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One of the basic doctrinal tenets of the Watchtower Society is that Jesus Christ in His pre-existence was Michael the Archangel, who became the human Jesus while on earth, and now exists as the exalted Michael the Archangel once again. They have said:
"There is scriptural evidence for concluding that Michael was the name of Jesus Christ before he left heaven and after his return." WT 5-15-69 p.307
In the past several years, the Watchtower has not expounded much on the actual process of how the Archangel Michael became the human Jesus. However, in the years previous, Watchtower publications described in detail their beliefs of what comprises all living beings.
Primarily, It is critical to understand the basic premise of how the Society views all living beings. They believe that the:
SOUL (Personality) = BODY + SPIRIT
This "SPIRIT" is also known as "LIFE", "LIFE FORCE", or "LIFE PRINCIPLE." The terms are interchangeable.
"The spirit is our life-force." You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, 1982, p.79
What follows are quotes from Watchtower literature regarding the transformation of Michael to Jesus.
1. God sent his Son to ransom the human race.
"God provided the perfect man whose life could ransom the human race, by transferring the life force of his chief angelic Son in the heavens to the womb of a virgin." WT 3-1-60 p.133
2. It was necessary for Michael the Archangel's life to be transferred into the Virgin Mary for Mary to be born.
"the transferal of the life of his firstborn Son from the spirit realm to earth. Only in this way could the child eventually born have retained identity as the same person who had resided in heaven as the Word." Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971, p.920
"He had to become a perfect man and yet not lose his continuity of life. His life-force was not to be extinguished but would be transferred to the ovum of the virgin girl, Mary." WT 2-15-82 p. 7
3. Michael's being or personality is called a "soul."
"There is a body and a life principle, the union of which makes the soul.....the soul is the being; the personality. "WT 1-15-13 pp.23,24
4. Michael's soul (person) was a combination of two things: a spirit body and a life force (spirit).
"There can be no being or existence without life and body both. Withdraw life and the being or existence ceases, for life is but a power or principle, the same in the lower animals as in man; the difference in qualities between man and the brute, consisting not in a different king of life, but in a different kind of body...This principle of life pervades and is an essential element of all being, including angels...death is the dissolution, or separation of the things which combined, constitute being - namely life and body." Soul = life + body. WT April 1881 p.1
5. The life force is like electricity, which activates many things but does not take on their qualities. In other words, the life force is neither alive nor dead, but is an impersonal thing.
"...life itself is impersonal, incorporeal, being merely the life principle." Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971, p.1061
"The spirit is much like electricity, which activates many things but does not take on their qualities." Is This Life All There Is?, 1974, p.51
"...thus the spirit could not have personality but must be an impersonal force...electric current never takes on the characteristics of the machines or appliances in which it functions." AWAKE! 8-8-72, p.27
"The spirit has no thought, feeling, or intelligence." AWAKE! 7-8-49 p.26
6. Only Michael's life force , not his body, was transferred from heaven to earth.
"...this did not mean that one of the heavenly spirit sons of God was sent to crawl into Mary's body...Such a thing is unreasonable and an absurdity." God's Eternal Purpose Now Triumphing, 1974, p.137
"God's Son emptied himself of his heavenly form and glory." Things For Which It Is Impossible For God to Lie, 1965, p.81
"...in this transfer of his life to the virgin's womb, Jehovah's God-like Son divested himself of everything spirit and heavenly and became a man." WT 8-1-42 p.231
"...that the heavenly Word of God divested himself of everything as a God-like spirit except his life force." The Kingdom is at Hand, 1944, p.49
7. Michael's life force did not take his personality, qualities, characteristics, or soul to earth, since his soul, his personality, ceased to exist when his body and life force were separated.
8. Do you see that there was no personal connection between Michael and Jesus Christ?
1. ONLY Michael's life force was transferred.
2. A life force is impersonal.
3. Michael's life force did NOT take his personality with it.
4. Michael's personality ceased to exist when his soul and life force were separated.
5. If that life force did not contain the personality of God's Son, according to Society doctrine, then Jesus could NOT be Michael.
If that life force did not contain the personality and life of God's Son, according to Society doctrine---Jesus Christ could not be Michael.
Moreover, the Watchtower made this statement about Jesus upon His death:
"...the man Jesus is dead, forever dead,..." Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 5, 1899, p. 454
This means that after three days, what was "resurrected" was really a totally different "creation" by God of a being who never existed before! After carefully reading all that the Watchtower Society teaches about Michael/Jesus, it becomes obvious that the Jehovah's Witnesses believe in 3 different "Jesuses:"
1. The pre-existent Michael the Archangel
2. A mere earthly man who did not contain the personality of Michael
3. A newly-created exalted angel who resides in heaven
The Watchtower Society just can't seem to make up their mind as to the real identity of Michael:
"...Michael is not the Son of God..." WT November, 1879, p.4
"Jesus, before he became a man, was a spiritual being of a nature superior to angels....he took not on him the nature of angels..." WT, March, 1883, p.4
"Michael, - "Who as God," - the Pope." The Finished Mystery, 1917, p.188
"...the Son of God was known as Michael before he came to earth and is known also by that name after his return to heaven..." Reasoning From the Scriptures, 1985, p.218
Some of the Ante-Nicene Fathers from the first three centuries of the Christian Church offered these statements from their writings:
"[Almighty God] did not, as one might have imagined, send to men any servant, or angel, or ruler..." Mathetes - Epistle to Diognetus, ch.7
" ...God speaks in the creation of man with the very same design, in the following words: 'Let Us make man after our image and likeness...[God] conversed with some one who was numerically distinct from Himself, and also a rational Being. These are the words: 'And God said, Behold, Adam has become as one of us, to know good and evil.' In saying, therefore, 'as one of us,'[Moses] has declared that [there is a certain] number of persons associated with one another, and that they are at least two. For I would not say that the dogma of that heresy which is said to be among you is true, or that the teachers of it can prove that [God] spoke to angels, or that the human frame was the workmanship of angels. But this Offspring, which was truly brought forth from the Father, was with the Father before all the creatures,..." Justin Martyr - Dialogue with Trypho, ch. 62
CHAP. II--THE WORLD WAS NOT FORMED BY ANGELS, OR BY ANY OTHER BEING, CONTRARY TO THE WILL OF THE MOST HIGH GOD, BUT WAS MADE BY THE FATHER THROUGH THE WORD.
"Those, moreover, who say that the world was formed by angels, or by any other maker of it, contrary to the will of Him who is the Supreme Father, err first of all in this very point, that they maintain that angels formed such and so mighty a creation, contrary to the will of the Most High God." Irenaus Against Heresies, Book II, ch. 2, section 1
"He created and made all things by His Word, while He neither required angels to assist Him in the production of those things which are made, nor of any power greatly inferior to Himself, and ignorant of the Father," Irenaus Against Heresies, Book II, ch. 2, section 4
"He (Moses) at first narrated the formation of the world in these words: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," and all other things in succession; but neither gods nor angels [had any share in the work]." Irenaus Against Heresies, Book II, ch.2, section 5
"For the Son, who is the Word of God, arranged these things beforehand from the beginning, the Father being in no want of angels, in order that He might call the creation into being, and form man," Irenaus Against Heresies, Book IV, ch. 7, section 4
"It was not angels, therefore, who made us, nor who formed us, neither had angels power to make an image of God, nor any one else, except the Word of the Lord," Irenaus Against Heresies, Book IV, ch. 20, section 1
"...and that this world belongs to Him (the Word of God), and was made by Him, according to the Father's will, and not by angels;" Irenaus Against Heresies, Book V, ch. 18, section 2
"The Logos, too, before the creation of men, was the Framer of angels." Tatian, Address to the Greeks, ch VII