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Author Topic: Jehovah's Witnesses and the Trinity  (Read 1293 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 23, 2010, 09:32:26 AM »

How would you go about defending the Trinity when speaking to Jehovah's Witnesses from both the Bible and Tradition?
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2010, 09:52:40 AM »

Tell them this, for example: "Where in the Bible do you see a verse that would definitely indicate that the Son of God was ever "created"?" Tell them that Greeks, who most certainly know Greek, do not seem to find any verse like that there...
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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2010, 10:56:45 AM »

If you ever read one of thier Bibles, you will read in John 1:1, "In the beginning was the word and the word was " a god" which is outright wrong since we know this reads, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God". I guess  they are Arians; otherwise their Bible will probably read almost identical. Of course I beleive they have some sort of wrong eschatology but that is another story.
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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2010, 11:57:24 AM »

Tell them this, for example: "Where in the Bible do you see a verse that would definitely indicate that the Son of God was ever "created"?" Tell them that Greeks, who most certainly know Greek, do not seem to find any verse like that there...

The best anyone can come up with is probably "This is my Son, today I have begotten You." Of course, the Creed clarifies that Christ was "begotten, not made", whatever that means!  Cheesy
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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2010, 03:10:09 PM »

God, the Father, states in the Old Testament that He is the "First and the Last" (Isaiah 41:4, 44:6, 48:12) and God, the Son, states in Revelation that He is "the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last" (Revelation 1:11).  They'll have a tough time with that one.  They may try to convince you it's the Father speaking in Revelation, but they have to twist Scripture beyond the breaking point with that one.  In prior verses it is very clear who is speaking.    
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« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2010, 04:13:14 PM »

These are great so far. How would you respond if they said the concept of the trinity didn't exist in the first few centuries of the church?
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« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2010, 05:15:27 PM »

These are great so far. How would you respond if they said the concept of the trinity didn't exist in the first few centuries of the church?
The term may not have existed, but the concept certainly did: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."  1 John 5:7. 

This is in the KJV, which is the only version outside of their translation that they tolerate.
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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2010, 06:28:49 PM »

Don't forget about Acts 20, where expressly it states that "God" purchased the Church with His own Blood.  Acts actually is a pretty good working tool to use with JW's, for example, again, the Holy Spirit is expressly called God when Ananias lies to the Holy Spirit and therefore it is declared that the lie was not to men, but to God. 
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« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2010, 08:01:30 PM »

These are great so far. How would you respond if they said the concept of the trinity didn't exist in the first few centuries of the church?
The term may not have existed, but the concept certainly did: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."  1 John 5:7. 

This is in the KJV, which is the only version outside of their translation that they tolerate.

Does Orthodoxy not acknowledge this to be a 17th century addition to the scriptures? I thought that was a well-knownfact but then I was surprised to see in my Orthodox Study Bible.
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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2010, 08:14:13 PM »

These are great so far. How would you respond if they said the concept of the trinity didn't exist in the first few centuries of the church?
The term may not have existed, but the concept certainly did: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."  1 John 5:7. 

This is in the KJV, which is the only version outside of their translation that they tolerate.

Does Orthodoxy not acknowledge this to be a 17th century addition to the scriptures? I thought that was a well-knownfact but then I was surprised to see in my Orthodox Study Bible.
I don't know the answer to your question.  Can anyone respond?
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2010, 10:35:08 PM »

These are great so far. How would you respond if they said the concept of the trinity didn't exist in the first few centuries of the church?
The term may not have existed, but the concept certainly did: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."  1 John 5:7.  

This is in the KJV, which is the only version outside of their translation that they tolerate.

Does Orthodoxy not acknowledge this to be a 17th century addition to the scriptures? I thought that was a well-knownfact but then I was surprised to see in my Orthodox Study Bible.

Actually, several western fathers (Tertullian and Cyprian, for example) quote the Johannine comma, and it appears in some versions of the Vulgate from that time.  So it was a very early, albeit regional, variant that eventually was transcribed into Greek manuscripts, the earliest of which we have from many centuries hence, but one can hardly say that it was unknown by the Church before that time.  Indeed, additions like the woman caught in adultery or the longer ending of Mark were going on well after the apostles' passings; this is no different, and no reason to deny the passages' inclusion as Scripture...not that I think that that's what you were doing, but still.

Regarding the OP: I've posted this several times on the forum, so what's one more time?

I always like showing them how their own Bible proclaims the divinity of Christ:

Quote from: New World Translation Bible
Rev. 1:8: “I am the Al´pha and the O·me´ga,” says Jehovah God, “the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.”

So, all right, Jehovah God calls himself "the Alpha and the Omega."  Keep that handy.

Quote from: New World Translation Bible
9 I John, YOUR brother and a sharer with YOU in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in company with Jesus, came to be in the isle that is called Pat´mos for speaking about God and bearing witness to Jesus.

10 By inspiration I came to be in the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a strong voice like that of a trumpet,

11 saying: “What you see write in a scroll and send it to the seven congregations, in Eph´e·sus and in Smyr´na and in Per´ga·mum and in Thy·a·ti´ra and in Sar´dis and in Philadelphia and in La·o·di·ce´a.”

12 And I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me, and, having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands,

13 and in the midst of the lampstands someone like a son of man, clothed with a garment that reached down to the feet, and girded at the breasts with a golden girdle.

14 Moreover, his head and his hair were white as white wool, as snow, and his eyes as a fiery flame;

15 and his feet were like fine copper when glowing in a furnace; and his voice was as the sound of many waters.

16 And he had in his right hand seven stars, and out of his mouth a sharp, long two-edged sword was protruding, and his countenance was as the sun when it shines in its power.

17 And when I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet.

And he laid his right hand upon me and said: “Do not be fearful. I am the First and the Last,

18 and the living one; and I became dead, but, look! I am living forever and ever,
and I have the keys of death and of Ha´des.

So now we obviously have Jesus, the Son of Man who died and lives forever, who has the keys of death and Hades, calling Himself "the First and the Last."  Not exactly the same title as "Alpha and Omega," not word for word, anyway, so let's go from the beginning of the Apocalypse into the final chapter:

Quote from: New World Translation Bible
Rev. 22:13: "I am the Al´pha and the O·me´ga, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."

Now, that verse is in a paragraph that JWs say is Jehovah God speaking, though the text gives no clue that that's happening, and even though the passage is surrounded by two things that are clearly spoken by Jesus.  Nevertheless, they have a statement here that even they say is attributed to Jehovah God which equates the One Who Is Alpha and Omega with the One Who Is the First and the Last.

Christ is divine, and not even the JW Bible denies it.  
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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2010, 11:26:49 PM »

These are great so far. How would you respond if they said the concept of the trinity didn't exist in the first few centuries of the church?
The term may not have existed, but the concept certainly did: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."  1 John 5:7.  

This is in the KJV, which is the only version outside of their translation that they tolerate.

Does Orthodoxy not acknowledge this to be a 17th century addition to the scriptures? I thought that was a well-knownfact but then I was surprised to see in my Orthodox Study Bible.

Actually, several western fathers (Tertullian and Cyprian, for example) quote the Johannine comma, and it appears in some versions of the Vulgate from that time.  So it was a very early, albeit regional, variant that eventually was transcribed into Greek manuscripts, the earliest of which we have from many centuries hence, but one can hardly say that it was unknown by the Church before that time.  Indeed, additions like the woman caught in adultery or the longer ending of Mark were going on well after the apostles' passings; this is no different, and no reason to deny the passages' inclusion as Scripture...not that I think that that's what you were doing, but still.

Regarding the OP: I've posted this several times on the forum, so what's one more time?

I always like showing them how their own Bible proclaims the divinity of Christ:

Quote from: New World Translation Bible
Rev. 1:8: “I am the Al´pha and the O·me´ga,” says Jehovah God, “the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.”

So, all right, Jehovah God calls himself "the Alpha and the Omega."  Keep that handy.

Quote from: New World Translation Bible
9 I John, YOUR brother and a sharer with YOU in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in company with Jesus, came to be in the isle that is called Pat´mos for speaking about God and bearing witness to Jesus.

10 By inspiration I came to be in the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a strong voice like that of a trumpet,

11 saying: “What you see write in a scroll and send it to the seven congregations, in Eph´e·sus and in Smyr´na and in Per´ga·mum and in Thy·a·ti´ra and in Sar´dis and in Philadelphia and in La·o·di·ce´a.”

12 And I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me, and, having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands,

13 and in the midst of the lampstands someone like a son of man, clothed with a garment that reached down to the feet, and girded at the breasts with a golden girdle.

14 Moreover, his head and his hair were white as white wool, as snow, and his eyes as a fiery flame;

15 and his feet were like fine copper when glowing in a furnace; and his voice was as the sound of many waters.

16 And he had in his right hand seven stars, and out of his mouth a sharp, long two-edged sword was protruding, and his countenance was as the sun when it shines in its power.

17 And when I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet.

And he laid his right hand upon me and said: “Do not be fearful. I am the First and the Last,

18 and the living one; and I became dead, but, look! I am living forever and ever,
and I have the keys of death and of Ha´des.

So now we obviously have Jesus, the Son of Man who died and lives forever, who has the keys of death and Hades, calling Himself "the First and the Last."  Not exactly the same title as "Alpha and Omega," not word for word, anyway, so let's go from the beginning of the Apocalypse into the final chapter:

Quote from: New World Translation Bible
Rev. 22:13: "I am the Al´pha and the O·me´ga, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."

Now, that verse is in a paragraph that JWs say is Jehovah God speaking, though the text gives no clue that that's happening, and even though the passage is surrounded by two things that are clearly spoken by Jesus.  Nevertheless, they have a statement here that even they say is attributed to Jehovah God which equates the One Who Is Alpha and Omega with the One Who Is the First and the Last.

Christ is divine, and not even the JW Bible denies it.  
Thank you, DavidBryan.  Not even the Watchtower could obscure the truth. Wink
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« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2010, 03:05:01 AM »

These are great so far. How would you respond if they said the concept of the trinity didn't exist in the first few centuries of the church?
The term may not have existed, but the concept certainly did: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."  1 John 5:7.  

This is in the KJV, which is the only version outside of their translation that they tolerate.

Does Orthodoxy not acknowledge this to be a 17th century addition to the scriptures? I thought that was a well-knownfact but then I was surprised to see in my Orthodox Study Bible.

Actually, several western fathers (Tertullian and Cyprian, for example) quote the Johannine comma, and it appears in some versions of the Vulgate from that time.  So it was a very early, albeit regional, variant that eventually was transcribed into Greek manuscripts, the earliest of which we have from many centuries hence, but one can hardly say that it was unknown by the Church before that time.  Indeed, additions like the woman caught in adultery or the longer ending of Mark were going on well after the apostles' passings; this is no different, and no reason to deny the passages' inclusion as Scripture...not that I think that that's what you were doing, but still. 

According to Wikipedia what you've said isn't entirely correct. 

I stand corrected though about it being as recent as the 17th cent.!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannine_comma
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« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2010, 03:33:26 AM »

I had a very good friend who was a JW.  we had very interesting discussions about theological issues.  I had to apologuise for getting a bit heagted when we debated the trinity.  I pulled up his "New World Translation" online, turned to Matt. 28:19 which reads "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."    this would be proof enough for me, and it was proof enough for him.  he quickly diverted the topic after I pulled up this quote.  I mean, there it is!  it can't get anymore "cut-'n-dry" than that.  I related this to my Godfather (well, he wasn't yet because I hadn't been chrismated yet.) and he was so proud! 

also, do some research.  tell them that their cult started in 1867, and most non-trinitarian and all-around nutty denoms. started around this time.  but the Church, the one Christian Church (Pentecost-1054) was started on Pentecost. 

honestly, anyone who studyes Christian history, and I mean history, in the early sence, will see that Orthodoxy is the Church and her teachings have survived for 2000 years, standing strong against heresy after heresy. 
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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2010, 03:34:33 AM »

These are great so far. How would you respond if they said the concept of the trinity didn't exist in the first few centuries of the church?
The term may not have existed, but the concept certainly did: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."  1 John 5:7. 

This is in the KJV, which is the only version outside of their translation that they tolerate.
bravo Grin  I didn't know about this verse!
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« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2010, 05:37:41 AM »

Personally, I like this response to not only JW but also to those Evangelical Protestants who say that "we must return to the true, pure, undiluted Biblical Christianity of the time of Christ and the Apostles": why should we? Isn't doing away with the era of the Seven Ecumenical Councils the same as (for a grown man) throwing away his adult clothes and trying to fit himself in baby suit, diapers, etc.? Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2010, 06:20:25 AM »

Personally, I like this response to not only JW but also to those Evangelical Protestants who say that "we must return to the true, pure, undiluted Biblical Christianity of the time of Christ and the Apostles": why should we? Isn't doing away with the era of the Seven Ecumenical Councils the same as (for a grown man) throwing away his adult clothes and trying to fit himself in baby suit, diapers, etc.? Smiley

Bravo, Heorhij! Simple, but so, so good!  Kiss Kiss
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« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2010, 09:54:30 AM »

These are great so far. How would you respond if they said the concept of the trinity didn't exist in the first few centuries of the church?
The term may not have existed, but the concept certainly did: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."  1 John 5:7. 

This is in the KJV, which is the only version outside of their translation that they tolerate.
bravo Grin  I didn't know about this verse!
The JWs do: they use the fact that it is not found in early manuscripts to discredit the Trinity. And ever since the New World, they use nothing but.

Unfortunatly, I do not have my JW New World with me: I got one at a second hand store (whose owner is on his way to Orthodoxy), and mark it up in red on there various arguments.  Even with their translation, it is possible to tear apart their arguments.

For one thing, their own translation states "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit".  If they were three seperate beings, it should be "the names of...."  One might also ask why baptize in the name of a finite God (JW's don't believe in omnipresence), an embodied archangel, and an impersonal force.

There's a quick evangelical chart of some Christological/Trinitarian verses:
http://www.evangelicalbible.com/jw.htm

There are other inconsistencies, e.g. if Christ is "a god" in John 1:1, why doesn't verse 14 say "no one has ever seen a god," and other nonsense if the NWT was consistent in John.
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« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2010, 10:58:47 AM »

A few years ago, I had a "discussion" with one of my JW co-workers re Isaiah 9:6, "For there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."  I asked her if that verse spoke of Jesus Christ.  When she stated 'yes', I then asked her how the JW's could refute the diety of Christ, the Mighty God, the Eternal Father.  She stated that Jesus was "only" the Mighty God, not the Almighty God",  Roll Eyes to which I asked if they worshiped two gods.  She said 'no', but that the Bible showed plenty of evidence of ancient civilizations worshiping false gods.

I asked her if Jesus was a false god.  She said 'no'.  I then asked her why the Prophet Isaiah would make such a claim re Jesus Christ (the false god claim).  Needless to say, she became flustered and upset when she couldn't answer.  We didn't even get to the "Eternal Father" phrase.  Sad

Maybe you can use that simple verse.
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« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2010, 12:54:46 PM »

This subject is very close to me. My son is planning on joining the Mormon Church this coming November, (his fiance is Mormon). He rarely has gone to church on his own since he left the Marines (medical discharge, non combat), until he met his fiance. He was raised Lutheran, then we switched to a non0denom church when he was around 11. Sometimes you have to watch what you pray for, Smiley, I prayed and prayed that he would find he way back to church- (before I knew about Orthodoxy),  well he did Smiley . The problem is that when I bring up certain subjects, like some of the biblical quotes above, he responds that there are many bi bile translations out there, how do we really know which one is the "correct"one. When I bring up the difference of theology between not only the Orthodox, but other "traditional" Christian groups (RC, traditional Lutheranism, traditional Baptist, etc) verses the theology of the Mormon church, he states that the minute differences of theology are just for people who are scholarly and have nothing  better to do. And at least," he is going back to a  christian church"!!  ARRGGHHHHHHHHHHHH. We have a good relationship, and he likes the fact that at least I will discuss this without getting angry at him and "shunning" him so to speak as some family members have. So, I feel stuck, so I pray-differently.  Any ideas?



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« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2010, 01:30:40 PM »

A few years ago, I had a "discussion" with one of my JW co-workers re Isaiah 9:6, "For there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."  I asked her if that verse spoke of Jesus Christ.  When she stated 'yes', I then asked her how the JW's could refute the diety of Christ, the Mighty God, the Eternal Father.  She stated that Jesus was "only" the Mighty God, not the Almighty God",  Roll Eyes to which I asked if they worshiped two gods.  She said 'no', but that the Bible showed plenty of evidence of ancient civilizations worshiping false gods.

I asked her if Jesus was a false god.  She said 'no'.  I then asked her why the Prophet Isaiah would make such a claim re Jesus Christ (the false god claim).  Needless to say, she became flustered and upset when she couldn't answer.  We didn't even get to the "Eternal Father" phrase.  Sad

Maybe you can use that simple verse.

Actually, JW teach that Jesus was a false god in the sense that He was made similar to God in the sight of men. The witnesses generally quote the verse from the Book of Exodus that says Moses was made "a god" to Pharaoh and claim that the Father made the Son similar to Himself although the latter was the first created. Accordingly, they tend to add the indefinite article (a) into the first verse of John's Gospel (their Bible version reads "and the Word was a god").

This tendency to identify Jesus as a false god dates back to the Arian heresy, which is almost identical with the Christology propagated by the JW. In response to Arius' presumption that the created Son had been made "a god" by the Father, the Athanasian Creed added the phrase "true God from true God" with regard to the Son's identity and substance.

I always think that the two major heresies of Christianity were relevant and born of the same misunderstanding even though the conclusions they reached were in the opposite directions. Gnostic docetism, which posed a serious threat in the first and second century of the Church, denied Jesus' humanity and tried to explain His human nature through an illusion. The followers of this heresy taught that Jesus was not a TRUE HUMAN, but only appeared to be so. Arius, on the other hand, chose to deny Jesus' divinity and tried to explain Jesus' divine nature with the help of a similar illusion. He taught that Jesus was not a TRUE GOD, but only appeared to be so.
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« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2010, 03:39:42 PM »

A few years ago, I had a "discussion" with one of my JW co-workers re Isaiah 9:6, "For there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."  I asked her if that verse spoke of Jesus Christ.  When she stated 'yes', I then asked her how the JW's could refute the diety of Christ, the Mighty God, the Eternal Father.  She stated that Jesus was "only" the Mighty God, not the Almighty God",  Roll Eyes to which I asked if they worshiped two gods.  She said 'no', but that the Bible showed plenty of evidence of ancient civilizations worshiping false gods.

I asked her if Jesus was a false god.  She said 'no'.  I then asked her why the Prophet Isaiah would make such a claim re Jesus Christ (the false god claim).  Needless to say, she became flustered and upset when she couldn't answer.  We didn't even get to the "Eternal Father" phrase.  Sad

Maybe you can use that simple verse.

Actually, JW teach that Jesus was a false god in the sense that He was made similar to God in the sight of men. The witnesses generally quote the verse from the Book of Exodus that says Moses was made "a god" to Pharaoh and claim that the Father made the Son similar to Himself although the latter was the first created. Accordingly, they tend to add the indefinite article (a) into the first verse of John's Gospel (their Bible version reads "and the Word was a god").

This tendency to identify Jesus as a false god dates back to the Arian heresy, which is almost identical with the Christology propagated by the JW. In response to Arius' presumption that the created Son had been made "a god" by the Father, the Athanasian Creed added the phrase "true God from true God" with regard to the Son's identity and substance.

I always think that the two major heresies of Christianity were relevant and born of the same misunderstanding even though the conclusions they reached were in the opposite directions. Gnostic docetism, which posed a serious threat in the first and second century of the Church, denied Jesus' humanity and tried to explain His human nature through an illusion. The followers of this heresy taught that Jesus was not a TRUE HUMAN, but only appeared to be so. Arius, on the other hand, chose to deny Jesus' divinity and tried to explain Jesus' divine nature with the help of a similar illusion. He taught that Jesus was not a TRUE GOD, but only appeared to be so.

The 'false god' claim seemed to be where she was going, but she didn't know how to extricate herself from her dilemma.  Even if JW's are correct in that 'Moses was made a god to Pharaoh', what was Isaiah's excuse for making Jesus a (false) god for the Hebrews to worship?  Pharaoh was a pagan, who believed in many gods.  Isaiah worshipped the true God.  If Isaiah did not worship false gods why would he advance the story of a false god who would be called Eternal Father, Prince of Peace, etcetera?  And, if he did worship false gods, he is no prophet of the true God and we wouldn't be reading his prophecies, a point I was prepared to make. 

The JW's go to ridiculous extremes to defend (and, quite poorly, I might add) their heresies.   
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“When I have a little money I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.” - Erasmus

"God became man so that man might become a god." ~St. Athanasius the Great

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« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2010, 03:59:20 PM »


The 'false god' claim seemed to be where she was going, but she didn't know how to extricate herself from her dilemma.  Even if JW's are correct in that 'Moses was made a god to Pharaoh', what was Isaiah's excuse for making Jesus a (false) god for the Hebrews to worship?  Pharaoh was a pagan, who believed in many gods.  Isaiah worshipped the true God.  If Isaiah did not worship false gods why would he advance the story of a false god who would be called Eternal Father, Prince of Peace, etcetera?  And, if he did worship false gods, he is no prophet of the true God and we wouldn't be reading his prophecies, a point I was prepared to make. 

The JW's go to ridiculous extremes to defend (and, quite poorly, I might add) their heresies.   

Exactly.  Smiley

The Book of Exodus explains what God meant when He said to Moses that He had made him a god to Pharaoh:

So the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. (Exodus 7:1)

This can be best understood with the help of the verses below:

Then the Lord became angry with Moses, and he said, “What about your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he can speak very well. Moreover, he is coming to meet you, and when he sees you he will be glad in his heart.“So you are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And as for me, I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you both what you must do. He will speak for you to the people, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were his God. You will also take in your hand this staff, with which you will do the signs.” (Exodus 4:14-17)
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« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2010, 11:08:04 PM »

I suppose Hebrews 1:8 would also work, where you have the Father specifically identifying the Son as God.
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