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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Did Those Who Knew Jesus Think He Was God?

Did those who knew him during his lifetime understand Jesus to be God?

Jesus would have been stoned to death if he was understood to be claiming he was God when teaching in the temple, and his disciples would have been driven out of the synagogues and stoned if it was understood that they believed Jesus was God. (Acts 13:13-16, 42; Acts 17: 1, 2; Acts 17:1; Acts 18:4; Acts 19:8)

There are a number of places in Scripture where those who actually knew Jesus let us know by their words and actions if they thought he was God (or even if they believed that he taught that he was God). Let's look at a few of them:

Those Who Knew Jesus Never Thought He Was God

1. Nowhere in the synoptic Gospels (the first Gospels to be written: Matthew, Mark, and Luke) do the
family, friends, disciples (or enemies) of Jesus say anything even hinting that they thought he was God (or that he was teaching or claiming that he was God). That such essential new information (if true) should be ignored completely is impossible to believe. Compare all the times Jesus is called the "Christ" or "Messiah". Since these were written many years before the fourth Gospel, they should show the most important news about Jesus: information which is essential for his followers to know. (John 17:3)

Even Jesus' Enemies Never Accused Him of Being God

2. Those Jewish leaders who wanted Jesus dead could have merely said that he claimed to be God (an automatic death sentence). But, although they condemned him to death because he claimed to be the Messiah, they never accused him of being God in the Synoptic Gospels. They even hired false witnesses to lie about him, but even those false witnesses did not accuse Jesus of claiming to be God. - Matthew 26:59 -63.

The one place in John's later Gospel where many trinitarian Bibles render the Greek to read as though the Jews accused Jesus of 'making himself God' is clearly a mistranslation (as the New English Bible indicates) because of context and NT Greek grammar. - (See "My God" and "Theon" files.)

Those Who Knew Jesus Best Said That He Was God's Son - Not God Himself

3. What did those who knew him best and were taught privately by him have to say about who he was? After being told that the people believed Jesus was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the [other] prophets, Jesus asked his disciples: "But who do you say that I am?" The answer was "the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Matthew 16:13-20. Neither the people nor the disciples themselves considered Jesus to be God! (Compare Mark 8:27-29; Luke 9:18-20.)

Jesus Would Never Have Been Allowed to Teach in Temple if He Claimed to Be God

4. Look at the teachings of Jesus in the temple. (Matt.21:23-24:1) If any of the priests, officials, etc. thought Jesus had ever even implied that he was God, he would have been killed on the spot. And, for certain, he would never have been allowed to teach in the temple! But, if by some miracle, he was allowed to teach there (and there was any doubt whatsoever that he may have ever claimed that he was God or that any of his followers believed that he was God), every question to him would have been about that most important subject of all! But, no, he is never asked about such a thing!

The Words of The Rulers of the Jews

5. When Jesus was dying, the rulers of the Jews spoke about him. Did they say, "If he is really God, let Him save himself!"? If they thought he claimed to be God, surely they would have said that instead of what they actually said: "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Messiah of God." - Luke 23:25, NAB. (Cf. Matt. 27:42, 43; Mark 15:31, 32.

For more, see:

Is Jesus Almighty God? (JW.ORG)

Is God's Name Jesus? (JW.ORG)

Who Is Jesus Christ? (JW.ORG)

Is Jesus God? Find Out What the Bible Says, What Scholars Say. (JW.ORG)

Who Is Jesus Christ? (JW.ORG)

Questions For Those Who Believe in the Trinity (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Is It Proper to Worship Jesus? "Worship" (Proskuneo /Shachah) - Different Levels of Meaning in Scripture (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

If Jesus is God, wouldn't that mean that Jesus was never really dead in the first place and therefore his sacrificial death never really happened? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

1 Timothy 2:5 - How Can Jesus Possibly Be God Himself When Scripture says that Jesus is Mediator Between Man and God? (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)
(To those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), please remember that if you are looking for the authoritative information about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's (WTBTS) Bible-based beliefs and practices, you should look to our OFFICIAL WEBSITE at Numerous publications as well as the New World Translation Bible (NWT) and the very useful Watchtower Online Library can be found there.)


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