A Case Study of Watchtower Falsehood (Part III)

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The Watchtower Society being so desperate to indoctrinate their readers against the Trinity doctrine really tried to link it with Paganism (pp. 9-12). But their fabric kept falling apart at its seams.

On page 9, under the heading “The Triads of the Great Gods,” they quoted the Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology to prove that ancient Babylonia and Assyria believed in triad of deities which influenced the Christian Trinity but they left out this part:

He [Anu] was god in the highest sense the supreme god. All other deities honoured him as their ‘Father’ that is to say their chief…” (pp. 54-55).

This wasn’t included because the Babylonian triad actually looks more similar to the Jehovah’s Witness theology of a supreme Father called Jehovah and other lesser gods – Jesus, angels, devil and men – than the historic, orthodox doctrine of the Christian Trinity!

On page 10 are pictures of triad deities and the “Christian Trinity” aimed at ‘proving’ that the Trinity came from paganism. This is actually an appeal to emotion. These deities didn’t influence the Trinity doctrine in any way.

All scholars agree that ancient Babylonian religion was polytheistic, not “trinitarian.” The same goes for ancient Egyptian, Greek, Canaanite and Sumerian religions.

The Egyptian Osiris, Isis and Horus belonged to a large family of gods like Set, Nut, Seb, Apnu etc. with their head being Amon-Ra. Is this the Christian Trinity? Absolutely not.

The tactic of trying to fault the Trinity by pointing to pre-Christian pagan cultures with similar beliefs is not only a fallacy of wrong parallel, it is in fact, lame. In another publication, they stated that:

The universality of the flood accounts is usually taken as evidence for the universal destruction of humanity by a flood … So we can confidently conclude that the Flood legends confirm the reality of the Biblical account.” (The Watchtower January 15, 1992, 8).

If the flood legends in many pagan cultures confirm the Biblical account, then the trinity beliefs in many cultures can confirm the Divine Trinity.

Another thing to note is that, most of the sources they used in an attempt to link the Trinity with paganism were either heretical or anti-Christian works. In other cases where this wasn’t done, they resorted to their favourite tactic – misquotation.

On page 9 for instance, the Encyclopedia Americana (Vol XXVII, 294) was quoted:

“Fourth century Trinitarianism did not reflect accurately early Christian teaching regarding the nature of God; it was, on the contrary, a deviation from this teaching.

But page 301 of the same work says: Neither will Unitarians accept any dogma as true because Scripture teaches it … The Unitarian church … maintains that [the Bible] writers were subject to errors.”

Here they were quoting an article on the Unitarians as an authority on the history of the Trinity! How preposterous!

Why is the Watchtower so desperate that they would resort to quoting the opinions of Bible haters for what Christians are to believe?

Again, on pages 3, 6 and 11, they quote Arthur Weigall’s The Paganism in Our Christianity (1928, 197) which is a Unitarian cultist book:

“The origin of the [Trinity] is entirely pagan.” But the final paragraph of this book has this to say:

The mistaken attitude of Christianity is very largely the fault of St. Paul … Paul was not very interested in Christ the Teacher; he was more concerned with Christ the divine Human Sacrifice.”

Why in the name of integrity would a writer quote a cultist as an authority of Christian belief?

The Watchtower writers couldn’t obviously find works by reputable Christian scholars they could use to attack the Trinity, so they had to use anti-Christians like Alvan Lamson, Andrew Norton or E. W. Hopkins.

Such a feat shows that the Watchtower Society grossly disobeys its own directives in Qualified to be Ministers (1967, p. 199):

Be very careful to be accurate in all statements you make. Use evidence honestly. In quotations do not twist the meanings of a writer or speaker or use only partial quotations to give a different thought than the person intended … And use reliable, capable authority.

On page 14, there is a section titled “Jesus a Separate Creation”. A part of it reads:

“…Jesus was a created spirit being, just as angels were spirit beings created by God…[He] was ‘the first-born of all creation.’ (Colossians 1:15 NJB) He was ‘the beginning of God’s creation.’ (Revelation 3:14, RS)…Yes, Jesus was created by God as the beginning of God’s invisible creation.”

These are claptrap arguments. First, nowhere did the Bible ever say “Jesus was created.” The idea of Jesus being an archangel is totally false and has been addressed here.

That Colossians 1:15 used as “proof” is invalid because the word “firstborn” does not imply “first created”. Two different Greek words are used for them (prototokos and protokistos) respectively.

JWs have craftily added the word “other” in brackets 4 times to Col. 1:14-18 in their translation to support the error that God created Jesus and Jesus made all other things.

But the “firstborn” means “preeminence” and “eternal preexistence” (Strong # 4416). It doesn’t mean ‘first created’. According to Greek scholar Marvin Vincent:

‘First-born’ points to eternal pre-existence …We must carefully avoid any suggestion that Christ was the first of created things, which is contradicted by the following words: ‘in Him were all things created‘” (Word Studies in the New Testament, 1946, 3:468).

The Greek word translated as “beginning” in Rev. 3:14 is “arkhe” which denotes the Creator, Originator or the One Who starts and stops time. In Rev. 21:6 and 22:13, God Himself is called Alpha and Omega, the Beginning [ar-khe] and the End. Therefore, the title applies to God as it applies to Jesus.

From pages 14-20, most of what the booklet attacked are straw man arguments about the Deity of Christ. The Watchtower Society may have convinced JWs that they are demolishing the Deity of Christ there, but what they did all through was slash away at straw man points.

Let me dig up three more misquotations.

Page 16: The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, edited by Gerhard Kittel (1967, Vol IV, 736) says: “[Monogenes] means ‘of sole descent’ i.e without brothers or sisters … But the word can also be used more generally without reference to derivation in the sense of ‘unique’, ‘unparallel’, ‘incomparable.'”

Page 20: “The fact has to be faced that New Testament research over, say, the last thirty or forty years has been leading an increasing number of reputable New Testament scholars to the conclusion that Jesus himself may not have claimed any of the christological titles which the Gospels ascribe to him, not even the functional design ‘Christ’ and certainly never believed himself to be God” (G. H. Boobyer in John Ryland’s Library Bulletin 1697-8, 50: 251).

This was a work written by another cultic group attacking Christian belief but the magazine cleverly omitted the points which trashes their belief in Jesus as Christ yet they steal their arguments!

Page 22: “Although the NT concepts of the Spirit of God are largely a continuation of those of the OT, in the NT, there is a gradual revelation that the Spirit of God is a person. The majority of NT texts reveal God’s spirit as something, not someone, this is especially seen in the parallelism between the spirit and the power of God.” (The New Catholic Encyclopedia, 13:575)

In their conclusion on p. 30, they wrote:

“…Trinitarians have often persecuted and even killed those who rejected the Trinity doctrine…They have killed their fellow Trinitarians in wartime … all in the name of the same Trinitarian God? … Thus the teaching of confusing doctrines about God has led to actions that violate his laws.

This mode of argumentation is called “poisoning the well.” It’s an attempt to create a very negative image of your opponent such that you don’t even want to consider what he really believes or to listen to what he has to say.

By making these vague or exaggerated accusations against Christians who believe in the Trinity, the Watchtower Society seals up the trap to prevent JWs from seeing their own deception.

Interestingly, this statement is coming from a religion that is horribly stained with the blood of its own adherents who have chosen to die for their heresies instead of accepting blood transfusion.

They continued: “By honouring God and worshipping him on his terms, we can avoid the judgement that he will soon bring on apostate Christendom” (p. 31).

Such hypocrisy! Does it honour God to promote falsehoods in His name? Does it honour God to hack up quotations and hide scholarly evidence that refute your views? Does it honour God to quote people who oppose His Word and deny His nature as authorities?

Do you worship God on His own terms by getting around your own rules and misleading your followers? This booklet says it all: the Jehovah’s Witness religion is a false one!

The Bodily Resurrection of Christ

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Jehovah’s Witnesses deny that Jesus was physically raised from the dead, but was rather raised as a mighty spirit creature.

Christ Jesus…was resurrected an invisible spirit creature” (Let God be True, p. 138).

“Jehovah God evidently disposed of Jesus’ fleshy body in his own way (possibly disintegrating it into the atoms of which it was constituted). Jesus did not take back his fleshy body and thereby cancel out the ransom for which it was given…Christ…did materialize various fleshy bodies…” (Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971, 587).

The “proof texts” they use are:

a) 1 Peter 3:18  “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit”

The key word here is “made alive in the spirit.” It is used in other instances: “groaned in the spirit” (Jn. 11:33), “bound in the spirit” (Acts 20:22), “live in the spirit” (Gal. 5:26) or “I was in the spirit” (Rev. 1:10)

Not once does it mean that one is a spirit creature. Therefore, what 1 Peter 3:18 is saying can be understood from Romans 8:11 which says “…he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies BY HIS SPIRIT…” Jesus was raised by the Spirit of God. The term “in the spirit” simply means “by the [Holy] Spirit.”

b) 1 Corinthians 15:50 “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

The phrase “flesh and blood” is also used in Matthew 16:17, Galatians 1:16 and Ephesians 6:12. In each instance, it is used in a symbolic sense to refer to the natural, old or unregenerate man. The natural man (“flesh and blood”) cannot inherit the kingdom because he needs to be born again or regenerated (John 3:3-6).

In the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection, it’s very clear that He rose bodily. In Luke 24:39, He told His disciples “it is I Myself,” that is, He didn’t materialize with different fleshy bodies and He admitted He wasn’t a spirit creature: “handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have.”

In Matthew 28:6 and Mark 16:6, it is said “He is risen.” What was risen? Not His spirit or soul, for they didn’t die. Only His body died and the same was resurrected (Zec. 13:6; Acts 1:11).

When the disciples went to the tomb, they didn’t find His body because it was resurrected (Lk. 24:5). The angels asked them “Why seek you the living [body] among the dead [bodies]?” The disciples didn’t go to the tomb seeking to embalm a spirit creature but rather Jesus’ body – and He had risen bodily.

Granted, the disciples didn’t recognize Jesus at a point because they were kept from recognizing him until their eyes were opened (Lk. 24:16). Furthermore, Jesus had a “glorious body” – not an earthly one – which could walk through walls, and His appearance was also different (Phil. 3:21). But to then conclude that He rose as a spirit is absurd.

The Watchtower Society traps itself in a conundrum by denying Jesus’ bodily resurrection. In What Does the Bible Really Teach? they wrote:

When a person dies, he ceases to exist…The life we enjoy is like the flame of a candle. When the flame is put out, it does not go anywhere. It is simply gone” (pp 58-9).

According to this definition, when Jesus died, He simply ceased to exist. Yet in the same book they said: “God resurrected Jesus, but not as human…[He] was alive again as a mighty spirit person! Jesus was the first ever to receive this glorious type of resurrection.” (pp. 73-4).

That is not a resurrection but re-creation. To bring back someone from non-existence is not resurrection. In every instance of resurrection in Scripture, the bodies were made alive again, not the spirit or souls (1 Kings 17:17-24, 2Kings 4:18-37, 13:21, John 11, etc). It’s pure rebellion to argue that Jesus’ case is an exception.

Jesus likened Himself to Jonah who was alive in the fish (Jonah 2:1). He wasn’t “non-existent” after death. And the fact that Jesus is still referred to as “Man” in present tense after His ascension proves He rose bodily (1Tim. 2:5).

In John 2:19-22, Jesus promised to raise His body after death. A good question to ask Witnesses is: who raised Jesus from the dead? The Watchtower Society has given 3 conflicting answers to this question.

1. In their New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, Romans 10:9 says: “For if you publicly declare…that Jesus is Lord and exercise faith in your heart that God raised him up from the dead, you will be saved.”

In The Watchtower (June 15, 1994, 6), it was also said: “Rather he [Jesus] lay unconscious in death for three days until God resurrected him.”

2. In The Watchtower (April 15, 1978, 27), however, they quote Jesus saying: “Break down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ John adds: He was talking about the temple of his body.”

3. In The Watchtower June 15, 1966 edition (p 359), we read: “…results of Jehovah God’s spirit in operation: (1) Creation – Genesis 1:2, Psalm 104:30; (2) Birth of Jesus- Matthew 1:18; (3) Resurrection of Jesus – Romans 8:11…”

Since the Watchtower denies the Divine Trinity, why does it say God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit raised up Jesus? Why did they give three different answers to the same question? This is not a problem for we Bible Believing Christians who believe in the Divine Trinity. But for the Watchtower Society, this is a terrible blow against their credibility.

Why Jesus is not the Archangel Michael

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One of the absurd beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses which they don’t discuss with new converts is that Jesus Christ is actually archangel Michael. Most Witnesses will be reluctant to discuss this belief with you if you ask them because it’s one of their weakest links.

In their works, they dogmatically state:

“Michael the great prince is none other than Jesus Christ himself” (The Watchtower, Dec. 1984, 29).

“Scriptural evidence indicates that the name Michael applied to God’s Son before he left to become Jesus Christ and also after his return” (Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971, 1152).

But Scriptural evidence outside the Watchtower grid makes it crystal clear that Jesus Christ is not the same as archangel Michael. An archangel is simply a “higher order” of angels. And in all the 5 times archangel Michael was mentioned in Scripture, nowhere is he equated with Jesus (Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1, Jude 9, Revelation 12:7).

In Mark 8:33, Jesus rebuked Satan directly: “Get thee behind me Satan.” Whereas, when Michael was contending with Satan, he said “The Lord rebuke thee.” While Jesus exercised His direct authority over Satan, Michael appealed to God’s authority.

Hebrews 1:4 says Jesus “being more better than the angels” has a more excellent name than they. It continues: “For example, to which of the angels did he [God] ever say: ‘You are my son; I, today, I have become your father?” The answer is “none.” Jesus is uniquely the Son of God and angels or archangels have a position inferior to His.

As we continue to vs. 6, it also says that Jesus, being God’s Son received worship from angels: “And let all the angels of God worship him”. We know that angels do not receive worship in any form so there is no way the Lord Jesus would be an archangel (Rev. 22:8-9). The early Watchtower magazine (called Zion Watchtower at the time) agreed with this:

“Hence it is said, ‘Let all the angels of God worship him’ (that must include Michael, the chief angel, hence Michael is not the Son of God)…” (Nov. 1879, 4, Reprints, 48)

Jesus said “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Mt. 28:18). No archangel can say this because “It is not to angels that [God] has subjected the world to come” (Heb. 2:5). In their book, What Does the Bible Really Teach? They try to build a case:

“Moreover, Jesus is linked with the office of archangel. Regarding the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Thessalonians 4:16 states: ‘The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice’. The voice of Jesus is described as being that of an archangel. This scripture therefore suggests that Jesus himself is the archangel Michael” (pp. 218-9).

Reading that passage from any reputable translation, it says “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.” Notice how the JW bible version had replaced the definite article “the” with “an.”

The specific name of this archangel wasn’t given, so to read “Michael” into the passage is unwarranted. That Jesus would descend accompanied “with an archangel’s voice” doesn’t imply that He’s an archangel. The verse simply means that an archangel’s voice will accompany the Lord’s descent from heaven.

If we apply the JW interpretation to the entire verse, it damages their beliefs. If the descent of the Lord Jesus “with the voice of an archangel” makes Him an archangel, that would also mean that His voice “with the trumpet of God” makes Him God. Since JWs disagree with this, they must admit they are the ones reading their beliefs into the Bible.

This exposes another inconsistency in their teachings. On page 214 of that book, they said: “This appointed Judge is the resurrected Jesus Christ … During that thousand-year period, Jesus Christ will ‘judge the living and the dead’…”

If Jesus is archangel Michael, how could He be the Judge appointed by God to judge all men? Do archangels have such a supreme authority?

Again in p. 41 they said: “Jesus is also the only one whom God used when He created all other things (Colossians 1:16).”

Now, if Jesus is an archangel, this would mean that archangels can also create like God. I once asked a JW man “are you telling Jesus is a created-creator?” He excused himself and said he would be back. It’s been 3 years now and I’m still waiting. If Jesus was an archangel, they will have to explain how an archangel could pay the price for our sins. This belief is truly absurd in the light of Scripture.

Interestingly, the Watchtower Society formerly taught that archangel Michael was the Pope!

“And there was war in heaven- Between the two ecclesiastical powers. Pagan Rome and Pepal Rome. Michael- ‘Who as God’, the Pope – B275, C 62. And his angels – The Bishops” (The Finished Mystery, 1917, 188).