And so I look at the Scriptures in the original languages. That is one of my questions. Having read The New World Translation and the diaglot, I had problems with what the original Greek manuscript said and the way certain things were translated. But let me begin with my first question.
I’m reading from the epistle to the Hebrews in chapter 1. Beginning in verse 5…
For to which of the angels did He ever say, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? And again, “I will be a Father to Him And He shall be a Son to Me”? And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.” And of the angels He says, “Who makes His angels winds, And His ministers a flame of fire.” But of the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness above Your companions.” And, “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands; They will perish, but You remain; And they all will become old like a garment, And like a mantle You will roll them up; Like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.” But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies A footstool for Your feet”? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?
I agree with the Jehovah's Witnesses that there are angels. But the Jehovah's Witnesses told me something that I researched: They said that Jesus was an angel. They identified Him with the angel Michael the Archangel. The idea that Jesus was an angel was something that began with someone called Arius of Alexandria in the early centuries of Christendom. And the Jehovah's Witnesses had this view that He was an angel, not God. They will say He is “a god”.
Now there's a problem. “En arche kai ho logos”. “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. (Jn 1:1) My Jehovah's Witness friends told me that in The New World Translation it says “a god”; the Word was “a god”. But there is no indefinite article in the Greek language.
In the book of Isaiah Jehovah says, “I am God and there is no God other than Me”. (Is. 45:5) If there’s no God other than Jehovah, and there is no indefinite article – “a god” – in the Greek language (and in that text it’s not there), how can Jesus only be “a god” if there’s only one God? That is the question. I’ve never been able to find somebody who could answer.
When I simply ask the question they say the word “trinity” is not in the Bible. But you know, my Jehovah's Witness friends would use words like “theocratic rule” and “millennial kingdom”. Now I believe in a millennial kingdom, but the word “millennial kingdom” and “millennium” are not in the Bible. The doctrine of the millennium is in the Bible but the word isn’t. I don't understand why it is acceptable to use words not in the Bible for some things but not for others. Do I reject the millennial reign of Christ or a millennial rule because there's no word “millennium”? No, I don't. The question is not, “Is the word ‘millennium’ in there?”, the question is, “Is the doctrine, the teaching in there?” Well, it is. I agree with the Jehovah's Witnesses, there is a millennium.
Now I have an advantage a lot of people don’t have. The name of God they call “Jehovah”, and they insist that is His personal name. But speaking Hebrew I was kind of startled how few Jehovah's Witnesses knew what it meant. In Hebrew it does not say “Jehovah”, it says “Yehowah”. Some people pronounce it “Yahweh”. “Jehovah” is another word based on “Yehowah”, but they didn’t know where it came from. So I told them where it came from.
There was a hymn written by someone who was not a Jehovah’s Witness, Guide Me Now, O Great Jehovah. But the term came from Diaspora Jews in Europe. Jews considered the name of Yahweh ineffable – inutterable, for fear of taking it in vain. So they either referred to God as “the Name” – “Hashem” or they referred to God as “the Lord”. When an Orthodox Jew reads the Old Testament, when it says “Yahweh” he says “Lord” – “Adonai”. So what they did was they took the accents and syllables of “Adonai” – “Lord”, and combined it with the word “Yehowah”. “Yehowah Adonai Yehowah” – “Jehovah”. That’s how they got it.
I met many Jehovah's Witnesses who would insist on believing these things – some of them true things – but they didn't know where they came from or what they meant. Well, I have no problem saying “Jehovah”, but His name is “Yahweh”. “Jehovah” is a made-up word combining “Yahweh” with “Adonai”. However, to say that Jesus was only “a god” when there’s only one God, this brings a question. I was told He was an angel. My question is this: In verse 8 of Hebrews 1 it says…
… “Your throne, O God, is forever…
…and it quotes from Psalm 45:6-7…
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and the word here for “God” is “God” – “Elohim”. But the Lord has “anointed” somebody. That word “anointed” is where we get the word “Messiah” – “Mashiach” in Hebrew, translated to Greek, “Christo” – “Christ”. And so the epistle of the Hebrews tells us that Psalm 45 is talking about the Anointed One, the Messiah – Christ. And I agree with it. It’s a good translation into Greek from Hebrew. And I just read you a good translation from Greek into English. This is my question: if Christ it's called God and there is only one God, and if Hebrews 1 makes it clear He was not just an angel but if Hebrews 1 by comparison says, “To which one of the angels did God ever say ‘Your throne, O God, is forever’”, how can you say Jesus is simply an angel?
Hebrews 1 says, “Let the angels of God worship Jesus” in verse 6. Why would they worship Him if he was not God? The Greek word is “proskynesatosan”, from the word “proskuto” – “worship”. It’s not “obeisance”, it is translated from the Hebrew “hishtachvaya” and there’s an accusative particle: They worship Him. Please answer me that question. How can He be an angel when Hebrews 1 says He's not and the angels worship Him? How can He only be “a god” when there's only one God? “I’m the Lord, your God, you’ll have no gods before Me”. (Dt. 5:6-7)
Questions are always asked of me. I don't mind when people answer my questions with a question as long as they eventually give me the answer. But so far I haven't gotten one from a Jehovah's Witness and maybe you'll be the one who is able to give me the answer, Some of the questions they ask me is this: “Well, how could Jesus say His Father is greater than Him if He's God?” Now I’m happy to answer that question as long as you can answer mine.
In Philippians 2:8-11 we read about something that theologians would call “kinosis”. In Philippians 2 we read how it can happen.
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation…
…not “work for”…
… work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
God becomes a man in the person of Jesus and therefore as a man He is less than His Father.
For instance, there’s an electrical company called “Robert Jones and Son”. The father is a master electrician, his son began as his apprentice. They were both called “Robert Jones” – Robert Jones, Sr. and Robert Jones, Jr. They were both human beings. They were both males. They were both one in nature, but the senior was greater in position than the junior. They were co-equal in nature, they were both humans, they were both electricians, they were both men, but one was greater than the other in position. Based on Jesus becoming a man, being equal with God, but not saying it’s something we couldn't grasp, I have no problem saying His Father was greater than Him.
That is my answer to your question, the question that Jehovah's Witnesses always ask me. But please tell me your answer to my question: How can He be an angel if the angels worshipped Him? How can He be “a god” if there’s only one God and when the text “Your throne, O God, is forever” says He’s not an angel? Well, when I continue to ask for an answer, I’m usually told, “Well then who was Jesus praying to if He was God?” I’ll answer that question providing you and can answer my question.
In Hebrew the confession of faith is what Jesus said when they asked Him the greatest commandment. He said, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is oneness”. (Mk. 12:29) “Sh’ma Yisra’el Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad”. (Dt. 6:4) There is no Hebrew word for “water”, only “waters” – “mayim”; there is no Hebrew word for “sky”, only “skies” – “shamayim”; there is no Hebrew word for “God”, only “Gods” – “Elohim”, it is plural. You have an abbreviated form called “El”, but it is simply a conjunctive or something used in in place of “Elohim” where it’s used in connection with other words. “Elohim” is plural. “Sh’ma Yisra’el Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad”. “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our GODS is oneness”. That's what it says. Does this say there is more than one God? No, He is “oneness” but the word is “echad”, it’s a plural oneness. It is the same oneness when Adam and Eve become one flesh. (Gen. 2:24), you shall become “echad”; the two become one. And a third person is procreated, there is one in three, there is three in one. We are made in His image and likeness. Yes, there is one God but there is more than one person.
You're confused? When Stephen was martyred he saw Jesus at the right of the Father. (I don't pretend to be able to understand this any more than the Bible reveals it, but I understand it well enough to know it is true because that's what it says.) His Father is God and He is God. They are two different people yet one God. What makes me with my finite mind think I can understand God’s own nature this side of eternity? The Scripture says one day we will know as we are fully known (1 Cor. 13:12), but right now I know well enough to know I have enough in the Bible to tell me that it is true. Who was He praying to? He was praying to His Father. His Father was God, yes, and how could He be God? Because He was. How could Robert Jones, Sr. and Robert Jones Jr. both be Robert Jones? One is greater in nature, greater in position? No, greater in position but not in nature. They’re co-equal in nature, different in position.
When I’m looking at a pregnant lady, an expectant mother, am I Iooking at one person or two people? They are metabolically integrated. I’m looking at both one person and two people. When a marriage is being consummated God says they become one flesh. In God's eyes am I looking at one person or two people? Well, biblically I’m looking at two people but I’m also looking at one person. The Bible says your wife's body is your own and so forth, (1 Cor. 7:4) and the husband’s body is the wife’s. We’re made in His image and likeness – it teaches something about Him; we’ll understand it when we see Him face to face, right now we see through a glass dimly (1 Cor. 13:12) but we know it is true.
That is my answer to your question, now I would like to hear your answer to my question. If the angel's worship Him and if it says, “To which of the angels did He say, ‘Let the others worship Him’, if it says, “Your throne, O God is forever” and there’s only one God, if there’s no indefinite article in the Greek – the word was “a god” is not in any Greek manuscript and would make no sense in the Greek language – can you please explain to me how Jesus is not God and only an angel?
The Trinity, things like this, I'll be happy to talk to you about further – I'll be happy to answer your questions, but please answer mine. That’s my first question for my Jehovah's Witness friends. Please answer this question and we’ll talk further.