Angels and the Watchtower Society
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Lorri MacGregor; ©March 2002|
|The Watchtower Society of Jehovah’s Witnesses has a long history of teachings on angels. They believe their organization is under the direction of, and protected by, angels today. Few modern Jehovah’s Witnesses will know the real teaching on angels that prevailed in earlier days.|
The Watchtower Society of Jehovah’s Witnesses has a long history of teachings on angels. They believe their organization is under the direction of, and protected by, angels today. Few modern Jehovah’s Witnesses will know the real teaching on angels that prevailed in earlier days, so we thought we would enlighten them.
Even today, their foremost strange doctrine involves an angel, the Archangel Michael, whom they believe is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. In their theology, it was the life force of this archangel that was transferred to the Virgin Mary’s womb to produce the Watchtower Jesus. The Archangel Michael at this point went out of existence. Upon the death of Jesus on earth, they believe he was again recreated as the Archangel Michael in heaven. Strange, unbiblical teaching, indeed.
However, modern Jehovah’s Witnesses will no doubt be shocked by the beliefs of their foundational founders, Charles Taze Russell, and Judge Rutherford, their first two presidents. These teachings allegedly came under the direction of the holy spirit. (There are no capital letters on Holy Spirit on purpose. The Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the Holy Spirit is God, reducing Him to just an active force.)
Early doctrinal weirdness on angels originated from attempting to interpret Geneses 6:1- 4, which reads in the New American Standard Bible:
- Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days hall be one hundred and twenty years. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they born children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:1-4)
This fascinating portion of Scripture has been interpreted in many interesting ways over the years, even by Christian scholars. To my knowledge, none of them have ever achieved the wild interpretations of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
First off, they interpret “sons of God” to mean angels, whereas the Bible’s usual application is to humans. Their position, then, has angels having the power to materialize bodies and have sex relations with human women, the “daughters of men,” producing hybrid offspring called “Nephilim.”
This, too, in most unlikely since Mark 12:25 says when people are resurrected from the dead they are like angels, neither marrying nor being given in marriage.
The next problem for the Jehovah’s Witnesses is that the “nephilim,” the alleged offspring of angels and women, were not hybrids “dematerialized” by the flood as they teach. Rather they were a tribe of people, referred to long after the flood in Numbers 13:33, and are reported as “sons of Anak.”
So, whatever our theories might be on this portion of Scripture, certain facts are in evi‑dence in the Bible. Whereas angels sometimes appeared as men, there is no biblical report of them marrying women and producing offspring, certainly not “nephilim.”
Undeterred by these facts, the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses went on to teach that these sinful, fallen, angels who had married the daughters of men were the very ones confined in 2 Peter 2:4 in the “pit of darkness”, along with the nephilim. (The At-One-Ment Between God and Man, 1899, p. 104)
Russell did not believe that what they did made them “demons,” but just fallen angels. These angels had a lot of time to repent in the pit, according to Russell, and divided themselves into two classes: Those who returned to “righteousness” and those who did not. Those who did not became the ones who spoke through mediums. The righteous ones did not communicate with man.
During this time Russell is alleged to have supported a book called “Seola” given by “automatic handwriting” through mediums. This book was later revised and published under the name “Angels and Women” in 1924.
Judge Rutherford pretty well believed the same things as Russell, until 1934, with his booklet “angels,” he presented “new light” on Genesis chapter six.
Now the nephilim were “…those wicked ones [who] joined Satan in his rebellion.” The pit of darkness of 2 Peter 2:4 became the home of the nephilim. The “sons of God,” interpreted as the fallen angels by Russell, now became ones who “did not join Satan in his rebellion,” and moved locations to 1 Peter 3:19 and were now the “spirits in prison.” There they had “some hope of their recovery.”
These “sons of God” now became victims of fraud “practiced upon them by Satan and the demons.” These demons now included the Nephilim. (Watchtower, June 1, 1937, p. 164)
Rutherford went on to actually say that these fallen angels “sons of God” were in the same spiritual condition as the “great multitude.” He reported that both groups were “imprisoned by Satan.” In Rutherford’s fertile mind, the “great multitude” were imprisoned by Satan’s cohorts, the clergy of “Christendom.”
Both these groups now had to withstand the Battle of Armageddon and prove their faithfulness of Jehovah’s Organization to be saved, according to Rutherford. I don’t think modern members of the “great multitude” will be too happy to learn all this!
Where did Rutherford ever come up with all this “new light,” since the Bible does not teach any of it? Again, we find our answer in angels!
You see, in 1918 Rutherford taught that the Holy Spirit was removed as the agency that transmitted “truth” to the Watchtower Organization. He said that “…thereafter angels transmitted God’s interpretation of Scripture into his mind.” He assured his readers that he did not believe the angels in communication with him were the fallen ones, but holy ones.
He then went on to teach that wicked angels were deceivers and were so clever that “…they continue to deceive men. They operate by gaining control of the mind of man….” (Watchtower, June 1, 1937, p. 165)
So there you have it. This view is still the current “light” with the modern Jehovah’s Witnesses, but they may not know it.
If I was a modern Jehovah’s Witness, I would be exceedingly leery of following an organization under the direction of these dubious “angels” running the whole show by influencing the minds of the leaders. I would also be very afraid, since the Holy Spirit has been dismissed for decades.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have been manipulated and deceived by this organization. They think they are following the Bible, but they are following extra-biblical theories on all of their main doctrines.
Jesus Christ is not any kind of an angel, but has the nature of God. He is not a creature, He is the Creator. Jehovah’s Witnesses, if you have the right Jesus Christ you are right for all eternity, but if you have the wrong Jesus Christ (and you do!), then you are wrong for all eternity. Why not forsake the organization and find real truth and salvation in the person of Jesus Christ?