Watchtower Deception on the Worship of Jesus
On the Watchtower ONLINE Library, one can read an article entitled, “Is It Proper to Worship Jesus?” In this article, the Watchtower organization teaches their students the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” that it is not proper to worship Jesus. The organization teaches in this article, “THROUGHOUT the centuries, many in Christendom have worshiped Jesus Christ as if he were Almighty God. Jesus himself, however, directed attention and worship only to Jehovah God.” Take note of the way in which the organization argues. They start off with a teaching that Jehovah is Almighty God and that Jesus is not Jehovah. Instead, Jesus is Mighty God. Yes, they declare Jesus to be a lesser god like the demigods of Greek mythology. As a demigod, they believe that Jesus is the Son of the person of Jehovah Almighty God and Mary the human giving Jesus more powers than a mortal, but less power than Almighty God. Similar to Greek mythology, the Watchtower believes that Jesus is a half-god who can receive only half-worship. Thus, they make a false dichotomy between worship being given to Jehovah Almighty God and obeisance given to Jesus Mighty God.
Therefore the article states, “Is Jesus worthy of such obeisance? Most decidedly, yes!” And then it goes on to proclaim, “The Bible clearly indicates, however, that our worship—in the sense of religious reverence and devotion—must be addressed solely to God… …Accordingly, true Christians do well to direct their worship only to Jehovah God, the Almighty.” Now to say that the “Bible clearly indicates” is a typical trick of the Watchtower organization. This means that their translation clearly indicates their teaching. In their “New World Translation” efforts in the 1950’s, they translated the Greek word “proskyneō” as “worship” if it is directed to Jehovah Almighty God, but as “obeisance” if it is directed to Jesus Mighty God. Thus, the New World Translation has Jesus say to the devil, “It is written, ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’” (Luke 4:8) Then in Hebrews 1:6, the Watchtower translation has the Father say to all the angels, “And let all God’s angels do obeisance to him.” Both passages in Greek use the same word proskyneō.
This is the same type of scam that they play with the Greek word for Lord (kyrios) in the New Testament Scriptures. They teach that Jesus is not Jehovah Almighty God, thus every time the word kyrios is used for Jesus Mighty God in the New World Translation of the Greek text it is translated as Lord. Yet, every time that the word kyrios is used for Jehovah Almighty God it is translated as Jehovah. In this way, a student using the New World Translation can blindly say that the Bible clearly indicates that Jesus is not Jehovah. These followers of the organization don’t even realize that the Greek text of the scriptures never makes such a false dichotomy. This translation is pure human cunning and craftiness.
It must be understood that the students of the Watchtower are not following the teaching of the Holy Spirit revealed in the written text of the Holy Scriptures. They have become dunk on the doctrine of an organization that has changed its own teachings over the years. In fact, Charles Taze Russell, the original founder of the Watchtower religion, never made a false contrast between obeisance given to a demigod and worship given to a god. Russell taught that the same worship that is given Jehovah is the same worship that is given to Jesus. In the January 1880 edition of Zion’s Watch Tower, Russell quotes Hebrews 1:6 as, “Let all the angels of God worship him.” (p. n57)
Russell goes on to teach his students, “There is and ever has been but one Christ. A change of nature does not change identity. Whether as the pre-existent One, as the Word mad flesh, or as the High Priest who can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, He still is Lord, and as such we worship Him…. And again, “The wise men came at His birth to worship Him. (Matt. 2) The leper worshiped Him. They in the ship worshiped Him, as did also the ruler and woman of Canaan. Yet none were ever rebuked for it.” (p. n83)
Russell declares, “To worship a false Christ would indeed be sin, but to worship Christ in any form cannot be wrong, for when He bringeth the first Begotten into the world, He sayeth, Let all the angels of God worship Him.” (p. n89)
Furthermore Russell says that Jesus, “…never reproved any one for acts of worship offered to Himself, but when Cornelius offered such service to Peter—the leading apostle—“he took him up, saying, stand up: I myself also am a man.” Acts 10:26. (p. n320)
Russell goes on to say, “Had Christ not been more than man the same reason should have prevented Him from receiving worship.” (p. n320)
Now as students, that is, disciples of Jesus Christ our LORD and Savior, we do not follow the teachings of a man like Russell or an organization like the Watchtower; instead, we learn from the revealed knowledge of salvation given to us in the word of God. The Holy Spirit gives to us the gift of the written scriptures so that we can be certain and sure that our teachers are teaching the very word of God. In the written scriptures we are warned about false teachers like Russell and the Watchtower who teach the doctrines of false spirits and not the truth of the Spirit of Truth. The Apostle Paul warns us, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” (2 Corinthians 11:13–15, ESV)
The written word gives to us the assurance that our teachers are teaching the same prophetic doctrine of the Old Testament and the same apostolic doctrine of the New Testament. We are cautioned throughout the written scriptures that the devil comes to peddle his false teaching supported by misquoting the written text itself. The devil loves to proof-text. The devil’s trick is to ask the question did God really say that. His inquiry leads to doubt, disbelief, and despair. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit comes to us in and with the word of God to enlighten is in the truth affirming that God really did say that. His instruction leads to certainty, faith, and hope.
The Old Evil Foe uses his teachers to question if Jesus is really the Only Begotten Son of God. To be begotten is to be of the same essence. A human father begets a human child. The child is of the same human essence as the human father. On the other hand, a human father can make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that would not be of the same human essence as the maker; rather it is the work of his hands.
The written scriptures clearly reveal that the Son of God is begotten, that is, of the same divine essence as God the Father. The Son is not a created being. He is very God of very God. There are no demigods like there are in Greek mythology and the imagination of the Watchtower organization. The Father speaks clearly that Jesus is His Son with the affirmation of the Holy Spirit in the waters of the Jordan River. The devil immediately questions this truth in the wilderness and says, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” (Luke 4:3, ESV) The devil then goes on to say, “If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’ ”” (Luke 4:7–8, ESV) Now the Greek word used in this text for worship is proskyneō which means to bow down. The devil is instructing Jesus to bow down to him. Jesus then quotes from the written text of Deuteronomy chapter six which declares that the devil should bow down to God alone. Later in the last chapter of Luke’s Gospel, we are told that the disciples bowed down to Jesus. “And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.” (Luke 24:52–53, ESV) Again, this is the same Greek word proskyneō which is translated as “worship.” The written text teaches us that Jesus will not bow down to the devil for one should bow down to God only and then the disciples bow down to Jesus and this is proper.
Later on in the book of Acts, Luke will use the same Greek word proskyneō when Stephen rebukes the idolatry of the people of God in former days. Idolatry is false worship. In particular, Stephen is referring to the worship of angelic beings which is the precisely what the devil tempted Jesus to do. Stephen quotes God who said through the mouth of the prophets, “You took up the tent of Moloch and the star of your god Rephan, the images that you made to worship; and I will send you into exile beyond Babylon.’” (Acts 7:43, ESV) Rather than bow down to the God who created them, they bowed down to angelic beings created by God. Throughout word of God we are warned about the direct correlation between false spirits, that is, fallen angels and false worship.
The Prophet Moses warned the people of God about the temptation to fall down before fallen angels in a song. Moses wrote, “They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded.” (Deuteronomy 32:17, ESV) Rather than fall down before these fallen angels, all the fallen angels are commanded to fall down before God. In the same song of Moses we are taught to sing, ““Rejoice with him, O heavens; bow down to him, all gods, for he avenges the blood of his children and takes vengeance on his adversaries. He repays those who hate him and cleanses his people’s land.”” (Deuteronomy 32:43, ESV) These so-called gods are really not gods at all. It is fallen humanity that bows down to them as if they were God.
In Psalm 97 God proclaims, “All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods!” (Psalm 97:7, ESV) In the Greek text of this psalm the verb for worship is proskyneō and the word for gods is “angeloi” which we typically transliterate as angels. Thus, all the angels, including the fallen ones, are to bow down to God. Now in the New Testament book of Hebrews, we learn that the speaker in Psalm 97 is God the Father and He is talking to all the angels who are created beings. We read, “And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”” (Hebrews 1:6, ESV) The person of the Father tells all the angels to bow down to the person of the Son. Again, this is the same Greek verb proskyneō. Thus, the Father tells the devil, who is one of the angels to bow down to the Son. Both the Father and the Son receive the same worship (proskyneō), honor, and glory.
Jesus says, “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” (John 5:22–23, ESV) When the followers of the Watchtower do not give the Son the same worship, they do not worship the Father at all.
And again Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”” (John 10:27–30, ESV) In this passage, Jesus claims that He and the Father are one in divinity. Jesus is Jehovah and the Father is Jehovah; yet, there are not two Jehovah’s for Jehovah is One. When Jesus says that no one can take His sheep out of His hand, He claims to be Jehovah who said, “I, I am the LORD [Jehovah], and besides me there is no savior. I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and I am God. Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?”” (Isaiah 43:11–13, ESV) These same words Jehovah spoke through the mouth of the prophet Moses in his song saying, “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” (Deuteronomy 32:39, ESV)
The True God makes it clear that there is no other god beside Him. There are no demigods like there are in Greek mythology and the imagination of the Watchtower organization. There is no truth to the lie of the Devil that Jehovah is Almighty God while Jesus is Mighty God. The True God also makes it clear that there is no Savior beside Him. Yet, the Watchtower teaches that Jehovah Almighty God is a savior and Jesus Mighty God is a different savior. The reason why the followers of Russell and the Watchtower do not believe Jesus at His word is because they are not His sheep who listen to His voice. They listen to the words of demons. They have fallen for the tricks of the fallen one.
As Paul writes, “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (2 Corinthians 4:4–5, ESV) To proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord is to proclaim Jesus Christ as Jehovah the only God and Savior. There is no god or savior beside Him. For this reason, no one can say that Jesus is Jehovah without the Holy Spirit.