The Jehovah’s Witnesses Cult
They officially teach that:
Christ Is a Created Angel
Watch Tower Society, the Vatican of Jehovah's Witnesses, has published hundreds of volumes denying the deity of Jesus Christ. If Christ is not divine, the Bible, the church, our hope and faith are nothing. But since Jehovah's Witnesses build their hopes upon a physical existence upon this physical earth, and death is complete nonexistence, what do they care about the divine nature of Christ?
Jehovah's Witnesses believe and teach that Christ is nothing more than a created angel: the first angel created by God. Think of it! Our entire hope rests upon a created angel instead of the
Divine Son of God. Following are statements of Watch Tower to prove that they teach this godless doctrine.
Rutherford said: "Jesus is a man and nothing more than a man" (Reconciliation, page 125).
"There was, therefore, a time when Jehovah was all alone in the universal space . . . Then the time came when Jehovah began to create. First at that time he came to be God to all his creation . . . His first creatures were spirits like himself" (Let God Be True, pages 26-27).
Speaking of Christ, ". . . he was a mighty one, although not almighty as Jehovah God is; also he was before all others of God's creatures, because he was the first son that Jehovah God brought forth. For this reason he is called 'the only begotten Son' of God, for God had no partner in bringing forth his first begotten Son. He was the first of Jehovah God's creations . . . He is not the author of the creation of God; but, after God had created him as his firstborn Son, then God used him as his working Partner in the creation of all the rest of creation" (Let God Be True, pages 34-35).
Speaking of God creating Jesus, ". . . He had also started Jesus toward spiritual life in the heavens by begetting him with holy spirit after his water baptism. He must yet bring his anointed Son to full birth in the heavens" (Your Will Be Done On Earth, page 143).
"It will be recalled that 'God is from everlasting to everlasting' (Psalm 90:2). If this is true, then how could the Word, if the God, have a beginning? The truth of the matter is that the Word is Christ Jesus, who did have a beginning; because, at Revelation 3:14, he distinctly states that he was the beginning of the creation of God. That is why he is spoken of as the 'only begotten' of the Father" (Let God Be True, page 88).
"All of Jehovah's creation is miraculous and wonderful! However, of Jehovah's marvelous creations, his very first creation was the most marvelous of all. This was the creation of a spirit Son" (Look! I Am Making All Things New, page 12).
"At the time of his beginning of life he was created by the everlasting God, Jehovah, without the aid or instrumentality of any mother. In other words, he was the first and direct creation of Jehovah God. As such he was Jehovah's only begotten Son" (The Kingdom Is At Hand, pages 46-47).
"What does Michael's action here for the kingdom of God and for the authority of his Christ prove in the light of the other evidence presented above? It proves that Michael the archangel is no other than the only-begotten Son of God, now Jesus Christ" (New Heavens And A New Earth, page 30).
"Being the only begotten Son of God . . . the Word would be a prince among all other creatures. In this office he bore another name in heaven, which is 'Michael'" (The Truth Shall Make You Free, page 49).
"But the fact that Jesus Christ is distinguished as the Son of God would mean that the other angels are not sons of God" (New Heavens And A New Earth, page 28).
It can be easily seen that Jehovah's Witnesses do not regard Christ as anything more than the first angel God created. The denial of the deity of Jesus Christ is a denial of all the works of God on behalf of man's salvation.
Revelation 3:14 is used to prove that Christ was the first of God's creation. "These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God." The Creator is always the "beginning" of Creation. He begins it. John 1:3 says, "ALL THINGS were made by him; and without him was not ANY THING made that was made." The ''him'' refers to the WORD who was WITH God "in the beginning" and WAS God (John 1:1-3). Watch Tower deceptively puts "a god" in reference to Christ in this passage. Martin and Klann say in Jehovah Of The Watchtower, page 50: "Contrary to the translations of 'The Emphatic Diaglott' and the 'New World Translation' the Greek grammatical construction leaves no doubt whatsoever that this is the only possible rendering of the text. The subject of the sentence is Word (LOGOS), the verb, was. There can be no direct object following was since according to grammatical usage intransitive verbs take no objects but take instead predicate nominatives which refer back to the subject, in this case, Word (LOGOS). It is therefore easy to see that no article is needed for Theos (God) and to translate it 'a god' is both incorrect grammar and poor Greek since Theos is the predicate nominative of was in the third sentence-clause of the verse and must refer back to the subject, Word (Logos).
In John 8:58 Jesus said, "Before Abraham was I AM." This is exactly the same language as found in Exodus 3:14 and Isaiah 43:10-13 in the Septuagint translation.
Colossians 1:15 is used to prove that Christ was the first of God's creation. This says "the firstborn" of every creature. We will study more about this when we study the resurrection of Christ. But Colossians 1:16 says ALL THINGS CREATED were by him, IN HEAVEN, and in earth, visible and invisible." And he (Christ) is before ALL THINGS, and by him ALL THINGS consist (Colossians 1:17). Christ is eternal as Jehovah is.
Jehovah's Witnesses deny the divine and eternal nature of Christ. Read these bold words from the pen of Charles T. Russell:
"Notice that this teaches not only that angelic nature is not the only order of spirit being, but that it is a lower nature than that of our Lord before he became a man; and he was not then so high as he is now, for 'God hath highly exalted him' because of his obedience in becoming man's willing ransom. (Phil. 2:8-9.) He is now of the highest order of spirit being, a partaker of the divine (Jehovah's) nature" (Studies In The Scriptures, Vol. I, page 178).
"But not only do we thus find proof that the divine, angelic and human natures are separate and distinct, but this proves that to be a perfect man is not to be an angel, any more than the perfection of angelic nature implies that angels are divine and equal with Jehovah; for Jesus took not the nature of angels, but a different nature - the nature of men . . . " (Studies In The Scriptures, Vol. I, page 179)
"If Jesus in the flesh was a perfect man, as the Scriptures thus show, does it not prove that a perfect man is a human, fleshly being---not an angel, but a little lower then the angels?" (Studies In The Scriptures, Vol. I, Page 179).
"When Jesus was in the flesh he was a perfect human being; previous to that time he was a perfect spiritual being; and since his resurrection he is a perfect spiritual being of the highest or divine order" (Studies In The Scriptures, Vol. I, page 179).
"Thus we see that in Jesus there was no mixture of natures, but that twice he experienced a change of nature; first, from spiritual to human; afterward, from human to the highest order of spiritual nature, the divine; and in each case the one was given up for the other" (Studies In The Scriptures, Vol. I, page 180).
"Nowhere in the Scriptures is it stated that angels are immortal, nor that mankind restored will be immortal. On the contrary, immortality is ascribed only to the divine nature--originally to Jehovah only; subsequently to our Lord Jesus in his present highly exalted condition . . . " (Studies In The Scriptures, Vol. I, page 186).
"Our Redeemer existed as a spirit being before he was made flesh and dwelt amongst men. At that time, as well as subsequently, he was properly known as 'a god' --- a mighty one. As chief of the angels and next to the Father he was known as the Archangel (highest angel or messenger), whose name, Michael, signifies, 'Who as God', or God's representative" (Studies In The Scriptures, Vol., page 84).
"He was not a spirit-human hybrid, a man and at the same time a spirit person. He was not clothed upon with flesh over an invisible spirit person, but he was flesh" (What Has Religion Done For Mankind?, page 231).
These are but a few of the quotations from Watch Tower that directly deny the deity of Christ. We note four things Jehovah's Witnesses believe about the deity of Christ: (1) Christ was first created an Archangel by the name of Michael. At that time he was neither divine nor immortal. (2) He gave up this nature of angels to become a man and nothing more, thus being lower than the angels. (3) He then gave up the human nature to become a spirit being now divine as God is divine. (4) It is not possible for Christ to be a "spirit human hybrid, a man and at the same time a spirit person." He must change from one to the other and each time completely give up the previous nature.
1. Christ was not Michael the archangel because Jude 9 says that Michael would not bring accusation against Satan, but the Lord accused Satan of being a murderer and a liar from the beginning (John 8:44). The truth is that Jesus was never an angel. God raised Christ from the dead, called him His Son, said for the angels to worship him, and seated him at His own right hand. Hebrews 1:5-6,13 show that at no time did God say any of this to or of angels. In Hebrews 1:8 Jehovah called the Son "God.” Being neither angel nor man before coming to this earth, Christ was eternal and divine as the Father is.
2. Since Christ was not an angel, he could not give up the nature of angels. But did he give up his divine nature? He said, "Before Abraham was I am" (John 8:28). In Exodus 3:14 and Isaiah 43:10-13 this expression means that the Father is from eternity to eternity. Christ used the same expression of himself to indicate the same thing. In John 17:4-5 Christ prays to the Father to "glorify thou me, with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was."
3. Did Christ give up the human nature completely? When he arose from the dead he appeared to the disciples. Thomas did not believe before when told that Christ had arisen. Christ told him to feel his hands and side. Thomas said, "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28). After he arose, Christ had the body that was crucified and Thomas called him Lord and God while in that body. Paul speaks of God's eternal purpose in Christ and says that none of the princes of this world knew it. "For had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Corinthians 2:8). The Lord of glory was crucified.
4. It was said that Christ could not be man and God at the same time. He must completely give up his "spirit nature" to become man, and then give up his human nature to become divine as God is divine. In John 1:1-3 the Holy Spirit plainly tells us that the Logos (Word) was with God and the Word WAS God. Then in verse 14 he tells us that the Logos was made flesh. Romans 8:3 says: "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." The Son was sent "in the likeness" of sinful flesh.
"And when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law" (Galatians 4:4). It was the "Son" who was made of a woman---"he took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7). Now read this passage from 1 Timothy: "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory" (1 Timothy 3:16). It was God who was manifest in the flesh, who was preached unto the Gentiles, and received up into glory. This, of course, refers to Christ while in the flesh. Acts 20:28 teaches that the church was purchased with the blood of the Lord. If the Lord did not have blood, how could he give it and purchase the church? It was the "Lord of glory" that was crucified and not "Just a man" (1 Corinthians 2:8). It is the "son of man" who is in heaven, and this is the same one that came down from heaven (John 3:13). Now in John 6:62 we read: "What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?" Now listen: "The first man (Adam) is of the earth, earthy: the second man (Christ) is the Lord from heaven" (1 Corinthians 15:47).
One final passage: "Hereby know we the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God (not that Jesus Christ was completely changed to the flesh): and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is in the world" (1 John 4:2-3).
Jehovah's Witnesses tell by their opposition to the deity of Christ that they are of the antichrist. They deny that Christ CAME in the flesh. They teach that the person of Christ was completely changed to the nature of a man only.
The Resurrection of Christ
Jehovah's Witnesses deny the bodily resurrection of Christ three days after his death on the cross. At this point I want to simply give some quotations from Watch Tower to show their doctrine on this subject. We shall then compare it with what the word of God teaches.
Because of the view of Jehovah's Witnesses on the nature of man's life and the meaning of death, they cannot conceive of life out of the body for man, and since Jesus was wholly man, he had to die, become nonexistent, and cannot have the physical body raised from the dead or else he would be wholly man again.
Read what they teach:
"Jesus at death went to Hades or mankind's common grave, but not to Gehenna, for his body was buried in the grave of Joseph the rich man of Arimathea . . . Had Jesus' religious enemies gotten ahold of his dead body first, they might have hurled it over Jerusalem's walls into Gehenna to be burned up there in the continual fires mixed with sulphur or to fall on a projecting ledge and be consumed in the warmth of that fire worms and maggots that would not die till they had left only his inedible skeleton" (Survival After Death, pages 40-41).
"When Jesus Christ was in Sheol or Hades he could not preach to anybody, for Sheol or Hades is mankind's common grave. Jesus was dead for parts of three days" (Survival After Death, page 73).
"Resurrection, being God's act by Christ Jesus, means a causing to stand up again, that is, unto life. This proves that the human soul dies and the dead are dead; otherwise there could not be a resurrection of the dead, there being no dead ones to raise to life" (Hope, Page 53).
"In order to return to heaven this only-begotten Son of God died so as to sacrifice his human nature for mankind's restoration to everlasting life, and God raised him from death to heavenly life again as a spiritual Son more glorious than ever before" (What Has Religion Done For Mankind? Page 36).
The first resurrection is described by Jehovah's Witnesses in these words: "Jesus was the first one to rise from the dead, and therefore he is spoken of as 'the first born from the dead"' . . . "It was God's purpose, however, that Jesus should not be alone in his heavenly resurrection, but that others should be joined with him (John 14:3)" (Let God Be True, page 272).
From 2 Corinthians 4:14 Watch Tower argues: "This is the first resurrection as to time and importance . . ." "The Scriptures also indicate that the number of those that participate in this first resurrection is not a great number, but is a 'little flock' (Luke 12:32, and that it is limited to the Lord Jesus and the 144,000 members of the church of God.--Revelation 7:4; 14:1-2.)"
"It is precisely the human life of Jesus that was the ransom price. Having forfeited this human life, he could not take it up again and he was, therefore, resurrected a 'spirit creature'" (This Good News Of The Kingdom, page 15).
I have given several quotations from Watch Tower publications to show the doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses on the resurrection of Christ. We here give a few more and then expose this doctrine in the light of God's word. All the following statements are from official Watch Tower publications and state plainly what they believe on this subject. I do not have the space here to examine all this sect says on these subjects, however, this will give enough tounderstand and to expose this ungodly doctrine. We want it clear that Christians do not believe the unholy doctrine expressed in the following quotations.
1 Corinthians 15 makes it clear that our eternal hope depends upon the resurrection of Christ from the grave. This means his bodily resurrection.
"Even so, how can one long dead be released from death, and brought back to life? Has not his body returned to the dust? Some of the particles that made up that body may even have been assimilated into other living things, such as plants and animals. However, resurrection does not mean bringing the same chemical elements together again. It means that God recreates the same person, with the same personality. He brings a new body forth from the earthly elements, and in that body he places the same characteristics, the same distinctive qualities, the same memory, the same life-pattern that the person had built up until the time of his death" (Look! I Am Making All Things New, pages 20-21).
''Those guards of the memorial tomb saw Jehovah's angel, but they did not see Jesus come to life and come out of the tomb. They could not do so, because Jesus was raised to life as an invisible spirit. He did not take up again that body in which he had been killed as a human sacrifice to God . . . Divine power removed the human body in which Jesus Christ had been offered as a sacrifice for human sins" (Let Your Name Be Sanctified, page 267).
"By not taking back human life Jesus the Son of God sacrificed that perfect humanity that he had enjoyed on earth for thirty-three years and a half" (You May Survive Armageddon Into God's New World, page 34).
"As for his body of flesh which was nailed to the tree, Jesus said: 'The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world' (John 6:51). What he gave he did not take back, and he did not take that fleshly body to heaven" (Hope, page 11).
"Therefore the bodies in which Jesus manifested himself to his disciples after his return to life were not the body in which he was nailed to the tree . . . The body which was put in the sepulcher was disposed of without corruption according to God's prophecy and by his mighty power" (The Kingdom Is At Hand, page 259).
"Usually they could not at first tell it was Jesus, for he appeared in different bodies. He appeared and disappeared just as angels had done, because he was resurrected as a spirit creature. Only because Thomas would not believe did Jesus appear in a body like that in which he had died. ---John 20:24-29 (From Paradise Lost To Paradise Regained, page 144).
"But with what kind of body was Jesus to be raised from the dead? God had prepared a fleshly body for him in coming to earth, and in order to have something acceptable to God to sacrifice he must sacrifice this perfect human body. This he did on the stake. To sacrifice something means to give it up, to suffer the loss of it, to renounce it for something else. Hence Jesus on being restored to life could not have that body back again in order to live in it . . . Hence Jehovah's High Priest did not withdraw his human sacrifice, but it still remained for mankind's eternal benefit ---1 Peter 3:18, NW" (What Has Religion Done For Mankind? pages 258-259).
"Because his disciples could not see spiritual creatures, the resurrected Jesus manifested himself to them in flesh, materializing a human body for each occasion, Just as the spirit angels did on his resurrection day and his day of ascension to heaven" (This Means Everlasting Life, page 120).
"Our Lord's human body was, however, supernaturally removed from the tomb; because had it remained there it would have been an insurmountable obstacle to the faith of the disciples, who were not yet instructed in spiritual things---for 'the spirit was not yet given' (John 7:39). We know nothing about what became of it, except that it did not decay or corrupt (Acts 2:27,31). Whether it was dissolved into gases or whether it is still preserved somewhere as the grand memorial of God's love, of Christ's obedience, and of our redemption, no one knows; ---nor is such knowledge necessary" (Studies In The Scriptures, Vol. 2, pages 129- 130).
Many more quotations could be given from Watch Tower Publications to show that Jehovah's Witnesses are to believe that Christ did not actually arise from the grave, but that he was "recreated" a spiritual being and the body that was crucified was disposed of by God in some manner unknown to us. The man that was crucified must stay dead forever to satisfy God's demands. They deny the need for a resurrection; the fact of the resurrection, and the statements of Christ that he did arise from the grave.
These quotations from Approved books from Watch Tower Publications show that Jehovah's Witnesses profess to believe in a "resurrection" but they do not believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ from the grave. It amounts to a "recreation" rather than a resurrection. Now what does the word of God teach?
The Resurrection Of Christ
W. E. Vine in Expository Dictionary Of New Testament Words, says of "anastasis": "(I) a rising up, or rising (ana, up, and histemi, to cause to stand, . . . (II) of resurrection stand, . . . (II) of resurrection from the dead, (a) of Christ, Acts 1:22; 2:31; 4:33; Rom. 1:4; 6:5; Phil. 3:10; 1 Pet. 1:3; 3:21 . . ." Thayer says of the same word: "1. a rising up, rising . . . 2. a rising from the dead."
Now the question is, what arises from the dead? James 2:26 says that "the body without the spirit is dead." The BODY is dead when the spirit is not in it. The spirit of man may be dead while the body is alive because the spirit is still in the body. 1 Timothy 5:6 says the widow who lives in pleasure"is dead while she liveth." She is dead and at the same time alive. We understand, of course, that she is dead spiritually --- separated from God--while living in wicked pleasure, but she is alive in the body because the spirit is still in the body. Daniel said: "I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body and the visions of my head troubled me" (Daniel 7:15). When the body and spirit are together there is life upon this earth, but when the spirit leaves the body it is dead. ''Then will the dust (body) return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it" (Ecclesiastes 12:7). The only thing to be raised from the dead is the body, if we are speaking of a literal resurrection as was the case when Christ arose from the dead. He was literally dead---crucified in the body---and must therefore literally arise from the dead.
The Bible sometimes uses the word "resurrection" in a figurative sense as in the case of being raised by baptism to walk in newness of life, but this figure must take its meaning from the literal sense or it means nothing. We can tell by the context when the word is used figuratively and when it is used literally.
Let us let the Bible tell us what "resurrection" means. A case for an example is found in Mark 5. Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came to Jesus for help because his twelve-year-old daughter was sick unto death. As Jesus went toward the ruler's house word came that she had died. When Jesus came to the house, he took her parents, Peter, James and John with him and went into the room where she lay dead. He took her by the hand and commanded her to arise, "and straightway the damsel arose . . . " (verse 42). What arose? Was it the body in which she formerly lived? It was the BODY that was dead, and it was the BODY that arose from the dead.
Another clear-cut case is found in Acts 9:36-41. A disciple by the name of Tabitha (Dorcus) was sick and died. Peter was called and came. He found the widows weeping and showing the clothes Dorcus had made "while she was with them." She was now dead and not with them, but the body was there. Now notice what Peter did: "But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him TO THE BODY said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter she sat up" (Acts 9:40). The next verse says he "presented her alive." It was the BODY that was dead, and it was the BODY that arose from the dead.
Let us look at one more. In John 11 we have the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead after he had been in the grave for four days. Jesus went to the grave (John 11:38). He had them to take away the stone that covered the mouth of the grave, and after he had prayed to the Father he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth" (John 11:43). Now, what was in that grave? It was the body of Lazarus; it was dead because the spirit had left it four days before. Notice the next verse: "And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes; and his face was bound about with a napkin." It was the body of Lazarus that was raised from the dead. The spirit came back into it and it was alive again.
There is no such thing as a resurrection from the dead in a literal sense without the body being brought to life again.
But what about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ? Prophecy had clearly foretold that the Messiah would suffer and die and be raised the third day. When the scribes and Pharisees asked a sign from Christ he said there shall no sign be given but the sign of the prophet Jonas (Matthew 12:38-40). "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." In Jonah 1:15 they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea. This was his body that was cast into the sea. In Jonah 1:17 he was swallowed by a great fish prepared by the Lord, and he was there for three days and three nights. In Jonah 2:2, Jonah cried from the "belly of hell" and the Lord heard his voice. After three days and three nights the fish vomited Jonah out upon dry land (Jonah 2:10).
We have noticed from the New Testament that the resurrection of the dead refers to the body, which is dead because the spirit has left it, being raised to life by the spirit coming again into that body. Watch Tower, nevertheless, advocates that the body of Christ did not and could not be raised from the dead. Russell said, "Jesus, therefore, at and after his resurrection, was a spirit---a spirit being, and no longer a human being in any sense" (Studies In The Scriptures, Vol. I, page 231). In Vol. II of the same series and on page 129, Russell boldly asserts that the Lord's body was "supernaturally removed from the tomb" and "we know nothing about what became of it, except that it did not decay or corrupt." Why then should anyone deny that the body AROSE from the dead if ''we know nothing about what became of it?" Russell supposes it might have "dissolved into gases" or is "still preserved somewhere as the grand memorial of God's love . . . "
But let us continue to show what the Bible teaches about the resurrection of Christ from the dead on the third day. In Mark 5, Acts 9, John 11, and Matthew 12 we have references to the resurrection and in all cases the body which was dead is that which was raised. But there is more evidence.
In 1 Corinthians 15 we have the inspired account of the resurrection and its importance to man's salvation. Paul said "he had delivered that which he had received how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he arose again the third day according to the scriptures" (l Corinthians 15:3-4). Now notice what is said here: Christ died (body); Christ buried (body); Christ arose (body). But the very next verse proves that it was the body that arose: "And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once . . . after that, he WAS seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time." There is not a way in the world that these verses would make sense if the body of Christ had not been raised from the dead. Whatever was buried was raised.
Jehovah's Witnesses have long had difficulty in explaining the empty tomb on the third day. They are in the ranks of infidels and modernists in this respect. If there is an undeniable fact in all of history, it is the empty tomb of the Lord on the third day after his death. Jehovah's Witnesses prefer to imagine that it dissolved in gases or is preserved somewhere by God. Please read with me some verses on this subject from the word of God. There is not a "Jehovah's Witnesses" on the face of the earth who can explain away these plain and sufficient statements of the bodily resurrection of Christ.
In Matthew 27:62-66 we have the account of the Jews planning to secure the tomb lest his disciples come by night and "steal" him away and then tell the people he is risen from the dead. It was his dead body that they were concerned about. As long as that body remained in the tomb it could not be proved that he arose from the dead. In Matthew 28:2 an angel came and rolled the stone away. The angel said to the women who had come to anoint his body that he knew they were seeking Jesus, but ''He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay" (Matthew 28:5-6). This, of course, was speaking of the body. The angel said "he is risen" and then said to "see the place where the Lord lay" referring to the body. The Jews invented the story that the disciples came and stole the body while they slept. The whole problem was the EMPTY TOMB! The body was gone the third day! The Holy Spirit said it was raised from the dead, the Jews said the disciples stole it at night, and Jehovah' s Witnesses said it dissolved into gases or something else we cannot explain.
Let us read John 19, 20, and 21 very carefully. This completely demolishes Watch Tower doctrine on the subject of the resurrection.
When Jesus died and was pierced with the spear, Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus took the body by permission of Pilate to bury it. They wanted to ''take away the body." "Then took they the body of Jesus," and prepared it for burial according to the manner of the Jews. It was the body that they put into the tomb.
In John 20 Mary Magdalene came early on the first day of the week and found the stone rolled away. She went to tell Peter and John that ''they have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him" (John 20:2). Peter and John ran to the tomb and found the linen clothes lying there without a body, and the napkin that was about his head not lying with the other clothes. Mary stood without the sepulchre weeping, and then she saw two angels, one at the feet and the other at the head where Jesus had lain. They inquired why she was weeping and she told them that they had taken away the Lord and she did not know where. She was talking about the body that had been in the tomb.
After she had said this, she turned about and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus (John 20:14). But in John 20:16 when Jesus spoke to her by name, she turned and recognized him. Jesus said, ''touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father." Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 that Christ was to die; that which died was buried; and that which was buried was raised from the dead. It was the body.
In Part One we showed clearly from the word of God that the BODY of Christ was raised from the dead on the third day. Jehovah's Witnesses believe the body never has and never will be raised from the dead. The basis of this terrible error is Watch Tower's conception of the nature of man and death. Rutherford said in Deliverance, Page 324: "when a man dies he is as dead as a dead dog." "A creature IS a soul. He does not have a soul within him that is separate and distinct from his body and hence that can live a separate existence after the death of his body" (Hope, Page 33). On the same page: "Your pet Rex is a soul." Notice here that they say there is no existence AFTER the DEATH OF THE BODY. It is the "body" that dies.
Again, "Man's conscious existence as a living human creature is soul. He has no soul apart and distinct from his human body" (This Means Everlasting Life, Page 30). "Death meant ceasing to exist as a soul, destruction" (ibid., page 33). "By this statement of Scripture it is clearly seen that even the man Christ Jesus was mortal. He did not have an immortal soul: Jesus, the human soul, died" (Let God Be True, page 63).
These quotations show that Jehovah's Witnesses believe that man has no soul separate from the body; he is as dead as a "dead dog," and death means nonexistence, destruction. Then Christ Jesus was NOT immortal; he died. Since the body has no soul separate from the body and it is the body that dies, if there is any such thing as a resurrection, what is raised?
We are looking at the arguments of Jehovah's Witnesses against the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Mary Magdalene, Peter and John saw the empty tomb with the grave clothes without the body. Did they lie about it?
Now we consider some passages that prove his body that was crucified actually arose from the grave after three days.
After Jesus called Mary by name (John 20:16), she turned and recognized him and called him, Rabboni, ''which is to say, Master." In John 20:19-20 Christ appeared to the disciples and "shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord." Why did he show his hands and side? Why, it was to prove that his body had been raised from the dead.
In John 20:24-29 Thomas was not with them when Christ showed himself, so when the others told Thomas he said, "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe." After eight days Jesus came again into the midst of the disciples and Thomas was present that time. Jesus asked him to put his finger in the prints in his hands and thrust his hand into his side and believe. But how would feeling the hands of Christ and thrusting his hand into his side prove that he was the Christ? It is only sensible if this body now in their presence was the one that had been crucified. In fact, no other body "materialized" would have had these marks unless Christ deliberately did so to deceive them into thinking the dead body had really arose from the dead. But Thomas did not have to feel; he said: "My Lord and my God." Jesus then said to him: "Thomas, because thou hast SEEN ME, thou hast believed . . . " Thomas saw the body with the scars of his crucifixion and recognized him as the Lord. Christ said Thomas had "seen me."
In John 21:14: ''This is now the third time that Jesus SHEWED HIMSELF to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead." It was the body that was seen.
Before Jesus was crucified, he prophesied that he would be put to death. He said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple OF HIS BODY. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said" (John 2:19-23). How could it be possible to state more plainly that the BODY that was crucified was raised from the dead? This passage alone completely destroys the doctrine of Watch Tower on the resurrection of the body of Christ.
Jehovah's Witnesses insist that Christ was raised a "spirit" being, and the dead body was done away by God. There is a passage so clear on this subject that it is a mystery how anyone can believe such a doctrine. Let us examine carefully the following passage from Luke 24:36-40.
Jesus appeared in the midst of the disciples and ''they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit." But Jesus asked them why they were troubled; "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." Jesus told the disciples to see his hands and feet that it was Jesus himself, and handle me and see. Then he makes the very statement that proves he was NOT a SPIRIT, but "flesh and bones, as ye see me have."
No more devilish doctrine was ever invented than this one that denies the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In concluding our review of the doctrine of Watch Tower on the bodily resurrection of Christ, there is one passage they keep repeating over and over again to prove that he was buried a human body and raised "a spirit being." Of course, Russell said: "Our Lord's being or soul was nonexistent during the period of death" (Studies in The Scriptures, Vol. 5, Page 362). He did not live at all anywhere during death.
"On the third day of his being dead in the grave his immortal Father Jehovah God raised him from the dead, not as a human Son, but as a mighty immortal spirit Son, with all power in heaven and earth under the Most High God. Says the Jewish Witness, Peter: 'Being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.' (1 Pet. 3:18, ASV and Douay). For forty days thereafter he materialized, as angels before him had done, to show himself alive to his disciples as witnesses." (Let God Be True, page 43).
Another passage used by Jehovah's Witnesses to prove that the body does not raise is 1 Corinthians 15:50: "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption . . . "
"So the King Christ Jesus was put to death in the flesh and was resurrected an invisible spirit creature; therefore, the world will see him no more" (Let God Be True, page 122).
Now let us see what the Bible says about this. First, the idea of the spirit of one who has left the body is non-existing is simply not so. At a later time we will study the truth about the body, soul and spirit of man. Paul said by the Holy Spirit: "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly: and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (l Thessalonians 5:23).
Second, 1 Peter 3:18 does not teach what Jehovah's Witnesses say it teaches. They argue that since he was "put to death in the flesh, but quickened (made alive) by the Spirit," he must therefore be a spirit being. There are some other passages that help us understand what this one means. For example we read in Romans 8:11: "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (raise up) your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." It was Spirit of God that raised up Christ, not that Christ was raised up a "Spirit being" invisible. This spirit that raised Christ also dwells in those who are the children of God.
Another passage may be found in Ephesians 4:8-10: "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high (when he ascended to God's right hand), he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? (That he should die and be buried) He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)" Now who ascended up to the right hand of God? Why it was the SAME that descended into the lower parts of the earth. What was put into the earth ascended to the right hand of God.
What is meant when God said of Christ: "For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?" (Hebrews 1:5). When was Christ "begotten?” Psalm 2:7: "I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee." Now then to Acts 13:33: "God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day I begotten thee." Jesus was "begotten" of God when he was raised from the dead. That was the day he was begotten. It does not mean that he was born into existence. He is eternal as the Father is eternal.
We have a mediator between man and God, and that mediator is Jesus Christ. "He is the mediator of a better covenant" (Hebrews 8:6). "And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament . . . " (Hebrews 9:15). "And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant . . . " (Hebrews 12:24). Now listen: "For there is ONE God, and ONE mediator between God and man, THE MAN Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5).
Russell had some foolish ideas about the atonement of the blood of Christ. He taught that only Adam was guilty of sin and the rest of us simply inherited death from him. He said: "One Redeemer was quite sufficient in the plan which God adopted, because only one had sinned, and only one had been condemned. (Others shared his condemnation.) But if the first trial had been an individual trial, and if one-half of the race had sinned and been individually condemned, it would have required the sacrifice of a redeemer for each condemned individual. One unforfeited life could redeem one forfeited life, but no more" (Studies In The Scriptures, Vol. I, page 133). But again and again the New Testament teaches that Christ died for ALL men, because ALL are sinners.
Wm. E. Biederwolf in his booklet, "Russellism Unveiled" says on page 13: "Russell says, 'We, as members of Christ's body, are yielding up our lives in sacrifice during this age, and these sacrificial lives counted in with His constitute the blood of Christ which seals the new covenant between God and the world'!!"
Watch Tower denies the eternal nature of Christ, his resurrection from the grave, and the atonement of his blood. How could a religion, if that it can be called, claim any divinity for Christ and expect salvation of any kind? This is an evil doctrine as ungodly as sinful man can create.
We have presented material dealing with Jehovah's Witnesses and their evil doctrine concerning Christ the Son of God. If one does not admit that Christ as revealed in the New Testament is the Son of God, he cannot be saved. We have tried to warn about the evils of this religion.
Credit H.E. Phillips and HEPhillips.org
Preacher of the Word (Vol. III, July 12, 1998, #7).
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