherford! The truth is that such anonymity now shields the translators from any blame for errors or distortions in their renderings. And it prevents scholars from checking their credentials. In fact, defectors who have quit WBTS headquarters over the years have identified the alleged members of the committee, revealing that none of them was expert in Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic - the original languages from which the Bible must be translated.
First, regarding their statement: 'Someone who is "with" another person cannot be the same as that other person,' we can say that the WBTS have made their usual hash in interpreting logical statements of Scripture. The godhead is defined as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit and this is set in the context of the revealed God as 'a Spirit' (John 4:24: '24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."). Jesus is the only member of the godhead known to have taken on a human form to walk the earth as the Messiah; as such, He now has a glorified body in heaven which is evidence to the whole of creation that He has redeemed those who are His (Luke 1:68 and Galatians 3:13 in the WBTS' NWT confirms this truth):
Luke 1:68 (NWT) "Blessed be Jehovah the God of Israel, because he has turned his attention and performed deliverance toward his people.
Galatians 3:13 (NWT) 'Christ by purchase released us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse instead of us, because it is written: "Accursed is every man hanged upon a stake."'
The WBTS are being utterly illogical in their statement that 'Someone who is "with" another person cannot be the same as that other person,' because we can easily state of two human beings together that, for example, Mike is with Tom and Mike is just as much a human being as Tom is a human being. But we are not saying that Mike is Tom just as we are not saying that Jesus is the Father. It does not seem to strike the WBTS trained mind that God is not like us (Job 9:32; Hosea 11:9), He is Spirit (John 4:24) and, since nothing is impossible for God (Luke 1:37), He could actually appear in any form He wanted. He could come to earth in the form of one Man (Jesus!) - or He could come in the form of a billion Men! God-Man one (Jesus!) could be exactly the same as God-Man one billion if He chose to appear so! None of this would prevent Him being God - despite the attempts of the WBTS to put Him in a little box of their making!
When the WBTS say that 'Many Bible translations thus draw a distinction, making clear that the Word was not God Almighty' what standard of scholarship are they actually talking about? Let us examine the evidence.
For many years Jehovah's Witnesses turned for support of their "a god" rendering to The New Testament (1937) by Johannes Greber, since Greber also translated it as " … the Word was a god." Watchtower Society publications repeatedly quoted or cited Greber in support of this and other renderings, as follows:
Aid to Bible Understanding (1969), pages 1134 and 1669
"Make Sure of All Things - Hold Fast to What Is Fine" (1965), page 489
The Watchtower, 9/15/62, page 554
The Watchtower, 10/15/75, page 640
The Watchtower, 4/15/76, page 231
"The Word" - Who Is He? According to John (1962), page 5
However, when orthodox Christians exposed Greber as a spiritist who claimed that spirits showed him what words to use in his translation, suddenly The Watchtower had to try and cover their tracks and so, in the 4/1/83 issue we read, on page 31:
This translation was used occasionally in support of renderings of Matthew 27:52, 53 and John 1:1, as given in the New World Translation and other authoritative Bible versions. But as indicated in a foreword to the 1980 edition of The New Testament by Johannes Greber, this translator relied on "God's Spirit World" to clarify for him how he should translate difficult passages. It is stated: "His wife, a medium of God's Spirit world was often instrumental in conveying the correct answers from God's Messengers to Pastor Greber." The Watchtower has deemed it improper to make use of a translation that has such a close rapport with spiritism. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) The scholarship that forms the basis for the rendering of the above-cited texts in the New World Translation is sound and for this reason does not depend at all on Greber's translation for authority. Nothing is lost, therefore, by ceasing to use his New Testament.
Thus, it appeared that the Society had only just then discovered Greber's spiritistic connections and immediately repented of using him for support. However, this, too, was yet another deception - because the WBTS already knew of Greber's spiritism 27 years earlier, in 1956. The Watchtower of February 15, 1956, contains nearly a full page devoted to warning readers against Johannes Greber and his translation. It refers to his book titled Communication with the Spirit-World: Its Laws and Its Purpose and states: "Very plainly the spirits in which ex-priest Greber believes helped him in his translation" (The Watchtower, 2/15/56, p. 111).
WHAT DO GREEK SCHOLARS THINK ABOUT JEHOVAH*S WITNESS TRANSLATION OF JOHN 1:1?
Aside from Greber's New Testament and the WBTS's biased version, other English-language Bible translations are nearly unanimous in rendering John 1:1 as " … the Word was God." This is consistent with the declaration by the apostle Thomas, also found in John's Gospel, calling Jesus "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28). Despite the attempted deception of the WBTS, their New World Translation still calls Jesus "God" in John 20:28 and Isaiah 9:6. In fact, their 1985 Kingdom Interlinear version reveals that the Greek literally says Jesus is "the God" (Greek: ho theos) in John 20:28.
As we have already shown, anyone who believes that the Father is God, while the Son is "a god" should read Isaiah 43 and 44, where the inspired Word dismisses such a notion: "Before Me no God was formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, and beside Me there is no Saviour.… is there a god beside me? There is no other Rock; I know of none!" (Isaiah. 43:10-11; 44:8, MLB).
Dr. Julius R. Mantey: calls the Watchtower translation of John 1:1 "A GROSSLY MISLEADING TRANSLATION." It is neither scholarly nor reasonable to translate John 1:1 'the Word was a god.* ... of all the scholars in the world, so far as we know, none have translated this verse as Jehovah*s Witnesses have done."
Bruce M. Metzger (Professor of New Testament Language and literature at Princeton Theological Seminary): "Far more pernicious in this same verse is the rendering, . . . 'and the Word was a god,* with the following footnotes: " 'A god,* In contrast with 'the God'". It must be stated quite frankly that, if the Jehovah*s Witnesses take this translation seriously, they are polytheists. In view of the additional light which is available during this age of Grace, such a representation is even more reprehensible than were the heathenish, polytheistic errors into which ancient Israel was so prone to fall. As a matter of solid fact, however, such a rendering is a frightful mistranslation." (THEOLOGY TODAY April, 1953)
Dr. J. J. Griesback: "So numerous and clear are the arguments and testimonies of Scriptures in favour of the true Deity of Christ, that I can hardly imagine how, upon the admission of the Divine authority of Scripture, and with regard to fair rules of interpretation, this doctrine can by any man be called in doubt. Especially the passage John 1:1 [which] is so clear and so superior to all [without] exception, that by no daring efforts of either commentators or critics can it be snatched out of the hands of the defenders of the truth."
Dr. Eugene A. Nida (Head of the Translation Department of the American Bible Society Translators of the GOOD NEWS BIBLE): "With regard to John 1:1 there is, of course, a complication simply because the NEW WORLD TRANSLATION was apparently done by persons who did not take seriously the syntax of the Greek".
Dr. William Barclay (University of Glasgow, Scotland): "The deliberate distortion of truth by this sect is seen in their New Testament translations. John 1:1 is translated: '. . . the Word was a god*, a translation which is grammatically impossible. It is abundantly clear that a sect which can translate the New Testament like that is intellectually dishonest." (THE EXPOSITORY TIMES Nov. 1953)
Dr. B. F. Westcott (Whose Greek text is used in JW KINGDOM INTERLINEAR): "The predicate (God) stands emphatically first, as in 4:24. It is necessarily without the article. . . No idea of inferiority of nature is suggested by the form of expression, which simply affirms the true Deity of the Word... in the third clause 'the Word* is declared to be 'God* and so included in the unity of the Godhead."
Dr. Ernest C. Colwell (University of Chicago): "A definite predicate nominative has the article when it follows the verb; it does not have the article when it precedes the verb; . . .this statement cannot be regarded as strange in the prologue of the gospel which reaches its climax in the confession of Thomas. 'My Lord and my God.*" John 20:28
Dr. F. F. Bruce (University of Manchester, England): "Much is made by Arian amateur grammarians of the omission of the definite article with 'God* in the phrase: 'And the Word was God'. Such an omission is common with nouns in a predicate construction ... 'a god* would be totally indefensible."
Dr. Paul L. Kaufman (Portland OR.): "The Jehovah*s Witness people evidence an abysmal ignorance of the basic tenets of Greek grammar in their mistranslation of John 1:1"
Dr. Charles L. Feinberg (La Mirada CA.): "I can assure you that the rendering which the Jehovah*s Witnesses give John 1:1 is not held by any reputable Greek scholar."
Dr. Harry A. Sturz (Chairman of the Language Department and Professor of Greek at Biola College): "Therefore, the NWT rendering: "the Word was a god" is not a "literal" but an ungrammatical and tendential translation. A literal translation in English can be nothing other than: "the word was God." (THE BIBLE COLLECTOR, July-December, 1971 p. 12)
For additional information on the deity of Christ and attempts by Watchtower translators to hide it in their Bible, see the discussions of Genesis 18:1-2; Exodus 3:14; Psalm 110:1; Isaiah 9:6; John 8:57-58; John 20:28; and Hebrews 1:6 etc.]
(Continued on page 83)