Jesus Was the Son of God But Not God

”We (Jehovah’s Witnesses) believe that Jesus was the son of God, but not God, and that He was the highest created being.”


Bible Passages Relating to the Divinity of Christ

What do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe? Close scrutiny of their doctrinal position on such subjects as the deity of Christ, salvation, the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, and the atonement shows beyond a doubt that they do not hold to orthodox Christian positions on these subjects. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus is Michael the archangel, the highest created being. This contradicts many Scriptures which clearly declare Jesus to be God (John 1:1,14,8:58,10:30).

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe salvation is obtained by a combination of faith, good works, and obedience. This contradicts countless scriptures which declare salvation to be received by grace through faith (John 3:16;Ephesians 2:8-9;Titus 3:5). Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the Trinity, believing Jesus to be a created being and the Holy Spirit to essentially be the inanimate power of God. Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the concept of Christ’s substitutionary atonement and instead hold to a ransom theory, that Jesus’ death was a ransom payment for Adam’s sin.

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The New Testament only refers to Jesus Christ as “the Son of God” in a few places.  However, it does testify to his divinity – that he is God in multiple passages:

Jesus as Son of God

Mark 1:11 – At Jesus baptism, a voice from heaven said: “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  Same for Matthew 3:17

Matthew 16:15-17 – Jesus asked His disciples “But who do you say that I am?”  And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 26:63-65 – After interaction with Jesus, the high priest tore his clothes, which is what the priests do when they hear blasphemy (someone claiming to be God):  “And the high priest answered Him and said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God that You tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God.’  And Jesus said to him, “It is as you said.  Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.’  Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy!  What further need do we have of witnesses?  Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!’

Jesus as God

Matthew 2:23 quotes Isaiah 7:14, referring to Jesus:  “Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated ‘God with us’.”

Matthew 3:3 quotes a prophecy in Isaiah 40:3, referring to John the Baptist and Jesus:  “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: prepare the way of the Lord.  Make His paths straight.”

Matthew 4:7:  Jesus is talking to Satan, who is trying to tempt Him:  “Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, you shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”

Matthew 8:22:  Jesus talks about people calling Him Lord, and He not denying it:  “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

John 10:30–33 – Jesus stated: “’I and My Father are one.’  Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.  Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father.  For which of these works do you stone Me?  The Jews answered them, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a man, make Yourself God.” 

John 18:4-8 – Jesus talking to the soldiers who came for Him –  “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, ‘Whom are you seeking?’  They answered Him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’  Jesus said to them, ‘I am He.’ And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them.  Then, when He said to them, ‘I am He’, they drew back and fell to the ground.” 

NOTE:  The word “He” was added to later translations.  The statement “I Am” was known by the Jews to be a direct claim to divinity, as indicated in Exodus 3: 13-14.