Scriptures

Was Jesus The Archangel Michael?

Introduction

It never ceases to amaze me what people actually believe and come to make a doctrine out of something which has no Biblical reference and no Biblical authority to believe or teach. The identity of Jesus will ultimately make or break any religious belief system because Jesus and His identity is the core teaching the whole Gospel message.

There are two religious groups that I know of who teach that Jesus was actually the archangel Michael, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Seventh Day Adventists and I believe it’s always useful to open our Bibles and see what the text actually says and teaches.

In the Scriptures there are only three angels actually named,

Michael who was God’s warrior

Gabriel, who was God’s messenger and

Lucifer, whom we now know is the devil.

For the purpose of this study, we’ll be focusing our attention on Michael.

It may come as a surprise to some people that the Archangel Michael is only mentioned by name in five passages of Scripture.

‘But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.’ Daniel 10:13

‘But first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince.’ Daniel 10:21

‘At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.’ Daniel 12:1

‘But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’ Jude 9

‘Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.’ Revelation 12:7

Please note that none of these passages even remotely hint that Michael was or is actually Jesus. In fact, you won’t find one single Bible text that clearly says or even hints at or teaches that Jesus was the Archangel Michael and so for these groups who believe Jesus was Michael, they have to take the text and make them mean something they clearly don’t mean.

For example, they tell us that Michael was THE chief prince of angels, but read Daniel 10:13 again,

‘But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, ONE of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia’.

Notice that the text actually says that Michael is ONE of the chief princes, it doesn’t say Michael is the ONLY one or THE one.

The New World Translation has a footnote for Daniel 10:13 for the phrase

‘one of the chief princes,’

and the alternate translation which is given is

‘a prince of the first rank.’

Now remember the footnotes aren’t inspired of God, but ask yourself, even if this footnote was true, could it not imply that Michael is ONE of a number of princes of first rank, just like any modern-day army can have a number of generals?

Surely common sense tells us this is what it means

Another example, one which can only be described as

‘clinging on to straws,’

is that they tell us that

‘the proof text’

that Jesus was Michael is in found in 1 Thessalonians 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.’

They tell us that this Scripture ‘suggests’ that Jesus Himself is the archangel Michael. However, notice the word ‘WITH’, if I were to say to you that

‘I’m going shopping WITH my wife’,

doesn’t that mean that my wife is accompanying me?

And if this text implies that Jesus is the one who is

‘the voice’,

then surely to be consistent you have to say that Jesus is also

‘the trumpet’,

because the text says,

‘WITH the trumpet call of God.’

We know that Jesus isn’t returning alone, He’s coming WITH His angels,

‘This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire WITH his powerful angels.’ 2 Thessalonians 1:7

How many times have you heard the saying,

‘someone has the voice of an angel’,

this doesn’t mean they are an angel, it simply implies they sound angelic when they sing. In other words, when Jesus returns, the angels will be accompanying Him, and their voice will be heard.

Let me repeat, the Bible nowhere declares that Jesus was Michael in any shape or form, but what the Bible does tell is the exact opposite.

Take for example

‘But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’ Jude 9

Now we have no record anywhere in the Bible of this actual event, however we know it must have happened otherwise the event wouldn’t be included in the inspired Word.

Notice what the text says, it says that Michael wouldn’t dare to condemn the devil instead Michael said,

‘the Lord rebuke you!’

The very fact that we see that Michael the Archangel said,

‘The Lord rebuke you,’

demonstrates he can’t be Jesus, in other words, if Michael was the Lord Jesus, why would He refer to someone else as Lord?

Also, if Jesus was Michael and wouldn’t dare to condemn or rebuke Satan, then, why did Jesus rebuke Satan on at least two occasions?

‘Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ Matthew 4:10

‘But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. ‘Get behind me, Satan!’ he said. ‘You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’ Mark 8:33.

Please remember that without knowing it, Peter was speaking for Satan.

One of the most compelling Scriptures which teach the exact opposite to what these people believe and teach concerning Jesus being Michael is found in the opening chapter of Hebrews.

If you read the opening verses we see the writer is speaking about Jesus and I’m no Biblical scholar, but the Hebrew writer also clearly shows us here, the distinction between Jesus the Son and the angels.

Comparison 1: Better Name

‘So, he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.’ Hebrews 1:4

We must back up to verse 4 to see the first argument as the Son is compared to angels. The first point the writer makes is that the Son has a superior Name.

‘Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name’ Philippians 2:9

The argument is fairly simple; the angels are merely messengers of God. But Jesus is the Son, the Son of God. The difference in the NAME is significant and immediately denotes the superiority of the Son. The writer now deepens the argument.

‘For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son today I have become your Father’? Or again, ‘I will be his Father, and he will be my Son’? Hebrews 1:5

In both of these quotations, it’s not the quotation alone that is powerful but the location of the quotation. The quotation,

‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father’ is found in Psalm 2:7.

Psalm 2 is a Messianic psalm speaking about the coronation of the Messiah as King Psalm 2:6. The Son has been enthroned with power, Psalm 2:8+9+12.

The second quotation is also about the enthronement of the Messiah. The quote comes from 2 Samuel 7:14. In the previous verse, the Lord declared the establishment of the throne in His kingdom forever.

So, the question that comes from the text, when did this coronation and enthronement happen?

This is especially of interest because in 2 Samuel this is spoken of being in the future,

‘He will be my Son’.

The New Testament in a couple of place points out when the coronation and enthronement of the Son occurred.

‘Regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord’. Romans 1:3+4

Notice that the Son was appointed by His resurrection. The coronation and enthronement of the Son took place at His resurrection. The apostle Paul makes the same argument.

‘We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: ‘You are my son; today I have become your father.’ God raised him from the dead so that he will never be subject to decay. As God has said, ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’ Acts 13:32-34

Notice again that this psalm was fulfilled when Jesus rose from the dead. Now this is important, Jesus is enthroned now! Jesus must be enthroned now. The kingdom must be now, and Jesus is ruling now because the resurrection from the dead was when coronation of the Son occurred. The Son has a superior NAME through the resurrection, crowned as King.

Comparison 2: Greater Dignity

‘And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, let all God’s angels worship him.’ Hebrews 1:6

The Son receives worship, but the angels worship the Son. The Son is clearly greater because He receives worship. Angels do not receive worship. They are to render worship, particularly to the Son.

Notice that the Son is called the firstborn. This concept has led to much misunderstanding. The Son isn’t being called a created being, nor is the Son being described as lesser to God. The Son isn’t a generational reference.

The firstborn held the highest place of privilege, honour, and responsibility. He has pre-eminence. This is the meaning of the Son as the

‘firstborn.’

The Son has greater dignity. Angels worship the Son and He receives that worship.

Comparison 3: Greater Status

‘In speaking of the angels, he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.’ Hebrews 1:7

The angels are simply servants, this point will be repeated in verse 14. But angels are simply servants, wonderful servants, but still servants. They are spirits and they are flames of fire, but still servants.

‘But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.’ Hebrews 1:8-9

Carefully watch the argument that is made about the Son in verses 8-9. The writer says that this quotation is speaking about the Son,

‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever.’

This is speaking about the throne of the Son. In speaking about the Son,

‘your throne, O God.’ ‘The Son is God’.

The writer states this point clearly, and it cannot be missed or avoided.

This is a quotation from Psalm 45 and it is useful for us to understand this psalm and tie it to the argument made here in Hebrews.

Psalm 45 is a royal wedding song written for the King, see particularly verses 10+11+13+16. But the psalm is strange in verse 6 because the king is called God. But verse 7 is even stranger. The king is God, but He has a God

‘your God’.

There is no king in the Hebrew Scriptures that this describes. This is about the Messiah.

Again, it is a coronation picture. The Son has been chosen above all and has been anointed with the oil of joy. Olive oil was used to anoint kings of Israel at the inauguration of their rule. It is a Messianic royal wedding. This image explains the parables in the Gospels Jesus told concerning ‘The wedding feast’.

‘When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honour at the table, he told them this parable: ‘When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honour, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honoured in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’ Then Jesus said to his host, ‘When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbours; if you do, they may invite you back and, so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’ Luke 14:7-14

‘Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)’ Revelation 19:6-8

Now, let us back up and include Hebrews 1:7 again. The angels serve, but the Son rules. The Son is superior.

Comparison 4: Greater Function

‘He also says, ‘In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.’ To which of the angels did God ever say, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’? Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?’ Hebrews 1:10-14

The writer of Hebrews says that these quotations are still talking about the Son. He emphasises the role of the Son in creation. The Son laid the foundations of the earth and the heavens. Further, the Son is eternal. All of creation will perish, but He remains.

In Psalm 102, this song was written to God. Therefore, the argument continues that the Son is God. He remains the same and His years will never end. Further, He has been enthroned until all enemies are placed under His feet.

The comparison is to the angels. They have a lesser function. Angels are serving servants, angels serve, the Son rules. Angels serve, the Son creates. Angels serve, but they serve us, the created.

Conclusion

1. The Son has a better NAME. He was established as king when he rose from dead. Hebrews 1:4+5 / Philippians 2:9

2. The Son has greater DIGNITY. The Son receives worship. The angels render worship to him. Hebrews 1:6

3. The Son has greater STATUS. The Son rules, angels serve. Hebrews 1:7-9

4. The Son has greater FUNCTION. The Son is eternal and creator, angels serve the created. Hebrews 1:10-14

‘Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.’ Revelation 12:7

According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses they believe Michael and Jesus are both identified as the leader of an army of angels here in Revelation 12:7.

The Book of Revelation contains a vision in which John says, ‘Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels
fighting against the dragon’, Revelation 12:7. Jehovah’s Witnesses note that this statement refers to ‘Michael and his angels,’ while elsewhere the New Testament speaks of Christ and ‘his angels’, Matthew 13:41 Matthew 16:27 / Matthew 24:31 / Mark 13:27 / 2 Thessalonians 1:7.

Later in the Book of Revelation, John describes a vision in which Christ, called ‘the Word of God,’ leads ‘the armies of heaven’, Revelation 19:13-14. The Watchtower argues,

‘Since God’s Word nowhere indicates that there are two
armies of faithful angels in heaven—one headed by Michael and one headed by Jesus—it is logical to conclude that Michael is none other than Jesus Christ in his heavenly role.’

This argument, if pursued consistently, would ‘prove’ that Christ is not only Michael the archangel but also God the Father, since the New Testament also refers to the angels as God’s angels or the Father’s angels, Matthew 4:6 / Matthew 22:30 . Matthew 26:53 / Luke 4:10 / Luke 12:8-9 / Luke 15:10 / John 1:51 / Hebrews 1:6 / Revelation 3:5.

Since Jesus is not the Father, there is something wrong with this reasoning. We shouldn’t understand the Bible to be saying that there are two separate armies of angels, one headed by Christ and the other by Michael, nor that the one army of angels is headed by Christ who is Michael.

Rather, evidently Michael leads the army of angels in Revelation 12:7 on behalf of Christ, who is his superior. Just as we might speak of the president’s army and also refer to it as a general’s army without identifying the general as the president, the New Testament speaks of Christ’s angels and also of Michael’s angels without identifying Christ as Michael.

In Revelation 12, Michael and his angels are fighting the ‘great red dragon,’ which represents Satan the devil, in a ‘war in heaven’ after Jesus Christ was born on earth as ‘the Lamb,’ shed his ‘blood’ to conquer the devil, and
ascended to God and his throne, Revelation 12:3-11.

Far from identifying Christ as Michael, this passage pictures Christ sharing God’s throne and ruling with him while Michael and his angels throw the devil and his angels down to the earth. Reading Revelation 12:7 in context, then, makes it quite clear that Michael is not Christ.

If we downgrade Jesus to a mere angel, and say that He was no more or no less than an angel, then we’re actually knocking Him off His throne, this is why it’s so important to clearly identify Jesus for who He really is.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."

John 5:24

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