Watchtower's Jesus = Michael doctrine

by Ding 31 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Ding

    I've never really understood the Watchtower's teaching on Jesus being Michael. Here is what I understand they teach:

    1. Jehovah's first creation was the archangel Michael.

    2. Jesus was nothing more than a perfect man, NOT Michael the archangel in human form.

    3. Rather, when Jesus was conceived in Mary, Michael went out of existence and his impersonal life force was put into Jesus (analogous to sharing the same pacemaker).

    4. When Jesus died, his impersonal life force went back into a recreated archangel Michael.

    Since an "impersonal life force" by definition has nothing to do with mnd or personality, in what sense does the Watchtower claim that Jesus was Michael and that Michael is Jesus?

    How would being animated by Michael's impersonal life force give Jesus memories of having glory with the Father before the world began, of seeing Satan fall like lightning, etc.?

    Doesn't this teaching destroy the Jesus-as-perfect-counterpart-to-Adam claim? Didn't Jesus have something Adam didn't -- the animating life force of an archangel? And if that didn't give Jesus any advantage in the way he lived or died, then why did Jehovah give him Michael's impersonal life force at all? Why not just give Jesus his own impersonal life force and leave Michael intact?

    Since, in Watchtower theology, the mind is just a part of the body which dies with the body and since they believe Jesus' body never rose from the dead, in what sense is it Jesus' mind and personality that exists in Heaven now as we see throughout the epistles and Revelation? At most, all that went to heaven was an impersonal life force, not Jesus' mind, personality, or memories.

    If all that the Father sent to earth and received back 30-some years later was an impersonal life force, in what sense was it his Son that was sent and in what sense did he receive back a Son from the dead?

  • designs

    You want Theology to make sense............good luck.

    Kenosis 101b

  • Essan

    "I've never really understood the Watchtower's teaching on Jesus being Michael"

    Ah, well there is an excellent reason for that! It's because the teaching is baseless nonsense. It's poppycock.




    Congratulations on being able to spot it. Hopefully it didn't take you over three decades as a JW before you spotted it, as it did me. :)

  • Honesty

    The Watchtower Society has it all effed up.

  • Essan

    "The Watchtower Society has it all effed up."

    Truism. That simple phrase sums up and renders thousands of posts at JWN redundant.

    The Watchtower Society does indeed have it all effed up.

    I want that on a t-Shirt.

  • sabastious

    bh 218-219:

    Who Is Michael the Archangel?

    THE spirit creature called Michael is not mentioned often in the Bible. However, when he is referred to, he is in action. In the book of Daniel, Michael is battling wicked angels; in the letter of Jude, he is disputing with Satan; and in Revelation, he is waging war with the Devil and his demons. By defending Jehovah’s rulership and fighting God’s enemies, Michael lives up to the meaning of his name—“Who Is Like God?” But who is Michael?

    At times, individuals are known by more than one name. For example, the patriarch Jacob is also known as Israel, and the apostle Peter, as Simon. (Genesis 49:1, 2; Matthew 10:2) Likewise, the Bible indicates that Michael is another name for Jesus Christ, before and after his life on earth. Let us consider Scriptural reasons for drawing that conclusion.

    Archangel. God’s Word refers to Michael “the archangel.” (Jude 9) This term means “chief angel.” Notice that Michael is called the archangel. This suggests that there is only one such angel. In fact, the term “archangel” occurs in the Bible only in the singular, never in the plural. Moreover, Jesus is linked with the office of archangel. Regarding the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Thessalonians 4:16 states: “The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice.” Thus the voice of Jesus is described as being that of an archangel. This scripture therefore suggests that Jesus himself is the archangel Michael.

    Army Leader.The Bible states that “Michael and his angels battled with the dragon . . . and its angels.” (Revelation 12:7) Thus, Michael is the Leader of an army of faithful angels. Revelation also describes Jesus as the Leader of an army of faithful angels. (Revelation 19:14-16) And the apostle Paul specifically mentions “the Lord Jesus” and “his powerful angels.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7; Matthew 16:27; 24:31; 1 Peter 3:22) So the Bible speaks of both Michael and “his angels” and Jesus and “his angels.” (Matthew 13:41) Since God’s Word nowhere indicates that there are two armies of faithful angels in heaven—one headed by Michael and one headed by Jesus—it is logical to conclude that Michael is none other than Jesus Christ in his heavenly role.

    More information showing that the name Michael applies to God’s Son is found in Volume 2, pages 393-4, of Insight on the Scriptures, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.


  • sabastious

    The way I see it is there should be no need for "sleuthing" the Bible to figure out that Jesus actually has a heavenly role as Michael the Archangel. If they were the same, it would be CLEARLY spelled out.

    Just my two cents.


  • Ding


    How does the Watchtower teaching I outlined above have Jesus being Michael or Michael being Jesus? According to the WT, Jesus and Michael don't share anything except an "impersonal active force." Besides, doesn't Hebrews 1 indicate that the Father never called any angel his Son? (An archangel is an angel just as one's archenemy is an enemy.)

  • peacedog


    Great point. This is one of those elements of WT doctrine that JWs really don't want to think about.

    If it was simply an *impersonal* "life force" that was transferred into the newly conceived Jesus, then how could it be said that the person Jesus was Michael at all? There was nothing *personal* exchanged between the two of them...

    Further, if man (including the man Jesus) does not have a conscious and incorporeal spirit element, then Jesus truly ceased to exist for three days. If this is the case, then he was literally *recreated* as a brand new being after the third day, with nothing at all to link him to the previous being...

    It's hard not to feel bad for the Jesus who walked on this earth... He's the one who suffered and died, and yet it's a brand new (and very underserving) Jesus who gets created from scratch and collects all the glory.

    The real pain point for JWs in all this is that the same applies to them. JWs who die before the Big A are not *resurrected* in the New World™.... they are *recreated*....

    In other words, the JW who lives and dies on this earth is not the same person who will live in Paradise.™ He might look the same, he might sound the same, but he's not the same. He is a facsimile of the original, a copy, with his own independent consciousness that is in NO WAY WHATSOEVER connected or related to the original person. This copy will live his own life and the original JW will know absolutely nothing about, because the original JW doesn't exist anymore. Just as the copy of Jesus is now reaping the rewards of the work done by the original Jesus, so the copy of the JW will reap the rewards of the work done by the original JW.

  • Leolaia

    The Society definitely equivocates on this conflict between their doctrine on the soul and their Jesus=Michael teaching. Usually the Society describes the "incarnation" (for want of a better word) as the transferral of Jesus pre-human "life force" from heaven to the egg cell in the womb of Mary on earth. But this does not address the question of what happened to the personhood of the pre-human Jesus, for the "life force" is not supposed to bear personhood; it is just an impersonal animating force. By analogy, I could give some of my "life force" to another person by giving him or her a kidney transplant; that doesn't mean I cease to exist or that the other person becomes me. Similarly with sexual reproduction, one cannot say that the baby is to be identified with either or both of its parents, although each contributed "life force" in the act of reproduction. Biblical statements like "Before Abraham was born, I have been" (NWT) or "the Son of Man came down from heaven" create an exegetical problem, as these do presume a continuity of personhood (the "I" or ego) between the earthly Jesus and his pre-human counterpart. And indeed occasionally, the Society has tried to have it both ways, as this statement shows:

    "After thus emptying himself of heavenly glory, Jesus had to have his life, with its distinctive personality traits, transferred to the womb of the virgin Mary. This was accomplished through the agency of God's holy spirit" (Watchtower, 5/1/1976, p. 263).

    Now it is no longer an impersonal life-force, it is one's "life with its distinctive personality traits". Which is essentially what a soul is supposed to be.

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