Hello everyone. Welcome back to Deeper Waters. I wish to thank everyone for praying for me this weekend and for my safe travels. Those who know where I was know that I had an awesome time and have decided to work harder on being the man I ought to be. I ask everyone continue to pray for me as I believe there is much that I need to work through. For now, we are going to return to 1 Thessalonians and continue our study of the deity of Christ. Tonight, we’re going to go to a passage that the Jehovah’s Witnesses use to demonstrate that Jesus is Michael the archangel. We will be reading 1 Thess. 4:16.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Now I know some of you might have a hard time believing it, but I plan on discussing this verse without getting into eschatology. If you want to talk about when you think the rapture will occur, then you’ll have to go somewhere else. We are only looking at this passage insofar as it relates to who Jesus is.
I’ve not heard this one used often by Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I do want to bring it up as some do. Now I don’t think it’s heretical to believe Jesus is Michael. Some Christians have been open to that. It’s my understanding that even John Calvin held to that.
Of course, if one holds to this, this is okay provided that they do not deny who Jesus is in his deity. I personally do not believe that Jesus is Michael, but I am not going to think someone is cut off from the body if they think that because a number of strong Christians throughout history have thought that.
Now how do the Witnesses use this verse? They will look at it and say that if Jesus is returning with the voice of the archangel, then it is obvious that he is the archangel Michael. When I heard this in a class at our church, I raised my hand and made a point and only found out that I had jumped the gun. Now my answer didn’t come straight from me to be fair, but it was in the memory, which I say to remind you that few of us will come up with original answers and we should all be willing to learn from those who have gone before us.
The question to ask is “Then doesn’t having the trump of God make him God by the same standard?” The Witnesses seem to routinely interpret part of a verse how they want and then ignore the other part and refuse to interpret it the other way since that will go against their doctrine.
Now does this passage prove the deity of Christ? No. I’m not saying it does. Part of what we need to do however is not just present the positive side but give the answers to the negative side. Remember all in apologetics that it is important to do both. Build a positive case and be ready to answer criticisms. On the flip side, if you can destroy they the case against the deity of Christ but not make one for, you’ve only done half the job. We as Christians must always be prepared to do both.