Clarence Settle

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There are many who believe and teach that Jesus Christ is somehow inferior or lesser than Jehovah. This belief, is strongly promoted by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and gaining many adherents among certain branches of independent Adventism. Let us compare this teaching with the Holy Word of God eliminating all finite human logic, opinion, reasoning, and conjecture, letting the Bible alone speak to us. Let us see if the origin of this concept is truly Scriptural.


The Bible tells us that man was made in the image of God, NOT that God was made in the image of man. In fact, Isaiah 40: 18 emphasizes this fact as we read: “To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto Him?” Today, because the Bible states that Christ was “begotten” many are trying to apply the laws of human genetics to the Godhead, arguing, according to HUMAN logic, that Christ must have in some fashion “come forth” from the Father. The Biblical interpretation of this term is covered in my previous study [The Nature of Christ Controversy], which I will insert again here for review:


[We will see what the Bible says about WHEN Jesus LITERALLY became the only BEGOTTEN Son of God. Let us first go to Luke 1: 35, last part which states: “…therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Again, let us go now to Hebrews 1:6 which states: “And again, when He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him.” With these verses in mind, it seems clear that Jesus was NOT LITERALLY born out of the Person of the Father, as these people are teaching, but that He LITERALLY became the only born or begotten Son of God at His human birth, and these verses predicted that!


But there is still another fulfillment which is prophesied in Psalm 2:7. “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee.” This verse speaks of a FUTURE event, something to come, not something that happened in the past, and what is that? Let us go to Acts 13: 33 which states: “God hath fulfilled [Fulfilled what? The prophecy, as we shall see.] the same unto us their children, in that He hath raised up Jesus again as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee.” So it is the fact that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead that makes Him God’s begotten, not that God “begat” Him. This is stressed for us again in such verses as 1 Peter 1:3 which reads: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Again we read: “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead…” Rev. 1: 4. So it seems that the word “begotten” has been erroneously used to mean “begat” (which always means to physically bear or give birth with the one exception of Deut. 32: 18!) when the Bible plainly tells us that Christ was “begotten” from divinity into humanity in Hebrews 1:6, and He was “begotten” from mortality into immortality in Acts 13: 13––not “birthed” from the Father as this heresy attempts to prove!]


So we see that because so many today are improperly and inappropriately attempting to apply, as stated before, the laws of human genetics to deity, there is much error and confusion among those who profess to be the people of God. This is due to the fact that people confuse Christ’s nature after His incarnation with His divine, eternal, immortal, pre-incarnate deity. Inspiration tells us: “He did not cease to be God when He became man...The two expressions ‘human’ and ‘divine’ were, in Christ, closely and inseparably one, and yet they had a DISTINCT INDIVIDUALITY.” ST May 10, 1895.


To begin our Biblical search to better understand this vital issue, let us go to Philippians 2:5, 6. Here the apostle Paul states: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; Who being in the FORM of God, thought it not robbery to be EQUAL with God.” So here we see that Paul is promoting the concept that Jesus Christ not only had the FORM of God, but that He was EQUAL, not an inferior or lesser member of the Godhead. In a mathematical equation when something is EQUAL it’s the same thing.  For example the sum of 2+2 is EQUAL to 4, as is 2X2. There’s nothing mysterious or mystifying about understanding the meaning of EQUAL, it means “the same as.” So we see that Paul did not believe or teach that Christ was somehow inferior or lesser to Jehovah––and he was not alone in this, as we shall see. The word EQUAL is also used in another verse. Let us go to John 5:18 which reads: “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself EQUAL with God.” The Jews well understood that Jesus was in essence stating that He was EQUAL with, not inferior or lesser than Jehovah God. That is why they sought to kill Him. In fact, this was the great “stumbling block” that kept them from accepting “Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Matt. 1: 23.


 [Their understanding of deity was limited to a single Supreme Being as noted in Deuteronomy 6: 4 which states: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is ONE Lord.” They could not open their minds to the concept of a divine Godhead even though it is expressed in such verses as Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 11:7, 19:24, etc., where the singular “God” is used in the pluralistic sense. Today’s teaching is just a variation of that belief––Holy Spirit not a separate, divine personality merely “an intelligence”, Jesus “brought forth” from out of the Father, therefore only the Father is “really” God.]


So we see that John and Matthew did not promote the concept that Jesus was inferior or lesser to Jehovah either. In fact, this is emphasized by Jesus Himself as we read His words in John 8: 58 “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.” This verse alone should dispel any doubts as to Christ’s relationship with Jehovah, but let us let the Bible speak for itself in loud and unmistakable tones as we turn to those verses that are most familiar to us in reference to the I AM of eternity.


Let us go to Exodus, chapter 3: Curiously enough a reading of that entire chapter shows us that Jesus applies such titles and names to Himself as “the Angel of the LORD (JEHOVAH)” in verse 2; the “LORD (JEHOVAH)” in verses 4 and 7; the “LORD (JEHOVAH) God” in verses 15, 16, and 18; the “LORD (JEHOVAH) our God” in verse 18, and “God” in verses 4, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16. When He stated in John 8: 58 “...Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM” Jesus Christ claimed for Himself each and every one of those terms of deity. Is there any hint or indication here that He believed, taught, or even hinted that He was lesser or inferior? In fact, let us go to another Scriptural reference that emphasizes this very same concept we just read in Exodus 3. Let us go to Isaiah 43: 13, 14 where we read: “Yea, before the day was I AM He: and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it? Thus saith the LORD (JEHOVAH), your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; …” Again, we see here that there is no distinguishing between the I AM and JEHOVAH! But let us continue.


The Jehovah Witnesses, and their cohorts who follow similar Arian concepts, claim that the Father alone is JEHOVAH, ALMIGHTY, EVERLASTING CREATOR, and is ONE God. But is this in accordance with Scripture? We read:  “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, THE MIGHTY God, THE EVERLASTING FATHER, the Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9: 6.  Their argument is that “yes, but JEHOVAH is ALMIGHTY God, and Jesus is “just” MIGHTY God.”


[In essence making Jesus a lesser, inferior god. That is why their version of the Bible reads that Jesus, “the Word” is only “a god” NOT God, in John 1:1–– a belief that those who follow this teaching must accept, despite their protestations to the contrary! And isn’t it interesting that in the Catholic doctrine of Mariology, in Mormonism, in Judaism, in Mohammedism, in Hinduism and in New Age teachings, and all the new, Catholic-approved Bible versions, that the role of Christ is diminished also? Hmmm, do we see a common thread here? And who is it that with implacable hatred and envy has unceasingly attempted to usurp Jesus? In Isa. 14: 13 Satan desires to sit in the sides of the north, and Ps. 48: 2 tells us that “the city of the great King” is on the sides of the north! This should give us plenty of clues as to where this teaching originated, should it not?]


However, let us turn to Jeremiah 32:18 which reads: “Thou showest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the MIGHTY God, the LORD (JEHOVAH) of Hosts, is His name.” Again, the Scriptures make no distinction between Jesus Christ, the MIGHTY God of Isaiah 9: 6 and JEHOVAH of Jeremiah 32: 18. And when Jesus spoke of Himself to those disciples, on that Sunday morning on the road to Emmaus [Luke 24: 13-27], no doubt He referred them to some of these very same verses showing that NONE of the writers of the Old Testament promoted the concept that He was lesser or inferior either.


Let us go back to the New Testament to the book of Revelation where we read: “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.” Rev.1: 8. The content seems to indicate that this refers to the Father [see Isa. 41: 4], but the very same descriptive terminology is also found in the following verses. “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Rev. 22: 13; [see verse 12], and again: “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not: I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”Rev. 1: 17, 18.  There is no question that these verses refer directly to Jesus Christ! So we see here that John the Revelator did not promote the Arian concept that Christ was inferior either. But let us continue.


In Isaiah 49: 16 JEHOVAH (see verse 14) states: “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” We know that this refers only to Jesus Christ of course, and is illustrated for us in John 20: 27 where Jesus showed His nail scarred hands to Thomas. In Exodus 13: 21 we read: “And the LORD  (JEHOVAH) went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way: and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light: to go by day and night.”––And in I Corinthians 10: 1-4 we see that Christ Himself was that JEHOVAH who was with Israel in the desert. In Jeremiah 2: 12, 13, JEHOVAH states that He is the living water, and in John 4: 14 Christ describes Himself as that living water unto everlasting life. In Malachi 3:1 JEHOVAH declares that He would send His messenger (John the Baptist) to prepare the way so JEHOVAH can come to His temple, and in Haggai 2: 7-9 JEHOVAH said that this temple would be greater than Solomon’s glorious temple because JEHOVAH was to visit this new temple. We see this prophecy fulfilled in Matthew 12: 6 where Jesus said He was greater than this temple.


Isaiah 42: 8 tells us that JEHOVAH will not give His glory to another, yet in John 17:5 Jesus asks the Father to glorify Him with the glory He had before the world was. In Isaiah 40:3 JEHOVAH commands that the way be prepared for JEHOVAH’S coming, and this fulfillment is found in Matthew 3:3, in direct reference to Jesus Christ. Another striking example is found in Isaiah 66: 15, 16 which states that JEHOVAH is coming with fire to destroy the disobedient, which is a direct reference to Jesus Christ in 2 Thess. 1: 7-9.


The Bible is replete with similar comparisons between Jesus and JEHOVAH showing that Jesus is not inferior or lesser, but prove [as stated in Philippians 2: 6, “Who being in the FORM of God, thought it not robbery to be EQUAL with God.” ],–––that Jesus indeed IS REFERRED TO AS JEHOVAH! We have also seen that NONE of the inspired writers of the Bible in any way support that concept––that He is a “lesser god” either. It is NOT found in the Scriptures. But the question remains, how do we explain this deepest of mysteries? The answer is simple. We do not. Neither is it necessary for our salvation that we understand it or try to explain it. “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16. Ours is simply to accept it by faith and live a righteous and obedient life, by God’s grace, so that one day we can stand pure and sinless before our Holy, Almighty God.


In Galatians 5 19-21 a number of actions and behaviors are listed as being works of the flesh (as opposed to the fruit of the Spirit) and it is stated that “they which do such things shall NOT inherit the kingdom of God.” Just about in the middle of the sins listed there along with witchcraft, murders and drunkenness, we see “heresies.” This tells us that God views variant teachings and beliefs as not only serious and grave but an abomination to Him, which will keep those who believe and teach such unscriptural heresies as that Christ is lesser or inferior to Jehovah, out of the kingdom of heaven.


The Bible tells us that man was made in the image of God. Inspiration explains that “Man was to bear God’s image, both in outward appearance and in character.” PP: 45. Because of sin God’s image has been defaced until it is only through Christ, the brightness of the glory of God, and the “express image of His person” (Heb. 1:3) that our nature is transformed into the image of God again. Our physical transformation will come at the last trump. What does that transformation consist of? In 1 Corinthians 15: 51 Paul calls it a mystery, and in 1 John 3: 2 we read: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” Do we need to speculate on THAT mystery and make a salvational issue out of it too? No, we simply accept it in faith, just as we do the verses about the nature of our wonderful and loving God and Saviour.


2 Thess. 2: 10-12 tells of a special class, who despite all these and many other irrefutable Scriptures, still refuse to give up their heretical errors. Here we see why. “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish: because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”


My prayer for each and every one is that we will not be deceived by these winds of doctrine, that we will not be misled by our feelings and our emotions over the plain statements of Scripture, and that our love for the truth and the glory and honor of God, will not be overwhelmed by our love for those close to us who refuse to accept that truth, leading us to turn our backs on what we know is true––for we each will have to give an account before God alone and individually. Our only safeguard is in making sure that what we believe is truly based on the word of God, not on someone’s or some organization’s or some group’s interpretation of what this or that verse says.



Clarence Settle