Friday, January 18, 2008

Is Jesus Christ Michael the archangel? #2

This is part #2 of my critique of the Watchtower Bible Tract Society's claim that Jesus Christ is actually Michael the archangel,

[Right: "Archangel Michael," by Raphael (1483-1520), Wilson's Almanac]

as stated in the Appendix, "Who Is Michael the Archangel?," at pages 218-219 of the Society's 2005 home Bible study booklet, "What Does the Bible Really Teach?"

I have quoted the entire Appendix in part #1 of this two-part post, so all I will quote here is each sentence of paragraphs two and three, preceded by the last sentence of paragraph one.

Archangel. God's Word refers to Michael `the archangel.' (Jude 9) This term means `chief angel.' Indeed! This Greek word arche can mean first in position as well as first in time (see `tagline' quote below). It is the same word translated "beginning" in Rev 3:14 (New World Translation) which the Society insists must be interpreted as "beginning of the creation of God" in the sense of time, thus making Christ a created being, whereas it could equally mean in the sense of position, i.e. "chief," , as in the NIV, "ruler of God's creation" (see `tagline' quote below).

Notice that Michael is called the archangel. This is misleading. There is no emphasis on "the" in the original Greek. The term "Michael the archangel" is presumably Michael's name. What else could Michael be called, if Jude needs to distinguish which "Michael" he is referring to (there are at least 10 other "Michael's" in the Bible.

This suggests that there is only one such angel. No, because as we saw in part #1, Michael is only "one of the foremost princes" (Dan 10:13 NWT), i.e. he is one among others of the same rank. The Watchtower must know this (because it has been teaching that Jesus Christ is Michael the archangel for at least 50 years (in its book, "Your Will Be Done on Earth," 1958-see tagline), and Dan 10:13 is one of only five verses in the entire Bible that mention Michael the archangel. So the Watchtower is here either being deliberately dishonest, or it is so self-deceived that it cannot even see what its own translation plainly says!

In fact, the term `archangel' occurs in the Bible only in the singular, never in the plural. Since the term "archangel" only appears twice in the Bible, in Jude 9 and 1Th 4:16, and in the former it is only talking about one archangel, Michael, no valid conclusion can be inferred from this. Especially since (Dan 10:13 NWT) says that Michael was "one of the foremost princes" and the Jews in the 1st century believed that there were "seven archangels":

"According to Enoch, xxi., as the text has now been critically fixed (see Charles, `Book of Enoch,' p. 357), there are seven archangels ('irin we-kaddishin, `holy ones who watch'): (1) Uriel ['God is Light'; compare II Esd. iv. 1], set over the world's luminaries and over Sheol [compare Enoch, xxi. 5, xxvii. 2, xxxiii. 3, 4]; (2) Raphael, set over the spirits of men [compare Enoch, x. 4, where he is told to bind Azazel and to heal the earth with Tobit-iii. 17]; (3) Raguel [Ra'uel, `the terrifier'], who chastiseth the world of the luminaries; (4) Michael, set over the best part of mankind, over the people of Israel; (5) Sariel [Æth., Sarakiel, Suriel, `God turneth'?], set over the spirits who seduce the spirits to sin; (6) Gabriel, set over paradise, the serpents [seraphim?], and the cherubim; (7) Jerahmeel ['God is merciful'], whom God set over the resurrection [compare II Esd. iv. 36; Syriac Apoc. Baruch, lv. 3; Steindorf, `Elias Apoc.' p. 152]." ("Angelology: A Heavenly Hierarchy," Jewish Encyclopedia.com)

But again the Watchtower must know this (see above on "dishonest" or "self-deceived").

Moreover, Jesus is linked with the office of archangel. Regarding the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, l Thessalonians 4:16 states: `The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel's voice.' Yes, "with an archangel's voice," i.e. Christ will return "with his angels" (Mt 16:27; Mk 8:38; 2Th 1:7 NWT) and so the "archangel's voice" would be that of one of those angels who will accompany Jesus, and may well be Michael. But note also that Paul in 1Th 4:16 NWT says "an archangel" (as in NKJV) not "the archangel" (as the NIV wrongly translates), so the"an archangel's voice" is not necessarily Michael's. Also, Paul's "an archangel" implies that there is more than one archangel, otherwise he would have written "the archangel" if Paul had thought there was only one archangel.

Thus the voice of Jesus is described as being that of an archangel. This is false. The Lord's "commanding call" and the "archangel's voice" are two separate things. This is clearer when we add back what the Watchtower omitted , "and with God's trumpet":

1Th 4:16 NWT. because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel's voice and with God's trumpet,

Then, as ex-JW elder David Reed points out (see `tagline'), "if using an archangel's voice makes the Lord an archangel, then having God's trumpet makes him God"!

This scripture therefore suggests that Jesus himself is the archangel Michael. This is false. All the above Scriptures refute the Watchtower theory that "Jesus himself is the archangel Michael." Indeed, the very fact that the Watchtower has to use such weak terms as "suggest" and "indicates" (part #1) shows that neither this nor any "scripture 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. This too is false. Nowhere does the Bible say that "Michael is the Leader of an army of ... angels" including this verse:

Rev 12:7 NWT. And war broke out in heaven: Mi·cha·el and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled

The flexibility of Watchtower teaching on this is evident in that it previously interpreted "Revelation 12:7 to mean ...that Michael is `the Pope' and his angels are `the Bishops' (p. 188)." (Reed, 1993, p.58. See `tagline' quote).

Revelation also describes Jesus as the Leader of an army of faithful angels. (Revelation 19:14-16) This is false also. Those verses actually say that Jesus is the leader of "the armies that were in heaven":

Rev 19:13-14 NWT. and he is arrayed with an outer garment sprinkled with blood, and the name he is called is The Word of God. Also, the armies that were in heaven were following him on white horses, and they were clothed in white, clean, fine linen.

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) Here is what these verses say:

2Th 1:7 NWT. but, to YOU who suffer tribulation, relief along with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels

Mt 16:27 NWT. For the Son of man is destined to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will recompense each one according to his behavior.

Mt 24:31 NWT. And he will send forth his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity.

1Pet 3: 22 NWT. He is at God's right hand, for he went his way to heaven; and angels and authorities and powers were made subject to him.

Note that none of these verses say anything about Michael the archangel. At His second coming Jesus' will be accompanied by angels, which will include archangels.

Also, as Ron Rhodes' points out (see `tagline' quote below), "... we are explicitly told in Hebrews 2:5 that the world is not (and will not be) in subjection to an angel. .... Christ the glorified God-man will reign supreme (Revelation 19:16). Now, if no angel can rule the world (Hebrews 2:5), then Christ cannot be the archangel Michael, since Scripture repeatedly says Christ is to be the ruler of God's kingdom ..."

By the way, JW's believe this has already happened invisibly in 1914!:

"The preceding chapter in this book explained that Jesus Christ became King in heaven in the year 1914. (Daniel 7:13, 14) Soon after he received Kingdom power, Jesus took action. `War broke out in heaven,' says the Bible. `Michael [another name for Jesus] and his angels battled with the dragon [Satan the Devil], and the dragon and its angels battled.' Satan and his wicked angels, the demons, lost that war and were cast out of heaven to the earth. God's faithful spirit sons rejoiced that Satan and his demons were gone. Humans, however, would experience no such joy. Instead, the Bible foretold: `Woe for the earth ... because the Devil has come down to' you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.' - Revelation 12:7, 9, 12." ("What Does the Bible Really Teach?" Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York: Brooklyn NY, 2005, pp.8-9. Emphasis original).

So the Bible speaks of both Michael and `his angels' and Jesus and `his angels.' (Matthew 13:41) This verse:

Mt 13:41 NWT. The Son of man will send forth his angels, and they will collect out from his kingdom all things that cause stumbling and persons who are doing lawlessness,

actually refutes JW's claim that this all happened "Soon after" "the year 1914". Where are the "angels" who "will collect out from his kingdom all things that cause stumbling and persons who are doing lawlessness"?

The Bible also speaks of "his angels" being the Father's, and also of "the angels of God" and "God's angels":

Rev 3:5 NWT. He that conquers will thus be arrayed in white outer garments; and I will by no means blot out his name from the book of life, but I will make acknowledgment of his name before my Father and before his angels.

Lk 12:8 NWT. "I say, then, to YOU, Everyone that confesses union with me before men, the Son of man will also confess union with him before the angels of God.

Heb 1:6 NWT. But when he again brings his Firstborn into the inhabited earth, he says: "And let all God's angels do obeisance to him."

The JW fallacy here is assuming that they cannot be the same angels under a hierarchy of leaders, i.e. God the Father -> Jesus -> Michael. That is, Michael's angels are a subset of Jesus' angels which are also God the Father's angels. For example, President Bush is (at the time of writing) Commander-in-Chief of the all US forces, yet he has leaders under him, such as General Petraeus, who has a subset of the same US forces under him in Iraq. So the President could speak of his soldiers in Iraq, and General Petraeus could also speak of his soldiers in Iraq, yet they are the same soldiers!

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- This too is false. As we saw above, there in nothing in the Bible that says that Michael the archangel heads an army, and the Bible does say of Jesus "that the armies that were in heaven were following him." So the evidence is that what angels Michael has under his command are part of Jesus' "armies".

it is logical to conclude that Michael is none other than Jesus Christ in his heavenly role. Again "logical" is yet another of those weak words, like "indicates" and "suggests," which shows that the Watchtower has no adequate evidence "that Michael is none other than Jesus Christ," and indeed the very evidence it cites, refutes its claim!

So, as we have seen in this two-part post, it is in fact illogical (to put it mildly) for the Watchtower "to conclude that Michael [the archangel] is none other than Jesus Christ"!

But then, the Watchtower does not really conclude that Jesus Christ is Michael the archangel. Rather it starts with the assumption that Jesus Christ is not God, but it then has the problem of who then Jesus is. It has to be someone in the Bible, and Michael the archangel is the best (i.e. least worst) candidate! So having no other alternative, the Watchtower scratches around for Bible verses to support its apriori assumption. But as we have seen those very verses that the Watchtower assembles to support its claim "that Michael [the archangel] is none other than Jesus Christ", actually refute its claim!

PS: Below are `tagline' quotes all from non-Watchtower literature critical of the Watchtower's claim that Jesus Christ is Michael the archangel, i.e. "Michael is another name for Jesus Christ," "Jesus himself is the archangel Michael" and "Michael is none other than Jesus Christ ..." See `tagline' quotes at the end of part #1 all from Watchtower literature in support of that claim.

Stephen E. Jones.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & TheShroudofTurin


"Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God. (KJV) This verse is one of the Jehovah's Witnesses' favorites, in their attempt to `prove' that Jesus Christ is a mere created being, the first angel that God made. `Look!' they say. `Jesus is `the beginning of the creation.' But they should be careful. They will tell you that God the Father is the speaker at Revelation 21:6 and 22:13, yet in both verses he calls himself `the beginning.' Therefore, `the beginning' must mean something else other than the first thing created. Actually, in each of these cases, the Greek text says arche, a word listed in Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words as having such varied meanings as `beginning,' `power,' `magistrate,' and `ruler.' The Watchtower Bible translates the plural of the same word as `government officials' at Luke 12:11. It is the root of our words archbishop, architect, and other words referring to someone who is chief over others. Thus, the New International Version at Revelation 3:14 says that Christ is `the ruler of God's creation.' So there is no basis for claiming that Revelation 3:14 makes Jesus Christ a created being." (Reed, D.A., "Jehovah's Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse," [1986], Baker: Grand Rapids MI, Thirty-first printing, 2006, pp.103-104. Emphasis original).

"Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1 `... . Michael, one of the foremost princes, came to help me. ... Michael, the prince of you people... . And during that time Michael will stand up, the great prince who is standing in behalf of the sons of your people... .' (NWT) The Watchtower Society teaches Jehovah's Witnesses that Jesus Christ was a mere angel, who was born as a human, died as a sacrifice for sins, and was raised up as an angel once again. They refer to him as `Jesus Christ, whom we understand from the Scriptures to be Michael the archangel ...' (The Watchtower, 2/15/79, p. 31). But is that really what the Bible teaches? Or is it, rather, a teaching that Watchtower leaders superimpose on Scripture? God's inspired Word mentions Michael five times-as (1) `one of the foremost princes' (Dan. 10:13, NWT); (2) `the prince of [Daniel's] people' (Dan. 10:21, NWT); (3) `the great prince who is standing in behalf of the sons of [Daniel's] people' (Dan. 12:1, NWT); (4) `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 (5) a participant in heavenly conflict when `Michael and his angels battled with the dragon' (Rev. 12:7, NWT). Which of these verses state that Michael is Jesus Christ? None of them! It is necessary to read Scripture plus a complicated Watchtower argument to reach that conclusion." (Reed, 1986, pp.46-47. Emphasis original).

"The Society also turns for support to another verse that does not use the name Michael but says that `the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel's voice and with God's trumpet' (1 Thess. 4:16, NWT). But, if using an archangel's voice makes the Lord an archangel, then having God's trumpet makes him God- even though Watchtower leaders would have us look at only the first part of the verse." (Reed, 1986, p.47. Emphasis original).

"Does the Bible teach elsewhere that Jesus Christ is a mere angel? To the contrary, the entire first chapter of Hebrews was written to show the superiority of the Son of God as compared to angels. Verse after verse contrasts the angels with `... His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person ... having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say: 'You are My Son, today I have begotten you'? ... But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: 'Let all the angels of God worship Him.' And of the angels He says: 'Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.' But to the Son He says: 'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever... .' And: `You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth... .' (Heb. 1:2-8, 10, NKJV) 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'-something no angel could do-even according to the Watchtower's own translation of Hebrews 1:3 (NWT)." (Reed, 1986, pp.47-48. Emphasis original).

"Moreover, good angels consistently refuse to accept worship. When the apostle John fell down to worship at the feet of an angel, the angel rebuked him, saying, `Be careful! Do not do that! ... Worship God' (Rev. 22:8-9, NWT). But the Father's command concerning the Son is to `let all God's angels worship him' (Heb. 1:6, NWT, 1961 edition). In later editions, the Watchtower Society changed `worship' to `obeisance' at Hebrew 1:6. Still, regardless of how it is translated, the same Greek word proskuneo is used at both Rev. 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. So, the Son cannot be an angel, but must be God. (See discussion of Heb. 1:6.)" (Reed, 1986, p.47).

"Persons who stop following the Watchtower organization, and start following Jesus Christ, soon come to appreciate that he is no mere angel. This realization is important, in order that they may `honor the Son just as they honor the Father' (John 5:23, NWT)." (Reed, 1986, p.47).

"Even the nonegocentric interpretations in The Finished Mystery [Russell, C.T., "Studies in the Scriptures: Series VII-the Finished Mystery," International Bible Students Association, Brooklyn NY, 1917] tend to run contrary to current Watchtower teachings in ways that prove quite startling. For example, while the sect's leadership today interprets `Michael and his angels' at Revelation 12:7 to mean Jesus Christ (alias Michael the archangel) and subordinate angels, this book says that Michael is `the Pope' and his angels are `the Bishops' (p. 188). And in discussing Revelation 1:8 it says that `since His resurrection' Jesus can `be called the Almighty' (p. 15)." (Reed, D.A., "Jehovah's Witness Literature: A Critical Guide to Watchtower Publications," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1993, p.58)

"Michael the Archangel The Watchtower says, `Jesus Christ further deserves honor because he is Jehovah's chief angel, or archangel.' (The Watchtower, February 1, 1991, page 17) 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 that understanding really come `from the Scriptures'? Or is it, rather, a teaching that Watchtower leaders superimpose on Scripture? 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). Does one of these verses say that Michael the archangel is Jesus Christ? No. It is necessary to read Scripture plus a Watchtower argument to reach that conclusion." (Reed, D.A., 1996, "Answering Jehovah's Witnesses: Subject by Subject," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, Second printing, 1998, pp.157-158. Emphasis original).

"That argument is presented this way 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.'" (Reed, 1996, p.158).

"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 Him God. The same logic must be applied to the entire verse, not just part of it." (Reed, 1996, pp.158-159. Emphasis original).

"Does the Bible teach anywhere else 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 NW)." (Reed, 1996, p.159).

"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 a later edition of its Bible the Watchtower Society 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. Persons who stop following the man-made Watchtower organization and start following Jesus Christ soon come to appreciate that the Son of God is no mere angel. This realization is important, in order that they may `honor the Son just as they honor the Father.' (John 5:23 NWT)" (Reed, 1996, p.159).

"Moreover, even when a JW begins to question his beliefs and to search for God, starting him off with the Trinity doctrine is like introducing a youngster to mathematics by starting him off with college calculus instead of elementary arithmetic. In most cases it is necessary for a Witness first to discover that the Watchtower organization is a false prophet incapable of providing salvation, second to recognize a personal need for the Savior Jesus Christ, and third to undertake a systematic study with the aim of deprogramming and relearning. Watchtower ideas must be removed from the brain one by one and be replaced with accurate Bible understanding. Even at that point in time it is usually best to approach theological questions with a JW (or former JW) in this sequence: 1 Demonstrate that Jesus is not a mere angel. (See Michael the Archangel.) Allow time for the Witness to get accustomed to this knowledge before pressing on to establish who Jesus is. 2 Allow Scripture to reveal the personality of the Holy Spirit. (See Holy Spirit.) 3 Let the individual read the four Gospels-maybe even the whole New Testament-in a Bible that does not contain the New World Translation's theological distortions. 4 Point out biblically the deity of Christ and the deity of the Holy Spirit. 5 Explain that, although the Bible does not feature the word Trinity, it is a term that believers have found helpful in expressing the biblical concept that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, yet there is only one God. Pushing new ex-JWs on the issue of the Trinity seldom gets them to accept it; rather, such pressure sometimes pushes them back into the Watchtower camp, or drives them to fellowship among themselves in isolated groups. The best approach, in my experience, is to lead them to God's Word and allow the Holy Spirit to teach them correct theology." (Reed, 1986, pp.218-219. Emphasis original).

"Daniel 10:13,21; 12:1-Michael the Great Prince Based upon these verses, Jehovah's Witnesses argue that in His prehuman state Jesus was the archangel Michael and was a great prince of the people of God. They also say that the prophecy in Daniel 12:1 points to Michael's (Jesus') enthronement as king in heaven in 1914. ['Your Will Be Done on Earth,' Watchtower Bible & Tract Society: Brooklyn, 1958, p.310] Indeed, `the Michael that stands up as the `great prince' to fulfill Daniel 12:1 is the Lord Jesus Christ at God's right hand.' [Ibid., p.313] (The phrase `stand up' is interpreted by the Watchtower Society to mean `take control and reign as king.' [Ibid., p.311]) According to Watchtower theology, then, these verses in Daniel indicate that Jesus was Michael in both His prehuman state and in His posthuman state (that is, following His resurrection). Jesus' progressive existence may be summed up as angel-human-angel." (Rhodes, R., 1993, "Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah's Witnesses," Harvest House: Eugene OR, Reprinted, 2006, pp.176-177. Emphasis original).

"The Biblical Teaching. As you respond to the Watchtower interpretation of Daniel 10:13,21 and 12:1, there are several important points you will want to make. First: Ask ... o Where in the text of Daniel 10 and 12 is there any explicit statement that this is a reference to Jesus Christ? The Jehovah's Witnesses will not be able to point you to such an explicit statement. But they will probably try to argue that Michael is called a `chief prince,' thus appealing to his authority over the other angels. This must be Christ, they will tell you. However, it is vital to mention that in Daniel 10:13 Michael is specifically called `one of the chief princes' (emphasis added). The fact that Michael is `one of' the chief princes indicates that he is one among a group of chief princes. How large that group is, we are not told. But the fact that Michael is one among equals proves that he is not unique. By contrast, the Greek word used to describe Jesus in John 3:16 is monogenes-which means `unique,' `one of a kind.' Ask ... o If Jesus is the first and highest of all created beings, as the Watchtower teaches-and if Jesus in His prehuman state was Michael the Archangel-then why is Michael called `one of the chief princes' in Daniel 10:13? o Doesn't this verse indicate that Michael is one among a group of equals? You will also want to emphasize that Jesus is never called `Chief Prince' in the Bible. (If they argue that He is called that in Daniel 10:13, ask them again where Jesus is explicitly mentioned in the text.) The fact is, Jesus is called the `King of kings and Lord of lords' in Revelation 19:16. This is a title that indicates absolute sovereignty and authority. A King of kings/Lord of lords is much higher in authority than a mere `Chief Prince' (who is one among equals). The first one has absolute sovereignty and authority; the latter has derived, limited authority." (Rhodes, 1993, pp.177-178. Emphasis original).

"As stated in earlier chapters, you might want to point out that the whole focus of Hebrews 1-3 is to demonstrate the superiority of Jesus Christ-including His superiority over the prophets (1:1-4), the angels (1:5-2:18), and Moses (3:1-6).22 How is this superiority demonstrated? Christ is shown to be God's ultimate revelation (1:1); He is affirmed as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe (1:2,3); and He is said to have the very nature of God (1:3). None of these things could be said of the prophets, the angels, or Moses. We read in Hebrews 1:5-2:18 of Christ's superiority over the angels. In Hebrews 1:5, we are told that no angel can ever be called God's son: `To which of the angels did He [God] ever say, `Thou art My Son...'?' Since Jesus is the Son of God, and since no angel can ever be called God's Son, then Jesus cannot possibly be the archangel Michael. Ask... o If no angel can ever be called God's Son (Hebrews 1:5)-and if Jesus is in fact the Son of God-then doesn't this mean that Jesus cannot be the archangel Michael?" (Rhodes, 1993, p.178. Emphasis original).

"Moving on to Hebrews 1:6, we are told that Christ is worshiped (proskuneo) by the angels. As noted earlier in chapter 5, this is the exact same word used in reference to worshiping Jehovah God. Christ was worshiped with the same kind of worship rendered to the Father. There can be no getting around this fact. Jesus is not an angel; He is worshiped by the angels. Commentator Ray Stedman's point about this passage is worth repeating. He notes that `in the Song of Moses, the angels are called to worship Yahweh (Jehovah). New Testament writers apply such passages without hesitation to Jesus. Many places in Scripture witness the obedience of the angels, notably Job 38:7, Luke 2:13, and Revelation 5:11-12. Mark 3:11 indicates that even the demons (fallen angels) fell down before Jesus when they saw him and addressed him as the Son of God.' [Stedman, R., "Hebrews," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1992, p.29]." (Rhodes, 1993, p.178. Emphasis original).

"Another argument that can be drawn from the Book of Hebrews is that we are explicitly told in Hebrews 2:5 that the world is not (and will not be) in subjection to an angel. Interestingly, the Dead Sea Scrolls (discovered at Qumran in 1947) reflect an expectation that the archangel Michael would be a supreme figure in the coming Messianic Kingdom. It may be that some of the recipients of the Book of Hebrews were tempted to assign angels a place above Christ. Whether or not this is so, Hebrews 2:5 makes it absolutely clear that no angel (the archangel included) will rule in God's kingdom. Christ the glorified God-man will reign supreme (Revelation 19:16). Now, if no angel can rule the world (Hebrews 2:5), then Christ cannot be the archangel Michael, since Scripture repeatedly says Christ is to be the ruler of God's kingdom (e.g., Genesis 49:10; 2 Samuel 7:16; Psalm 2:6; Daniel 7:13,14; Luke 1:32,33; Matthew 2:1,2; 9:35; 13ff.; Revelation 19:16). Do not allow the Jehovah's Witness to sidestep this issue. Ask... o If no angel can rule the world (Hebrews 2:5)-and if Scripture clearly says that Christ is ruler of the world (Luke 1:32,33; Revelation 19:16)-then doesn't this mean that Christ cannot be the archangel Michael?" (Rhodes, 1993, p.179. Emphasis original).

"There is one other argument I want to mention. It is based on the biblical doctrine of the immutability of Christ. Immutability-one of the key attributes of God in the Bible-refers to the idea that Christ (as God) is unchangeable, and thus unchanging. This does not mean that Christ is immobile or inactive, but it does mean that He never grows or develops or changes in His essential nature as God. This is in dire contrast to the Watchtower teaching that Christ was created as an angel, later became a human being, and then (at the "resurrection") became an angel again. A key passage relating to the immutability of Christ is Hebrews 1:10-12, where the Father speaks of the Son's unchanging nature: "In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end" (emphasis added). Hebrews 1:10-12 is actually a quotation from Psalm 102:25-27. It is highly intriguing to note that the words in this psalm are addressed to Jehovah, but are applied directly to Jesus Christ in Hebrews 1:10-12. This represents a strong argument for Christ's full deity. Hebrews 1:10-12 teaches that even when the present creation wears out like an old garment, Jesus will remain unchanged." (Rhodes, 1993, p.180. Emphasis original).

"Christ's immutability is also affirmed in Hebrews 13:8, where we are told that `Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever' (emphasis added). If Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then He couldn't have been an angel, become a human, and then been re-created as an angel. Now, it is true that in the incarnation Christ the eternal Son of God took on a human nature, but orthodox scholars have always held that it is the divine nature of Christ that remains unchanged and is therefore immutable. [Walvoord, J.E., "Jesus Christ Our Lord," Moody Press: Chicago IL, 1980, p.30] Unlike the doctrine of the incarnation, the Watchtower Society teaches that Jesus' existence throughout history may be summed up angel-human-angel. This represents a change in nature-and it contradicts Hebrews 13:8 and other passages on Christ's immutability. Ask... o Since Scripture teaches that Jesus is `the same yesterday and today and forever' (Hebrews 13:8), then how can it be said that Jesus was an angel, became a man, and then became an angel again?" (Rhodes, 1993, p.180. Emphasis original).

"1 Thessalonians 4:16-The Voice of an Archangel The Watchtower Teaching. The New World Translation renders 1 Thessalonians 4:16, `The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel's voice and with God's trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first.' The Watchtower Society argues that the Lord Himself issues forth a commanding call with the voice of the archangel, thereby proving that He is the archangel Michael. In support of this interpretation, Aid to Bible Understanding comments, `Michael is the only one said to be the `archangel,' meaning `chief angel' or `principal angel.' The term occurs in the Bible only in the singular. This seems to imply that there is but one whom God has designated chief or head of the angelic host. At 1 Thessalonians 4:16 the voice of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ is described as being that of an archangel, suggesting that he is, in fact, himself the archangel.' ["Aid to Bible Understanding," 1971, p.1152] The Biblical Teaching. In your answer to the Jehovah's Witness begin by addressing the claim that because `archangel' occurs in the singular, this must mean that `there is but one whom God has designated chief or head of the angelic host.' Point the Witness to Daniel 10:13, where Michael is specifically called `one of the chief princes.' The fact that Michael is `one of' the chief princes indicates that he is one among a group of chief princes. How large that group is, we are not told. But the fact that Michael is one among equals proves that he is not totally unique. Ask... o If Jesus is the first and highest of all created beings, as the Watchtower teaches-and if Jesus in His prehuman state was Michael the archangel-then why is Michael called `one of the chief princes' in Daniel 10:13? Doesn't this indicate that Michael is one among equals?" (Rhodes, 1993, pp.181-182. Emphasis original).

"You might also point out that simply because the word `archangel' (in 1 Thessalonians 4:16) occurs in the singular and with a definite article (the archangel) does not mean there is only one archangel. In his book Angels: Elect and Evil, theologian Fred Dickason notes that `the definite article with archangel does not necessarily limit the class of archangel to Michael. The article may be one of identification as the well-known archangel instead of limitation as the only archangel. There may be others of the same class or rank, since he is described as `one of the chief princes' (Dan. 10:13).' [Dickason, F., "Angels: Elect and Evil," Moody Press: Chicago IL, 1975, p. 68, emphasis added] Jewish tradition has always held that there are seven archangels. [Bromiley, G.W., ed., "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia," Vol. 3, Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, 1986, p.347] After sharing this, read 1 Thessalonians 4:16 aloud from a reliable translation, such as the New International Version: `For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.'" (Rhodes, 1993, p.182. Emphasis original).

"Former Jehovah's Witness David Reed suggests mentioning to the Jehovah's Witness that `if using an archangel's voice makes the Lord an archangel, then having God's trumpet makes him God-even though Watchtower leaders would have us look at only the first part of the verse.' [Reed, D.A., "Jehovah's Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1992, p.47] That is a legitimate point. One must be consistent in how one approaches the text. One cannot just use the portion of the verse that-stripped from its context-supports one's view. Ask... o If the reference to the archangel's voice makes the Lord Jesus an archangel, then-to be consistent-doesn't having God's trumpet make Jesus God? (Be sure to mention that you don't believe that having God's trumpet means Jesus is God. Belief in Christ's deity is based on numerous other passages. However, the above question does illustrate the folly of Watchtower reasoning.)" (Rhodes, 1993, pp.182-183. Emphasis original).

"A careful look at 1 Thessalonians 4:16 reveals that the text never explicitly says that Jesus Himself speaks with the voice of the archangel. This is an unwarranted assumption of the Watchtower Society, based on a strong theological bias. It is much more natural and logical to read the verse as saying that when Jesus comes from heaven to rapture the church from the earth, He will be accompanied by the archangel since it is the archangel's voice (distinct from Jesus) that issues the shout. This is not unlike what will happen at the Second Coming of Christ (seven years after the Rapture, following the Tribulation period). At the Second Coming, "the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire" (2 Thessalonians 1:7 NASB, emphasis added). If the angels accompany Christ at the Second Coming, then surely the archangel Michael will accompany Him as well." (Rhodes, 1993, p.183. Emphasis original).

"The Authority to Rebuke Satan. A key observation regarding Michael the archangel is that he does not have the authority to rebuke Satan. Point the Jehovah's Witness to Jude 9, which says, `But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, `The Lord rebuke you!' By contrast, Jesus rebuked the devil on a number of different occasions (see, for example, Matthew 4:10; 16:23; Mark 8:33). [MacGregor, L., "What You Need to Know about Jehovah's Witnesses," Harvest House Publishers: Eugene OR, 1992, p.51] Since Michael could not rebuke the devil in his own authority and Jesus could (and did), Michael and Jesus cannot be the same person. Ask... o Since Michael the archangel could not rebuke the devil in his own authority and Jesus could (and did), doesn't that mean Michael and Jesus cannot be the same person?" (Rhodes, 1993, pp.183-184. Emphasis original).

"Notice in Jude 9 that Michael the archangel said `The Lord rebuke you!' (emphasis added). The Greek word for `Lord' in this verse is kurios. It is the standard word for `Lord' in the New Testament. It is also a direct parallel to the word Yahweh or Jehovah in the Old Testament. Now, it's crucial to note that while Jesus is called kurios ('Lord') many times in the New Testament, Michael is never called kurios. For example, we are told that Jesus is kurios ('Lord') in Philippians 2:9-11, and that at the name of Jesus every knee ill bow in heaven and on earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. The apostle Paul, an Old Testament scholar par excellence, is here alluding to Isaiah 45:22,23: `I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear.' Paul was drawing on his vast knowledge of the Old Testament to make the point that Jesus Christ is kurios and Yahweh-the Lord of all humankind. Now, the point of my saying all this is that when Michael said `the Lord rebuke you,' he was appealing directly to the sovereign authority of the Lord of the universe. And Jesus is clearly the sovereign Lord of the universe." (Rhodes, 1993, p.184. Emphasis original).

"Christ Created the Angels. A final point you will want to make is that Christ is the Creator, and angels are among the created. Colossians 1:16,17 tells us that `by Christ `all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.' Notice that Paul says Christ created `thrones,' `powers,' `rulers,' and `authorities.' In the rabbinic (Jewish) thought of the first century, these words were used to describe the different orders of angels (see Romans 8:38; Ephesians 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Colossians 2:10,15; Titus 3:1). Apparently there was a heresy flourishing in Colossae (to where Paul wrote the Book of Colossians) that involved the worship of angels. The end result of that worship was that Christ had been degraded. To correct this grave error, Paul emphasized that Christ is the one who created all things-including all the angels-and thus, He is supreme and is alone worthy to be worshiped. Since Michael is an angel, he would be one of Christ's created beings. Christ therefore cannot be the archangel Michael." (Rhodes, 1993, p.185. Emphasis original).

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks heaps for that.
I challenged a JW about the michael = Jesus claim, and she came back with a printout of this very passage. So it is a perfect step by step rebuttal.

Thanks.

Stephen E. Jones said...

Anonymous

>I challenged a JW about the michael = Jesus claim, and she came back with a printout of this very passage. So it is a perfect step by step rebuttal.

Thanks for your feedback. What was the JW's response to this rebuttal?

You might also point out to her something that occurred to me later and that is, if Jesus is Michael the archangel, and JW's pray to Jehovah through Jesus, as the Watchtower says they should, then they are praying through an angel.

And as the Watchtower society has pointed out, prayers to "saints" are worthless:

"'Saints' Cannot Intercede with God; Pray to Jehovah Through Jesus Christ" ("Make Sure of All Things, Hold Fast to What Is Fine," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, 1965, p.138).

"Religious arguments to the contrary, this automatically bars any prayers from reaching Jehovah by way of a `back door'; whether it be through the pope at Vatican City or a numberless list of `saints' or, yes, even through Jesus' mother Mary. Not one scripture indicates prayers should be addressed through any of these. Jesus said: `If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.' - John 14:14, NW" ("Let God Be True," [1946], Watchtower Bible & Tract Society: Brooklyn NY, Second edition, 1952, p.159).

Yet Michael the archangel (i.e. St. Michael the archangel) is one of these "list of saints" that the Roman Catholic Church says to pray for:

"The Prayer to Saint Michael is a Christian prayer addressed to Michael the archangel. It is used most prevalently among Catholics." ("Prayer to Saint Michael," Wikipedia).

So JW's (who think Jesus is an angel) are, on the Watchtower's own admission, doing the same as Catholics who pray to God through saints, including St. Mary!

The bottom line is that it would only be acceptable to pray through Jesus if He was God.

Stephen E. Jones

Anonymous said...

If in fact Jesus is Michael the arc angel, " Why doesn't it state that Michael/Jesus Created the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1:1, accoridng to the NWT Jehovah only created one thing Jesus Created all other things....

Stephen E. Jones said...

Anonymous

>If in fact Jesus is Michael the arc angel, " Why doesn't it state that Michael/Jesus Created the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1:1

I don't agree that this is a fair criticism. We learn from the New Testament that the pre-incarnate Jesus, did in fact create all things (Jn 1:3; Col 1:16; Heb 1:2). But this could not be revealed in Genesis 1:1 until Jesus had come.

But what is a fair criticism of the WT's `Jesus is Michael the archangel' teaching is that such an important teaching should be taught by Jesus in the gospels and by Paul in his epistles, but it is *not*.

In fact the WT did not even teach it originally (as documented in Reed, D.A., ed., "Index of Watchtower Errors," 1990, p.85):

"`Let all the angels of God worship him' [that must include Michael, the chief angel, hence Michael is not the Son of God].'" (Watchtower, Nov. 1879, p.48)

"Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the Almighty, of Revelation 1:8." ("Studies in the Scriptures," Vol. 7, 1917, p.15)

"Michael in Revelation 12:7 is the pope of Rome." ("Studies in the Scriptures," Vol. 7, 1917, p.188).

>accoridng to the NWT Jehovah only created one thing Jesus Created all other things....

Which would then make Michael the archangel our true Creator and so he should receive the credit, just as an artist receives the credit for his work, not his parents who `made' the artist!

Stephen E. Jones

Anonymous said...

If Jesus were Michael/Jesus/Michael and will be ruling us forever as Michael.
Why don't they pray in Michael's name?

Stephen E. Jones said...

Anonymous

Thanks for your comment.

>If Jesus were Michael/Jesus/Michael and will be ruling us forever as Michael.

Which is yet another reason why Michael the archangel *cannot* be Jesus, because, as even the JWs own Bible says, angels won't rule in the age to come:

Heb 2:5 NWT "For it is not to angels that he has subjected the inhabited earth to come, about which we are speaking."

>Why don't they pray in Michael's name?

Good point. I have challenged JWs on Shazoolo's YouTube channel, that if they really believe the Watchtower's teaching that Jesus is Michael the archangel, then why don't they stand up in their Kingdom Hall and pray, "in Michael the archangel's name"? But there were no takers!

So clearly JWs don't really believe their own doctrine that Jesus is Michael the archangel, because if they did, it would be no different to a Christian praying "in Christ's name" instead of "in Jesus' name".

Stephen E. Jones

alan said...

Thanks for your post, you have cleard up many things I have been told by JW. I actually like talking to them about the word of God, but I had some concerns regarding my own ignorance about the bibles teachings. I am a strong christian man and was just made a little stronger.

Stephen E. Jones said...

alan

>Thanks for your post, you have cleard up many things I have been told by JW.

Thanks for your feedback. The JW claim that Jesus is Michael the archangel is one of their weakest points, that they cannot now retreat from, and I expect that few, if any, JWs personally believe it.

>I actually like talking to them about the word of God, but I had some concerns regarding my own ignorance about the bibles teachings.

It is important in such discussions not to let JWs set the agenda, but ask them questions about their distinctive doctrines like: "Do you personally believe the Watchtower Society's teaching that Jesus is Michael the archangel"?

The primary aim of a Christian's mission to a JW is to drive a wedge between the individual JW and the Watchtower. That is because the Watchtower, not the Bible, is the JW's ultimate authority.

>I am a strong christian man and was just made a little stronger.

Praise God!

Stephen E. Jones

jambo22 said...

With regard to Michael being the Archangel.You highlight Rev12:7 to suggest he is of equal rank to the other angels.Surely then that text would also suggest that Satan is also only of equal rank to his angels.As in 'Michael and his angels' and 'the dragon and it's angels'.

Stephen E. Jones said...

jambo22

Thanks for your comment.

>With regard to Michael being the Archangel.You highlight Rev12:7 to suggest he is of equal rank to the other angels.

I cannot see in this part #2 post or in the previous part #1, where I suggested in reference to Rev 12:7 that Michael the archangel is "of equal rank to the other angels," i.e. to ALL the other angels, and in fact I don't believe that.

I did state, and believe, that on the basis of Dn 10:13, where "Michael" is called "ONE of the CHIEF princes" (my emphasis), that Michael the archangel is equal in rank with other CHIEF or ARCH-angels, i.e. he is HIGHER in rank to most other angels.

>Surely then that text would also suggest that Satan is also only of equal rank to his angels.As in 'Michael and his angels' and 'the dragon and it's angels'.

No. See above.

The Bible does not say what rank of angel Satan was before he fell, but I assume on the basis of Jude 9 that he was, and is, higher in rank than Michael the archangel.

Stephen E. Jones

Anonymous said...

Hello.

Just like to point out something.

I would be very interested to see if you actually allow this comment in your replies.

You argue upon the basis of "...WITH..." an arch-angels voice.

The Greek is actually (ἐν) "en" Literally and simply "...IN..." So your on a wrong footing with your argument for a start. There are other prepositions that more accurately denote "...WITH..." in Greek.

Another thing why did you not post the KIT literal reading in this instance? It accurately says "...IN..." So does the Empahtic Diaglott.

(GREEK NT) 1st THESS 4:16: “...ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου...” - (Westcott / Hort, UBS4 Variants)

It uses the same preposition three times: "...(IN) command, (IN) voice of arch-angel, and (IN) trumpet of God..." (KIT)

To be continued.

Anonymous said...

Hello again.

There is another thing.

There are variants in the Greek reading here.

First the standard text.

(GREEK NT) 1st THESS 4:16: “... αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος ἐν κελεύσματι, ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου...” - (Westcott / Hort, UBS4 Variants)

"...himself the Lord in [a] genrals-commanding-call, in voice (of) [an] arch-angel and in trumpet (of) God..." My own rough literal translation.

Hers a textual variant:

(GREEK NT-VARIANT) 1st THESS 4:16: “...αὐτός ὁ κύριος ἐν κέλευμα ἐν φωνή ἀρχάγγελος...” - (Tischendorf 8th Ed. with Diacritics)

"...himself the Lord in [a] genrals-commanding-call, in voice [an] arch-angel and in trumpet (of) God..." My own rough literal translation.

Notice the difference:

( ἀρχαγγέλου ) “...( of ) an arch-angel...” the genitive case.

Vs

( ἀρχάγγελος ) “...( a ) arch-angel...” or “...( an ) arch-angel...”

It is the translators perogative wether he puts in an indefinite article in his translation from Greek to English.

To be continued.

Anonymous said...

Hello again.

To continue.

(LATIN NT) 1st THESS 4:16: “...in voce archangeli...”

(SYRIAC NT) 1st THESS 4:16: “...the voice of the Arch-Angel...” - (LAMSA BIBLE)

1st THESS 4:16: “...the voice of the archangel*...” - (ARAMAIC BIBLE Translated by Victor Alexander 2000)
[FOOTNOTE]: *4:16.1 Lit. Ar. id.: "Head of the angels."

Barnes' Notes on the Bible: “...The Syriac renders it, "with the voice of the prince of the angels."...”

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible: “...the Syriac version renders it, "the head", or "prince of angels"...”

I am aware that these commentaries do argue for a trinitarian position, and I am not trying to missrepressent them. I am just (focussing) on pertanent points.

So it's not as simple as it looks.

I suggest you do a bit more research on some of these verses before you assert your position so strongly and selectively quote from JW publications.

And the Syriac translators generally go with "...with..." instead of "in", which I am sure is the literal meaning. Thats there preference.

I do have more to say on the subject, which I will post later.

Anonymous said...

Hello again.

Also you didn't go into any detail about how Jesus is definitely called an "...ANGEL..." twice in the OT.

(LXX) ISAIAH 9:6: “...μεγάλης βουλῆς ἄγγελος...”

(LATIN) ISAIAH 9:6: “...Magni Consilii Angelus...”

(LXX-ENGLISH) ISAIAH 9:6: “...Angel of the Great Council...” - Bagsters LXX.

(HEBREW-ENGLISH) MALACHI 3:1: “...the Angel (Heb. Malak; מַלְאָך) of the Covenant...”

(LXX) MALACHI 3:1: “...ὁ ἄγγελος τῆς διαθήκης...”

(LATIN) MALACHI 3:1: “...angelus testamenti...”

Not to mention he is by Catholics and Protestants alike considered to be:

"...the ANGEL ( of ) the [YHWH/JHVH] LORD..."

For which there is no single verse that says "...Jesus is the Angel of the LORD..."

The same grounds upon which you and others attack JW's.

Making it hypocritical arguement.

Stephen E. Jones said...

Anonymous

>Hello. Just like to point out something.

Thanks for your series of four comments. I will publish each one, reply to it, then decide whether to post your next (that it adds anything new so that my reply is not just "see above"), and if it does, post it and reply to that, and so on.

>I would be very interested to see if you actually allow this comment in your replies.

I will ALWAYS allow a comment if it is: a) on-topic; b) not nasty or otherwise substandard; c) not an attempt to use my blog as a forum for the commenter's own purposes (e.g. is primarily a link to another site); and d) is not an attempt to turn my blog's comments into a debating forum.

>You argue upon the basis of "...WITH..." an arch-angels voice. The Greek is actually (ἐν) "en" Literally and simply "...IN..." So your on a wrong footing with your argument for a start. There are other prepositions that more accurately denote "...WITH..." in Greek.

I had quoted the Watchtower's "What Does the Bible Really Teach":

"1 Thessalonians 4:16 states: `The Lord himself will descend from heaven WITH a commanding call, WITH an archangel’s voice.'" (my emphasis)

which is in turn a quote from the Watchtower's New World Translation's 1Th 4:16, and I was responding to that. You should take it up with the Watchtower if you claim the NWT got it wrong.

>Another thing why did you not post the KIT literal reading in this instance? It accurately says "...IN..." So does the Empahtic Diaglott.

I disagree that the KIT is "the literal reading," given that there is no single meaning of en in NT Greek, and its meaning must be supplied by the context. My other two Interlinears (Marshall's and Green's) translate en as "with" here. That the KIT and ED translate en as "in" in this context reflects poorly on their respective amateur translator's ability.

>(GREEK NT) 1st THESS 4:16: “...ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου...” - (Westcott / Hort, UBS4 Variants)

I am not denying that the Greek is en. But as you presumably know, the preposition en in Greek has a wide range of meanings. My BAGD NT Greek lexicon has over 3 large pages of small font devoted to the various meanings of en.

My one-volume TWNT at p.233 states in the heading for en that it means, "in, on, with, etc." It specifically states:

"2. Another sense of en in this usage is `with,' e.g., `with a rod' in 1 Cor. 4:21, `with his kingdom' in Mt. 16:28, `with his blood' in 1 Jn. 5:6."

My Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT says of "With a shout" at 1Th 4:16, "Note this so-called instrumental use of en."

>It uses the same preposition three times: "...(IN) command, (IN) voice of arch-angel, and (IN) trumpet of God..." (KIT)

Yes. And "IN trumpet of God" shows how SILLY your argument is. Are you seriously claiming that Michael the archangel will be literally "IN" a trumpet?!

And are you claiming that Michael the archangel (who the WT claims is "the Lord") "will descend from heaven ... IN an archangel’s voice."? How will he literally do that?

But if not, what IS your point? Clearly, to avoid absurdity, in the context of 1Th 4:16, en means "with," as even the NWT agrees.

>To be continued.

That depends on how repetitive your comments are. I don't see the point of me having to constantly respond "see above."

Stephen E. Jones

Stephen E. Jones said...

Anonymous

>There are variants in the Greek reading here. First the standard text. [...]
>
>"...himself the Lord in [a] genrals-commanding-call, in voice (of) [an] arch-angel and in trumpet (of) God..." ...

You forgot the Greek equivalent of "and in trumpet (of) God..."

But in any case, you don't state what your point is. If it is that "in" is a better reading than "with," then see my previous comment that it creates the absurdities of: "the Lord ... will descend from heaven ... IN an archangel’s voice and IN God’s trumpet"!

And I am not interested in debating down here in the comments under a 2008 post, textual variants.

As stated in my comment above, in my post I was responding to a quote from the Watchtower's "What Does the Bible Really Teach?," which in turn included a quote from the NWT of 1Th 4:16.

So take your textual variants up with the Watchtower.

>Hers a textual variant: [...] "...himself the Lord in [a] genrals-commanding-call, in voice [an] arch-angel and in trumpet (of) God..." ...
>
>Notice the difference: ...( of ) an arch-angel...” the genitive case.
>
>Vs ... ( a ) arch-angel...” or “...( an ) arch-angel...”

See above on textual variants. And again, you don't state clearly what your point is.

>It is the translators perogative wether he puts in an indefinite article in his translation from Greek to English.

Presumably this is finally your point?

Well, my point in my blog post above is that there is no article in the Greek and so the NIV is wrong in its "the archangel" translation of 1Th 4:16. It should be either "archangel" or "an archangel."

Then either way, it makes no difference to my argument, which was:

"Paul's `an archangel' [or archangel] implies that there is more than one archangel [as the Jews thought and the Bible indicates where Michael in Dn 10:13 NWT is just "ONE of the foremost princes"], otherwise he would have written `the archangel' if Paul had thought there was only one archangel."

Even then it would be a HUGE stretch to make that archangel into "the Lord" (which in Greek is ho kurios and so Hebrew would be ha Adon'). In which case, if the Watchtower was consistent in its admission that:

"the [true] Lord' ... ha-A-don' ... this prefixing of the definite article before the title a-don' limits the application of the title to Jehovah God" (NWT, 1961, p.1453)

then 1Th 4:16 NWT should read:

"because JEHOVAH himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet ..."

In fact the footnote to "the Lord" (1Th 4:16) in the NWT, 1985, p.1422, admits that four of its "J" Hebrew NT translations, J7,8,13,14, rendered ho kurios as "Jehovah," and presumably the rest rendered it ha-A-don', which amounts to the same thing.

There is simply NO WAY that a devout 1st century Jew as Paul was (or any devout Jew of any century), would designate an angel "ho kurios," which to his Hebrew mind would be ha-A-don', i.e. "Jehovah."

Indeed that is what Paul and the other NT writers did think. To Paul and them, Jesus was ha-A-don', Jehovah, come in the flesh.

>To be continued.

Stephen E. Jones

Stephen E. Jones said...

Anonymous

>(LATIN NT) 1st THESS 4:16: “...in voce archangeli...”
>
>SYRIAC NT) 1st THESS 4:16: “...the voice of the Arch-Angel...” - (LAMSA BIBLE)
>
>1st THESS 4:16: “...the voice of the archangel*...” - (ARAMAIC BIBLE Translated [FOOTNOTE]: *4:16.1 Lit. Ar. id.: "Head of the angels."

Irrelevant. These are all just translations of the Greek NT. So they carry no more authority than any other translation in settling disputes, including the NIV which added the definite article "the" before "archangel" in 1Th 4:16, when it isn't there in the Greek.

And see my previous points that:

1) the NWT and KIT disagrees with you, because they have "of archangel" (KIT) and "an archangel" (NWT) not "the archangel."

2. The Gk of 1Th 4:16, Dn 10:13 NWT (Michael is only "ONE of the foremost princes") and Jewish thought (which in the 1st century recognized seven archangels) is against there being only one archangel.

3) Even if there was only one archangel, there is NO WAY that Paul would have called him "the Lord" (Gk. ho kurios = Heb. ha Adon' = Jehovah).

>Barnes' Notes on the Bible: “...The Syriac renders it, "with the voice of the prince of the angels."...” Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible: “...the Syriac version renders it, "the head", or "prince of angels"...”

Again, this "Syriac" is just another translation of the NT Greek. See above.

Also, you omit what Barnes said immediately before your quote of him:

"The word here (in Greek) is without the article, and the phrase might be rendered, `with the voice of an archangel.'" (Barnes, A., "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament," 1962, p.1099. Emphasis original).

Actually Barnes makes a good point, that there are "Seven angels ... referred to in the Scriptures ... are commonly regarded as archangels":

"... the only archangel, therefore, which is named in the Scriptures, is Michael, Jude 9. Comp. Rev. xii. 7. Seven angels, however, are referred to in the Scriptures as having an eminence above others, and these are commonly regarded as archangels, Rev. viii. 2. "And I saw the seven angels which stood before God." (Ibid).

>I am aware that these commentaries do argue for a trinitarian position, and I am not trying to missrepressent them. I am just (focussing) on pertanent points.

You are misrepresenting Barnes by ignoring pertinent points that he made (see above). But then if you are a WT-loyal JW, then you have no choice.

>So it's not as simple as it looks.

It IS simple. But that is your WT tactics. To throw in red-herrings make it LOOK complicated.

>I suggest you do a bit more research on some of these verses before you assert your position so strongly and selectively quote from JW publications.

You are kidding yourself. There is nothing in your "research" that contradicted anything I wrote in my blog. Mostly it was a series of irrelevant red-herrings.

And all quotes are selective, including yours, but at least I did not leave out a sentence immediately before a point I made, that would have undermined it. But then I am not a JW practicing WT-approved "theocratic warfare in which "for the purpose of protecting the interests of God's cause [i.e. the WT] it is proper to hide the truth from God's enemies [i.e. non-JWs]." (WT, 6/1/60, p.352).

>And the Syriac translators generally go with "...with..." instead of "in", which I am sure is the literal meaning. Thats there preference.

See previous comment and above.

>I do have more to say on the subject, which I will post later.

Stephen E. Jones

Stephen E. Jones said...

Anonymous

>Also you didn't go into any detail about how Jesus is definitely called an "...ANGEL..." twice in the OT.

It didn't occur to me.

But I certainly agree that there is a being in the OT called mal'ak yehowah ("the Angel of Yahweh" or "the angel of the LORD") who was the pre-incarnate Jesus:

"While any angel sent to execute the commands of God might be called the angel of the Lord (II Sam. 24:16; I Kings 19:5,7), yet mention is made of an angel under circumstances that justify one in always thinking of the same angel, who is distinguished from Jehovah, and yet is identified with him (Gen. 16:10,13; 18:2-4, 13,14,33; 22:11,12,15,16; 31:11,13; Ex. 3:2,4; Josh. 5:13-15; 6:2; Zech. 1:10-13; 3:1,2), who revealed the face of God (Gen. 32:30), in whom was Jehovah's name (Ex. 23:21), and whose presence was equivalent to Jehovah's presence (Ex. 32:34; 33:14; Isa. 63:9). The angel of the Lord thus appears as a manifestation of Jehovah himself, one with Jehovah and yet different from aim." (Gehman, H.S. & Davis, J.D., 1944, "The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible," p.29).

"[Mal 3:1] This Lord is also `the messenger of the covenant.' ... This messenger of the covenant is the same person God sent ahead of Israel as they left Egypt (Ex 23:20-23), in whom Yahweh placed his own `name' (23:21). There can be no mistaking his identity, for to equate the name of God with his angel or messenger is to call him divine! Elsewhere this messenger is called `the Angel of the LORD,' which is also understood to be a preincarnate appearance of Christ, or a Christophany (Ex 33:14-15; Jdg 6:12; Isa 63:9)." (Kaiser, W.C., 1995, "The Messiah in the Old Testament," p.228).

>(LXX) ISAIAH 9:6: “...μεγάλης βουλῆς ἄγγελος...”
>
>LATIN) ISAIAH 9:6: “...Magni Consilii Angelus...”
>
>LXX-ENGLISH) ISAIAH 9:6: “...Angel of the Great Council...” - Bagsters LXX.

My Bagster's LXX has "Messenger of great counsel."

According to my The Interlinear Bible, the Hebrew of Isa 9:6 does not have the Hebrew word "mal'ak" - "messenger, angel."

And my previous comments about translations apply.

>HEBREW-ENGLISH) MALACHI 3:1: “...the Angel (Heb. Malak; מַלְאָך) of the Covenant...”

Yes! See above.

>(LXX) MALACHI 3:1: “...ὁ ἄγγελος τῆς διαθήκης...”
>
>(LATIN) MALACHI 3:1: “...angelus testamenti...”
>
>Not to mention he is by Catholics and Protestants alike considered to be:
>
>"...the ANGEL ( of ) the [YHWH/JHVH] LORD..."

Agreed! See above.

>For which there is no single verse that says "...Jesus is the Angel of the LORD..."

Agreed. But so what? There are MANY verses which cumulatively point to Jesus being the Angel of Yahweh.

>The same grounds upon which you and others attack JW's.

I presume you mean my claim that the WT's "Jesus is Michael the archangel" teaching is so important, about who Jesus is, that if it were true, it would be taught clearly by Jesus in the gospels and by Paul in his epistles, but it isn't.

>Making it hypocritical arguement.

No. I don't require that JW prove their "Jesus is Michael the archangel" claim by a single verse that says it.

Stephen Jones