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Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses understand the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The Jehovah’s Witness takes the resurrection of Jesus to be non-physical. Jesus’ physical body did not rise; He only rose as a spirit being. Conversely, Christians hold that Jesus rose physically from the dead. Moreover, the same body that died on the cross is the same body that rose three days later, leaving an empty tomb.
The phrase “only begotten” has been ammunition for false teachers since at least the fourth century at the Council of Nicea. This expression appears in one of the most memorized verses in the Bible. Jesus says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16 KJV).”
When Jesus was dying on the cross, he cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Matt. 27:46)? After Jesus resurrection from the dead, he appears to Mary Magdalene, and she immediately clings to Him. In response Jesus says to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’ (John 20:17; cf. Rev. 3:2, 12).
“Jesus never calls Himself God,” exclaimed my Jehovah’s Witness friend in a moment of frustration. “He calls Himself the Son of God, not God. There is a huge difference.” This is another common assertion made by well-meaning, but misinformed Jehovah’s Witnesses. According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, if Jesus is the Son of God, then He isn’t God. For example, if Andy Barnett is the son of Ed Barnett, then Andy isn’t Ed.
Does the New Testament teach us to worship Jesus? Absolutely. We can find multiple instances throughout the New Testament of various people worshipping Jesus. So, how is it that Jehovah’s Witnesses can claim that Jesus was never worshipped?
Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This unique, historical event is foundational to Christianity. In fact, the apostle Paul says, And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Cor. 15:17–19)
Scripture is clear that Jesus is the eternal, uncreated One. When Christians try to argue for the deity of Christ, Jehovah’s Witnesses are quick to bring up Colossians 1:15. Paul writes, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Col. 1:15). The modern English translations and the New World Translation agree on the translation of the text. However, the Christian and Jehovah’s Witness differ with their interpretation of the text.
How should we speak to Jehovah’s Witnesses about Jesus? That was the topic of a recent one-hour interview I did for The Evangelist’s Podcast. Most of us have had the experience of hearing a knock at the door only to discover that it’s a pair of well-dressed Jehovah’s Witnesses wanting to talk about the latest Watchtower publication.
Jehovah’s Witnesses adamantly deny that the Holy Spirit is God. Instead, they assert that it is simply God’s power in action; it is His active, impersonal force. However, there are numerous passages that testify to the deity and personhood of the Holy Spirit.
The doctrine of purgatory places an emphasis on our own merits to attain righteousness. It is a very dangerous thing to add to the finished work of Christ, but this is precisely what millions of people do when they accept the doctrine of purgatory. Purgatory is the belief that there is an intermediate state after physical death where people undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. However, to hold to this doctrine you must deny the power of the cross, and distort the gospel.