Philippians 2.11 "...and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father."-New World Translation.-italics ours.
Some trinitarians will argue that the expression "Jesus Christ is Lord" is saying that Jesus is in fact Jehovah. Is this the case? We would like to quote John Ziesler whose comments show that such a interpretation is read into rather than out of Paul's words here including a misunderstanding of why and how the Christ is "Lord."
"The second stanza[of Phillipians 2.6-11]
shows that in God's purpose the way of humiliation is the way of
exaltation. God freely gives Christ what Adam had tried
to grab, and bestows on him 'the name above every name', the
title of 'Lord'(v.9). This Lordship is universal and total. The
quotation from Isaiah 45.23, 25 that at his name 'every knee
should bow...' is another instance where a passage that in the
Old Testament refers to Yahweh is by Paul referred instead to
Christ, and where the divine honours that are appropriate to
Yahweh are rendered to Christ. To make the point absolutely clear
the quotation is expanded by the words 'in heaven and on earth
and under the earth', so that nothing at all is excluded from his
Lordship. The ruling function that belongs properly to Yahweh
alone is now Christ's also ; he is cosmic Lord and as such
recieves the honour that hitherto has been given only to Yahweh.
Yet before we rashly conclude that the two have simply become identified, we must note that the element of subordination remains. It all happens, even the exaltation of Christ, 'to the glory of God the Father'(v.11), and Christ does not exalt himself but is exalted by God and is given the title 'Lord' by him(v.11). Christ has become the bearer of the powers of God and the recipient of divine homage(v.10), but is still distinct from him and subject to him. -Pauline Christianity, revised edition 1990, Oxford University Press 2003 , p.45, 46. italic ours.
We might here also note that Ziesler shows that even though the Christ "recieves the honour that hitherto has been given only to Yahweh" this does not make the Christ equal to God the Father. This reminds us of Jesus' word at John 5.23 "in order that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father..."-New World Translation. italics ours.
Trinitarians are oft to argue that Jesus' words here show that the Son and the Father must be honored equally and so this makes the Son equal to the Father and, hence, the Son must be "God"! But on a closer examination of Jesus' words in their context it can be seen that once again the trinitarians are guilty of reading their theology into a scripture passage.
In v.22 we read that the Father will judge no
one at all but has "committed all the judging to
the Son." Yes, Christ's position of 'judge' is one of appointment
by the Father and so the Son's judgements will be an
expression not of the Son's independent judgement but of the
Father's. The Son's judging is not independent of the Father.-v.30.
From John 5.19 onwards we see this dependence of the Son
on the Father. They are not portrayed as two equal persons. This
is shown by the fact that the Son repeatedly emphasises that he
is the agent of the Father in that he was "sent" by the
Father. The Son then in everything he speaks, does and judges is
from one who is the agent of another, the Father. So, the reason
for us to "honor the Son just as they honor the Father"
is because the Son acts always as the Father's agent, the
Father's representative. The Greek particle hINA in v.23
is consecutive rather than purposive so is properly rendered
"in order that"(NWT) or "so that"(NRSV). The
reason for the Son then to be honoured "just as the Father"
is because it is the will of the Father that this should be so
and not because the Son is equal to the Father, or is "God."
The Son's recieving of this "honour" then is the choice
and will of another, his Father. How could then one not show
equal honour to the Son without diminishing or dishonouring the
words and judgements of the Father that the Son is representing?(see
v.30) But it is a leap of thought to then argue that the Son
must be equal to the Father and hence must also be "God."
It is a leap of thought that actually undermines the Son's role
in the Father's will and purpose for the Son. It is the same here
at John 5.23 as Ziesler notes with the passage of
Phillipians 2.11 that while the "Christ has become the
bearer of the powers of God and the recipient of divine homage(v.10)"
the Christ, the Son "is still distinct from him
and subject to him."
Jehovah's Witnesses do honour the Son just as they do the Father. Not because both are "God" or they are equal in godship, glory, power and wisdom, but because by honouring the Son "just as the Father" we honour the One that sent him, namely, God the Father, and at the same time acknowledging that the Son is "distinct and subject" to the "one God" the Father(1 Cor.8.6.), the importance of the role that the Son has in the Father's will and the one we should strive to imitate.
It is possible that Paul at Philippians 2.11 was showing who the Christians' "Lord" is against so called "lords"(1 Cor.8.5), pagan "lords" and even against the application of the title to the Roman Emperors which title was used in the tendency at that time to deify them. For the Christians however there is for them but one "Lord" that has been given them to obey. However, Paul shows by writing that Jesus is "Lord" to the "glory of God the Father" that "the utimate object of all worship and adoration" is God the Father.-see A New Commentary on Holy Scripture, Including the Apocrypha, SPCK, reprint 1946, page 553.
Neither in Philippians 2.11 or John 5.23 do we read anything that is commensurate with the trinitarian doctrine. Neither shows that the "Son" or the "Christ" is "Jehovah" or "God" and, of course, the holy spirit is not mentioned in either . In fact both scriptures are against this God dishonouring teaching.
It is worthy of note that at Revelation 11:15
we read: "....And loud voices occurred in heaven , saying:
"The kingdom of the world did become the kingdom of our
Lord and of his Christ, and he will rule for ever
and ever." Here we read of the "Christ" belonging
to a "Lord." The "Lord" here is "the
Lord God the Almighty."-v.16. Hence, the "Christ"
who is also "Lord"(see Acts 2.36; 1 Cor.8.6)has
a "Lord" over him, the "Lord God, the
Almighty." Yes, christians have two "Lords" but
only one is the "Lord God, the Almighty"
and it is not the Son. Jesus Christ's lordship then is one of
appointment by a superior for only a superior could give another
the functional title "Lord." The Christ being "Lord"
then does not make him Jehovah. This "Lord," the
Christ, the Son, is not Jehovah, is not God. The N.T then when it
calls the Son "Lord" does not contradict the words of
the Old Testament at Deuteronomy 6.4 where in the New Revised
Standard Version we read: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our
God, the LORD alone." Nor does it make him, the "Christ"
this "LORD." This "LORD" is the "Lord
God, the Almighty" of Revelation 11.16 which the
Christ is not but is distinguished from. In the original
Hebrew of course, the four letters of God's name occurs and a
better translation would be "Listen, O Israel: Jehovah our
God is one Jehovah." This "our God"
is the very same "God" as we read of at Revelation 7:10:
"...our God" and is the "God" that
is seperate and distinct from the "Lamb."(Please
Hence, the book of Revelation is in harmony with the rest of the holy scriptures, including Phillipians 2.11, that clearly show that Jesus Christ is never called "our God", is not the "Lord God," has a "Lord" himself over him, and hence is not Jehovah. The trinity doctrine flies in the face of these clear simple scriptural truths.
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