Who is Michael the great prince; or Michael the archangel? Most Sabbath keeping, prophecy understanding Christians know the answer to this question right off. But for those new to the faith, my "opinion" is not what they seek. A true child of God will search out the Scriptures to see what they have to say about this. And as many of us that understand this truth know, you just can't answer with one Bible verse. It's what's referred to as a "meaty topic" for the Christian to digest. It is not one that comes without intense study. The Word is plain about how we need to approach a truth such as this…
With that said... what does the Word say about Michael? Is He just an angel? Is He the highest of all angels? Is He one of those covering cherubs we see on the ark of the covenant? Or is He far superior to all angels or the "Ruler" of the angels? Let's find out shall we?
The Strong's Concordance says this about Michael...
Now of course there are many other references to the name Michael in Strong’s; but the point I wanted to make clear is the definition of the “name” Michael. Strong’s refers to the name as one “who is like God.” Is this an accurate definition? Can we back this up in Bible Scripture? Before going further, I would like to make it known that I am not just speaking of the simple name of Michael. I am referring to the name that is of this particular archangel.
The Strong’s Concordance says this about the word, “archangel.”
Right off I see a connection here with Michael. In Daniel 10:13 He is called “one of the chief princes.” (one = first) And in Jude He is referred to as an archangel that is defined as “chief of the angels.” By the way, the definition in Strong’s for angel is…
What have we discovered so far?
Now I am not trying to convince anyone of anything by merely using the Strong’s Concordance. I am one that uses only Bible Scripture to prove my point. But I felt it necessary to get the “terms” used regarding Michael defined and out of the way before going any further. You will appreciate this later as we get a bit deeper into this study.
There are numerous areas in the Word of God that refer to the “Angel of the Lord” that I would like to bring your attention to. I do believe that after you look upon these passages you will agree that Jesus did in fact “appear” as an archangel to man as well when the situation warranted it. Let’s start at the beginning and work our way all the way to the book of Revelation.
Do you recall the discord between Hagar and Sarah after Sarah saw Hagar was blessing Abraham with a child, (Ishmael) and she was barren? The Word tells us in Genesis 16 that the Angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar near water in the desert and told her to go back and yield to Sarah. The Angel of the Lord even told Hagar that her son would become a mighty nation. What did Hagar say of this meeting?
According to the Word of God, Hagar believed that the Angel she saw in the desert was in fact the Lord Himself! In fact, later on in Genesis we see that this same Angel makes a claim only a God can perform.
The “Angel of God” is speaking, and then says that “I will him a great nation.” Can a normal or "regular" angel do that? No not at all. Later on, Sarah’s womb is blessed. She is no longer barren. She conceives, and the Lord blesses her with a son named Isaac. Then the Lord tells Abraham to sacrifice his son on mount Moriah. We all know what happens next. Abraham does exactly as the Lord desires. He brings his son to the mountain, and just before he thrusts the knife into Isaac’s heart, the Angel of the Lord stops him in his tracks.
Did you catch that? The “Angel of the Lord” said clear as day that He understood Abraham feared God seeing how he did not withhold sacrificing his son to ME. The Angel of the Lord openly states the sacrifice was for God Himself, and then referred to Himself as the one the sacrifice was not withheld from. It is plain that Abraham was sacrificing his son to God. This is not something debated among Christians. Yet the Angel of the Lord here is declaring the sacrifice for Himself. PLUS, notice this…
Can an angel swear by himself? And did you also notice the Angel of the Lord stated plainly that He was pleased that Abraham did in fact obey HIS voice. And did you also notice, the “Angel of the Lord” is now referring to Himself as “the LORD” in that passage? By the way, were you also aware that Peter defines this “Angel of the Lord” as God in the following passage later on in the New Testament?
In Acts 3:25 Peter is saying that God Himself said those words to Abraham. The Angel of the Lord said, “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” And Peter confirms that it was the Lord Himself making that statement many years later.
Back in Genesis we see more evidence unfolding. Do you recall the dream Jacob had after he fled from his brother Esau? In the dream the Lord confirmed the covenant He had made earlier with Abraham. It so blessed Jacob that he made a vow to tithe to him a tenth of all his increase. He actually set up a pillar of stone and anointed it with oil to let the Lord know he was serious about the vow. Then he named the place, Bethel, “the house of God” because he knew that the Lord had appeared to him. Now, keep that in mind for a moment.
Many years later Jacob is very wealthy. He is explaining how he was blessed with his wealth. He recounts yet another dream he had in how he was instructed to deal with how Laban was treating him. The Lord showed him how to be blessed with many herds in this dream. In the dream the Lord said this…
The angel of God confirms Himself to be the same God Jacob encountered back when he vowed to him at Bethel. (See Genesis 28:20-22) But, it doesn’t end there. Jacob has yet another encounter with the Angel of the Lord. However, here we find out which God of the Godhead has actually been doing all this. In Genesis 32:22-32 Jacob is given his new name of Israel. He actually states in verse thirty the following…
According to the Word, no one has seen the face of the FATHER and lived, right? (See Exodus 33:20) Yet Jacob has seen God face to face. Who is the Deity among the Godhead that gives new names unto His followers? And who is the one Deity in that Godhead that man has seen face to face? Of course, it is our Saviour Himself, Jesus Christ! We all know He has been seen by men, and we also know He was the one who gave new names to each of the Apostles, including Paul. Plus He is the one that will give our new names as we enter into the City New Jerusalem.
One last thing concerning Jacob and the Angel of the Lord. And by the way, this is MY FAVORITE verse on this subject! On his death bed as he was giving blessings unto his sons he uses the terms “angel” and “God” interchangeably.
Can an Angel redeem? No, of course not. Can God? Yes, only God can do this. The interplay between the terms, “God” and “angel” make it completely clear that Jacob understood on his death bed, that the Angel he saw face to face was indeed the redeeming God Himself. Jesus Christ. Exciting isn't it!?
In Exodus chapter three we come across the well known appearance of the Angel of the Lord at the burning bush of Moses. It is plain in verse 2 that it is in fact the “Angel of the LORD” that is appearing as a flame of fire.
Notice if you will that not only does the “Angel of the Lord” identify Himself as, “the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” But Moses confirms this to be the Lord God by hiding his face because “he was afraid to look upon God.” This is also something we can confirm in the New Testament as well.
Notice the following as well. As Moses and the Lord start to converse, this undeniable fact comes to light.
Here’s where a bit more light is shined on the connection between the “Angel of the Lord” and Jesus Christ Himself. For it is clearly written in the New Testament that Jesus Christ Himself claims the title, “I AM.”
Also keep in mind that Moses himself declared the “Angel of God” to be the LORD Himself in the following passages.
In verse 21, Moses states it’s the LORD that went before them in a pillar of a cloud to lead them through the desert. Then in verse 19 of chapter 14 of Exodus, we see Moses confirming that it was the “Angel of God” that lead Israel in that pillar of the cloud. Isn’t it great to see how the Word confirms such truths? Line upon line, precept upon precept and here a little and there a little is absolutely the only true way to grasp a truth as meaty as this. By the way, the Father also confirms this Angel going before Jerusalem to be Jesus when He says the following...
In the biblical story of Balaam and his talking donkey we see the “Angel of the Lord” speaking to Balaam…
Here we see the “Angel of the Lord” telling Balaam that he will speak only what the “Angel of the Lord” will put in his mouth. But looking later in the next chapter we see this…
In chapter 22 we see the Scriptures stating it’s the “Angel of the Lord” telling Balaam He will instruct him regarding what words to use. Then chapter 23 confirms that it is the Lord Himself that put the words in Balaam’s mouth. To further confirm this, the term “Angel of the Lord” is used numerous times in this bible story.
Then we see the interchanging from “the Angel of the Lord” to “The Lord” or “God” in a few more verses of this same event in history…
Jumping forward to the book of Judges we see Gideon was also blessed with the presence of the “Angel of the Lord.”
Here we see an “Angel of the Lord” telling Gideon that it was Him that “made you go up out of Egypt.” Is this not that which the Lord Himself did? Plus, notice chapter 6 of this book.
However, if you follow through and read on, you will see the terms, “Lord, the Angel of the Lord, and the Angel of God” is used interchangeably throughout.
Now it goes on from there, but I believe you get my point. PLUS, did you notice the last passage I shared above? In verse 23, the Lord is assuring Gideon that “thou shalt not die.” Why would the Lord say that after Gideon said he was “face to face” with an “Angel of the Lord?” Because it is common knowledge among the elect that all who look upon the face of God will DIE. For no man has seen Him face to face and lived. (See Exodus 33:20) Yet, Gideon not only survived, the LORD Himself assured him he would. Why do you suppose this? Truth is, that LORD is in fact Jesus Christ Himself! This is the God men can see face to face, as we all found out when He walked among men 2000 years ago.
In Judges chapter 13 we come to Samson’s mother to be. The “Angel of the Lord" instructs her as to what not to do in the days ahead regarding herself and her son Samson who she is about to conceive. Notice that the “Angel of the Lord” term is used here repeatedly.
Now, notice what happens next. Notice how Samson’s father approaches the “Angel of the Lord” to ask a question of Him. Then notice the answer!
The word “secret” here is translated as “WONDERFUL” in the Strong’s Concordance. (#06381) Truth is, that is also a name for Jesus Christ Himself. For it is also written in...
But it doesn’t end there. It gets much better. Look at what happens next!
There is no way around this one. The truth was proclaimed rather bluntly here. This is another of my favorite verses on this topic because it's so blunt! Manoah realizes it is indeed the “Angel of the Lord” and then he declares plainly that he felt he was about to die because they had seen God. He obviously understood the doctrine that no man can look upon the Father and live. So, why didn’t they die? Because it was in fact Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father they actually looked upon. It was our Saviour Jesus who was the “Angel of the Lord” that ascended before their eyes that day. For further confirmation that this was not the “Father” Himself, but His Son Jesus, see this…
Since Jesus bluntly proclaimed that no man has EVER seen His Father, this means that ALL of the events in the Word of God where we see the “Angel of the Lord” could in no way be the Father. It had to be Jesus Christ. Truth be known, Jesus Christ is the Chief Messenger of the Lord is He not? And is not a messenger an angel? And is not Michael an ARCHangel? And is not the LORD God the Father?
The Angel of the Lord is easily understood to be God Himself. And we also understand that "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him" -John 1:18. Plus we also understand that the only one who has seen the Father is the Son Jesus Christ. For it is also written…
And seeing how men have seen the “Angel of the Lord,” we must also come to the realization that this Angel of the Lord is in fact Jesus Himself. It is also well known that many have actually seen Jesus Christ when He walked among us, and we are also aware that He was in fact the Son of God, and part of the Godhead. Plus, no man ever died that looked upon Him. Another obvious fact concerning Jesus Christ is that He is our redeemer is He not?
Now I know that all know Christ is our redeemer; so please don’t feel I am belittling those of you that read this. It’s just that I wanted to further clarify the fact that Jesus Christ did in fact appear as an Angel in the Old Testament to man. For it is written plainly in Genesis…
Genesis 48:16 The Angel which redeemed me from all evil…
How can a mere angel redeem man? Only one can do this. Jesus Christ! The Angel of the Lord! This “redeeming Angel” is also mentioned by the prophet Isaiah…
Amazing isn't it? Even the prophet Isaiah preaches this Truth!
Now… is this redeeming Angel of the Lord called Michael? Well... we are getting close to that evidence. Lets look to Zechariah to continue in this study. In Zechariah chapter 3 we see the prophet is given a vision of Joshua standing before the “Angel of the Lord.”
If you read on in verse 3 you will see that Joshua was in sin. This is represented by his “filthy garments” in the vision. Notice that immediately the name changes from “the Angel of the Lord” to “the Lord” making it obvious they are one in the same. Plus, this is further confirmed when you see the Angel of the Lord actually rebuking Satan. Where else in Scripture do we see this term used?
If you have a bible in your computer, I suggest you do a search for the phrase, “The Lord rebuke thee.” You will find it is in only TWO VERSES in the entire Bible. Namely, Zechariah 3:2 and Jude 1:9. This is our first connection between the “Angel of the Lord” and Michael the Archangel. Exciting isn’t it!?
Notice the amazing parallels here in these two instances as well. In both cases, Christ and Satan are contending over a sinner. In the case of Joshua, we see a live sinner, and in the case of Moses, a dead one of course. And both times the problem is quickly ended when Christ Himself states, “The Lord rebuke thee!” By the way, Jesus was no stranger to rebuking Satan. He did it in the desert, and He did it when Peter allowed Satan to move him to fear. (See Luke 4:8 & Matthew 16:23)
Where you also aware of this connection as well? We are all aware that Satan was a created angel. We also know that Satan was Lucifer before he fell, and we are also aware that he is the most powerful created angel ever made. No one was above him in the angelic race. Gabriel took his place when he fell. Still, Satan was more powerful than Gabriel. Satan is fallen, yes, but still as powerful as ever. That is why Michael had to come and rebuke him. No angel could stand against Satan. But the Creator, Commander and Ruler of the Angels could. Think about the common sense of that reality. Only Jesus could defeat Satan. There were no other angels before him. So the Creator had to step in!
getting back... Do you recall the verse I shared earlier in Isaiah that spoke of the names this prophet used for the Lord? Did you also notice one of them was, “prince of peace?”
Where else do we see this term used? Who else is called a “prince” in the Word of God?
By the way, the term, “one of the chief princes” in Daniel 10:13 is translated badly. It makes it appear as if He is merely “one” of the princes, when in fact He is the Chief Prince. The word “one” in this passage comes from the Hebrew word “echad” which also means “first” as in “first day” in Genesis 1:5. When you translate the verse correctly it states that Michael is the first, or highest of the chief princes. And that is indeed a definition of Christ. Like in Daniel 8:25…
Prince of princes is no different than, Lord of lords, (Psalm 136:3), God of gods (Deuteronomy 10:17), or King of kings (Revelation 19:16). All titles attributed to Christ Jesus. To further confirm that Jesus Christ is our Chief, First and Highest Prince we look to the prophetic statements of Daniel 9…
I have far more information regarding this prophetic statement on my “70 Weeks of Daniel 9” page in the prophecy section of the site.
Before moving on, please make special note of the last statement made in Daniel 10:21 where it says, "Michael your prince." It is Daniel being spoken to here. He is a mere human like you and I. Michael is given special mention here as "our" Prince when He is declared "your" Prince to Daniel. This is a title never attributed to "regular" angels.
Let’s now take a look at the word “archangel” since I underlined it a few times. It is only used twice in the entire Bible.
Make special note that it is the “voice of the archangel” raising the dead in 1 Thessalonians. Then notice there is only one other place in the entire Bible that the term “archangel” is used, and it is associated with the name Michael. Therefore, the archangel of 1 Thessalonians must be Michael. The Word of God never contradicts itself. Since the word "archangel" is only used TWICE in the entire bible, and one of those times is in accordance with the name Michael, common sense affords us the reality that the archangel of the Bible is named Michael. Plus, see this biblical fact…
Common knowledge among all of Christendom is that Jesus Christ is the ONLY ONE that can raise the dead. It is also biblical fact that John 5:28 is stating that it is the voice of the Son of God that will be heard when all those that are in the graves stand up. 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 says the archangel does this. Jude says that this archangel has a name. And that name is Michael. Or look at it this way... Mere Angels cannot raise the dead, only Christ Jesus can do that. So the voice of the archangel in 1 Thessalonians MUST be the voice of Jesus Christ the redeemer! I truly believe the Word of God can't state that fact any clearer.
Notice what E.J. Waggoner says in his dissertation titled, "Christ our Righteousness." As he is correcting the error wherein some believe Jesus is a "created" being, he goes into detail regarding the word "archangel" in a way that will make the truth a bit clearer for some to see when it comes to the term "archangel.".
Also make special note: In Jude it is revealed that Michael is competing with the devil over the body of Moses. Does this sound familiar? For this has happened before. The “Angel of the Lord” had to deal with Satan before on this. Do you recall what we covered earlier regarding how the “Angel of the Lord” had to rebuke Satan regarding both Moses and Joshua? We know that Moses was in fact raised from the dead and brought to Heaven. And then we see the archangel raising all the dead Christians on the day Christ returns. In Daniel 12 we see Michael standing up at the second coming.
And to further confirm that Christ Jesus is our Prince in Scripture, see additional passages with this fact illustrated.
For those that seek further confirmation, Matthew Henry also speaks of Daniel chapter 12, and Michael in this way…
No one else but Jesus Christ stands for us. Praise the Lord for His Truth is truth!
So, when did this all start? To find this out we need to go to the last book of the Bible. That’s right, Revelation lets us know what happened in Heaven when Lucifer rebelled against the Father.
The Word reveals that Michael is the leader of the good angels, or more fittingly, the “Captain of the host” of angels. It is also revealed that Satan is the leader of his angels. The dragon in prophecy is defined as Satan himself, you can verify this in verse nine of that same chapter. Did you notice however that Michael fights with "HIS" angels, and the dragon fights with his? Most Christians already understand that Satan leads all his demons, and his demons show him reverence and worship. They do as he commands. Would it not seem logical that the angels Michael leads would show Him reverence and give Him worship as well? After all, He is the “Angel of the Lord” is He not? So, one question comes to mind? Does the Word state it’s ok to worship the Angel of the Lord? First off lets look to Joshua and see what he did in his day.
Not only did Joshua worship this “Captain of the LORD’S host;” but this Captain RECEIVED his worship without a problem. In fact he even told Joshua to remove his shoes because the ground he was standing on was holy. And Joshua did just that! Where have we heard this before?
The Angel of the Lord is taking the shape of a flame of fire all over a bush. Then the passage states it is God that speaks to him out of the midst of that bush. In same manner as the Captain of the LORD’S host of Joshua, the Lord tells him to remove his shoes because the ground he is standing on is holy! The key here is this “Angel of the Lord” or “Captain of the host” is seeking and receiving worship. A regular "created" angel cannot do that without committing a sin! The Word of God would never proclaim that without exposing it as evil! Case in point is found in Revelation…
In both cases, the man of God falls down to worship the angel, but the angel rebukes John and tells him to worship God only! So the Angel of the Lord, or the Captain of the hosts, MUST be the Son of God! If it was not Him, the Word would have said something about it because we see here a created angel rebuked John for doing what was wrong to do! Fact is, all created beings, including angels must worship Jesus.
By the way... Where you aware that the term “Lord of hosts” appears 235 times in the KJV Bible? Where you also aware that it refers to “commander of God’s angelic army” as well? The Captain of the Lord’s host, that Joshua saw was actually Michael from Revelation 12, who is actually Jesus Christ Himself. This is why Joshua was told to bow before Him in worship, as was Moses told at the bush when the Angel of the Lord was present. I repeat the Strong's concordance definition to the name Michael...
What better description for such a name? Michael, who is like God! Truth is, the term, Michael the archangel is defined as "The greatest messenger who is as God." When you break it down. What a wonderful truth this is! For Jesus is in fact the greatest messenger of God to have ever graced our presence.
All Christians agree that God came as a man to mankind. They also know this same man Jesus created the angels before He created man. Why is it they can understand that God would come as the Son of God to introduce God to mankind, but they cannot see that God would come as the Archangel Michael to His created angels? They can see the man Jesus, but not the angel Michael?
In Daniel chapter 3 we see Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being thrown into a furnace of fire because they refused to bow before king Nebuchadnezzar's golden idol. As bible students, most of us are aware that Jesus Himself appears in the midst of the fire to not only protect the three students of Daniel, He is also there as confirmation they were right not to bow before that idol. As Christians this is not something we question. All know that Jesus Himself did in fact appear in that fire. It is recorded thusly...
The king realizes something amazing has just happened. He acknowledges also that he does indeed see a fourth person in the furnace. And then he declares that fourth person to be the Son of God. Now notice this...
King Nebuchadneezar boldly proclaims the fact that the Father had sent His Angel, and His Angel is in fact the Son of God!
If Jesus was never able to stand in the form as the ruler of all angels, why does He declare He has wings? Perhaps the way people define the term is where the problem rests. That being said, I have to ask, does He not own all His creation, including those wings?
INTERESTING FACT: #2
Below is an e-mail I received on 10-26-10...