This beautiful valley of Jezreel/Megiddo will never see an end-time battle
Last-edit: January 1 2018
In defence of the sidelined God Jehovah, Creator of the Universe and Father of Humanity
A bout Titles, metaphors and literalness.
Written 2005 for and submitted to the leading elders of the JWs during my time of doctrinal agony
Son of man, God, Priest, Judge, butcher, baker and candle-stick maker are not just titles. It is what they are because of what they do. Like soul, son of man is not a title either. One either is a son of man or one is not. You and I fit that category. Michael the archangel does not. Neither does lamb, slaughtered or otherwise. Jesus, like son of man, is the name of a human being, as is Adam.
We are all aware of hyperbole, metaphors, poetic license, not taking everything literally, checking everything against other texts and within broad and immediate contexts. Wonderful, especially when we use it to knock some literal nonsense off its doctrinal perch into unreality.
Great when we (written while still a JW) use it against Christendom, but what about what we take literally? Is that always right? Does that become acceptable just because we say so, or do we need to apply the same criteria we use on others?
Of course there is much that is literal in Scripture, as there is also a great deal belonging to the other categories, but discernment is needed to sort it.
Take some of Jesus' expressions of his alleged pre-human existence. How literal should we take them? First of all it may be good to note to whom Jesus was making them. Was he trying to teach his disciples some deep truths about himself? Well, on some occasions they were not even in his audience. He spoke principally to opposers, Pharisees and to some crowds of Jews, generally in the company of his disciples.
Which part of a statement, or even the same phrase, ought to be taken literally and which metaphorically? In connection with the bread coming down from heaven, was Jesus literally bread in heaven? Are there stacks of manna in heaven some of which was subsequently let down from there to feed the Israelites? Likewise, was there a son of man in heaven or is there one now, or is that simply the painting of the broader picture of Jehovah's outworking of His grand purposes?
Some of the verses used toward a heavenly Jesus come neatly packaged in this excerpt and are exclusively located in the Gospel of John where Jesus seems to consistently contradict himself:
Watchtower 1998 June 15 page 23
Jesus—The Ruler “Whose Origin Is From Early Times” [Box on page 24]
Testimony to a Prehuman Existence
Jesus’ own words, as noted below, abundantly testify to his prehuman existence:
· “No man has ascended into heaven but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man.”—John 3:13.
· “Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but my Father does give you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. . . . I have come down from heaven to do, not my will, but the will of him that sent me.”—John 6:32, 33, 38.
· “This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that anyone may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread he will live forever.”—John 6:50, 51.
· “What, therefore, if you should behold the Son of man ascending to where he was before?”—John 6:62.
· “My witness is true, because I know where I came from and where I am going. . . . you are from the realms below; I am from the realms above. you are from this world; I am not from this world.”—John 8:14, 23.
· “If God were your Father, you would love me, for from God I came forth and am here. Neither have I come of my own initiative at all, but that One sent me forth.”—John 8:42.
· “Most truly I say to you, Before Abraham came into existence, I have been.”—John 8:58.
· “Father, glorify me alongside yourself with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was. Father, as to what you have given me, I wish that, where I am, they also may be with me, in order to behold my glory that you have given me, because you loved me before the founding of the world.”—John 17:5, 24.
These verses were either inserted by the early apostates or Jesus was baiting his enemies here to prepare the way for the final event. Get them mad enough and they will execute him. Recall Jesus' last words to the Sanhedrin Luke 22:70,71 or Stephen's in Acts 7:55-57, what they said was the final straw, as it were.
Daniel rightly speaks of:
(Daniel 7:13) . . . someone like a son of man happened to be coming; and to the Ancient of Days he gained access.
The lamb standing on heavenly MT Zion, the slaughtered lamb opening the seal of the scroll are lovely metaphors as is even the use of Son of Man in Revelation:
(Revelation 1:13) 13 and in the midst of the lampstands someone like a son of man,. . .
(Revelation 14:14) 14 And I saw, and, look! a white cloud, and upon the cloud someone seated like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. . .
Yes, someone like a son of man, but not the son of man. There is a time to be literal and a time not to be.
Does that beautiful image of the reigning king in Revelation 6 and 19 show that he and his fellows ride around on heavenly horses, as do abstract concepts like death, hades; and what about all the heavenly locusts etc etc etc???
They are no more literal than almost everything else in Revelation, which is one of the most sign-languaged documents in history. Yet, Christians take literally whatever suits their fancies and long-held traditions.
Even with respect to Revelation 21:3,4 is there going to be some sort of literal tent coming down from heaven wherein God resides with mankind, and that before we even get to the death is no more bit. Let it be noted that:
Even the NWT cross-ref from Rev 21:4 takes one into the realm of the anointed:
1 Corinthians 15:26, which by itself is quite useless, but within the context of verses 53-56 it makes perfect sense. There, after first making reference to immortality and incorruption in verse 53, something exclusive to the spirit-begotten sons of God after their resurrection, refers the reader straight back to Rev 21:4 at the xref at death in verse 54.
If Jesus was in heaven, then Michael was on earth as the only begotten archangel/son-god.
It is not important to me if he was/is in heaven or not. I know he’s not. But it must be Scripturally demonstrated to be true and reflect the magnificent reality of the bible's glorious sacred secret, the Kingdom of God. (further discussed in other attached docs.)
Please continue your journey.