The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” (John 10:33)
Jesus the Messiah has been to many an enigma since he walked this Earth. He is near the center – or at least held in a high place of honor – in most world religions. This is also true of most religious cults, which usually give Jesus a high place of some sort, while “Christianity-based” cults even consider themselves to be the “only true Christians.” Almost everybody seems to give the nod to Jesus in one way or another, whether He is seen as “a great man,” “a way-shower,” or a New Age Avatar. But do they know the REAL Jesus – The ONE He reveals Himself to be in the Bible? It is astounding to realize how many different Jesuses there are in circulation. It is not hard to discern Who it is He claims to be. There are still a lot of Bibles circulating around out there. If you are going to use the Jesus of the Bible as a prop in your religion, logically, you must give credence to the Bible and what it teaches about Him. It is very clear in the Scriptures that Jesus is fully human, the “son of man” (Matthew 11:19). At the same time, He is fully God, the “son of God,” as we see in Peter’s declaration (Matthew 16:16), the demon’s recognition of Who He is, (Matthew 8:29) and the angry Jewish religious leaders calling for Him to be put to death – because they completely understood Who He was claiming to be. “You being a man, make yourself God.” (John 10:33).
He said He would indeed be put to death – and then resurrected (Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31) and that He would be the one doing the resurrecting (John 2:18-21)! There are, of course, countless people who do take Him at His word, call upon His name, and are redeemed. Jesus calls this the narrow path that leads to life. One’s very salvation is dependent on believing exactly Who Jesus claims to be and are calling on the “right” Jesus for eternal life.
All human beings who hear and understand the claims of Jesus come to a fork in the road of sorts. They must make a decision on His claims, and sadly, as Jesus foretold, most take the wide but wrong path that leads to destruction. The only right path is to believe what Jesus claimed: He is fully man and fully God. Those who refuse to believe are generally divided into two groups – Those who believe that Jesus is merely a man, albeit a “good” man. This Jesus merely teaches mankind to follow His example, to live as “good people” in the way He did. Some say He is a “good teacher” who shows us to treat others in a loving way. Some portray Him as a revolutionary of sorts who urges people to make life “fair,” like Che Guevara or Karl Marx, by empowering the downtrodden. They, of course, think it’s up to them to decide who must be trodden down to reach their utopian goal. Or He is the “way shower,” one who points the way to heaven, paradise, or nirvana, which we must attain through our own efforts. Many believe in a sort of a “Burger King” reality, where everyone can have it his own way.” In this view, there are many spiritual paths that lead to God, all of them fine, and you should just “follow your heart.” However, Jesus Himself said he was the ONLY WAY to the Father, and everyone had to go “through Him.” (John 14:6) No man comes to the Father any other way.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses view Jesus as simply a man and not God. They cannot comprehend how or why God would come to earth in human form. They cannot even fathom how Jesus the Messiah – one man – could die for the sins of the entire world of mankind and instead claim Jesus was only a one-to-one corresponding ransom for first man Adam. And, by the way, in their teaching, the person that was Jesus no longer even exists. To them, Jesus is “dead forever dead” and was replaced by a recreated Michael the archangel (see “In the Beginning was Michael”), who has merely the “memories and personality traits of Jesus” implanted in his new psyche. After dying a horrible death on the cross for our sake and for all his obedience to the father, Jesus has been rewarded with – “nothingness.” There is a small group of elite JWs, known as the “anointed class,” who God likewise makes a copy of upon their death and places into this “clone” a copy of the “memories” of the person they once were. (God has these memories supposedly stored somewhere in his brain. At one time, they believed some of the copies were probably stored in the brains of angels because they do not believe God is omnipotent (all–powerful) nor omniscient (all–knowing). If memory serves, the angel’s “brain storage thing” was deep-sixed at some point.) How is the faithful elite “anointed class person” rewarded for his faith and good works on earth? With absolute nothingness. Zip, zero, nada. A copy of one’s memory in a clone’s body could never, of course, BE him. To the WTBTS, the person is essentially just “information.” They teach that people have a “life force” that goes out of a person at death, but according to the teaching, this life force is similar to electricity and carries absolutely no personal properties with it.
Then there are the lower class JWs whose salvation comes about solely by how they treat the elite “anointed class.” The lower class JWs have the same reward as Jesus and the anointed – nothingness. But a clone of them will be created with a copy of their “memories,” powered by electricity of a sort, and will live forever in paradise on earth, so it’s all good. I, Joy, discussed this rather problematical issue with a JW elder. I guess he believed this doctrine wholeheartedly but had never really given it any thought. I told him that if Jehovah (God) could create a copy of him that had his memories after his death, surely God could do it right now. Then I brought an imaginary Mr. Elder in front of him and said simply – you can go now (out of existence) – your copy is here to take your wife home! He‘ll look after your kids. Ain’t that great news? Suddenly he realized that this “new guy” who was going home with his lovely wife was not him! HE – the actual person – would be gone FOREVER, starting right now. Jehovah’s Witnesses allegedly base every belief upon their own view of what is possible, yet these beliefs often defy rational thought. Jesus is not simply a man. He died to ransom all people everywhere who would believe on Him and was able to accomplish that because He IS God! He will raise the actual persons who have put their faith in Him and take them to live with Him forever. You won’t need a “copy” of your supposed “memories” because your memories are going with you!
Then, of course, like the Mormons, for example, there are those who see Jesus not as a mere man, but as god or at least “A god,” one of millions, or perhaps gazillions, and they believe that if human beings follow the Mormon path, all can become gods. They will have millions of spirit babies, and the females will happily be forever pregnant. Yes, say the Mormons, Jesus is a man who became a god, and we can do the same. Jesus was born on another planet to another Mormon God (who was himself born on yet another planet as all gods before him were) and one of his many wives. Jesus was first born as a spirit being to that God and one of his many wives, and then came to earth where he gained a physical body and was able to earn his way to godhood – and we can too! Hooray! How we, with our sin natures, can earn godhood is anybody’s guess. But hey, we’ll think about that tomorrow. As the fifth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in his couplet, “As man is, God once was – as God is, man may be.”1See, “God the Father According to Mormonism” But no, because the Bible teaches that only ONE God exists, and within the nature of that One God exists three persons.
Eastern religions and many New Agers take a somewhat different path. If we were to ask a Hindu, for example, if Jesus is God, they will smile and say, “Of course.” Christians are often at first confused by that answer. But Jesus is God because, as they explain, EVERYTHING is God. The rocks are God, and the trees are god, the table and chairs are god – and on and on. Most importantly to human beings, all humans are gods, including Jesus. This belief is called “pantheism” or what Dr. Peter Jones terms “Oneism”:
All Is One. We worship and serve creation as divine. All distinctions must be eliminated and through “enlightenment,” we discover that we also are divine.
While wandering through a New Age Mind, Body, Spirit Expo in the Chicago area, I, Don, stopped at an angel channeler’s booth. She was one of the keynote speakers at the event. I asked how she knew if the angels she channeled were good or evil? She happily responded they are all good because there simply is no evil – we are all one. (Just how blind must one be to look around this world and deny there is any evil?) I then asked if she was a pantheist and was told she was. So I posed two questions. First, was Jesus God? The obvious answer from her was yes since everything is god. I noted that elevating all creation to godhood appears to give everything a lofty status. So my second question was; If everything is god – the rocks are god, the trees are god, the display table is god, AND what my cat left in the litter box this morning is god, wouldn’t that tend to debase that lofty status, and more importantly, debase the status of Jesus? She was not happy with my question but was committed to her belief system. It offered her prestige in the world of New Age angel channeling, and rather than rethinking her path, and she turned away. Jesus as the one true God was not an idea she was willing to consider. Yet, where there is life, there is hope for her – and the others mentioned as well. No one who repents and comes to the Father through the real Jesus will be turned away.
The apostle Paul warned the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 11:4) about others who would come to them preaching another Jesus and another gospel. An alternative Jesus and/or “gospel” will not save anyone, and we must believe in the real Jesus. Our friend, former Jehovah’s Witness Lorri MacGregor, founder of MacGregor Ministries, had a mantra she always repeated when she spoke publicly:
If you have the right Jesus, you are right for eternity. However, if you have the wrong Jesus, you are wrong for all eternity.
The wide road to destruction is indeed made up of many paths, but they will arrive at the wrong place every time. Jesus is the One Way to salvation and peace with God. Believe Him when He tells us Who He is. He is fully man and fully God. He is one with the Father (and the Spirit) as the ONLY God. Take the narrow road – it leads to life eternal.
if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)Ω
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