An Armchair Scholar Answers Jehovah's Witnesses
What Kind of God is Jesus - Omnipotent
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Jesus as God, Part 3

What kind of God is Jesus?

 

Jesus is Omnipotent (All-powerful)

 

Omnipotence is “…great and specifically divine power…predicated of God.”[1] The WTBTS holds to the omnipotence of God the Father, but do the Scriptures indicate that Jesus is omnipotent as well?

 

Matthew 28:18

 

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (KJV)

 

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (NASB)

 

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (NIV)

 

And Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying: “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth. (NWT)

 

Please note that all power is given unto Jesus in heaven and earth. All power. Not some. Not most. All. Nor is his power (authority, NASB) limited to the earthly realm alone for in Matthew 28:18, Christ said he had all power in heaven as well.

 

Adam Clarke stated:

 

If Jesus Christ were not equal with the Father, could he have claimed this equality of power, without being guilty of impiety and blasphemy? Surely not; and does he not, in the fullest manner, assert his Godhead, and his equality with the Father, by claiming and possessing all the authority in heaven and earth? - i.e. all the power and authority by which both empires are governed?[2]

 

“I am With You Always” also discussed Christ’s power in Matthew 28:18:

 

Look at the context in which Jesus told his disciples that He would be with them. In verse 18, Jesus said that all power in heaven and on earth had been given Him. In verse 19 and the first part of verse 20, Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission. Then, Jesus tells them He will be with them until the end of the age.

 

I think it is significant that Jesus placed the Great Commission between His telling the disciples of His power and of His continued presence with them. It is the power and the presence of Jesus that gave Christ’s disciples the ability to fulfill the Great Commission in their day and does the same for Christians today. Jesus telling them, and by extension us, of His power and presence builds us up for the work that He gave them and us to do. While the memory of Christ and His teachings is obviously important, it is His literal power and presence in the lives of Christians that really empowers them.[3]

 

We can also consider

 

Revelation 1:8

 

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (KJV)

 

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (NASB)

 

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." (NIV)

 

“I am the Al´pha and the O·me´ga,” says Jehovah God, “the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.” (NWT)

 

The NWT replaces kurios (Lord) with Jehovah in Revelation 1:8, thereby unambiguously attributing this verse to the Father. Needless to say, no New Testament manuscript or fragment contains Jehovah here or anywhere else in the New Testament (see YHWH in the New Testament at the left side menu bar for further details). According to the 1985 KIT, the earliest Hebrew translation of the Bible containing Jehovah in Revelation 1:8 dates to 1599 A.D., whereas the earliest attestation listed for kurios (Lord) dates to the fourth century – predating the earliest J document by over one thousand years. The manuscript evidence obviously and overwhelmingly favors Lord rather than Jehovah.

 

Certainly, the WTBS indicates the speaker is Yahweh, the Father in Revelation 1:8.

 

Let’s look at the immediate context:

 

Revelation 1:4-8 [4] John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; [5] And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, [6] And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. [7] Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. [8] I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (emphasis mine, KJV)

 

In verse 6, the Father is specifically mentioned – the last mention of the Father before verse 8. In verse 7, which immediately precedes verse 8 and the matter in question, the subject is said to be coming with the clouds. Who is said to be coming with the clouds?

 

Jesus:

 

Acts 1:9-11 [9] And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. [10] And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; [11] Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (KJV)

 

Matthew 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (KJV)

 

Matthew 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. (KJV)

 

Who was pierced?

 

Jesus:

 

Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. (KJV)

 

John 19:37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced. (KJV)

(Of “pierced” used in John 19:37: “First aorist active of ekkentew, late verb, correct translation of the Hebrew of Zechariah 12:10, but not like the LXX, in N.T. only here and Revelation 1:7.” Robertson’s Word Pictures[4])

 

The WTBTS published a commentary on the book of Revelation in 1988, Revelation It’s Grand Climax at Hand! Of Revelation 1:7, the book states:

 

No doubt John was here reminded of Jesus’ earlier prophesy concerning the conclusion of the system of things…Thus, Jesus ‘comes’ by turning his attention to the executing of Jehovah’s judgments on the nations.[5]

 

So the identity of the subject immediately preceding the Lord in verse 8 is Jesus Christ, not the Father.

 

We may also consider patristic evidence. To whom do the Anti-Nicene Fathers (ANFs) attribute Revelation 1:8 to, Father or Son? According to http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/e-catena/ (Accessed April 2010), there are four references to Revelation 1:8 in the ANFs and one of these four refers to pagan belief which only loosely resembles Christian belief so does not apply.  

 

Of the remaining three, Clement of Alexandria, who lived 153 - 217 A.D., wrote in Chapter VI.-The Name Children Does Not Imply Instruction in Elementary Principles of The Instructor Book I,  “…Rightly, therefore, the Lord again promises milk to the righteous, that the Word may be clearly shown to be both, "the Alpha and Omega, beginning and end;…” (Emphasis mine.) Clement indicated that Jesus, not the Father is the speaker in Revelation 1:8.[6]

 

Tertullian (145 - 220 A.D.) wrote about the very issue of which we are considering in Chapter XVII.-Sundry August Titles, Descriptive of Deity, Applied to the Son, Not, as Praxeas Would Have It, Only to the Father, of Tertullian Against Praxeas:

 

Meanwhile, let this be my immediate answer to the argument which they adduce from the Revelation of John: "I am the Lord which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty; “ [218] and from all other passages which in their opinion make the designation of Almighty God unsuitable to the Son. As if, indeed, He which is to come were not almighty; whereas even the Son of the Almighty is as much almighty as the Son of God is God.[7]

 

So, Tertullian, too, attributed Revelation 1:8 to Jesus and wrote directly that Jesus was as much almighty (omnipotent) as the Father.

 

Origen (185 – 254 A.D.) also attributed Revelation 1:8 to Jesus. Emphatically. From Chapter II.-On Christ of Origen de Principiis Book I:

 

And that you may understand that the omnipotence of Father and Son is one and the same, as God and the Lord are one and the same with the Father, listen to the manner in which John speaks in the Apocalypse: "Thus saith the Lord God, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” [50] For who else was "He which is to come" than Christ? And as no one ought to be offended, seeing God is the Father, that the Saviour is also God; so also, since the Father is called omnipotent, no one ought to be offended that the Son of God is also called omnipotent.[8] (Emphasis mine.)

 

Origen, too, directly stated that Jesus is omnipotent (almighty) as well as God the Father.

 

As such, the ANFs attributed Revelation 1:8 to Jesus, not the Father.

 

What do commentators and other authorities say in regards to the speaker of Revelation 1:8?

 

John Gill stated, “…These are the words of Christ himself…and is no small proof of the proper deity of Christ.”[9]

 

David Guzik elaborated much further:

 

Some have wondered if it is God the Father or God the Son speaking here. We suspect it is God the Son, Jesus Christ, and we believe this for many reasons. First, since it is Jesus' Revelation, it seems appropriate that He introduces it. Second, the titles Alpha and Omega and the Beginning and the End are titles expressly claimed by Jesus (Revelation 22:13). Third, though the title who is and who was and who is to come is used of God the Father in Revelation 1:4, it is also true of God the Son, and seems to be directed to Jesus in Revelation 11:17 and 16:5.[10]

 

In Every Prophecy in the Bible, John F. Walvoord wrote:

 

…John quotes Christ, “’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty’” (1:8)…Because the last book of the Bible is primarily concerned with the revelation of Jesus Christ and His glory at the time of the Second Coming, it is fitting that these eight verses of introduction should introduce Christ as the eternal glorious God.[11]

 

Albert Barnes also believed the Speaker to be Jesus as well:

 

There can be no doubt that the language here would be naturally understood as implying divinity, and it could be properly applied to no one but the true God. The obvious interpretation here would be to apply this to the Lord Jesus; for:

(a)  it is he who is spoken of in the verses preceding, and

(b)  there can be no doubt that the same language is applied to him in Rev 1:11.[12]

 

Barnes, however, continued later in the same commentary entry, stating:

 

There is no real incongruity in supposing, also, that the writer here meant to refer to God as such, since the introduction of a reference to him would not be inappropriate to his manifest design. Besides, a portion of the language used here, “which is, and was, and is to come,” is what would more naturally suggest a reference to God as such, than to the Lord Jesus Christ.[13]

 

So Barnes did not believe we could be dogmatic in identifying the speaker as Jesus, though he did believe the speaker was Jesus rather than the Father.

 

A.T. Robertson, however, identified the speaker as God the Father:

 

The change of speaker here is unannounced, as in Rev 16:15; Rev 18:20. Only here and Rev 21:5. is God introduced as the speaker.[14]

 

Obviously, the authorities above disagree. As such, I concur with Barnes that none can be dogmatic about the identity of the speaker in Revelation 1:8 – including the WTBTS. As such, the NWT insertion of Jehovah into such a widely disputed text is, in my opinion, inexcusable. In any event, I personally believe the speaker of Revelation 1:8, who is identified as almighty is none other than Jesus, given references identifying Jesus can be found immediately preceding 1:8 in verse 7 and the ANFs attribute Revelation 1:8 to Jesus so I list this text as a support for Jesus’ power and authority. Feel free to disagree. J

 

Colossians 1:16, 17

 

[16] For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (KJV)

 

[16] For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. [17] He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (NASB)

 

[16] For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. [17] He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (NIV)

 

[16] because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. [17] Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist, (NWT)[15]

 

Adam Clarke wrote, extensively, of the power attributed to Jesus herein:

 

Now, allowing St. Paul to have understood the terms which he used, he must have considered Jesus Christ as being truly and properly God.

I.    Creation is the proper work of an infinite, unlimited, and unoriginated Being;… But Jesus Christ is the Creator of all things, therefore Jesus Christ must be, according to the plain construction of the apostle’s words, truly and properly God.

 

II.   …as creation requires absolute and unlimited power, or omnipotence, there can be but one Creator; because it is impossible that there can be two or more Omnipotents, Infinites, or Eternals. It is therefore evident that creation cannot be effected officially, or by delegation, for this would imply a Being conferring the office, and delegating such power; and that the Being to whom it was delegated was a dependent Being; consequently not unoriginated and eternal; but this the nature of creation proves to be absurd.

        1.  no limited being could produce a work that necessarily requires omnipotence.

     2.  It is impossible, because, if omnipotence be delegated, he to whom it is delegated had it not before, and he who delegates it ceases to have it, and consequently ceases to be God; and the other to whom it was delegated becomes God, because such attributes as those with which he is supposed to be invested are essential to the nature of God…

… the text says that all things were made By him and For him, which is a demonstration that the apostle understood Jesus Christ to be truly and essentially God.

 

III. …the Being who existed prior to creation, and before all things - all existence of every kind, must be the unoriginated and eternal God: but St. Paul says, Jesus Christ was before all things; ergo, the apostle conceived Jesus Christ to be truly and essentially God.

 

IV.  …God, as the Preserver, is as necessary to the continuance of all things, as God the Creator was to their original production. But this preserving or continuing power is here ascribed to Christ...This is another proof that the apostle considered Jesus Christ to be truly and properly God, as he attributes to him the preservation of all created things, which property of preservation belongs to God alone; ergo, Jesus Christ is, according to the plain obvious meaning of every expression in this text, truly, properly, independently, and essentially God.[16]

 

A.T. Robertson wrote, “The precedence of Christ in time and the preeminence as Creator are both stated sharply.”[17] Jamiesion, Fausset and Brown agreed, simply stating that “…Christ must be God.”[18]

 

Jesus created all things and holds everything together. That is power.

 

Hebrews 1:3

 

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; (KJV)

 

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (NASB)

 

The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. (NIV)

 

He is the reflection of [his] glory and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power; and after he had made a purification for our sins he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in lofty places. (NWT)

 

Again, we see another verse attributing the preservation and ordering of “all things” (KJV) by Christ.

 

Albert Barnes stated:

 

The phrase “word of his power” is a Hebraism, and means his efficient command. There could not be a more distinct ascription of divinity to the Son of God than this. He upholds or sustains all things - that is, the universe. It is not merely the earth; not only its rocks, mountains, seas, animals and human beings, but it is the universe - all distant worlds. How can he do this who is not God? He does it by his word - his command. What a conception! That one simple command should do all this!...I do know how people can “explain away” this ascription of infinite power to the Redeemer. There can be no higher idea of omnipotence than to say that he upholds all things by his word; and assuredly he who can “hold up” this vast universe so that it does not sink into anarchy or into nothing, must be God.[19]

 

Adam Clarke further expounded on this Hebraism:

 

The Jewish writers frequently express the perfection of the Divine nature by the phrases, He bears all things, both above and below; He carries all his creatures; He bears his world; He bears all worlds by his power. The Hebrews, to whom this epistle was written, would, from this and other circumstances, fully understand that the apostle believed Jesus Christ to be truly and properly God.[20]

 

Hebrews 1:3 testifies to the omnipotence of Jesus.

 

John 1:3

 

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (KJV)

 

All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (NASB)

 

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (NIV)

 

All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence. (NWT)

 

This verse speaks of Jesus as Creator.

 

Albert Barnes stated:

 

There is no higher proof of omnipotence than the work of creation; and, hence, God often appeals to that work to prove that he is the true God, in opposition to idols. See Isa 40:18-28; Jer 10:3-16; Psa 24:2; Psa 39:11; Pro 3:19. It is absurd to say that God can invest a creature with omnipotence. If He can make a creature omnipotent, He can make him omniscient, and can in the same way make him omnipresent, and infinitely wise and good; that is, He can invest a creature with all His own attributes, or make another being like Himself, or, which is the same thing, there could be two Gods, or as many Gods as He should choose to make. But this is absurd! The Being, therefore, that “created” all things must be divine; and, since this work is ascribed to Jesus Christ, and as it is uniformly in the Scriptures declared to be the work of God, Jesus Christ is therefore equal with the Father…[21]

 

Clarke agreed:

 

To say that Christ made all things by a delegated power from God is absurd; because the thing is impossible. Creation means causing that to exist that had no previous being: this is evidently a work which can be effected only by omnipotence. Now, God cannot delegate his omnipotence to another: were this possible, he to whom this omnipotence was delegated would, in consequence, become God; and he from whom it was delegated would cease to be such: for it is impossible that there should be two omnipotent beings.[22]

 

One can also turn to John 3:35 (The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. KJV), John 13:3 (Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands… KJV), Hebrews 2:8 (Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. KJV), and many others as supports for the power Jesus possesses.

 

Jesus, therefore, is an omnipotent God.



[1] Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. “Entry for Omnipotence.” 1915.

 

[2] Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Matthew 28:18." The Adam Clarke Commentary. 1832.

 

[4] Robertson, A.T. “Commentary on John 19:37.” Robertson’s Word Pictures, 1966.

 

[5] Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. Revelation It’s Grand Climax at Hand!, p. 19. Regardless of the WTBTS interpretation of “coming,” please note the WTBTS does identify the subject of Revelation of 1:7 as Jesus.

 

[9] Gill, John. “Commentary on Revelation 1:8” John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, 1690-1771.

 

[10] Guzik, David. "Commentary on Revelation 1". David Guzik's Commentaries on the Bible. 1997-2003.

 

[11] Walvoord, John F. Every Prophecy in the Bible, Reprint 1999. P. 525.

 

[12] Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 1:8." Barnes' Notes on the Bible, 1798-1870.

 

[13] Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 1:8." Barnes' Notes on the Bible, 1798-1870.

 

[14] Robertson, A.T. “Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:2.” Robertson’s Word Pictures, 1966.

 

[15] Please note the insertion of “[other]” 4 times in verses 16 and 17 of the NWT in comparison with the KJV, NASB and NIV. “Other” does not appear in any Greek manuscript in this text and its insertion is entirely unwarranted. A detailed study is forthcoming and will be linked below.

 

[16] Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Colossians 1:17." The Adam Clarke Commentary. 1832.

 

[17] Robertson, A.T. “Commentary on Colossians 1:17.” Robertson’s Word Pictures, 1966.

 

[18] Jamieson, Robert and Fausset, A. R. and Brown, David. “Commentary on Colossians 1:17.” Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. 1871.

 

[19] Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3." Barnes' Notes on the Bible, 1798-1870.

 

[20] Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3." The Adam Clarke Commentary. 1832.

 

[21] Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 1:3." Barnes' Notes on the Bible, 1798-1870.

 

[22] Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 1:3." The Adam Clarke Commentary. 1832.