Answering JW Objections to the Deity of Christ

(Originally printed in the Winter 2004 Issue of the MCOI Journal )

Who is Jesus target graphic_edited-2In our last Journal, we discussed the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society’s (WTBTS’s)* Should You Believe in the Trinity1, Should You Believe in the Trinity? (Brooklyn, NY WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF NEW YORK, INC., 1989)] booklet, especially looking at how that publication intentionally misrepresents and misquotes scholars in order to make their case that the Deity of Christ/Trinity doctrine is an unreasonable and false teaching “borrowed” from and rooted in pagan sources. We showed that they deliberately misrepresented the views of Christian scholars—from the early Church “Fathers’ to modern-day academics—and that they also used many scholars of a liberal bent (many who even reject the validity of the Bible as the infallible Word of God), as well as Unitarians and others to give supposedly scholarly support for their erroneous view on the nature of God and Jesus Christ.

In this Journal, we intend to examine and refute some of the ostensibly Biblical and/or rational arguments against the Christian Doctrine of the Trinity/Deity of Christ that are advanced by the WTBTS and employed by Jehovah s Witnesses (JWs) in their discussions with Trinitarians.

Most Christians, when discussing (or attempting to discuss) the Deity of Christ with a JW will first bring up John 1:1. which, in their minds, should settle the matter all by itself After all, John 1:1 clearly states:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (NASB)

But nothing is as easy as it seems when dealing with the JWs, as countless unwary Christians have found to their consternation. Where the Bible is extremely clear about the Deity of Christ, the Bible must be changed; and in the WTBTS’s New World Translation (NWT), it is! John 1:1 in the NWT states: 

In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God and the Word was a god. (NWT)

Voila! Jesus isn’t the true God but is merely a god. Not the true God—not really a false god either—but something in the fuzzy wuzzy twilight zone between. They justify this monumental alteration of the text by claiming to use the following principle: The first instance of theos (the Greek word for God) used in John 1:1 has the definite article ho (or the) in front of it, so it must be translated as big “G” God; while the second instance of theos is anarthrous (does not have the definite article the), which indicates, they claim, that this is not THE God but merely a god.

The WTBTS translation of the verse is untenable on several grounds. The most serious problem with their rendering, aside from the fact that it robs Christ of His full deity, is the fact that it makes the Apostle John a polytheist! There is only ONE God! (Isaiah 43:6) Robert M. Bowman Jr. writes: 

…by translating “a god” the JWs have made the Bible contradict Itself … the Bible flatly denies over and over that there are any other real, true gods besides the one true God. Since the Word is clearly not a false god, he must be a true God—that is, the only true God, Jehovah.

…the context actually supports very strongly the conclusion that the Word was God, not a secondary, inferior god. The verse begins by saying that the Word was existing “in the beginning,” meaning that the Word was already in existence when time itself began. Thus, the Word was not a creature, but was in fact eternal.2

There are numerous good books available that explain all of the whys and wherefores, grammatically and theologically, about the proper way to translate this verse, and I strongly recommend that you do pick up and read what knowledgeable and learned men have to say about this and other pertinent issues from a scholarly perspective. The more you learn, the more confident you will feel to discuss the issue with a JW.

Additionally, you can and should point out to the JW that the vast majority of Biblical scholars disagree with the WTBTS’s rendering of John I: I in their NWT and translate the verse as “the Word was God.”

But one obstacle you will encounter is this: JWs are very accustomed to disputing John l:I and generally speaking, have very little respect for scholars anyway—unless their words can somehow be twisted to make them appear to support the NWT’s position (as the WTBTS has done with Dr. Julius Mantey3 and so many others). So rather than go round and round on that point, I like to get them off their game plan a little bit in the hope of actually causing them to think rather than just regurgitate their usual, well-practiced spiel. And, being a simple person, I like a simple plan.

So I generally direct their attention right down the page to John 1:6 in the WTBTS’s own Kingdom Interlinear Translation (KIT)4, The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (Brooklyn, NY: WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF NEW YORK, INC., 1969) Note If you cannot get your hands on a Kingdom Interlinear Translation (KIT), we will be more than happy to send you a photocopy of this page so you can be prepared to show it to the JW. The KIT is a very valuable resource for witnessing to JWs on a vast array of topics. I have recently seen several copies of this interlinear on sale at ebay.com if you want to buy a copy for yourself] where the definite article ho is likewise absent preceding theos: and yet, this verse is translated correctly to say that John the Baptist was “… a man that was sent forth as a representative of God …,” not sent as a representative of “a god.” Why didn’t the WTBTS translating committee (none of whom is a Greek Scholar, by the way) remain faithful to their John 1;1 principle here in this verse?

The answer is simple, of course. They make and break “rules” based on what they are trying to prove at the moment About this issue, Robert H. Countess observes in his book, The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New Testament: 

In the New Testament there are 282 occurrences of the anarthrous theos. At sixteen places the NWT has either a god, god, gods, or godly. Sixteen out of 282 means that the translators were faithful to their translation principle only six percent of the time. To be 94 percent unfaithful hardly commends a translation to careful readers!5

At this point, the JW will likely try to change the subject by asking you just how it is possible for the Word to be the person whom he is with. Always keep in mind, when they begin their bobbing and weaving, that John 1:1 is teaching that Jesus was with God the Father, not with Himself! And even though the Person Jesus is not the Person of the Father, He possesses the very nature of God! To say that you are “human” does not mean that you are a particular human, but that you possess human nature.

Remember in our last Journal article on the Trinity booklet. I used the analogy of the nature of fire to show that God’s nature does not have to be like ours to be reasonable or “possible.” Fire is possible, wouldn’t you agree? Yet it possesses a very different nature than ours—one flame can generate another, and yet the first is not diminished; the two flames can then become one fire again very easily. I find that parallel to be useful here. Applying the analogy to John 1:1, it looks like this:

In the beginning was the flame, and the flame was with fire and the flame was fire.

Of course, I am not suggesting that God is fire. God is God! Fire is merely one of God’s creations. It is interesting, though, that the Bible likens God the Holy Spirit to fire in the Book of Acts to convey the truth that the Holy Spirit was upon all of them as “tongues of fire” or flames (Acts 2:3-4). 

Playing Twenty Questions

So many of the WTBTS’s ostensibly rational objections are based (like their argument above) upon willful ignorance of the Trinitarian teaching that God exists fully and equally as three persons. Jesus could, indeed, be with God the Father, because they are not the same person.

Some (but by no means all) of their similar arguments are as follows: Who was Jesus talking to in the Garden of Gethsemane? Was He praying to Himself? Jesus claimed to be sent from God—did He send Himself? Jesus said the Father was His God? Could God have a God?

Again, all of these things can be easily understood in terms of the tri-personal nature of the Godhead and also in the Incarnation of the Son—Jesus was fully human as well as fully God. As man, Jesus prays to His God—the Father (Mark 14:36). Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, did not send Himself to Earth—He was sent by the Father (1 John 4:14). The Holy Spirit was sent by the Father (John 14:26) and the Son (John 15:26) And while the Son glorifies the Father (John 17:1), the Holy Spirit glorifies the Son (John 16:14). Equality of nature does not necessitate that all three Persons have the same role within the Godhead.

The “Mystery” of the Incarnation

I once heard Robert Bowman characterize the Incarnation something like this: IF Jesus were fully God and fully man, would you expect the alloy to be a straightforward and uncomplicated personage, or would you expect to find some contradictions in the admixture? IF Jesus were both man and God, he would indeed be a paradox! You would find him easily capable of feeding 5000 from a basket of bread and fish, yet also capable of experiencing hunger and thirst. You would see Him exercising power over death by raising Lazarus, yet dying Himself. He would obey God’s law perfectly, and yet identify Himself as the Lord of the Sabbath— putting Himself above the Law! He would foretell the future, yet claim not to know the day and hour of His return to Earth. A paradox, indeed! Some other interesting conundrums concerning Jesus are as follows:

  • James 1:13 teaches that God cannot be tempted, and yet, Jesus was tempted.
  • Habakkuk 1:12 states that God cannot die, yet, Jesus died.
  • John 1:18 says that no man has seen God at any time, and yet, Jesus was certainly seen and handled by the people of His day.

Yet, Jesus was called God by the disciples (John 1:1, John 20:28, 2 Peter 1:1), the Apostle Paul (Colossians 2:9), and Isaiah (Isaiah 9:6). He identified Himself as the “I AM” of Exodus 3:14 (John 8:58), was worshipped by His disciples (Matthew 28:17) and all of the angels (Hebrews 1:6), was identified as the Creator of everything (John 1:2, Colossians 1:15-18), and is given all of the titles of Jehovah God in the Old Testament—Savior (Isaiah 43:11, Titus 1:4), Shepherd (Psalm 23:1, John 10:11), King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1 Tim. 6:15, Rev. 17:14), and so on.

He also possesses God’s attributes such as omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence.

The JWs’ rationalistic rejection of these Biblical enigmas blinds them to the beauty, the compassion, the wonder, and the very purpose of the Incarnation! God became human so that God as man could be seen, so that God could be tempted, so that God could die.

Indeed, we worship a God who shares our sorrows, experienced our physical weaknesses, was stung by betrayal, bore our sins, and tasted death for our sake!

That’s where our love and adoration of Jesus comes in. The JW god did not personally suffer, and does not personally save, but sent his inferior “junior partner” (Michael the Archangel) to Earth to suffer and die. Michael’s supposed sacrifice does not save anyone, but merely offers mankind the opportunity to save themselves through their own efforts. No great gift here.

 The “Whys” and “Hows”

JW objections are often presented as “whys” and “hows.” Why did Jesus say this, and how did he do that? It is important to stress at some point in the discussion that Christians believe what the Bible teaches—whether or not we always understand the “hows” and the “whys” of everything stated therein. You might point out to the JW that he also believes many things he would not be able to fully explain to an inquiring skeptic, since he, like you, is a finite human being attempting to comprehend and explain the infinite. For one example, he and you both believe that God parted the Red Sea, but neither of you can even begin to explain HOW He did it to a skeptic. The skeptic may reject the Bible teachings he cannot fully understand, but as a Bible-believing Christian, you do not.

The “hows” and “whys” that the JW are taught to throw at you are similarly based upon a rejection of a Bible teaching that he cannot understand or does not want to accept and are intended to confuse the issue or throw you off your footing. Let’s examine some of them.

 Why did Jesus say He did not know the day or hour of His return, but the Father did? (Mark 13:32) If Jesus was God, wouldn’t He know all things?

In reference to Mark 13:32, the Trinity booklet argues (on page 19) that Jesus cannot be God because He had limited knowledge:

Had Jesus been the equal Son part of a Godhead, he would have known what the Father knows. But Jesus did not know, for he was not equal to God.

Again, Jesus is also a man, and he was speaking as a man. But besides this, it is ludicrous that the JWs use this argument against Christ since they do not believe that God the Father knows all things! Their “Jehovah” is a limited (finite) god who chooses to be ignorant of some things, such as the choices and the ultimate fate of His creatures. Their god is not omniscient; he is only a pretty good guesser of what is going to happen. Duane Magnani of Witness Inc. refers to the JW’s god as “the Heavenly Weatherman,” who does his best to forecast what may happen, based on certain calculations he makes. They even go so far as to assert that if God knew the future, he would be responsible for all the evil in it! The WTBTS 1985 book. Reasoning from the Scriptures, states on page 142:

If God foreordained and foreknew Adam’s sin and all that would result from this, it would mean that by creating Adam, God deliberately set in motion all the wickedness committed in human history.

Obviously, the WTBTS does not know the difference between foreordination and foreknowledge. Even I, as a finite human being with no power to foretell the future, knew before my children were even born that they were going to commit sins and do wrong things. Does that make me responsible for the wrong choices they made of their own free will?

As another example of their teaching in regard to Gods omniscience. the July 15, 1984 THE WATCHTOWER** states on page 5:

If God knew that Adam and Eve were doomed to failure, placing everlasting life before them would have been a cruel hoax.

It is a terrible shame they do not understand God’s gracious provision for mankind’s predicament—how sinful men and women can receive by faith the imputed righteousness of Christ and, indeed, inherit eternal life despite their many failures. But I digress…

The WTBTS theology book Insight on the Scriptures, vol. 1, page 853, asserts:

The argument that God’s not foreknowing all future events and circumstances in full detail would evidence imperfection on his part is, in reality, an arbitrary view of perfection.

To deny Christ’s Deity on the basis of what they themselves claim is “an arbitrary view of perfection” is inconsistent, to put it mildly. But consistency is not their strong suit! The Trinity booklet goes on to say:

Similarly, we read at Hebrews 5:8 that Jesus “learned obedience from the things he suffered.” Can we imagine that God had to learn anything? No, but Jesus did, for he did not know everything that God knew. And he had to learn something that God never needs to learn—obedience. God never has to obey anyone.6

I wonder what goes through their heads that they can ‘forget” that is exactly their own teaching—that God the Father learns things as He goes! And then, He plans accordingly! The January 5. 1964 THE WATCHTOWER, on page 52, says concerning the fall of Adam and Eve:

But as soon as that first human pair sinned God knew it or learned it, because now they felt guilty and hid themselves from sight… Immediately he formed his purpose of ransoming the world of Adam and Eve’s descendants.

But what about their second claim—that if Jesus is God, He would never have had to learn obedience. Think about it—obedience is precisely the thing that Jesus as God incarnate would have to learn at least in an experiential sense. This proves that Jesus could not have been a creature prior to His Incarnation, or He would’ve already experientially understood the concept of obedience. In order to completely identify with us and be our High Priest, he became a man and learned firsthand what it means and how it feels to be obliged—to be obedient—to God, even through suffering and at great cost. 

Why does 1 Corinthians 15:28 claim that Jesus is in subjection to the Father, even after His resurrection to glory? And 1 Corinthians 11:3 says that God is the “head of Christ.” Isn’t the head always superior to the one over whom he exercises headship?

Ron Rhodes, in his excellent book, Reasoning from the Scriptures with Jehovah’s Witnesses, explains:

Jehovah’s Witnesses try to make much of the fact that even now, in the glorified state, Christ is in subjection to the Father. They thus imply that Jesus is not God in the same sense that the Father is. This position assumes, however, that Jesus did not retain His human nature … Because Christ still possesses His human nature, then, Christ is still in submission to the Father. But in no way does this make Jesus lesser than the Father in terms of His divine nature. Christ is the God-man. On the human side, Jesus is lesser than the Father. But on the divine side, Jesus is forever equal to the Father…Another point is that even apart from His humanity, Jesus has always been and always will be in subjection to the Father because this is the nature of the relationship of the Persons in the Trinity.7

Even before Christ’s Incarnation. He did the will of His Father. Just as one example, the Father sent the Son into the World (John 3:16). This in no way implies inferiority of nature. Man is said in 1 Corinthians 11:3 to be “the head of the woman,” and yet, men do not possess a superior nature. No, they really don’t! It’s just a role! Men hold a position of greater authority and the greater responsibility that goes with it, but men and women are human and completely equal in the sight of God. Women are not some inferior genus, as is brought out so eloquently by Paul in Galatians 3:28 where he states that, “there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This issue poses no problem for the Persons of the Trinity Who delight in bringing honor and glory to Each Other, and do not haughtily condescend nor resentfully chafe in Their respective roles. It is fallen human beings, filled with unholy pride, who have such difficulty with the idea. Many JWs (at least the ones I have talked to about this) do seem to think women are some inferior species to men, so this line of reasoning may be difficult for them to grasp. So point the JW s attention to Luke 2:51, where Jesus is said to be in subjection to His earthly parents. Does this, therefore, mean that He was also inferior in nature to Mary and Joseph? Of course not.

Why does Jesus tell His disciples in John 20:17 that He was going to ascend to “my God and your God?”

As the Witnesses continually “misunderstand,” Jesus is both God and man. Speaking as a man. it is perfectly proper for the Son to address the Father as God. The Father likewise addresses the Son as God at Heb. 1:8, which reads, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever…” But this verse has been “fixed” in their New World “Translation” to read, “God is your throne forever and ever…” While it is possible to translate the Greek words this way, the context does not support it at all. Hebrew s 1:6 commands all of God’s angels to worship the Son, and worship belongs to God alone! (Matthew 4:10) Then in Hebrews 1:10-12, we have Jesus directly identified with YAHWEH of the Old Testament! (Compare with Psalm 102:24-27)

I always like to take this opportunity to point out to a JW the curious fact that at Hebrews 1:8, the NWT reads precisely the same as the egregious “New Testament” 8 translated by spirit-medium Johannes Greber, who received his “translation” from “God’s Spirit World.” Now I have a “why” question of my own: WHY would the WTBTS’s translation agree with a demon-inspired one? Is this a “coincidence?” No, not at all. The WTBTS has actually cited Greber’s “translation” to back their own on at least eight different occasions, knowing full well that Greber was a demonically inspired spirit medium!9 They only stopped citing Greber after counter-cult ministries started bringing this embarrassing fact to the attention of JWs who crossed their path. The WTBTS then shamefully attempted to whitewash this whole sordid bit of history by implying that they only came to realize Greber was a medium in 1980. Perhaps the “Spirit World” helped them concoct this lame excuse. It is, of course, an out and out lie, as is proven by the fact that they, themselves, had exposed Greber in their own WATCHTOWER as a spirit medium who trafficked with demons as far back as 1956!

Why did Jesus say at Mark 10:18 that there is “none good but God alone?” Wasn’t He, therefore, acknowledging that He was not God? 

Jesus did not at all deny His Deity, any more than He denied that He was good. He was saying, in effect, l am not just a good teacher. If I am truly good, I am God; since only God is good.” He was affirming His Deity. The man wanted to relate to Him as just one “good man” to another—just the way so many want to relate lo Him today. Among mankind, there is no one who is actually good (Psalm 53:3). All of us are sinners by nature (Romans 3:23). Jesus is truly good (Hebrews 4:15), and is, therefore, God. 

Why did Jesus say, “…the Father is greater than I” at John 14:28?

This is the old standby, the one objection I have heard from every JW I have ever talked to. It is embarrassing that they can catch Christians off guard with this lame protestation. Sigh … Greater does not mean better or superior in nature. It says nothing at all about nature. George Bush is “greater” than any of us because of his position as our President; yet he is not better than the least of us. We all are human; none of us is inferior to any other of us.

Why is Jesus referred to as the “firstborn of all creation” at Colossians 1:15? Doesn’t this prove that Jesus was a created being?

Firstborn does not mean first-created. It is a title, a station, a position. Let’s look at some other passages of Scripture where the term firstborn is used.

  • In Exodus 4:22, the nation of Israel is called by God the firstborn [though it was hardly the first nation in existence (Genesis 10:32)], because it was the pre-eminent nation as far as God was concerned—God’s chosen one.
  • In Psalm 89:27, David is called the firstborn, although he was the youngest—the last born son of Jesse (1 Samuel 17:13-14).
  • First Chronicles 5:1 and Hebrews 12:16 show us that firstborn is a title, a birthright, which can be lost or forfeited. Reuben forfeited his rightful place for evil behavior, and Esau sold his birthright as “the firstborn” to Jacob.
  • In Genesis 41:51-52 and Jeremiah 31:9, Ephraim is called the firstborn, although Manasseh was Joseph’s firstborn son.

If Paul had wanted to call Jesus the “first-created one,” he could have done so, because there is a Greek word for first-create—protoktisis, but Paul did not teach that Jesus was created at all! The firstborn is the Heir of Creation (Hebrews 1:2), the One with the right to rule, which fits exactly with the context. Jesus has the right to rule over all because, as the text goes on to say, “He created all things.” All things! Which very handily brings us to our next point … 

God’s “Junior Partner”

The WTBTS teaches that Jesus is a mere creature. He was the very first creation of Jehovah God, and through Jesus, God’s “junior partner,” all other things were created. The Trinity booklet states, on page 14:

So it was by means of this master worker, his junior partner, as it were, that Almighty God created all other things.

Now this presents us with an opportunity to employ a few choice “how” and “why” questions of our own! HOW did a mere angel, Michael, create everything in the Universe? That is a pretty tall order! It’s all very confusing to me, Mr. Elder, and since you say that the Trinity doctrine cannot be true because it is confusing and contrary to reason, could you explain to me just how Michael the Archangel accomplished that? In detail? 

And WHY would God create only one creature and then use him to create all other creatures? Doesn’t that seem silly? WHY wouldn’t God just create all things, all alone, by Himself? And WHY does the Bible teach that this is exactly what He did? In Isaiah 44:24, YAHWEH (Jehovah) states:

Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, the LORD, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself and spreading out the earth all alone…” (NASB)

Didn’t YAHWEH know that He was not alone, and that He did not create everything by Himself? Didn’t He notice the little “master worker, his junior partner” was there with Him and doing all the creation work? This is puzzling! And WHY did the Apostle John flatly state in John 1:3 that:

All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (NASB)

If NO THING came into being apart from Jesus, and if He is a created “thing,” he had to have created himself! Now that is a REALLY tall order! Could you explain that to me, Mr. Elder? And WHY does this all sound just like Gnostic teaching? 

The Jesus/Michael Connection (or lack thereof)

The WTBTS teaching is that Jesus is a created angel—Michael the Archangel, to be exact—although Jesus is not identified as Michael in the Trinity booklet. Isn’t it rather odd that this publication spends 31 pages to tell us who Jesus is not and does not mention who they believe He is? It’s not as if they had no opportunity in the booklet to identify Jesus as Michael, but instead, they slither around the issue like the sneaky serpents they are. On page 14 of the Trinity booklet under the heading “Jesus a Separate Creation,” they say;

While on earth, Jesus was a human, although a perfect one because it was God who transferred the life-force of Jesus to the womb of Mary.

Now this is very devious. Because you see, according to WTBTS dogma, it was not the life-force of Jesus that was transferred—it was the life-force of Michael the Archangel that was transferred into the womb of Mary. (See THE WATCHTOWER, March 1, I960, page 133.) The person Jesus, in their teaching, did not exist in a pre-human state to be transferred anywhere!

The WTBTS’s Michael/Jesus doctrine is as strange as it is illogical. Although the WTBTS teaches that Michael became Jesus, who became Michael again after his crucifixion, their dogma will not logically support this. Nothing personal of Michael transferred to the womb that day, since (according to the WTBTS) a life-force is an impersonal force—like electricity—that merely animates a body. No personal qualities or attributes are contained therein. And a person ceases to exist when his so-called life-force leaves his body. Again, this is according to the WTBTS. So the angelic person Michael ceased to exist when his life-force (now there is a good New Age term) left his angelic body to enter the womb of Mary. Jesus was a man who received nothing of Michael from the impersonal life-force and who himself completely ceased to exist when he died on Calvary, and his life-force left his body! The July 22, 1979 Awake!, on page 27, declares:

Jesus was dead, he was unconscious, out of existence. Death did not mean a transition to another life for Jesus; rather, non-existence.

The WTBTS teaches that at Jesus’ Resurrection, Jehovah recreated His Son as Michael the Archangel again, and he implanted the first Michael and Jesus’ memories into his brain. Jehovah God had made a “record” of Christ’s (and the first Michael’s) life-pattern, his memories, personality type, and such, and stored the copy in his own brain until they were needed to recreate Jesus as Michael. I kid you not—this is what they teach!10, Awake!, (September 22. 1955). p7 states “How is the individual, the ‘soul,’ with the personality, the life-pattern, resurrected? We might best answer that question by means of an illustration, that of a phonograph recording. The factors combining to make the life pattern are like the sounds recoded on a blank phonograph record that stands for the brain, primarily. At the same time God is having a master disc made of the same life pattern on his marvelous memory. At death the phonograph record is broken, as it were, and what was recorded thereon would be forever lost were it not for the duplicate recording made by God. In the resurrection, God makes a blank record, a human body, and then stamps on its brain the life pattern he has recorded.” And THE WATCHTOWER (January 1, 1983) states on p7, “Surely, the resurrection is an outstanding example of Jehovah’s concern for the individual. Why so? Because it shows that He has kept a record, down to the most minute detail, of the personality of those who are to be restored to life. The Supreme Controller of the universe, with its millions of galaxies and stars, is undaunted by the need to recall all that personality data and to imprint it in a recreated brain and heart”.] There is no real “personal” connection between these three entities, because remember … life-forces are impersonal. About this, the August 8, 1978 Awake! states on page 27:

Thus the spirit could not have personality but must be an IMPERSONAL force. The invisible spirit or life force active in both man and animals might be compared with electricity, also an invisible force. Electricity may be used to run various types of machines and appliances…The same invisible force that produces sound in one appliance can produce heat in another. The electric current, however, NEVER TAKES ON THE CHARACTERISTICS of the machines or appliances in which it functions or is active.

So, apparently Jesus and Michael are no more the same person than a stove or a fan are the same appliance. Electricity (or a force similar to it) empowers both. That is their only “connection.” Jesus is dead and gone forever, and so is the first Michael; while the newly created Michael gets all the glory and put forth none of the effort! New Michael never suffered and died for you and me; he just has an implanted memory of Jesus doing so. For that matter, New Michael never created the universe and all it contains as God’s supposed “junior Partner.” He merely has a memory of the original Michael doing so. And they say that the Trinity Doctrine is unreasonable? 

Another divine name in need of restoration?

Now, laying aside for a moment the glaring fact that there is no such “life-force transferal” humbug to be found in the Bible, wouldn’t this have been a golden opportunity to educate the public about the TRUE identity of Jesus; that rather than being God in his pre-existence, he was the Archangel Michael? One would think that folks who make so much of knowing and proclaiming correct names would be proclaiming Jesus’ real name (Michael) from the housetops? But no, not a peep.

Well, does it really matter what the pre-existent name of Jesus was? Is it perhaps more important, as far as the WTBTS is concerned, that we know what his name is now rather than what it was prior to his coming? No, that cannot be the excuse cither, because Jesus’ name is no longer Jesus! His name is Michael again, according to the WTBTS. The 1974 book, God’s Eternal Purpose Now Triumphing for Man’s Good, on page 155, states,

He (Jesus) resumed his prehuman name, Michael, so again there was a ‘Michael the Archangel’ in heaven.

So IF Jesus “resumed” the name Michael after the Resurrection, why isn’t he called that name in this booklet? Wouldn’t it dishonor Michael to call him by his former name—Jesus—when he existed in pitiful weakness and mere humanity?

With tongue firmly in cheek, I have to say—perhaps the name Michael was originally all throughout the Christian Greek Scriptures until some big, bad, old paganized church father took it out of the manuscript? For example, the original manuscript might have read at 1 Corinthians 1:2:

. . . to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Michael the Archangel, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Michael the Archangel, their Lord and ours.

After all, by the time 1 Corinthians was written, the Lord Jesus no longer existed! Just because there currently are no available autographs or copies that read this way doesn’t mean some copies may not just turn up in the future. Some people could be induced to believe this—if it is repeated often enough. Maybe that divine name should be “restored” also, as the WTBTS has “restored” the name Jehovah into the Greek New Testament, just in case we ever do find ACTUAL PROOF. In any case, unless and until the name Michael is “restored,” however, the Christian Greek Scriptures do not teach that Jesus is any angel named Michael. 

Be Prepared 

Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 3) 

For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. (1 Timothy 1:6-7) 

… but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence ... (1 Peter 3:15)

JWs are often admired for their zealous preaching,” which is a terribly misguided approbation since they must do this “field service” (among many other fruitless works) to earn everlasting life on what the WTBTS calls “Paradise Earth.” Also, because they seem very confident in their ability to wage Bible battle against those whom they meet at the door, and seem to have “Bible” answers for everything (though these “Bible answers” are really just memorized proof-texts), people wrongly assume that JWs really know their Bibles. They don’t!

Simply put, the average JW makes mincemeat out of the average Christian in a Bible discussion because they have been well trained in offense. The reason they all raise identical objections is because they have been taught exactly what to say and how to make your beliefs sound silly or irrational by means of their well-rehearsed attacks. They carry a little brown book around with them (Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985) that gives them prepackaged responses to any defense you may try to make. Most Christians are not even well prepared to make a defense of their faith, much less capable of going on the offensive with JWs. WTBTS dogma is a very complex belief system, filled with logical contradictions, and in a state of constant flux. JWs are often confused and uncertain about what their own organization teaches at any given time (since the “truth” can change from day to day), but they are rarely challenged to defend their beliefs or the fraudulent organization upon which their true faith rests! Christians do not know the questions to ask that would bring this confusion and insecurity to the surface, where it could be probed. As a consequence, the JW usually controls the conversation with ease—which only reinforces in his mind that he has “the truth.”

This is important because these poor souls are lost and blind. However confident they may appear, they are really babes in the woods, going the wrong way on a one-way street. They have no idea of the grace to be found in the Scriptures, no idea of salvation by the mercy of God. They have been caught, deceived, and trapped. So what is the answer?

Out of love, Christians need to learn how to defend their faith from spurious attack, and hopefully even to bring the battle to the JW, making him defend his own quite indefensible beliefs. In this article, we were certainly not able to address every objection that the WTBTS teaches JWs to raise against the Deity of Christ, but there are some excellent books out there that can equip you to defend your faith against these and other objections to Biblical faith. One excellent book is Reasoning from the Scriptures with Jehovah’s Witnesses by Ron Rhodes.11 Another is Why You Should Believe in the Trinity by Robert Bowman,12 which answers most of the objections raised in the WTBTS*s Trinity booklet. I am well aware that it takes time and effort to prepare oneself to witness to Jehovah’s Witnesses. And it will take patience and much prayer to use the knowledge effectively when you are sitting across the table from a person who probably will not wish to hear what you have to say.

If you are stumped by an objection that is thrown to you by a JW or other cultist, you can call our office and receive help and support. We will be glad to make available the documentation that is cited in this article as well as documentation that will answer other common objections you may encounter.

This article addresses only the WTBTS objections to the Deity of Christ. In a future article, I plan to outline a way of showing a JW that Jesus is Yahweh God from the Bible, utilizing infrequently used Bible passages and arguments that we use when discussing the Deity of Christ with JWs—arguments that the average JW has not been trained to counter and that hopefully will cause him or her to have to do a little thinking on his own. God bless you as you witness to the lost.

Love to all,

Joy sig

All bold, italic Scripture quotes are from the NASB version.

  • Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (WTBTS) is the clergy or government of the group known as Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs).

** THE WATCHTOWSR and are the bimonthly publications of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

© 2016, Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc. All rights reserved. Excerpts and links may be used if full and clear credit is given with specific direction to the original content.

  1. (WTBTS
  2. Robert M Bowman Jr., Why You Should Behove in the Trinity (Grand Rapids. Ml: Baker Book House, 1989), p94
  3. Dr. Julius Mantey, letter to WTBTS, 11 July 1974 Dr. Mantey wrote the WTBTS, threatening to sue them if they did not quit trying to use his works to prove their spurious dogma
  4. [WTBTS
  5. Robert H. Countess. The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New Testament (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co..) pp54. 55. Robert H. Countess holds the degrees BA, MA, and PhD from Bob Jones University, the M.L.S. from Georgetown University and the D Min from Drew University He was the Instructor in Greek and Chairman of the Foreign Language Department of Covenant College, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Tennessee State University, instructor in Greek at University of Tennessee at Nashville
  6. Should You Believe in the Trinity? (Brooklyn, NY WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF NEW YORK, INC., 1989) p19
  7. Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 1993). p142
  8. Johannes Greber. The New Testament (Teaneck, NJ Johannes Greber Memorial Foundation. 1980)
  9. The forward of Johannes Greber’s so-called New Testament informs the reader that Greber’s “task {of translation} was not simple. Many contradictions between what appears in the ancient scrolls and the New Testament, as we have grown to know it, arose and were the subject of his constant prayers for guidance – prayers that were answered, and the discrepancies clarified to him, by God’s Spirit World. At times he was given the correct answers in large illuminated letters and words passing before his eyes … His wife, a medium of God’s Spirit World, was often instrumental in conveying the correct answers from God’s messengers.” Greber himself claims in the “Introduction” on page 15 that “Many of the readers of this book who have sought to communicate with God’s Spirit-world have had experiences similar to my own and found the same truths that I have.” One religious organization that “found the same truths” as Greber from the Spirit World is the WTBTS – much of what is taught even today by the WTBTS was received by Judge Rutherford as “new light” from “angelic messengers,” and agrees with Greber’s translation on many important points. The WTBTS itself exposed Johannes Greber in THE WATCHTOWER February 15. 1956, page 111, as a spirit medium who relied on demons to translate the New Testament – yet they subsequently cited Greber’s demonically inspired “New Testament” for support of its own horrifying mistranslation, the New World Translation. Greber’s translation is cited in the following WTBTS publications:

    • Aid to Bible Understanding, pp 1134 and 1669.
    • The Word—Who is He? According to John, p5;
    • Make Sure of All Things, 1965 ed. p489.
    • THE WATCHTOWER (September 15, 1963), p554.
    • THE WATCHTOWER. (October 15. 1975), p640.
    • THE WATCHTOWER, (April 15, 1976), p231.

     

    All of these citations succeeded the Society’s own exposure of Greber in the February 15. 1956 issue of THE WATCHTOWER, and none of these citations mentions the fact that Greber was a spirit medium, which would have identified him as an unreliable reference, to say the least

  10. [WTBTS
  11. Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses (Eugene, OR Harvest House Publishers. 1993)
  12. Robert M. Bowman Jr. Why You Should Believe in the Trinity (Grand Rapids, Ml: Baker Book House. 1989)

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