Friday, March 19, 2010

Truth or Lies? You Have a Choice.

I had an uncomfortable encounter today.

A well-dressed man and woman came to the door at my elderly client's house. I saw they had Bibles in their hands and they were very friendly. The gentleman said he was there to see my client and called her by name. He wanted to check on her and see how she was feeling. Well, I assumed--wrongly--that they were from her church, so I let them in. Mistake. They were Jehovah's Witnesses, which I figured out pretty quickly once they started talking. My client is a gracious woman and invited them to sit down even though she was not feeling well. The man did most of the talking which centered on their upcoming Easter event at the local Kingdom Hall. He read some scripture and talked a good talk about Jesus and sin and whatnot. He handed her a leaflet, which she'd apparently accepted on previous visits. It was when he launched into Revelation that I'd had enough. My client had too from the looks of her drawn face.

"I'm sorry, but I'm going to interrupt you," I said as politely as I could. "Mrs. W is a born-again Christian. She's a member of the Baptist church here in town, so she won't be coming to your...little thing at your church." (I couldn't remember what he'd called it and truly didn't mean disrespect.) "She's not feeling well today, so I'm going to have to ask you to finish up this visit."

The couple seemed a bit surprised and, if I'm not mistaken, the man was rather perturbed.

I stood from where I'd been sitting. They had no choice but to do likewise. We all put on a smile and wished each other a nice day and I ushered them out. I don't have anything against JW's as people, but being polite doesn't mean we have to sit and listen to them give their schpeel.

In fact, I feel very sorry for that couple. They are probably in their 60's, give or take. They are obviously zealous for their beliefs and willing to talk to strangers about it. But the fact remains that their religion--Jehovah's Witness--is based on very little truth.

Here is a rundown of how JW's differ from Christians:

1) JW's believe Jehovah is one, not three in one. They do not believe that Jesus is divine and they believe the Holy Spirit is just a spiritual force. (Hmm, sounds familiar. Star Wars anybody?)

2) JW's believe Jesus was once the angel Michael. On earth he was simply a man, not God come to earth. They also believe he rose only in spirit, not in body. They don't believe in the Second Coming of Jesus.

3) Their 'bible' is the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.

4) They believe that only 144,000 "elect" will be saved through Jesus. Everyone else--the "non-elect"--must earn salvation. That's why so many are willing to go door-to-door, etc.

5) They believe those of us who are not Jehovah's Witness will be annihilated. Only the 144,000 will go to heaven. The other Witnesses will be resurrected to an earthly life of endless bliss.

Truthfully, I don't understand people that join this religion. A little basic research will lead you to discover its origins and see where it strays from the Truth of the Bible. Google it and you can read about the man, Charles Taze Russell, who founded it. After he died another man, Joseph F. Rutherford, took over and added a bunch more crazy beliefs.

So, I guess my question to JW's like the couple I met today is this:

What's the point?

What's the point of believing in Jesus if you deny who he said he is?

What's the point of taking the Bible and picking and choosing what you'll believe and what you won't?

What's the point in accepting that heaven exists yet making it impossible for anyone to get there?

I would rather be an atheist and believe in nothing at all than to believe in something built on falsehoods and lies.

What about you? Is your faith resting on Truth or Lies?

Go here for more information on Jehovah's Witnesses and their beliefs.


T said...

Hello Michelle,

Speaking as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, I notice that you have some misconceptions about our beliefs.

But let me ask you this, can you explain to me exactly how Jesus' death brings about salvation for those putting faith in him?


Michelle Shocklee said...

Hi T,

I'm glad you've stopped by my blog and I'm glad you left a comment.

I'm not sure what misconceptions you're speaking of. I invite you to share your own personal belief and understanding of your religion if you'd like. The information I've posted comes from the book "Mis-guiding Lights?" edited by Stephen M. Miller. The author of the chapter regarding Jehovah's Witnesses was written by M. Kurt Goedelman, Executive Director of Personal Freedom Outreach. The same information is also found on the Web and in handouts for a class entitled "Cults and False Systems." The few Jehovah's Witnesses that I have personally known over the years believed similarly.

I would love to share with you how Jesus' death brings about salvation. Thank you for allowing me that privilege.

The starting point, however, is not his death but his life. One must believe that Jesus is God. Matthew 2:23 says "...and they will call him Immanuel, which means 'God with us.'" In John 10:30 Jesus says, "I and the Father are one." So we have it in his own words: He is God. Without the fundamental belief that Jesus is God, salvation through him wouldn't make any sense. His death would be no different than anyone else's.

In Exodus 24:8, Moses presents a covenant between the people and God. Basically it was that the people would obey God's laws in order to get to heaven. In Luke 22:20, Jesus says his blood, spilled out while he hung on the cross, is the "NEW covenant." That means that we are no longer saved by simply following the law, but we are saved by Jesus' blood. He was/is the Lamb of God. The perfect, ultimate sacrifice. An interesting study you might consider is the Old Testament practice of making sin offerings. Jesus as the Ultimate Offering really becomes clear.

John 3:17 says: "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

In John 1:29, John the Baptist says: "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

God--Jesus--loved us so much that he willingly took our sin on himself so we would not have to die because of sin. The moment we believe that is true, we can come clean, basically. The sins we've committed are wiped clean by his blood. There is nothing to earn, nothing we can do ourselves. He already did it.

I would love to continue this discussion if you're interested. We can do that here or you can email me at

Blessings to you and yours,
~Michelle Shocklee

Donuts said...

Hi Michelle,
Thanks for the opportunity to make a reply.

You said: "God--Jesus--loved us so much that he willingly took our sin on himself so we would not have to die because of sin."

That is a wonderful gift. However, God is not obliged to give everlasting lasting life to someone who says they believe in the ransom. In fact, He said: "This is my son listen to him". A lot of Christians show by their actions that they do not "listen to him". We cannot earn everlasting life, but we certainly can show appreciation for the gift by listening to the Son and following his footsteps closely.
Interestingly I note that you mentioned that God and Jesus love us and take away our sin but you did not mention the holy spirit.

Also, check out John 17:21,23 where Jesus use of the word "in union" words clearly show that he meant unity of purpose or harmonization.

Michelle Shocklee said...


You are absolutely right in saying that salvation thru Jesus and everlasting life is a gift!! That's why is blows my mind that people don't accept that amazing gift. It's free! God is giving it to us. We can't be good enough or work hard enough to earn it. It's a gift.

I agree/disagree with your statement that God is not obliged to give everlasting life to everyone who believes in Jesus. No, he is not "obliged" but he did make a promise to give it, so in that sense he IS obliged because we know that God is a keeper of the promises he makes.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

There again, one must believe that Jesus is God, so that if Jesus says we'll have eternal life thru belief in him, then it will be so.

And you're right that many people who claim to be Christians don't listen to Jesus or follow his teachings. I would say I was probably one of them before I truly gave my life to him in 1993. I was raised in a Christian home, went to church every time the doors were open, went to a Christian college, married a Christian man, served in a Christian church. But I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I knew ABOUT him, but I didn't know HIM. So I try hard not judge others who I see doing that same thing and pray they'll grow in their walk just as I had to grow in mine.

The passage you referenced from John 17 is a favorite of mine. Jesus is praying for us. How beautiful is that?! I imagine it really makes him sad to see so many Christians and denominations at odds with each other.

The Holy Spirit is always with me. I may not say "God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit" every time I speak/write about God or Jesus, but the Comforter, or Counselor as some translations put it, is always there. Guiding me. Teaching me. Comforting me when I long for my real home, which is Heaven. I'm very thankful we weren't left alone after Jesus went back to heaven. This is the huge difference between us and those of the Old Testament. Only a few people back then were blessed with the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. But since Jesus came and lived on earth with us--Immanuel--he didn't want to leave us all alone when he went back to heaven.

Please understand that I mean no disrespect to you and others who are part of the Jehovah's Witness religion. It's just that I am of the mind that when we have the Bible and the Truth right here in front of us, why would we want to believe anything different?

Do you mind if I ask how long you've been a Jehovah's Witness?


Michelle Shocklee said...


FYI: I've added a link to my original post that takes you to a site that compares Jehovah's Witness beliefs to the Bible. There are some informative references you might want to check.


Donuts said...

Hi Michelle,
I hope you are well.

You wrote: "when we have the Bible and the Truth right here in front of us, why would we want to believe anything different?" I agree.

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus was a worshiper. Who did he worship for example, when he went to the temple?
To be a follower of his footsteps, surely we should worship as he did?

Jesus died for me, and his Father watched him do that. What an amazing sacrifice. I am very grateful to both of them. I have been showing my gratitude in a meaningful way as one of Jehovah's Witnesses for 23 years now.

First century Christianity 'was spoken against everywhere'- Acts 28:22. It should be no surprise that Jehovah's Witnesses are spoken against everywhere too.


Michelle Shocklee said...

Hi Donal,

I'm well. Thanks for asking. I hope the same for you.

Would you mind sharing about your personal belief and relationship with Jesus? I suppose I'm confused because your original question led me to believe you don't accept the death of Christ as the way to salvation, yet in your last comment you express your gratitude that he died for you.

Jesus, as a man on earth, did indeed worship God. His is certainly the example we all should follow. But Jesus was also worshipped as God. When Peter acknowledged him as the Christ. When the Roman centurion came to him for the healing of his servant. When John the Baptist called him the Lamb of God. When Mary, Martha's sister, sat at his feet. Those are just a few.

The verse that comes to mind when I think of Jesus and the need to acknowledge and worship him as God is Philippians 2:10-11: "...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Jesus is Lord. In the Old Testament, God the Father was Lord. This tells me that God the Father and Jesus are one and the same.

You also stated in your original comment that I have some misconceptions about Jehovah's Witnesses. I'm still curious what those are. I'd really like to understand what is that YOU believe, because the information I've read, even from the Watchtower and other JW resources, reveals many inconsistencies with the Bible.


Daniel7 said...

Thank you for providing a forum where something as a correct understanding of God and The Bible can be discussed. If I could be allowed to add a few comments. The beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses are entirely based on The Bible. When I started my study with The Witness’ more than 30 years ago I used the King James Version of The Bible so my thinking wasn’t subverted by “their bible”. A quick rundown of what The Bible teaches is as follows: (All quotes are from the King James Bible.)

“1) a JW's believe Jehovah is one, not three in one.”

Deut. 6:4. Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: (The Divine Name was deleted in favor of “LORD”. Please see Ps. 83:18 KJ) Jehovah…is one Jehovah (ASV), not like the trinity of gods the Israelites were leaving behind in Egypt. (Google: Horus, Osiris and Isis+Trinity. “The cow, the buckle of Isis and the sistrum were sacred symbols to Isis. She is commonly portrayed with protective winged arms and the moon perched upon her head. She is a sacred part of the holy trinity along with Osiris (the father) and Horus (the divine son).” Sound familiar?

b “They do not believe that Jesus is divine.”

Jesus in pre and post human life was/is Divine, but while on Earth is was simply human.
Heb. 2:9. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

2.) a “On earth he was simply a man, not God come to earth.”

Heb. 6:13. “For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,…”
Rev. 3:12 “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”

Someone who has a God is not The Almighty God.

b “They also believe he rose only in spirit, not in body.”

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit: KJ. “but made alive in the spirit;” AS, RS

4.) “Everyone else--the "non-elect"--must earn salvation.”
The Bible teaches:
Eph. 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Jesus commanded his followers to preach the Gospel. Matt. 28:19, 20

5.) Matt. 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Thank you,

Michelle Shocklee said...

Hi Daniel. Good to have you join the discussion.

I want to share with you my understanding of what we refer to as "The Trinity."

God is absolutely ONE God. We, meaning Christians, do not believe he is THREE God's. No matter what Christian church/denomination you were to visit, you would never, ever hear that God is three separate gods. Never! The way my human brain can wrap around that fact is to think of my Dad.

Dad was a father.
Dad was a son.
Dad was the director of his department.

One man, but he wore a lot of different hats. (He went to Heaven to be with our Lord in 2007.) To me, he was just a father. To my grandma, he was her son. To his employees, he was their boss. Just one man, but basically a different person depending on who needed him at any given moment.

God is our Father.
God is the Son.
God is the Holy Spirit.

But unlike my Dad, God is not limited by humanness. He is God. He is everywhere. While on earth, Jesus was a man, yes, but he was also God. The woman with the blood issue merely had to touch the hem of his cloak to be healed. He spoke and Lazarus rose from the dead. He spoke and the waves/storm ceased.

John 10:30; 2 Cor. 3:17; and 2 Cor. 4:6 are just a few verses that tell us God and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one.

God also uses plural terms in Genesis 1:26 when he describes how man was created: "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness..."

For me, to believe that God manifests himself as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit does not diminish him at all. It does not mean I'm believing in many gods as the pagans did/do. It simply means that I fully accept that God is God and he reveals himself in different ways.

I am still not understanding what you and Donal believe about who Jesus is. Do you believe he was the angel Michael? Who is he now? And what exactly do you believe happened when he was crucified? I'm really confused.


Donuts said...

Hi Michelle,

You asked about my relationship with Jesus. Jesus is my lord, my saviour, my friend. I will be eternally grateful for the sacrifice he made for me. I am grateful now for the privilege of following him and enjoying the best way of life possible as a result.

Jesus died an excruciatingly painful death for us. He then took Adam's place and could be a life-giving father to any who accept his invitation. His Father suffered greatly as he watched his son go through such an ordeal. We canonly imagine how he felt when his son died. That is what makes the sacrifice so great. The Trinity doctrine would take that away from me. (For more info see

It is nice to meet someone wth such strng faith as yu Michelle.


Michelle Shocklee said...

Thanks, Donal. The older I get, the more I realize how incredibly important my faith is. It is everything.

It's kind of interesting. Your words about Jesus are exactly what I would say about him: he is my Lord, my Saviour, my Friend. But I still firmly believe we are talking about two different people.

The Jesus I believe in is God the Son.

The Jesus you believe in is God's son.

Obviously there is a vast difference there.

So, I'm still confused. Do you worship Jesus? If yes, then it's Jehovah's Witnesses that are worshipping more than one God, not Christians. We worship One God who reveals himself in three Persons.

And I'm not sure what you mean by "he took Adam's place."

Let me share just a bit about why Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is so amazing to me. Jesus willingly left heaven to come to earth and live as a man. He didn't have to. He wanted to. He knew the end result would be his horrific death on the cross, but he came anyway. He loved us. He taught us. He ate with us. And when the time came to take our sin upon him, he did that without hesitation. It's that simple. He took our sin willingly upon him and died the death that each of us deserves. Our belief in that is what saves us.

But the story doesn't end there. He defeated death! He rose from the dead. The tomb was empty because Jesus was not there! To say that his body stayed dead and only his spirit was resurrected means death won. It would also mean that Jesus was just an ordinary man because he stayed dead. He would be no different than you or me.

When Jesus told the thief on the cross next to him "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise" that meant that the thief's spirit would indeed enter heaven that very day. His body, however, would remain dead. The dust from his bones is still here on earth somewhere. Jesus, however, did not remain dead. His body is not here.

In Acts 2:27 Peter quotes Psalm 16:10 when speaking of Jesus' resurrection: "...because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay."

The fact that Jesus defeated death is what our hope is built on. Someday we will experience that same resurrection. "The dead will rise..."

For me, if Jesus was NOT God, I would see no point in believing in him, in the Bible, in any of it. If Jesus was not God come to earth, what was the point of him dying on the cross? A "son" of God wouldn't be able to bring salvation to the world, in my opinion. Especially if he was an angel at one time, because we know that angels aren't sinless. A whole bunch of them chose to leave heaven and follow the one we know as Satan.

So the bottom line for me is this: Jesus is God! He lived, he died, and he lives again! And one sweet day I will see him face-to-face when he welcomes me into Heaven. John 14:2-3.

Well, golly, I'm sure I could go on and on, because Jesus is my passion. But I'll quit...for now. ;)


Donuts said...


I appreciate your comprehensive and passionate comments on the subject of yur faith. I will make a more comprehensive reply, but, for now let me just answer your question about worship. When asked to render an act of woship to Satan, Jesus quoted from Scripture and said that it was his Father (YHWH Yahweh, Jehovah) alone that should be worshipped. I follow Jesus example of worship.

In reference to your comments on Jesus death and resurrection, may I ask, what is your understanding of the nature of death itself? And, could you clarify for me your belief on who it was that died, God, Jesus or both?

Thank you,

Michelle Shocklee said...

Hi Donal,

I got to wondering, if you don't mind my asking, how did you happen upon my blog?

Jesus is certainly the example we all should follow, especially when we're tempted by the enemy! Which is why it's so important that we know the scriptures and use them as our "sword." (Eph. 6:17)

The passage you're referring to is another favorite.

The King James Version reads: "And Jesus answered and said unto him, "Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."

The verse he is referencing is Deuteronomy 6:13: "Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name."

Jesus is definitely saying only God should be worshipped, but at the same time he is not denying his own divineness.

Life and death. Who can truly explain them, you know. But my understanding of death is that the physical body our soul, or spirit, resides in here on earth will eventually die. Our heart will stop beating. The blood will stop flowing. Our flesh will rot. Our body will be dead.

But WE will continue on because God gave each of us a soul, or a spirit, that will live eternally. And I firmly believe we will spend eternity in one of two places: heaven or hell, as we call it. Revelation 20:11-15 describes the day we all will be judged according to what we have done with the lives God gave us. The "lake of fire is the second death." If anyone's name is not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into it. (I blogged my study of the book of Revelation last year. You can find it in the archives if you're interested.)

God the Son was crucified and died on the cross. God the Father watched from heaven.
God the Holy Spirit had not yet been sent to us. That happens in Acts 2.

Now a question for you. If Jesus isn't God, and we aren't saved by his blood, then what was the purpose of him dying on the cross? What do you mean when you say your are eternally grateful for his sacrifice?


Donuts said...

Hi Michelle,

I am glad to have an opportunity to address all the points and questions that you raised in your previous posts.

q But first let me just say that one of the comments that you asked about was actually made by TJ:

“You also stated in your original comment that I have some misconceptions about Jehovah's Witnesses. I'm still curious what those are…”

I think that the post by Daniel addresses these.

q You said: “And I'm not sure what you mean by "he took Adam's place." And, “If Jesus was not God come to earth, what was the point of him dying on the cross? A "son" of God wouldn't be able to bring salvation to the world, in my opinion. Especially if he was an angel at one time, because we know that angels aren't sinless.” And, “If Jesus isn't God, and we aren't saved by his blood, then what was the purpose of him dying on the cross?”

Adam severed his relationship with God when he rebelled against Him. He brought the human race (including his yet unborn children) into a state of separation from God. God was no longer sustaining Adam in everlasting life. This was to be our inheritance from our father Adam – separation from God, resulting in death. Jesus volunteered to take Adam’s place, to take the role of “Eternal Father” described at Isaiah 9:6. Paul wrote at 1 Corinthians 15:46: It is even so written: “The first man Adam became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. In the same chapter, at verse 22 Paul wrote: For just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive. Jesus sacrificed his perfect life as a human, the equivalent to what Adam had before he sinned, and with that perfect life went the possibility of a perfect human race. He sacrificed all that in exchange for us; as he himself said at Matthew 20:28: “the Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many”. His blood represented the perfect life which he offered in exchange for the human race. He then could be “Father” to any who accepted him as saviour and who heeded his commands. He needed to maintain perfection right up to his death to accomplish this, which he did, bringing great glory to the Father in the process, proving false Satan’s earlier charge that “everything a man has he will surrender in behalf of his soul”.

q You said: “To say that his body stayed dead and only his spirit was resurrected means death won.”
The resurrection of Jesus as a life-giving immortal spirit was surely a superlative victory over death!

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit: KJ. “but made alive in the spirit;” AS, RS

more coming...

Donuts said...

q You used the analogy of your father to describe the Trinity:
“Dad was a father.
Dad was a son.
Dad was the director of his department.”
But which is the greater sacrifice? 1. For a father to allow his son to sacrifice his life? Or, 2. for the father to insist that he take the place of his son? Or, 3. that a manifestation of the Father would die? (You wrote: “I fully accept that God is God and he reveals himself in different ways”)
Can you see why the Trinity doctrine (3) really takes away from the great sacrifice that Jehovah made for us? I believe that sacrifice no.1 was the heartrending sacrifice that God made.

q Do you believe he was the angel Michael? Who is he now?

I believe that he is the one and only archangel Michael (which translates as “Who is like God?”

q And what exactly do you believe happened when he was crucified?

He died. He went out of existence, just as Lazarus did when he died. Can you imagine how his father, Jehovah felt at that moment?
He was later resurrected (Gr. Anastasis – to stand up again)

q I got to wondering, if you don't mind my asking, how did you happen upon my blog?
I have signed up to Google Alerts for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

q You wrote: Jesus is definitely saying only God should be worshipped, but at the same time he is not denying his own divineness.
I agree, see John 1:1. The Word is with God, he is divine. But he never asked that worship be directed to him. He asked for obedience, which could be described as a form of worship, but this obedience (or worship for those who insist on that interpretation of obedience) would always be relative to the worship rendered to the Father. Otherwise Jesus would make himself like Satan (who wrongfully craved worship) and obviously that could not happen!

q And I firmly believe we will spend eternity in one of two places: heaven or hell, as we call it.
I do not believe in the teaching that humans have an immortal soul and I do not believe that Jehovah would be party to or condone an action that the Bible clearly attributes to Satan: “Teacher, I brought my son to you because he has a speechless spirit; 18 and wherever it seizes him it dashes him to the ground, and he foams and grinds his teeth and loses his strength. And I told your disciples to expel it, but they were not capable.” 19 In response he said to them: “O faithless generation, how long must I continue with YOU? How long must I put up with YOU? Bring him to me.” 20 So they brought him to him. But at the sight of him the spirit at once threw [the child] into convulsions, and after falling on the ground he kept rolling about, foaming. 21 And he asked his father: “How long has this been happening to him?” He said: “From childhood on; 22 and time and again it would throw him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.” – Mark 9: 17-22

What do you mean when you say your are eternally grateful for his sacrifice?

I will be eternally grateful for that sacrifice because by means of it I can be reconciled to God despite my sinful nature, and I can walk through the door to eternal life, which Jesus’ sacrifice has opened to me.

Michelle, I hope that you can see that my beliefs do not stray from Scripture at all. There are many interpretations of Scripture, and not all of them can be correct, however, Jesus said: “You will know the truth”. He has made it possible for anyone to see what the truth is, but only if they want to, as “there are none so blind as those who will not see”, and many of these delight in spreading misconceptions about those who believe that they do know the truth.

Best wishes,

Michelle Shocklee said...

Hi Donal,

I will be perfectly honest with you. I don't see how the beliefs of the Jehovah's Witnesses aline with the Bible. Not at all. I don't say that as someone who refuses to look, but as one who is looking but keeps seeing inconsistencies. Most especially the doctrine about Jesus being the Arch-angel Michael.

This is my Jesus:

Hebrews 1:4,5: "So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father?"

Philippians 2:9-11: "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father."

Isaiah 7:14: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." We know that "Immanuel" means "God with us."

John 14:13-14: "And I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."

The name of Jesus has power in it!

Revelation 22:16: "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."

Jesus calls himself Jesus. It seems to me that if he were Michael he would call himself Michael. The death and resurrection of Jesus has already occurred at this point, so we're not talking about the earthly Jesus. This is the Jesus in Heaven speaking. And he calls himself Jesus.

Don't get me wrong. I love the angel Michael. It gives me chills to think of him leading an army of angels like we read in Revelation 12:7. I did a blog on angels just before Christmas because I believe people have a very wrong idea about who angels are and what they look like. They are certainly not the baby-like winged figurines we see in stores today. But by my count, there are only 5 references to the angel Michael in the entire Bible. Just five. And not one of them makes reference to his being Jesus.

On the other hand, the entire New Testament is Jesus' story. It starts by telling us he is Immanuel-- God with us (Matthew 1:23)--and goes from there.

Can I ask what you think about Charles Taze Russell? And do you see the similarities between Jehovah's Witness and how it was founded and the Mormon church which was also founded by a single man in the 1800's?


Donuts said...

If Jesus can be known as Immanuel, he can also have another title, and besides the role of arch angel is a significant one in the defense of his father's good name and sovereignty.
I will answer your question about the modern-day re-organization of original first-century Christianity (which involved Russell and many others), if, you will answer this: Who fill the roles of the "wheat" and the "weeds" in Jesus prophecy? And how and when did the "wheat" come to be identified in the "harvest"?


Donuts said...

The name of Jesus certainly is very significant, even powerful. It means:"Jehovah is salvation"

But Jesus has other names and titles too, for example:

"They have over them a king, the angel of the abyss. In Hebrew his name is A‧bad′don, but in Greek he has the name A‧pol′lyon."- Rev. 9:11

"...the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice..." - 1 Thess. 4:16
Why would Paul describe Jesus as having the archangel's voice?

Have a nice day,

Michelle Shocklee said...

Hi Donal,

It's been a busy day, but I wanted to address your comments.

1. Rev. 9:11 is not referring to Jesus. It isn’t even referring to Michael. Just gotta clear that up. It's referring to Satan, the Destroyer, which is what Apollyon is translated to mean. Keeping it all in context, Rev. 9:1 shows that a star that had fallen from heaven is given the key to the Abyss. This echoes what Jesus said in Luke 10:18: "I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven." Satan is the only one we see in the Bible falling from heaven, so he is obviously the star in Revelation 9. My understanding is that Charles T. Russell also believed this according to his “Studies in the Scriptures” vol. 7, pg. 159, 1917 edition.

2. If you agree that Jesus is also called "Immanuel" then how can you deny he is God? Immanuel means "God with us." And if you don’t agree that Jesus is also called “Immanuel” then what do you do with Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23?

3. You and I get two entirely different stories out of what’s going on in 1 Thess. 4:16. Somehow you are seeing it as proof that Jesus is an archangel, but what I see are three things happening: 1) Jesus descends with a shout or command 2) along with the voice of the archangel 3) and a trumpet blast. That’s all Paul is stating.

Question: If Paul meant to imply here that Jesus is the archangel Michael, wouldn’t there be at least ONE scripture somewhere between Genesis and Revelation that says so?? Where is the supporting scripture for this??

Angles are not sinless creatures. They have free will just like we do. How then could an angel take away the sins of the world?

1 Cor. 6:3 says: "Do you not know that we will judge the angels?"

In Matthew 25:41 Jesus says: "Then he (the King) will say to those on his left, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels."

2 Peter 2:4: "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into the gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment..."

And the entire first chapter of Hebrews is all the proof anyone needs to make it abundantly clear that Jesus could not have possibly been an angel, arch or otherwise.

Food for thought, I hope. I haven’t forgotten your question about weeds and harvest. I will get to that soon.


Donuts said...

Hi Michelle,

We have both covered a lot of points and I think that its best that we agree to disagree on most of these (such as point 1. in your last post, as well as the Trinity doctrine), as otherwise it is likely that we will just end up exchanging a lot more comments, neither persuading the other. Nevertheless I would like to respond to some of the points made in the last post.

John said that "no man has seen God at any time." John did see Jesus. So, according to John, he saw Jesus but did not see God. Yes, Jesus was Immanuel, so, in harmony with John's comment, his name "with us is God" indicates something other than that God himself had become a man. Jesus never claimed to be God. (John 14:28; Philippians 2:5, 6) But he did reflect his Father’s personality perfectly, and he fulfilled all of God’s promises regarding the Messiah. The young man who comforted and corrected Job, was named Elihu, which means “My God Is He.” So when someone saw Elihu or called his name, they would think "My God is He", but they certainly knew that Elihu was not God.

They Scripture that supports the belief that Michael was known as Jesus is 1 Thess. 4:16! Take into consideration too the actions of Michael; who better carry out his role than the Son of God?, and it is not reasonable to believe that there are two armies under two different commander's in heaven since God’s Word nowhere indicates that there are two armies of faithful angels in heaven. Jesus Christ is depicted as leading the heavenly armies in war against the nations of the earth. (Re 19:11-16) Since the Son of God is to fight the nations, it is only reasonable that he was the one who with his angels earlier battled against the superhuman dragon, Satan the Devil, and his angels. The title “archangel” means “chief of the angels.” This of course, fits very well with the description of Jesus at Hebrews 1, I see no contradiction there.

I have seen no Scriptures that support the hellfire doctrine or that teach the immortality of the soul doctrine (nor do I see any that support the Trinity, but I think we should agree to disagree on that) Can you explain your beliefs on these topics? Would you say that you worship Jehovah/Yahweh? I am alos looking forward to your thoughts on the "wheat and the weeds".

In a world that is becoming increasingly secular, and with atheism on the rise (Recently I have been trying to strengthen the faith of those who had been affected by "the God Delusion"!) I must say that is is nice to have a stimulating discussion with a believer! Thank you.


Michelle Shocklee said...

Hi Donal.

Funny. I was thinking "agree to disagree" too. :) But I will say this and I mean no disrespect to you: I believe with everything that I am that you are missing out on something truly amazing by not accepting that Jesus is God!

About your comments:

1. I could have named one of my sons Elihu, but that wouldn’t make them God. You're right that Elihu was not God no matter what his name means.

The difference with Jesus being called "Immanuel" is that GOD gave him that name in Isaiah 7:14. It wasn’t Mary or Joseph’s idea. So yes, it DOES mean Jesus is "God with us" because God said so!

2. Hell. Serious subject.

First we have to understand that “hell” or “Hades” and “the lake of fire” or “lake of burning sulfer” are two completely different places. Some people speak of them as interchangeable, but they are not.

There are many references to “hell” in the scriptures. Jesus is probably the best person to quote when speaking of hell. In Luke 16:19-30 Jesus tells the story about a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus. When they died--emphasis on DIED--Lazarus went to what I gather is heaven because angels carried him and Abraham is there. The rich man went to hell.

v. 23-24 Jesus tells: “In hell, where he [the rich man] was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”

There you have Jesus himself, who would certainly know if there was a real place called hell or not, speaking of hell. The rich man’s life on earth was over. He’d died. Yet there he is, speaking from a place Jesus called “hell.” I seriously doubt Jesus would tell a story like this if there was not a real place of punishment, of torment, where people will be in agony from the fire. Jesus’ story was probably fictional (although he doesn’t say) but he never just made stuff up when telling his parables.

Jesus again mentions “the fire of hell” in Matt. 5:22; being thrown into hell in Matt. 5:29; “fire of hell” in Matt. 18:9; “eternal fire” in Matt. 18:8. There are more, but I won’t list them all.

The “lake of fire” or “lake of burning sulfer” is the place of eternal punishment. Note the difference: hell is a place of punishment until judgement day; the lake of fire is a place of ETERNAL punishment.

Revelation 20:11-15 tells us that everyone will be judged according to what they had done during their life on earth. Since this portion of scripture makes it clear this ‘scene’ is taking place in heaven and those being judged are dead, the obvious conclusion is that we have an eternal spirit that lives on after our earthly body has died. Hence, immortality of our soul is being described in these verses as well.

But we also see “Hades” being thrown into the lake of fire along with death (v. 14) and the beast and the false prophet (Rev. 19:20). So obviously Hades is different from the place of eternal punishment, but they are both very real, very scary places. And Luke 16:26 describes a "great chasm" between the two places. Once you are in hell, there is NO WAY OUT! That's why it is VITAL to have the truth!!!

What happens in the lake of fire? Rev. 20:10 says the devil and the false prophet will be "tormented day and night for ever and ever." I would imagine that the dead who are also thrown there in v. 15 will suffer the same eternal punishment.

3. Both the above scripture references (Luke 16:19-30 w/story of Lazarus & rich man, and Rev. 20:11-15 w/books in heaven and dead being judged) are pretty clear proof that we have immortal souls. You have it in Jesus’ own words in Luke and you have it in John’s words given to him by Jesus. And those are only two references. There are many others throughout the Bible.

4. YES, I absolutely worship Yahweh!!!

Weeds and seeds tomorrow! :)


Donuts said...

Hi Michelle,

We rightly condemn certain regimes for human rights abuses, including torture. Lets please, please, not accuse Jesus of having anything to do with torture. Its literal interpretations of potent symbolisms/metaphors (e.g. what could be more symbolic of total destruction than fire?) that gives people like Richard Dawkins ammunition to attack religious people with. There is a rich meaning to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Jesus was condemning the Pharisees (see v. 14) and indicating that there were losing their privileged position to the lowly and ordinary disciples (symbolized by Lazarus)who would "torment" them by exposing their hypocrisy as Jesus himself was doing and come to be in a position of divine favour with God.

Eternal life is a gift given to the faithful. Death is the punishment for those unfaithful. - Romans 6:7,23.

Those are some of my beliefs. I want to share them with as you may not be familiar with these interpretations. They may be worth considering.


Michelle Shocklee said...

Hi Donal,

The bottom line is this: You and I believe in two different Jesus'. Nothing in this world will cause me to ever, ever, ever believe anything other than what I know is true: Jesus Christ is God the Son.

You and I believe two entirely different things about what eternity holds for us. Nothing in this world can convince me the Bible and Jesus are not talking about a literal place of eternal punishment just as he spoke of a literal heaven. The scriptures speak for themselves. With all do respect, Jesus did a fine job saying what he wanted to say and doesn't need mere man to put words into his mouth.

The "birth" of what you believe came in 1870. I find no evidence of anyone other than the Jehovah's Witnesses who believe what you've shared here. The "birth" of what I believe is centuries old, going all the way back to Acts.

My grandpa and great grandpa were preachers. My parents raised me in a Christian home. I have known the Truth my entire forty-six years of life on earth and have walked in a deep personal relationship with Jesus since 1992. I say all that to say that I will always believe what I believe. I know that I know that I know the Truth and the Truth has set me free!

About the weeds, wheat and harvest, I find it a little interesting that you'd like to discuss it when, once again, Jesus describes eternal punishment in Matthew 13:30 and v. 40-42. Here Jesus was most definitely not talking about Pharisees. He was talking about regular people like you and me and he uses pretty straightforward language: "Burned in the fire." "All who do evil." "Fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." All this in the context of the weeds/wheat/harvest parables. And I think you and I agree that these parables are about people, not wheat. One would only be fooling themselves to try to explain away Jesus' own words about this. He's talking about eternal punishment. Period.

God is the sower. His word are the seeds. Some seeds fall on hearts that are too hardened to let the seed take root. Other times, Satan snatches the seed away. Still others, the weeds of the world choke out the truth.

But some seeds find a heart where it can grow. I'm am eternally thankful my heart was one of those.

The harvest IS coming. "First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn." v. 30


Michelle Shocklee said...

Found this interesting:

Another biblical demonstration of Jesus as God comes from English abolitionist and philanthropist Granville Sharp who noticed the following Greek idiom, which is now called Granville Sharp's rule: when two nouns that are personal, singular, and not proper names are connected in a TSKS pattern (The—Substantive—Kai—Substantive, where 'kai' is Greek for 'and') then the two nouns refer to the same person. Obviously this idiom does not apply to proper names—the phrase "The Pope and Mr. Gorbachev" refers to two separate people. Passages like Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 fit this pattern. Therefore, when Paul says:[Titus 2:13] "The great God and savior, Jesus Christ" he is grammatically identifying Jesus Christ as the great God. Proper nouns are not used in this phrase. Capitalized in English, the word God in Greek grammar is not a proper noun. While 'Jesus Christ' here is a proper noun it is the word 'savior' that is in the TSKS construction. In his review of over 1,000 years of Greek literature, Christopher Wordsworth confirmed that early church Fathers had this same understanding of the text. He writes, "I have observed…some hundreds of instances of the 'The great God and savior';[Titus 2:13] and no fewer than several thousand of the form 'The God and savior'"[2 Pet. 1:1] and in every case (when it could be determined) they spoke "only of one person." This Greek idiom shows that both the New Testament authors and the early church Fathers considered Jesus to be God.

Donuts said...

I agree that 'Jesus does not need man to put words into his mouth'. But sometimes one has to think beyond the literal. Jesus would surely expect us to use thinking ability. For example, would you say it would be reasonable to take this command of Jesus literally?: "if your right hand is making you stumble, cut it off and throw it away from you. For it is more beneficial to you for one of your members to be lost than for your whole body to land in Ge‧hen′na." -Matthew 5:30.
I think that most would say that Jesus was not literally suggesting amputation. Gehenna means "valley of Hinnom", which was Jerusalem's local rubbish dump, where dead bodies were burned. His listeners would not have been thinking about a fiery hell, rather they knew that he was talking about divine disfavour, a loss of everlasting life, no resurrection.

I know that I could not enjoy Paradise if I knew that people were in agony from torture. That for me would not be Paradise.

The weeds were sown by the enemy, Satan. They look like true Christians, but it would only be in the time of the end or conclusion of the system of things, that it would be possible to clearly distinguish between true and false Christians. The appearance of re-organized worship of Jehovah in the late 19th and early 20th century fits this prophecy. As you mentioned yourself, no other group has the Christianity that we have. Our beliefs and practices closely match those of the first century Christians.

Some translators render Titus 2:13 in a way that might be construed as allowing for that view, but they do not follow the same rule in their translation of 2 Thessalonians 1:12: ...the undeserved kindness of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Henry Alford, in The Greek Testament, states: “I would submit that [a rendering that clearly differentiates God and Christ, at Titus 2:13] satisfies all the grammatical requirements of the sentence: that it is both structurally and contextually more probable, and more agreeable to the Apostle’s way of writing.”—(Boston, 1877), Vol. III, p. 421.

Have a good day,

Michelle Shocklee said...

Hi Donal.

What do you do with the "lake of fire" scriptures? That certainly isn't the rubbish pile outside the wall of the city.

I find it interesting that in this same era of "re-organization" as you put it, several religions sprang up claiming they had the truth.

1826: Joseph Smith supposedly found the golden plates that eventually became the very strange and ridiculous Book of Mormon. The Mormon Church was born.

1849: Ellen Harmon White publishes the first addition of Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, all based on strange visions she had. In 1860 the Seventh-Day Adventist Church was born.

1870: Charles Russell, a man with quite the infamous history, starts teaching his own version of the Bible. He takes over the publication of the magazine Zion's Watchtower to spread his beliefs. The Jehovah's Witness religion was born.

1892: Mary Baker Eddy founded the "mother" church of Christian Science, but it had been in the makings since 1875 when she published her first addition of what would later become the Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science religion was born.

Those are just the ones that I know of off hand. Notice the commonality: it only took the beliefs of one person to spread until an entire religion had been formed. If that isn't an illustration of "weeds" then I don't know what is!!

My, my, the 1800's were busy years for "the truth." So many people claiming they'd found it when it wasn't lost at all!


Donuts said...

Where is the best place to hide an elephant? In a herd of elephants!
Where is the best place to hide the truth? In a bunch of religions who all claim to have the truth! Satan certainly wasn't happy that his weeds were about to be shown up and that the wheat would be emerge.

The beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses have very little in common with the other religions that you mentioned.

In fact the worship of Jehovah is the oldest religion in the world. The Israelites were his witnesses (see Is. 43)Jehovah's Witnesses have been around for a very long time. True worship was swamped by the weeds for a long time, but now there is a very clear distinction.

Another very significant factor is the identifying mark of true worshipers described by Jesus at John 13:35.

I will relate my beliefs about the lake of fire later.

Take care, Donal

Donuts said...

Hello Michelle,

My beliefs on the "lake of fire":

“And death and Hades (hell, King James Version and Douay Version) were hurled into the lake of fire. This means the second death, the lake of fire.”

Sulphur is a symbol of total desolation. Deuteronomy 29:22-23: “And the future generation, YOUR sons who will rise up after YOU, will be bound to say, also the foreigner who will come from a distant land, even [when] they have seen the plagues of that land and its maladies with which Jehovah has sickened it, 23 sulphur and salt and burning, so that its whole land will not be sown, nor sprout, nor will any vegetation spring up in it, like the overthrow of Sod′om and Go·mor′rah, Ad′mah and Ze·boi′im, which Jehovah overthrew in his anger and in his wrath.”

“Fire and sulphur” are associated together when utter destruction is depicted. Ezekiel 38:22: “. . .And I will bring myself into judgment with him, with pestilence and with blood; and a flooding downpour and hailstones, fire and sulphur I shall rain down upon him and upon his bands and upon the many peoples that will be with him.”

The lake of fire means “second death,” the death from which there is no resurrection. It is evident that this “lake” is a symbol, because death and hell (Hades) are thrown into it. Death and hell cannot literally be burned. But they can, and will, be done away with, or destroyed.

What is the origin of the teaching that the wicked will burn forever? “Of all classical Greek philosophers, the one who has had the greatest influence on traditional views of Hell is Plato.”—Histoire des enfers (The History of Hell), by Georges Minois, page 50. “From the middle of the 2nd century AD Christians who had some training in Greek philosophy began to feel the need to express their faith in its terms . . . The philosophy that suited them best was Platonism [the teachings of Plato].”—The New Encyclop√¶dia Britannica (1988), Volume 25, page 890.

Michelle Shocklee said...

Hi Donal,

Let me get this straight. You are saying that for century upon century upon century upon century no one had the truth until Charles Russell came along????

You do see how utterly unbelievable that claim is, don't you? 'Cuz we're talking well over a thousand years and millions of people! It seems to me that if the truth wasn't being spread, God would've found someone to correct it long before 1870!

Lest you forget, Jehovah is my God too!! He is the God of Christianity. My ancestors have been worshipping Jehovah for centuries. Jehovah's Witnesses, as much as they might like to think so, don't have a monopoly on Jehovah. Other religions also worship Jehovah.

The difference, however, always, always comes down to Jesus.

He is what separates us from the Jews (modern day, not OT). They worship Jehovah but don't accept Jesus. I would say that Muslims also worship who they believe to be Jehovah but they call him Allah. Mormons worship God but don't necessarily call him Jehovah, yet they mean the God of the Bible.

According to your description all of the above are "Jehovah's Witnesses."

The difference comes down to what we all believe about Jesus. Which is why Christians are known by HIS name. He makes all the difference in the world!

As Thomas so eloquently put it in Luke 20:28, after witnessing the resurrected Jesus:

"My Lord and my God!"



Donuts said...

Hi Michelle,
When did I say that no-one knew the truth until Russell?
What I said was: "it would only be in the time of the end or conclusion of the system of things, that it would be possible to clearly distinguish between true and false Christians." And, "Where is the best place to hide the truth? In a bunch of religions who all claim to have the truth!"

For centuries the growth of false Christian “weeds” was so extensive that the “wheat” of true Christianity was practically obscured. But Jesus described the wheat being separated from the weeds during the “harvest,” which he said represents “a conclusion of a system of things.” He also said: “At that time the righteous ones will shine as brightly as the sun.”

What's utterly unbelievable about that? I doubt very much that you would say that all the churches that developed since the first century taught the truth. You would probably agree that false Christianity existed down through the centuries.

Jesus is a god in the sense of being divine, but he is not the Father. Before Thomas spoke, Jesus had just told Mary Magdalene: “I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God.” Remember, too, why John wrote his Gospel. Three verses after the account about Thomas, John explained that he wrote so that people “may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God”—not that he is God.—John 20:17, 28, 31.

I guess people could claim to be Jehovah's witnesses, just as many claim to be Christian, but that does not mean that their religion is acceptable. I did not define what a witness of Jehovah is, rather, I pointed out that the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses did not start in 1870, but that it has it roots in earlier (and acceptable) worship of Jehovah.

I most definitely am a Christian! And I refer to myself as a Christian when I am preaching and at other times. I believe that Jesus is the only -begotten created son of God, who came to earth as a human, died for me, and was resurrected to life as a spirit by Jehovah. I do not believe that Jesus was also Jehovah God and also the holy spirit. I do not believe that Jesus is a torturer. He appointed Paul as an apostle, who went on to write, "the wages sin pays is death, the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord" - Romans 6:23. Death is the consequence of sin, not torture.
As long as I have breath in my body, I will defend Jehovah and Jesus against the accusations that they torture people forever. And I will preach that Jehovah sent His son to die for us, yes, His SON,not some element of himself, which is not the same thing at all.


Michelle Shocklee said...

Hi Donal,

You and I are in complete agreement about one thing: one day the wheat and the weeds WILL be harvested and separated. We both believe we are the wheat. Neither of us is going to change our position. Only one of us is right.

What does this verse mean to you if it doesn't mean Jesus is God, like it says?

"For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6


Donuts said...

Hi Michelle,

Jesus is a god in the sense of being divine, but he is not the Father. Before Thomas spoke, Jesus had just told Mary Magdalene: “I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God.” Remember, too, why John wrote his Gospel. Three verses after the account about Thomas, John explained that he wrote so that people “may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God”—not that he is God.—John 20:17, 28, 31.

The Bible clearly attests to the fact that many are identified as gods. Some were gods only in that they represented the true God (Psa. 82:6), but there were also ones who were so defined because they held a nature higher than that of man (Psa. 8:5). Because of this fact there is no dilemma in identifying Jesus as “god” or "mighty god". As ‘the exact representation of God’s being’ he could be nothing less (Heb. 1:3), but he is “god” only relative to ‘his God’, "the Almighty". (Heb. 1:8-9).

I wish you well,

Michelle Shocklee said...

Hi Donal,

I wish you well too.

Blessings and prayers,