Was Jesus born the Christ?

Our discussion this week will take the form of a simulated conversation between a Jehovah's Witness named Joe and a Christian named Chris.

Chris: Joe, I understand that the Watchtower does not believe that the baby Jesus who was born in a manger was the Christ. Is that true?

Joe: Jesus was not born the Christ but became the Christ at his baptism at about 30 years of age.

Chris: I understand now why the Watchtower doesn't want to celebrate the birth of Christ. They can't celebrate the birth of Christ when they say Christ was never born. What scripture does the Watchtower use to justify their position that Jesus was not born the Christ?

Joe: The Christ means anointed one. Since Jesus was anointed by holy spirit according to Luke 4:18 this anointing means that Jesus became the Christ at baptism.

Chris: Can you explain then, Joe, why the angels said to the shepherds "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." If the angels said that the Christ was born that day why does the Watchtower say that Jesus wasn't born the Christ?

Joe: What the angels meant was that Jesus was born to become the Christ at a future date.

Chris: The Watchtower would have to change the Greek tense in order to make the angel's statement into a future tense. The word "is" in the Greek is in the present indicative. If the Watchtower says that the wording could mean a future event then one could also interpret John's statement of faith in John 20:31 "these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ" could really mean "these are written that you may believe that Jesus is to become the Christ" and the Father speaking in Matthew 3:17 at Jesus' baptism saying "This is My beloved Son" could mean instead "This is to become My beloved Son" for the same Greek word is used in all of these passages.

Joe: But the Father didn't say that Jesus was to become his Son at a future date. He became God's son when he was being baptized.

Chris: That contradicts scripture, Joe. If Jesus became the son of God and he also became the Christ at his baptism then Simeon could not have had his prayer granted in Luke 2 that he would not die until he sees the Lord's Christ. Simeon said that his prayer was answered when he saw the baby Jesus. Also Joe what about the prophecies of Christ's baptism?

Joe: What prophecies do you mean?

Chris: That's my point. There are no old testament prophecies about the Christ coming at baptism. All the prophecies concerning the Christ's coming are for his birth. Matthew 2:4-6 says "And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.'" The sign to Israel was the birth of a baby not the baptism of a man.

Joe: But don't you think the baptism of Jesus was important?

Chris: Yes it was important for Jesus to be obedient, but his baptism is not what made him the Christ. You know, Joe, there are consequences if one denies that Jesus was born the Christ.

Joe: What consequences are you talking about?

Chris: 1 John 4:1-3 gives a warning "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world." Do you believe that the Christ came in the flesh as a human? Or do you believe what the Watchtower says that the Christ is only a title that Jesus took on at baptism?

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