COULD JESUS HAVE BEEN
THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL?
THE ORIGINAL WTS BELIEF THAT JESUS WAS NEVER MICHAEL
The Watchtower November 1879 p4:
His [Jesus’] position is contrasted with that of men and angels, as he is Lord of both, having 'all power in heaven and earth.' Hence it is said, 'Let all God's angels worship him';[that must include Michael, the chief angel; hence, Michael is not the Son of God ] and the reason is, because he has 'by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.' (Bold and italic emphasis ours).
JESUS IS DIFFERENTIATED FROM THE ANGELS
An archangel is an angel but of higher rank. Throughout Hebrews chapters 1 and 2 angels are compared with the exalted Jesus and are shown to be inferior. This comparison would include the archangels.
"…with reference to the angels".......is contrasted with......."but with reference to the Son."
"So he [the Son] has become better than the angels, as he has inherited a more excellent name than they"
"to which one of the angels did he ever say: 'You are my Son'."
Therefore things said to the Son were never said to Michael --- an angel. God has never addressed an angel as "My son." So Michael was never the Only-begotten Son i.e. the uniquely begotten Son.
"For it is not to angels that He has subjected the inhabited earth to come....What is man...or the Son of Man...You...have appointed him over the works of Your hands; You have put all things in subjection under his feet "
So Michael is not to have the inhabited earth to come in subjection to himself. This is reserved for Jesus the Son of Man. If the author of Hebrews thought that Jesus is the archangel why does he labour to prove that Jesus is superior to angels, to Moses, to Joshua and to Levi? All he need say is that Jesus is the archangel, thereby, automatically making him superior.
JESUS DIFFERENTIATES HIMSELF FROM THE ANGELS
Matthew 24: 36:
"Concerning that day and hour, nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son."
Michael is indeed of the category of 'angel'. He is one of several archangels according to:
Daniel 10:13: "Michael,oneof the foremost princes(Hebrew 'rishown' means chief = the Greek word 'arche')." In fact, it was a common Jewish belief that there were seven named archangels, with each one acting as chief over his own body of angels.
ANGELS CANNOT DIE BUT JESUS WAS MORTAL
"neither can they die anymore, for they are like the angels."
"…death is no longer master over him."
Before his resurrection Jesus was always subject to death. So it is impossible that an immortal Michael, an angel, became a mortal human and died on the execution stake. This fact indicates that Jesus could never have previously been Michael.
JESUS HAS AUTHORITY TO REBUKE WHEREAS MICHAEL DOES NOT
At the temptation in the wilderness Jesus used the Scriptures to rebuke Satan. Luke4:1-13
"Then Jesus rebuked it, and the demon came out of him..."
"He (Jesus) turned...and rebuked Peter, and said: 'Get behind me Satan..."
"But when Michael the archangel had a difference with the Devil and was disputing about Moses' body, he did not dare bring a judgment against him in abusive terms, but said: 'May Jehovah rebuke you."
MICHAEL IS THE GUARDIAN OF GOD’S PEOPLE
“Michael…the great prince who is standing in behalf of your people.”
The Hebrew Interlinear translates as “the one protecting over…” NASB gives “who stands guard over…”
So if Michael left his post to become Jesus for over 33 years he would have been guilty of dereliction of duty. Nowhere in the scriptures is it stated that someone else was assigned to protect Israel during this period, something that Jesus certainly wasn’t doing.
IN WTS TEACHING MICHAEL GOES OUT OF EXISTENCE.
The WTS teaches that:
a) Spirit persons have bodies.
"the bodies of spirit persons (God, Christ, the angels) are glorious” INSIGHT Vol 1 p348
b) the soul (the whole person) = body + spirit.
c) spirit = life, life force or life principle all of which are impersonal. See INSIGHT Volume 2
p246 sub-heading 'Organism'
Yet the WTS also teaches that only Michael's life was transferred to Mary's womb.
"INSIGHT Volume 2 p56 speaks of:
"the transferral of the life of his first-born son from the spirit realm to earth.”
What these WT teachings mean regarding Michael :
1.If only Michael's life was transferred to Mary's womb, then an impersonal force would have come from heaven to Mary so that no personality could be present in Mary's womb because life (spirit) is impersonal. It requires two sets of genes to create a new human i.e. Jesus.
2.If only Michael's life was transferred to Mary's womb by being separated from his body, then his lifeless body would be left in heaven. He would no longer be a soul (whole person). His person would have ceased existence when his body and life were separated. i.e. suicide.
Yet the WTS maintains that:
"the child retained identity as the same person who had resided in heaven as the Word...and that he was a genuine descendant of David."
This is clearly a contradictory and impossible proposition.
JESUS WAS NOT THE ANGEL THAT APPEARED TO JOSHUA
There is no linguistic or logical connection between the angel who appeared to Joshua as:
"the prince of the army of Jehovah" in Joshua 5:14 and
"Messiah the Leader" in Daniel 9:25.
Two different Hebrew words are used. Only by assumption could any connection be made.
MICHAEL AND HIS ANGELS
The fact that Jesus and Michael both have angels (Matt 25:31,1Thess 1:7, Rev 12:7) does not make them the same person because the dragon (Satan) also has his angels (Rev 12:9).
"WITH THE VOICE OF AN ARCHANGEL" DOES NOT MEAN JESUS IS AN ARCHANGEL
1 Thessalonians 4:16 may be giving a metaphorical description of the power of Jesus' voice when he returns e.g. like the roar of a lion. Or possibly, the 'commanding call', trumpet and voice are literally the voice of an accompanying archangel, indicated by the fact that "the Lord descends with..." In either case Michael is not mentioned. Furthermore, 1Thess 4:13-18 is about a sequence of events not the nature of Jesus.
JESUS WAS NOT A HYBRID HUMAN / ANGEL (or other spirit creature)
Although denied by those of the Arian belief the concept of pre-existence involves the creation of a person having Two Natures. In the case of Jesus the human nature came from the Davidic line through Mary’s chromosomes. The second nature supposedly came by something of a spirit creature being implanted in Mary by God. This goes beyond the description of the origin of Jesus in Luke and Matthew.
2 John 7:
"persons not confessing Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist."
Catholic writer Thomas Hart states:
Christ both divine and human makes genuine humanity impossible......if there are two natures in him, it is clear which will dominate and Jesus becomes immediately very different from us…what kind of temptation is this?
Professor of theology John Knox comments:
the assertion of Christ's pre-existence, placed a strain, so to speak, upon the humanity of Jesus which it was unable to bear...it is simply incredible that a divine person should have become a fully and normal human person---that is, if he was also to continue to be, in his essential identity, the same person. 'The Humanity and Divinity of Christ'
Yet the Scriptures show that Jesus did not have two natures, therefore making it impossible for him to have pre-existed unless we say that an entire spirit person entered Mary’s womb and had the ability to reform in human shape without any mixing of genetic material from Mary. If so then such a person would not have been a descendant of David because of being not from the human gene pool. He would have been a spirit creature in human form. Such a description is identical to the rejected Gnostic teaching of the second century. The scriptural fact remains that Jesus has a single nature --- human:
"since the 'young children' are sharers of blood and flesh (mortal human nature) he also similarly partook of the same things"
"he was obliged to become like his brothers in all respects"
On p88 of ‘The Human Face of God’ J.A.T Robinson notes that it was:
Not by becoming a man from being something else (no one can do that), but by becoming fully and completely human.
On p 79 Robinson acknowledges that:
Luther...recognized...that Christ had to become a person through the normal process of maturation and moral growth.
Hebrews 4:15: Jesus was "one who has beentestedin all respects like ourselves, but without sin" and was the equivalent "of Adam, who is a type of him that was to come" (Romans 5:14 note KIT).
As a MORTAL it is impossible that Jesus had previously existed as an IMMORTAL i.e. as an angel (Luke 20:36).
JESUS IS THE SECOND ADAM
1 Corinthians 15:45, 46:
“The first man Adam became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. Nevertheless the first is not that which is spiritual but that which is natural (soulical KIT)"
Indeed, Adam (the first, which is natural) came into existence before Jesus (the spiritual.) Adam pre-existed Jesus in any form. For Jesus to be the second Adam he clearly must have his entire origin in the human gene pool, being no hybrid and so making him as entirely human as Adam.
THE SON OF GOD (NOT JUST A BODY) WAS SACRIFICED
“When he comes into the world he says…you prepared a body for me”
This body was not something that the Son was poured into. If such was the case then only the body was sacrificed. However, it is plain that the Son sacrificed himself.
THE PROBLEM OF TWO NATURES
To deal with the problem of two natures Trinitarians teach that 'God the Son' assumed impersonal human nature so that Jesus is called man in the generic sense but not 'a man'. A similar problem arises for those with the WTS teaching (substitute 'God the Son' for 'Archangel'). To deal with this problem appeal is made to the Doctrine of Kenosis concerning the supposed 'emptying out of the essence and nature of Michael the archangel'. This doctrine is unsupportable for a number of reasons including the need for correct translation of Philippians 2:5-9--see OUTLINE 72.
Technically: A spirit creature genetically combined with Mary's egg = a hybrid, (similar to a Nephilim - the product of angelic / human sexual union Gen 6:1-4) and therefore not a genuine human. He would be neither human nor angel and could not be the 2nd Adam of 1Cor 15:45-49. If Jesus had really been a previously existing spirit person it would seem utterly pointless for him to have divested himself of all the wisdom and knowledge inherently associated with his ability as agent of the Genesis creation because the Scriptures show him having to acquire wisdom once again:
"Jesus went on growing in wisdom and physical growth and in favor with God and men."
It certainly seems strange that he would have brought nothing of himself into Mary’s womb and so would have had to rebuild his character to establish himself in God's favour!
The Scriptures show that, when being tested, Jesus had no supernatural advantage over any other human; yet this is exactly what he would have had if he had previously been a spirit person.
"one who has been tested in all respects like ourselves, but without sin"
If Jesus had any recollection of a previous life as the agent of the Genesis creation it would have rendered his temptation virtually futile. To put Jesus in such a position would dramatically detract from his superb achievement in having been tested and yet not sinned.
THE RAINBOWED ANGEL OF REVELATION 10:1 IS NOT CHRIST
Hebrews chapter 1 shows the great difference between all angels and Christ. The rain-bowed angel is described as "another strong angel". Earlier a strong angel is noted in Revelation 5:2.
The description in Revelation 10:1 is not the same as the description of Christ in Revelation 1:13-16.
The differences are that Jesus has:
- A golden sash,
- Eyes are flames of fire,
- A voice is like the sound of many waters,
- He holds 7 stars,
- He has a sharp 2 edged sword protruding from his mouth.
The only similarity with the angel is that he has a face like the sun, (yet the woman of chap 12 and the angel of 19:17 are also associated with the sun). This angel's appearance displays the glory of God and Christ and he is likely a special angelic herald of Christ, but he cannot be Christ.
Please consider the following facts concerning Jesus in relation to literal pre-existence. All of the following are substantiated from the scriptures as examined from their first century background and are detailed in Outlines 71, 72, 73 and 74.
1.The Jews believed in ideal (non-literal) pre-existence which means being foreknown.
2.The Hebrew Scriptures portray Messiah as one who was yet to exist.
3.The Sonship of Jesus was prophesied and was therefore future.
4.The relatively few Scriptures that seem to indicate pre-existence of Jesus were misunderstood when pagan Greek thinking became involved.
5.Matthew and Luke show that the Son of God came into existence at his begetting in Mary’s womb.
6.Jesus did not speak prior to his recorded life.
7.Jesus never goes back to the Father. He goes to the Father.
8.Jesus was exalted --- he was not previously pre-eminent.
9.Jehovah alone produced the Genesis creation – not a personal agent. But Jesus is the agent of the new creation
10.Philippians 2 concerns the Messiah who leads a self-emptying life only as a
11.The sayings of Jesus and about him in John’s gospel were originally meant to be understood in the Jewish metaphorical way and not in the pagan Greek metaphysical
THE CONCLUSIONS OF LEADING BIBLE SCHOLARS
In the 1950’s Pope Pius granted Catholic scholars total freedom for a most in-depth examination of the Scriptures without fear of any heresy charges concerning what they discovered. At the same time a number Church of England Bishops and scholars convened meetings to discuss the issue of who Jesus really was. The Lutheran Church also became involved in the same issue.
The conclusions were startling for these Churches. Yet the authorities, Cardinals etc started to clamp down resulting in some of these scholars being eventually excommunicated. Yet these researchers wrote numerous books that opened up the debate which is still going on today. The following are only a few brief quotes from their extensively detailed discussions of this issue.
J.A.T. Robinson. Bishop of Woolwich (now deceased)
“Observe that Paul does not say that he [Jesus] became a man (from having been something else) but that he shared the lot of men”
Raymond Brown. America's leading Catholic theologian states that Matthew and Luke:
"show no knowledge of Jesus' pre-existence; seemingly for them the Conception was the becoming (begetting) of God's Son"
F.C. Baur One of the most distinguished of Greek scholars:
"The idea of pre-existence lies completely outside the Synoptic sphere of view"
Professor William Sanday of Oxford:
"there is not a single reference in the Synoptic Gospels to Jesus having been the Son of God before his birth."
Bas van Iersel:
"But of pre-existence and equality of being with God we cannot discover any trace in Paul's letters.” In 'Son of God in the New Testament.' p45.
Klaus Berger, Heidelberg exegete:
"Philippians 2:6 is primarily concerned with making statements about high status and by no means necessarily concerned with pre-existence."
Anton Vogtle, Freiburg exeget:
"No pre-existence of Christ before the world with an independent significance can be recognized even in Phil. 2."
James Dunn, Professor of Divinity
"There is no indication that Jesus thought or spoke of himself as having pre-existed with God prior to his birth.....a complete discontinuity between Jesus' own self assertions and the subsequent claims made about him would constitute a fatal flaw..." p 254 of 'Christology in the making'.
Roger Haight, Jesuit scholar
"One thing is certain, the Prologue of John does not represent direct descriptive knowledge of a divine entity or being called Word, who descended and became a human being. To read a metaphor as literal speech is misinterpretation;..."
"When John presents the eternal Word he was not thinking of a Being"
Karl-Josef Kuschel. Catholic theologian
"The christology of Jewish Christianity, which had been dominant for decades and knew of no pre-existence christology, was increasingly swept aside and was finally branded heretical."
"a christology today which heedlessly uses the dogmatic theme of 'pre-existence' and introduces it into the NT foists on the NT an idea which it does not contain in this form."
pp.392-394'Born before all time ?'
James Mackey. Professor of theology
"what exactly, according to this term, pre-exists what else, and in what sense does it do so.. the logical path to alleged pre-existence is a tortuous one."
Copyright © 2004 Ray Faircloth. All rights reserved.
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