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Doctrines that creep in: Jehovah Witness and the Trinity denial video

Jesus's tomb is empty.  What does the Bible tell us about His deity?
Jesus's tomb is empty. What does the Bible tell us about His deity?
Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images

There is a video on youtube, “The Truth about the Trinity,” published by “Jehovah today” on July 14, 2014. It is basically material designed to disprove the Trinity, more specifically to deny the deity of Christ and appears to be a teaching tool specifically for Jehovah Witnesses.

Since Scripture can be used in so many ways to prove and disprove virtually any doctrinal issue, this article is intended to provide a counter position.

The video begins by quoting 1 Corinthians 4:4 which is an attempt to lay the foundation that the doctrine of the Trinity is a trick by Satan used to blind people to the truth about Jesus. Claiming Satan is behind something is a technique that is used on many occasions to “brow beat” those who hold a different opinion. The idea here is that the Jehovah Witness position is legitimate and anyone who disagrees with this position has been blinded by Satan. The suggestion is that anyone who accepts the Trinity cannot see the truth of the Gospel. Yet in reality, those who accept the Trinity do see the glorious gospel of Christ.

The video next goes to one of the temptations of Christ, then without explanation moves to the claim, “The Trinity denies Jesus Christ came in the flesh. The man-made doctrine rejects the Body and Blood of Christ.” The next slide says, “The Trinity rejects Jesus (sic) inspired words,” and then refers to Luke 22:19. These are outrageous statements. Those who believe in the Trinity teach that Christ came in the flesh, He was born of a virgin, He was crucified, His blood was spilled on the cross, His body was buried in a tomb, and He was resurrected three days later. They accept the body and blood of Christ because it was His shed blood that made atonement for sin.

The video moves on to Hebrews 10:6, 10. Trinitarians accept both of these verses .

The video changes to the following statements, “The Trinity teaches that Jesus is God in John 1:1 and Rejects Jesus as 'the Christ' Who is that liar if it is not the one that denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one that denies the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22)”

First, it's not John 1:1 by itself. The verse needs to be taken in context. John 1:1-5, 14, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not … And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 1:1 says the Word was God and John 1:14 says the Word was made flesh. 1 John 1:1-3 follows the same theme. John in his first epistle says they have seen and touched the Word of life which was with the Father. Combining John's books, he says the Word was God, everything was made by Him, the Word became flesh, and they saw and touched Him.

Now look at Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” John said all things were created by the Word and the Word became flesh. Put the concepts together, God created, the Word created, the Word became flesh. The logical conclusion is that the Word created; Jesus was the Word that John saw and touched; Jesus therefore created all things; Jesus is God.

The Hebrew word for “God” in Genesis 1:1 is Elohim; it is not Jehovah. Elohim is the plural of El. The form of the word in Hebrew allows for the plurality within the Godhead. In Genesis 1:2, the Spirit of God moves upon the face of the waters. In Genesis 1:26, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Notice the plurals - “us” and “our.” (This is not the royal “we” like the Queen of England uses to describe herself, as some teach. That construct is used nowhere in the Bible. Moreover, throughout the Old Testament, there are multiple places where God announces things He intends to do – and in every case, He refers to Himself in the single, first person pronoun “I,” and never in the royal plural “We.”) Furthermore, the Hebrew word for “God” in Genesis 1:26 is also “Elohim.” In the very beginning of the Bible, we can see the Trinity in the plural of Elohim and in the presence of the Holy Spirit moving upon the face of the waters.

The name Jehovah appears for the first time in Genesis chapter 2:4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, and 22. In most translations, it is written as LORD God. In the Hebrew it is Jehovah Elohim or Yahweh Elohim. Even with this name of Jehovah, LORD God or Jehovah God is still recorded in the plural.

As the next slide in the video points out the word “Trinity” is not in the Bible, but neither is the word “rapture.” These are simply doctrinal words to describe Biblical concepts. Just because the word is not there doesn't nullify the doctrine. The exact phrase “Jehovah Witness” is not in the Bible, but that doesn't negate the organization.

The video's next slide has, “Trinity teachings: God is a man ... Son of man is God ... God dies ... God worshiped by Trinity Idols.” There is truth here, though the way the slide is put together it is intended to distort it. Only in Jesus do we see that God became man and the Son of man is God. God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are not man. Though Jesus became man, He never ceased being God.

Back to John 1:14. The Greek word for “dwelt” could be translated “tabernacled” and is a reference to the tabernacle in the wilderness. It was in the wilderness the Hebrew children saw the Shekinah (or the glorious manifestation of God's glory) at the tabernacle. When John says, “We beheld His glory,” he appears to be referring to seeing the Shekinah as dwelling in the tabernacle of the flesh of Jesus. He saw it most distinctly on the Mount of Transfiguration.

Trinity doctrine does not teach that God dies as the slide infers it to mean. Death actually means separation. When someone dies, their spirit is separated from their physical body. When Jesus died, His spirit was separated from His physical body. When He was resurrected, His spirit was reunited with His glorified body. Thus He says in Revelation 1:8, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord,which is, and was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:11 … “the first and last … I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for ever more.” Then Revelation 2: “These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive.” Revelation 21:6,7: “... I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give freely unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God.” John writing in Revelation records Jesus' words, “I am Alpha and Omega … the Almighty … which was dead, and is alive … I will be his God.” The Scriptures tell us that God died, but taken in context is referring to Jesus' physical death on the cross. It is also Biblical evidence that Jesus is God as part of the Trinity.

The Trinity doctrine does not teach that God is worshiped by Trinity Idols.

The video changes to a slide that lists several verses that apply to God the Father. It especially twists Numbers 23:19. The slide proclaims, “Son of Man is not God.” Notice how “Son” and “Man” have been capitalized on the slide. That is the way a Trinitarian would write it in English to honor Jesus when referring to Him as the Son of Man. But that is not the context of the verse. Here is what is actually written in the Bible, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” That verse is not referring to THE Son of Man (meaning Jesus), but is rather referring to a generic person.

The video moves on to a slide about Jehovah alone being the Most High. There is no argument there from a Trinitarian.

The next slide quotes Jesus rebuking Satan during the temptations when He said, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (A side note, the slide uses the Jehovah Witness Bible translation when it has Jesus saying, “It is Jehovah your God ...” The original Greek does not use “Jehovah your God,” but rather it is Kyrion ton Theon – the Lord your God. It's just a minor example of how the Watch Tower manipulates their translations to match their doctrine.) The reality is there are several times in the Bible when Jesus accepted worship and did not rebuke the person: Matthew 8 from the leper, Matthew 9 from the ruler, Matthew 15 from a woman of Canaan, Matthew 28 from His disciples, Mark 5 from the demonic, Luke 24 at His ascension, John 9:38 from the healed blind man.

In every one of these instances, Jesus accepted worship. Compare that to the action of angels: And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not … worship God (Revelation 19:10). And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not … worship God (Revelation 22:8b,9).

Angels do not accept worship and, remember, Jesus told Satan, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve,” and in the Ten Commandments God said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” So, if Jesus accepted worship and He is not God, He would have sinned, and I doubt very seriously that God would have proclaimed, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matthew 17:5). And of course, had He sinned, He would have been disqualified as a perfect sacrifice, able to die for the sins of the world.

The next slide claims Jesus exposes the Trinity as a lie, but He did just the opposite when He accepted worship without rebuking those who offered it. Even the wise men that visited Him at His birth fell down and worshiped Him.

The video continues with a claim, “The Trinity has it's (sic) roots deep into Paganism and devil worship” with a claim that, “It stems from the tower of Babel.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. CONFUSION is generated only when verses are distorted and taken out of context. Interestingly, according to John J. Parsons in Hebrew for Christians, “the name Elohim is unique to Hebraic thinking: it occurs only in Hebrew and in no other ancient Semitic language.” The tower of Babel pre-dates all of the ancient Semitic languages, yet there is no record in any of the other ancient languages of a similar concept to that of Elohim. So, I don't know from where Jehovah today got his/her information. Whatever the source, it would seem to be unreliable. Perhaps Jehovah today is tying together the tower of Babel with later pagan worship solely for the purpose of argument and is thus twisting the facts, but then again, the confusion at the tower of Babel was God's plan. Thus, the confusion was neither Satanic nor was it rooted paganism and devil worship.

After a few more out of context claims, the video turns its attention to arguing against the doctrine of eternal damnation and ends with an invitation to order Watch Tower material. Since that is beyond the scope of this article, I will return to the issue of the Trinity and specifically the deity of Christ.

Continuing with the plainest statement in the Bible from John 20:28, “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.” Thomas has just seen Jesus for the first time since His resurrection, and he responded by calling Him Lord and God.

Now, those who deny the deity of Christ will say that Thomas was just using a figure of speech – an idiom – of stunned surprise, just like someone would do today when they say, “Oh my God!” Well, there are three problems with that argument. The first is that idioms don’t translate well from one language to the other and seldom survive after a few generations. There are idioms in the Bible. In Amos 4:6, God says, “And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities.” By “cleanness of teeth,” God means hunger. We don’t use that phrase today. Another example comes from the Shakespearean play, Romeo and Juliet. In Scene 1 the character Sampson says, “I will bite my thumb at them.” Does anyone say or do this today? No, because the insult intended by the gesture did not survive the centuries. Secondly, an individual and individuals within a culture have the tendency to use the same idiom over and over again. Thomas, nor anyone else, is ever recorded as having said this at any other time. Thirdly, if Thomas meant it as many do today, it would be considered a use of the Lord’s name in vain. No Jew would ever dare to do so and Jesus would have rebuked Thomas, but He didn’t.

There is another clear indication Jesus is God. Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” The Child, Jesus, will be the mighty God.

There is more evidence: Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by (John 8:58,59). I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God (John 10:30-33).

In John 8:58, when Jesus said “I am,” He is using the name by which God identified Himself in the burning bush when speaking to Moses (Exodus 3:14). In John 10:30, when He says, “I and my Father are one,” He means They are the same; They are equal. The Jews understood that He was proclaiming Himself to be God and so they tried to stone Him. That’s why Paul could write about Jesus, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (Philippians 2:6).

Earlier, I talked about idioms. Here's an actual one from the early first century that Jesus used: But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy (Matthew 26:63-65).

“Thou hast said” was an idiom that meant, “Yes, I am.” (Jesus used a similar one when He responded to Pilate with “Thou sayest it.”) Additionally, when someone claims to be a “son,” he means he shares the attributes of or the nature of his father. So the high priest is actually asking Jesus if He is God. When Jesus answered, “Though hast said,” the high priest knew that Jesus meant He was God and that is why he claimed Jesus spoke blasphemy.

Matthew records in 9:1-7, “And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house.”

The pharisees accuse Jesus of blasphemy because they know only God can forgive the kinds of sins this man had committed. Jesus forgives his sins because He is God and then heals the man to demonstrate His authority.

Here is another example: Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm (Matthew 8:26). Compare this with Psalm 89:8,9: O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee? Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them. In the Old Testament, the LORD (Jehovah) calms the seas. In the New Testament, Jesus demonstrates He is God by doing an act that is attributable to Jehovah.

Even though there are other examples, just one more for brevity’s sake: For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20). Only God can be in more than one place at the same time. Man can’t do it. The angels can’t. Satan can’t. Throughout the world every day and especially on Sundays, there are people gathered in Jesus’ name simultaneously and continuously. The only way He can be in all of those places at the same time is for Him to be God.

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