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Greetings to all from one who has not visited here in a while. I hope this winds up in the right heading(!), and I hope the bros. and sisters who visit here more regularly than I do are well and have Jah’s blessings. Something has come up that surprised me, and I know that certain people here might have input. First, a background: for some years now there has been some contentious discussion among certain academics, namely, between Evangelical types and others outside of their perspective on the status of Jesus in his pre-existence. Of course, the Evangelicals with their fourth-century high Christology don’t have it right. For those who don’t know, Bart Ehrman, who certainly has no respect for Jehovah, grew up in the Evangelical fold but left it and embraced agnosticism. He’s basically viewed as an apostate by the Evangelical world, though not in the same way as a worshiper of Jehovah would view an apostate. Since that time, Ehrman has used his knowledge and academic position to attack Evangelicalism frequently. He has a blog where he does this, as well as in his published books. Another academic who regularly tries to rebut Ehrman is Larry Hurtado, a full-fledged Evangelical who runs his own blog. Hurtado recently died after a long struggle with leukemia, so his blog, while still up, has and will have no more new posts. Here is an example of the dialogue regarding Jesus’ pre-existence as an angel:
One thing that has always puzzled me is this: what happened to the spirit creature Michael when Jesus was conceived/born as a human? We are told that Jehovah transferred Michael's life pattern into Jesus in much the same way as God will do for those who are resurrected. This would mean that when Jesus was alive on earth there was no Michael in heaven. As we do not believe that humans have a spirit, in the accepted sense of the word, the question remains, what happened to Michael during Jesus earthly presence?
IS JESUS ‘MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL’? Watchtower Teaching WT claims that Daniel 10:13,21; 12:1; and I Thess 4:16 teach that: 1) Jesus existed as Michael the archangel before his birth to Mary; then 2) Jesus gave up his spirit existence as an angel when he entered Mary’s womb to become a human; 3) At the resurrection he was recreated as Michael the archangel. They describe Christ’s progressive existence as angel, then human, then angel. ‘Michael, one of the chief princes’ (Daniel 10:13). ‘Michael your prince’ (Daniel 10:21). ‘Michael the great prince’ (Daniel 12:1). JWs think that Jesus must be Michael because of Michael’s authority over other angels as a chief prince. The WT teaches that Jesus Christ was Michael the archangel, who was born as a human, died and was raised up as an archangel again. They refer to Jesus Christ as Michael the archangel. (Watchtower, 15 Feb, 1979, p.31). Bible Teaching: 1) Michael is ‘one of the chief princes’ (10:21), but Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son in John 3:16. ‘Begotten’ in Greek is ‘monogenes’ meaning uniqueone of a kind. Michael being ‘one of the chief princes’ means that he is just one among a group of chief angels. Ask: Where is Jesus called a ‘chief Prince’ in the Bible? Ask: Where is Jesus clearly mentioned in Daniel 10:13? Ask: Isn’t Jesus as ‘King of kings and Lord of lords’ (Revelation 19:16) much higher in authority than one of a group of chief princes? 2) Ask: ‘To which of the angels did God ever say ‘thou art my son’?’ (Hebrews 1:5) 3) The Bible mentions Michael the archangel five times as: 1. ‘Michael, one of the chief princes’ (Daniel 10:13) 2, ‘Michael, your prince’ (Daniel 10:21) 3. ‘Michael, the great prince’ (Daniel 12:1) 4. ‘Michael the archangel . . . durst not bring against him (the devil) a railing accusation, but said The Lord rebuke thee’ (Jude 9) 5. ‘Michael and his angels fought against the dragon’ (Revelation 12:7) Ask: Which of these verses state that Michael is Jesus Christ? None of them. 4) The WT claims support from I Thessalonians 4:16 ‘the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call,with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet’(NWT) Ask: If using an archangel’s voice makes Jesus an archangel, then having God’s trumpet makes Jesus to be God. Note: I Thessalonians 4:16 doesn’t explicitly say that Jesus Himself speaks with the voice of the archangel. When Jesus comes from heaven to rapture the church from earth, He will be accompanied by Michael the archangel. It is the archangel’s voice that shouts, not Jesus’ voice. Jesus doesn’t shout, but Michael does shout. This is like what happens at the end of the seven year tribulation, when Jesus returns ‘from heaven with his mighty angels’ (II Thessalonians 1:7). If angels accompany Christ at the end of the 7 year tribulation, then clearly Michael will accompany Christ at the rapture before the 7 year tribulation, so Michael cannot be Jesus. 5) In Jude 9, Michael did not have the authority to rebuke Satan, but Jesus did have the authority as follows: Jesus said ‘Get thee hence, Satan’ (Matthew 4:10) and ‘Get thee behind me, Satan’ (Mark 8:33) Michael said to Satan,‘The Lord rebuke thee’, proving that the only one with the authority to rebuke Satan is God. So, Matt. 4:10 proves that Jesus Christ is the Lord God. Ask: Since Michael could not rebuke Satan in his own authority, but Jesus could and did rebuke Satan, doesn’t that mean that Michael and Jesus are different persons? 6) All the angels (Michael included) are commanded to worship Christ. (Hebrews 1:6) 7) The writer of Hebrews asks several questions about angels and Jesus Christ, which prove them to be different persons: i) ‘Unto which of the angels said he at any time, thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?’ (Hebrews 1:5) ii) ‘To which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?’ (Hebrews 1:13) iii) ‘Unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come (millennium)’ (Hebrews 1:13). iv) ‘For verily, he took not on him the nature of angels’ (Hebrews 2:16) v) Does Michael sustain all things by the word of his power? (See Hebrews 1:3). No! vi) Is it right to honour Michael the archangel just as you honour the Father? (John 5:23) ? Ask: Do good angels refuse worship? (Certainly). When John fell down to worship the angel, the angel rebuked him, saying ‘See thou do it not ....worship God’. (Rev 22:8,9). The Father commands all the angels (Michael included) to worship Christ. (Heb 1:6). The ‘proskuneo’ worship that angels refuse to accept but say to give to God, the Father commands this same ‘proskuneo’ worship to be given to the Son. Hence the Son cannot be an angel, but must be God. True Bible students soon discover that Jesus is no mere angel, but God. This lesson must be learnt so they may ‘honour the Son just as they honour the Father’. (John 5:23 NWT). 9) Jesus Christ is unchangeable: ‘Jesus Christ the same, yesterday and today and forever’. (Hebrews 13:8). The WT view of Jesus is that He was Michael who changed to become a man, and who at his resurrection changed back to Michael the archangel. The Watchtower Jesus is changeable. They have a false and different Jesus. 10) Jesus Christ created all the angels, including the thrones and principalities of which Michael is a chief prince of a principality. ‘For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers’. (Colossians 1:16).