Saturday, October 10, 2015

Prayer to Jesus is Prayer to God

Jesus says something very interesting about Himself in John 5:22-23: "The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him." In theological terms, He is referring to His equality with the Father in the ontological Trinity, much as Paul does in Philippians 2:6. "Ontological" means as they are by nature, as opposed to the "economic" Trinity, which describes the voluntary aspects of the relationship among the Persons of the Trinity. By nature, i. e., ontologically, the three Persons are equal in essence, power, and glory. In their relationship, i. e., economically, the Father rules, while the Son is voluntarily subordinate to Him, and the Spirit is voluntarily subordinate to both. That is why we use the terminology of "First Person," "Second Person," and "Third Person."

The significance of these verses is that Jesus claims the same glory from us, as creatures, that we give the Father. In the trinitarian system, this is both understandable and appropriate. However, consistent with their Arian view of Christ, Jehovah's Witnesses see Him as ontologically inferior to the Father, and, therefore, deny His right to worship. For example, they do not address Him in prayer, but rather address all prayers to "Jehovah God." 

Of course, there is nothing wrong with praying to Jehovah; that is, after all, the name by which He revealed Himself in the Old Testament. However, to claim that there is something wrong with praying to Jesus in antibiblical. In Acts 7:59, we see the Deacon Stephen, as he is being stoned by a Jewish mob, pray out loud, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Furthermore, the last prayer recorded in Scripture, that of the Apostle John in Revelation 22:20, is, "Come, Lord Jesus.

So, the view of the Jehovah's Witness conflicts with both the words He spoke of Himself in John 5:22-23, and with the recorded prayers of the New Testament saints in Acts 7:59 and Rev. 22:20. That is simply because their christology is contrary to Scripture and results in their unbiblical view of prayer.

Finally, I will refer you to Hebrews 1:6, in which the Father is quoted, "When He brings the firstborn into the world, He says, 'Let all God’s angels worship Him.'" It is the commandment of the Father that worship in Heaven be given to the Son. If the Father commands it, how can the Watchtower deny Him what is due?

This passage also undermines Sabellianism, because the Son doesn't say to honor Him instead of the Father, but rather with the Father. If there were no distinction of Persons within the Godhead, as Sabellians teach, then Jesus would be advocating nonsense here.

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