“Bible Teach,” Chapter 10, “Spirit Creatures—How They Affect Us,” is devoted to a discussion of angels—both obedient angels and demons.
While this may not seem like a fruitful area for discussion, in fact you can use this chapter as a springboard for making new points or reinforcing points you’ve previously made regarding a number of important topics:
- The identity of Jesus
- Conscious existence after death
- The Watchtower speculating beyond things written in the Bible
- The Watchtower’s citation of a spiritualist author in support of its John 1:1 “a god” translation
- The supposed importance of addressing our prayers to Jehovah by name
We’ll discuss the first three topics today and the last two next week.
Topic #1: The identity of Jesus
Paragraph 2 (p. 96) states: “Where did angels come from? Colossians 1:16 says: ‘By means of him [Jesus Christ] all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth.’ Hence, all the spirit creatures called angels were individually created by Jehovah God through his firstborn Son.”
As I noted in my comments on Chapter 4, the Watchtower’s rendering of Colossians 1:16 inserts the word “other” into the text four times, making it appear that Jesus himself is a created “thing.” The word “other” in not there in the original Greek.
If you haven’t already done so, you should challenge this alteration of the Bible text here. If you covered this in your Chapter 4 discussion, you should seriously consider reinforcing your point at this juncture.
I explained how to do this in The Jesus Is the God-Man Approach from my book, Getting Through to Jehovah’s Witnesses: Approaching Bible Discussions in Unexpected Ways (p. 175). In an earlier post entitled “Using the Kingdom Interlinear Translation”, I discussed how to show this to the Witnesses using a resource available on the Watchtower’s own website.
This would also be a good opportunity to use pp. 154-156 of The Jesus Isn’t Michael Approach, which shows how to show the Witnesses from Hebrews 1 and 2 that Jesus is greater than all of the angels. I’ve also covered this in a post entitled “Jesus Isn’t Michael: Jesus Is Greater Than Any Angel”.
If you decide to discuss the Trinity at this point, you may well get into Bible Teach’s Anti-Trinity Appendix. Please refer back to my post “Dealing with the Anti-Trinity Appendix” for suggestions.
Topic #2: Conscious existence after death
This chapter says that obedient angels:
- “…existed long before humans were created, even before the creation of the earth” (paragraph 3, p.97)
- “…have feelings, for [the Bible] says that they ‘joyfully cried out together.’” (paragraph 3, p. 97)
- “…have…deep concern for the welfare of those who serve God…” (paragraph 4, p. 97)
Conversely, evil angels:
- Chose to rebel against Jehovah (paragraphs 7-8, pp. 98-99)
- Desired and married human women (paragraph 8, pp. 98-99)
- “…use methods designed to mislead people” (paragraph 9, p. 100)
How does all this relate to humans’ conscious existence after death?
You may recall that Chapter 6 of “Bible Teach” (paragraph 4, p. 58) made the following argument in support of the Watchtower’s doctrine that the dead are aware of nothing: “According to almost every religion, past and present, we somehow live on forever with the ability to see, hear, and think. Yet, how can that be? Our senses, along with our thoughts, are all linked to the workings of our brain. At death, the brain stops working. Our memories, feelings, and senses do not continue to function independently in some mysterious way. They do not survive the destruction of our brain.”
You can point out to the Witnesses that, as far as we know, angels are spirit creatures who don’t have physical brains with synaptic functions. Yet—in some way beyond our understanding and experience—they are able to think, feel, see, hear, and speak. Why can’t human beings have souls and spirits that survive physical death and function in the same fashion?
Topic #3: The Watchtower speculating beyond things written in the Bible
Paragraph 6 (p. 98) states, “Today, angels no longer appear visibly to God’s people on earth.”
Please remember that in Watchtower parlance, “God’s people on earth” means faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses only.
Even so, how can it justify a blanket assertion that today angels never appear visibly to God’s people on earth? Nothing in the Bible states that God has forbidden such appearances or otherwise indicates that they would cease for some undisclosed reason.
Paragraph 7 (p. 98) states that for 16 centuries Satan successfully turned all but a few humans away from God, and paragraph 8 (p. 98), says, “In Noah’s day, other angels rebelled against Jehovah.”
As Christians, we don’t dispute that angels rebelled against God in Noah’s day. However, the implication of paragraph 7 seems to be that no other angels joined Satan in his rebellion until Noah’s day.
Ask the Witnesses if that’s what the book means.
If so, follow up by asking, “Exactly where does the Bible teach that?”