A Corresponding Ransom - A Serious Mismatch

By John Carson

 

This is Part 3 of a teaching series entitled, “A Corresponding Ransom”. I will be dealing with the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society’s (WT) translation and interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:5-6.

 

In Part 1, I talked about how the WT teaches full obedience to a special class of anointed Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs) is a requirement for salvation.

 

In Part 2, I dealt with how JWs do not believe people can belong to God outside the WT Organization.

 

In this session called, “A Corresponding Ransom – A Serious Mismatch”, we’ll look at what JWs believe the Ransom covered, and compare this to what the Bible teaches.

 

To watch a video presentation of this, click here.

 

 


 

 

The Ransom, as taught by the WT, is vastly different from what Scripture actually teaches. The WT renders 1 Timothy 2:5-6 in their own New World Translation (NWT) in this unique way:

 

  • For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all.

 

If you check out other translations, you’ll find the NWT is the only one with this word “corresponding” in 1 Timothy 2:6.

 

Why would the WT have this word, corresponding, here? Is it because all other translations missed it? No. It is to give support for their own doctrinal position. But before I reveal what that is, reading those two verses from the NWT, appears to be saying that the Ransom corresponds directly to all believers who Jesus mediates on behalf of.

 

Well, they do not believe that, and they don’t want you to believe that either.

 

They teach the Ransom is beneficial for all kinds of people if they become Jehovah’s Witnesses and remain faithful to the “men” mentioned in verse 5. I covered this in Part 1.

 

What then, do JWs believe the ransom corresponds to? According to the WT:

 

 

What exactly then, do JWs believe is the value of the Ransom?

 

Take a look at this illustration found in their book, You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth:

 


 (Illustration from: You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, page 63)

 

The caption reads, “Jesus was the equal of the perfect man Adam”. According to the WT, the Ransom has “no more/no less” value to the life Adam had before he sinned. JWs will try to get you to focus on how Jesus’ life must only be of equal value to Adam’s life prior to the Fall.

 

Let’s look at what they say in “What Can the Bible Teach Us?”

 

  • The ransom that had to be paid was another perfect human life. That is why it is called “a corresponding ransom.” (1 Timothy 2:6) The ransom had to have the same value as the life that Adam lost. (What Can the Bible Teach Us?, p. 54)

 

What Biblical basis do they have for connecting Jesus’ life as being of equal value to Adam’s? They attempt to make a connection between 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Corinthians 15.

 

  • Jesus Christ gave his own perfect life to buy back what Adam had lost. Yes, Jesus “gave himself a corresponding ransom for all.” (1 Timothy 2:5, 6) Because he was a perfect man, even as Adam had been, Jesus is called “the last Adam.” (1 Corinthians 15:45) (You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, p. 62)

 

Please take the time to read the full chapter of 1 Corinthians 15. In what context is Jesus given this title, “the last Adam”, there? The title was definitely NOT describing a match, but rather, a contrast. Also, 1 Corinthians 15 is NOT describing what Jesus was like during His earthly ministry, but what He is like NOW, in His glorified state. The chapter deals mainly with the types of glorified bodies believers will enjoy in the future. Those of us who have been bought by Him, will be like Him. Through the fallen Adam, we inherited corruption; in Christ the Risen Lord, we will inherit incorruption.

 

  • Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. (1 John 3:2)

 

So 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Corinthians 15 should NOT even be cross referenced with each other. But JWs still connect them both to teach that Jesus was made like Adam.

 

There can be no “price-tag-value” to the Atonement. No created being… not even the angels that surround the throne of the Most High God who cry out, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!”…, can ever fathom the value of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is incomprehensible, and reflecting on it ought to cause us to fall on our knees in worship.

 

We also need to clear the air on couple of things in regards to what the Bible does and does not teach about what a ransom price is.

 

A ransom, as portrayed in the Bible, is a satisfactory price of a demand, which, when fully paid, establishes the cancelation of what had been owed.

 

We see this in its most ultimate sense in John 19:30, where we read that Jesus cried out from the cross, “It is finished!” Now that comes from the Greek word that also means, “paid in full!” So the Atoning Sacrifice SATISFIED COMPLETELY, the FULL payment for redemption.

 

Now what does the Bible NOT teach about a ransom? Well, nowhere does the Bible identify a ransom price as having a duplicate value to what is to be released… despite the WT’s claim. You can search the Bible all you want… but you won’t find the Ransom presented in that way.

 

Even the basic thought of a ransom, demonstrates that a ransom price is not of duplicate value to that for which it releases. Here’s an example: A kidnapper demands one million dollars to release a loved one who is held hostage. Does the demanded price mean the loved one’s life is only worth one million dollars? Of course not!

 

Now think about God’s own crown of creation, humanity. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world!” It has a value to God that no one can ever imagine. Who can place a value on what God had created?

 

The atonement, which is the price of the ransom, is seen in the Old Covenant as the satisfactory payment for the covering of sins. So also in the New Covenant, Christ’s Atoning Sacrifice, was satisfactory to take sins away. The Old blood Covenant was a foreshadow of the New… of which Abraham himself rejoiced about. We read this in John 8:56, where Jesus said:

 

  • “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56)

 

In Genesis chapter 22, we read the story of when Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac. God stopped him before he brought down the knife. God made it known to Abraham that He Himself will provide the Sacrifice, which God did when He sent Jesus into the world. A ram, in the meantime, was presented to Abraham to offer in place of Isaac. 

 

So why did Abraham rejoice to see Jesus’ day? It was because it was no longer to cover sins, but the Atonement of Jesus Christ was sufficient to take sin away. Abraham saw Jesus’ day (now notice that word is singular). That day is the day when the temple veil that separated man from God, (which symbolized humanity’s separation from God), would be torn in two.

 

Under the New Covenant, it says in Hebrews 10:19-22,

 

  • Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.

 

We draw near to God solely by this living way. What is a living way? A living way is what is currently at work… that way is through Christ’s shed blood. The temple veil was torn, because Jesus is that only way to have a relationship with God. While I’m in Hebrews, let’s look at chapter 2, verse 17… Who was Jesus made like? Was it Adam?

 

  • Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

 

Jesus was made like his brothers (not Adam), so He could make atonement for our sins. It became personal. That’s why Paul could say in Galatians 2:20,

 

  • “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

 

That’s the good news of the gospel! Jesus’ death on the cross fully satisfied what was needed to draw us close to our Almighty Creator. That… is what is missing from the other “gospel” the WT teaches (which is no gospel at all).

 

When sin is removed, the veil being torn, believers have unrestrained access to God. We can rejoice like Abraham did, knowing that we can approach God as His absolutely free children!

 

 


 

 

See also...

 

Part 1: A Corresponding Ransom - Obedience to the Gospel

 

Part 2: A Corresponding Ransom - What Is It For?

 


 

 

Witnessing Tips:

 

 

Ask: By connecting 1 Timothy 2 with 1 Corinthians 15, are you saying Jesus was made exactly like Adam was like in his sinful state?

 

Ask: Doesn’t context reveal that 1 Corinthians 15 is describing Jesus as He is now in His glorified state, and that I will be like Him?

 

In defending their position, JWs may use the following illustration...

 

Imagine a large factory with hundreds of employees. A dishonest factory manager bankrupts the business; the factory closes its doors. Hundreds are now out of work and unable to pay their bills. Their marriage mates, children, and, yes, creditors all suffer because of that one man’s corruption! Then along comes a wealthy benefactor who pays off the company’s debt and reopens the factory. The cancellation of that one debt, in turn, brings full relief to the many employees, their families, and the creditors.
(Watchtower Magazine, February 15, 1991, page 13
)

 

Ask: This illustration makes it sound like we are all innocent victims. Does the Bible declare us as being innocent of sin?

 

  • They will have to answer, No.

 

  • Romans 3:10-12:  “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.’”

 

Ask: According to Scripture, Who is sinned against when we sin?

 

 

  • Get your JW friend to read Ephesians 2:1, 3b: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, …Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.”

 

Ask: Doesn't this sound like it is our nature that needs to be changed in order to be right with God?

 

 

AskSince God promised in Ezekiel 36:26, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you", and 2 Corinthians 5:17 declares, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation", shouldn't you trust in Christ's finished work to change your heart?

 

Ask: If the Ransom had to be an exact duplicate of Adam, why didn't God just create another perfect man instead of sending His beloved Son?

 

Ask: How can Jesus and Adam be an exact match to each other? Wouldn't the following demonstrate a serious mismatch?

 

If we consider the moral definition

of humanity in a perfect state,

How could Adam have quickly sinned

as “Jesus' equal”?

  

If we consider the physical definition

of humanity in a perfect state,

How could Jesus have died

as “Adam's equal”?