Resurrection! Part 5: Jesus

Noli me tangere (“Touch me not”) by Titian c. 1511–1515

The Watchtower Teaching

The Watchtower teaches that Jesus’ resurrection was exactly the way in which all of the anointed will be resurrected: his memories and personality were inserted into a new spirit body by Jehovah.

Jehovah also took care of “dissolving Jesus’ physical body.”

The only thing the new “Jesus” had to do with it was to then “materialize various fleshly bodies to suit the occasion, for the purpose of giving to his disciples visible, palpable evidence of his resurrection.” (See Insight on the Scriptures, (“Flesh”) p.841)

Recalling the Watchtower’s definition of death:

“When a person dies, he ceases to exist. Death is the opposite of life. The dead do not see or hear or think. Not even one part of us survives the death of the body.”

What Does the Bible Really Teach (WBTS, 2005), p. 58, parg. 5 emphasis added

This means that Jesus did not exist for about a day and a half [sorry; there are not “three days and three nights” between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning]. In fact, since “not even one part of us survives the death of the body,” it follows that Jesus is still dead, and always will be. This is one reason why other Christians balk at the Watchtower’s doctrine.

The Watchtower is adamant that we are not spirit-beings (or “souls”) inhabiting physical bodies. Though they believe Jesus was a spirit-being prior to being born, they insist that Jesus was not an “incarnation” [a spirit inhabiting a body], but rather literally “became flesh.” But, since the Watchtower tells us that Jesus was resurrected as a spirit, when he “materialized various fleshly bodies,” it follows that he was then a spirit inhabiting a physical body. So, such an arrangement is possible, and has happened more than once. [Someone must’ve “dissolved” all of these bodies as well, once Jesus was done showing them off to his disciples.]

A Revealing Digression

Having broached the subject of “incarnation,” let’s make a slight digression: one that throws additional light on our main topic. How, exactly, does the Watchtower say that Jesus was “made flesh”?

Since actual conception took place, it appears that Jehovah God caused an ovum or egg cell in Mary’s womb to become fertile, accomplishing this by the transferral of the life of his firstborn Son from the spirit realm to earth. (Gal. 4:4) Only in this way could the child eventually born have retained identity as the same person who had resided in heaven as the Word

Aid to Bible Understanding (WBTS, 1971) p. 920

If the “transferal of life” is the “only way” that Jesus could retain his “identity as the same person,” then how could the new spirit-being, following his resurrection, have possibly been the same person? The Watchtower tells us that Jesus died. His life ended. There was no life left to transfer to a new spirit body. Yet, they tell us that the transfer of life is the only way to retain one’s identity!

The zygote that Jesus became in Mary’s womb did not have a brain capable of storing memories or of having a personality. Yet, the Watchtower tells us that this cell was Jesus. Therefore one’s memories and personality cannot [re-]constitute the person; only the “transfer of their life” does that. But those who are waiting to be resurrected have no life to be transferred, nor does the Watchtower teach that their resurrection will involve the transfer of their life. Therefore, there is no way that a resurrected individual will be the same person who died.

The Bible’s Teaching

The Watchtower doctrine also encounters some problems reconciling to what the Bible actually says. The Bible seems to indicate that Jesus — not Jehovah — was the one who performed the resurrection, and it was a resurrection of his body:

The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?”
But the temple he had spoken of was his body.

John 2:18-21 (NIV)

After the resurrection, Jesus clearly told people that he was not a spirit:

See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones just as you see that I have.

Luke 24:39

Tricks of the Trade

The Great Vanishing Act

According to the Watchtower, Jesus was deceiving them; after his resurrection, he really was a spirit, disguising himself in a physical body, and telling people that he was not a spirit! Jesus also must’ve lied when he previously told his disciples that he would resurrect his body. The illusion was completed by Jehovah’s making the dead body of Jesus vanish into thin air, and then by the new “Jesus” materializing and dematerializing new physical bodies to incarnate into and out of!

Pity all of those foolish would-be Christians who fell for it for nearly 2,000 years, before the Watchtower revealed the secrets behind the trick!

The Transfiguration, (1516-1520) by Raphael

It wasn’t entirely a new trick, though. A similar deception had been perpetrated on the disciples before, at the “transfiguration.” There, a non-existent, long-dead Moses (and Elijah) appeared before the disciples, and had a conversation with Jesus. The Bible tells us that the men were Moses and Elijah (Luke 9:30), even though they hadn’t been resurrected yet. This would lead us to surmise that these men were still existing after death.

But the Watchtower, having to deny any hint of immortal souls, tells us that the men were not Moses and Elijah, but rather were the result of a sort of mass-hypnosis that affected all of the witnesses.

Resurrection! Series Conclusion

The doctrine of immortal souls is certainly not without its own issues, improbabilities, and contradictions. But, with Occam’s Razor in hand, it would be the Watchtower’s resurrection doctrine that would be the first to be cut out, due to its having so many more assumptions, and things it needs to “explain away” and force-fit into its interpretation.