The following is pulled from an answer to this question: According to Jehovah's Witnesses, In What Way is Jesus Human.

It would appear, then, that the Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus had his own distinctive body and personality, and that Michael had his own distinctive body and personality. What was common to them both was the impersonal life force that Jehovah had transferred between them. And since it was this impersonal life force, and not the individual body and personality, which had made either of these persons the Son of God, the body and personality of the man Christ Jesus was the only one among the whole human race which had no hope of the resurrection, because his life force had been vouchsafed unto the Archangel Michael. And this is confirmed by their saying that "Jesus was dead, forever dead" (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 5, 1899, p. 454). The Witnesses appear to believe, then, that the man Jesus of Nazareth was human, fully human, in both body and personality, except that he alone among all of the human race had no hope of the resurrection, because he could not be resurrected as the Son of God, whose impersonal life force had been transferred once more unto the recreated body and personality of Michael the Archangel.

The body of the answer describes the creation of the essence or life force of the Son of God as Michael the Archangel and then the passing of that essence to Jesus and then back to Michael. The supposition made within the answer (if I read it correctly) is that, since the humanity of Jesus died when he died and what resurrected and returned to the Father was only a "borrowed" essence, Jesus the man never actually had any hope of resurrection.

Is this, indeed, what Jehovah's Witnesses mean by the statement, "Jesus was dead, forever dead" (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 5, 1899, p. 454)?

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    JWs believe that Jesus and Michael are the same person with the same personality, but different bodies. The quote from Studies in the Scriptures is slightly taken out of context. The whole sentence is “the man Jesus was dead, forever dead.” (italics in original) It’s distinguishing between Jesus in his fleshly body and Jesus in his spirit body. Jesus sacrificed his perfect body so that we could have life. The sacrifice would be nullified if he took back his body, but God resurrected Jesus with a glorified spirit body that is more excellent than his fleshly body.
    – user32540
    Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 2:03
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    @4castle Luke 24:39 - "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." Was Jesus tricking them? Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 13:24
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    The word spirit has several meanings. In context, we see the apostles thought they were seeing a ghost or something fake, but Jesus materialized his spirit body to a physical body so that they could see him, touch him, and know he was really alive. Spirit creatures can materialize bodies and eat and drink, like the 3 angels did when they visited Abraham, or like the demons did before the Flood. For proof that Christ was resurrected as a spirit being, see 1 Corinthians 15:45, 50; 1 Timothy 3:16; and 1 Peter 3:18.
    – user32540
    Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 14:45
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    @4castle 1 Corinthians has Jesus in a spiritual body which does not indicate no body but rather an incorruptible body (v. 42-43). 1 Timothy has God revealed in flesh and declared spiritually righteous. 1 Peter has him dead to flesh and alive to spirit. Much as Paul claimed to be crucified with Christ yet alive. Much as we are baptized into His death. No one thinks Paul was claiming to be without a body. Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 20:20
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    Having a spirit body doesn’t mean having no body. It means having an invisible body like that of God and the angels. 1 Cor 15:50 makes it clear that in Gods Kingdom, that is the Kingdom of Heaven, there is no flesh and blood. Therefore, only spirit beings dwell there. In regards to 1 Timothy 3:16, the Bible you’re using is biased, and you should compare with more translations. See the Byington translation or the American Standard Version for example. 1 Peter 3:18 is talking specifically about Jesus’ random sacrifice, which was a real death, not just figurative of a lifestyle change.
    – user32540
    Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 1:06

1 Answer 1


What is meant by the Jehovah's Witness statement “Jesus was dead, forever dead.”? Here are a number of quotations from their literature on the subject:

Studies in the Scriptures Volume 5 (1899 p 454) The At-one-ment Between God and Man: “… for the man Jesus is dead, forever dead…”

We deny that he was raised in the flesh, and challenge any statement to that effect as being unscriptural.” (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 7, p 47)

The Kingdom Is At Hand (1944 p 258): “At death he laid aside the human organism in which he ministered as a new creature for three and a half years; and in his resurrection he was no more human.”

Jesus’ fleshly body “was disposed of by Jehovah God, dissolved into its constitutive elements or atoms.” (The Watchtower, Bound Volume 1953, p 518)

Things in which it is impossible for God to Lie (1965 p 354): “The human body of flesh, which Jesus Christ laid down forever as a ransom sacrifice, was disposed of by God’s power…”

"Michael was willing to leave heaven and to be born on earth as a human. Jehovah sent his only begotten Son to earth by transferring his life force from heaven into the womb of a virgin named Mary. In transferring his life force into Mary's womb, the heavenly Word of God divested himself of everything as a God-like spirit except his impersonal life force, including his body and personality." (Awake! 8 August 1972, p27; Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971, p 1061)

You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, 1982 pp 143-144) "Jesus did not rise from the dead in the same body he died in."

Reasoning from the Scriptures (1985 p 218): “So the evidence indicates that the Son of God was known as Michael before he came to earth and is known also by that name since his return to heaven where he resides as the glorified spirit Son of God.

What Does The Bible Really Teach? Appendix, Who is Michael the Archangel? (2006, pp 218-219): “The Bible indicates that Michael is another name for Jesus Christ, before and after his life on earth… This scripture therefore suggests that Jesus himself is the archangel Michael… so the Bible speaks of both Michael and ‘his angels’ and Jesus and ‘his angels.’ Since God’s Word nowhere indicates that there are two armies of faithful angels in heaven… it is logical to conclude that Michael is none other than Jesus Christ in his heavenly role.”

This is a partial quote from an article showing how Jehovah's Witnesses do not expect that Jesus will ever return visibly:

Awake! 22 July 1973 pp 3-6: Christ’s Return—Will You See It?

By and large, those who expect Jesus personally to come again expect to see him literally, in his human form. Many even believe that they will see him in the very same body he had when on earth and in which he was put to death. In support of their belief that they will see him with their physical eyes, they quote such scriptures as Revelation 1:7, which reads: “Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him.” What does this actually mean?

That Jesus will not return in a physical body is clear from the testimony of the Scriptures (Matthew 20:28 and John 6:51)... As to Jesus’ condition since his resurrection and ascension to heaven, God’s Word says: “He is the reflection of [God’s] glory and the exact representation of his very being.” (Heb. 1:3) So he must be a spirit being, just as “God is a Spirit.”—John 4:24.

This being the case, will Jesus ever again take on a corruptible body of flesh in order to be seen by humans who are too frail to endure the sight of his glorified spirit body? That is not God’s purpose respecting his Son. As the inspired apostle Paul said on one occasion: “[God] resurrected him from the dead destined no more to return to corruption.”—Acts 13:34.

Accordingly, when the Scriptures speak of “every eye” as seeing Jesus, this is manifestly to be understood in a figurative sense. As a result of what humans see and hear on earth, they will perceive that the events taking place are because Jesus Christ is taking a personal hand in the affairs of mankind.—Rev. 11:15; 12:10-12.

Source: https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/101973520?q=jesus+return&p=par

It is noteworthy that Christians believe Jesus will return, accompanied by all the heavenly hosts (including Michael the Archangel) in a glorified body - the one he was resurrected in.

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the Word of God was Michael the Archangel before he left heaven to become Jesus. The life of the spirit creature Michael was transferred to Mary’s womb and he was born fully human. Jesus the man, died, and what came out of the tomb was a spirit creature, known in heaven as Michael the Archangel.

What does this mean, that Jesus the man is dead, forever dead? According to Jehovah's Witnesses it means Jesus will never come back as a man. He was resurrected to heaven as a spirit creature, his body conveniently disappearing. Furthermore, they claim that Jesus took up his heavenly throne invisibly in 1914 – that was the second coming – and Jesus is not coming back to earth.

From what I've read it seems that Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the life-force of Michael the Archangel was transferred into the body that became Jesus, the man, but Jesus, the man, did not come out of the tomb, his body simply "disappeared". They insist that Jesus was resurrected, only it was a spirit body. They deny the phyiscal resurrection of Jesus.

At Armageddon it will be the mighty Michael the Archangel who defeats Satan and all who follow him. Jesus, the man, is dead - forever dead.

Additional official J.W. information regarding Jesus' resurrected body: https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/jesus-body/

Another regarding Jesus' invisible return with the angels: https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/jesus-coming/

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    @NigelJ - It's flesh and BLOOD the Witnesses say can't go into heaven. The Bible says flesh and BONES. I agree with Acts 1:11, but the Witnesses insist Jesus was resurrected with a spiritual body, one without flesh and blood.
    – Lesley
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 17:00
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    A body without blood is a corpse. Jesus' humanity was alive and well when he arose and when he ascended. Thus, shall he return. Glorified, yes, but we know not (yet) what that means. But what we do know is that he arose from the dead and ate fish and an honeycomb. Why eat if he has no blood ? ? ? How can a body breathe (or why would a body breathe) without blood ? And he breathed upon them John 20:22.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 17:03
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    @NigelJ I agree with you. I will, however, edit that sentence in order to distance myself from their view that Jesus' body was not resurrected.
    – Lesley
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 18:07
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    @Kris - I speak here of the resurrected body of Jesus, what came out of the tomb. Did Jehovah resurrect the physical body of Jesus, a body of flesh, bones and blood? Not according to everything I have read from the official J.W. sources. I do NOT speak of any body Jesus supposedly materialised into in order to pretend to his followers that he was a man. I speak of what came out of the tomb. That is my final word on your comments. I refuse to be dragged into issues that detract from the question being asked by the O.P. Comments are not for lengthy conversations. Why don't you post an answer?
    – Lesley
    Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 10:06
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    @Lesley Jesus raised Himself from the dead...see John 2:18-22. However, Jesus was also raised from the dead by the Spirit see Romans 8:11. This immediately talks of a trinitarian God does it not, because we have Jesus prophesying to the Pharisees that he will raise himself, and Paul talking about the spirit raising him!
    – Adam
    Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 21:54

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