The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Bible and the Deity of Christ
One of the ways the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (WBTS) mislead Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) into believing Jesus is not God Almighty is by inserting the name Jehovah 237 times in the English translation of the New Testament (NT) writings, even though there isn’t a single Greek copy of the individual NT books that contain the divine name. They do this for the express purpose of obscuring the fact that certain verses expressly identify Jesus as Jehovah God in the flesh, since to the JWs only the Father is Jehovah. Therefore, whenever a JW sees the name Jehovah s/he will automatically take this as a reference to the Father, as opposed to it being the Son.
The following passage is a case in point:
“For if you publicly declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (Kyrios), and exercise faith in your heart that God raised HIM up from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation. For the scripture says: ‘No one who rests his faith on HIM will be disappointed.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. There is the same Lord (Kyrios) over all, who is rich toward all those calling on HIM. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.’” Romans 10:9-13
The WBTS inserts the word Jehovah in order to obscure the fact that the Lord whose name a person must call upon and verbally confess is none other than the risen Jesus. The WBTS justify this insertion by noting that Paul is actually citing Joel 2:32, a text which uses the divine name:
“And everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, just as Jehovah has said, The survivors whom Jehovah calls.”
The problem with this excuse is that WBTS are aware that by inserting the divine name into their English translation at this point will keep the JWs from realizing that the Apostle is actually identifying Jesus as the Jehovah whose name a person must call on in order to be saved.
On the other hand, had the WBTS translated the Greek accurately then it would be apparent to anyone reading the context that Jesus is the One whose name an individual must confess and call upon for salvation.
For instance, here is how v. 13 reads in the JW’s own The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures:
“everyone for who likely might call upon the name of Lord will be saved (Pas gar hos an epikaleseetai to onoma Kyriou sootheesetai).”
As the readers can see, the name Jehovah isn’t in the Greek text. Rather, the inspired text employs the word Kyriou, which is the genitival form of Kyrios, meaning Lord. And yet the only Lord that is mentioned all throughout the immediate context is Jesus Christ, e.g., Christ is the Lord that one must publicly confess in order to be saved.
Paul corroborates this fact when recounting his encounter with the heavenly Christ on his way to persecute Christians in Damascus:
“But as I was traveling and getting near to Damascus, about midday, suddenly out of heaven a great light flashed all around me, and I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me: ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ I answered: ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me: ‘I am Jesus the Naz·a·reneʹ, whom you are persecuting.’ Now the men who were with me did see the light, but they did not hear the voice of the one speaking to me. At that I said: ‘What should I do, Lord?’ The Lord said to me: ‘Rise, go into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything it is appointed for you to do.’ But since I could not see anything because of the glory of that light, I arrived in Damascus led by the hand of those who were with me. Then a man named An·a·niʹas, a devout man according to the Law, well-reported-on by all the Jews living there, came to me. He stood by me and said to me: ‘Saul, brother, regain your sight!’ And that very moment I looked up and saw him. He said: ‘The God of our forefathers has chosen you to come to know his will and to see the righteous one and to hear the voice of his mouth, because you are to be a witness for him to all men of the things you have seen and heard. And now why are you delaying? Rise, get baptized, and wash your sins away by your calling on HIS NAME.’” Acts 22:6-16
There is no denying that the name that Paul was exhorted to call upon for the washing away of his sins was that of the risen Jesus who had appeared to him and who sent to Ananias to convert him. This is further seen by the following account of Paul’s conversion:
“There was a disciple named An·a·niʹas in Damascus, and the Lord said to him in a vision: ‘An·a·niʹas!’ He said: ‘Here I am, Lord.’ The Lord said to him: ‘Get up, go to the street called Straight, and look for a man named Saul, from Tarsus, at the house of Judas. For look! he is praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named An·a·niʹas come in and lay his hands on him so that he may recover sight.’ But An·a·niʹas answered: ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, about all the harm he did to YOUR holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to arrest all those calling on YOUR NAME.’ But the Lord said to him: ‘Go! because this man is a chosen vessel to me to bear MY NAME to the nations as well as to kings and the sons of Israel. For I will show him plainly how many things he must suffer for MY NAME.’ So An·a·niʹas went and entered the house, and he laid his hands on him and said: ‘Saul, brother, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road along which you were coming, has sent me so that you may recover sight and be filled with holy spirit.’ And immediately, what looked like scales fell from his eyes, and he recovered his sight. He then got up and was baptized, and he ate some food and gained strength. He stayed for some days with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately in the synagogues he began to preach about Jesus, that this one is the Son of God. But all those hearing him were astonished and were saying: ‘Is this not the man who ravaged those in Jerusalem who call on THIS NAME? Did he not come here for the purpose of arresting them and taking them to the chief priests?’” Acts 9:10-21
The risen Christ had holy ones in Jerusalem and abroad who would call on his name, which was the very reason why Paul sought to persecute them.
The Apostle himself testifies that Christians were known for and characterized by their practice of calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus:
“to the congregation of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in union with Christ Jesus, called to be holy ones, together with all those everywhere who are calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:” 1 Corinthians 1:2
To show just how remarkable this early Christian devotion to the risen Jesus happens to be, it should be kept in mind that according to the Hebrew Bible Jehovah is the only Deity whose name individuals could ever call upon:
“Later he moved from there to the mountainous region east of Bethʹel and pitched his tent with Bethʹel on the west and Aʹi on the east. There he built an altar to Jehovah and began to call on the name of Jehovah.” Genesis 12:8
“After that he planted a tamarisk tree at Beʹer-sheʹba, and there he called on the name of Jehovah, the everlasting God.” Genesis 21:33
“For what great nation has gods as near to it as Jehovah our God is to us whenever we call on him?” Deuteronomy 4:7
“Moses and Aaron were among his priests, And Samuel was among those calling on his name. They would call to Jehovah, And he would answer them.” Psalm 99:6
“I love Jehovah Because he hears my voice, my pleas for help. For he inclines his ear to me, And I will call on him as long as I live. The ropes of death encircled me; The Grave had me in its grip. I was overcome by distress and grief. But I called on the name of Jehovah: ‘O Jehovah, rescue me!’… I will take up the cup of salvation, And I will call on the name of Jehovah… I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving; I will call on the name of Jehovah.” Psalm 116:1-4, 13, 17
“Jehovah is near to all those calling on him, To all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:18
“And you will call me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12
And yet Jesus’ very own Jewish disciples began calling upon his name in their worship and invocations, a practice that then spread among Gentile converts!
There is more evidence that the Lord whose name an individual must call upon to be delivered is actually Christ. Paul repeatedly stresses the importance of trusting in the risen Jesus for justification and salvation:
“yes, God’s righteousness through the faith in Jesus Christ, for all those having faith. For there is no distinction.” Romans 3:22
“recognize that a man is declared righteous, not by works of law, but only through faith in Jesus Christ.” Galatians 2:16
“But the Scripture handed all things over to the custody of sin, so that the promise resulting from faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those exercising faith… You are all, in fact, sons of God through your faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:22, 26
“and be found in union with him, not because of my own righteousness from following the Law, but because of the righteousness that is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith.” Philippians 3:9
“Let it therefore be known to you, brothers, that through this one a forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you, and that from all the things from which you could not be declared guiltless by means of the Law of Moses, everyone who believes is declared guiltless by means of this one.” Acts 13:38-39
“He brought them outside and said: ‘Sirs, what must I do to get saved?’ They said: ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will get saved, you and your household.’” Acts 16:30-31
With the foregoing in perspective, there is simply no denying that the inspired Apostle identified the risen Christ as the Jehovah God who saves all who confess and believe in his name.
Paul wasn’t the only one.
Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, also cited the prophecy of Joel in order to stress the fact that the day of salvation had come:
“On the contrary, this is what was said through the prophet Joel: ‘And in the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out some of my spirit on every sort of flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy and your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams, and even on my male slaves and on my female slaves I will pour out some of my spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. And I will give wonders in heaven above and signs on earth below—blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and illustrious day of Jehovah comes. And everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.’” Acts 2:16-21
Here, once again, is how v. 21 reads in The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures:
And it will be everyone who if ever should call upon the name of Lord will be saved (Kai stai pas hos ean epikaleseetai to onoma Kyriou sootheesetai).
And like Paul, Peter goes on to identify the Lord whose name the Jews had to call upon as none other than the risen Jesus:
“‘Men, brothers, it is permissible to speak with freeness of speech to you about the family head David, that he died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath that he would seat one of his offspring on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he forsaken in the Grave nor did his flesh see corruption. God resurrected this Jesus, and of this we are all witnesses. Therefore, because he was exalted to the right hand of God and received the promised holy spirit from the Father, he has poured out what you see and hear. For David did not ascend to the heavens, but he himself says, “Jehovah said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.’” Therefore, let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you executed on a stake.’ Now when they heard this, they were stabbed to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: ‘Men, brothers, what should we do?’ Peter said to them: ‘Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the free gift of the holy spirit.’” Acts 2:29-38
Astonishingly, not only does the blessed Apostle plainly exhort his countrymen to be baptized in Jesus’ name, but he also testifies that it was Christ himself who poured out the Holy Spirit upon them, in fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy that God himself would be pouring out his Spirit upon his servants!
Peter even performed a miracle in the name of Jesus to provide miraculous confirmation that it is Christ’s name alone that brings salvation:
“While the two were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came up to them. These were annoyed because the apostles were teaching the people and were openly declaring the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. So they seized them and took them into custody until the next day, for it was already evening. However, many of those who had listened to the speech believed, and the number of the men became about 5,000. The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, along with Anʹnas the chief priest, Caʹia·phas, John, Alexander, and all who were relatives of the chief priest. They stood Peter and John in their midst and began to question them: ‘By what power or in whose name did you do this?’ Then Peter, filled with holy spirit, said to them: ‘Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today about a good deed to a crippled man, and you want to know who made this man well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that in the name of Jesus Christ the Naz·a·reneʹ, whom you executed on a stake but whom God raised up from the dead, by means of him this man stands here healthy in front of you. This is “the stone that was treated by you builders as of no account that has become the chief cornerstone.” Furthermore, there is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.’ Now when they saw the outspokenness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were astonished. And they began to realize that they had been with Jesus. As they were looking at the man who had been cured standing with them, they had nothing to say in answer to this.” Acts 4:5-14
What makes Peter’s proclamation truly astounding is that according to the Hebrew Bible salvation is found in Jehovah alone:
“Make your report, present your case. Let them consult together in unity. Who foretold this long ago And declared it from times past? Is it not I, Jehovah? There is no other God but me; A righteous God and a Savior, there is none besides me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth, For I am God, and there is no one else.” Isaiah 45:21-22
We, thus, have Peter describing Jesus as the Jehovah God who pours out the Holy Spirit from heaven, and whose name individuals must call on for their salvation!
And just like Paul, Peter stresses that a person must trust and believe in the name of Jesus, who is the Lord and Judge of all creation, in order to receive the forgiveness of sins:
“He sent out the word to the sons of Israel to declare to them the good news of peace through Jesus Christ—this one is Lord of all… Also, he ordered us to preach to the people and to give a thorough witness that this is the one decreed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone putting faith in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’” Acts 10:36, 42-43
“After much intense discussion had taken place, Peter rose and said to them: ‘Men, brothers, you well know that from early days God made the choice among you that through my mouth people of the nations should hear the word of the good news and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness by giving them the holy spirit, just as he did to us also. And he made no distinction at all between us and them, but purified their hearts by faith. So why are you now making a test of God by imposing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our forefathers nor we were capable of bearing? On the contrary, we have faith that we are saved through the undeserved kindness of the Lord Jesus in the same way that they are.’” Acts 15:7-11
John is another Spirit-filled Apostle who proclaims that salvation comes from believing in the name of the Son of God:
“Moreover, no man has ascended into heaven but the one who descended from heaven, the Son of man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of man must be lifted up, so that everyone believing in him may have everlasting life. For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world for him to judge the world, but for the world to be saved through him. Whoever exercises faith in him is not to be judged. Whoever does not exercise faith has been judged already, because he has not exercised faith in the name of the only-begotten Son of God… The one who comes from above is over all others. The one who is from the earth is from the earth and speaks of things of the earth. The one who comes from heaven is over all others.” John 3:13-18, 31
“To be sure, Jesus also performed many other signs before the disciples, which are not written down in this scroll. But these have been written down so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and because of believing, you may have life by means of his name.” John 20:30-31
“My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not commit a sin. And yet, if anyone does commit a sin, we have a helper with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one. And he is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, yet not for ours only but also for the whole world’s… I am writing you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for the sake of his name.” 1 John 2:1-2, 12
“Indeed, this is his commandment: that we have faith in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he gave us a commandment.” 1 John 3:23
“I write you these things so that you may know that you have life everlasting, you who put your faith in the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:13
To sum up the Bible’s teaching, the God-breathed Scriptures proclaim that all the nations must turn to Jehovah and call on his name in order to be saved (Cf. Isaiah 45:21-22; Joel 2:32). The Holy Spirit filled Apostles quote Joel 2:32 to emphasize that Jesus is the Jehovah whom all nations must turn to and whose name they must all call upon for salvation (Cf. Acts 2:17-21, 38; 4:12; Romans 10:9-13).
What this means is that according to the inspired Christian scriptures, Jesus is Jehovah God Almighty in the flesh who is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. And there’s simply no way for a JW to get around this divinely revealed biblical truth.