A recent Watchtower article entitled “Visions of Those in the Invisible Heavens” (The Watchtower No. 6 2016) contains the following quotation from the Revised New World Translation (2013):
“War broke out in heaven: Michael [Jesus Christ] and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them any longer in heaven. So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.”—Revelation 12:7-9.
Notice that by putting “Jesus Christ” in brackets after “Michael,” the Watchtower is asserting without proof that Jesus is the archangel Michael.
Because of this false teaching, Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t have a personal relationship with Christ. They don’t think such a thing is desirable or even possible. Opening their minds to the possibility that Jesus is more than what the Watchtower portrays him to be can be a major step in leading them out of that organization to a saving knowledge of the Lord.
If Jehovah’s Witnesses cite you Revelation 12:7-9, I recommend that you say something like this: “Michael and his angels defeat Satan and his angels. I see that, but I don’t see anything there that identifies Jesus with Michael.”
Let them try to prove to you a connection.
In its book Reasoning from the Scriptures (p. 218), the Watchtower argues as follows: “Revelation 12:7-12 says that Michael and his angels would war against Satan and hurl him and his wicked angels out of heaven in connection with the conferring of kingly authority on Christ. Jesus is later depicted as leading the armies of heaven in war against the nations of the world. (Rev. 19:11-16) Is it not reasonable that Jesus should also be the one to take action against the one he described as ‘ruler of this world,’ Satan the Devil? (John 12:31)”
If they make this argument, have them actually read aloud Revelation 19:11-16. In the Watchtower translation, it reads as follows:
“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.”
I would distinguish the two passages this way: “It seems to me that the book of Revelation clearly distinguishes between two different commanders (Michael in Revelation 12 and Jesus in Revelation 19) leading their armies into battle against two different enemies (the dragon and his angels and the nations of the world) at two different times. Is there anything in either of the passages in Revelation to indicate that Michael and Jesus are the same person?”
You can also point out that when John refers to Christ in Revelation, he describes him in much more exalted terms than he uses to describe Michael. In Revelation 12, Michael is not given any title, but in Revelation 19 Jesus wears a robe and is called “The Word of God” and “King of kings and Lord of lords.”
Ask, “Doesn’t this show that they are two different persons and that Jesus is more highly exalted in heaven than Michael?”
Have you ever had Jehovah’s Witnesses tell you that Jesus is Michael the archangel? Do you think asking them to prove this claim from the Scriptures would be helpful?
Share your thoughts in the comments.