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Page 9 - Awake! April 22, 2005IS JESUS 'MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL' AS THE WBTS CLAIM?
WBTS statement: Bible verses that in the Greek language have a construction similar to that of John 1:1 use the expression "a god." For example, when referring to Herod Agrippa I, the crowds shouted: 'It is a god speaking.' And when Paul survived a bite by a poisonous snake, the people said: "He is a god." (Acts 12:22; 28:3-6) It is in harmony with both Greek grammar and Bible teaching to speak of the Word as, not God, but "a god." - John 1:1.
[Orthodox Christian Reply: The WBTS ineptitude with Greek (and Hebrew) is shown in this claim, for they would not want you to know that they made this following statement less than 20 years ago in their Watchtower (7/1/1986, p. 31):
"The title ho theos [the God, or God] … is not applied in the N[ew] T[estament] to Jesus.…"
As we have just shown The Kingdom Interlinear Translation at John 20:28 belies this statement by showing that the Greek for ho theos and the literal translation "the God" does apply to Jesus. So, although the WBTS know that ho theos means 'the God' they try and deceive the unwary by teaching a lie!]
Page 9 continued - Awake! April 22, 2005
WBTS statement: Consider how John identified "the Word" in the first chapter of his Gospel. "The Word became flesh and resided among us," he wrote, "and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs [not to God but] to an only-begotten son from a father." So "the Word," who became flesh, lived on the earth as the man Jesus and was seen by people. Therefore, he could not have been Almighty God, regarding whom John says: "No man has seen God at any time." - John 1:14, 18.
[Orthodox Christian Reply: This was answered earlier when we showed that God will not share His glory with another, but shares it with Jesus - thus proving that the Son is equally God. The WBTS put in '[not to God but]' to try and take the emphasis away from this truth. Earlier, we also answered the WBTS claim that 'begotten' means created and their attempt to deflect the truth by claiming that 'No man has seen God at any time', while ignoring the truth that the pre-Incarnate Christ was seen, and recognised as God, many times in Old Testament days.
But before we investigate these claims of the WBTS, let us examine a title they give Jesus and ask:
We challenge any Jehovah's Witness to show us one verse in the Bible that states that Jesus is Michael, or clearly proves their claim by comparison with other Scriptures!
The WBTS accept that the rider on the white horse in Revelation 19:11-12 is the Lord Jesus Christ (see the WBTS publication: Revelation Its Grand Climax at Hand! 1988, p280) where they comment: 'The Bible already speaks of God's Son by names such as Jesus, Immanuel, and Michael.'
The Watchtower says, "Jesus Christ further deserves honor because he is Jehovah's chief angel, or archangel." (The Watchtower, February 1, 1991, page 17) DO ANY OF THESE VERSES REVEAL THAT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL IS JESUS CHRIST?
Jehovah's Witnesses believe the Son of God to be "Jesus Christ, whom we understand from the Scriptures to be Michael the archangel.… " (The Watchtower, February 15, 1979, page 31)
Does this belief that 'Jesus Christ [is]... Michael the archangel' really come "from the Scriptures"? Or is it another teaching that the WBTS leaders have imposed on Scripture?
Let us examine the facts:
God's inspired Word mentions Michael five times: as "one of the foremost princes" (Daniel 10:13 NWT), as "the prince of [Daniel's] people" (Daniel 10:21 NWT), as "the great prince who is standing in behalf of the sons of [Daniel's] people" (Daniel 12:1 NWT), as "the archangel" who "had a difference with the devil and was disputing about Moses' body" but "did not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms" (Jude 9 NWT), and as a participant in heavenly conflict when "Michael and his angels battled with the dragon" (Revelation 12:7 NWT).
Once again, the WBTS attempt to hide the true nature of Christ, and the fact that He is not an angel but is worshipped by angels, is clearly refuted by Scripture!
Clearly not! As usual you have to read Scripture plus a Watchtower argument to reach their conclusion.
The WBTS reasoning is found in the April 15, 1991, Watchtower magazine, on page 28:
Why do we conclude that Jesus is the archangel Michael? God's Word mentions only one archangel, and it speaks of that angel in reference to the resurrected Lord Jesus: "The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel's voice and with God's trumpet." (1 Thessalonians 4:16) At Jude 9 we find that this archangel's name is Michael.
The argument consists of three parts that can be analyzed separately: (1) "God's Word mentions only one archangel," (2) "it speaks of that angel in reference to the resurrected Lord Jesus," and (3) "this archangel's name is Michael."
In answer to (1) and (3) it should be noted that the term "archangel" is found only twice in the Bible - at 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and Jude 9 - providing insufficient information to say for certain that there are no other archangels besides Michael. Although he is the only archangel named in Scripture, Michael is referred to as "one of the foremost princes." (Daniel 10:13 NWT) The Bible leaves open the possibility that there are other unnamed archangels besides Michael.
As for part (2) of the Watchtower argument, it is faulty logic to conclude that descending "with an archangel's voice" means that Jesus is an archangel. If descending with an archangel's voice makes Christ an archangel, then descending "with God's trumpet" makes Christ God! The same logic must be applied to the entire verse, not just part of it.
There are other obvious factors that could be pointed out to the WBTS. Read Jude 9 (NWT):
But when Mi´cha·el the archangel had a difference with the Devil and was disputing about Moses' body, he did not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms, but said: "May Jehovah rebuke you."
At the time Moses died, and this dispute between Michael the archangel occurred, the Lord Jesus Christ still shared the glory of heaven with His Father - he was 'positionally' in the same situation as the Father. He had not yet 'lowered' himself (ref. Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 2:9) and taken on limited human form (literally 'flesh') as the 'second Adam'. And yet, when the Incarnate Lord Jesus Christ was tempted by Satan (Matthew 4) He clearly rebuked him:
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." 4 But he answered, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, 'He will give his angels charge of you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" 7 Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'" 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; 9 and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." 10 Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! for it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.
Here we have Jesus, weakened by severe fasting and yet still able to rebuke Satan with the Word of God and, finally, rebuking him severely with: "Begone, Satan! for it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" Again it is clear that it is unreasonable to claim that Jesus is Michael!
Does the Bible anywhere teach that Jesus Christ is a mere angel? On the contrary, the entire first chapter of Hebrews was written to show the superiority of the Son of God as compared with angels. "For example, to which one of the angels did he ever say: 'You are my son; I, today, I have become your father'?" (Hebrews 1:5 NWT) ("For God never said to any angel, 'Thou art my Son…'" - New English Bible). The Son is "the reflection" of the Father's glory "and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power." (Hebrews 1:3) You cannot 'exact[ly]' represent something unless you are exactly the same!
Angels consistently refuse to accept worship, saying: "Be careful! Do not do that!… Worship God." (Revelation 22:8-9 NWT) But, the Father's command concerning the Son is, "let all God's angels worship him." (Hebrews 1:6 NWT, edition of 1961) In the current edition of its Bible the WBTS changed worship to obeisance at Hebrews 1:6. Still, regardless of how it is translated, the same Greek word proskuneo is used at both Revelation 22:8-9 and Hebrews 1:6. The proskuneo (worship or obeisance) that angels refuse to accept, but say to give only to God, is the same proskuneo (worship or obeisance) that the Father commands to be given to the Son at Hebrews 1:6.
WHY BELIEVE AN ORGANISATION THAT CAN CHANGE ITS MIND ABOUT IMPORTANT DOCTRINES IN THIS WAY CAN POSSIBLY GUIDE ANYONE INTO SAVING TRUTH?
Those who chose to leave the man-made WBTS and start following Jesus Christ soon come to appreciate that the Son of God is no mere 'angel'. It is necessary to realise this fact, for no one can obey the words of the Lord Jesus Christ - that they should "honor the Son just as they honor the Father" (John 5:23 NWT) - if they think of Him as just an 'angel', 'archangel', or 'little god' as the WBTS teach.
Note: some Jehovah's Witnesses have tried to tell us that they do honour the Son because He is the divine Son of God, just as you might give the sons and daughters of the Royal Family honour because they are related to the Royal Ruler. But this clearly fails to follow Scriptural instruction from the Lord Jesus Christ. He said: just as! Any inferior honour and worship of the Son is not 'just as'!
It is eye-opening to follow the degradation of the WBTS from being somewhere near the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ, in 1879, to outright heretical beliefs about Him - as this record [ref. Reed, D. A., Reed, D. A., Huntoon, S., & Cornell, J. 1997, c1990. Index of Watchtower Errors, 1879 to 1989 (electronic ed.). Baker Book House: Grand Rapids] shows:
" 'Let all the angels of God worship him' [that must include Michael, the chief angel, hence Michael is not the Son of God]." Watchtower 11/1879, p. 48
"to worship Christ in any form cannot be wrong" Watchtower 3/1880, p. 83
"And although we are nowhere instructed to make petitions to him, it evidently could not be improper to do so; for such a course is nowhere prohibited, and the disciples worshiped him." Watchtower 5/15/1892, p. 1410
"Yes, we believe our Lord Jesus while on earth was really worshipped, and properly so. While he was not the God, Jehovah, he was a God." Watchtower 7/15/1898, p. 2337
All creatures in heaven and earth shall worship Jesus as he worships the Father.
Watchtower 8/15/1941, p. 252
You must worship and bow down to Jehovah's chief one, namely Jesus Christ. Watchtower 10/15/1945, p. 313
title of sub-section: "Christ to Be Worshiped" "Make Sure of All Things," 1953 edition, p. 85
No distinct worship is to be rendered to Jesus Christ, now glorified in heaven.
Watchtower 1/1/1954, p. 31
Stephen's prayer to Jesus at Acts 7:59 Watchtower 2/1/1959, p. 96
Do not erroneously conclude that Christians are to worship Christ. That is not what the Bible taught. Watchtower 7/15/1959, p. 421
" … it is unscriptural for worshipers of the living and true God to render worship to the Son of God, Jesus Christ." Watchtower 11/1/1964, p. 671
"But when he again brings his First-born into the inhabited earth, he says: 'And let all God's angels worship him.' " (Heb. 1:6) New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, 1961 revision, p.1293
"But when he again brings his Firstborn into the inhabited earth, he says: 'And let all God's angels do obeisance to him.' " (Heb. 1:6) New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, 1971 revision, p.1293
"In Hebrews 1:6 the Greek word proskynio may mean: 1. Rendering respectful obeisance, as 'bowing down,' to Jesus as the one whom Jehovah God has honored and glorified 2. Worshiping Jehovah God through or by means of his chief representative, his Son Jesus." Watchtower 2/15/1983, p. 18
Equally damning is the fact that the WBTS once held these views about the archangel Michael:
" ... it is said (of Jesus), 'Let all the angels of God worship him'; [that must include Michael, the chief angel, hence Michael is not the Son of God] and the reason is, because he has 'by inheritance obtained a more excellent Name than they'." (The Watchtower, Nov. 1879, p.4)
Commenting on Revelation 12:7, C.T. Russell wrote that 'Michael' is the 'Pope' and his angels are 'The Bishops'" (Studies in the Scriptures, Volume VII, The Finished Mystery, 1917, p.188)
It is not just the history of WBTS doctrines about the Son of God that can be shown to vary dramatically within years - their 'flip-flop theology' occurs in every facet of their writings throughout their history.WHO WILL YOU FOLLOW - THE WORD OF GOD OR THE WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY?
The Triunity of the Godhead is denied by the WBTS, yet they claim that Jesus is 'Michael the archangel' without any genuine evidence. The Old Testament tells a very different story. We have already seen from the use of various plural words in Hebrew that there is plurality in the nature of the one true God. We have also looked at several passages where the names of God are applied to two quite distinct divine personalities.
How many personalities exist in the Godhead? Who actually appeared to men and women in the Old Testament, and in what guise? A reading of the Hebrew Scriptures shows that three, and only three, distinct personalities are ever considered divine, and this next section, based on the work of Dr Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum (Messianic Christology, p109ff.), reveals the truth that the WBTS cannot see. These are the three personalities who are shown to be divine:
1. The Lord YHVH
2. The Angel of YHVH
3. The Spirit of God
We will next consider each of these in turn.
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