In this series:
WHEN the apostle Paul healed a lame man in Lystra, the people
shouted: “The gods have become like humans and have come down to us!”
Paul they called Hermes, and his companion Barnabas, Zeus. (Acts 14:8-14)
In Ephesus the silversmith Demetrius warned that if Paul was allowed to
continue to preach, ‘the temple of the great goddess Artemis would be
esteemed as nothing.’—Acts 19:24-28.
People in the first century—like many today—worshiped “those who are
called ‘gods,’ whether in heaven or on earth.” Paul, in fact, said:
“There are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’.” However, he also explained:
“There is actually to us one God the Father,” and “there is one Lord,
Jesus Christ.”—1 Corinthians
The people of Lystra were inclined to call Paul and
Was Jesus Also Called God?
Although Jesus never claimed to be God, as Jehovah’s appointed ruler
he is identified in Isaiah’s prophecy by the terms “Mighty God” and
“Prince of Peace.” Isaiah’s prophecy adds: “To the abundance of the
princely rule and to peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:6, 7)
So, as the “Prince”—the son of the Great King, Jehovah—Jesus will serve
as Ruler of the heavenly government of “God Almighty.”—Exodus 6:3.
Yet, a person may ask, ‘In what sense is Jesus a “Mighty God,” and
didn’t the apostle John say that Jesus is himself God?’ In the King
James version of the Bible, John 1:1 reads:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word
was God.” Some argue that this means that “the Word,” who was born on
earth as the baby Jesus, is Almighty God himself. Is this true?
If this verse were interpreted to mean Jesus was himself God
Almighty, it would contradict the preceding statement, “the Word was with
God.” Someone who is “with” another person cannot be the same as that
other person. Many Bible translations thus draw a distinction, making
clear that the Word was not God Almighty. For example, a sampling of
Bible translations say the following: “The Word was a God,” “a god was
the Word,” and “the Word was divine.”*
Bible verses that in the Greek language have a construction similar
to that of John
1:1 use the expression “a god.” For example, when referring to Herod
Agrippa I, the crowds shouted: ‘It is a god speaking.’ And
when Paul survived a bite by a poisonous snake, the people said: “He is a
It is in harmony with both Greek grammar and Bible teaching to speak of
the Word as, not God, but “a god.”—John 1:1.
Consider how John identified “the Word” in the first chapter of his
Gospel. “The Word became flesh and resided among us,” he wrote, “and we
had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs [not to God but] to
an only-begotten son from a father.” So “the Word,” who became
flesh, lived on the earth as the man Jesus and was seen by people.
Therefore, he could not have been Almighty God, regarding whom John
says: “No man has seen God at any time.”—John 1:14, 18.
‘Why, then,’ one may ask, ‘did Thomas exclaim when seeing the
resurrected Jesus, “My Lord and my God!”?’ As already noted, Jesus is a
god in the sense of being divine, but he is not the Father. Jesus had
just told Mary Magdalene: “I am ascending to my Father and your Father
and to my God and your God.” Remember, too, why John wrote his
Gospel. Three verses after the account about Thomas, John explained that
he wrote so that people “may believe that Jesus is the Christ the
Son of God”—not that he is God.—John 20:17, 28, 31.
Jesus told Mary Magdalene: ‘I am ascending to my God and
Who Is “the God of This World”?
Clearly, there are many gods. Some, as we have seen, are named in the
Bible. Yet, people who saw Jehovah’s power long ago exclaimed: “Jehovah
is the true God! Jehovah is the true God!” (1 Kings 18:39)
Another god, however, also has power. The Bible says: “The god of this
world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.”—2 Corinthians 4:4,
King James Version.
The night before his death, Jesus three times warned his disciples
about this god, calling him “the ruler of this world.” Jesus said this
powerful ruler, or god, “will be cast out.” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11) Who is
this god, and what is the world over which he is the ruler?
He is none other than the rebel angel, Satan the Devil. How do we
know? The Bible explains that when Satan tempted Jesus, Satan showed him
“all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and he said to him:
‘All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of
worship to me.’” (Matthew 4:8, 9)
This offer would not have been a temptation at all if Satan had been
offering Jesus what Satan did not possess. Indeed, the apostle John
declared: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.”—1 John 5:19.
Recall that Jesus promised: “The ruler of this world will be cast
12:31) In fact, this world, or system of things, along with its
ruler, will be removed, as foretold by the apostle John when he stated:
“The world is passing away.” However, John added: “He that does the will
of God remains forever.” (1 John 2:17) Let us
examine now the glorious purposes of the only true God and how we
can benefit from them.
The New Testament, by James L. Tomanek; The Emphatic
Diaglott, interlinear reading, by Benjamin Wilson; The
Bible—An American Translation, by J.M.P. Smith and
E. J. Goodspeed.