To some people, the idea that Jesus is the Archangel, Michael, who is depicted in the Old Testament Scriptures, seems utterly impossible. Some feel that if this is true, then this would make Jesus a created being and less than deity. Some religious groups do not accept the deity of Christ and at times use this teaching to prove that Christ is not equal to Jehovah God. Still, there is ample proof from God's Word that the Personage known as “Michael, the Archangel” can be identified as our Lord Jesus, without detracting from His divinity. Let's examine from the Bible the pieces of the puzzle point by point.
POINT ONE: When Jesus was born in human flesh through the virgin, Mary, the prophetic utterances of the Holy Spirit gave Him many appropriate names. A few of these are:
Immanuel (God is with us) – Matthew 1:23
Jesus (Savior) – Matthew 1:21
Lamb of God – John 1:29
Christ (Messiah, anointed One or King) – John 1:41
The Bible also reveals that the devil's name was “Lucifer” before he rebelled against God. After being thrown out of Heaven, Lucifer acquired a new name called “Satan.” (Isaiah 14:12 and Revelation 12:9) Since we know Jesus existed throughout the ages of eternity long before coming as a babe to Bethlehem, it is logical to assume that He, too, had some Heavenly name before His earthly experience.
POINT TWO: In Biblical times, names were regarded as profoundly important. Nearly every name had a meaning. A few examples will illustrate this point:
El (these letters in a name pertained to God)
Elijah (my God is Jehovah)
Daniel (judgment of God)
Gabriel (man of God)
Michael (one who is like God)
Unless our intention is to be blasphemous, we must recognize that no one is like God – except God Himself. The Bible is clear that it was Lucifer's pride which prompted him to say, “I will be like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:13-14) Who was he referring to? By now I am sure that the devil understands that no created being – even a dazzling angel like Lucifer – can ever be equal to his Creator.
POINT THREE: The prefix “arch” comes from a Greek word meaning “ruler” or one who rules over, such as in the word “monarch.” We know that our Heavenly Father, as God, rules and reigns over all faithful believers without being a human Himself. By the same token, Jesus can assume the position of ruler over all the angels without being an angel (created being) Himself.
So, by saying that Jesus is Michael, the Archangel, the Bible is simply calling Him the Supreme Commander of the angelic host, just as our United States President is called the Commander-in-Chief of all the armed forces. This does not mean that the President is a soldier, wearing a uniform. He is above every foot soldier, sailor, airman or marine. He outranks them and rules them, according to the United States Constitution.
To demonstrate this further, consider Genesis 1:28. Here we read that in the beginning God gave man “dominion over” all creatures of the animal kingdom, whether fish, fowl, or animal. “Dominion” means lordship or authority to rule. Thus God placed man in charge of His creation, dominating the animals as a lord rules his subjects. If man can rule the animal kingdom without being an animal himself, no one should insist that Christ cannot be the archangel without being a created angel Himself. Therefore, it should not surprise us that according to the Bible, Jesus Christ has the honor of being “Commander-in-Chief” and has “dominion” over all the angelic forces of Heaven. Serving in this capacity does not detract from His deity or make Him in any way a created being.
POINT FOUR: The Old Testament contains a fascinating story of a human encounter with the Heavenly Commander-in-Chief. “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 face down 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)
On this occasion, Joshua is being visited by the Lord Jesus Christ in his pre-incarnate form. Throughout the Old Testament, the Bible mentions the Lord appearing to individuals, such as Abraham (Genesis 18:1-33) and Jacob (Genesis 32:24-30). On this particular occasion with Joshua, verse 13 says that Joshua looked up and saw a “man standing in front of him with a drawn sword.” When Joshua asks who he is, Joshua is told that he is the “Commander of the Lord's army.” The Living Bible says “I am Commander-in-Chief of the Lord's army.” This is just another way of saying He is the “Arch”angel, or ruler of the angel hosts. Even though He was identified as the Archangel, we know He was no mere angel for two reasons.
First, Joshua fell down and worshiped him, and the Being did not stop him from doing so. If Joshua had been worshiping an angel, he would have been immediately reprimanded. In both Revelation 19:10 and Revelation 22:8 and 9, John was told to stop worshiping the angel and told, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!”
Secondly, this divine Being not only accepts worship from Joshua, but also tells him to take off his shoes, for the place he was standing was holy. Moses received the same command when He met the Lord at the burning bush. (Exodus 3:1-6) It become clear that the leader of the Heavenly hosts is no mere angel, but our Lord, Jesus Christ, Himself.
POINT FIVE: There are other Scriptures that mention the name of Michael, revealing that He is a very special Person. These texts suggest that He must be, in fact, a heavenly Being of royal lineage. For instance, God sent the angel, Gabriel, to give a special message to the prophet Daniel (Daniel 8:16 and 9:21). This angel messenger told Daniel that “Michael” is “the great prince who protects your people.” A prince is the son of a king, of course, and Jesus is the Son of God, the King of Heaven. Gabriel, in the very same book calls the Messiah, “the Prince.” (Daniel 9:25).
Now please note what we've learned from the pen of the same inspired writer:
- Messiah = the Prince
- Michael = the great prince
- If this is true, and two things equal to the same thing are equal to each other, this means the Messiah and Michael are one and the same Person, Jesus Christ.
POINT SIX: God's Word gives inspired insight into Lucifer's terrible rebellion against the government of God: “And there was war in heaven. Michael and His angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down — that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” (Revelation 12:7-9)
Fortunately, this verse identifies “the dragon” as “that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan.” This leaves no question about the adversary's identity. It is interesting to note that in each of the four instances where the name Michael is used in Scripture, there is a conflict between Michael and Satan going on – age-old adversaries since the beginning of time.
POINT SEVEN: The only Bible verse frequently quoted by those who deny that Jesus is Michael, the Archangel, is Jude 1:9, which says, “But even the archangel Michael, when He was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’”
Some people believe this verse proves Jesus and Michael are not the same entity because Michael, in this text, rebukes the devil Himself, by saying, “The Lord rebuke you!” People reason that the Archangel cannot be the Lord for He is calling someone else, “the Lord.” It is always important to let the Bible be its own interpreter. Jude 1:9 becomes much clearer when compared with Zechariah 3:2, where Jesus again is confronting Satan. Zechariah 3:2 says: “The LORD said to Satan, ‘The LORD rebuke you, Satan!’ ” This verse is a perfect parallel to Jude 1:9 – almost a carbon copy – except the names are changed. In one text He is called Michael and in the other He is called the Lord. In both cases, one could argue that Michael/Lord was calling on His Heavenly Father to rebuke the devil.
On both occasions, Christ knew it was pointless to argue with Lucifer’s closed mind – Lucifer had made his mind up long ago. Jesus knew that a day is coming, when as Lord and Judge of all the universe, He will rebuke Satan with finality, condemning him to the lake of fire.
Another possible interpretation of these two texts is to realize that Christ was simply speaking of Himself when He said, “The Lord rebuke you,” meaning, “I rebuke you.” Jesus often referred to Himself in the third person, saying things like: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the Earth?” (Luke 18:8) Should we conclude that Jesus is not the Son of God simply because in John 3:16 He referred to Himself in the third person (“Whosoever believeth in Him”) rather than saying “in me?”
In reference to Moses’ death, the Bible states that the Lord, Himself, buried His faithful servant, but did not reveal to men where Moses’ grave was. (Deuteronomy 34:5-6) Jude reveals that Moses’ dead body was the subject of dispute between Christ and Satan. When the Prince of Life approached the lonely grave, Satan was alarmed. Satan claimed all who were in the grave as his captives and felt threatened by this invasion into “his territory.” The accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10) boasted that even Moses, who had been a faithful servant of God, had sinned and become his prisoner. Christ refused to argue with Satan, but then and there, performed His work of breaking the devil's power and bringing the dead to life. The New Testament indicates that Moses appeared with Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration, so it is safe to conclude that the Lord triumphed in the contest with the devil and raised Moses from his grave.
How do we know it was Christ, Himself, and not a mere angel that contended with Satan over the resurrection of Moses' body? Angels, like ourselves, are created beings and have no power to create life. Satan and his angel followers are powerful, supernatural beings, but they are “fallen” and they are created beings. They may make it look like dead people are talking to mediums (i.e., seances), but they cannot create life. Although God empowered his faithful servants to resuscitate a dead person on a few occasions, those miracles were not resurrections to a glorious, immortal life. Miracles though they were, those people who were raised, later died again. They were not taken “bodily” to Heaven, as Moses and Elijah were. Only Christ, the Life-giver, can raise a dead person to eternal life. He is our only hope – not some angel. Keeping this all in mind, it is safe to conclude that the One who contended with Satan over Moses' body was a Heavenly Being far more powerful than any angel.
POINT EIGHT: Jesus encouraged us to: “Search the Scriptures.” (John 5:39) It is very important to compare texts throughout the different books of the Bible, for there is no single writer found in the Old or New Testament who had all of God's truth revealed to him. Each inspired writer was given a glimpse of the heavenly vision. If our hearts “thirst” after truth, we must carefully search with all our hearts and read all that the Bible says about any given subject.
The apostles, John and Paul, give a good example of how two texts can describe the same event, but in slightly different ways. Paul says dead believers are resurrected at the voice of the Archangel. “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) John records that the Lord Jesus said the dead righteous would be resurrected at the sound of His own voice. “I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. . . . And He has given Him authority to judge because He is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” (John 5:25-29) These parallel passages are speaking of the same event. Paul, in Thessalonians, calls it “the voice of the Archangel” and John, in His gospel, calls it “the voice of the Son of God.”
When Christ returns to call His faithful ones to life, every angel in heaven will come with Him: “The Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him.” (Matthew 25:31) He is their Commander! There is no mystery here – Jesus, the Life-giver, is also, Michael, the Archangel.
*** For further study, please read the following Scripture references:
- Genesis 16 (Please note verses 7, 9, 11, and especially verse 13.)
- Genesis 22 (Please note verse 15 and remember that only God can “swear by Himself.”)
- Exodus 3 (Be sure to notice verse 2 and then verse 6.)
- Numbers 22:21-35 (Notice that the “angel” did not stop Balam from bowing down to Him. See also Revelation 19:10 and Revelation 22:8, 9)
- Judges 2 (Notice that the angel of the Lord says: “Yet you have disobeyed me.”)
- Judges 6:20-23 (Notice that Gideon calls the angel of the Lord ,“Sovereign Lord,” and the “angel”assures Gideon he will not die, in verse 23.)
- Zechariah 3 (Notice verse 4 – only Jesus can take away sin.)