A Series of Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses Pt. 9
Unless stated otherwise, all Scriptural quotations taken from the 2013 revised edition of the New World Translation (http://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/nwt/books/).
The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society teaches that the spirit creature named Michael is not only the foremost angel but that he is also the only archangel of God. The Society further claims that this angel is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Note the following references:
Aside from Michael, no archangel is mentioned in the Bible, nor do the Scriptures use the term “archangel” in the plural. The Bible describes Michael as the archangel, implying that he alone bears that designation. Hence, it is reasonable to conclude that Jehovah God has delegated to one, and only one, of his heavenly creatures full authority over all other angels. (Awake!, February 8, 2002, p. 17: http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102002085)
Order and Rank. As with the visible creation, so also in the invisible realm there is order and rank among the angels. The foremost angel, both in power and authority, is Michael, the archangel… (Insight on the Scriptures, Volume 1, Angel, p. 106: http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200000277?q=Michael+angel&p=par)
ANGELS—HOW THEY ARE ORGANIZED
Jehovah has his vast angelic family organized as follows:
The angel foremost in power and authority is Michael the archangel, or Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Jude 9) Seraphs, cherubs, and other angels are under him. (“The Watchtower”, January 15, 2006, Angels—How They Affect Us, Box on p. 7: http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2006041)
However, the inspired Scriptures teach that Michael is actually only one of the chief or foremost angelic beings:
“But the prince of the royal realm of Persia stood in opposition to me for 21 days. But then Mi′cha·el, ONE of the FOREMOST (ha’rishonim) princes, came to help me; and I remained there beside the kings of Persia.” Daniel 10:13
The Jehovah’s Witness Reference Bible (http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1001060030?q=Da+10%3A13&p=par) has a note indicating that the Hebrew phrase translated as “foremost” (i.e., rishonim, plural of rishon) can also be rendered as “first” (http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/fn/r1/lp-e/1001060030/227), which would therefore mean that Michael is simply one of the first princes.
Furthermore, the Hebrew word can mean “chief” or “head” as well. In fact, here is how Daniel 10:13 is translated in the three Bible versions contained in the JW Library Application, which can be downloaded for free (http://www.jw.org/en/online-help/jw-library/):
“But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, ONE of the CHIEF princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” King James Version (KJV)
“but the prince of the Persian empire stood in my way twenty-one days. But here has Michael, ONE of the CHIEF princes, come to help me, and I was superfluous with the kings of Persia.” Byington Translation
“But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days; but, lo, Michael, ONE of the CHIEF princes, came to help me: and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” American Standard Version (ASV)
Moreover, the Greek word rendered as “arch” in the phrase archangel is archo, and can mean “chief/to be chief,” “leader/to lead,” “rule/to rule” etc. (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=G757&t=KJV; http://biblehub.com/greek/757.htm). What makes this of interest is that the Greek version (commonly referred to as the Septuagint [LXX]) of Daniel 10:13 renders the Hebrew word for prince (sar) as archon, which is from archo!
“And the ruler (ho archon) of the kingdom of the Persians stood right opposite me twenty days and one day. And behold, Michael, one of the rulers (heis ton archontoon) of the ones foremost, came to help me; and I left him there with the ruler of (tou archontos) the kingdom of the Persians.”
In light of the foregoing, how can Michael be THE foremost angel if we go by the New World Translation’s rendering of Daniel 10:13 where it identifies him as ONE of the foremost princes of God? Doesn’t this translation imply there are others that are just as powerful as he is?
And if we go by the other English versions that the Society endorses and makes available, all of which refer to Michael as only one of the chief princes, then this implies that he isn’t the only archangel since the phrase itself simply means chief or principal angel. As such, how can he be the ONLY chief angel there is when he is said to be one of the chief or principal spiritual rulers of God?
More importantly, since Michael is only one of a few (several/many?) chief or foremost rulers how could he therefore be identical to the Lord Jesus Christ when the latter is clearly described as the King of kings and Lord of lords,
“Before God, who preserves all things alive, and Christ Jesus, who as a witness made the fine public declaration before Pontius Pilate, I give you orders to observe the commandment in a spotless and irreprehensible way until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, which the happy and only Potentate will show in its own appointed times. He is the King of those who rule as kings and Lord of those who rule as lords, the one alone having immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal might. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:13-16
“and from Jesus Christ, ‘the Faithful Witness,’ ‘the firstborn from the dead,’ and ‘the Ruler of the kings of the earth.’ To him who loves us and who set us free from our sins by means of his own blood—and he made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father—yes, to him be the glory and the might forever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6
“These will battle with the Lamb, but because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them. Also, those with him who are called and chosen and faithful will do so.” Revelation 17:14
“I saw heaven opened, and look! a white horse. And the one seated on it is called Faithful and True, and he judges and carries on war in righteousness. His eyes are a fiery flame, and on his head are many diadems. He has a name written that no one knows but he himself, and he is clothed with an outer garment stained with blood, and he is called by the name The Word of God. Also, the armies in heaven were following him on white horses, and they were clothed in white, clean, fine linen. And out of his mouth protrudes a sharp, long sword with which to strike the nations, and he will shepherd them with a rod of iron. Moreover, he treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his outer garment, yes, on his thigh, he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” Revelation 19:11-16
Titles which are elsewhere ascribed to Jehovah himself?
“For Jehovah your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the God great, mighty, and awe-inspiring, who treats none with partiality and does not accept a bribe” Deuteronomy 10:17
“Give thanks to the Lord of lords, For his loyal love endures forever.” Psalm 136:3
“The king said to Daniel: ‘Truly your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a Revealer of secrets, because you were able to reveal this secret.’” Daniel 2:47
In fact, Jesus is said to possess absolute sovereign authority over the entire creation, with everything being subjected to him:
“Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying: ‘All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.’” Matthew 28:18
“… It is according to the operation of the mightiness of his strength, which he exercised toward Christ when he raised him up from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above every government and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named, not only in this system of things but also in that to come. He also subjected all things under his feet and made him head over all things with regard to the congregation, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills up all things in all.” Ephesians 1:19b-23
“But our citizenship exists in the heavens, and we are eagerly waiting for a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our humble body to be like his glorious body by his great power that enables him to subject all things to himself.” Philippians 3:20-21
“So you have acquired a fullness by means of him, the one who is the head of all government and authority… If, however, you were raised up with the Christ, go on seeking the things above, where the Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” Colossians 2:10, 3:1
“Baptism, which corresponds to this, is also now saving you (not by the removing of the filth of the flesh, but by the request to God for a good conscience), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is at God’s right hand, for he went to heaven, and angels and authorities and powers were made subject to him.” 1 Peter 3:21-22
How, then, can Christ and Michael be the same Person when the latter is simply one of the chief spiritual rulers and therefore among those that are in complete subjection to the Lord Jesus? In fact, doesn’t the inspired Greek Scriptures say that all of God’s angels worship the Son?
“But when he again brings his First-born into the inhabited earth, he says: ‘And let ALL God’s angels worship him (kai proskynesatosan auto PANTES angeloi theou).’” Hebrews 1:6 (New World Translation of the Christian Scriptures, Rendered from the Original Languages by the New World Bible Translation Committee, Revised 1970 C.E. Edition)
Since the verse says ALL God’s angels worship the risen Lord, not just some or many, wouldn’t this naturally include Michael as well seeing that he is also an angel?