In a nutshell, here are the conflicting views of Christianity and of the Watchtower regarding the identity of Jesus Christ.
Christianity (pp. 142-143)
Christians believe that Jesus is fully God and fully man. As God, the Word (who became Jesus) existed from all eternity. The Word became flesh at the incarnation (John 1:1, 14). Jesus was miraculously conceived in the Virgin Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18-25), who is God. Unlike other human beings, Jesus was born without unrighteousness inherited from Adam. Jesus Christ is God in human flesh. As such, he was and is greater than Adam. Jesus lived a sinless life. For this reason, Jesus did not need to be born again.
Dependence on the Father (pp. 142-143)
When he became a man and lived on earth, Jesus voluntarily gave up the independent exercise of his deity (Philippians 2:5-8). That is, he relied completely on the Father for his divine power and teachings (John 5:19-23; 14:10). Accordingly:
- There were times when he displayed supernatural knowledge and times when there were things he did not know.
- He was able to walk on water and enable Peter to do so, yet most of the time he walked from place to place just as we do.
- He was able to feed thousands of people miraculously at one time and offer a woman living water, but he himself grew hungry and thirsty.
- Several times, he demonstrated power over death by raising people from the dead, yet Jesus himself died.
Subordination to the Father (p. 143)
Because Jesus is fully human, made lower than the angels for the suffering of death (Hebrews 2:9):
- The Father is greater positionally than Jesus.
- While on earth, Jesus addressed his prayers to his Father.
- Jesus worships his Father as God.
- In heaven today, Jesus is still a man with the Father as his head.
- In the future, Christ will deliver the kingdom to his Father and will be subject to him.
None of these facts negates the deity of Christ. They simply confirm his humanity and explain the relationship of Father and Son.
Jehovah’s Witnesses (pp. 143-144)
Jehovah’s Witnesses also believe that Jesus was miraculously conceived in the womb of a virgin named Mary and that he was born without unrighteousness inherited from Adam. (p. 143)
Jesus is Michael the archangel (p. 143)
Jesus is not God. Rather, as God’s Son he was Jehovah’s first and greatest creation, the archangel Michael; as such he had a beginning. When Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb, “Jehovah transferred the life-force and the personality pattern” of Michael the archangel into Jesus.
A perfect man, nothing more, nothing less (p. 144)
Despite this, Witnesses do not believe that Jesus was an archangel and a man at the same time. Rather, the Watchtower teaches that when he was on earth Jesus was an exact equivalent to Adam. “As a perfect man—nothing more, nothing less—and the exact counterpart of the once-perfect Adam, Jesus could ‘give himself a corresponding ransom for all,’ that is, for all of sinner Adam’s imperfect offspring.”
Sinless, but born again (p. 144)
They agree that Jesus lived a sinless life, but they also believe that Jesus was born again following his water baptism. They do not believe that “born again” has anything to do with spiritual regeneration of lost sinners but rather that it means that the person obtains a conditional right to life in the heavens if he remains faithful to Jehovah through testing.
Resurrected as Michael (p. 144)
After Jesus’ death, he was resurrected in spirit form, thereby no longer being a man and once again becoming Michael the archangel.
- When Jesus became a man and lived on earth, he voluntarily gave up the independent exercise of his deity (Philippians 2:5-8). He relied completely on the Father for his divine power and teachings (John 5:19-23; John 14:10).
- Does this mean that Jesus isn’t God? (p. 143)
- Does it mean that he stopped being God when he became a man? (pp. 142-143)
- Please read scriptures cited below. Because Jesus is fully human:
- He was made lower than the angels for the suffering of death (Hebrews 2:9).
- The Father is greater positionally than Jesus (John 14:28).
- Jesus addressed his prayers to his Father (Matthew 26:39).
- Jesus worships his Father as God (John 4:21-22).
- In heaven today, Jesus is still a man (1 Timothy 2:5, Acts 17:31) with the Father as his head (1 Corinthians 11:3).
- In the future, Christ will deliver the kingdom to his Father and will be subject to him (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).
How would you answer a Jehovah’s Witness who tells you that these facts prove that Jesus can’t be God or a co-equal member of a Trinity? (p. 143)
- If a Jehovah’s Witness says, “Jesus was born again immediately after his baptism,” and a Christian replies indignantly, “Jesus didn’t need to be born again; he was sinless!” they aren’t really communicating even though they are using the same expression. (p. 144)
- What is the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ definition of “born again”?
- What is the Christian’s definition of “born again”?