The One True God Petitions, Commands, & Obeys The One True God
November 17, 2015
In my most recent discussion with a Jehovah Witness, I stated, as I usually do, that the main disagreement between their doctrine and mine is that I believe that Jesus is the bodily form of God the Father. Along with this statement, I quoted, as I usually do, Col. 2:9 which says, “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” I also brought up Col. 1:15-20 and Heb. 1:2,3 which inform us that Jesus is the image and exact representation of the invisible God and the One through whom God created the universe. I then asked the man to look up Isa. 9:6 which calls Jesus “Mighty God, Everlasting Father”.
This Jehovah Witness responded to these verses by explaining that we all are gods and one with the Father. He brought up that Jesus couldn’t be God the Father Himself because we read of Him praying to the Father while He was on earth. I said that Jesus, though He was fully God, had, in becoming fully human, humbled and limited Himself. (Phil. 2:6-8) The man then asked me, “So are you saying that Jesus was praying to Himself?”
The question caught me off guard as it sounded so strange, but I answered, “Yes.” The JW then shook his head and all but rolled his eyes, saying, “Nooooo.” Yet in spite of his disdain, I did not retract my stance.
I thought about this encounter several times afterwards and mulled over whether or not I could be sure that I’d answered correctly. I mean, if Jesus, being the Child born to us (Isa. 9:6) is also the Mighty God and Everlasting Father (same verse), the One who “is before all things” (Col. 1:17) and in whom all things hold together (same verse), the One whose origins are from days of eternity (Mi. 5:2) and who declares Himself to be “the Beginning and the End” (Rev. 22:13), then why would it be that He, as Jesus, would pray to Himself, the Father?
Before I answer why, I first must remind myself that God’s Word does reveal that Jesus, while on earth and now in Heaven, intercedes for us. For example, we read in Heb. 7:24,25 and 8:1,2 that Jesus is interceding for us as our Permanent Priest. “Yes, but this doesn’t teach that He is actually praying for us,” someone may argue. Well, let’s go over to Rom. 8:34 which has similar wording. It confirms that Jesus, “seated” (see Heb. 8:1 and Eph. 1:20) at the right hand of God, is indeed “interceding for us.” Someone may then contend, “But this Rom. 8:34 verse is not referring to prayer, but refers only to a type of intercession that results from who Christ is, His atoning work for us, and where He now sits in honor.”
To such a potential contender, let’s point out Rom. 8:26,27. These two verses are teaching us that the Holy Spirit Himself prays through the utterances of those who possess Him (the Spirit), doing so in intercession to God, and on our behalf. Being that verse 9 reveals that the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ are one and the same Being (as Jesus, too, reveals in John 14:23), then is it not the Trinity, along with our submitted spirit, who are involved in the whole of the intercession? Surely, if the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are all One God, no one could rightly have answered the Jehovah’s Witness member any differently than I did.
Maybe we should consider the first sentence in Rev. 22:17 as well when studying the intercession of the Spirit of God to God. It says, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!'” This could be referring to the invitation to all mankind to come to “the water of life” (same verse), but it seems that it is also referring to the prayer that Jesus fulfill His promise to return soon. (v. 7,12,20) As Jesus affirms in verse 20, “Yes, I am coming soon.” And the rest of the verse contains the immediate response, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
I think of another chapter in Scripture while contemplating the JW’s question. It is Genesis chapter one. Verse 26 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…” We can see that “God” is shown as plural when He uses the words “us” and “our”. But in verse 27 the Creator seems to be singular, for that verse says, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Here we see that “His” and “He” are words used for the Creator, seemingly making “God” singular, which then seems to make verse 26 appear that God was speaking to Himself. Besides this, doesn’t the whole chapter reveal that by the command of God’s mouth, God was commanding Himself to create? Who was commanding and who was creating? Jesus (who obeyed the Father’s every command –John 12:49,50 & 14:31) is Himself the Word of God (John 1:1,14), and through Him God commanded and created. (Ps. 33:6,9 // Col. 1:16 // Heb. 1:2) Yet was it not also through the Spirit that God did so? Absolutely. (Job 26:13 & 33:4 // Ps. 104:30)
With these things in mind, I believe there was no other way for me to answer the question regarding Jesus, the Son, praying to the Father. For if Jesus intercedes for us even now as our High Priest, and if the Spirit intercedes through us as we pray “in the Spirit”, and if we read that God commands Himself and speaks to Himself, then we must accept that the One is Three and the Three is One.
Moreover, if the LORD declares in Isa. 45:21 that “there is no God apart from Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but Me”, but Jesus stated that no one could be saved apart from Him (John 10:9,14:6) and apart from believing that He is the “I AM” (8:24,58) –the name God called Himself in Ex. 3:14 and to be remembered by forever (v. 15), and if verses such as Acts 4:12 & 16:31, Rom. 10:9-13, 1 Cor. 15:1-7, and 2 Cor. 5:14-6:2 confirm there to be no salvation apart from being in Christ Jesus, then this can only add to our conclusion that Jesus, the Spirit, and the Father are all one and the same God.
Jesus Himself has stated this Truth clearly. For in telling us that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30), He included this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.” (v. 29) Even if it is sometimes translated, “…the Lord our God, the Lord is one”, we cannot escape the fact that Jesus, and the whole of Scripture, declares that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are manifestations of the one and only True God. Therefore, petitions, intercessions, and commands given between them are, therefore, made from the One True God to the One True God.
The only way I can see that I could answer the question posed by the Jehovah Witness was to answer in the affirmative. And why would God have it that He command and petition Himself? I believe that answer could be another whole post, but the short answer would have something to do, I suspect, with the Lord having chosen, in His love and in His desire for fellowship, to involve all who choose His leadership. This includes Jesus as well as everyone else who houses His Spirit.
Though I found strange the question the Jehovah Witness man posed to me, I find exciting the reasons for my answer. For God, His infinite complexity too much for our finite minds to comprehend, has, even so, given us all we need for our growth in godliness, power, and the knowledge of Him.