6

According to this and this other question, Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus is the same as Michael the Archangel.

I am curious about the importance of this viewpoint.

Is this a "core tenet" for Jehovah's Witnesses (one that possibly other beliefs rest upon), i.e. is it something similar to, say, the belief in Trinity is for the Catholic Church?

  • By "core tenet" do you mean a belief which isn't dependent on any other beliefs? I'm trying to think of an objective way to describe the importance of a belief. – 4castle Jun 23 '17 at 16:20
  • Hi @4castle, thank you for your question. In this case the belief itself can be either dependent, or not be dependent, on other beliefs. But a core tenet is (as used here) a belief that, if it were somehow proven false, then it would collapse other (more or less) important beliefs. So in this case it would be a belief that other beliefs (or faith-related behavior like ceremonies) would depend on. – ravn Jun 23 '17 at 16:24
  • 1
    Ok! That makes sense. I can't think of a belief that depends on it off the top of my head, but I'll definitely look into this. – 4castle Jun 23 '17 at 16:30
6

Before I try to answer this question, I think I need to give some context as to how Jehovah's Witnesses have arrived at their current beliefs.

The "founders" of Jehovah's Witnesses used this method to interpret the Bible:

“Someone would raise a question. They would discuss it. They would look up all related scriptures on the point and then, when they were satisfied on the harmony of these texts, they would finally state their conclusion and make a record of it.”

What that means is, we don't draw conclusions from the scriptures unless the Bible backs it up, and we don't assume that the Bible contains a specific belief until it can be proven. We don't use one belief to justify another belief; we use the scriptures to justify each belief individually. Over the years, Jehovah's Witnesses have changed, refined, and clarified various beliefs. This isn't because the Bible has changed; it's because different scriptures have been highlighted which bring out new meaning to the previous scriptures which were used to justify that certain belief. Those same scriptures may have also been the basis for another belief, and so that other belief can be refined as well. This process is described at Proverbs 4:18:

But the path of the righteous is like the bright morning light
That grows brighter and brighter until full daylight.

So now to answer your question:

Jesus being Michael the Archangel is certainly a relevant belief, because it shows the love, grief, and sacrifice which Jehovah had to experience in order to watch Jesus, his first, most powerful, and most beloved creation, die and sacrifice himself for God's purpose. This is what makes Matthew 3:17 and Matthew 26:39 such emotional scriptures to read.

If Jesus is actually not Michael the Archangel, it would mean that the scriptures which support that belief would need to be reinterpreted in light of other scriptures. The new interpretation of all these scriptures would then have the opportunity to be applied to all of our other beliefs, and so more adjustments would follow over the years. I don't feel qualified to predict what these adjustments would be.

The identity of Michael the Archangel doesn't seem to be one of the "fundamental" beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses (which are listed here). The article on jw.org, "Who is Jesus Christ?" makes no mention of the name Michael, so I suppose it's not extremely vital to learning who Jesus is, but it certainly adds a lot of context to why Jesus was an appropriate choice for the Messiah, as Michael was also evidently the angel who led the Israelites through the wilderness (Exodus 23:20, 21), and will also be the one who will stand up "in behalf of [Daniel's] people" during the great "time of distress." (Daniel 12:1)

  • ok...so I get that it's not like as important as probably the belief that Jesus and God are not one and same person. Maybe on the same "level" as the belief you are saying that Michael was evidently the angel who led the Israelites through the wilderness? – ravn Jun 23 '17 at 23:04
  • 1
    @ravn Right. I'd say that our beliefs on who Jesus isn't are probably more weighty to other Christians than our belief of who Jesus is. Namely, that Jesus isn't just a good man, isn't just another prophet, and isn't God. – 4castle Jun 23 '17 at 23:09
  • 2
    Once again, your ability to clearly explain a Jehovah's Witness belief or position is very easy to follow and grasp. Thank you so much. (Obviously, +1) – KorvinStarmast Jun 23 '17 at 23:55
0

From a JW- Not a "core belief" at all.

It's a common theory due to a few significant overlaps that make "Michael the Archangel" seem to be another of the titles for the Son, Jesus, the Christ, the Word/Logos, Messiah, Lamb, Prince of peace, etc. They are not different modes or persons or natures, just different names of the same individual. Michael seems to be another one of those names. If it were disproven, it wouldn't hurt our feelings in the slightest.

Here are the relevant overlaps -
First, who could possibly be better described as God's chief messenger

  1. Is there anyone who would better fit the description of "Chief messenger" than Jesus himself? Well, that's what the "archangel" is. The term means "Chief messenger."
  2. Compare the name of Michael "who is like God" with John 1:1, and the word was with God (ho theos) and the word was theos (godlike).
  3. Genesis 3:15 “15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head, and you will strike him in the heel.””

    (The seed of the woman will crush the serpent’s head, commonly understood that Jesus will be the one to defeat Satan)

  4. Matthew 13:41 “The Son of man will send his angels…” Matthew 26:53 “Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father to supply me at this moment more than 12 legions of angels?” (Jesus is the commander of the army of angels)

  5. Matthew 24: 30-31: 30 Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out 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. (The Son of man will command the angels with a great trumpet.)

  6. Matthew 24:15 ““Therefore, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken about by Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place (let the reader use discernment)”

  7. Daniel 10:21 “However, I will tell you the things recorded in the writings of truth. There is no one strongly supporting me in these things but Miʹcha•el, your prince.” (Michael is a heavenly prince)

  8. Daniel 12:1-2 “During that time Miʹcha•el will stand up, the great prince who is standing in behalf of your people. And there will occur a time of distress such as has not occurred since there came to be a nation until that time. And during that time your people will escape, everyone who is found written down in the book. 2 And many of those asleep in the dust of the earth will wake up, some to everlasting life and others to reproach and to everlasting contempt. (Michael is the great prince standing on behalf to bring escape (salvation) for those written in the book, and raise the dead into everlasting life or reproach)

  9. Joshua 5:13-15: 13 When Joshua was near Jerʹi•cho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua walked up to him and asked: “Are you on our side or on the side of our adversaries?” 14 To this he said: “No, but I have come as prince of Jehovah’s army.” With that Joshua fell with his face to the ground and prostrated himself and said to him: “What does my lord have to say to his servant?” 15 The prince of Jehovah’s army replied to Joshua: “Remove your sandals from your feet, because the place where you are standing is holy.” At once Joshua did so. (Michael is the heavenly prince, leader of Jehovah’s armies)

  10. Revelation 12:7-10 7 And war broke out in heaven: Miʹcha•el and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them any longer in heaven. 9 So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. 10 I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God! 11 And they conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their witnessing, and they did not love their souls even in the face of death. (Michael leads the angels of heaven to conquer the dragon/serpent/devil/satan (establishing one being can have many titles) with the blood of the Lamb, which leads to a declaration of Salvation. Michael does battle, but it’s The Lamb/Jesus’s blood that brings Salvation, which Jesus is supposed to bring.

  11. John 5:25: “I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live” (The dead rise at hearing the voice of the Son.)

  12. 1 Thessalonians 4:16: because 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. (It’s not just that Jesus is described as having the voice of the archangel, but that hearing this voice is what wakes the dead)

    As much as trinitarians like to point to particular translations of Hebrews 1:8, the next verse in the KJV says of Jesus "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."

Do these combined prove Jesus "definitely is Michael?" Nope.

But there's a lot more evidence (in the scriptures above) for that than him being a part of a trinity with God.

  • From which JW source material are you quoting? – Kris Dec 12 '18 at 18:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.