A Further Look at the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses
Much of Jehovah’s Witness doctrine is built by using the Bible like a dictionary. You choose your doctrine, and then you hunt through the pages of the Bible for a phrase here and a phrase there that will seem to support what you said. Used (or abused) this way, you can make the Bible say just about anything you want it to! Misrepresenting Christ by ignoring the context is a favorite method of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and we give an example here.
Presenting Jesus as a Creature, “First Created”
Since Jesus is eternal, and the Bible teaches this fact, first of all, these scriptures are not used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses—ever. The next step is to choose other scriptures that, on the surface, seem to teach Jesus is created. Jehovah’s Witnesses choose Proverbs 8:22 and 30, after telling the “Bible Study” that Jesus is created. The prospect reads:
- “Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago.”… “then I came to be beside him as a master worker, and I came to be the one he was specially fond of day by day, I being glad before him all the time” (New World Translation).
Being “primed” in this manner, the prospect assumes that Jesus Christ is the subject of Proverbs, chapter eight. However, a study IN CONTEXT reveals that the true subject of Proverbs, chapter eight is “Wisdom” personified, and not Jesus Christ at all! Always check the context of the isolated verses misused by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Why not ask the Jehovah’s Witness, “If Jehovah created Jesus first, and then Jesus was beside Him as a “master workman” for the rest of creation as you teach, could you please explain Isaiah 44:24 to me?”
- “Thus says the LORD (YHWH), your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, ‘I, the LORD (YHWH), am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens BY MYSELF, and spreading out the earth ALL ALONE’” (NAS). (emphasis ours)
Notice that God was “all alone” during creation, and furthermore Jesus is spoken of as the Creator in Colossians 1:16.
Misrepresenting Christ by Redefining Bible Terms
As with all cult groups, Jehovah’s Witnesses lead the way in giving their own meanings to Bible terms. Rather than accepting true definitions which would disprove their doctrines, they invent new meanings. An example is the term “first-born” as applied to Jesus Christ. The Jehovah’s Witnesses attempt to use this redefined term to try to prove that Jesus was created first, and so is only a creature. Colossians 1:15 reads in their bible, “He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation” (New World Translation).
Here, the scripture is correct, but Jehovah’s Witnesses read and teach it with a faulty definition. They equate “first-born” with “first-created,” as programmed by the Society.
Notice first of all that this scripture teaches that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God,” not the “creation” of the invisible God. When we look in a mirror, what do we see? An image of ourselves. Is it us? Of course! So Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. Matthew 1:23 calls Him “…God with us.” Is He then God? Of course!
In this scripture in Colossians 1:15, Jesus is also called “the first-born of all creation.” What does this mean? First off, it does NOT mean, “FIRST-CREATED” as the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach. The word in Greek for “first-created” is “protoktistos.” This term is NEVER used in connection with Jesus Christ.
The term “FIRST-BORN” means in Greek, “Preeminence in rank.” If we just continue reading in Colossians, chapter one, the meaning becomes clear. Verse 16 says, “For by Him (Christ) all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or Authorities—all things have been created by Him and for Him” (NAS).
Verse 17 continues, “And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (NAS).
We rest our case. Jesus Christ is “before all things.” That means before the heavens and earth, before angels, before the creation of man. He is the creator, the one preeminent in rank, the first-born of all creation.
Additional Tampering Necessary to Support Jehovah’s Witness’ Distortion
It was necessary for the “translators” of the New World Translation to further alter Colossians, chapter one, to hide the fact that Jesus is the Creator. They dishonestly inserted the word “other” four times in verses 16 and 17 (i.e. “Also, he is before all (other) things…” etc.), to prop up their false doctrine that Jesus is a creature.
- Micah 5:2, says of Christ, “…His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”
The Hebrew word here for “eternity” is “olam.” This same word is used of YHWH (Jehovah) in Psalm 90:2. God is eternal, and Jesus is God.
Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus was “only-begotten” when Jehovah supposedly created Him in the beginning. Once again, this term has no reference to any so-called creation. Most scholars apply this term to the time of Jesus’ incarnation, and Acts 13:33 even applies this term to the time of Christ’s resurrection, “that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He RAISED UP JESUS, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘THOU ART MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN THEE.’”
Redefining “Beginning of the Creation of God”
- Jehovah’s Witnesses quote one phrase of Revelation 3:14: “…the beginning of the creation of God” (NWT).
This one phrase now becomes a “proof-text” that Jesus was “created.” However a perusal of several reputable Greek dictionaries produced these definitions for “Beginning:” “Supervisor,” “Designer,” “Cause,” “Origin,” and “Source.” Obviously, in context, Jesus is the Creator.
Refusing to Translate Words with their Primary Meaning
Why would Jehovah’s Witness leaders translate the same Greek word for “worship” as “worship” when it applied to the Father, and then change it to “obeisance” when it applied to the Son? Namely because they do not want their followers to worship Jesus, for worship belongs to God alone. Followers are then further misled by being told “obeisance” is not really worship.
Reputable Bibles read in Matthew 28:9, “And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him” (NAS).
If the disciples, who were Jews, and believed in worshiping God alone, worshiped Jesus, then we should follow their example, recognizing Him as God, and worshiping Him also.
Truly, if we have the right Jesus Christ, then we are right for all eternity, but if we have the wrong Jesus Christ, then we are wrong for all eternity. We plead with Jehovah’s Witnesses to lay aside their Watchtower New World Translation and choose a reputable Bible, and find out who Jesus Christ really is, truly God, truly man!
This article was written for The John Ankerberg Show by Lorri McGregor, ©April 2000.
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