I’ve been shocked as of late when I have engaged in counter-cult apologetics, to see the lack of knowledge that is being set forth by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, also known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. On three separate occasions this week, I have engaged “Witnesses” in conversation and all three times, I have been met with answers of “I don’t know, we’ll have to get back with you on that issue.”
Many of these conversations have had a topic similar to their general conference theme, which is “Will Humans Ruin the Earth.” Out of this theme, I have engaged the Witnesses on their understanding of the end times. Specifically, I asked them how the second person plural “you” in Matthew 24, which is referring to the disciples who were engaged in conversation with the Lord Jesus, has become 2011 Jehovah’s Witnesses. My argument was that those prophetic words found their fulfillment within “that” generation (A.D. 70: c.f. Matthew 23:36, 24:34), or rather, the generation to whom Jesus was speaking (the generation of the “you” – the generation of the apostles). Their response was that there is a dual prophetic fulfillment of these prophecies – to which I asked them to show me the announcement of this dual fulfillment FROM THE SCRIPTURES. When I asked them, “How do you show that via the context of the verse,” they replied, “I don’t know.”
The above is a conversation that took place yesterday. Today, while sitting here at home, two Witnesses came to my door and the same conversation took place; with the same results. However, there was one really interesting aspect of this conversation, regarding the 1914 coming of Jesus Christ that the Witnesses had announced as the “Judgment of the world” nearly 100 years ago. These women admitted that this prophecy was altered because it did not come true as foretold by the society; to which I responded that (1), they spiritualized the coming of Christ just as Harold Camping did, and (2), the book of Deuteronomy called for the death of any and all false prophets. No response.
I quickly shifted the conversation to the deity of Christ, and asked them about their insertion of the word “other” in Colossians 1:16. Their New World Translation reads that Christ created “all [other] things” and hence, it (purposely) subtracts from the deity of Jesus on this point. I asked them why the WTB&TS inserts the word “other” into their English text, considering the fact that their interlinear translation uses the word “panta” and reads “all things.” Note the changes and insertions into the text below, which aims to make Jesus a temporal creature, rather than the eternal God;
They were stumped by this question, and off of this, I proceeded to tell them about the Triunity of God, and how this verse testifies to the Second Person of the Trinity who is the creator of “all things.” We then went to Hebrews 1:3, which speaks of Jesus as the “exact representation of the essence of God.” The words in question here are χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, or, “copy of his essence.” I explained that the word χαρακτὴρ, or, “copy,” is NOT a verb. Meaning, there was never a point where Jesus was created or made to be a copy of Yahweh. Rather, He is an exact image of the essence of God and with that, has in Himself, all of the Divine attributes of God, to include his eternality. There was no reply.
χαρακτήρ, ῆρος, ὁ (fr. χαράσσω ‘engrave’ via χάραγμα; Aeschyl., Hdt.+; ins, pap, LXX; TestSol 11:6; TestSim 5:4 [‘copy’, of the Book of Enoch]; ApcSed 7:4; EpArist; Philo; Jos., Ant. 13, 322; Just.; Tat. 17, 2 [in the two last, of letters of the alphabet]; loanw. in rabb.).
① a mark or impression placed on an object
② someth. produced as a representation, reproduction, representation, fig., of God ἄνθρωπον ἔπλασεν τῆς ἑαυτοῦ εἰκόνος χαρακτῆρα (God) formed a human being as reproduction of his own identity/reality (s. εἰκών 2) 1 Cl 33:4 (cp. OGI 383, 60 of a picture χ. μορφῆς ἐμῆς; 404, 25; Philo, Det. Pot. Ins. 83 calls the soul τύπον τινὰ καὶ χαρακτῆρα θείας δυνάμεως). Christ is χαρ. τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ an exact representation of (God’s) real being Hb 1:3 (ὑπόστασις 1a).
Arndt, William ; Danker, Frederick W. ; Bauer, Walter: A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd ed. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2000, S. 1077
The conversation then shifted to John 1:18, where Jesus is called the “only unique God” (μονογενὴς θεὸς). I set forth the argument that “No one has ever seen God” (the Father), but “the only unique God,” (Jesus), in the bosom of the Father (from the word “pros” [with] in John 1:1b and John 1:2, which speaks about an intimate relationship for eternity), “has made the Father known.” I asked, “Has anyone actually seen God?” A bit stumped by the question, they redirected the question back at me, where I cited Abraham, Jacob and Moses’ face to face encounters with God. I then proceeded to tell them that according to John 1:18, no one has ever seen the Father, but, God the Son had been seen prior to the incarnation, via His appearances as “The Angle of the Lord,” who is always qualified as God in the OT text. Hence, the “God” which was seen in the OT accounts was none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the Second person of the Trinity and as a result, the Bible disproves the WTB&TS teaching that Jesus is really “Michael,” the first created being and the master-worker, who Jehovah used to create all “other” things. Their response to this was, “We really have to go now.” Go figure.
Also, if anyone needs any specific texts from the Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Interlinear Translation (KIT), feel free to ask and I will post them ASAP.