Raised In His Humanity

By John Carson

 

While it is important for Christians to have a proper Biblical understanding regarding Christ’s Divine nature when witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs), it is also just as important to have an accurate understanding about His humanity. (See "Jesus' Divinity" for Biblical evidences showing Jesus is God.)

JWs oftentimes will try to point to Jesus’ humanity to “prove” He cannot be God. When this happens it can actually be a great opportunity to share more about the real Jesus with them. The Jesus JWs believe in is not the Jesus of the Bible, and as you will see below, the Watchtower (WT) teachings about His resurrection is no exception. I found that an accurate study of the Scriptures with them about Jesus being raised in His humanity will also lead to passages that speak of His Divine nature (John 2:18-22 and 20:26-29 are examples of this).

Although JWs do teach Jesus Christ was a man during his earthly ministry, they actually deny that he is a resurrected Man now. They believe prior to his being born as a human being, Jesus was first created billions of years ago as a spirit-creature known as Michael the Archangel. After he died, they believe Jesus was no longer human but became a spirit-creature again during his resurrection. They teach Jesus was not raised bodily from the dead:

  • "In his resurrection he ‘became a life-giving spirit.’ That was why for most of the time he was invisible to his faithful apostles… He needs no human body any longer… The human body of flesh, which Jesus Christ laid down forever as a ransom sacrifice, was disposed of by God’s power.” (From: ‘Things in Which it is Impossible for God to Lie’, 1965, pp. 332, 354“)

  • “However, on the third day after Jesus died, his heavenly Father resurrected him back to spirit life.” (From: ‘What Does the Bible Really Teach?’, chapter 4

  • “So the evidence indicates that the Son of God was known as Michael before he came to earth and is known also by that name since his return to heaven where he resides as the glorified spirit Son of God.” (From: ‘Reasoning from the Scriptures’ 1985, 1989, p. 218)

  • “So then, those who refuse to recognize the signs of Jesus’ invisible presence because of looking for his coming in a body of flesh are mistaken.” (From: ‘The Watchtower - September 1, 1953’)

There are plenty of excellent articles that deal specifically with the WT’s erroneous teaching about Michael and Jesus being the same person. I’m not going to do that here, except to briefly point out that nowhere in Scripture does Jesus identify Himself as Michael. Instead, this article focuses on God’s promise that the Messiah, Who had come from the line of David, could not lose His ancestral lineage; that death was not the end of Christ’s humanity.

The Messianic passages in the Bible demonstrate that the seed of David will remain forever. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, the Jews who were anticipating the coming of the Messiah asked Him this question:

  • “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?” (John 12:34)

This question was asked due to Old Testament verses they clearly understood as showing the Messiah would remain. Yet Jesus seemed to have contradicted this when He said:

  • “As for Me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to Myself.” (John 12:32) 

There was, however, no contradiction with Scripture. The Jews who were questioning whether Jesus was the Promised One, did not understand that their Messiah must first suffer and die. They thought the Messiah would establish the Messianic kingdom right away. This is why at another occasion they tried to force Jesus to become king:

  • “When the people saw the sign He had done, they said, “This really is the Prophet who was to come into the world!” Therefore, when Jesus knew that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He withdrew again to the mountain by Himself.” (John 6:14-15)

Again, they did not understand that it was not the right time for Christ to rule as King. That is still a future event after Jesus Christ returns. What they did understand, was the Messiah, the rightful heir of David, is the only one Who can sit upon David’s throne.

But what does all this have to do with the WT? After all, don’t they teach that Jesus was the rightful heir of David? In ‘Jesus Christ - Insight, Volume 2, p. 57’, they teach Jesus was:

  • “.... an actual son of Mary and hence a genuine descendant of her forefathers Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and King David and legitimate heir of the divine promises made to them.”

So what’s the big deal? Well, according to WT Christology, Jesus was a legitimate heir during his earthly ministry.... while he was a man. However, since they teach he is no longer a man, this would mean he no longer has any ancestral ties to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and King David. It was to David’s seed that those promises were made, but if Jesus is no longer human, he could no longer be part of that seed. Without his humanity, the ancestral line would be broken, and thus he would cease to be an heir of David and to his throne. As the following verses will show, this is contradictory to what God had promised: 

  • “Your (David’s) house and kingdom will endure before Me forever, and your throne will be established forever.’” (2 Samuel 7:16)
  • “(The Messiah) will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” (Isaiah 9:7) 
  • “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.” (Daniel 2:44)
  • “His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:14)

The WT attempts to point to their organization as the vehicle through which God will establish His Kingdom rule. But as Scripture teaches, it is not through any organization, but through the line of David where God fulfills His promises. God’s promise is that it is David’s house and his throne that will endure forever. The Jews who questioned Jesus, knew the promises made to their forefathers would be actually established by the coming Messiah. This is the hope of Israel and the WT has no claims to these Messianic promises:

  • “The LORD has sworn to David A truth from which He will not turn back: "Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne.” (Psalms 132:11)
  • “Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:1-4)

Notice the promise is not that a spirit-creature will be set upon David’s throne, but of the fruit of David’s body. Jesus is the descendant of David according to the flesh Who will be set upon David’s throne. Through His death on the cross and His resurrection He has triumphed, and He will return bodily for His bride, the church:

  • “And again, Isaiah says: The root of Jesse will appear, the One who rises to rule the Gentiles; the Gentiles will hope in Him.” (Romans 15:12)
  • ““Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen.” (Revelation 1:7)
  • “Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”” (Revelation 5:5)
  • ““I, Jesus, have sent My angel to attest these things to you for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright Morning Star.” Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Anyone who hears should say, “Come!” And the one who is thirsty should come. Whoever desires should take the living water as a gift." (Revelation 22:16-17)

The resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ, did not say He was the root and the offspring of David, but that He is this now. He could not have said that of Himself if His humanity was destroyed. If He was re-created as a spirit-creature He would no longer be of David’s lineage. Sadly, Jesus’ bodily resurrection is rejected by JWs. This is contrary to what God’s word says in John 2:18-22:

  • “The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken." 

A JW elder recently asked me, “Who raised Jesus from the dead?” I answered, “Jesus did.” “It’s not in the Bible!”, he responded loudly. After showing him these verses in John 2, he still insisted Jesus could not have resurrected himself. I asked him, “So what did Jesus raise according to verse 19?” As he was staring at the verse, all he could say was, “Jesus did not resurrect his own body! 

I pray that my JW friend will accept God’s word for what it says, and accept Jesus for Who He is. “Open his eyes, oh God!” The Scriptures are clear. The Messiah, the promised One from the line of David, will give eternal life to those who will receive Him (John 1:12; 10:10). The resurrected Lord lives and will return as the reigning King for His bride! Come, Lord Jesus!