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Michael the Archangel
Michael the Archangel and his identity have been a controversial topic among various religious groups for many years. It is a topic that is also often misunderstood. He is mentioned in the Torah, Bible, and even the Quran.
Many Christians believe that the Michael who appears in the Bible is in fact Jesus Christ. They don’t believe that Jesus is an angel, because Michael is never actually called an angel in the Bible. Instead, he’s called the “archangel,” meaning head of the angels or chief of the angels.
Differences Between Jesus and the Angels
The Bible is very clear that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh (Romans 9:5; John 1:1-3,14; I John 5:20; John 10:30; Isaiah 9:6; Jude 1:25; Colossians 1:19; John 20:27-29; 1 John 5:7). Angels are created beings and Christ is their Creator (Colossians 1:16, 17, John 1:1-3). Christ is God and the angels are charged to worship Him (Hebrews 1:3–8, 13, 14).
“For unto which of the angels said he at any time, thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?… But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom” (Hebrews 1:5, 8). Thus, Jesus cannot be a mere angel and should never be referred to as one.
Michael in the Bible
Michael is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments. The name Michael means, “who is like God.” Thus, it is believed that Michael the Archangel a name for Jesus, the Son of God, when He assumes the role of the chief of the army of heaven.
Jesus is given many names in the Bible. He is called the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David (Revelation 5:5, 6), the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36), Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), King of kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 17:14; 19:15-16). These are just to name a few.
Therefore, the study of Scripture must be examined in regards to this idea. Based on the functions and attributes stated of Michael in the Bible, it will be determined if this idea is biblical or not. Let’s look at the facts:
Michael is called the archangel. “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee” (Jude 1:9). It is noted that there are not multiple archangels mentioned but rather “the” or one archangel.
The word archangel is from the Greek ἀρχάγγελος or archaggelos which means “chief of the angels.” The Bible tells us that the Lord is going to descend with the voice of the archangel. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
Thus, it appears that the Bible is saying that the Lord who descends at the first resurrection uses the archangel voice, indicating that the Lord speaking is also the archangel or chief of the angels. Jesus affirms that He will come in the clouds of heaven (Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62). He will descend from on high and come with all of the angels as a King (Matthew 25:31; 1 Timothy 6:14-15).
The Captain of God’s Army Is Worshiped
Joshua is described as meeting the captain of the army of the Lord. “And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant? And the captain of the Lord‘s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so” (Joshua 5:14-15).
Here, the captain of the host of the Lord is worshiped in the same manner that God is worshiped when He revealed Himself to Moses (Exodus 3:4-6, 14). Jesus identifies Himself as “I Am” just as when revealed in the time of Moses (John 8:58). Thus, the the captain of the host of the Lord appears to be Jesus, as only He can be worshiped (Matthew 4:10; Luke 4:8).
The Bible is very clear that angels are not to be worshiped (Revelation 22:8-9; Colossians 2:18). The captain of the host of the Lord could arguably be Michael, as he fights with his angels as previously mentioned (Revelation 12:7).
The Great Prince
The Bible tells us that Michael is called the Great Prince. “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1).
Michael is also called a prince in a prior verse. “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia” (Daniel 10:13).
While the Bible translators stated “one of the chief princes” the original Hebrew translates this verse from three words “‘echad” meaning one, “ri’shown” meaning first or chief and “sar” meaning prince. Thus, the words “of the” were added by the translators. The literal phrase in Hebrew was “Michael one chief prince,” which is congruent with the first verse calling Michael the (singular) great prince.
The action that Michael takes in this passage is that of one who stands up and defends God’s people. This is an act of intercession. In the Bible, Jesus is described as the Intercessor (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). Jesus is also called a Prince. “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:30-31 also 3:15 and Isaiah 9:6).
The Bible gives evidence that Michael the Archangel is more than a mere angel. It appears that the roles and functions of Michael are similar to those of Jesus. Also, it is noted that Bible commentators like Matthew Henry and others believe that Michael was one of the pre-incarnate ways that Jesus appeared to humans.
When studying a part of God’s word that may seem obscure, we must look at all available Scriptures to come to a conclusion (Isaiah 28:10). Based on the evidence, it appears that there is enough to consider Michael as having attributes that are congruent with Jesus. Therefore, this conclusion should only be accepted as one is convicted by God’s Word. And it is up to the reader to interpret and decide.
In His service,