Another Blog from UK Partnerships for Christ (www.upfc.org.uk)

What Does The Bible Really Teach Chapter 17

bible teach

Draw close to God in Prayer

New Religious Movements, of which Jehovah’s Witnesses are one, use Christian terminology and so, to the uninitiated, they sound like Christians. This chapter uses Scripture and talks about a Creator to whom we direct our prayer, all very obvious stuff for those who claim to be Christian, but we need to dig deeper.

Firstly, let us consider what Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught about this Creator.
The God of the Witnesses is a distant God who must be obeyed. He is a God who dwells in Heaven but, as he is not omnipresent, he is not a personal God who presences himself with his people.
Though Jehovah’s influence may be felt across the world, he is limited to a specific location:

The true God is not omnipresent, for he is spoken of as having a location.(1 Ki. 8:49; John 16:28; Heb. 9:24) His throne is in heaven. (Isa. 66:1) He is all-powerful, being the Almighty God. Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971, page 665

He is a God who, after 30 years of service, could annihilate you at Armageddon because you have not ‘done enough’. Theirs is a God who they speak of as father, but they have no real experience of Him as Father. The Parable of the Prodigal Son, which reveals the loving heart of a Father, longing for his wayward son to return, is totally lost on the Witnesses.

The Watchtower also teaches that the Creator is not a Trinity:

“Christendom’s unchristian doctrine of a Trinity of “God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Ghost” will be rejected by all enlightened mankind as being a blasphemous pagan lie.” Paradise restored to Mankind – By Theocracy p.388

Let us then ask a question: Is the God of The Watchtower the God revealed in Scripture?
What does the Bible really teach about the Creator?

The Bible consistently teaches that God is not distant, but He is with His people.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:7-10

He is a God who came close to us in the person of Jesus:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

He is a God who dwells on high, yet is present with people.

For this is what the high and exalted One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. Isaiah 57:15

He is a God of Grace who saves people who put their faith in Jesus:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8, 9

But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:21-24

The Bible clearly teaches that God is ONE yet THREE:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one Deuteronomy 6:4

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus 1 Timothy 2:5

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…” Genesis 1:26

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16,17

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Matthew 28:19

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all 2 Corinthians 13:14

As we see from these few examples, the God of The Watchtower Society is NOT the God of the Bible. Therefore a question follows: If the Jehovah’s Witnesses are not praying to the God revealed in Scripture… who are they praying to?

The Witnesses claim that all prayer must be directed to Jehovah alone through Jesus, and that it is wrong to address Jesus in prayer. This view derives from the Watchtower view of Jesus. Jesus is not eternal as he was created directly by Jehovah. Therefore Jesus is not God and prayer should only be directed to God alone.

Let us ask another question: What does the Bible really teach about praying to Jesus?

To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours 1 Corinthians 1:2

Speaking about his ‘thorn in the flesh’ the Apostle Paul commented: “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:8,9

Paul had no problem addressing Jesus in prayer. Stephen also prayed to Jesus:

“While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep” Acts 7:59,60

Not only did Jesus receive prayer, He promised to answer:

“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13,14

What does the Bible really teach about worshipping Jesus?

After Jesus healed the man born blind, the Bible records:
Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshipped him John 9:38

Jesus is worshipped by both humans and angels:

And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals,
because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honour and glory and praise!”
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power,
forever and ever!”
The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshipped
Revelation 5:8-14

It is clear that the Watchtower god is not the God revealed in Scripture.
This begs the question: Are Jehovah’s Witnesses wasting their time praying to a non-biblical Watchtower god through a created being? The answer must be yes!

The chapter is called Draw near to God in prayer. The Jehovah’s Witnesses can only draw near to God if they come to believe, accept and put their faith in the Biblical Jesus.
Let’s pray that God will open their eyes!

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6 Responses »

  1. so You believe God is three persons in one? do you know that pagan religions also believe in trinity of gods and that they were first in using such a concept? if you read the hebrew scriptures the part people call the old testament the idea of a trinity never entered the picture.. I just wonder if you really read the book with an honest heart you seem to be looking for fault or perception of it, so how did you like the rest of the book? the part about why we grow old and die, why God has permitted wickedness, What is God’s kingdom, what will it do for mankind, What happens to us when we die, What is Jesus role in God’s kingdom, what is the purpose of the 144,000 going to heaven, who is Jehovah and how do we know that is his name (translated into english)? That book is pretty good in getting into the bible and actually understanding some of the principles there, it is not meant to be deceptive or sneaky, no one is forced to study it nor forced to apply it. Also many bible translations have taken the name out and replaced with LORD, this is a title, if translated properly Paul was speaking about jehovah, who through jesus provides the holy spirit. he basically delegated certain things to Jesus, sometimes if you look in the preface or appendex of your bible you can find info about why God’s name yahway or Jehovah was removed and replaced with LORD or GOD. The older versions and translations do, I have a king james version 1948 by the John C winston company that has jehovah as Gods name in several places, exodus 6:3,Ps 83:18, Isa 12:2, 26:4 Genesis 22:14, Exodus 17:15, and judges 6:24. now I cannot conceive that God would deceive his people conveying himself as one person alone, (which other scriptures indicate he was) and not reveal his equal partners. That would be dishonest and far be if for the true God to do that.And when prophets are given visions of Jehovah on his throne all they see is one person, and angels at his side, hopfully no one is going to start teaching that each angel is three in one people too? after all they are in God’s image too. anyhow I hope you are not going to let your misunderstanding of that chapter prevent you from doing furthur research in the book, after all the truth cannot harm you, but lies sure can. happy reading.

    • Thanks for the feedback roberta4949. I do have to pick you up on a point or two. You say the ‘idea’ of the trinity never entered the picture in the Old Testament, but this is not true. Though not explicit in the OT, the seeds of trinity are clearly there.

      The word Elohim is used thousands of times for “God”; Adonai is used hundreds of times for “Lord”; both of these words are plural nouns in Hebrew.
      • A number of passages speak of the “faces” or “presences” or “persons” of God (Exodus 33:14; Deuteronomy 4:37; and Job 13:8).
      • God refers to Himself as “Us,” “Our,” and “We” (Genesis 1:26, 2:18 (LXX), 3:22, 11:7; Isaiah 6:8, and 41:21-24),2 a phenomenon that is reflected in virtually every English translation.
      • The OT says of God, “they caused me to wander” (Genesis 20:13), “they appeared” (Genesis 35:7), “they drew nigh” (Deuteronomy 4:7), “they went” (2 Samuel 7:23), and “they judge” (Psalm 58:11).
      • The OT calls God our “Creators” (Ecclesiastes 12:1), “Makers” and “Husbands” (Job 35:10; Psalm 149:2; Isaiah 54:5).
      • The OT says that God is “holy” (Joshua 24:19; Proverbs 9:10, 30:33), another plural.

      You will find that we have been reviewing this Watchtower publication and you can read reviews of each chapter on this site.

      You say that the book is not meant to be ‘deceptive or sneaky’ but I would argue that it is deceptive. The book offers Watchtower theology as Biblical truth – which it clearly isn’t; as our reviews show.

      Now here is a thought for you. You said: ‘when prophets are given visions of Jehovah on his throne all they see is one person’

      Isaiah 6:1 (NWT) In the year that King Uz·zi′ah died I, however, got to see Jehovah, sitting on a throne lofty and lifted up, and his skirts were filling the temple

      Isaiah 6:5 (NWT) And I proceeded to say: “Woe to me! For I am as good as brought to silence, because a man unclean in lips I am, and in among a people unclean in lips I am dwelling; for my eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of armies, himself!”

      Isaiah 6:8 (NWT) And I began to hear the voice of Jehovah saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I proceeded to say: “Here I am! Send me.”

      It is clear from these verses saw and heard Jehovah. Now look at these verses:

      John 12:41-43 (NWT) Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory, and he spoke about him. All the same, many even of the rulers actually put faith in him, but because of the Pharisees they would not confess [him], in order not to be expelled from the synagogue; for they loved the glory of men more than even the glory of God.

      Isaiah saw Jesus Christ (Jehovah)
      1.”In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw Jehovah sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. ” Isaiah 6:1
      2.”For my eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5
      3.”Then I heard the voice of Jehovah, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” ” Isaiah 6:8
      4.”These things Isaiah said because he (Isaiah) saw His (Christ’s) glory, and he spoke of Him (Christ).” John 12:41

      I realise that the trinity is a massive issue for you, but I believe it because it is Biblical, whereas you disbelieve it because The Watchtower tells you it is wrong.

      • while I appreciate the detailed response, how ever the word us only indicates God is talking about more than one, he could be speaking about a dozon individuals and even if not us could also mean two individuals but in no way does that indicate that they are equal, in fact jesus is referred to as the master worker with Jehovah in proverbs 8 and that he had a beginning, in no way does that mean equal as in both having no beginning, but never do you see anything about the holy spirit being a person or equal, but rather is just god’s power, frankly I am surprised you even used jesus christ in isaiah because never did isaiah claim to see more than one individual and no where did he indicate any knowledge of the name christ or jesus, that name didn’t even come into existance until Jesus was born tho the word christ means anointed one, but what is funny only a lesser one can be anointed by a greater one otherwise how can a equal ever be anointed by anyone except by himself? no one anoints himself. if the trinty is a very difficult thing to understand and wrap ones head around that indicates that it is not a scriptural teaching, Jesus never used complicated or hard ot understand concepts that did not jive with logic or past historical experiecnes or knowledge. Jehovah never did either, it is simply the same princple of husband and wife being one flesh, that is a figuartive sense, not literal after all my hubby and I are two seperate individuals we are not one flesh but one in purpose in making our marriage work by doing what we are supposed to be doing scripturally.in fact he is older than me, of course he didn’t create me or anything, but you get the point I hope, if you read a old king james version you will see alot of the places many bibles put LORD or GOD are really saying Jehovah not jesus, this use of Lord or God in normal or capital letters is designed to confuse people. Lord or God is a title many people take such titles even paul said there are many gods and many lords. I will quote from someone who is not a witness, “a spokesman for the protestant spurious new international version published in english in 1978 wrote “Jehovah is a distinctive name for God and ideally we should use it, but we put 2 1/4 million dollars into this translation and a sure way of throwing that down the drain is to translate for example psalms 23 as yahweh is my sheperd.” another quote It is of interest that the listing under Lord (adonai) have fewer than 1000 entries while the listing under Lord (yahwey)has over 6800 entries if Yahweh admittedly is the proper name of God the sustitution of an impersonal Lord for that name mearly 7000 times in his own book surly constitutes a monumental blasephmey an act of insult.” so by doing this they confused the identity of God in relation to Jesus but what you see is only two individuals at the very least if they are equal all you have is a duality. Jehovah is only the english translation of the tetragrammoton which left out vowels, so basically yahwey is correct but Jehovah is recognizable, used in the past on walls and tombstones of ages ago after all Jesus is not jesus but yeshua, but english is Jesus. translated. Jehovah is the english translation of that name. check out old king james version (I have a 1948 copy) in several places, exodus 17:15, judges 6:24,genesis 22:14, psalms 83:18, isaiah 26:4 you can check those out if you have a king james sometimes if you look in the appendix or preface of some bibles they will indicate where you see god or lord in all capital letters that is where Jehovah is supposed to be or even yahweh. anyway I hope I did not seem to be attacking your beliefs, it is if we are going to believe something about God I think it should be accurate and scriptural and not based on traditions or confusing doctrines after all Jesus said this means everlasting life their taking in knowledge of you the only true god and the one whom you sent forth jesus christ, john17:3 if we dont understand about God and his son how can we worship God in spirit and truth? how can we be pleasing to him or his son for that matter if we do not worhip Jehovah as he commands? Jesus words and actions always shows he recognized a person greater than himself, just read all his statements, Jehovah has delegated to Jesus the job of running his kingdom and at the end of the 1000 reign of it Jesus hands it back over to his father, pauls words not mine. so hopfully I helped and did not turn you off the bible is so jammed packed full of informaiton I learn something new everytime I read it even passages I have read many times before.

  2. In view of below discussion, i wanted tomake a few observations-
    1. Who did people see when they saw God in the OT. in the new testament, if we look at john 6:46, john 1:18 etc its obvious no man has seen the father, but jesus the son has revealed him. However, in OT , we repeatedly see instances of people meeting/seeing yehovah/god eg: jacob, Abraham in gen 18, moses and the elder exodus 24, isaiah,and many more.. They did not see the father.. But rather they say yehovah, the son of God. I.e jesus..

    Regarding the point that jesus is inferior to the father because he was annointed by the father.. I think everyone will agree jesus was annointed by the holyspirit during his incarnation on earth.. If you read phil 2:6-8.. Things are clear. Jesus was equal to God, but humbled himself and became a man and as a man was obedient to the father to death.. Jesus entire ministry was accomplished in submission to the father as a man and he did all his miracles as a man embued with the power of the holyspirit.

  3. This chapter (17) says some great things about drawing close to God in prayer . Starting in the O.T. the Jewish people experienced a relationship with Jehovah that was very personal because a fundamental tenet of a personal relationship/ friendship ( James 2:23) between two persons ( Him and any human ) is communication , i.e. prayer . True worshipers could call on Jehovah’s name — pray to Him (Psalms 99:6 ; 105 :1-5) .

    Unfortunately this chapter does reveal a major defect in the Watchtower’s interpretation of the Bible . By accepting the Watchtower prophet’s teaching on this issue Jw’s are stuck in a O.T. mindset . They have not discerned God’s new arrangement to gain His approval , a right relationship with Him , and receive salvation . Thus they are being short changed by the Watchtower on a very serious matter .

    The New Testament reveals God as Father , and His unique Son is called Jesus . The Father’s new arrangement for salvation centers on Jesus , and can be seen in Matt 11:28 where Jesus said ” Come unto Me ” . Jesus was voicing the Father’s will when he said this , and he repeated it — Jn 5:39-40 . So to be accepted by the Father and gain a right relationship with Him , we must comply with His will and come directly to Jesus and ask him for pardon of sins — Mk. 2:10 , this allows the Father to also forgive and accept us . It’s through Jesus , through meeting him that is the “way” to gain a right relationship with his Father — Jn 14:6 . A personal relationship with Jesus is what the N.T. reveals is available to anyone who responds to his invitation recorded in Matt 11:28 . It’s not just knowing things about Jesus , like what he did ( ransom) but it’s to actually know him , like a friend i.e. personally , just like people in the O.T. experienced with Jehovah — James 2:23 with Jn 15:14 .

    Sadly, the Watchtower prophet has told Jw’s that petitioning Jesus in prayer is not proper behavior for Christians , thus Jw’s maintain a O.T. mindset/ arrangement when it comes to reading the Bible .

    Let’s look at what this chapter says about prayer to the Father and how that compares to His new arrangement :

    on page 164 it says : “…prayer helps us draw closer to Jehovah .”

    Response : and prayer can help Jw’s draw closer to Jesus — unless they don’t want to be close to him .

    on page 165 it says ” Another reason to pray is that regularly praying to Jehovah is a way to strengthen our relationship with Him . True friends do not communicate only when they need something . Rather , good friends are interested in each other , and their friendship becomes stronger as they freely express their thoughts , concerns and feelings .”

    That statement truly reveals how Jw’s have been misled by the Watchtower because the N.T. reveals what is said here is a reality with Jesus also . Look at how normal this statement is :
    “Good friends are interested in each other ” . Are Jw’s interested in Jesus ? Do they love him ? Are they grateful for his dying to pay the ransom ? Is’nt it right to show appreciation for this greatest of gifts ( the ransom) by telling Jesus “thank you ” . Are Jw’s kept by the Watchtower from complying with the Father’s new arrangement by telling them not to pray to Jesus . Apparently so . That must break the heart of Jesus .

    Jumping ahead to page 189 , it says that to keep their love for Jehovah burning brightly Jw’s should regularly pray to Him . That’s correct and yet do Jw’s love Jesus ? Do they have a desire to want to keep their love to him burning brightly through prayer to him ? Jesus loves them , do they love him, or do they ignore him thus remaining only to know information about him rather than know him intimately as a living Savior and close friend?

    on page 169 it says about Jehovah : ” We certainly have reason to express heartfelt praise and thanks to Him for all His goodness .”

    Bingo! Certainly Jesus deserves to be thanked for his goodness also , right? Paul knew about being appreciative and so he thanked the Father– Col. 1:3 ; and he also thanked Jesus for blessings received — 1Tim 1:12
    In fact at the heart of the Christian life lies a intimate fellowship with both the Father and the Son — 1Cor 1:9 .

    In summary :

    God’s old arrangement for gaining a personal relationship with Him and salvation is connected with prayer to Him — calling on His name — Joel 2:32 ; Psalm 116:1-4

    God’s new arrangement for salvation , and gaining a right relationship with Him is connected with prayer to Jesus ,calling on the name of Jesus — Acts 22:16 ; 1Cor 1:2 .

    We pray to the Father in Jesus’ name . We also get the privilege of praying to a living Savior who loves us immensely so we get be a close friend with him .

    Stephen closed out his earthly life with a prayer to his Savior — Acts 7:59 . Paul begins his christian life by praying to Jesus — Acts 22:16 .
    One part of the religious life of the early church was invocation , prayer, to their living Savior –1Cor 1:2

    May Jw’s come to discover what God’s new arrangement is for receiving life everlasting , in doing so they can experience real intimacy with both the Father and the Son –Jn 14:23 .

Trackbacks

  1. Ezekiel 1. God’s Throne. Ezekiel’s Vision Of God’s Glory (Kjv). God. Ezekiel See The Lord’s Glory. | GodLovesBummyla

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