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Who is Michael the Archangel?

The heavenly being, Michael, is only identified as the archangel in Jude 1:9, “Michael the archangel.” The word “angel” means a messenger or ambassador. Archangel would include the thought of chief messenger or representative of God. “Michael” is Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Hebrew #4317 and Greek #3413, meaning “who is like God.”

Jesus is certainly Michael or “like God” in character and purpose.

There are five scriptural references to the archangel Michael. Michael’s role in every occurrence is as a defender or supporter of God’s people. He is acting on God’s behalf. This is extremely important work we believe is entrusted to Jesus.  

  1. Daniel 10:13: 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.

Here Michael is recognized as one of the most chief of the angelic beings. 

  1. Daniel 10:21: But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holds with me in these things, but Michael your prince. 

Here the angel speaking to Daniel is bearing witness to the fact that none are more knowledgeable than Michael. In both verses 13 and 21, he is assisting Gabriel who was being opposed by the prince of the kingdom of Persia. Gabriel was on a mission to help Daniel and explain the meaning of the visions he had been given.

  1. Daniel 12:1: And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands 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.

We understand the “children of thy people” to be referring to the Jewish nation. Here Michael stands up for Israel, Daniel’s people.  At Jesus’s first advent, the disciples wondered about and expected this restoration of Israel.

Michael stands for Israel during the End Times in a great time of trouble. If we can equate a time and action with Jesus’ second advent, then Michael must be Jesus. We can do that from Matthew 24:21,22,29-35 and Luke 21:25-33. The “Son of Man” (who everyone would identify as Jesus) returns during a great time of trouble. In that context, Jesus added the sign of a budding fig tree (Matthew 24:32-35).

Scripturally, the fig tree symbolically represents Israel. This tree coming to life represents her rebirth as a nation in 1948. So, in the prophecies of the second advent, we have the two main features associated with Michael in Daniel 12. We understand it to be Jesus doing the work in both cases.

Acts 1:6,7: When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

Thus, the disciples clearly understood that the Messiah (Jesus) would be the one who would re-establish the kingdom of Israel. Therefore, Daniel 12:1 and Acts 1:6 refer to the same events, and Michael/Jesus is the one restoring Israel.

  1. Jude 1:9: 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.

We are told Michael is an archangel, suggesting there are none above him except God. This shows the power of Michael is greater than that of the devil, as it would seem the devil backed down from his intentions at the word of Michael.

  1. Revelation 12:7: And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels…

Michael wars against the dragon who had been bitterly persecuting the early church. This war saw the end of the 10 years of persecution of Christians by the Roman Emperor, Diocletian.

When reviewing all of the above scriptures and the meaning of the name “Michael,” it seems reasonable that Michael describes Jesus’ special role of dealing with and assisting God’s people, whether they be part of the nation of Israel or Christians during this age.

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.

Here Michael isn’t mentioned by name. Again, archangel means “chief messenger.”  Jesus is Jehovah’s chief messenger, described as the Messenger of the Covenant, in Malachi 3:1. The context is about the resurrection of the saints and the time of Christ’s return, using symbolic language. These words are meant to bring comfort to the saints. Here again Michael is fulfilling the specific role of working on behalf of God’s people–the application is consistent. Christ asserts his authority as the representative from God.  He takes control and begins his reign in the kingdom in the midst of a great time of trouble. 

Logos–Word–mouthpiece–Michael appears at major times doing important work. This fits the role of being God’s mouthpiece.

It is interesting that only two angels are named in scripture, Michael and Gabriel. Curiously, the only times we see Gabriel was when there was an announcement relative to Jesus. Gabriel gave Daniel the meaning of the daily sacrifice (ransom) being taken away by the mass in Daniel 8. It was also Gabriel who gave Daniel the prophecy of the 70 weeks, which prophesied the death of Jesus. In the Gospels, Gabriel spoke to Zacharias about the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:19) and told Mary she would give birth to Jesus (Luke 1:26-31). It appears that it would have been inappropriate for Michael/Jesus to announce the prophecies relative to himself or announce his own birth.