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1 The terms "divinity" and "deity" can be
confusing. In most cases the terms have identical meanings.
However, some have used "divine" to refer to an angel, since it came from
God. However, an angel would not be a deity, since it is not by its
nature God.2 This book will only be concerned with the
deity of Jesus.3 JW's may on occasion say that Jesus is
a "god." However, they do not believe that he is "God" in the fullest
sense of deity. In their opinion, he is still a created being, unequal to
God in his essence.4 New Testament scholar, Raymond Brown,
explains multiple ways of understanding Titus 2:13, "the appearance of the
glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." Is Paul referring to
our great God and Savior Jesus Christ as two persons?
Or is he saying Jesus Christ is our great God-and-Savior?
Naturally, one can see how it can be understood both ways. Brown notes
that several careful scholars have understood the first option to be the more
correct, while the latter is virtually the unanimous view held by grammarians
and lexicographers. Raymond E. Brown. An Introduction to New Testament
Christology (Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1994), pp. 181-182.5 The Septuagint is the Greek Translation of the Old
Testament. This was the common translation in Jesus' day and used by the
New Testament writers the majority of the time when quoting the Old
Testament. Genesis 1:1 in the Septuagint reads: "In the arche
(beginning), God created the heavens and the earth."6 The Apostle Paul was particularly fond of
using arche in this sense. Of the twelve (12) times he used it
in his writings, nine (9) are in the political sense: Romans 8:38; 1
Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Colossians 1:16; 2:10, 15; Titus
3:1.7 The translation "by God" is possible, but
it is not required.8 Notice that the word "other" is in
brackets. This means the word is not found in the Greek text but was
inserted by the translators of the NWT to clarify their
interpretation. Their Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek
Scriptures provides their rationale in the footnote to verse 16, "All
[other], as in Luke 11:41, 42" (p. 880). But these are not even good
texts to support the NWT's interpretation, because "other" might be
inserted in order to smooth the translation, but it is not required.
Hebrews 2:10 has a Greek construction closer to Colossians 1:16, and yet
"other" is not inserted in the NWT. Therefore, the NWT's
insertion of "other" in Colossians 1:16 is clearly based on the Watchtower's
assumption that Jesus was created and not because the Greek requires it.9 For other examples see Genesis 4:10 and
Psalm 85:10. Also see E. W. Bullinger, Figures Of Speech Used In The
Bible: Explained and Illustrated (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House,
1968).10 See also 1:20-21; 3:13-16; 4:5-9;
9:1-6. Also see Psalm 85:10. 11 One may also ask if "Wisdom" is Jesus,
why refer to Him in the feminine gender.12 This becomes especially clear when
Proverbs 8 is taken in context with Proverbs 7 and 9. Verses 22-30 would seem
completely misplaced if they referred to Jesus. However, they fit right
in if "wisdom" is taken as a character quality which Solomon personifies.13 Genesis 16.14 Genesis 17:20-21.15The New International Dictionary of
New Testament Theology, Vol. 2, p. 725 states that the word "is used to
mark out Jesus uniquely above all earthly and heavenly beings; in its use the
present soteriological [salvific] meaning is more strongly stressed than that
of origin."16 Verses 3, 20, 35, 49.17 1 Samuel 8.18 1 Samuel 9:15-17; 10:1.19 No other major translation renders it as
such.20en auto.21meta auton.22synesteken. See Kittel
and Friedrich, eds. Theological Dictionary Of The New Testament,
Volume VII (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982), p.
897.23proteuon. Ibid., Volume VI, pp.
881-882.24 Ibid., pp. 877-878.25 Matthew 19:4-5.26 Ephesians 5:22-23; Colossians
3:18.27 Brown. An Introduction to New
Testament Christology, pp. 174, 189.28 For the writings of Ignatius and other
early Church Fathers see J. B. Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, eds. and transl.,
The Apostolic Fathers, Second Edition (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House,
1992).29 Irenaeus, Against Heresies,
3:3:4. In this passage, Irenaeus also claims to have spoken with Polycarp
when he (i.e., Irenaeus) was young. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical
History, 4:14. In the latter, Eusebius quotes Irenaeus.30 Polycarp. Philippians
12:2.31 The topic of how the early Church
Fathers viewed Jesus is beyond the scope of this book. However, you may
find an article on the subject by this author on his web site at www.risenjesus.com. Go to the "Articles"
section and select "The Early Church Fathers on Jesus."32Harris, Archer, Waltke, eds.
Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Volume 2 (Chicago: Moody
Press, 1980), p. 907.33 Richard Patterson, "Joel," in
The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Frank E. Gaebelein and Richard P.
Polycyn, eds. Volume 7 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1985), p.
243.34 Harris, Archer, Waltke, eds.
TWOT, Vol. 1, p. 149.35Dr. Ron Sauer, Professor of New Testament
at Moody Bible Institute, kindly pointed this out to me. Dr. Sauer was
the last student of the late F. F. Bruce. When I studied under him at
Liberty University, he devoted 8-14 hours daily to his personal study in the
Greek New Testament and instilled a passion in this student and many others to
learn the Greek language of the New Testament.36NIDNTT, Vol. 2, p. 86. TDNT, Vol. III, p.
123. See Romans 1:20 for its only use in the New Testament.
Interestinly, the NST has rendered the word "Godship."37NIDNTT, Vol. 2, p. 86. TDNT, Vol. III, p.
119. Also, see Fritz Rienecker. A Linguistic Key To The Greek
New Testament. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1980), p.
573.38Revelation 22 is somewhat difficult to
follow because John changes from one speaker to another without warning, as he
seems to do in verses 7, 12, and probably 17. The KJV (Red
Letter editions) and the NIV seem to present the conversation most
clearly. The NASB seems confused on where to place the quotation
marks. It has Jesus speaking in verses 6 and 7. But that is awkward
because it would force the Father to send the angel in verse 6 and then Jesus
to send the same angel for the same purpose in verse 16. The NWT
is likewise confused, identifying Jesus as the angel in verse 6 and also as the
one who sends the same angel (quite a task to send yourself) in verse 16.39Should You Believe in the
Trinity? New York: Watchtower Bible And Tract Society of New York, Inc.,
1989, pp. 26-28.40The same is also found in The Kingdom
Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (Brooklyn: Watchtower
Bible And Tract Society Of New York, Inc., 1985), pp. 11-39-1140.41The article is specifically identified in
Appendix 2A of The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek
Scriptures, pp. 1140 as Philip B. Harner, "Qualitative Anarthrous
Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1," in Journal of Biblical
Literature, ed. Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Vol. 92, 1973, pp. 75-87.42King James Version, American
Standard Version, New American Standard Bible, New International Version,
Revised Standard Version, New Revised Standard Version, New American Bible, New
Jerusalem Bible, New English Bible, Revised English Bible ("what God was,
the Word was"), Amplified Bible ("the Word was God Himself"),
Today's English Version ("he was the same as God"), New Living
Translation ("he was God.")43Harner, p. 84.44 Harner, p. 85.45 Harner, p. 85. New Testament
scholar, Murray Harris agrees. See his excellent book, Jesus As God:
The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus (Grand Rapids: Baker
Book House, 1992), p. 70. The late New Testament scholar, Raymond Brown
agrees in An Introduction to New Testament Christology, pp.
187-188.46Harner, p. 85.47"god" verses "God," much like "mighty
god" verses "Almighty God."48Harner, p. 87.49e.g., John 4:20; 5:15; 20:31. A. T.
Robertson. A Grammar Of The New Testament In The Light Of Historical
Research (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1934), pp. 759-761, 795 and H. E.
Dana and Julius R. Mantey. A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament
(Toronto: The Macmillan Company, 1955), pp. 139-140, 148-149.50As mentioned earlier, you may find an
article on the subject of the early Church Fathers on Jesus by this author on
his web site at www.risenjesus.com. Go to the "Articles"
section and select "The Early Church Fathers on Jesus."51Irenaeus. Against Heresies, Book
1, Ch 8; Book 3, Ch 11 (3 x's); Book 5, Ch 18.52Ibid., Book 1,
Ch 8.53Origin. De Principiis, Book 1,
Ch 2, Section 3.54Origin. Contra Celsus, Book 1,
Ch 66 [1:66]; 3:62; 4:99; 5:22; 6:48, 61, 68; 69 (2 x's), 71; 7:17 (3 x's), 42;
8:15, 22, 39, 75.55Clement of Alexandria. The
Instructor, Book 1, Ch 5.56For details, the reader may refer to the
article by this author titled, "The Early Church Fathers on Jesus," located at
www.risenjesus.com. Click on the
"Articles" tab.57 When cornered, JWs may likewise
reply that they are not interested in debate. You may reply "I'm not
either. But when it comes to something as important as the eternal
destiny of our soul, important questions must be asked and answered."58There are actually 2 others but these are
not readily apparent: Romans 8:33 reads theos ho dikaion ("God is the
one who justifies") and John 10:34 that reads theoi este ("gods you
are" or "You are gods." 59In Greek
the subject is often contained in the verb as in this phrase.).
The Greek Grammarians Dana and Mantey say that this statement "emphasizes
Christ's participation in the essence of the divine nature" (A Manual
Grammar of the Greek New Testament, p. 140). " . . . and the
word was deity. The article points out the subject in these examples
. . . nor was the word all of God, as it would mean if the article
were also used with theos. As it stands, the other persons of
the Trinity may be implied in theos" (Ibid., pp. 148-149).60As the New Revised Standard
Version translates it.61F.F. Bruce. The Epistles Of John
(Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1970), p. 142.
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