In this episode of “Offending the Jehovah’s Witnesses,” our response to DefendingJehovahsWitnesses.Blogspot.com, we are going to cover their “explanation” of John 5:18.
DefendingJehovahsWitnesses.Blogspot.com is a front of JW.org, the official website of the Watchtower Society. Instead of being honest and admitting that the Governing Body of the organization is purposely trying to respond to criticisms of their organization, the website is hosted by “Elijah Daniels” who otherwise cannot be found on Google or contacted. Their website does not allow comments, so we respond here as a means to make people aware of the lies taught by the Governing Body of the organization.
For those unaware of the verse and its immediate context here it is:
For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God (John 5:16-18).
Now, we can understand that “He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also…making Himself equal with God” is not a matter of opinion. The Holy Spirit, through John, is the narrator of the Gospel. God does not err when He puts those words there. The Gospel is not merely representing the thoughts of the Jews. God Himself says definitively why Christ was getting the Jews angry: He was breaking their twisted Sabbath regulations and was calling God His own Father.
Then, interestingly enough, the infallible narrator of the Gospel tells us what the logical consequence of calling God one’s own Father would be: God, through John, then clarifies that calling God His own Father essentially makes “Himself equal with God.” So, God Himself clearly and unambiguously says that the Son is equal to the Father.
How does “Elijah Daniels” respond to this?
The Jews were wrongly accusing Jesus of making himself equal to God in the authority to change the Law. Jesus would certainly not break the Law which was still in effect until his sacrificial death…So, when the Jews accused him of making himself equal to God (by “breaking” the Sabbath traditions of the Jews and claiming that it was not wrong to heal on the Sabbath), they were insisting that their tradition of not healing on the Sabbath was actually God’s will. And, therefore, Jesus’ claim that it was lawful to do so was “making himself equal to God” (in this case of healing and “changing” the Law – which would be God’s right alone).
Do you notice the misdirection? “Elijah” claims that it was Christ’s position on the Sabbath that the Jews, apparently misinterpreted, made Himself equal to God. However, the text does not lend itself over to this interpretation. Clearly, both the Sabbath and calling God His Father were at question, not the former.
Saying that it was just the Sabbath is intellectually dishonest, it is a flat out lie. As Jesus Christ warns, “You shall know them by their fruits.” If Elijah Daniels’ fruits are lies, what does that say about the tree that produces the fruits?
Then we have “Elijah’s” interpretation of Jesus Christ’s response:
He clearly told the Jews that he was not God, but that, even as God’s spokesman, he could not act upon his own initiative.
Is that true? How did Jesus respond to the Jews calling God His own Father, which God tells us in the holy inspired Scripture “makes Himself equal to God?”
If this was not Jesus’ attention we would expect Him to say, “Wait, wait, wait, I didn’t mean it like that…” Is that how He responded? No!
After speaking to how He submits to the will of the Father (a teaching we have covered here🙂
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him (John 5:21- 23).
Jesus Christ obviously reaffirms and makes clear His deity. How? Two points.
1. The ability to judge and give life to whom He pleases is a character of God. Isn’t it without doubt if all judgement is given to the Son He must be God?
The Scripture says that God alone is judge: “[M]ay the Lord, the Judge, judge today between the sons of Israel and the sons of Ammon” (Judges 11:27). “The Lord will judge the ends of the earth” (1 Sam 2:10). “For He is coming to judge the earth” (1 Chron 16:33). “He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity” (Ps 9:8). Just in case there is any ambiguity Paul makes clear that “God judge[s] the world” (Rom 3:6), “God judges” (1 Cor 5:13), and “Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead” (2 Tim 4:1).
2. To honor the Son even as they honor the Father means to be worshiped identically. The word “honor” occurs 23 times in the New Testament. It consistently refers to three types of people: God, parents, and the government. Are we charged to honor our parents equal to the Father? No. Are we told to honor the king equal to the Father? No. Yet, we are told to honor the Son “even as they honor the Father.” Yet, we worship the Father! There is no higher honor than to literally by worshiped as God. How can we then honor the Son even as the Father if we do not honor Him as God Himself?
What Jesus said was clear to the Jews, even if it is not clear to the deceiving “Elijah Daniels.” When the Jews were indignant that He was making Himself equal to God, Christ then unequivocally states that it is He who judges and He who must be honored. This is a very clear statement of deity that “interestingly” enough “Elijah Daniels” glossed over.
Why? Because he is a liar and he belongs to the Father of Lies, Satan himself. May God have mercy and bring repentance to those deceived by the Watchtower.
“So, God Himself clearly and unambiguously says that the Son is equal to the Father.”
First, Jehovah God did not state this. There are no quotes of God ever stating such.
Secondly, did Jesus state this or the Jews? Was Jesus in agreement with this assumption or not? No, that is what the Jews perceived, not what Jesus stated.
At the account at Matt. 12:24, they associated Jesus with Beelzebub. That thought was actually in quotes!!!! And yet, that did not make it so, correct? The question really comes down to this: because the people thought it, does that make it true? No, because in the next verse Jesus is not in agreement with their assertion.
The same happened at John 5:18. Jesus clearly made clear his position to his father’s at the next verse (verse 19). I believe it starts out something like, “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing.”
Can we imagine someone equal to Almighty God saying that he could “do nothing by himself”?
Any reasonable person reading the John 5:18 account will come away with Jesus not being equal to his Father who is Jehovah, who alone is the most high over the Earth.
“First, Jehovah God did not state this. There are no quotes of God ever stating such.”
God wrote the Bible, the text is right there for you to read.
“Secondly, did Jesus state this or the Jews?”
Correction: Neither did. John wrote it has a narrator’s gloss. Being that the Holy Spirit inspired John to write His gospel, the Holy Spirit thereby wrote it.
“Was Jesus in agreement with this assumption or not?”
Being that the Holy Spirit wrote it, Jesus both approved up a correct understanding of the Sabbath AND that He was equal to God. It is telling He does not refute the idea that He is equal to God, but rather explains that He is, but that He submits to the Father/ Submission does not connote inferiority, or wives would be inferior to husbands.
“…because the people thought it, does that make it true?”
Of course not, but I am not arguing that the editorial gloss in John is merely the thoughts of the Jews. It was, more accurately, the Holy Spirit telling us what the actual ramifications of what Jesus was saying. John 5:18, thereby, interprets in truth what the ramifications of Jesus teaching there was.
It also helps that the same exact situation pops up again in John 10:33-36:
The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?”
Clearly, Jesus does not say “wait wait wait, I am not making myself out to be God.” He, like in John 5, reasserts His deity and makes clear that He is not to be conflated with the Father. It is a “Trinitarian” teaching.
“I believe it starts out something like, “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing.”
Can we imagine someone equal to Almighty God saying that he could “do nothing by himself”?”
Yes. Why does submission make someone inferior?
Plus, being that you are not a Calvinist, I can use your own logic against you. Can God bring a man to saving faith “by Himself” or does man have to play some part by responding? God is not any less God because His graciousness to man has a level of contingency based upon man’s response.
Here’s what I like to ask people with heretical views: What must I do to be saved? If I had three minutes to live, what would you tell me so that I make come to have saving faith in our heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ?
Your response is not that of a reasonable person. Verse 19 clearly states the obvious. Somehow I think if Jesus was to tell you himself, you would challenge his answer. You want something to be what you want it to be. I get it!! Even if your understand is inaccurate, it still has to be what you want it to be. I get it!!!
Your stubbornness is really no different than the Jews…..Jesus told them their house was abandon to them by Jehovah. They wanted to believe differently. In 70 CE, just as Jesus prophesied, the temple destroyed, Jerusalem destroyed, Jewish system was destroyed.
“Your response is not that of a reasonable person. Verse 19 clearly states the obvious.”
Yeah, it is obvious that Christ submits Himself to the Father. That does not make Him less God than a wife submitting to her husband makes her less human. You are inserting a presupposition that God cannot show the humility of submission. I object to that.
The rest of what you say is essentially baseless insults, and ironically, does not actually address the Scripture, which is what I am actually arguing from here.
However, you still did not answer the most important question. If I have three minutes to live, what would you preach to me so that I may come to saving knowledge of God?
“Your response is not that of a reasonable person” , why do you jump in that conclusion so quickly? Did you even read his explanation.
If the pharisees were wrong by thinking that Jesus was making Himself equal to God, wouldn’t you expect Jesus who is perfectly obedient to the Father to correct the pharisees, like when he corrected them about the sabbath?
If Jesus didn’t correct them when they were wrong, then you’re making Jesus either a greedy person who wants to be thought of as God or a grossly negligent son, but that would contradict the scripture too because it would make him not perfectly obedient to the Father.
What does scripture says about His responses? It says that Jesus reiterate his deity because when he says God is Father it makes the pharisees think that he is making himself equal to God, so when he says he’s the Son of God, he’s just reiterating the same thing that the jews thought was a blasphemy. You think Jesus would neglect such blasphemy?
When doubting Thomas called Jesus “MY Lord and my God”, the watchtower says that Thomas was wrong, but you think Jesus would neglect to correct such blasphemy unless it wasn’t a blasphemy.
And would you at least acknowledge the inconsistency of the translation done by the watchtower as the writer pointed out above?
I just don’t understand sometimes why Jehova’s witness believe in Russel so much when he was not a Theologian or any sort of scholar at all. He was just a businessman who read the bible at hi spare time. Wouldn’t you trust the interpretation of a group of people who dedicate their time into reading the whole scripture and letting scripture interpret scripture? I can’t quite understand that. would you care to explain that to me?
Your unrealistic scenario underscores my point of you being unreasonable. And now you can add lack of accurate knowledge. Here is your answer:
It is a person’s faith including their entire life work that will speak for them after death. So, there is nothing I or anyone else could do for you in your last three minutes of life that would make a real difference or affect your final disposition, which could be un existence forever. Many people will not be resurrected. Sad but true.
That’s the reason why it is critical to examine your faith to ensure it is based on accurate knowledge. You may feel good and confident about your way of worship. However, to be sure, test what you know against all of God’s word and not a few scriptures. If you find there are some contradiction to your understanding, chances are your core understanding may not be solid. You may have to readjust your thinking. If you continue to ignore those unpleasant facts, know this fact;
All faiths do not lead to salvation, just one.
Christian faith is based on the complete Word of God, including the Hebrew Scriptures, to which Jesus and the writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures frequently referred in support of their statements. Faith is not credulity.
While Jehovah has many children (earthly and angelic), all are required to submit to one standard of obedience. So, now is the time to worship Jehovah in accordance with his written word.
“It is a person’s faith including their entire life work that will speak for them after death.”
This is exactly your problem. You do not even know the Gospel. It is not faith + works. The Scripture is clear:
“For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness” (Rom 4:2-5).
This is why Rom 9:16 says, “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”
You can’t add to your righteousness with works, and those who teach this heresy do not even have faith at all, as they clearly don’t think that faith in Christ is sufficient enough to save.
Steve, do you still sin? If you do, how can you stand before God when “the person who keeps all of the laws…yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10)?
Apart from a righteousness found entirely in faith in Christ and a forgiveness of sins accomplished solely by Christ on the Cross, you cannot be saved. You will be judged by Christ on judgement days by your works, and His standards are perfection.
“So, there is nothing I or anyone else could do for you in your last three minutes of life that would make a real difference or affect your final disposition…”
Of course, because you teach salvation by works which cannot save. “You must be blameless before Jehovah your God” (Deut 18:3). Are you blameless? You MUST be in order to be accepted by Him. Only Jesus Christ has lived an entirely blameless life, it is only by faith in Him we can be saved.
The thief on the cross was that very evening with Christ “in paradise.” He had no time to do anything good, he merely placed his faith in Christ.
“All faiths do not lead to salvation, just one.”
Precisely. The only saving faith is in the true Lord Jesus Christ, revealed to us in the Scripture, preserved by a vast testimony of witnesses over the ages that the Holy Spirit has preserved in the faith, as it is He who leads us into all truth.
Steve, you said ” So, there is nothing I or anyone else could do for you in your last three minutes of life that would make a real difference or affect your final disposition, which could be un existence forever”
How about the thief on the cross? He repented and believed in Christ the last minute.
“However, to be sure, test what you know against all of God’s word and not a few scriptures. If you find there are some contradiction to your understanding, chances are your core understanding may not be solid”
I think you should tell that to the watchtower. They are the one who comes up with excuses after excuses (absurd ones too) to explain away verses that claim Christ’s deity.
Thomas said to Jesus “MY Lord, and My God”. And Jesus said in John 20:29 “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” Did Jesus say “No no…” ??? NOOO!! But the watchtower comes up with absurd excuses for that verse among many other verses in the scripture.
John 10:30″”I and the Father are one” the Jews pick up stone again to stone Him” Jesus didn’t say “No No…” but reemphasized his deity.
Rev 22:12-13″ I am coming quickly….I am the alpha and the omega” It’s obvious that it’s Jesus speaking here because no where in the Bible that says the Father is coming to judge but Jesus repeats over and over that He is coming to judge. The watchtower comes up with such absurd excuse for these verses also.
Isaiah 9:6 ” For a child will be born to us and His name will be called… Mighty God,
Who is making excuses and contradiction? The one that says there is only one God but he creates another MIGHTY god to contradict himself, that same one also make excuses for other verses as well? How about the one that reconciles the verses that says that there is one God and the verses that Jesus uses to claim His deity? How can there be only One God but three persons? We can’t fully explain the attribute of the Infinite Almighty God with our limited human mind, but we believe the little that He has revealed in his scripture.
Russel didn’t spend enough time to read God’s word. More dangerous than that is he started with not accepting God’s attribute of JUSTICE. Russel could not accept the FACT that God is JUST and WILL SEND PEOPLE to be TORTURED IN THE LAKE OF FIRE FOR ETERNITY. So, once you can’t accept one thing in the scripture, you start changing many other things.
Once scripture is not your authority but your mind is, there is no hope for salvation. You have chosen yourself instead of God.
In your enthusiasm to pile on, you missed the point. Just look at your statement, “How about the thief on the cross? He repented and believed in Christ the last minute.”
Now, clearly did I ever claim to be the Christ? No!!! The question was directed to ME as to what would I say to a person if they only had three minutes of life left.
Certainly, the Christ was qualified to make that assessment and future assessments in conjunction with Jehovah’s will and purpose. But neither you or I are capable.
You are going from unreasonable to emotional. You are not taking the time to read and understand my comment. You are just waiting to respond and as such, miss apply my statement.
I never stated Faith plus works. I stated faith including work. They are one in the same. You do and react based on what you believe and vise versa. That is a fact. Point in cases, I would guess you live your life in accordance with what you believe, right? I do not imagine you doing something you do not believe in.
Abraham had faith in Jehovah’s future promise. He was also obedient to Jehovah’s will and purpose. That is why he was call a friend of God. The Bible tells us that everything Jehovah instructed Abraham to do, he did just so including the act of sacrificing his son. Abraham was a nan of faith just like Noah, Moses and so many others. They trusted Jehovah and lived their lives in harmony with Jehovah’s will and purpose.
Steve, you said “Certainly, the Christ was qualified to make that assessment and future assessments in conjunction with Jehovah’s will and purpose. But neither you or I are capable.”
So you’re saying because we are not Jehova nor Christ, we can’t preach the gospel to anyone?
“First, Jehovah God did not state this. There are no quotes of God ever stating such.” Did you read his explanation written before and after that sentence?
It’s everywhere in the scripture, John 10:30 “I and the Father are one”, John 5:23 “…all will honor the son just as they honor the Father”, doubting Thomas called Jesus “My Lord, and my God”, Revelation 22:12-13 “I am coming quickly…to render to every man according to what they have done…i am the alpha and the omega” clearly it’s Jesus talking, because no one is coming to judge but Jesus. And Jesus here claims to be the alpha and the omega which is the title that God uses.
It’s everywhere in the scripture, but you Russelites refuse to accept the God who is written in the scripture. God is so infinite and great that our limited human mind cannot fully grasp or understand. But you try to confine Him into your own imagination and understanding. You twist and change texts in the scripture to fit your limited human reasoning.
The God in Revelation is a Wrathful God who will judge those who blaspheme His name. You are blaspheming against God’s name because you CALL Him an ANGEL instead of GOD.
By refusing to seek the truth about the true God, you are putting yourself into the lake of fire for eternity. Repent before it’s too late.
They are “ones” in what sense?
A husband and a wife is one flesh, yet a wife is to submit to her husband. Do you think by her submitting to her husband would make the husband and wife not one flesh anymore or less human than the husband?
“So, when the Jews accused him of making himself equal to God (by “breaking” the Sabbath traditions of the Jews and claiming that it was not wrong to heal on the Sabbath)…” Said Elija Daniels from the watchtower, but was that what the Bible says?
John 5:18 “For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also WAS CALLING GOD HIS OWN FATHER MAKING HIMSELF EQUAL TO GOD.” it’s not the breaking of the sabbath that make him equal to God, it’s calling God his Father that make him equal to God. But Elija Daniel interpreted it that way may be so when Jesus reiterates his position with the Father (God his Father and him God’s Son) it would be less obvious that Jesus is reiterating his deity?
Can we agree that Jesus didn’t say “NO NO NO…I’m not making myself equal to God” ?
if John 5:18 says ” the jews seek to kill him all the more because HE BREAK THE SABBATH AND CALL GOD HIS FATHER MAKING HIMSELF EQUAL TO GOD” then we can say that it’s the breaking the sabbath that make him equal to God,
BUT it says ” NOT ONLY did he break the sabbath BUT HE ALSO CALL God His Father making Himself equal to God”, it says He DIDN’t JUST break the sabbath (hence the word “NOT ONLY”) BUT he also CALL GOD His Father making Himself equal to God. It’s the CALL GOD his Father is what make him equal to God.
Do we see how Elija Daniels imposes an idea over scripture rather than allowing the scripture to say what it says?
Thanks for your response. Please, in the future, not so many response to one question. It would difficult to respond clearly. In other words, one point at a time. We can move on to other points after we are done with one. Thanks.
Now you stated in answer to my question, “A husband and a wife is one flesh, yet a wife is to submit to her husband. Do you think by her submitting to her husband would make the husband and wife not one flesh anymore or less human than the husband?”
If I am understanding, you are using the husband and wife analogy (which I think is very appropriate) to explain the oneness of God and the Christ, correct? If that is correct, just say “yes”. Then I will know how to provide my rebuttal, if needed.
Yes, and one more question
in Rev 1:17-18 NWT ” When I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet.
And he laid his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. 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 the Grave.”
Who is talking here ?
I believe that the scriptures are speaking about a relationship between two different people, Wife and a Husband. They are suppose to act as one unit and be in support of each other but it does not ignore their individuality. They are to different personalities, right? Are a married couple supple to look like they are in the same body in order to be one? Being one is a figure of speech!!!!!
Jehovah and Jesus are two different personalities. They both have respect for each other. Just like the wife, the Christ as a Son, is in subjection to his father. No different than a single family today. They do not have to share the same body, do they?
For the record, Christians believe that God exists in three Persons (i.e. separate Personalities), but share on essence. We don’t pretend to know how it works, but it is not a contradiction in terms. The armed forces are the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, but each can equally be called “the US armed forces.” Now, I don’t want to stretch this metaphor to far, but Christians must accept that the Father is called GOd and is a distinct Person, that the Son is called God and is a distinct Person, and that the Holy SPirit is called GOd and is a distinct Person, and that there is only one God. No contradiction, but not the simplest concept for sure. We don’t believe it because it is simple. We believe it because that’s what the Scripture states.
You do not speak for all that worship Jehovah. Many do not accept that unscriptural thought of three personality sharing the same body. That thought does not harmonize with the rest of the Bible.