Jesus and Jehovah (or Yahweh) and Jesus as the Word (Logos)
- While Jehovah's Witnesses say Jesus was not God,
Scripture ascribes to Jesus characteristics like "everlastingness" which only Yahweh Himself
- Ancient Greek and Jewish philosophers used "the Word" to
signify the Divine Mind. Thus, it's no accident that John used that very
same word -- logos (or "the Word"). When John uses logos in chapter one of his
Gospel, he is signaling that he is talking about the Creator Yahweh
- Jehovah's Witnesses say that "the Word was with God" in John 1 means that Jesus and
God were different beings. Readers of the English Bible may think "with God" means physically
"being near." Not so. Greek-speakers of the First Century would have understood that the divine
Word not only lived with the Father from all eternity but was joined in living union to the
3. Responses to Jehovah's Witnesses
"As usual, Paul entered there and . . . discussed the Scriptures with them." --
Acts 17:2 (International Study Bible)
Excerpts from email exchange with a Jehovah's Witness
- Jehovah's Witness question: Where in Scripture does it say that Jesus is the same as
- My answer: Well, take a look at what Jesus said about Himself. Take a look at what
was said about Him in Scripture. Here are some Bible passages that indicate Jesus was Yahweh
- What was Jesus like? Doesn't scripture ascribe to Jesus the following characteristics
that only Yahweh Himself possesses?
- Preexistence (that means there was no previous point in time or eternity in which He did
- Divine names and titles2 [ 600 names and titles
for God in the Bible ]
- Self-existence (which only God has)3
- Eternality or "everlastingness" (which only God possesses)3
- Omnipresence (which only God possesses)4
- Omnipotence (which only God possesses)5
- Immutability or changelessness (which only God possesses)6
Foundational scripture passages
1"'Very truly I tell you,' Jesus answered, 'before Abraham was born, I am!'" -- John
"And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world
began." -- John 17:5
See also John 1:15, John 3:13, and John 6:51
2"This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: 'A voice of one calling
in the wilderness, Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" -- Matthew 3:3
"If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord' . . . Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
will be saved." -- Romans 10:9, 13
"Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!'" -- John 20:28
"You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace
through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all." -- Acts 10:36
" Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is
God over all, forever praised!" -- Romans 9:5
See also Isaiah 40:3, Joel 2:32, John 1:1 ad 1 John 5:20
3"Jesus answered them, 'Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.'"
-- John 2:19
"The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life -- only to take it up again. No one
takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and
authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father." --- John 10:17-18
"For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself." --
4"And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before
the world began. . . . Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to
see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the
world." -- John 17:5, 24
"But about the Son he says, 'Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice
will be the scepter of your kingdom.'" -- Hebrews 1:8, 10-12
See also John 1:1-2 and 1 John 1:2
5"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." -- Matthew
"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." -- Matthew 28:20
See also John 3:13 and Ephesians 1:19-21.
6"Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been
given to me." -- Matthew 28:18
"In Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority." --
See also Luke 21:15,John 1:3, John 10:18, 1 Corinthians 1:24, Ephesians 1:22, Philippians 3:20-
21, and Revelation 1:18.
7"They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will
roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your
years will never end." -- Hebrews 1:11-12
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." -- Hebrews 13:8
- What does the Bible say Jesus did and is doing? -- Actions only God can do are
attributed to Jesus.
- Creation of the universe8
- Upholds and preserves all things9
- Forgave sins10
- Gave the Holy Spirit11
- Gave true peace12
- Gave light13
- Gave eternal life14
- Confers spiritual gifts15
- Received worship16
Foundational scripture passages
8"Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been
made." -- John 1:3
"For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether
thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him."
-- Colossians 1:16
See also 1 Corinthians 8:6 and Hebrews 1:10
9"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." -- Colossians 1:17
See also Hebrews 1:3
10"God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring
Israel to repentance and forgive their sins." -- Acts 5:31
"When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven." -- Luke 5:20
See also Mark 2:5-10 and Luke 7:47-49
11" I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until
you have been clothed with power from on high," -- Luke 24:49
"It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you;
but if I go, I will send him to you." -- John 16:7
See also John 20:22 and Acts 2:33
12"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world
gives." -- John 14:27
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace." -- John 16:33
See also Romans 5:1, 15:33, and 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:11, Ephesians 2:14, Philippians 4:9,
Colossians 3:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:23 and Hebrews 13:30
13"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" -- John 8:12
"I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in
darkness." -- John 12:46
See also John 1:4-9, 9:5, 12:35, 1 John 1:5-7 and Revelation 21:23
14"For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to
all those you have given him." -- John 17:2
15He ascended on high . . . and gave gifts to his people. . . . So Christ himself gave
the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teacher . . . -- Ephesians 4:8, 11
16"Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, 'Truly you
are the Son of God.'" -- Matthew 14:33
"And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, 'Let all God's angels worship
him.'" -- Hebrews 1:6
See also Lulke 24:51-52, Acts 1:24,7:59-60 and Revelation 5:13
- What powers and privileges belonging solely to Yahweh did Jesus claim for
- Jesus said he was Lord of the Sabbath17
- Jesus claimed to be the final judge of all human beings18
Foundational scripture passages
17" So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." -- Mark 2:28
18"For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the
Son." -- John 5:27
"And Jesus said, 'For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and
that those who see may become blind.'" -- John 9:39
See also Matthew 25:31-33, John 5:22, 30, Acts 10:42, and 2 Corinthians 5:10
What about Jesus' repeated use of "I AM" -- "I am
the shepherd"; "I am the door"; "I am the truth"; "I am the way; I am the life; I am the vine; I am
the resurrection and the life; I am the root and offspring of David, and the Bright Morning
Star"? Would not each of those "I am" statements have reminded Jewish listeners of the
"I AM" statement by God to Moses in the desert?
Jesus was crucified because the Jews understood him to be
saying he was God. To them that was blasphemy and as a result they engineered his crucifixion.
His disciples understood what Jesus was saying as well. That's why they picked up the Old
Testament Hebrew word Adonai which is usually translated into English as "Lord" and used it
for Jesus. The use of Lord as a title for Jesus when that same word is used a few hundred
times in the Old Testament as a title for Yahweh makes a
strong statement for Jesus' divinity.
In John 20:18 Mary Magdalene is quoted as
saying, "I have seen the Lord." The Greek word she uses is "kurios," a word that clearly
refers to God in in Acts 7:31: "The voice of the Lord came to Moses."
Kurios is also the same word used for God in such passages as Philippians 4:5, 2
Corinthians 8:21, 1 Thessalonians 3:3, 2 Timothy 2:24, Hebrews 13:6, 1 Peter 1:25, 1 Peter 2:3,
2 Peter 3:9, James 1:7, James 4:10, and Revelation 4:11.
When Paul refers to Jesus over and over again as Lord (the
same word in Exodus 3:35 which you quoted), it is clear that he understood Jesus to be saying He
was God (for Paul, there is only "one Lord.").
In the 21st century, we can try to rationalize away the Early Christians' conviction that Jesus of
Nazareth was God incarnate. However, it is clear that Jesus' followers used the title "Lord" for
Him in the same way that they used "Lord" for God. In his writings, John especially emphasizes
the deity of Christ. Sit down and read all the way through the Gospel of John and his three letters
in one sitting. If you do that rather than just focusing on isolated phrases of Scripture, you will be
able to see that John was intent on demonstrating that Jesus was indeed God.
- Jehovah's Witness question: How could the Word be with
God and be God at the same time? When you find a sensible answer to this question, let
- My answer: You've asked an excellent question. John 1:1 is one of the most finely
crafted verses in the entire Bible. Try to put aside your theological lens for a moment and just
look at how the verse is worded. See how its three phrases build to a climax. The first phrase of
the verse proclaims the eternal pre-existence of the Word ("In the beginning was the
Word"). The next phrase defines the relationship of the Word to God. Then the last phrase
establishes that the essential nature of the Word is Deity ("The Word was God"). Verse
two then comes back to state again the eternality of the Word -- such eternal pre-existence is, of
course, a quality unique to God.
By looking at things written during Bible times by Greek
and Jewish philosophers, we know that ancient writers used "the Word" to signify the
Divine Mind. Wouldn't that mean God Himself? In fact, Philo, a well-known philosopher who
lived during the time of Christ (approximately 20 B.C. to 50 A.D.), used logos (the Word) to
mean the sum total of all Divine energies. It's no accident that John used that very
same word -- logos (or "the Word"). When he uses logos, John is signaling to his
readers that he is talking about the Creator Yahweh.
The potency of this Scripture verse does not come from the
words with God or was God. This verse's power centers on John's use of "Word."
To the ancient Greeks, logos (what we translate as "word") was not just speech or reason.
Logos or "Word" was at the center of the Greek understanding
of the existence of the universe. The logos could not be dated in time. The logos
was what released creative and constructive forces. There's an echo of this in the verses of
Genesis 1 which have God speaking the universe into existence ("And God said, Let there be
. . .'"). This idea is what John picks up on and uses to demonstrate the eternal pre-existence
of Jesus and to show that He was in fact the eternal Creator God.
Your question actually centers on the second phrase of that
verse: "the Word was with God." Let's look at that phrase. The Greek preposition
pros has some nuances that may not be fully communicated by our English word "with."
What John was trying to say with his phrase "with God" is much more than merely "being
near" or "beside."
As they read what John wrote, his original Greek-speaking readers would have understood the
idea of living union in the phrase "with God." While readers of the English Bible may tend to
think "with God" means physically "being near," John wrote that the divine Word not only lived
with the Father from all eternity but was joined to the Father.
The chapter introduced by the words of John 1:1 declares three things about "the Word:"
All three of these thoughts are introduced in verse one and
then are expanded upon by verse 14. As I have said, the wording of John 1:1 is finely
- He who was in the beginning became in time.
- He who was eternally joined to the Father came and lived among human beings.
- He who was God became flesh.
-- Howard Culbertson,
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