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Jesus saying, "for my Father is greater than I" (Gospel of Jesus)

posted by bibleprobe(R) Homepage, Mass., 03.04.2007

Jehovah Witness Arian Heresy Regurgitation
their denial of the deity of the Lord Jesus

Making sense of Jesus' statement: "I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater [meizon] than I"

The Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is now and for all eternity Son of God and Son of Man; therefore, in this sense he is the eternal Son. But to be biblical in the true sense of the term, we must be willing to admit that He was known prior to His incarnation as the eternal Word, and knowledge of this fact cuts across the very groundwork and foundation of the Arian system of theology espoused by Jehovah Witnesses. For if "only begotten" means "unique" or "only one of its kind," there cannot be any ground for rendering it "only generated" as Jehovah Witnesses often attempt to do in a vain attempt to rob Christ of His deity.

If then we relegate the terms Father and Son to the sphere of time as functional vehicles for the conveyance of the mysterious relationship that existed from all eternity between God and His Word, we will be probing deeper into the truth of the Scripture, which seems to teach us that God calls Christ His Eternal Word, lest we should ever forget that He is intrinsic Deity (for never was there a moment when God had a thought apart from His Logos or Reason). Further than this, God calls Christ His "Son," lest we should think of the Word as being an impersonal force or attribute instead of a substantive entity existing in a subject-object relationship, the Eternal God "who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe" (1 Timothy 4:10)

In summary, since the word Son in a temporal sense definitely suggests inferiority and derivation, it is absolutely essential that Christ as the Eternal Word be pointed up as an antidote to the Arian heresy of Jehovah Witnesses, and in this light we can understand quite plainly the usages of the term monogenes, not in the Jehovah Witnesses' sense of creatureliness, but in the true biblical sense of "uniqueness," i.e., "the unique or only Son of God," generated in the womb of a woman by the direct agency of the Holy Spirit, "God manifest in the flesh." "The great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).

2. "Greater." (Greek: meizon) Another principal term utilized by Jehovah's Witnesses is the term greater, translated from the Greek meizon, as it appears in the gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 28: "Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said; I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater [meizon] than I." From this particular text, lifted conveniently out of its context by the ever zealous Russellites, the Watchtower attempts to "prove" that since Jesus in His own words while He was on earth stated that His Father was "greater" than He was, therefore Christ could not be equal with God or one of the members of the Trinity, which Jehovah's Witnesses deny so vehemently.

On the face of the matter, this appears to be a good argument from Christ's usage of the word greater, but a closer examination of the context and of the hermeneutical principles that govern any sound exegetical study of the New Testament quickly reveals that theirs is a shallow case indeed, and, one that rests rather unsteadily upon one Greek word in a most restricted context.

The refutation of this bit of Watchtower semantic double-talk is found in a comparison of Hebrews, the verse previously cited, and entirely different word is utilized when comparing Christ and the angels. The word is kreitton and is translated "better" in the King James Version. Paralleling these two comparisons, that of Jesus with His Father in John 14:28 and Jesus with the angels in Hebrews 1:4, one startling fact immediately attracts attention. In the fourteenth chapter of John, as the Son of Man who emptied himself of His prerogatives of Deity (Philippians 2:8-11) and taken upon himself the form of a slave, the Lord Jesus Christ could truthfully say, "My Father is greater than I," greater being a quantitative term descriptive of position. Certainly in no sense of the context could it be construed as a comparison of nature or quality.

In the first chapter of Hebrews, however, the comparison made there between the Lord Jesus Christ and angels is clearly one of nature. The Greek kreitton being a term descriptive of quality, ergo, Christ was qualitatively better than the angels because He was their Creator (Colossians 1:16-17), and as such He existed before all things and by Him all things consist (vv. 17-19). Since His intrinsic nature is that of Deity (John 8:58; cf. Colossians 2:9); therefore, qualitatively speaking he was God manifest in the flesh, while quantitatively He was limited as a man and could in all truthfulness state, "My Father is greater than I." When this comparison of position in John 14:28 and the comparison of nature in Hebrews 1 are clearly understood, the argument Jehovah Witnesses attempt to raise in order to rob Christ of His deity is reduced to rubble before one of the greatest of all truths revealed in Scripture, i.e., that God who made the world and all things therein so loved us as to appear in our form (John 1:1,14) that the sons of men might through His measureless grace at length become the sons of God.

We should be quick to recognize, however, that had the Lord Jesus said in John 14:28 that His Father was better than He was and had used the proper Greek word denoting this type of comparison, another issue would be involved, but in actuality the comparison between Christ and His Father in that context and verse clearly indicates that Jesus was speaking as a man and not as the second person of the Trinity (John 1:1). Therefore, it is perfectly understandable that He should humble himself before His Father and declare that in the present form in which He found himself, His Father certainly was "greater," positionally, than He. One might be willing to admit that the president of the United States is a greater man by virtue of his present position, authority, and recognition, etc., but it would be a far different matter to assent to the proposition that the president of the United States is a better man than his fellow Americans in the sense of quality, because such a comparison then involves a discussion of fundamental natures, attributes, etc. In like manner, Jesus, as the Incarnate Son of God who had by His own voluntary act of will divested himself of His prerogatives of Intrinsic Deity, could speak of His Father as being positionally greater than He was without in any sense violating His true deity and humanity.

Hebrews 1:4 clearly teaches that Christ is better than the angels, qualitatively from all eternity and that even while He walked the earth, though He was made lower than the angels positionally for the suffering of death in the form of a man, never for an instant did He cease to be the Lord of glory who could say with confident assurance, "Before Abraham was I am" (John 8:58).

Let us constantly be aware of these facts when discussing the nature of Christ with Jehovah Witnesses, for once the distinction is made between "greater" and "better," their entire argument based upon John 14:28 melts into nothingness, and the deity of our Lord is completely vindicated by the whole testimony of Scripture.

Reference for the above: Pages 139-141 "The Kingdom of the Cults"

[image]

The Kingdom of the Cults
by Dr Walter Martin, Ravi Zacharias (Editor) hardcover, 704 pages

The authoritative reference work on major cult systems for nearly forty years. Working closely together, Ravi Zacharias and Managing Editors Jill and Kevin Rische (daughter of Dr. Martin) have updated and augmented the work with new material. This book will continue as a crucial tool in countercult ministry and in evangelism for years to come. Among cults and religions included are: Jehovahs Witnesses, Christian Science, Mormonism, New Age Cults, the Unification Church, Bahai Faith, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, New Age, Spiritism, to Seventh-day Adventism, Unitarianism, and much more.

Martin provides a meaty analysis of all the major groups. He also outlines primary lines of thought within Protestant perspectives, and Roman Catholicism.

Beyond specific groups, there is plenty of coverage of the general critical analysis on topics like mind control, apocalyptic cults, the impact of cults on the mission field, Eastern religions, and language and psychological issues.

See at Amazon.com, here

Read more about Jehovah Witnesses here: http://bibleprobe.com/jehovahwitness.htm

 


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