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JW's and the Real Jesus
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and Isaiah 9:6
A classic verse of Scripture concerning the nature of the Messiah (Hebrew -Mashiyach), or the Christ (Greek - Christos), is Isaiah 9:6-
For to us a child is born, to us a son s given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
And it is also a passage of Holy Scripture that is vehemently attacked by the Watchtower Bible And Tract Society (WBS), also known as the Jehovah's Witnesses (JW), in an attempt to obscure and ultimately deny the Deity of our Lord, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
However, as we read this verse it immediately becomes evident that we are not dealing with a mere human being here. Clearly this child will be much more than that as He is called Mighty God and Everlasting Father. It should be noted that Everlasting Father could be better translated "The Eternal Father," as it is in Tanakh-The Holy Scriptures, which is published by the Jewish Publication Society, and "represents the collaboration of academic scholars with rabbis from the three largest branches of organized Jewish religious life in America" (Preface, xv).
In their classic work Jamieson, Fausset and Brown comment on the title Everlasting Father: "This marks [the Messiah] lit. [as] 'The Father of eternity' " (Vol. 2, p. 594). Everlasting Father will also remind the serious Bible student of Psalm 90:2-
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. When this verse is cross-referenced with John 1:3 and Colossians 1:16, we will see that we are indeed talking about the Deity of Jesus Christ.
Dr. John Martin of Dallas Theological Seminary further points out: [The Messiah] is also the Mighty God (cf. 10:21). Some have suggested that this simply means "a god-like person" or hero. But in context it becomes clear Isaiah meant much more than that, for he had already spoken of the Messiah doing what no other person had been able to do (e.g., 9:2-5). Isaiah understood that the Messiah was to be God in some sense of the term" (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, OT, p.1053).
This is confirmed by what Isaiah had previously written in Is. 7:14 - Therefore the Lord (adonai in the Hebrew) himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (NIV). When this verse is cross-checked with Matthew 1:22-23 we find the name Immanuel means "God with us," and that this passage of Holy Scripture is speaking of Jesus of Nazareth.
The WBS does concede here that Isaiah 9:6 is fulfilled in the man Jesus of Nazareth, and that He is the Messiah. However, they then argue that Christ Jesus is Mighty God, but that He is not Jehovah - the Almighty God - because the text of Isaiah doesn't have "the" in it. The truth remains though, that the Bible itself knows nothing of an Almighty God, and a lesser "Mighty" God.
In fact, the distinguishing religious characteristic of the nation of Israel in Old Testament (OT) times was their monotheism (belief in one God). In stark contrast to all other cultures around them at the time who were polytheistic (belief in many gods), the Jews worshipped the one true LORD God Almighty of the Bible.
The absolute truth remains that no amount of fanciful eisegesis can ever get around the incontrovertible fact that the OT teaches monotheism. Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one (Deuteronomy 6:4, literal Hebrew). And even the New World Translation (NWT), published by the WBS agrees - Listen, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.
Norman Geisler and Ron Rhodes point out the WBS error when they say: The folly of the Watchtower position is at once evident in the fact that Jehovah himself is called a "Mighty God" in the very next chapter of Isaiah (10:21). That both Jehovah and Jesus are called "Mighty God" in the same book within the same section demonstrates their equality. A good cross-reference is Isaiah 40:3, where Jesus is prophetically called both "Mighty God" (Elohim) and Jehovah (Yahweh): "A voice is calling, 'Clear the way for the LORD [Yahweh] in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God [Elohim]'" (NASB; cf. John 1:23). Clearly Jesus is not a lesser God than the Father (When Cultists Ask, pp. 78, 79).
As far as "the" not being in the text of Is. 9:6, "Mighty God" translates the Hebrew El Gibbor. Literally this means "God of Might." This term is applied to Jehovah in Isaiah 10:21, also without "the" in the original text - A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to [ the ] Mighty God. The NWT reads A mere remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God. In both of these verses Isaiah 9:6 and 10:21 the construction of the Hebrew is exactly the same, El Gibbor, "God of Might."
We know from Holy Scripture that "the LORD" Jehovah is the God of Jacob. And he [Jehovah] went on to say: "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob Exodus 3:6 (NWT). And then, in Isaiah 45:21-22 the LORD is clear and emphatic that there is only one God period, and that He is the only Savior. Is it not I, Jehovah, besides whom there is no other God; a righteous God and a Savior, there being none excepting me? Turn to me and be saved, all YOU [at the] ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no one else (NWT).
One of the most important rules when we attempt to interpret the Bible is to let the text speak in its plainest sense. In other words, as we read Is. 45:21-22, what is Isaiah attempting to explain to us? When he writes that besides Jehovah there is no other God, it becomes plain that he means to tell us that there is only one God by nature. Jehovah Himself reiterates this in verse 22 when He announces I am God, and there is no one else.
Apart from further indoctrination, no one would ever come to the conclusion that there is more than one God from reading Is. 9:6, 10:21 and/or 45:21-22. Dr. Walter Martin, author of The Kingdom of the Cults is quite correct when he writes: Isaiah 9:6 in the Hebrew Bible is one of the most powerful verses in the Old Testament in proving the deity of Christ, for it incontestably declares that Jehovah himself planned to appear in human form. The verse clearly states that all government will rest upon the 'child born' and the 'son given,' whose identity is revealed in the very terms used to describe his attributes. Isaiah, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, describes Christ as 'Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace' - all attributes of God alone. The term 'Mighty God' is itself indicative of Jehovah, since not only is He the only God (Isaiah 43:10-11), but the term mighty is applied to Him alone in relation to His deity" (pp. 107, 108).
In conclusion - the Christian always need be mindful that the JW is also a person for whom Christ died. And it will be helpful to remember that the characteristics of all non-Christian cults include a denial of the full Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and some type of a teaching system to indoctrinate followers into their peculiar beliefs.
The most important issue is this: The JW has been deceived by the WBS (see 2 Corinthians 11:13-15) into believing in a different Jesus (see 2 Corinthians 11:4) and in a different gospel (see Galatians 1:6-9). And as such, they are in need of a saving relationship with the true Jesus of the historic revelation found in the Bible.
It is our job as ambassadors of Christ to faithfully proclaim to all men everywhere that Jehovah God has said - Furthermore, there is no salvation in anyone else, for there is not another name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved - Acts 4:12 (NWT). The wise man is going to ask -
"What is that name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved?"
And the all-important answer is found just two verses before in verse 10 - it is by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazareth.
Written By: Rev. Ken Silva
President, Apprising Ministries
Pastor, Connecticut River Baptist Church (SBC)
All Scripture New International Version unless otherwise noted