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To me, the deity of Christ is seen all throughout Revelation, and for that matter, the Gospels (e.g. John 1:1) and Epistles, and all of Scripture, but for the purposes of the question, how do those who do not believe in the deity of Christ ('that Jesus is God in the flesh') view such passages as Revelation 2:23?

Revelation 2:18,20-23 ... These things says the Son of God, whose eyes are like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like refined bronze1 ... But I have this against you [i.e. the congregation at Thyatira]: that you put up with that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and teaches [falsely], and misleads my servants, seducing them into sexual promiscuity and the eating of things sacrifices to idols. And I have given her time that she might repent, but she was unwilling to repent of her sexual sin. Behold, I will cast her onto a bed of sickness, and those that commit adultery with her into great affliction, if they do not repent of their deeds. And her children I will strike with death; then will all the churches know that I am he who searches the minds and the hearts, and [that] I render to each of you according to your works.

In light of this being the perogative of YHVH, God Almighty:

Jeremiah 17:10 I, YHVH, search the heart and examine the mind, to render to each according to his conduct—according to the fruit of his doings.2


IMPORTANT EDIT

As noted by another user 2 Chronicles 6:30 (cf. 1 Kings 8:39) teaches explicitly that YHVH alone knows the hearts of men:

1 Chronicles 6:14, 30 O YHVH, God of Israel, ... So then, hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and forgive, and render to each one according to all his ways, [you] who know his heart: for you alone know the hearts of the sons of men.


Footnotes

1 Fresh translations throughout for reasons of consistency; largely irrelevant for the purposese of the question. | cf. 1:10-18; 2:8

2 cf. Jer 11:20; 20:12; Wis 1:6-7; Rom 8:27

3 cf. Nahum 1:3; Rev 3:19; Prov 3:12; Heb 12:6

  • 1 Kings 8:39 and 2 Chronicles 6:30 sound like good verses to add aswell. – aska123 Mar 2 '18 at 7:27
  • Thanks very much, you pretty much put the nail in the coffin lol! – Sola Gratia Mar 2 '18 at 14:27
  • @SolaGratia If you're asking this question with the perspective that the question is unanswerable, then this is not really a question, it's a rant. Please keep in mind that the purpose of this site is to learn. You may personally disagree with the perspective you're seeking, but don't let that blind you from having a productive Q&A. – 4castle Mar 2 '18 at 15:00
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    Not at all. I want to know the perspectives of the respective verses from the theological corner specified. My question posits that YHVH alone searches the hearts and the minds, and provides the passages which I believe indicate such. I want insight into the view that says these passages (when compared) mean something else—and what that alternative meaning is. It's by no means a rant. My conviction of the truth of my position is not an obstacle to marking an answer which reasonably, within its own viewpoint, not mine, accounts for these, as the accepted one. – Sola Gratia Mar 2 '18 at 15:27
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Jehovah's Witnesses have not published an article specifically explaining this verse within the context of the Trinity, but the fundamental argument being presented is a common one: God's actions and Jesus' actions are the same, so they must be the same.

The Bible describes the relationship between God and His Son in great detail, and from this Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus is not God, but that he imitates his Father and is given authority by his Father. For example, when the Jews were accusing Jesus of "making himself equal to God," Jesus responded by saying:

John 5:19-24

“Most truly I say to you, the Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things that One does, these things the Son does also in like manner. For the Father has affection for the Son and shows him all the things he himself does, and he will show him works greater than these, so that you may marvel. For just as the Father raises the dead up and makes them alive, so the Son also makes alive whomever he wants to. For the Father judges no one at all, but he has entrusted all the judging to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Most truly I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes the One who sent me has everlasting life, and he does not come into judgment but has passed over from death to life.

This verse shows that Jesus has been given the authority to judge and that Jesus acts like God, not because he is God, but because he sees God and imitates him. Jesus gave the ultimate example of how the rest of God's children should also imitate God.—Ephesians 5:1, 2.

There are many other verses which also describe how Jesus was given authority. Daniel spoke of it prophetically, and Jesus and Paul both attest to how it came true.

Daniel 7:13, 14

“I kept watching in the visions of the night, and look! with the clouds of the heavens, someone like a son of man was coming; and he gained access to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him up close before that One. And to him there were given rulership, honor, and a kingdom, that the peoples, nations, and language groups should all serve him. His rulership is an everlasting rulership that will not pass away, and his kingdom will not be destroyed.

Matthew 28:18

Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying: “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.

Philippians 2:9-11

For this very reason, God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend—of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground— and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Therefore, Jesus has the authority and power to be the Judge of peoples' minds and hearts because God commissioned him with that responsibility. Prior to that, however, God dealt with Israel alone, functioning as the only reader of hearts in the Hebrew Scriptures. Some verses refer to Jesus as "the arm of Jehovah" because he accomplishes God's will.—Isaiah 40:10; 53:1; John 12:37, 38.

  • This particular action (knowing the human heart) seems to be presented as something that only YHVH is able to do (1 Kings 8:39 and 2 Chronicles 6:30). – aska123 Mar 2 '18 at 14:22
  • See the edit to my question, @4castle – Sola Gratia Mar 2 '18 at 14:27
  • @aska123 Right, when those verses were written Jesus had not yet been commissioned with that responsibility. God acted as Judge of Israel, but Jesus will act as Judge of God's new kingdom. – 4castle Mar 2 '18 at 14:29
  • @aska123 So your answer is that these verses can't exclude Jesus because He wasn't around yet in His specific capacity as the one comissioned with these perogatives? To be clear, my question is specifically about the exclusivity of the perogative of YHVH to see into the heart and mind. – Sola Gratia Mar 2 '18 at 15:36
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    @Sola Gratia I think some interpret the OT verses as temporary, the ability of knowing the human heart was held by YHVH alone until Jesus was given the ability later on. – aska123 Mar 2 '18 at 17:51
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Rom 16:27... to God, who alone is wise, be the glory through Jesus.
(Does that mean anyone who is wise is GOD?) No.
Ps 19:7 The reminder of Jehovah is trustworthy, making the inexperienced one wise.

1 Tim 6:16... He is the King of those who rule as kings and Lord of those who rule as lords, the one alone having immortality. (Does that mean anyone rewarded with immortality becomes Jesus?). No.
1 cor 15:51-53 “we will all be changed,  in a moment, in the blink of an eye, during the last trumpet......and this which is mortal must put on immortality”

Rev 15:4. ...Jehovah, and glorify your name, for you alone are loyal? (Does that prove anyone the scriptures identify as loyal is God?) No. 1 Samuel 2:9. “He guards the steps of his loyal ones”

You get the point.

The fact that Jesus claimed authority from God to do things only attributable to God was also a burning issue the religious leaders had when Jesus was on the earth.

For instance, when Jesus said to a paralyzed man, “your sins are forgiven”, the scribes said to themselves, “this fellow is blasphemous, Who can forgive but God?”

But during that exchange it also says, “Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said “Why are you thinking wicked things in your hearts?” Jesus then healed the man to prove he had authority. But besides having the authority to forgive sins, that verse also shows Jesus was able to read what was in their hearts (words & thoughts unspoken) Matthew 9:2-7 Mr 2:6-8;

Prophetically this was foretold in Isa 11: 2, 3 which says about the Messiah: “The spirit of Jehovah will settle upon him,” so he would not base his judgments on “what appears to his eyes” or what “his ears hear”. As a result, Jehovah gave Jesus the ability to discern the thinking, reasoning, and motives of others, which would enable him to “judge with fairness”. (Isa 11:4) (John 5:22). This ability also allowed Jesus to discern Nathanael was a man “in whom there [was] no deceit” (Joh 1:47;). Jesus would also use this ability to search the minds and hearts and render each one according to his works, as recorded in Re 2:23.

Of course, to someone who believes the unnamed spirit of Jehovah is the 3rd person of the trinity, this understanding might seem unsatisfactory. But to one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, any teaching (or part of any teaching) that claims Jesus and Jehovah are anything other than father and son would be unscriptural. 1 John 2:22

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