A few years ago, a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked on my door, and they changed my life. I knew the Jehovah’s Witnesses were a pseudo-Christian group with some pretty strange beliefs, but I didn’t understand how dangerous they truly are. Through talking to these missionaries, I came to realize that this group doesn’t just try to spread its false understanding of the Gospel. It actively preys on people’s ignorance of Scripture and Christian history, and it brainwashes its members to accept whatever it feeds them, no questions asked.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are little more than a cult (and even that might be a bit generous), so it is imperative that we know how to respond to their arguments and refute their distinctive beliefs. We need to be able to protect ourselves and our loved ones from their theological sophistry, and one of the best ways to do that is to have a solid understanding of Scripture’s teaching about the divinity of Jesus.
See, the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus is just a created being, not God, and their door-to-door missionaries often begin their conversations by trying to prove it. So our first line of defense against them is to be able to debunk this erroneous idea, and that is what I want to discuss in this article. This is such a vast topic that we obviously cannot go over everything Scripture says about it, but we can look at one key way that the New Testament irrefutably teaches that Jesus really is God.
The New Jerusalem
Let’s turn to the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. This is a very difficult and enigmatic book, so it is often tough to prove much of anything with it. However, there are some passages in it that are very clear, and one of them comes in the second to last chapter. It tells us that the new Jerusalem (Revelation’s name for the restoration of creation that God will accomplish at Jesus’ second coming) will not have a temple, and it gives a very telling reason why:
“And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.”(Revelation 21:22)
At first glance, this verse may be difficult to understand. What does it mean for the Father (“the Lord God the Almighty”) and Jesus (“the Lamb” is one of Revelation’s most common names for Jesus) to actually be the temple in the new Jerusalem? That doesn’t seem clear at all, so at this point you might be thinking that I am leading you down a theological dead end. But bear with me. Once we understand the Old Testament background to this verse, it will actually make perfect sense.
The House of God
For the ancient Israelites, the temple was God’s house, his dwelling place on earth (1 Kings 6:1-2; 8:12-13; Acts 7:45-47), and when they wanted to encounter him, that is where they would go. For example, take a look at this passage from the psalms:
“O God, you are my God, I seek you,(Psalm 63:1-2; cf. Psalm 84:1-4, 10; 42:1-4)
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where no water is.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.”
When the ancient Israelites wanted to see God, when their souls thirsted to be in his presence, they went to the temple, and they did that because the temple was his house. It was God’s dwelling place among his people, and that is the key to understanding Revelation’s strange statement that the Father and Jesus will themselves be the temple in the new Jerusalem.
God and the Lamb
It means that the new Jerusalem won’t need a literal temple because God will be immediately accessible to his people. They won’t need to go to a special place to experience him and be with him. Instead, the fullness of his presence will be available to everyone at all times.
But notice, Revelation doesn’t just say that God will be present to his people. It also says that Jesus will be present to them as well. Part of the reason why the new Jerusalem will not need a temple is because Jesus will be immediately accessible to the people, and that makes sense only if he is God. If he isn’t, then his presence would not abrogate the need for a temple. Only God’s presence can do that.
However, if Jesus is in fact God, then it makes perfect sense. The new Jerusalem will not need a temple because both the Father and the Son, the two divine persons that Revelation focuses on (the Holy Spirit will be present as well, but the book does not focus on him too much), will be immediately accessible to their people.
So the next time you discuss the divinity of Jesus with a Jehovah’s Witness, try pointing to this verse from Revelation. The argument may not be immediately apparent to everyone, but once you see it, it is impossible to ignore. It proves that Jesus really is God, so the Jehovah’s Witnesses are just peddling a false gospel.