Scriptures

The Archangel Michael And Gabriel

Introduction

When we read through the Scriptures we very quickly learn that there are only three angels mentioned by name, they are the archangel Michael, Gabriel, who was God’s special messenger and Lucifer who was a fallen angel. The fact that they are named tells us they must be important.

Let’s put something to rest at the beginning of this study, unlike popular belief of certain religious persuasions, there is more than one archangel. The term ‘arch’ is Greek for ruling or chief and it’s mentioned only two times in the Scriptures and only one of them is mentioned by name and that is Michael.

‘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

The only other time the word archangel appears in the Bible is to do with the end of time.

‘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.’ 1 Thessalonians 4:16

Notice that both of these passages talk about archangel, singular, which may lead some to believe that there is only one, whose name is Michael. Many scholars believe that the seven angels mentioned in the Book of Revelation could be seven archangels, but this can’t be proven.

‘And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.’ Revelation 8:2

In the Old Testament, especially in the Book of Daniel, notice that Michael is called ‘one of the chief princes’, which suggests that there’s more than one archangel.

‘Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.’ Daniel 10:13

Michael

Like we noted earlier, the archangel Michael is one of only three angels that are named in the Scriptures, the others being Gabriel and Lucifer. We’re told very clearly that he is ‘one of the chief princes’, or the ‘the great prince’, ‘a mighty warrior’ and ‘leader of other angels’. In other words, Michael seems to be God’s enforcer of law and judgement and like we said, he is the only angel specifically called an archangel in the Bible.

‘Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.’ Daniel 10:13

‘At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise.’ Daniel 12:1

‘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

‘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

It’s interesting that the name Michael means ‘who is like God?’. He appears to have a special role in guarding the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. In Jewish tradition, Michael is the author of Psalm 85, which is really a sad poem about the suffering of the nation of Israel. He has also been associated with the ‘man’ who spoke to Joshua at the battle of Jericho.

‘Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, ‘Are you for us or for our enemies?’ ‘Neither,’ he replied, ‘but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.’ Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, ‘What message does my Lord have for his servant?’ The commander of the LORD’s army replied, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so’ Joshua 5:13-15

Because of his position as the commander of the Lord’s army, could well be Michael’s voice that announces the return of Jesus to earth, but we don’t know for certain.

‘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.’ 1 Thessalonians 4:16

Some people believe that it was Michael who fought with, and threw out the devil from heaven, when the devil revolted against God and tried to take God’s place and that Michael became the ‘top angel’ in the Satan’s place, but this too is only a theory and can’t be proven. In most pictures, sculptures and modern art, Michael is usually depicted wearing medieval armour, ready for battle, which is very appropriate for his warrior role.

Gabriel

The name Gabriel means ‘God’s Hero’ and he seems to be God’s very special messenger angel. When we open our Bibles, we see him often announcing special events on behalf of God.

‘While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man. And I heard a man’s voice from the Ulai calling, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision.’ As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. ‘Son of man,’ he said to me, ‘understand that the vision concerns the time of the end.’ Daniel 8:15-17

‘While I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, ‘Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision.’ Daniel 9:21-23

‘Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’ Zechariah asked the angel, ‘How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.’ The angel said to him, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.’ Luke 1:8-20

‘In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.’ ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.’ ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.’ Luke 1:26-38

Gabriel had the blessing of telling Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus, the king of the universe. It’s also highly likely, but again, can’t be proven, that it was Gabriel who spoke to Joseph and told him that Mary would have a special baby called Jesus.

‘This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’ Matthew 1:18-21

You will have noticed that nowhere in the Scriptures is Gabriel ever referred to as an archangel. If you remember back in Daniel 9:21 it says that Gabriel arrives in ‘swift flight’, but notice it doesn’t mention wings, swift flight most likely refers to his speed, he came quickly.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!"

Psalm 133:1

MENU