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The God of Jehovah's Witness-Catholic Answers

The God of Jehovah's Witness-Catholic Answers

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Published by: Michael Cancejo Pagaduan on Feb 05, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The God of the Jehovah's WitnessesOne of the most unique doctrines the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach is that Christ,both before he came to Earth and since he has returned to heaven, was and isMichael the Archangel. To argue this, the Witnesses use 1 Thessalonians 4:16: "theLord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’svoice and with God’s trumpet." (Unless otherwise noted, all quotations are fromthe New World Translation [NWT] of the Bible, published by the Watchtower Bibleand Tract Society, the parent organization for the Jehovah’s Witnesses.) From thisverse the Witnesses conclude that the Lord Jesus Christ is an archangel because hehas "an archangel’s voice." No other denomination has ever come up with such aconclusion, because every other denomination has concluded that the return of theLord will simply be heralded by an archangel. But let’s continue with theWitnesses’ argument.They identify the archangel as Michael from Jude 9: "But when Michael thearchangel had a difference with the devil and was disputing about Moses’ body, hedid not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms, but said: ‘MayJehovah rebuke you.’" How does this identification work? According to Reasoningfrom the Scriptures, one of the manuals Witnesses use in door-to-doorevangelization, "the expression ‘archangel’ is never found in the plural in thescriptures, thus implying there is only one" (page 218).Actually, 1 Thessalonians 4:16 suggests an arch-angel’s voice, not to thearchangel’s voice, implying there is more than one archangel. The Greek definitearticle (Greek’s equivalent of "the") simply is not in the text. (The definitearticle is used in Jude 9, but there it serves to identify which Michael is beingtalked about—the Michael who is an archangel. In that context, it no more impliesthat there is only one archangel than talking about "Smokey the Bear" implies thatthere is only one bear.)Reasoning from the Scriptures claims that "the evidence indicates that the Son ofGod was known as Michael before he came to earth and is known by that name sincehis return to heaven where he resides as the glorified spirit Son of God" (page218). The Bible contains little evidence concerning such a strange claim, but whatlittle evidence there is argues against the Witnesses’ positionLook at Hebrews 1:5: " . . . [T]o which one of the angels did he [God] ever say:‘You are my son; I, today, I have become your father’?" This suggests the Son ofGod can’t be an angel (or an archangel, since "archangel" simply means "highranking angel"), because it was to the Son that the Father said, "I have becomeyour father."Even the Jehovah’s Witnesses, in their own, backhanded way, recognize this. Lookat their translation of verse 6: "Let all God’s angels do obeisance to him,"referring to the Son. The Witnesses want you to think the angels do obeisance tothe (sole) archangel, but they know this isn’t what the verse really says. Until1970 the NWT didn’t use the word "obeisance." Until then verse 6 read this way:"Let all God’s angels worship him" (italics added). Angels don’t worship anarchangel, who, after all, is just another creature. They worship God (Rev. 19:9-10, 22:8-9). When the NWT was first made, this verse slipped by the translatingcommittee and effectively undercut the Witnesses’ assertion that Christ is reallyMichael.Is Jesus Only a Man?
It will come as no surprise to learn that the Witnesses do not believe JesusChrist is divine. He isn’t God in their view. To support this theory, they appealto their own rendering of John 1:1: "In the beginning the Word was, and the Wordwas with God, and the Word was a god." They use the lower-case "g" to show thatChrist is merely a creature, even if the most exalted creature.In every Catholic and Protestant translation, the final clause of John 1:1 isgiven this way: "and the Word was God." The translation given by the Witnessessimply isn’t supported by the Greek. When missionaries come to your door and arguethat Jesus is just a creature, point out the illegitimate translation of John 1:1.(If they insist their translation is correct, ask them whether Christ is true Godor a false god by nature. Point out that only by Christ being true God do theopening verses to John’s Gospel make any sense at all.) Then turn to John 20:28,where Thomas says, as he probes Jesus’ wounds, "My Lord and my God!" Note thatJesus didn’t correct Thomas’ identification of him as God, because no correctionwas needed. Thomas, previously doubting, knew exactly what he was saying, and whathe was saying was true.The Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the Incarnation. According to them, Jesus isn’t God,so there’s no question about God taking flesh. But they also deny it in a secondsense. In the Incarnation, the Son’s divine nature became united with a humannature, so his two natures co-existed. But the Witnesses say that even afterJesus’ appearance on Earth there was only one nature—the human.This is how they see it: In heaven, Jesus was the Son of God, a creature, and wasknown as Michael the archangel, a pure spirit. Upon coming to Earth he ceased tobe a spirit at all. His spirit-ness entirely disappeared. On Earth the Son of Godwas purely human. This man Jesus was killed at Calvary. At his resurrection, hishuman body was not resuscitated. It remained in the tomb and God disintegrated it.There was no real, physical resurrection in the traditional Christian sense.Instead, what was resurrected was Michael’s angelic spirit-body.Keep in mind the sequence. In heaven: angel only. On Earth: human only. Back inheaven: angel only, again. There is no continuity here. The creature calledMichael entirely ceased to exist! The creature called Jesus (while here on Earth)began to exist, then, at death, he ceased to exist also. Then a creature identicalto the original Michael began to exist again. (Witnesses believe that at death aperson ceases to exist altogether, and that the resurrection consists of Godrecreating an exact copy of that person from his memory.)The Resurrection Was RealNone of that squares with the Bible. The resurrection accounts in the Gospels areaccounts of a revivified and glorified body, a body no longer in the tomb. Thereisn’t a shred of evidence in the Gospels to indicate anyone thought the bodyremained in the tomb. After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to the apostles andsaid, "‘See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; feel me and see, because aspirit does not have flesh and bones just as you behold that I have.’ Then hesaid, ‘Do you have something there to eat?’ And they handed him a piece of broiledfish; and he took it and ate it before their eyes" (Luke 24:39-43). Here Jesushimself points out that he is more than just a spirit—he has a body, too.
"The Force Be With You"?All this is about Christ. What about the Holy Spirit? The Jehovah’s Witnesses areactually Unitarians, not Trinitarians. They don’t believe in three divine persons,but in one, Jehovah (the Father). The Son isn’t God, but a creature. The HolySpirit isn’t God either—in fact, he isn’t a person at all, but "Jehovah’s activeforce," something comparable to electricity. In the NWT we find his name given inlower-case: "the holy spirit."To support this belief, the Witnesses rely on their rendering of passages such asActs 2:1-4: "Now while the day of the [festival of] Pentecost was in progress . .. they all became filled with holy spirit." Written this way, it almost makessense. But Christ spoke of the Holy Spirit as a person in several places, such asJohn 14:26: "But the helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in myname, that one will teach you all things and bring back to your minds all thethings I have told you." How can an impersonal force teach anyone anything? Doesthe wind teach? Do gravity or electromagnetism teach? Of course not. This versemakes sense only if "the holy spirit" is really "the Holy Spirit," a divineperson. Moreover, the New Testament is replete with examples of the Spirit’spersonal attributes, such as thinking, speaking, guiding, hearing, loving, andwilling, to name a few.When speaking with a Witness about this passage, turn to Acts 5:1-11, the story ofAnanias and Sapphira. In verse 3, Peter asks, "Why has Satan emboldened you toplay false to the holy spirit and to hold back secretly some of the price of thefield?" The one that was defrauded was "the holy spirit." In verse 4, Peter says,"You have played false, not to men, but to God." So it was God that was defrauded.The conclusion? That "the holy spirit" must be God, a conclusion drawn from theWitnesses’ own NWT.Is Christ Inferior?The Witnesses argue that the Son is inferior in nature to the Father from versessuch as these: "The Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative, but onlywhat he beholds the Father doing" (John 5:19). "I have not come of my owninitiative, but he that sent me is real, and you do not know him. I know himbecause I am a representative from him, and that one sent me forth" (John 7:28-29). "I am going my way to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am"(John 14:28).What can be said about these verses? First, they may be referring to Christ’shuman nature, as distinguished from his divine nature. His human nature, beingcreated, is clearly subordinate to the Father’s divine nature.Second, they may also refer to Christ’s person insofar as the person of the Son isgenerated or begotten by the person of the Father. This doesn’t mean he is unequalin his divine nature and therefore not divine. It means there is a certain logicalrelationship between the two persons of the Father and the Son (who are bothequally divine) in which it may be said, rightly, that "the Father is greater thanI"—greater in the order of the three divine persons, not greater in the order ofnature or being.Third, they may refer to the Son’s role in the economy of redemption. He came to

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