What are the Jehovah's Witnesses' beliefs concerning the Godhead?
According to The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in 1968:
"God's personal name is made known to us through his Word, the Bible, and that name is JEHOVAH" (page 17).
"As for the 'Holy Spirit,' the so-called 'third Person of the Trinity,' we have already seen that it is not a person, but God's active force." (page 24).
"Did you know that Jesus had a glorious existence before he was born as a human here on earth? The Bible informs us that he is God's 'first-born' Son. This means he was created before the other sons of God's family." (page 47).
Each of these statements are false.
The name, Jehovah, is actually a poor transliteration of the Hebrew word, Yahweh. What is more interesting is that though Jehovah's Witnesses claim that Jehovah is God's personal name, we find this record, "Then Moses said to God, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you'"" (Exodus 3:13-14). God here states that His name is I Am (or hayah in Hebrew). The truth is that there is no one name for God. God is too complex of a being for any one name to adequately describe Him.
The Holy Spirit is described as a person or being in the Scriptures. Nowhere in the Bible is He refered to as an "it" or a "thing." Consider this statement by Jesus, "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come" (John 16:13). Does Jesus describe the Spirit as a mere active force or a being that acts? The Spirit is described as having attributes of a being: He can be grieved (Isaiah 63:10; Ephesians 4:30), He can be resisted (Acts 7:51), and He can be lied to (Acts 5:3). He acts as a being: He teaches (John 14:26), He bears witness (John 15:26), He guides (John 16:13), He speaks (I Timothy 4:1), and He leads (Romans 8:14). Truly the Bible speaks of the Holy Spririt as a living being.
As with the other two statements, the statement concerning Jesus Christ is not found in the Scriptures. Jesus is called the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. 'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty'" (Revelation 1:7-8, 22:12-13). It is a designation shared with the Father (see Revelation 21:6). When the Bible speaks of Jesus being firstborn, it is not referring to His creation, but His resurrection. "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation" (Colossians 1:13-15). "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29). The concept of firstborn is emphasizing the right to rule and to have preeminence. Christ is the head of the church because He is the firstborn from the dead. Going further in Colossians we read, "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist" (Colossians 1:16-17). Notice the blank statement that everything was created by Christ and for Christ. If Christ was a created being, this statement could not be true for we would have Christ creating himself.
"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" (I John 4:1). The doctrine of the Jehovah's Witnesses fails the test.