Who Is the Archangel Michael?

The word ‘Michael’ occurs 15 times in the Bible and refers to people ten times, with the remaining five referring to Michael the archangel: Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9, Rev. 12:7. In the NASB, these five references, Michael is called the ‘chief prince’ in Dan. 10:13, a ‘prince’ in Dan. 10:21, the ‘great prince’ in Dan. 12:1, ‘archangel’ in Jude 9, and simply ‘Michael’ in Rev. 12:7. So, we know that he is an archangel. The word ‘archangel’ only occurs twice in the New Testament, 1 Thess. 4:16 and Jude 9.

We don’t know the precise hierarchical arrangement of angelic majesties and which are more powerful than others. But, an archangel seems to be a chief angel (Dan. 10:13), who is in charge of other angels and appears to have more power and authority. Furthermore, the archangel Michael seems to be a warrior angel since he is referenced as the one doing battle (Dan. 10:13, 21) and is also the one who disputed with the devil over the body of Moses (Jude 9). No other angel in the Bible is referenced as an archangel. The only words spoken by Michael recorded in the Bible are found in Jude 9 when he disputed with the devil over the body of Moses and said, “the Lord rebuke you!”

Michael the archangel and Jesus

Some religions (Seventh-day Adventists and the Jehovah’s Witnesses) refer to Michael, the archangel in the Old Testament, as Jesus. But this is not true. Let me explain why.

Is an elephant the same thing as a bird? No. Can an elephant become a bird? No, it cannot. The elephant has a different nature than a bird. They are not the same thing; one cannot become the other. Likewise, the nature of an angel is not the same thing as the nature of a human being. An angel cannot become a human any more than a human can become an angel – or an elephant can become a bird.

Furthermore, the identity of Michael, the archangel, is tied to his nature as an angel. His personhood is part of his angelic nature, and the properties of his angelic nature are manifested in his personhood and self-identity. If he stops existing as an angel (in order to become the man Jesus), then his identity is lost because Michael would no longer be an angel. If he stops being an angel, he no longer is what he is, and his identity ceases. If it ceases, he no longer exists and could not become something else. Therefore it is not possible for Michael, the archangel, to become a human in the form of Jesus.

But what about Jesus being God?

People sometimes ask that if Michael the archangel cannot become a man, then how can God become a man in Jesus? The answer is simple. Jesus had two natures: divine and human. We call this the hypostatic union. The divine nature did not stop being divine; it did not lose its identity. Instead, it was in union with the human nature in the one person of Jesus. Furthermore, the properties of both natures are ascribed to the single person. This is called the communicatio idiomatum – the communication of the properties. Please see the links to those teachings for more information.

Summary of Michael the archangel
  1. He is a chief angel and is probably in charge of other angels (Dan. 10:13)
  2. He is a warrior angel who battles in the angelic realm (Dan. 10:13, 21; Jude 9)
  3. The only thing he says that is recorded in Scripture is, “the Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 9)

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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