Why is it that the Jehovay Witnesses do not believe that Jesus was who he
says he was?
There is a sense in which you will have to ask the Jehovah Witness members
themselves. It is up to them to explain why they believe that Jesus is a
created being–that he is not God in the flesh. The question of
motivation is a personal thing. I cannot tell you why a person whom I
have never met chooses this belief. Let me provide an historical answer,
which may or may not be what you are really getting at.
It goes back to Charles Taze Russel. It was Russel, a member of an
offshoot of the Adventist movement who created this doctrine for his
little group of churches back in 1879. The name for this heresy is
Arianism. This comes from a man named Arius who, in the third century,
took more or less the same position as Charles Russel. He said that Jesus
was a created being–the first creation, but nevertheless created. He,
like Russel, denied the deity of Jesus. The council of Nicea in AD 325
was called to deal with this false teaching.
Why did Russel choose to deny the deity of Jesus? I do not know. I
believe he was intent on building a cult/religious following under his
leadership. Perhaps he thought this teaching would galvanize his group.
Perhaps he was simply mistaken. Perhaps it is because Satan had gotten
into his heart. One thing I know is that the Bible has extremely strong
negative words to say about those who deny Jesus, as did Russel and as do
all Jehovah Witness members. 1 John 2:22 “Who is the liar? It is the
man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist–he
denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the
Father.” I like to believe that most Jehovah Witness members are sincere
people. They are not purposefully denying Jesus. However, due to the
ungodly anti-christ-like work of Charles Russel and those who have
followed him, known as the Watchtower Society, many souls have been
dragged into this anti-Christian sect.
John Oakes, PhD