The second conclusion was poorly worded. Jesus was already in the form of God and equal to Him, but He laid aside some privileges of Deity and took on man’s nature. He “made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant” (Phil. 2:9). Dr. A. T. Robertson, explains:
“Here is a clear statement by Paul of the deity of Christ. Of what did Christ empty Himself? Not of his divine nature. That was impossible. He continued to be the Son of God … Undoubtedly, Christ gave up his environment of glory.” (Word Pictures in the NT, 1932, 4:444-5)
Greek scholar, Marvin Vincent also stated: “As the form of God was identified with the being of God, so Christ, being in the form of God was identified with the being, nature and personality of God… Christ, being, before His incarnation, in the form of God, did not regard His divine equality as a prize which was to be grasped at and retained at all hazards, but, on the contrary, laid aside the form of God, and took upon Himself the nature of man. The emphasis of this passage is upon Christ’s humiliation” (Word Studies in the New Testament, vol 3, 431-432)
At this point, the booklet dives into semantics concerning the verb “grasped” (Gr: harpagmos) used in Phil. 2:6, without informing the reader that in Greek language, this verb has both the active and passive form which in either use still conveys the same truth – that Jesus is equal with God – He only temporarily emptied Himself. New Testament scholar, Ralph Martin, (who was deceitfully quoted on the same page) wrote:
“In his pre-existent state, Christ already had as his possession the unique dignity of his place within the Godhead. It was a vantage point from which he might have exploited his position and by an assertion of his right, have seized the glory and honour…[but] He considered the appropriation of divine honour in this way a temptation to be resisted and chose rather to be proclaimed as equal with God as the ‘Lord’ by the acceptance of his destiny as the incarnate and humiliated one” (The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians, pp 416-423).
It’s in this context that vs. 5 says our “attitude should be the same as Christ”in humility. Vs. 10 also says “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” This proves that Jesus is equal to God for in the Old Testament, God says: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth … That unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear” (Isa. 45:22-23).
4. “I Am” (John 5:58)
In an attempt to distance this verse from Exodus 3:14, they wrote: “the phrase ‘I AM’ is used as a title for God to indicate that he really existed and would do what he promised” (p. 26).
This title means more than that, it conveys eternality. This fact was also noted by Dr. J. H. Hertz, the Jewish rabbi they quoted there. To claim the expression at John 8:58 is different from the one at Exodus 3:14 doesn’t even make sense. Why did the Jews intend to stone Jesus when He said this (v. 59)? A Jewish Christian, Alfred Edersheim noted that:
“He had spoken of Abraham seeing His day; they took if of His seeing Abraham’s day, and challenged its possibility. Whether or not they intended to elicit an avowel of His claim to eternal duration, and hence Divinity, it was not time any longer to forbear the full statement, and, with Divine emphasis, He spake the words which could not be mistaken: ‘Verily, Verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, 2: 8)
The Greek word for “I Am” is ego eimi. A Greek scholar stated that “ego eimi as a self-designation of Jesus in Jn. 5:58 (cf. 8:24; 13:19) stands in contrast to the genesthai applied to Abraham. Jesus thus claimed eternity. As he is equal to the Father (5:18ff), what is ascribed to the Father is ascribed to him too (cf. Is. 43:10 LXX). The context and the ego formulation are both Jewish” (Gerhard Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 1971, 207)
The Commentary on the Whole Bible (Jamieson et al., 1961, p 1074) notes: “The words rendered ‘was’ and ‘am’ are quite different. The one clause means, ‘Abraham was brought into being’; the other, ‘I exist.’ The statement therefore is not that Christ came into existence before Abraham did (as Arians affirm is the meaning), but that He never came into being at all, but existed before Abraham had a being; in other words, existed before creation, or eternally (as ch. 1:1).”
In Isaiah 48:12 God addresses Himself as “I AM He” just the same way Jesus said to the soldiers: “I Am He” [ego eimi] and they fell to the ground in adoration (Jn. 18:4-6). Note: He didn’t say “I was.” In Revelation 1:17 Jesus also calls Himself “the first and the last” – the very title of Yahweh or Jehovah in that Isa. 48:12: “I am He; I am the first, I am also the last.”
Jesus also identifies Himself as the One “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8). His eternality and deity is well-spelled out and it destroys the blasphemous lie that Jesus was “God’s created firstborn.”
5. “The Word Was God” (John 1:1)
Pg. 27: “Even the King James Version says, ‘The Word was with God.’ Someone who is ‘with’ another person cannot be the same as that other person.”
This is a straw man argument. What is being attacked here is a heresy called Sabellianism (or Modalism) which teaches that God is the same person as Jesus and the Holy Spirit. That is not what the Trinity doctrine says, and no one who really understands the Trinity doctrine believes this.
In their New World translation, the last part of John. 1:1 has been distorted to say: “and the word was a god” making Jesus out as a god beside God. In the booklet, 8 obscure Bible translations which agree with their rendering of John 1:1 were quoted as support. But the Society didn’t inform their readers that:
(a) One of these versions, the New Testament in an Improved Version, was translated by Unitarians. The Watchtower (Sept 15, 1962, 554) wrote an article which attacked Unitarianism for their heresies, yet they appeal to their translation as legitimate.
(b) The Emphatic Diaglott (1864) was translated by Benjamin Wilson, a Christadelphian. An article in Awake! (Nov 8, 1944, 26) exposed the errors of Christadelphians, but they still appeal to their “bible” to reject the Deity of Christ.
(c) The New Testament (1958) was translated by Johannes Greber, an occult Spiritist, who admitted spirits helped him in his translation. An article in the Watchtower (Feb 15, 1965) exposed this spiritist’s occult practices, yet they cite his “bible” translation favourably. This tells a lot about the Watchtower publishers. They lack intellectual integrity.
Their quote from the Journal of Biblical Literature (1973, 92:85, ed. Joseph Fitzmyer) in the same page is another proof of their lack of scholarly dignity, as I’ve shown several times before. The booklet omitted the parts in bold, which opposes their thesis:
“Perhaps the clause could be translated, ‘the Word had the same nature as God.’ This would be one way of representing John’s thought … The qualitative force of the predicate is so prominent that the noun [theos] cannot be regarded as definite.”
“So John 1:1 highlights the quality of the Word, that he was ‘divine,’ ‘godlike,’ ‘a god,’ but not Almighty God…the Word was with God, he could not be God but was ‘a god,’ or ‘divine’.” (Ibid)
On the contrary, John 1:1 clearly teaches that the Word in its essential nature is God. John didn’t call the Word “a divine one” which would fall in line with Greek polytheism. The term “theos” used in the verse refers to God, not “a god.” Its also used for God the Father in John 17:3 (“the only true God”) and for Jesus in John 1:18 and 20:28.
Apostle John didn’t use the adjective “theois” which would have meant a god-like one or a divine nature. There is no way a first century Jew would apply the word “theos” to a creature. Several Greek scholars agree. B. B. Warfield wrote:
“From all eternity the Word has been with God as a fellow: He who in the beginning already ‘was,’ ‘was’ also in communion with God. Though He was thus in some sense a second along with God, He was nevertheless not a separate being from God” (The Person and Work of Christ: Philadelphia, 1950, 53).
Dr. A. T. Robertson:
“And the Word was God (kai theos en ho logos). By exact and careful language, John denied Sabellianism by not saying ho theos en ho logos. That would mean that all of God was expressed in ho logos and the terms would be interchangeable, each having an article.” (A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1934, 767)
Dana H. and Julius Mantey:
“John 1:1, kai theos en ho logos, and the Word was deity. The article points out the subject in these examples…As it stands, the other persons of the Trinity may be implied in theos” (A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, New York: 1950, 148-9).
Dr. Kenneth Wuest:
“The Word was God. Here the word ‘God’ is without the article in the original. When it is used in this way, it refers to the divine essence. Emphasis is upon the quality of character. Thus, John teaches here that our Lord is essentially Deity. He possesses the same essence as God the Father, is one with Him in nature and attributes.” (Studies in the Greek New Testament, 3:52)
Jesus was not a god beside God as the Watchtower Society teaches. That is henotheism or polytheism. God Himself has said: “I am He and there is no god with me” (Dt. 32:39). JWs will have to choose: either to follow the inspired Word of God or their uninspired Watchtower organization.