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The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Major Dilemma

The Hebrew Bible repeatedly commanded the Israelites to only fear and serve Jehovah since he alone was/is their God:

“Jehovah your God you should fear, and him you should serve, and by his name you should swear.” Deuteronomy 6:13

““Jehovah your God you should fear, him you should serve, to him you should cling, and by his name you should swear.” Deuteronomy 10:20

The Old Testament also exhorted the Israelites to only call upon the name of Jehovah, since they were called to be his priests alone, ministering before him:

“‘Now if you will strictly obey my voice and keep my covenant, you will certainly become my special property out of all peoples, for the whole earth belongs to me. You will become to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you are to say to the Israelites.” Exodus 19:5-6

“Exalt Jehovah our God and bow down at his footstool; He is holy. Moses and Aaron were among his priests, And Samuel was among those calling on his name. They would call to Jehovah, And he would answer them.” Psalm 99:5-6

This is why God’s covenant people were warned not to fear or serve any other being,

“Samuel then said to all the house of Israel: ‘If you are returning to Jehovah with all your heart, put away the foreign gods and the Ashʹto·reth images from among you, and direct your heart unswervingly to Jehovah and serve only him, and he will rescue you from the hand of the Phi·lisʹtines.’ At that the Israelites got rid of the Baʹals and the Ashʹto·reth images and served only Jehovah.” 1 Samuel 7:3-4

“When Jehovah made a covenant with them, he commanded them: ‘You must not fear other gods, and you must not bow down to them or serve them or sacrifice to them. But Jehovah, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm, is the One you should fear, and to him you should bow down, and to him you should sacrifice. And the regulations, the judgments, the Law, and the commandment that he wrote for you, you should always follow carefully, and you must not fear other gods. And you must not forget the covenant that I made with you, and you must not fear other gods. But it is Jehovah your God whom you should fear, as he is the one who will rescue you out of the hand of all your enemies.’” 2 Kings 17:35-39

The prophetic writings further command that any Israelite who entices his people to serve other gods besides Jehovah must be put to death:

“In case a prophet or one who foretells by dreams arises in your midst and gives you a sign or a portent, and the sign or the portent about which he spoke to you comes true while he is saying, ‘Let us walk after other gods, gods that you have not known, and let us serve them,’ you must not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer, for Jehovah your God is testing you to know whether you love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul. After Jehovah your God you should walk, him you should fear, his commandments you should keep, to his voice you should listen; he is the one you should serve, and to him you should hold fast. But that prophet or that dreamer should be put to death, because he encouraged rebellion against Jehovah your God—who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery—to turn you from the way in which Jehovah your God has commanded you to walk. And you must remove what is evil from your midst.” Deuteronomy 13:1-5

The prohibition from fearing and serving any other god also includes the angelic army since they are nothing more than God’s servants created to do his will, and who themselves fear and worship Jehovah:

“Therefore, watch yourselves closely—since you did not see any form on the day Jehovah spoke to you in Horʹeb out of the middle of the fire—that you may not act corruptly by making for yourselves any carved image having the form of any symbol, the representation of male or female, the representation of any animal on the earth or the representation of any bird that flies in the sky, the representation of anything creeping on the ground or the representation of any fish in the waters under the earth. And when you raise your eyes to the heavens and see the sun and the moon and the stars—all the army of the heavens—do not get seduced and bow down to them and serve them. Jehovah your God has given them to all the peoples under the whole heavens. But you are the ones Jehovah took and brought out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to become the people of his personal possession, as you are today… You yourselves have been shown these things so you will know that Jehovah is the true God; there is no other besides him… Know, therefore, on this day, and take it to heart that Jehovah is the true God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. There is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:15-20, 35, 39

“You alone are Jehovah; you made the heavens, yes, the heaven of the heavens and all their army, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. And you preserve all of them alive, and the army of the heavens are bowing down to you.” Nehemiah 9:6

“The heavens praise your marvels, O Jehovah, Yes, your faithfulness in the congregation of the holy ones. For who in the skies can compare to Jehovah? Who among the sons of God is like Jehovah? God is held in awe in the council of holy ones; He is grand and awe-inspiring to all who are around him.” Psalm 89:5-7

“Jehovah has firmly established his throne in the heavens; And his kingship rules over everything. Praise Jehovah, all you his angels, mighty in power, Who carry out his word, obeying his voice. Praise Jehovah, all his armies, His ministers who do his will.” Psalm 103:19-21

The New Testament concurs in that it prohibits the worship of angels,

“Let no man deprive you of the prize who takes delight in a false humility and a form of worship of the angels, ‘taking his stand on’ the things he has seen. He is actually puffed up without proper cause by his fleshly frame of mind” Colossians 2:18

Since angelic beings are spirits created to minister and serve both God and those who are destined for salvation:

“Also, he says about the angels: ‘He makes his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.’… Are they not ALL spirits for holy service, sent out to minister for those who are going to inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:7, 14

“Well I, John, was the one hearing and seeing these things. When I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing me these things. But he tells me: ‘Be careful! Do not do that! I am only a fellow slave of you and of your brothers the prophets and of those observing the words of this scroll. Worship God.’” Revelation 22:8-9

In fact, angels will even be judged by true believers:

“Or do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you not competent to try very trivial matters? Do you not know that we will judge angels? Then why not matters of this life?” 1 Corinthians 6:2-3

And since Jehovah is the only divine Being that true believers are commanded to fear and serve as their heavenly Lord,

“To you I raise my eyes, You who are enthroned in the heavens. As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, And the eyes of a servant girl to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to Jehovah our God Until he shows us favor.” Psalm 123:1-2

It, therefore, comes as no surprise that they are described within the inspired Scriptures as the servants/slaves of Jehovah God:

“After the death of Moses the servant of Jehovah, Jehovah said to Joshua a the son of Nun, the minister of Moses: ‘Moses my servant is dead. Now get up, cross the Jordan, you and all this people, and go into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel.’” Joshua 1:1-2

“After these things, Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Jehovah, died at the age of 110.” Joshua 24:29

“To the director. By Jehovah’s servant David, who addressed the words of this song to Jehovah in the day that Jehovah rescued him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:” Psalm 18

“Praise Jehovah, All you servants of Jehovah, You who stand in the house of Jehovah during the nights.” Psalm 134:1

“Neb·u·chad·nezʹzar approached the door of the burning fiery furnace and said: ‘Shaʹdrach, Meʹshach, and A·bedʹne·go, you servants of the Most High God, step out and come here!’ Shaʹdrach, Meʹshach, and A·bedʹne·go stepped out from the midst of the fire.” Daniel 3:26

“As he got near the pit, he called out to Daniel with a sad voice. The king asked Daniel: ‘O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you are continually serving been able to rescue you from the lions?’” Daniel 6:20

“Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ according to the faith of God’s chosen ones and the accurate knowledge of the truth that is according to godly devotion” Titus 1:1

“Be as free people, using your freedom, not as a cover for doing wrong, but as slaves of God.” 1 Peter 2:16

NOW FOR THE DILEMMA

Here is where the problem lay for the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs).

The JWs teach that Jesus is a god:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god… No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is at the Father’s side is the one who has explained Him.” John 1;1, 18

“The Jews answered him: ‘We are stoning you, not for a fine work, but for blasphemy; for you, although being a man, make yourself a god.’” John 10:33

They further claim that both in his prehuman existence and after his death, Jesus was/is the archangel Michael, the spirit creature assigned to the rulership/authority of Israel:

“But the prince of the royal realm of Persia stood in opposition to me for 21 days. But then Miʹcha·el, one of the foremost princes, came to help me; and I remained there beside the kings of Persia… 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.” Daniel 10:13, 21

“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.” Daniel 12:1

Our Readers Ask . . .

Is Jesus the Archangel Michael?

Put simply, the answer is yes. The custom of being called by more than one name is common in many cultures. The same situation occurs with names in the Bible. For example, the patriarch Jacob is also named Israel. (Genesis 35:10) The apostle Peter is named in five different ways​—Symeon, Simon, Peter, Cephas, and Simon Peter. (Matthew 10:2; 16:16; John 1:42; Acts 15:7, 14) How can we be sure that Michael is another name for Jesus? Consider the following Scriptural evidence…

In view of the foregoing, what can we conclude? Jesus Christ is Michael the archangel. Both names​—Michael (meaning “Who Is Like God?”) and Jesus (meaning “Jehovah Is Salvation”)​—focus attention on his role as the leading advocate of God’s sovereignty. Philippians 2:9 states: “God exalted him [the glorified Jesus] to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name.”

It is important to note that the human birth of Jesus was not the beginning of his life. Before Jesus was born, Mary was visited by an angel who told her that she would conceive a child by means of holy spirit and that she should name the child Jesus. (Luke 1:31) During his ministry, Jesus often spoke of his prehuman existence.​—John 3:13; 8:23, 58.

So Michael the archangel is Jesus in his prehuman existence. After his resurrection and return to heaven, Jesus resumed his service as Michael, the chief angel, “to the glory of God the Father.”​—Philippians 2:11. (Is Jesus the Archangel Michael?)

What this means is that Jesus cannot be the object of fear/reverence and service, since true believers are expressly forbidden from fearing or serving any other divine being besides Jehovah.

And yet the inspired Christian Scriptures that Christ does, in fact, receive reverence and service, since believers are described as his slaves who slave for him:

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of the Christ, so that each one may be repaid according to the things he has practiced while in the body, whether good or bad. Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord, we keep persuading men, but we are well-known to God. However, I hope that we are well-known also to your consciences.” 2 Corinthians 5:10-11

“Be in subjection to one another in fear of Christ.” Ephesians 5:21

“Slaves, be obedient to your human masters, with fear and trembling in the sincerity of your hearts, as to the Christ, not only when being watched, just to please men, but as Christ’s slaves doing the will of God whole-souled.” Ephesians 6:5-6

“for you know that it is from Jehovah you will receive the inheritance as a reward. Slave for the Master, Christ.” Colossians 3:24

“having known that from the Lord YOU will receive back the gift back in exchange of the inheritance; to the Lord Christ be YOU slaving; the (one) for doing unrighteously, will carry off for self which he did unrighteously, and not is receiving of face.” (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures https://www.jw.org/en/library/bible/kingdom-interlinear-greek-translation/books/colossians/3/)

“You masters, treat your slaves in a righteous and fair way, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven… Epʹa·phras, a slave of Christ Jesus who is from among you, sends you his greetings. He is always exerting himself in your behalf in his prayers, so that you may finally stand complete and with firm conviction in all the will of God.” Colossians 4:1, 12

“For anyone who was called in the Lord when a slave is the Lord’s freedman; likewise anyone who was called when a freeman is a slave of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 7:22

“Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus and called to be an apostle, set apart for God’s good news,” Romans 1:1

“Is it, in fact, men I am now trying to persuade or God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I would not be Christ’s slave.” Galatians 1:10

“Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the holy ones in union with Christ Jesus who are in Phi·lipʹpi, along with overseers and ministerial servants:” Philippians 1:1

“Simon Peter, a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have acquired a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and the Savior Jesus Christ:” 2 Peter 1:1

“Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ, but a brother of James, to the called ones who are loved by God the Father and preserved for Jesus Christ:” Jude 1:1

“To the angel of the congregation in Thy·a·tiʹraj write: These are the things that the Son of God says, the one who has eyes like a fiery flame and whose feet are like fine copper: ‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and ministry and endurance, and that your deeds of late are more than those you did at first. Nevertheless, I do hold this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezʹe·bel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and misleads my slaves to commit sexual immorality and to eat things sacrificed to idols.” Revelation 2:18-20

Remarkably, the NT goes as far as to describe Christians as being the slave and priests of both God and Christ!

“James, a slave of God AND OF the Lord Jesus Christ, to the 12 tribes that are scattered about: Greetings!” James 1:1

“Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God AND OF the Christ, and they will rule as kings with him for the 1,000 years.” Revelation 20:6

As if it couldn’t get any more astonishing, true believers were characterized and known for their practice of calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus:

“There was a disciple named An·a·niʹash in Damascus, and the Lord said to him in a vision: ‘An·a·niʹas!’ He said: ‘Here I am, Lord.’ The Lord said to him: ‘Get up, go to the street called Straight, and look for a man named Saul, from Tarsus, at the house of Judas. For look! he is praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named An·a·niʹas come in and lay his hands on him so that he may recover sight.’ But An·a·niʹas answered: ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, about all the harm he did to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to arrest all those calling on your name.’ But the Lord said to him: ‘Go! because this man is a chosen vessel to me to bear my name to the nations as well as to kings and the sons of Israel. For I will show him plainly how many things he must suffer for my name.’ So An·a·niʹas went and entered the house, and he laid his hands on him and said: ‘Saul, brother, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road along which you were coming, has sent me so that you may recover sight and be filled with holy spirit.’ And immediately, what looked like scales fell from his eyes, and he recovered his sight. He then got up and was baptized, and he ate some food and gained strength. He stayed for some days with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately in the synagogues he began to preach about Jesus, that this one is the Son of God. But all those hearing him were astonished and were saying: “Is this not the man who ravaged those in Jerusalem who call on this name? Did he not come here for the purpose of arresting them and taking them to the chief priests?’” Acts 9:10-21

“to the congregation of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in union with Christ Jesus, called to be holy ones, together with all those everywhere who are calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:” 1 Corinthians 1:2

Hence, if the JW’s doctrine concerning Christ is correct then this means that the NT writers are promoting the idolatrous worship of another god besides the true God, Jehovah, in blatant contradiction to the consistent exhortation and warning of the Hebrew Bible that true believers must avoid reverencing and serving any other divine being besides Jehovah their God.

The only way around this is to conclude that Jesus is no mere spirit creature, but rather he is the eternal Son of God who is essentially one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and therefore worthy of the same reverence and service that the Father receives.

In fact, this is precisely what Jesus himself proclaimed:

“For the Father judges no one at all, but he has entrusted all the judging to the Son, so that all may honor the Son JUST AS they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” John 5:22-23

And since the divine Son is worthy of the same divine honor that the Father is supposed to receive, it comes as no surprise that the NT writings depict every created being rendering to the risen Christ the exact same worship that is given to the Father!

“so that in the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE should bend—of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground—and EVERY TONGUE should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11

“When he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb, and each one had a harp and golden bowls that were full of incense. (The incense means the prayers of the holy ones.) And they sing a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, for you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought people for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.’ And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders, and the number of them was myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, and they were saying with a loud voice: ‘The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy to receive the power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.’ And I heard EVERY CREATURE in heaven and on earth and underneath the earth and on the sea, and ALL THE THINGS in them, saying: ‘To the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever.’ The four living creatures were saying: “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshipped.” Revelation 5:8-14

JWs, you have a problem!

Unless stated otherwise, all scriptural references taken from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (2013 Revision).

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