"Jehovah-God does not need to pray, so how can Jesus be God when He spent so much His time

in prayer?" How would you answer this observation made by a member of the JW's?
In this essay I will attempt to answer and explain the reason that Jesus needed to pray to God the Father while in His earthly ministry in order to answer the question typically posed by Jehovah’s Witnesses. I shall look at the different theories surrounding the incarnation of Jesus and what it is the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe about Him and His deity. Jehovah’s Witnesses deny that Jesus is God, or Jehovah as they prefer to refer to God as, incarnated in the flesh. The Jehovah’s Witnesses keep fast the view that He, Jesus, is in fact the first creation of God the Father - Jehovah. To the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus is a created being, he chief of angels and the highest of God's creation. The Jehovah’s Witnesses get this idea about Jesus from their interpretation of Colossians 1: 15 which says 'He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation,'1 but this idea runs contrary to Scripture. 'It is erroneous to conclude that Christ is the "first created" simply because He is the firstborn. These two terms are not synonymous'2 "First created" and "firstborn" are also two completely different words in the Greek and Paul, in writing Colossians, specifically uses PRŌTOTOKOS - "firstborn". Jews, at the time of Christ and before, would have understood the term "firstborn" to mean a position or rank, rather than the actual first born of a family; and also this would mean the heir of the father to inherit all that the father owned. This is especially relevant when referring to Christ Jesus, as He is the Son He is 'appointed heir of all things' (Heb 1: 2). The Jehovah’s Witnesses also mistranslate Col. 15 - 17, adding the word "other" before the word "things" to make it read as though Christ was created first before anything else and then all other things were made after and by
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All Bible citations are taken from the NRSV, unless otherwise stated. Jesus Christ Saviour and Lord, pp.14

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Him. Although they add the word "other" in brackets for the sake of clarification they say, the original Greek texts do not contain that word, so it is obviously another vain attempt to bring Jesus down to the lever of all other things in Creation. Christ's deity is made quite plain throughout Scripture time and time again. The Gospel’s and even Jesus Himself, equates Himself to God when He declares that He and the Father are one3 and also in John 5: 18, the Jews were planning to kill Jesus for ‘calling God His own Father, making Himself equal to God’. Looking at the book of Revelation too, verses 17 – 18 say: ‘I am the First and the Last, I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever.’ (Italic emphasis added). In their own Bible, the New World Translation, these passages still hold true and say the same as any other reliable translation out there, showing that even in their own Scriptures Jesus is considered equal to, and is, God the Alpha and Omega – Beginning and End, a title Jehovah’s Witnesses will quite happily apply to Jehovah God thus showing, by their own translation, that Jesus is God. ‘Other scholars have pointed out that the NWT is not consistent in the application of the rule by which they claim to translate “a god”. It would mean they would need to translate Matthew 5: 9 as follows: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of a god,” not “sons of God” (as … the NWT … [has] it).’4 This confirming the fact that the Jehovah’s Witnesses Bible has discrepancies and contradictions in their translating and understanding of Jesus as God, not “a god”, because they overlook an established rule of Greek grammar. The two main trains of thought on the Incarnation of Christ and what took place, are the Kenosis theory and the Krypsis theory. Kenosis says that Jesus emptied Himself completely and had no access to His divine rights or power; whereas Krypsis says that He did have access to His divinity but just chose not to draw on it. The Bible does not make it clear on either which is right, so our own conclusions will have to be drawn from how we view the life of Jesus and His miracles, and from the rest of the New Testament writings. In Phil. 2: 5-8, Paul talks of Jesus as being in the form of God but although He was, and is God, He did not hold on to His equality with God and humbled Himself instead as a servant, to the will of the Father. He chose to live as a man, self-imposing the limitations of a man upon Himself, in order to be able to
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John 10:30 Scripture Twisting, pp. 163

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be a substitute sacrifice for us. Now whether these self-imposed limitations actually removed Jesus’ right of access to His divine rights or just was a conscious decision each day not to use them is another topic entirely. Although, in Col. 2: 9, it says ‘in Him dwells all the fullness of deity bodily’ but then in Heb. 2: 17 it says that ‘He had to become like His brothers and sisters in every respect,’ both of which it is support either theory, but moreover it just strengthens the fact that Jesus was fully God and fully man at the same time. So why did the first Christians not just refer to Jesus as God and save any confusion? ‘The whole attitude of Jesus Himself prevented it’5 because He had always prayed and sought strength from God and had taught His disciples to pray to God and to call Him “Father”. This laid and set an example for the disciples, but it was also for the benefit of Himself to consult with God concerning His will. Although Jesus never made a point for the disciples, or anyone for that matter, to worship Him, Jesus never refused worship directed at Him that would elevate Him to “God status”. An example would be when Thomas called Him ‘my Lord and my God’ in John 20: 28, 29; there are also other times when Jesus openly admitted to being the Messiah or Son of God6 which would give the claim of being deity. ‘However, let us ever remember that in His Incarnation Christ chose voluntarily not to use the knowledge and power of His inherent Deity,’7 referring back to Phil. 2: 8, but that He temporarily laid aside His attributes – but temporarily it could easily mean for all the time Jesus was on earth, or just until He needed to draw on them. Regardless, though, from what has been said Jesus clearly is fully God and fully man. So why did Jesus have to pray then, if He was also fully God? As God incarnate on earth, Jesus also had to take on human attributes and limitations, so in becoming man He chose to live a normal life as a normal human being, in that He either gave up His Godly powers or chose not to use them al all, or until the right moment. By becoming a man, God put Himself within human restrictions so that He could be tempted, experience human life, but still remain perfect and pure. But also by doing this, Jesus needed to pray to the Father in order to keep the relationship between them positive and active. It was Jesus the man that prayed to God the Father who still dwelt in heaven, not Jesus talking to Himself, to his divine side, in a seemingly schizophrenic or split personality kind of way. ‘In prayer we place our entire existence
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Jesus Man For God, pp. 68 Mk. 14: 61-64; Lk. 22: 66-71; Jn. 4: 25, 26 7 Masters of Deception, pp. 18

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in God’s hands’8 Which is exactly what Jesus was doing by praying to the Father; He was placing His whole existence on earth into the safe and secure hands of His Father in heaven so that His will may be done, and not to let Jesus’ human nature interfere with the will of God in the divine mission of redemption and salvation for all mankind. Which is what we see in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus cries out to God under immense strain and pressure that if the plan for humanity can be dine another way, then so be it, which was His human nature crying out for God, but then Jesus says ‘yet, not what I want, but what You want’ which is where we can see the divine nature of Jesus coming out and being God focussed and aiming to keep within God’s will.9 So the reason that Jesus did spend so much time in prayer is because of Him being on earth incarnated as flesh in human form as well as having a divine nature. God was very much still in heaven as it appears obvious by the way Jesus spoke of God and to God – if He were not and was confined to a finite human form totally in Jesus, then who would have been holding the universe and all creation in place? While Jesus was indeed God fully, God the Father was also fully in heaven keeping everything in place while Jesus, being God in the flesh and not in heaven, worked out His divine mission on earth by keeping in constant contact and communication with God in order to fulfil everything He was sent to do. The Incarnation is a very confusing issue, and ‘one way of dealing with the problem was to refer to God as ‘Father’, and Jesus as ‘Son’, or ‘Son of God’’10 meaning that they had a divine bind between them but it is also be told apart from one another in simple terms that everyone can grasp. The Father and Son are one and the same, bonded by divinity, but also separate in the sense that God the Father stayed in heaven, while His Only Son came to earth in the form of man and had to pray like man in order to keep that bond to God, but also to allow us to see the ultimate example of humility and a servant heart in the examples Jesus left us to follow in order that we may have that bond with God like He did.

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Unbounded Love, pp. 143 Mk. 14: 32 - 36 10 Understanding Doctrine, pp.168

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Bibliography
Bloesch, D. G., Jesus Christ, Saviour and Lord, (USA, 1997) Brown, R. C. and Pinnock, C. H., Unbounded Love, (USA, IVP; 1994) Christian Research Journal, (Winter; 1999) Deek. P., Questions on the Christian Faith from the Bible, (GB, Hodden and Shishton Ltd; 1967) Hall, J. L., Pentecostal Herald, (http://www.altupc.com/articles/jespray.htm) McGrath, A., Understanding Doctrine, (Michigan, Zonderun Publishing House; 1990) New Revised Standard Version, New Testament (The Division of Education and Ministry, National Council of the Churches of Christ, 1990) Sanders, J. O. and Wright, J. S., Some Modern Religions, (London, IVP 1989) Stisile. J., Scripture Twisting, (USA, IVP; 1980) Toy, J., Jesus Man For God, (Worcester, A. R. Mowbray and Co. Ltd; 1988) Thomas, F. W., Masters of Deception, (USA, Baker Book House; 1972) New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, (New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of New York Inc.; 1984)

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