Continuing from part #10 "Jesus is Jehovah in Philemon" in my series, "Jesus is Jehovah in the New Testament," which is based on my morning `quiet time' Bible study, with this part #11, "Jehovah in Colossians."
[Above (click to enlarge): Col 15-17 in "The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society: Brooklyn NY, Second edition, 1985, p.880.
Note that the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society has inserted the bracketed word "[other]" four times between "all things," when it isn't there in the Greek. That is, "the Jehovah's Witnesses have deliberately altered a key biblical text that would ... serve to contradict one of their distinctive doctrines":
"The ... New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT). Consider its rendering of Colossians 1:15-17, where the opening pronoun refers to Christ.He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist.... By inserting the word other, however, the translators have ... altered the meaning of the original. Why? ... Jehovah's Witnesses deny the doctrine of the Trinity ... Christ, they believe, was created by God ... Then through Christ God made all other created things. Therefore, if Scripture is to fit preconceived doctrine, Colossians 1:15-17 needs ... `amending.' Otherwise the Bible is here declaring that Christ is before all things and in fact was involved in the creation of all things. It would, in short, make him coeternal with God. But ... is there any warrant in the Greek text for insertion of the word other? If there is, we should clearly include it. Metzger responds, `It is not present in the original Greek and was obviously inserted to make the passage refer to Jesus as being on a par with other created things.' Metzger goes on to point out that Paul originally wrote Colossians in part to combat a notion of Christ similar to that held by the Jehovah's Witnesses: `Some of the Colossians advocated the Gnostic notion that Jesus was the first of many other created intermediaries between God and men.' [Metzger, B.M., "The Jehovah's Witnesses and Jesus Christ [PDF 5.5 Mb]," Theology Today, 10, April 1953, pp.65-85, p.76] We can conclude, therefore, that the Jehovah's Witnesses have deliberately altered a key biblical text that would-on the basis of their own view of the authority of the Bible-serve to contradict one of their distinctive doctrines." (Sire, J.W., 1980, "Scripture Twisting: 20 Ways the Cults Misread the Bible," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove: IL, pp.34-35).]
2. JESUS HAS NAMES AND TITLES OF JEHOVAH
Lord. Jesus is "Lord" Gk. kuriou (Col 3:17, 24); kurio (Col 3:18,20,24; 4:7,17). Jesus is "the Lord": Gk. ho kurios (Col 3:13); ton kurion (Col 2:6; 3:22); tou kuriou (Col 1:3,10).
By calling Jesus "`Lord' ... (Kurios, the word used in the Septuagint as the translation of' Jehovah') ...the New Testament writers ... identify Him with the Jehovah of the Old Testament" and they make it "apparent that Jesus was not merely a man ... but was Jehovah Himself become incarnate, God manifest in the flesh':
"THE IDENTITY OF THE TWO. It may justly be contended that if the claim of Jesus to be the pre-existent Son of the Father can be established-as we believe it can be and practically has been in what has just been written concerning His supernatural history, character, and teaching-then the identity of the Two, though not in all respects, has been conclusively made out. For if Jehovah was the manifested God under the Old Testament dispensation, and Jesus was the manifested God under the New Testament dispensation, as the just-cited evidence shows, it will be hard to prove that they were not the same Person though in diverse forms. The language used by Jesus Himself in His high-priestly prayer-'And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was' [Jn 17:5] implies that He regarded Himself as having pre-existed with God in eternity; in other words, as having been the Son of the Father, or Jehovah, the manifesting God who had in former times appeared to the patriarchs and had been in the Church in the Wilderness in the days of Moses. John also looked upon Him as the only begotten Son who had been from everlasting in the bosom of the Father, and who had become incarnate in order to reveal the Father [Jn 1:14,18]. Peter in his Pentecostal sermon calls Him `Lord' [Acts 2:36] (Kurios, the word used in the Septuagint as the translation of' Jehovah'). Paul employs the same designation in the phrase ` the Lord Jesus Christ,' [Rom 1:7; 13:14; 1Cor 1:3; 16:22; 2Cor 1:2; 13:14; Eph 1:2; 6:23; Php 1:2; 3:20; Col 1:2; 1Th 1:1; 2Th 1:1,2, 12; 1Tim 5:21; 2Tim 4:1,22; Tit 1:4; Phm 1:3] and expressly states that He existed originally in the form of God, which He laid aside, taking upon Himself the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of sinful flesh and being found in fashion as a man [Php 2:5-7], exactly as Jehovah temporarily did under the Old Testament. James likewise employs the appellation `Lord' when speaking of Jesus [Jas 1:1; 2:1]; and the writer to the Hebrews, besides styling Him `Lord' [Heb 1:10] and calling Him `God's Son,' [Heb 1:2, 5, 8] `the brightness of His Father's glory and the express image of His person,' [Heb 1:3] assigns to Him an everlasting throne [Heb 1:8], and ascribes to Him the works that were peculiar to Jehovah, the creation of the universe [Heb 1:10 = Ps 102:25-27] and the accomplishment of God's gracious scheme of redemption [Heb 9:12-15], - from all which it is apparent that Jesus was not merely a man filled with God's spirit and ethically one with God, but was Jehovah Himself become incarnate, God manifest in the flesh. All attempts to reduce Jesus of Nazareth to the dimensions of a mere man, though probably the best of men, must, apart from considerations and arguments to the contrary, shatter themselves on this plain fact, that the New Testament writers, the authorised interpreters of Christianity to subsequent ages, distinctly identify Him with the Jehovah of the Old Testament." (Whitelaw, T., 1913, "Jehovah-Jesus," T. &T. Clark: Edinburgh, pp.17-19).
Jesus is "the Lord" (my emphasis) even in the New World Translation:
Col 2:6 NWT. Therefore, as YOU have accepted Christ Jesus the Lord [ton kurion], go on walking in union with him,
Indeed. if the translators of the Watchtower's New World Translation were consistent in substituting Gk. kyrios "Lord" with "Jehovah," then Col 3:24 NIV, "It is the Lord Christ you are serving" should read in the NWT, "It is Jehovah Christ you are serving" (my emphasis):
"The New World Translation of the Watch Tower Society, for example, replaces `the Lord' in Colossians 1:10 with `Jehovah.' They do the same in Colossians 3:22 and 23. In Colossians 3:24, where the Greek word for `Lord' appears twice, they render the first as `Jehovah' and the second as `the Master.' Using the New International Version as a base, but consistently substituting Jehovah for `the Lord,' we quote Colossians 3:23-24: `Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for Jehovah, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from Jehovah as a reward. It is Jehovah Christ you are serving.' It is obvious why the `translators' of the New World Translation would not want to substitute Jehovah for `the Lord' in the third situation. They deny that Christ is Jehovah God in human flesh. They believe wrongly that He was a created angel, but this is not witnessing to Jehovah. It is, in fact, denying Jehovah! " (Humber, P.G., 1997, "Jehovah Jesus: A Reference Handbook and Study Guide on the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ," Skilton House Ministries: Philadelphia PA, p.77).
In Hebrew, "the Lord" is ha Adon', which in the Old Testament always refers to Jehovah:
"The Messiah As the Messenger of the Covenant (Malachi 3:1) ...`Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; [even] the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come, says the LORD Almighty' (3:1c-e). There are a number of significant matters here. First, the word `Lord' (Heb. ha'adon) used in verse 1c is singular and is preceded by the definite article. Since 'adon preceded by the definite article always refers to the divine Lord (e.g., Ex 23:17; 34:23; Isa 1:24; 3:1; 10:16, 33), he is certainly the one being referred to here." (Kaiser, W.C., Jr., 1995, "The Messiah in the Old Testament," Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, pp.227-228).
The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society admits that "this prefixing of the definite article before the title a-don' limits the application of the title to Jehovah God":
"Isaiah 1:24 - `the [true] Lord' This is the translation of the Hebrew expression ... ha-A-don', this being the title A-don' ('Lord; Master') preceded by the Hebrew definite article ha. Although there are many lords or masters, this prefixing of the definite article before the title a-don' limits the application of the title to Jehovah God. ... In the Hebrew Scriptures this expression ha-A-don' occurs nine times, as listed below: Exodus 23:17 On three occasions in the year every male of yours will appear before the face of the Lord Jehovah. 34:23 Three times in the year every male of yours is to appear before the true Lard, Jehovah, the God of Israel. Isaiah 1:24 Therefore the utterance of the true Lord, Jehovah of armies, the Powerful One of Israel, is: 3:1 For, look! the true Lord, Jehovah of armies, is removing from Jerusalem and from Judah support and stay, 10:16 Therefore the true Lord, Jehovah of armies, will keep sending upon his fat ones a wasting disease, 10:33 Look! The true Lord, Jehovah of armies, is lopping off boughs with a terrible crash; 19:4 `And I will deliver up Egypt into the hand of a hard master, and strong will be the king that will rule over them,' is the utterance of the true Lord, Jehovah of armies. Micah 4:13b and by a ban you will actually devote to Jehovah their unjust profit, and their resources to the true Lord of the whole earth.' Malachi 3:1 Look! I am sending my messenger, and he must clear up a way before me. And suddenly there will come to His temple the true Lord, whom you people are seeking, and the messenger of the covenant in whom You are delighting." (WB&TS, 1961, "New World translation of the Holy Scriptures," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York: Brooklyn NY, pp.1453-1454).
"In nine places in the Masoretic text [Hebrew Old Testament], 'A-dhohn' has the definite article ha before it, so limiting application of the title to Jehovah":
"The titles 'A-dhohn' and 'Adho-nim' are applied to Jehovah 25 times in the Scriptures. In nine places in the Masoretic text, 'A-dhohn' has the definite article ha before it, so limiting application of the title to Jehovah. (Ex 23:17; 34:23; Isa 1:24; 3:1; 10:16, 33; 19:4; Mic 4:13; Mal 3:1)." (WB&TS, 1988, "Insight on the Scriptures: Volume 2: Jehovah - ZuZim," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society: Brooklyn NY, p.267).
And note that in "Malachi 3:1 ... And suddenly there will come to His temple the true Lord [ha-A-don'] " it was Jesus who came before the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in AD70 (the Father never came and since AD70 never can come)!":
"There was to be a divine visitation at the Second Temple .... As rendered in the New Jewish Publication Society Version, Malachi 3:1-5 states: `Behold, I am sending My messenger to clear the way before Me, and the Lord whom you seek shall come to His Temple suddenly. ...' We see from this passage that the Lord (in Hebrew, ha'adon, always used with reference to God in the Hebrew Bible when it has the definite article) , preceded by his messenger, would visit the Second Temple, purifying some of his people and bringing judgment on others. ... the Messiah must have come before the Temple was destroyed in 70 C.E.; if not, God's Word has failed'' (Brown, M.L., 2000, "Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Volume 1: General and Historical Objections," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, pp.77-78).
"In the prophecy of Zacharias (Luke 1:76) ... Luke understood [it] ... as referring to John [the Baptist] as the forerunner of Jesus" but ."Zacharias was alluding to Malachi 3:1 in which the word `the Lord' is Jahweh" therefore "Christ ... and Jahweh are one":
Jesus Is Jahweh Not only is Jesus called God in the New Testament but he is called Lord in quotations from the Old Testament where the Old Testament word is Jahweh. In the prophecy of Zacharias (Luke 1:76) it is said of John the Baptist, `And thou, child, shalt be called Prophet of the Most High; thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways.' It is obvious that Luke understood this prophecy as referring to John as the forerunner of Jesus. But Zacharias was alluding to Malachi 3:1 in which the word `the Lord' is Jahweh. `Behold I will send my messenger and he shall prepare the way before me, saith Jahweh of hosts:' Thus `the Lord,' whose ways John was to prepare, is none other than Jahweh Himself. Paul gives great emphasis to the prophecy of Joel. `Whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved' (Rom. 10:13). It is clear in the context that Paul is calling Christ `the Lord,' but in Joel 2:32, in the phrase, `Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered,' `the Lord' in the Hebrew text is Jahweh. ... These passages indicate that Christ ... and Jahweh are one." (Buswell, J.O., Jr., 1962, "A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion," Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, Vol. I, Second printing, 1968, pp.104-105. Emphasis original).
"Jehovah ... spoke ... that He would be sending His messenger (John the Baptist ...) to `prepare the way before me' (Jehovah). John actually cleared the way in preparation for ... the Lord Jesus Christ. ... the Lord Jesus is the Jehovah God who was to come":
"MALACHI 3:1: `See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,' says the LORD Almighty. Jehovah Almighty ('LORD Almighty') spoke and indicated that He would be sending His messenger (John the Baptist, Matthew 11:10) to `prepare the way before me' (Jehovah). John actually cleared the way in preparation for `the messenger of the covenant,' the Lord Jesus Christ. In harmony with Isaiah 40:3 ... the Lord Jesus is the Jehovah God who was to come." (Humber, 1997, p.44. Emphasis original).
And so either Jesus is Jehovah, or Malachi was a false prophet and Luke (and indeed Jesus) was wrong.
"[Col 1:3] Paul's spontaneous thanksgiving, in which Timothy joins, and which according to the apostle's explicit testimony, is always an element in prayer for the Colossians, is offered to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Rom. 15:6; II Cor. 1:3; 11:31; Eph. 1:3; 3:14). Our Lord, who has a right to that name because he purchased his people with his blood and is their Sovereign Master, and to whom, as the Anointed Savior, Paul gladly ascribes this honor, is in his very essence God's only Son. He is Son by nature. We are children by adoption. He has the right to call God `my Father' (Matt. 26:39, 42) and to make the majestic claim, `I and the Father, we are one' (John 10:30; cf. 14:9).' (Hendriksen, W., 1971, "Colossians & Philemon," New Testament Commentary, Banner of Truth: Edinburgh UK, 1964, British edition, Reprinted, 1979, pp.46-47).
The title "the Son" or "Son of God" means in the sense of equality of nature as is evident by the Jews attempting to stone Jesus for blasphemy because by "calling God his own Father" Jesus was "making himself equal to God" (Jn 5:18 NWT):
"By way of refutation, it should first be pointed out that, according to John 5:18, the Jews sought to kill Jesus `because not only was he breaking the Sabbath but he was also calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God' (NWT). The Jews, therefore, did not understand the expression Son of God as Jehovah's Witnesses apparently do. For the latter, the term means someone inferior to the Father. By the Jews of Jesus' day, however, the term was interpreted as meaning full equality with the Father, and it was on account of this claim that they sought to kill him." (Hoekema, A.A., 1972, "Jehovah's Witnesses," Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, Reprinted, 1990, p.134).
"... John 5:18 ... John records that the Jews sought the more to kill Jesus because not only had He broken the Sabbath as they conceived of it, but He had called God His Father, which clearly in their thinking and in the thinking of John postulated equality with God or Deity ..." (Martin, W.R., 1957, "Jehovah's Witnesses," Bethany House: Minneapolis MN, Reprinted, 1969, pp.35-36).
Image of God. Jesus "is the image of the invisible God" (Col 1:15). The Gk. word for "image" (eikon) "came to denote not only representation but manifestation":
"In the first chapter of Colossians we have a number of significant statements concerning the person of Christ. In verse 15 we read: `who (the Son) is the image of the invisible God'. `Image' by the common process of extension came to denote not only representation but manifestation. Thus in II Corinthians 4:4 we find it used in this latter sense: `that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them.'" (Bruce, F.F. & Martin, W.J, 1964., "The Deity of Christ," North of England Evangelical Trust: Manchester UK, p.18).
"Jesus is the very stamp of God the Father":
"[Col 1:15] The image (eikon). In predicate and no article. On eikon, see II Cor. 4:4; 3:18; Rom. 8:29; Col 3:10. Jesus is the very stamp of God the Father as he was before the Incarnation (John 17:5) and is now (Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 1:3). Of the invisible God (tou theou tou aoratou). But the one who sees Jesus has seen God (John 14:9)." (Robertson, A.T., 1931, "Word Pictures in the New Testament: Volume IV: The Epistles of Paul," Broadman Press: Nashville TN, p.477).
That is, "Jesus is the invisible God become visible":
"COLOSSIANS 1:15-17: `He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.' Jesus is the invisible God become visible (cf. comments regarding God's `face,' Isaiah 63:9) ." (Humber, 1997, pp.77-78).
And "as the image of the invisible God, the Son is, first of all, himself God ... God revealed":
"[Col 1:15] Paul writes, Who is the image of the invisible God. This reminds us of Gen. 1:27 which reports that man was created as God's image. ... But ... Man, though God's image, is not God. But, as the image of the invisible God, the Son is, first of all, himself God. `In him all the fulness of the godhead dwells bodily' (Col. 2:9; cf. Rom. 9:5). `In him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden' (2:3). Secondly, as the image of the invisible God, the Son is God Revealed." (Hendriksen, 1971, pp.71-72).
The Son is identified "with God himself ," He is God made manifest"; "in the Son that the invisible God has become visible":
"In Paul's writings this identification of the Son with God himself, the Son being God's image or God made manifest, is not new. Also in a letter to the Corinthians, written earlier by several years, the apostle had called Christ `the image of God' (II Cor. 4:4). ... We have here in Col. 1:15 the same teaching as is found in Heb. 1:3, where the Son is called `the effulgence of God's glory and the very impress of his substance.' In different language the apostle John expresses the same thought: `In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was face to face with God, and the Word was God... . God himself no one has ever seen. The only begotten God, who lies upon the Father's breast, it is he who made him known' (John 1:1, 18). Cf. also John 10:30, 38; 14:9; Rev. 3:14. It is in the Son that the invisible God has become visible, so that man sees him who is invisible (cf. I Tim. 1:17; 6:16)." (Hendriksen, 1971, p.72).
In Christ "the very nature and being of God have been perfectly revealed" such that "in Him the invisible [God] has become visible":
"[Col 1:15] Christ, then, is described as the image of the unseen God. What is this but to say that the very nature and being of God have been perfectly revealed in Him-that in Him the invisible has become visible? `No one has ever seen God,' says the Fourth Evangelist; `the only begotten Son, who has his being in the Father's bosom, he it is who has made him known' (John 1:18). Later, the same evangelist reports Christ Himself as saying: `He who has seen me has seen the Father' (John 14:9). In another epistle Paul affirms that since the creation of the world the everlasting power and divinity of the invisible Creator may be `perceived through the things that are made' (Rom. 1:20). But now an all-surpassing manifestation of that everlasting power and divinity has been granted: `the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God,' has dawned upon us; He whose creative word in the beginning called light to shine forth from the darkness has now shone in our hearts, `to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ' (2 Cor. 4:4, 6). And the writer to the Hebrews expresses the same truth in another form: to him Christ is the `effulgence of God's glory and the very impress of his being' (Heb. 1:3)." (Bruce, F.F. , 1957, "Commentary on the Epistle to the Colossians," Marshall, Morgan & Scott: London, p.193).
Fulness of God. In Christ "all the fulness" of God dwells (Col 1:19); "dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col 2:9): "There dwells ... in Christ ... the very essence of God ... and not to be confused with ... the quality of God ...":
"[Col 2:9] For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily ... In this sentence, given as the reason (hoti, because) for the preceding claim for Christ as the measure of human knowledge Paul states the heart of his message about the Person of Christ. There dwells (at home) in Christ not one or more aspects of the Godhead (the very essence of God, from theos, deitas) and not to be confused with theiotes in Rom. 1:20 (from theios, the quality of God, divinitas) ... Paul here asserts that `all the pleroma of the Godhead,' not just certain aspects, dwells in Christ and in bodily form (somatikos...) ... Paul here .... asserts plainly the deity and the humanity of Jesus Christ in corporeal form." (Robertson, A.T., 1931, "Word Pictures in the New Testament: Volume IV: The Epistles of Paul," Broadman Press: Nashville TN, p.491).
A "very concise statement on the full deity of the Lord Jesus Christ ... Paul ... an Old Testament-believing Jew, also believed that Jesus Christ was Jehovah God Almighty!":
"COLOSSIANS 2:9: `For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form...' This passage is a very concise statement on the full deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not just that `Deity lives' in the Lord Jesus Christ or that `the fullness of the Deity lives' in Him, but the text says that `all the fullness of the Deity lives' in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle is holding nothing back in ascribing full Deity to the Lord Jesus. How could he have expressed it more fully? Paul ... an Old Testament-believing Jew, also believed that Jesus Christ was Jehovah God Almighty!" (Humber, 1997, pp.78-79).
"The literal translation of the Greek word theotetos (Godhead) is `deity,' so in Christ all the fullness ... of the Deity resides in the flesh ... Jehovah manifest in the flesh":
"In Colossians 2:9, the apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, declares, `For in him [Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily' (KJV). The literal translation of the Greek word theotetos (Godhead) is `deity,' so in Christ all the fullness (pleroma) of the Deity resides in the flesh (somatikos). In Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament ... Thayer states that Theotetos [Godhead, Deity] is a form of Theot [Deity] or in his own words `i.e., the state of Being God, Godhead' (Col 2:9)!' In other words, Christ was the fullness of `The Deity' (Jehovah) in the flesh! The Emphatic Diaglott correctly translates Theotetos `Deity'; but the NWT erroneously renders it `the divine quality,' which robs Christ of His deity ... by substituting the word Theiotes ... (divinity) ... Jehovah's Witnesses can produce no authority for this bold mistranslation of the Greek text. Jesus Christ ... is God-Tes Theotetos (The Deity)-Jehovah manifest in the flesh." (Martin, W.R. & Klann, N., 1981, "Jehovah of the Watchtower," Bethany House Publishers: Bloomington MN, Revised, pp.55-56).
"The Watchtower's New World Translation ... reference edition (footnote) and the interlinear version of their Bible both admit that the Greek word they translate as `divine quality' literally means `godship'":
"Colossians 2:9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. (NIV) This is a text that should definitely be included when sharing with a Jehovah's Witness the abundant scriptural evidence that Jesus Christ is God. Reading it in a number of translations may prove helpful: `For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily' (KJV). `For in Christ there is all of God in a human body" (LB) and `in him all the fullness of deity is resident in bodily form' (The Bible in Living English, translated by Steven T. Byington, published by the Watchtower Society, 1972). The Watchtower's New World Translation attempts to water down the message of this verse by rendering it: `because it is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily.' But the reference edition (footnote) and the interlinear version of their Bible both admit that the Greek word they translate as `divine quality' literally means `godship.'" (Reed, D.A., 1986, "Jehovah's Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, Thirty-first printing, 2006, p.98).
"[Col 2:9 NWT] because it is in him [Christ] that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily. ... `Divine quality.' Lit., "godship." Gr., theoo'teotos; Lat., diovioniota'tis." (WB&TS, 1984"New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures: With References," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York: Brooklyn NY, p.1417).
"[Col 2:9] because in him is dwelling down all the fullness of the godship bodily," (WB&TS, 1969, "The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society: Brooklyn NY, Second printing, p.899).
"Christ ... the One in whom the plenitude of deity was embodied. ... One who shared fully in the divine nature had become flesh":
"[Col 2:9] The teachers of error might talk as they would of the fulness of divine being which was filtered down to this world through a hierarchical succession of spirit-powers; Christians had something better. They had Christ, the personal revelation of the Father, the one Mediator between God and man, the One in whom the plenitude of deity was embodied. Far from there being any inherent impossibility in the nature of things for God to communicate directly with this world, One who shared fully in the divine nature had become flesh and tabernacled among men." (Bruce, 1957, pp.232-233).
The "incarnation" was "the taking of 'bodily' form by God" and "fulfilled all the ... promises that God would dwell with his people ... Jesus Christ, now exalted ... is, uniquely, 'God's presence and his very self ... the embodiment ... of the one God":
"[Col 2:9] ...: in Christ all the fulness of the Deity lives in bodily form. ... The word translated 'in bodily form' can also mean 'actually' or 'in solid reality'. We should not, however, drive a wedge between the two. Part of Paul's point is that the incarnation, the taking of 'bodily' form by God, was and is the 'solid reality' in which were fulfilled all the earlier foreshadowings, all the ancient promises that God would dwell with his people. The word theotes, translated 'the Deity', is to be distinguished from theiotes, 'divinity' - an attribute which might conceivably be possessed by a being of lesser standing than God himself. ... The man Jesus Christ, now exalted, is not one of a hierarchy of intermediary beings, angelic or (in some sense) 'divine'. He is, uniquely, 'God's presence and his very self'. ... Christ is not a second, different Deity: he is the embodiment and full expression of the one God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." (Wright, N.T., 1986, "Colossians and Philemon: An Introduction and Commentary," Inter-Varsity Press: Leicester UK, Reprinted, 2004, p.103. Emphasis original).
God. The "word of Christ" (Col 3:16) is "the word of God" (Col 1:25). The word of and about Jesus is "the word of the Lord" (1Th 1:8; 4:15; 2Th 3:1; Lk 22:61; Ac 8:25; 13:49; 15:35; 15:36; 16:32; 19:10; 19:20).
3. OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES ABOUT JEHOVAH ARE APPLIED TO JESUS
There are, as far as I am aware, no Old Testament passages referred to in Colossians.
4. JESUS HAS ATTRIBUTES OF JEHOVAH
Omnipotence. Jesus has "all power according to his glorious might" (Col 1:11). See also "Christ" has been "raised ... far above all ... power ...." (Eph 1:21); "The Son is ... sustaining all things by his powerful word" (Heb 1:3):
"The Bible also names specific attributes unique to God that are possessed by Christ. He is self-existent (John 5:26); unchanging (Heb. 1:10-12; 13:8); eternal (John 1:1-2; 8:58; 17:5; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:2, 12), omnipresent, an attribute that JWs deny even to God ( Matt 18:20; 28:20; Eph. 1:23; 4:10; Col. 3:11); and beyond human comprehension (Matt. 11:25-27). This last point bears emphasizing. The biblical teaching that Jesus Christ is Jehovah, the Lord of all, God in the flesh, is found throughout the New Testament. Yet it remains hidden from those who seek God on their own terms, who demand that he be comprehensible to them. No one can know that Jesus Christ is the Lord Jehovah apart from the revelation of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3)." (Bowman, R.M., 1989, "Why You Should Believe in the Trinity: An Answer to Jehovah's Witnesses," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, Third printing, 1990, p.110).
Eternal. Jesus "is before all things" (Col 1:17): "No matter how far back we may press in our imagination, we can never reach a point of which we may say, with Arius [and "Jehovah's Witnesses ... `modern-day Arians'"]: `There was once when He was not.' For He is `before all things':
"[Col 1:17] The teaching of vv. 15 and 16 is now summed up in a twofold reaffirmation of the pre-existence and cosmic significance of Christ: `He is before all things, and in him all things hold together' (RSV). `In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth', says Genesis, but in that beginning, says John, which was the beginning of all created beings, the Divine Logos already existed (John 1:1). No matter how far back we may press in our imagination, we can never reach a point of which we may say, with Arius: `There was once when He was not.' For He is `before all things' - and the words not only declare His temporal priority to the universe, but also suggest His primacy over it (as indeed the title `firstborn' has already implied)." (Bruce, 1957, p.200).
"[Col 1:17] Now if all things have been created through him and with a view to him (verse 16), it stands to reason that he preceded all created beings in time. In fact, `there never was a time when he was not.' He was `begotten of the Father before all worlds' (Nicene Creed). Accordingly, the `hymn' continues, And he is before all things. He is, accordingly, the Forerunner. The doctrine of Christ's pre-existence from eternity is taught or implied in such passages as John 1:1; 8:58; 17:5; II Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:6; Rev. 22:13. He is indeed the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end [Rev 22:12-13,16]. And this temporal priority in turn suggests pre-eminence and majesty in relation to all creatures)." (Hendriksen, 1971, p.74).
"The Pre-existence of `the Son' A further line of evidence suggesting that Jesus Christ, for Paul, was divine is the catena of verses that implies his pre-existence as God's Son (see 2 Cor 8:9; Rom 8:3; Gal 4:4; Phil 2:6-7; Col 1:15-16; Eph 4:8-9). ... The Apostle ... insists that the Colossians must not find in the pagan ... (pleroma, `fullness') their fullness because it is Christ, God's Son (see vs 13), who is `before all things' and `by whom and for whom all things were created' (Col 1:16-17). ... Christ as God's Son had personally pre-existed with the Father from eternity and had come to earth on a mission of mercy." (Reymond, R.L., 2003, "Jesus, Divine Messiah: The New Testament and Old Testament Witness," , Mentor: Fearn UK, p.429).
Omniscient. In Christ "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col 2:3). "One attribute of God ... is the omniscience of God ... The New Testament attributes this same omniscience to Jesus Christ":
"He Knows: Christ Is Omniscient One attribute of God that can bring great comfort and assurance-or great anxiety and consternation-is the omniscience of God. The Bible states explicitly that God `knows everything' (1 John 3:20). This knowledge is extremely detailed, including such minutiae as the number of hairs on one's head (Matt. 10:30). God knows what will happen from now until the end of history (Isa. 46:9-10). He knows what we will say before we say it (Ps. 139:4) because he knows what is in our hearts (Ps. 139:1-3). This is something that is true only of God, as Solomon acknowledged in prayer: `For you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind' (1 Kings 8:39 ESV). The New Testament attributes this same omniscience to Jesus Christ. In the first recorded corporate prayer addressed to Jesus, the apostles and other believers confessed, `Lord, you know everyone's heart' (Acts 1:24).' For Jesus even to be able to hear prayers essentially implies, of course, unlimited knowledge. Elsewhere, the Gospels report that Jesus knew what other people were thinking (Matt. 9:4;12:25; Mark 2:6-8; Luke 6:8). Jesus claimed to know what the ancient peoples of Tyre, Sidon, and even Sodom would have done under different circumstances (Matt. 11:21-23; Luke 10:13-15). He would have to know people's hearts in this way in order to sit in judgment on all humanity at the end of history (Matt. 25:31-46; John 5:22-23; Acts 17:31; 2 Cor. 5:10). As Paul says, the Lord (Jesus) `will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart' (1 Cor. 4:5). In the book of Revelation, Jesus asserts that when they see his warnings fulfilled `all the churches will know that I am the one who searches minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve' (2:23). ... . Now, following his resurrection and ascension, in Christ `are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.... For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily' (Col. 2:3, 9)." (Bowman, R.M., Jr. & Komoszewski, J.E., 2007, "Putting Jesus In His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ," Kregel: Grand Rapids MI, pp.118-119, 122. Emphasis original).
Omnipresent. "... Christ is all, and in all. (Col 3:11). "Just as God is omnipresent in a personal sense ... so the New Testament describes Christ also as omnipresent":
"Jesus Christ Possesses the Attributes of God Omnipresence God is `in' everything; all of God is everywhere present at each point in the universe. That is what being omnipresent means. ... Just as God is omnipresent in a personal sense (Psalm 139:7; Proverbs 15:3), and thus is able to help, deliver, love, defend, and meet His people's deepest longings and needs, so the New Testament describes Christ also as omnipresent. Paul said that `He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things' (Ephesians 4:10). Christ told His disciples, `For where two or three have gathered together in My Name, there I am in their midst' (Matthew 18:20). He told them, `Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age' (Matthew 28:20). Christ is said to indwell the hearts of all who place their faith in Him (Romans 8:9, Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 3:17, Colossians 1:27, Revelation 3:20). `... do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?' (2 Corinthians 13:5). How could a mere mortal, glorified or not, claim to indwell the hearts of believers around the world?" (McDowell, J. & Larson, B., 1975, "Jesus: A Biblical Defense of his Deity," Here's Life Publishers: San Bernardino CA, pp.51-52. Emphasis original).
5. JESUS DOES WORKS OF JEHOVAH
Creation. "For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him" (Col 1:16).
"Paul portrays the Lord Jesus as the Creator of all things ... He is not therefore one of the `things,' but their Creator - God":
"[Col 1:16-17] The first chapter of Colossians is one of the truly great testimonies recorded in Scripture which prove that Jesus Christ is in the second Person of the Trinity or God the Son. In verses 16 and 17 the Apostle Paul portrays the Lord Jesus as the Creator of all things, whether they be visible or invisible, whether they be thrones or principalities or powers, Paul tells us all these things were created for Him and by Him. In addition to this Paul makes no small issue, in verse 17, of emphasizing the fact that Christ is before all things and that through Him all things consist, or literally `hold together.' He is not therefore one of the `things,' but their Creator - God." (Martin, 1957, p.38. Emphasis original).
In "by Him were all things created' ... the word Paul uses for `all' means without any exception whatever":
"But Paul leaves us in no doubt as to what he means by the word; for he proceeds: `for (because, for this reason) by Him were all things created'; and the word Paul uses for `all' means without any exception whatever. Had Christ Himself been a created being, Paul would have had to use the Greek word meaning `other things' or the word meaning `remainder, rest'. But then Paul would not have called Him first-born but 'first-created', a term never applied to Christ. But verse 17 clinches the whole matter: `And He is before all things', not `He was'. The force of this statement is equal to that of the `I am' of John 8:58." (Bruce & Martin, 1964, pp.18-19).
"The New Testament maintains ...that God `created all things' ... Yet the New Testament also teaches that all things owe their existence to Jesus Christ, God's Son":
"Jesus Made It All ... The New Testament maintains this same monotheistic belief, affirming that God `created all things' (Rev. 4:11; see also Acts 4:24; 14:15; 17:24). Yet the New Testament also teaches that all things owe their existence to Jesus Christ, God's Son.All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.... He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. (John 1:3, 10)Assuming these statements cohere with the Jewish doctrine that YHWH, the Lord God, is the sole Creator and Maker of all things, the clear implication is that Jesus Christ, the Son, is himself the Lord God." (Bowman & Komoszewski, 2007, pp.187-188. Emphasis original).
For us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (1 Cor. 8:6)
For in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers-all things have been created through him and for him. (Col. 1:16)
In these last days [God] has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. (Heb. 1:2)
The Watchtower teaches that "there were two distinct acts of creation-(1) the Father creating the Son and (2) the Son creating everything else" but in its own NWT, Jehovah states that He ALONE created the heavens and the earth, "BY MYSELF," with "MY OWN HANDS"(my capitals here and below) :
"In order to hold to its unbiblical concept that there were two distinct acts of creation-(1) the Father creating the Son and (2) the Son creating everything else-the society has inserted the word `other' four times between `all' and `things' in Colossians 1:16-17 in its New World Translation of the Bible ... Let us look at what the Bible has to say about the `Creator' and His identity. ... Colossians 1:16-17 ... When we leave out the added word `other' from the New World Translation, it reads:Because by means of him [the Son, identified in v. 13] all things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all things and by means of him all things were made to exist.These verses ascribe all creation to the Son; therefore it would be impossible for the Son to create Himself or be a created being. John 1:3 says the same thing:All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence (NWT).If what the Watchtower Society teaches is true-that the Father created the Son and then the Son created everything as God's representative-then John 1:3 would be proclaiming a lie. ... The Watchtower Society says that the Father created the Son and then the Son created everything else, which would include the heavens and the earth. But this verse says that it was `God' who `created the heavens and the earth' and not `a god.' Note carefully the following verses which state that it was Jehovah `Himself' who created the heavens and the earth. (All these verses are taken from the New World Translation.) ...:This is what Jehovah has said, your Repurchaser and the Former of you from the belly: `I, Jehovah, am doing everything, stretching out the heavens BY MYSELF, laying out the earth. WHO WAS WITH ME?' (Isa. 44:24)
This is what Jehovah has said, the Holy One of Israel and the Former of him: `Ask me even about the things that are coming concerning my sons; and concerning the activity of MY HANDS .... I MYSELF have made the earth and have created even man upon it. I-MY OWN HANDS have stretched out the heavens, and all the army of them I have commanded. (Isa. 45:11-12)
Moreover, MY OWN HAND laid the foundation of the earth, and MY OWN RIGHT HAND extended out the heavens. ... (Isa. 48:13)
Since Jesus Christ is the Creator and the Bible states over and over that Jehovah Himself (and not some delegated angel) is the Creator, then the Son, Jesus Christ, has to be Jehovah. The Watchtower Society can deny this truth, but the Bible teaches that Jehovah is the Creator of the heavens and the earth." (Lingle, W., 2009, "What the Watchtower Society Doesn't Want you to Know," CLC Publications: Fort Washington PA, pp.170-173).
Paul specifically states that "Christ created `thrones,' `powers,' `rulers,' and `authorities.' ... the different orders of angels ... Christ ... created ... all the angels ... Christ therefore cannot be the archangel Michael" (as claimed by the Watchtower):
"Christ Created the Angels. A final point you will want to make is that Christ is the Creator, and angels are among the created. Colossians 1:16,17 tells us that `by Christ `all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.' Notice that Paul says Christ created `thrones,' `powers,' `rulers,' and `authorities.' In the rabbinic (Jewish) thought of the first century, these words were used to describe the different orders of angels (see Romans 8:38; Ephesians 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Colossians 2:10,15; Titus 3:1). Apparently there was a heresy flourishing in Colossae (to where Paul wrote the Book of Colossians) that involved the worship of angels. The end result of that worship was that Christ had been degraded. To correct this grave error, Paul emphasized that Christ is the one who created all things-including all the angels-and thus, He is supreme and is alone worthy to be worshiped. Since Michael is an angel, he would be one of Christ's created beings. Christ therefore cannot be the archangel Michael." (Rhodes, R., 1993, "Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah's Witnesses," Harvest House: Eugene OR, Reprinted, 2006, p.185).
As already seen above, "The New World Translation .... inserted the word `other' four times into this passage, changing the sense to allow for the false teaching that Jesus Himself was created":
"COLOSSIANS 1:15-17: .... The New World Translation (Watch Tower Society) inserted the word `other' four times into this passage, changing the sense to allow for the false teaching that Jesus Himself was created. The false notion is that Jesus created all `other' things-excluding His own creation. ... In Hebrews 1:10-12 ... it is clear that Jesus Christ is the Creator in the fullest sense. To think of Creator Christ creating Himself is absurd." (Humber, 1997, pp.76-77. Emphasis original).
"This is a real problem for the Watchtower ... the NWT inserts the word other into the phrase to create an exception for the Son. ...This exception is not in the Greek. Indeed, the Greek has only a single word corresponding to `all things' panta, which would literally be translated `all':
"This is a real problem for the Watchtower. The phrase `all things' occurs five times in Col. 1:16-20, and to prevent the text from placing Jesus in a different, uncreated class, the NWT inserts the word other into the phrase to create an exception for the Son. Thus it says that `by means of him all [other] things were created,' and `All [other] things have been created through him and for him,' etc. This exception is not in the Greek. Indeed, the Greek has only a single word corresponding to `all things' panta, which would literally be translated `all.' To avoid this in its translation, the Watchtower repeatedly inserts a word to get around the plain meaning of the text. (A similar problem text for them is John 1:3, which states that `all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made' [RSV:CE])." (Evert, J., 2001, "Answering Jehovah's Witnesses," Catholic Answers: El Cajon CA, p.76).
Forgives sin. "even as the Lord forgave you, so also do ye" (Col 3:13). "In the Old Testament God alone has the right and power to forgive sins ... In the New Testament we find our Lord [Jesus] claiming this right for Himself":
"FORGIVER OF SINS In the Old Testament God alone has the right and power to forgive sins: Jeremiah 31:34, `For I (Jehovah) will forgive their wickedness, and their sin will I remember no more'. Or again Psalm 130:4, `For with Thee is forgiveness that Thou shouldest be feared'. In the New Testament we find our Lord claiming this right for Himself. In Luke 5:21 we read of the Pharisees protesting that only God could forgive sins. This was to them, as it would be to us, self-evident. To this Christ replied by substantiating His authority to forgive, by healing the paralytic. In Acts 5:31 Peter proclaims Christ as the One whom `God has exalted at His right hand as Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins'. In Colossians 2:13 Paul speaks of God `having forgiven us all our transgressions', while in chapter 3:13, it is `the Lord (or Christ) has forgiven you'." (Bruce, F.F. & Martin, W.J., "The Deity of Christ," North of England Evangelical Trust: Manchester UK, 1964, p.11. Emphasis original).
Sustainer. "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Col 1:16-17).
"Yahweh created all things ... was axiomatic for OT faith ... Yet the NT freely applies this divine function to Jesus. ... God ... preserves and sustains all things ... [this was] referred to Jesus":
"God's creation That Yahweh created all things and is therefore Lord of all was axiomatic for OT faith (Gn. 1:1f.; Pss. 33:6-9; 148:5f.; Is. 42:5; 48:13; 51:9-16). Yet the NT freely applies this divine function to Jesus. God's creative work had four aspects: (i) God brought the world into being at the first; (ii) he preserves and sustains all things; (iii) he is leading the created universe to its end or goal; (iv) he will bring about the new creation. All four aspects are referred to Jesus. Through him all things came to be (Jn. 1:1,3; Heb. 1:3; cf. Col. 1:16; 1 Jn. 1:1); he is the sustainer and upholder of all things (Mt. 28:18; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3); he is the one in whom the universe is destined to be brought to its goal (Rom. 11:36; Eph. 1:9f.; Col. 1:16); and the `new creation' is nothing other than the realization of the purpose of God in Jesus Christ (Is. 65:17; 66:22 `Behold, I [Yahweh] will create new heavens and a new earth', cf. Jn. 3:5; 20:22; 2 Cor. 5:17; Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:10; 2 Pet. 3; Rev. 21-22)." ((Milne, B., 1982, "Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief," Inter-Varsity Press: Leicester UK, Fifth printing, 1988, pp.130-131).
6. JESUS RECEIVES HONOUR AND WORSHIP DUE TO JEHOVAH
King. The Son has been given the Father's kingdom: "the Father, who .... translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love"of God the Father's love (Col 1:12-13). See "The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom ..." (Mt 13:41); "some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." (Mt 16:28); "But about the Son he says, `Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.'" (Heb 1:8):
Dn 7:13-14. "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."
All things created by and for Him. "all things were created by him and for him" (Col 1:16). "If a figure performs deeds that are the exclusive prerogative of God ... then .... he is, in fact, God. On this basis ... Jesus as God. ... All created things exist in, through, and for him":
We "are on firm ground in identifying Jesus as God. ... All created things exist in, through, and for him":
"If a figure performs deeds that are the exclusive prerogative of God, or if he performs all the deeds, or at least a wide range of them, that are normally associated with God throughout time-from creation through history and right up to and including the consummation-then such deeds demonstrate that he is, in fact, God. On this basis, we are on firm ground in identifying Jesus as God. The heavens and the earth-which is to say, the universe-are his work (Heb. 1:10-12). Nothing came into being apart from him (John 1:3). All created things exist in, through, and for him (Col. 1:16). He sustains the universe (Co1. 1:16; Heb. 1:3). In his earthly ministry, he demonstrated divine sovereign control over the forces of nature (Matt. 8:23-27; 14:13-33). His word is the divine `word of the Lord' (Acts 8:25; 13:44,48-49). He forgives sins (Mark 2:1-12; Col. 3:13). He sends the Holy Spirit and imparts spiritual gifts (John 20:22; Acts 2:33; 1 Cor. 12:4-5; Eph. 4:8-11). He gives life to whomever he chooses (John 5:21, 26). He judges all people, so that all may honor him as they honor the Father (John 5:22-23; 2 Cor. 5:10)." (Bowman & Komoszewski, 2007, p.273).
"COLOSSIANS 1:15-17: ... The New World Translation (Watch Tower Society) inserted the word `other' four times into this passage, changing the sense to allow for the false teaching that Jesus Himself was created. The false notion is that Jesus created all `other' things-excluding His own creation. ... In Hebrews 1:10-12 ... it is clear that Jesus Christ is the Creator in the fullest sense. To think of Creator Christ creating Himself is absurd." (Humber, 1997, pp.76-77. Emphasis original).
The "New World Translation ...was applying to Jehovah (`the one for whose sake all things are and through whom all things are') words which I already knew applied to Jesus ... `All things have been created through him and for him') :
"The reference, Hebrews 2:10, was given, and I felt prompted to look it up in our New World Translation. What I saw there transfixed me: `For it was fitting for the one for whose sake all things are and through whom all things are, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the chief Agent of their salvation perfect through sufferings.' To a Christian, this verse may not look too amazing. But it almost stopped my heart, for it was applying to Jehovah (`the one for whose sake all things are and through whom all things are') words which I already knew applied to Jesus (for example, in Colossians 1:16: `All things have been created through him and for him'). .... I began to look up Hebrews 2:10 in other translations, and also to check cross-references, but I found nothing to calm my fears. On the contrary, I found more verses to disturb me, such as Romans 11:36, where Jehovah is spoken of with these words: `From him and by him and for him are all things' (NWT)." (Thorne, S., 1998, "Held by the Watchtower: Set Free by Christ," Crossway Books: Leicester UK, p.142).
Faith in. Paul commended the Colossians for their "faith in Christ Jesus" (Col 1:4; 2:5,7). But "In the Old Testament, the Lord [Jehovah] God is the primary object of faith" yet "throughout the New Testament, Jesus is repeatedly presented as the object of faith" and "Jesus ... expected ... [his followers] to place their faith unconditionally in him":
"The Focus of Our Faith In the Old Testament, the Lord God is the primary object of faith. The first mention of faith or belief in the Bible is a model example: Abraham `believed the LORD' (Gen. 15:6). ... Yet throughout the New Testament, Jesus is repeatedly presented as the object of faith in a way that treats him as far more than a spokesman for God, like Moses was. When blind men came to Jesus, he asked them, `Do you believe that I am able to do this?' (Matt. 9:28). ... Jesus unabashedly summons people to put their faith in him. Faith in Jesus Christ is a major theme of the Gospel of John. The Gospel was written `so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name' (John 20:31 NASB). Those `who believed in his name'-in the name of Jesus-became God's children (John 1:12; see also 1 John 3:23; 5:1, 10, 13). God sent Jesus to die so that whoever `believes in him may have eternal life' (John 3:15; see also 3:16, 36; 6:40). `Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God' (John 3:18). ... What this means is that faith in Christ is a confidence placed directly in him because of his own identity ... On the basis of his divine identity, Jesus made promises to his followers and expected them to place their faith unconditionally in him. While Martha's brother Lazarus lay dead, Jesus assured her, `I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die' (John 11:25-26). To those who were spiritually thirsty, Jesus promised, `Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty' (John 6:35; see also 7:37-39). To those who rejected him, Jesus warned, `You will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he' (John 8:24). Moses never spoke like this!" (Bowman & Komoszewski, 2007, pp.61-62. Emphasis original).
Fear. Jesus is "the Lord" who we should be "fearing" (Col 3:22). "It is basic to biblical religion that there is only one deity whom human beings should fear or reverence... In the New Testament, the apostles enjoin followers of Jesus to fear him as their divine `Lord,' in language that clearly treats him as God":
"The Fear Factor It is basic to biblical religion that there is only one deity whom human beings should fear or reverence. `You shall fear the LORD your God' (Deut. 10:20; cf. 6:13). ... In the New Testament, the apostles enjoin followers of Jesus to fear him as their divine `Lord,' in language that clearly treats him as God. Consider the following passage from one of Paul's epistles:For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. (2 Cor. 5:10-11)The plain meaning of these statements is that we fear the Lord because we must appear before him ... on the Day of Judgment. ... `the Lord' in verse 11 is clearly the same as `Christ' in verse 10. If that were not plain enough, elsewhere Paul tells Christians to `be subject to one another in the fear of Christ' (Eph. 5:21 NASB). Even slaves are to render service as if they were serving the Lord, not people, remembering `that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do' (Eph. 6:7-8 NLT). ... Paul makes the same point in similar language in Colossians:Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality. (3:22-25 NASB, emphasis added)If it is not immediately clear in verse 22 that `the Lord' is Jesus, this is made rather explicit in verse 24, where Paul states, `It is the Lord Christ whom you serve:' Once again, the motivation for doing one's work responsibly even when not being supervised is that the Lord is watching and will one day be our judge." (Bowman & Komoszewski, 2007, pp.64-65).
Seated on the right hand of God. "Christ is, seated on the right hand of God." (Col 3:1): "But to sit at God's right side was .... In the religious and cultural milieu of Jesus' day ... tantamount to claiming equality with God ... that he would be entitled to have his head as high as that of the king":
"Sitting in the Big Chair (Psalm 110:1) ...Psalm 110:1, in which David says,The LORD [YHWH] says to my Lord ['adoni]: `Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.' (ESV)... The Messiah would not be a mere Davidic king but would be a universal sovereign, sitting at God's right hand, honored as Lord even by his ancestor David. A careful examination of Psalm 110:1, and Jesus' application of it (in conjunction with Daniel 7:13) to himself, reveals how remarkable Jesus' claim was and why it seemed to the Sanhedrin to be blasphemous. It was one thing to enter God's presence and yet another to sit in it. But to sit at God's right side was another matter altogether. In the religious and cultural milieu of Jesus' day, to claim to sit at God's right hand was tantamount to claiming equality with God. ... For Jesus to claim that he would sit at God's right hand was akin to claiming, in an `Oriental' cultural context, that he would be entitled to have his head as high as that of the king. Jesus, then, was claiming the right to go directly into God's `throne room' and sit at his side. The temerity of such a claim for any mere human would be astonishing to the Jews of Jesus' day." (Bowman & Komoszewski, 2007, pp.243-244).
Do all in Jesus' name. In "whatever" Christians do, "whether in word or deed," they are to "do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Col 3:17). We "should `do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus'":
"For the Name The apostles and other early Christians were willing to suffer and die for the sake of the name of Jesus. .... Clearly, for the early Christians the belief in Jesus' deity was not just a doctrinal affirmation but was the crux of their entire value system. .... Recognizing Jesus' divine claims on our lives, and the astounding, eternal blessings he promises us, ought to motivate us to live as if the only thing that matters to us is `the name:' As Paul put it, we should `do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus' (Col. 3:17)." (Bowman & Komoszewski, 2007, pp.133-134).
That is because "Jesus is identified as the Lord (that is, YHWH) of the Old Testament" and "he has the name that is above every name":
"If a figure is affirmed to be God, or is called God in a confessional or religious context, and is given a variety of other names for God in contexts that show such names to be applied to him in the same way they apply to God, those are positive indicators that the figure is, indeed, God. By this standard, the New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus is God. Despite the fact that the New Testament usually uses the name God with reference to the Father, it also affirms several times that Christ is God (John 1:1, 18; 20:28; Acts 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1). With astonishing frequency-far more often than even many scholars have noticed-Jesus is identified as the Lord (that is, YHWH) of the Old Testament (Rom. 10:9-13; 1 Cor. 8:6; Phil. 2:9-11; 1 Peter 3:13-15). He is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 17:14; 19:16), the divine Savior (Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:11), the one who says `I am' or `I am he' (John 8:24, 28, 58), the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega, and the beginning and the end (
Rev. 1:7-8, 17b-18; 2:8; 22:12-13). The New Testament repeatedly and in a variety of ways makes the name of Jesus the center of Christian faith; he has the name that is above every name (Eph. 1:21; Phil. 2:9-11; Col. 3:17)." (Bowman & Komoszewski, 2007, pp.272-273. Emphasis original).
The "Divine Name is now `the Name' that was bestowed on Christ at his exaltation ... the Divine Name that belonged to God alone in ancient Israel has now been transferred ... to the One to whom that Name has now been given in its Greek form, kurios", i.e. "the Lord Jesus":
"Similarly, at the conclusion of his great eschatological oracle in Mic 4:1-5, the prophet contrasts eschatological Israel with the surrounding nations, which `walk in the name of their gods' (= live by the authority of and in keeping with their gods). Israel, Micah says, will do the same: `We will walk in the name of the LORD [Yahweh] our God forever.' Even though Paul does not use the metaphor `to walk' as such, he reflects this usage in a couple of passages where he assumes that everything believers do is done `in the name of the Lord Jesus.' Thus, in Col 3:17, in concluding a context of worship while at the same time bringing the entire paraenesis of 3:12-17 to a fitting conclusion, Paul urges the believers in Colossae (and indirectly in Laodicea [4:15-16]) to do everything, whether word or deed, `in the name of the Lord Jesus.' Thus what identifies them as God's new people is also the context in which they are to live out that identification in its entirety (= walk in the Lord's name). In the companion passage in Eph 5:20, believers are urged especially in the context of worship to offer their thanksgiving to God `in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.' ... The point to make again, by way of conclusion, is that in every one of these instances where Paul uses the OT term `the name of the Lord,' the Divine Name is now `the Name' that was bestowed on Christ at his exaltation. Thus all of these passages reflect various ways whereby the Divine Name that belonged to God alone in ancient Israel has now been transferred across the board to the One to whom that Name has now been given in its Greek form, kurios." (Fee, G.D., 2007, "Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study," Hendrickson Publishers: Peabody MA, pp.567-568. My transliteration).
Served. Jesus is "the Lord Christ" whom Christians "are serving" (Col 3:24). "When we serve the Lord Christ, we serve the ... Jehovah" because "The Lord Jesus is Jehovah God the Son.":
"COLOSSIANS 3:24: `...since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.' Deuteronomy 10:20 says that we should `serve' the LORD God. In this passage, it says that it `is the Lord Christ you are serving.' Again, there is no problem. When we serve the Lord Christ, we serve the LORD (Jehovah) God. The Lord Jesus is Jehovah God the Son." (Humber, 1997, p.79).
7. OBJECTIONS TO JESUS BEING JEHOVAH
Firstborn. "The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation" (Col 1:15). "And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy." (Col 1:18). Note that in the immediate context Paul explains what he means by "firstborn," namely "supremacy." Even the NWT admits this:
Col 1:18 NWT. and he is the head of the body, the congregation. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that he might become the one who is first in all things;
The Watchtower claims that because Jesus is "the firstborn of all creation" (Col 1:15 NWT) that He must be first-created, i.e. "Jesus ... is called `the firstborn of all creation,' for he was God's first creation."
"Jesus is Jehovah's most precious Son-and for good reason. He is called `the firstborn of all creation,' for he was God's first creation. (Colossians 1:15) There is something else that makes this Son special. He is the `only-begotten Son.' (John 3:16) This means that Jesus is the only one directly created by God. Jesus is also the only one whom God used when He created all other things. (Colossians 1:16)" (Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, "What Does the Bible Really Teach?," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York: Brooklyn NY, 2005, p.41).
But this is false. For starters "born" does not mean "created"! As can be seen in the following New Testament Greek lexicons, the Greek word translated "firstborn" is prototokos, where "In Col. 1:15 .... The point ... is not that Christ is the first creature. .... What is stated is Christ's supremacy over creation":
"prototokos, `firstborn' ... In Col. 1:15 the `for' clause brings out the meaning, namely, that all things owe their creation to Christ's mediation. The point, then, is not that Christ is the first creature. This would demand a stress on the -tokos and would also bring birth into conflict with creation. What is stated is Christ's supremacy over creation as its mediator. The term prototokos is used, then, because of its importance as a word for rank." (Kittel, G. & Friedrich, G., eds., 1985, "Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in one Volume," Bromiley, G.W., transl., Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, Reprinted, 1988, pp.967-968).
"The word prototokos is also used in relation to God's creation referring to Christ's supremacy over it. .... In Col. 1:15 He is placed above His creation when He is called ... `the one preeminent over all creation'":
"prototokos ... from protos (4413), first, and tikto (5088), to bear, bring forth. Firstborn, preeminent. ... The word prototokos is also used in relation to God's creation referring to Christ's supremacy over it. .... In Col. 1:15 He is placed above His creation when He is called prototokos pases ktiseos ...`the firstborn of every creature,' or better still, `the one preeminent over all creation' (a.t.). The next verse makes it adequately clear, `For by him were all things created,' meaning that He Himself is not part of creation (cf. John 1:3)." (Zodhiates, S., "The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament," AMG Publishers: Chattanooga TN, 1992, Third printing, 1994, pp.1249-1250).
"PROTOTOKOS ... firstborn ... is used of Christ ... expressing His priority to, and preeminence over, creation, not in the sense of being the first to be born" (capitals original):
"FIRST-BEGOTTEN, FIRSTBORN. PROTOTOKOS ... firstborn (from protos, first, and tikto, to beget), is used of Christ ... in His relationship to the Father, expressing His priority to, and preeminence over, creation, not in the sense of being the first to be born." (Vine, W.E., "An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words: With Their Precise Meanings for English Readers," Oliphants: London, 1940, Nineteenth impression, 1969, Vol. II., p.104. Emphasis original).
"`Firstborn' does not mean `first-created.' Rather ... the word ... prototokos... means `first in rank, pre-eminent one, heir.' ... Christ is the firstborn in the sense that He is positionally preeminent over creation":
"Colossians 1:15 ... The Jehovah's Witnesses have wrongly understood Colossians 1:15 to mean that there was a time when Christ did not exist, and that He came into being at a point in time. `Firstborn' does not mean `first-created.' Rather, as Greek scholars agree, the word (Greek: prototokos) means `first in rank, pre-eminent one, heir.' The word carries the idea of positional preeminence and supremacy. Christ is the firstborn in the sense that He is positionally preeminent over creation and supreme over all things. He is also the heir of all creation in the sense that all that belongs to the Father is also the Son's. ... Well, notice that Colossians calls Christ `the firstborn of all creation' (i.e., not the firstborn of Jehovah)." (Rhodes, 1993, pp.129-130).
"The word first-born had long since ceased to be used exclusively in its literal sense, just as ... The Prime Minister is not the first minister we have had, he is the most preeminent... Similarly, first-born came to denote not priority in time but preeminence in rank":
"In the first chapter of Colossians we have a number of significant statements concerning the person of Christ. In verse 15 we read ... Christ is also: `the first-born of every creature'. The word first-born had long since ceased to be used exclusively in its literal sense, just as prime (from Latin primus-first) with us. The Prime Minister is not the first minister we have had, he is the most preeminent. A man in the `prime' of life has long since left the first part of his life behind. Similarly, first-born came to denote not priority in time but preeminence in rank. For instance in Psalm 89:27, `I have put him (given him) as first-born, higher than the kings of the earth'. In a given situation even a whole company may rank as first-borns, as in Hebrews 12:23, `and church of the first-born ones, who are enrolled in heaven'." (Bruce & Martin, 1964, pp.18-19).
But "the word first-born in the Bible" does not "necessarily mean the first one who was born ... For example, in "Psalm 89:27 ... King David, who was the youngest, or last-born son of Jesse ... God says about him ... `Also, I myself shall place him as firstborn'":
"Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. (RSV) Jehovah's Witnesses cite this verse as `proof' that Jesus Christ is not God, but rather the first angel that God created. However, does the word first-born in the Bible necessarily mean the first one who was born or created? Not at all! The term is often used in Scripture to signify priority in importance or rank, rather than actual birth order. For example, ask the Witness to turn to Psalm 89:27. This verse speaks about King David, who was the youngest, or last-born son of Jesse-as far away as he could be from being literally first-born. But note what God says about him in the psalm: `Also, I myself shall place him as firstborn ...' (NWT). Clearly, God did not reverse the order of David's birth; he was not speaking about birth order. What the psalm meant was that King David would be elevated in rank, above the others, to the preeminent position." (Reed, D.A., 1986, pp.97-98).
For "the ancient Hebrews, the word `firstborn' referred to the son in the family who was in the preeminent position, regardless of whether or not he was literally the first son born to the parents. ... Manasseh was actually the first son born to Joseph .... Nevertheless, Ephraim is called the `firstborn' ... because of his preeminent position":
"As we attempt to understand the Bible, it is critical that we interpret words according to the meaning intended by the speaker or writer of those words. ... With that in mind, let us note that among the ancient Hebrews, the word `firstborn' referred to the son in the family who was in the preeminent position, regardless of whether or not he was literally the first son born to the parents. This firstborn son would not only be the preeminent one, he would also be the heir to a double portion of the family inheritance. This meaning of firstborn is illustrated in the life of David. He was the youngest (last-born) son of Jesse. Nevertheless, Psalm 89:27 says of him, `I also shall make him My first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth' (NASB). Though David was the last one born in Jesse's family, David is called the firstborn because of the preeminent position in which God placed him. We find another example of this meaning of `firstborn' in comparing Genesis 41:50,51 with Jeremiah 31:9. Manasseh was actually the first son born to Joseph, and Ephraim was born some time later. Nevertheless, Ephraim is called the `firstborn' in Jeremiah 31:9 because of his preeminent position. He was not born first, but he was the firstborn because of his preeminence." (Rhodes, 1993, p.131).
"Therefore, the use of the term firstborn in reference to Jesus does not at all mean that he is a created being but rather that he is preeminent over creation":
"Does the phrase `firstborn of creation' imply that Jesus was created? In the case of Colossians 1:15, the Greek word for `firstborn' is prototokos, which can mean either a firstborn in chronological birth order or one who is preeminent. To see this difference in meaning, compare Genesis 41:51-52 ('Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh ... the name of the second he called Ephraim') with Jeremiah 31:9 ('I have become to Israel a Father; and as for Ephraim, he is my firstborn'). In these verses, firstborn has two different meanings, since Ephraim is considered firstborn, although he was not first to leave the womb. Therefore, the use of the term firstborn in reference to Jesus does not at all mean that he is a created being but rather that he is preeminent over creation." (Evert, 2001, p.74).
Therefore, in view of all the evidence above for Jesus being Jehovah, come in the flesh, and the failure of the evidence against, I conclude that Jesus is Jehovah in Colossians!
The next post in this series (part #12) is "Jesus is Jehovah in Ephesians!"