Center for Biblical Theology and Eschatology
Is Jesus the Archangel Michael?
by Tony Warren
A Brief IntroductionMany theologians have puzzled over the question of who the archangel "Michael" really is? Is Michael the Archangel Christ? Is he just a strong angel serving God? Is he the leader of all the angels of heaven? Is he a ruling general over a literal army of God in the Kingdom that battles against rebellious Demons? Or is he the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the chief messenger of God? The fact that an cult-like church group also teaches that Michael is Jesus Christ serves to muddy the theological waters even more. But in truth, their doctrines should be irrelevant as to whether a belief is correct biblically and based on sound hermeneutics. We are all aware that any false gospel that you can think of has some truth in its doctrines. This doesn't mean that we throw out the truth because they might believe it also. If we are going to discern truth, it's going to be from the careful study of the scriptures, not from comparing our beliefs with the beliefs of other church groups. In this study, we will look at this question in the light of the Bible and seek to glean the answers, not from tradition, but from the pages of God's sacred book.
Understanding MichaelThe word Archangel simply means the head or chief messenger. It is taken from the two Greek words, [archo], meaning the first, and [aggelos] meaning messenger, or one who brings tidings or news. The word is also translated as the chief, head or top messenger. The word [aggelos] (messenger) is also translated angel (because an Angel is a messenger from God) to signify one who brings tidings from God.
One of the ways God puts forth spiritual truths is in the names that He assigns in the Bible. From the name Adam, to Israel, to David, to Christ, God assigns names that reveal some deeper spiritual truths. And the name Michael is no exception. If we study it carefully and honestly, it reveals who this messenger is. The word Michael is of Hebrew origin [miykael] and most nearly means "He who is assuredly God". Taken from the root Hebrew words [miy] (who is), [kiy] (assuredly), and ['el] (God). The prepositional prefix [Kiy], has also been rendered as "certainly" and the scripture translated "who is certainly God" or "who is as God." This is totally consistent with everything in scripture that deals with the work of Michael. For Christ, the first or chief Messenger of God, has or will do all the things that are assigned to Michael. And Christ is the Messenger of God that is seen in charge of the army of God. And He assuredly is God, and that is what the title "Michael" that God gives this Messenger signifies.
One of the first objections by some teachers is that the text says that Michael is "one of the Chief Princes."
Their rationale is that God cannot be "one" of the Chief Princes. However there are two schools of thought on this verse, and they both support the doctrine that Christ indeed can be one of the Chief Princes/Rulers.
- "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."1. The reference to Michael as one of the chief rulers or Princes is illustrating Christ's status in the Trinity. In other words, one of the chief rulers or Kings in the Godhead, as demonstrated in verses such as,
This is one of the Chief Princes or rulers in the triune Godhead and He rules on the throne of God.
- "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."
2. The other way that this is understood is that in the Greek this should be rendered first or beginning, rather than one. So that it should read He is the first of the Chief princes. For example, Young's literal Translation reads:
Just as Christ declaring that He is alpha and Omega, the First and the last in Revelation. It signifies He is the first, which was dead and is now alive.
- "And the head of the kingdom of Persia is standing over against me twenty and one days, and lo, Michael, first of the chief heads, hath come to help me..." -YLT
Again pointing to the work on the cross by Christ, that He is God, and the first resurrected from the dead, that in all things He might have preeminence.
- "And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;"
Either way we look at it, whether first of the Chief rulers or one of the chief rulers, both illustrate His rule in the triune Godhead. When Daniel says He is the only one to help, this in itself is a confirmation and illustration that this refers to the Messiah. Only the top or head Messenger (not angel) of God would be the help of the election. Christ is the first Prince who strengthens us and is our help in time of trouble or weakness. This is illustrated again in the following verses of that same chapter.
Daniel's Prince or ruler is Christ. There is no one that holds with him in those things but Michael, His Prince. Not any other man, not any other angel (Messenger), not any army, just this one Prince Michael, translated, who is certainly God. This text would be illogical and unbiblical (since we know there is always a remnant and angels of God) until we understand that this Prince is Christ and no one else could help him. Then of course this is perfectly logical, for Christ is the only one that holds with us all in these things. He is our only help! This is the truth noted in scripture which this messenger has shown Daniel. Michael, He who is assuredly God, would be the only one who would help in this time of need. He couldn't trust in earthly princes, his only help comes from the Lord Jesus.
- "But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince."
There is no prince, either in heaven or in earth, that anyone can put their trust in to help or strengthen us but Christ our Prince. It is He that makes reconciliation with us to God and who went forth to strengthen the Covenant in His blood (Hebrews 9:16-18). The same Word of God that was made flesh that the book of John chapter one, reiterates here that He created heaven and earth and all that is therein. He is not an earthly Prince, but Michael, the help of God's people, the hope of all ages and precisely whom this prophesy speaks of.
- "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
- His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
- Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:
- Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:"
Note also, that this messenger tells Daniel that Michael is "His Prince." Who is the Prince or ruler of Daniel (and indeed all servants of God) but Christ (Acts 51:3)? He is our Prince who alone holdeth with us in these matters. There is none other name (Acts 4:12) from which we can get help to overcome other than "He who is assuredly God." He is the chief ruler in the triune Godhead who is designated as our Prince (ruler), the only help of God's people. Without this Prince standing for us, we don't stand, but fall!
A second objection is best illustrated in some teachers "apparent" misunderstanding of the word "translated" angel. Believe it or not, some theologians actually think because it is translated angel in a Bible version, that it must be an angel and not a Messenger. But this only serves to highlight their reckless handling of scripture and lack of biblical scholarship. Because the precedent for the Lord being identified as an angel [Hebrew malak] or [Greek aggelos] or messenger is unquestionably demonstrated again and again very clearly throughout scripture. Christ is not an angel of the Lord, but He is the [aggelos] or messenger of the Lord. And that's what the words translated angel very literally means. We will now look at the phrase translated "Angel of the LORD" in the light of scripture and glean from it if God indeed uses scripture this way. Our first example is in Genesis 31.
The Angel or Messenger of God is the Lord
Here we see clearly the [malak] (translated angel) of the Lord plainly identifies Himself as God. That is because this is not an angel, but the Messenger of God. So we see clearly that this wording or translating Him as "angel of the Lord" is quite consistent with the Chief Messenger (Archangel) being the Lord God. Again:
- "And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.
- And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.
- I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred."
Who indeed could be the Angel or Messenger [malak] that redeemed him from all evil except the lord Jesus Christ. It could be no other. Therefore, this is not an Angel, but the Messenger of God.
- "And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,
- The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth."
Christ is the redeeming Messenger of God, and a translation of Messenger as "Angel" does not change that fact. There is no other redeemer of men but Christ. Therefore the redeeming angel of God must be the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messenger who is one of three in the triune Godhead. One of the Chief rulers. We can see again in the illustration of Christ in the example of the burning bush and Moses.
- "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,"
Here we see that the angel (messenger) of the Lord in the midst of the burning bush, is identified in verses 4 and 6 as the Lord God himself. Note that scripture says the bush burned but was not consumed. This is a "type" of Christ who went through the fires of Hell for us, and yet was not consumed with the fire of God's wrath, neither did His flesh see corruption. It illustrates He is as a refiners fire wherein we in His body are purified and not consumed by it through Christ. Just as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were is the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:23-27) and not consumed. It's the same principle, but a study for another day. This angel of the Lord in the burning bush is a portrait of Christ. And this picture of Christ as this messenger of the Covenant extends to the New Testament as well.
- "And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
- And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
- And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
- And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
- Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God."
This angel of the Bush identified as I AM (Exodus 3:13-14) is none other than the Lord. And indeed Christ also illustrated that He was this "I AM" as he spoke to the Jews in John chapter 8:
- "And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.
- When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him,"
This is the Messenger of the Lord in the burning bush saying, "say, I AM hath sent me." For He is the Messenger of the Covenant, the unconsumed in the refiners fire, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not unusual that God appears to man as this Messenger of the Lord. This Hebrew word [mal'ak] that is translated angel in the Old Testament books simply means Messenger, just as the New Testament Greek word [aggelos] simply means messenger. For example:
- "Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
- Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM."
This speaks of John the Baptist. But is John the baptist an angel? No, yet here we have that exact same word [aggelos] describing him. For John is a messenger of God, one who is "sent" with the glad tidings of God. That is what the word very literally means. Again in James:
- "For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger [aggelos] before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
- Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
Of course those whom Rahab the harlot sent out were men (messengers), not angels. And again, this is the exact same Greek word [aggelos], meaning messenger. Likewise in the old testament, the same Hebrew word for Angel [mal'ak] is the word translated messenger. Why? Because it "is" the word Messenger just as aggelos is. Not the least of which is the Chief [mal'ak], the Messenger of the Covenant, Jesus Christ Himself.
- "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
- Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, [aggelos] and had sent them out another way?"
This Angel or Messenger of the Covenant is again, the Lord Jesus Christ that is prophesied to come. And so we see it not unusual at all, for these are words mal'ak] and [aggelos] simply mean messenger. Simply because the Spirit beings of heaven are messengers of God also (Angels if you will) doesn't preclude others from being messengers also. Another example is in the story of Hagar:
- "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger [mal'ak] of the Covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts."
- "And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.
- And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
- And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
- And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
- And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?"
This is God inspired scripture illustrating that this Angel (Messenger) of the Lord that spoke to Hagar was the Lord God Himself. Again:
Who will make of Him a great nation but the Lord. He is this Messenger of the Covenant who called to hagar out of heaven. Which again is illustrated in Genesis chapter 22:
- "And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.
- Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation."
It is God who will bless Abraham and multiply his seed to bless all the nations of the earth. He is this [mal'ak] or messenger from the Lord who does these things. The word translated angel simply means messenger. Again, as illustrated in the trek in the wilderness of Sinai in Exodus 14:19 as compared with Exodus 13:21.
- "And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
- And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
- That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
- And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice."
- "And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:"
It was the Lord God who went before them as He is the Messenger or "angel of God" guiding them. The title Messenger is being used inter-changeably here with the Lord, because He is bringing this message.
- "And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:"
They were speaking with the Lord Himself. It was not God the father in all His Glory, because no man hath seen God the father and lived. Even Moses just saw part of Him and lit up like a bright light. No, we see God the father only on this side of the grave through Christ, the Messenger of God to mankind.
- "But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD.
- And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God."
No man has heard the voice of the father or seen His shape at anytime. It is only through the His Messenger the Lord Jesus christ, that He is revealed. The phrase archangel (Chief Messenger) simply portrays Christ the second member of the triune Godhead as the chief envoy, emissary or messenger between the Father (Matthew 11:27) and men. He is the mediator.
- "And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape."
We know it was the Lord God who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt and brought them into the land which "HE" sware unto their fathers. And the very fact that this Angel/Messenger of the Lord says it was His Covenant with them should alert even the novice that this is indeed the Christ. Judges 6:20-23 also gives clear (Judges 6:20-23) illustration of this.
- "And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you."
And so there is not only precedent, there is overwhelming evidence of the Lord being called the Angel/Messenger of God. So no one who is even remotely biblically astute should be surprised that Michael, being Christ, would be called the Chief Angel or Head Messenger of God. It's not unique, it's typical of the way the scriptures would speak of Him. And dealing with all the scriptures honestly (and these are by no means all) we must come to the conclusion that God frequently uses the word "translated" Angel to refer to the Lord. Angel in the literal sense of messenger.
The Passages Dealing with Michael, the Angel of the Lord
So then, knowing all these things about the Lord being spoken of as the Messenger, it is not difficult to understand how Jesus would be spoken of as the Chief Messenger or the Messenger of the Covenant. By itself, this doesn't prove Michael is the Lord Jesus Christ, but taken with the collective information in scripture about the Chief Messenger Michael, in my humble opinion it is practically a given.
Of course, I don't live in a theological vacuum so I'm well aware that seeing Michael as the Chief Messenger Jesus Christ goes against the grain of what many Churches today teach. Nevertheless I am convinced (by scripture) that this is indeed the case. Don't follow me, and don't follow them, follow the scriptures, because in the Spirit that is what will lead you to truth. Take all scripture in its proper context, reconciling all, and you will get a better portrait of why He is called Michael, and how He is the only help. Let's look at each passage where Michael is spoken about, and see just how (or if) it correlates seamlessly.
The Voice of the Archangel
1st Thessalonians 4:16
Here we see clear language where God says it is the Lord that will come with the voice of the Archangel. Now why would God's word declare that Christ would return with the voice of the archangel, and it be someone else's voice? That makes no sense whatsoever. He returns with the voice of the archangel Michael (He who assuredly is God) because it is His voice, Obviously. Christ's is the voice that will raise the dead and that the Church will hear on that day and meet Him in the air. Not an angel's voice, but with His own voice. Because truly, He is the only one who can help. In common language, understanding this in the way we are taught would be like me saying, "I'm going to Florida tomorrow as Lord, and will return the next day shouting with the voice of Michael." That doesn't make much sense unless I am Michael. But I've learned long ago that it is extremely difficult to un-teach something that has been taught and accepted as true, and this doctrine that Michael is an angel is just such a example. It's difficult to unlearn what you have learned. Rightly discerning scripture is work, which I suppose is why so few bother to search certain doctrines out. But to be sure the Lord raises the dead with "His voice," and this is this voice of the Chief Messenger of God.
- "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
- Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
Not will hear the voice of a chief angel, but will hear "His" voice, for he is the Chief Messenger of God called Michael, and it is His voice that we shall hear. This is the Shout, this is the Great noise, this is the voice of the Archangel/Chief Messenger. This is at the last trump of God at the presence of the lord. These things are all spiritual portraits denoting the last trumpet and Christ's second advent.
- "For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
- And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
- Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice,
- And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."
- "And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
- And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.
- And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly."
This is the Glory of God which shall come, this is the voice of the Chief Messenger or archangel, the Lord God himself. When the trumpet shall sound, and Christ comes with this voice, all shall have been fulfilled that was written.
- "For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
- And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:"
The Devil and the body of Moses
Another passage we need to look at carefully that speaks of this archangel is Jude chapter one.
In one passage of scripture we see Michael and His army at war with the Devil and his army, but here we see Him in dispute with the Devil about the body of Moses, relegating rebuke of him to the Lord. Is there a contradiction? No, not at all. Because God is painting spiritual portrait by using this cryptic (Proverbs 25:2) language. There is no angel that has the power to contend with Satan about the law (Jeremiah 31:11) concerning the Covenant and the Old Testament body. Satan was ruling over them, he was the strong one who held the Israelites in bondage with a heavy hand.
- "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."
Satan held the body of Moses in bondage to the law, but as the Messenger of the Covenant Christ came to set them free in justification by grace (Galatians 5:4). The only Messenger who could contend with Satan and ransom the captives from his hand, is Christ. Once Christ contended with and defeated the strength of the law by His death, the people then rule over him "through" Christ. Christ is the one who contended with the Devil about the body of Moses.
- "And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."
The phrase "body of Moses" is signifying the body of the law under which the congregation was burdened, and that "only" The Chief Messenger Christ could be the help. Only Michael, or He who assuredly is God could help the people. Under the New Covenant with God, those burdened under the law are no longer in captivity, for in Christ the law is kept for them perfectly. When God speaks of the law or scriptures, He often uses the phrase or term, "Moses and the Prophets" or "the law of Moses" or the "commandments of Moses." Of course we know that it's not Moses' law or his commands, it is actually God's law. But God uses these terms as a synonym for the law of God under which His people sat ruled by Satan and thus condemned under as the body of Moses, or of law. A few examples:
1st Corinthians 9:9
This language is a synonym for the law of God, the scriptures. For Moses was the Old Testament "type" of Christ, and thus his body would be the congregation under law. Moses was made like unto Christ as a "shadow" prefiguring things to come. We can see this as it speaks of the "angel of God" on the mountain.
- "For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?"
- "This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.
- This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:"
The Prophet who God raised up like unto Moses is Christ, the fulfilment of the Moses "type." And it is He that the people shall hear. Moses is being used here as a portrait of the Covenant of God which man is under, and Christ as the fulfillment of a better Covenant, that Moses was merely a type of. It is only in Christ that we can keep the law and will hear the Lord. Not in the body of Moses (the law) but in the body of Christ (Grace, or not under law).
2nd Corinthians 3:15
Again, God uses the language "when Moses is read" to signify the law or the word of God. Even when Jesus told the parable of Lazarus and the Rich man in Hell, when the rich man said he wanted to go back to warn his brethren about the horrors of Hell, it was said to him, "they have Moses and the Prophets," illustrating that they have the scriptures--let them hear that. But the rich man protested still that his brethren needed more and would believe if one rose from the dead to tell them. To which the Lord put forth the Spiritual truth and illustration...
- "But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart."
God again is signifying here that if one won't listen to the law, they won't listen to Christ who rose from the dead to tell them. That's the deeper spiritual meaning put forth here. And God is using Moses as this synonym for the law of God. Before Jesus was crucified, we see Moses and Elijah come to him (again, a portrait of the law and the prophets), a living witness to the fulfillment of God's word. In Revelation chapter 11, again there are the two witnesses, a picture that the Church bringing the witness of the law and the prophets. These are all spiritual significations. But Christ came to fulfill the law that the Body of Moses (God's people under law) could be set free from the death of the law. As Christ said,
- "And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."
The law of Moses stands, honor thy mother and father, thy shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, etc. It's just that it is fulfilled. Or in other words, kept fully in Christ. In that sense, the law has ended for God's people, and this is the dispute that the Devil (who had rule over them) had with Michael. It is self evident that Satan uses the law to accuse us all (for we are all transgressors of the law), but in Christ's coming, his plans were foiled (Revelation 12:10).
- "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."
The Body of Moses is the congregation of the law which the Old Testament saints as members in this covenant couldn't keep anymore than we can. Satan accuses them (and us) by the law. Christ opened not His mouth (as a lamb is dumb before the slaughter) in rebuke as He went to the cross "because" He stood laden with our sins, as our help, and was therefore guilty in the real sense wherein He had no protest. As Isaiah 53 says, God saw the travail of His soul and was satisfied with the payment. In other words, He paid the price for us, and delivered the body of Moses from the death required by law. We are now free from the condemnation of the law.
- "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
- For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them."
In Jude 9 when Michael (who assuredly is God) the ruling Messenger contends with the Devil, He disputed about the body of Moses because the Devil held them in captivity (Luke 4:18-19). Christ assaults the gates of hades and by the Power of God cast Satan (the great disputer and accuser) out and spoiled (took by right of conquest) us from his kingdom. He set us Free! And God says, if this be true, then the Kingdom of God has come to men. Michael did cast out Satan by the power of God, and so the kingdom of God "had" come. Israel had been delivered. Satan no longer has anything to accuse us with, as the law of Moses is fulfilled in Christ.
This is the dispute Michael/Christ had with Satan about the body of Moses, the Israel of God. He went to the cross willingly laden with their sins and opened not His mouth. He didn't bring against him a railing accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke thee." ..why? Because He laden with man's sins was indeed guilty, numbered with the transgressors for our sake. He willingly went to the cross to atone for the transgressions of the law which we have broken. He couldn't say, "wrong Satan, the law doesn't condemn," because it did and He was under the wrath of God for sin in our stead. Rather than accuse as Satan does, He assigned Satan's judgment (for every unrighteous thought is judged) unto the Father, and went as a lamb to the slaughter to pay the price for the sin that He had become, for us.
- "And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
- And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.
- But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
- Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house."
2nd Corinthians 5:21
And being guilty with our sin, He suffered the wrath of God. He brought not accusation because though He was without sin, yet He carried our sins to the cross with him, thus Satan's judgment would not be argued by the guilty, but by the risen Christ, in Righteousness.
- "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
Another of the chief complaints about Michael being Christ by some theologians is that they claim the fact that Michael says, "The Lord rebuke thee", means that he is not the Lord. But again, this shows their lack of careful study on the matter, as this event is also pictured in the book of Zechariah.
You will note as the Devil stood at the right hand of Christ to contend with Him, "The Lord" said to Satan, "The Lord" rebuke thee! And so we see that this argument goes right out the window because we have Joshua (or Jesus) clearly being called the Lord and then clearly saying, The Lord rebuke thee. Again, instances of the three persons of the triune Godhead revealed. In both Jude 9 and Zechariah chapter 3 this is Jesus, the [malak] or [aggelos] (Messenger) of the LORD who is resisted by Satan. He is Michael, the archangel, contending with Satan for legal rights to the body of Moses. But Michael settled that, as our help, by being our substitute or stand-in.
- "And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
- And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?"
So burdened was He with our sins that great drops of blood poured off him in the Garden of Gethsemane. Man in this life will never know the agony that Christ suffered for the sins of His people. He took on the likeness of man that He could pay the wages of Sin required by the law, in the flesh of man. To suffer death so that we could not be accused. And once the price was paid, the accuser Satan was cast out of the Kingdom of God, no longer able to accuse and hold death over our heads because we couldn't keep the law. No longer is the body of Moses held in bondage because of the accuser, it is now free, dead to sin, raised to new life in Christ. Because He took in Him the sins, the Promise to Abraham concerning his children could be fulfilled as they are set free. This also delineated and confirmed in such verses as Hebrews chapter 2:
- "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
- But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
This is the Body of Moses. The old testament body, the old testament temple, the old testament sacrifices, the old Testament law, etc., are all fulfilled or completed in Christ. The law has no more power over the body of Moses because of what Christ did. This beautifully illustrated in Romans chapter seven.
- "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
- And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
- For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham."
By the language of being married to "another," this illustrates that God's people were betrothed to the body of the law before. That was our husband, that was the body of Moses that Christ disputed with Satan about. As those verses above indicate, there was only one way for us to be loosed from this husband, and that was the same way any woman can be loosed from her husband. If he be dead, then is she free.
- "Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
- For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
- So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
- Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
- For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
- But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter."
In other words, this word of truth is signifying that when unsaved we are married to the law of God. That is to say, even as the husband is to have dominion over the wife where she is to be in subjection to him (1st Peter 3:1-5), so the law has dominion over the unsaved where they likewise are subject to the law. And all are condemned by this law. But as the word says, even as a human marriage is broken by death so that the woman is free from the law of her husband, so we are dead unto the law of Moses, free that the law has no more dominion over us. We can then legitimately (legally) become the bride of Christ "only" because we are no longer married to the body of Moses (the Law).
Those verses illustrate that we are loosed from that body of Moses or from old testament law in New Testament Grace, and are married to the law of Christ. Michael (He who assuredly is God) has prevailed and conquered Satan and his army, hence the "dispute" about the body of Moses was won by Christ at the cross.
The Time when Michael shall Stand up
The next verse we will look at that shows Michael this chief Messenger is found in Daniel chapter twelve. There we read:
This again is in reference to Christ's second advent as it says again the dead shall rise and those who are written in the book shall be delivered. Some are raised to everlasting life and some are raised to everlasting contempt. This time of trouble correlates to the Great tribulation period which Christ spoke about in matthew chapter 24, saying in verses 29 to 31 that immediately after this tribulation, Christ would return on the clouds of Glory with the trump of God. This is the time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time, when the people shall be delivered. And so we see this is all going along consistently with the second coming of the Lord. It also support our contention that this Messenger Michael is the Christ.
- "And at that time shall Michael stand up, The Great Prince which standeth 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.
- And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."
Also note it says "The Great Prince". Who would be described as the Great Prince which stands up for the people when the dead are risen, but Christ? No one else qualifies as the great Prince to Help in this time of trouble and subsequent raising of the dead to life and judgment. Indeed Christ is illustrated as this Great Prince throughout scripture:
This is the only Great Prince who could stand for the people at this time. And it is precisely because this great Prince stands for "His People" that they shall never fall, and that they have Peace with God, and that they are not judged with death as the unsaved are. This is the Great Prince Michael, who assuredly is God. When the Apostle Paul is speaking about the rejection of Christ by Israel, we read:
- "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace".
In this Prince only, do we stand in time of trouble and only in Him do we find our help. Because He stands, we stand. Because He is our strength, deliverer and Saviour.
- "But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;
- And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses."
This is the great Prince or ruler who is most certainly God, and standeth for the People. That is what the Title Michael stands for. And God declares that, besides Him, there is no Saviour (Isaiah 43:11, Isaiah 45:21). This is the great Prince and Savior who loves us and who stands for God's people.
- "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
- Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."
Again, the Great Prince, the Prince of all the Kings of the Earth. Because He stands for us, we stand in righteousness, in Him. No better illustrated than what we find in Ephesians chapter six:
- "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,"
Christ is this Robe of righteousness we wear, this sword which is His Holy word, this armour which is the protection of God. We Stand in Michael only, because He stands for the people. He is our defense, and our strength, and by Him are all raised unto everlasting life, and the unsaved to everlasting contempt. We are washed in His blood that in God's eyes, we are righteous. And it is only by this great Prince who assuredly is God, that we can stand before God, without condemnation on that great day of His coming.
- "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
- "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
- Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
- Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;"
Michael and the War in Heaven
This is the passage that some deem most controversial about Michael. Some Theologians see this as an actual war that took place literally in heaven. This despite the fact that the whole chapter is so obviously using cryptic and symbolic terms and figurative language, that we would have to ignore that very context in order to come to this conclusion. Even without trying we can note the unmistakable inconsistencies of such an interpretation. For example, we see this pregnant woman situated in this very same heaven. Is this a literal pregnant woman floating around in this (alleged) literal heaven? Immediately we know that this is ludicrous. So then how do we make a woman who is clearly not literally floating in a literal heaven symbolic, and then in the next verses take that same heaven she was seen in and make it a literal heaven with literal warfare? It bridges on the absurd. Further, we read unambiguously that the stars were cast from this (alleged) literal heaven by the tail of this Dragon. And remember, the Dragon is in that same heaven and is accosting the pregnant woman. Literal? Of course not! And yet some theologians totally context and content and make the claim that it is a literal war in literal heaven by literal angels led by a Chief angel named Michael. I'm sorry to say, this is sloppy exegesis of the highest order. John is seeing this heaven in the Spirit as a symbolic picture (vision) of the Kingdom of God and how there was a spiritual warfare as Christ (Michael) came to Israel and cast the accuser and his messengers out. Remember what we saw earlier about His disputing with the Devil about the body of Moses? This is all intimately related in this spiritual establishment of the Kingdom (Matthew 12:28-29). Christ came to cast the accuser out that the Kingdom of Heaven might be established in His righteousness. When we see the symbolism in Revelation chapter twelve of Michael and His messengers fighting against the Satan and his messengers, it is a symbolic portrait of Christ, the Head or chief Messenger of the Covenant going forth in spiritual warfare against Satan and those He rules over. They are the two rulers of good and evil that have been at enmity against each other from the very beginning (Genesis 3:15). Christ against Satan, Michael against the Dragon, in order to help the woman deceived of the Serpent. To be sure, there is no Chief Messenger or angel who could defeat Satan and kick him out of the kingdom of heaven for the election except Christ. Let's look at the pertinent scriptures.
The symbolism of Satan as the Serpent who bruised Christ's heel is well established as taking place at the cross. So this warfare of Michael against him was a spiritual warfare, not one within literal heaven. When Revelation chapter twelve speaks of this woman "travailing in birth", it is talking about the pains that the Lord's congregation Israel was going through at the time of His coming. Israel was in a state of trouble. Her paths were crooked, and the prophets and priests were gone out of the way so that an apostasy had overcome the body. The Holy scripture says the Kingdom of heaven suffered violence until John, and the violent had taken it by force (Matthew 11:12-13). The Zeal of the Lord's house had consumed it as the Scribes and Priests had turned it into a den of thieves or robbers of the Lord. The congregation was in travail, and that is the imagery of this pregnant woman in heaven and Satan there accosting and accusing. This was a time of trouble and Israel is pictured as a woman in the pains of the birth of her Deliverer (Jeremiah 4:31). This is all the glorious picture of the Kingdom of God and how it was full of spiritual murderers, and how it would come to be loosed from the grip of death that the accuser had over it.
- "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
- And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
- and the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."
When the prophet Isaiah prophesies of this and says comfort Jerusalem because her warfare was over (Isaiah 40:1-3), this is the warfare in the kingdom that was in view. It didn't speak of a physical warfare with swords and staves anymore than Revelation chapter twelve did. It spoke of a warfare that was infinitely more important. We see this victory pictured gloriously as Jesus sends His seventy witnesses of the gospel out two by two, and they returned praising God saying Satan couldn't harm them, (ye shall take up serpents -mark 16) and even the spirits were subject to them. Christ's Messengers (not angels) had this Power, only because of Christ. Their battle gear was the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. That was what they went to war with Christ with, and their victory was assured in the death and resurrection of Christ. Listen and HEAR what Jesus tells His messengers as He sends them out two by two.
Jesus is telling the two witnesses, if they fight you, they are fighting Me, and if they fight Me, they fight against God. In other words, that they represent God and any enmity against Christ's messengers, is then enmity against God. And continuing we read in verse 17:
- "He that heareth you heareth Me; and he that despiseth you despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent Me."
You see, the portrait is that neither Satan nor his messengers have any power to stand against them. It was by the Power of Christ that the devils were subject to these Messengers of the Lord. And that because Michael was assuredly God, and His power that which cannot be withstood. The seventy witnesses that Christ sent out two by two rejoiced at this. And note "carefully" in verse eighteen Christ's response to their Joy over their victory over devils..
- "And the 70 returned again with joy, saying, LORD, even the DEVILS are SUBJECT unto us through THY name."
And this falling is exactly what the verses of Revelation chapter twelve is referring to when it says Satan was then cast out. This signifies that Satan had no more power over the army of God, and the kingdom of Heaven would go forth to the world because of it. That accuser Satan was cast out of it, and the bondage wherewith he held men would be broken by the Cross. This episode was a picture of what the finished work of Christ would do. It would destroy or bring down Satan (Hebrews 2:14-15), so that the saints could be free from his bondage whereby death was held over them. His accusations against the body would now ring hollow as Christ's death gave power/strength to the Covenant of grace. Christ would now build His Church, and the gates of Hell would not prevail against its onslaught. Satan has been defeated, cast out, and bound that the Lord's army could go forth as ambassadors of freedom of prisoners in building His Church. The same portrait of Joy as the woman experienced in the deliverance God talked about. A Victory by the blood of the lamb (Revelation 12:11). The Kingdom suffered violence and warfare, but Christ would bring peace.
- "And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from Heaven."
The power of Christ causes His messengers to overcome the evil one by the blood of the lamb (Revelation 12:11), as it is kingdom against kingdom and only one can prevail. Satan as the accuser of the brethren, held them in bondage and the fear of death, but Christ delivered them from that power and rule by paying the wages of sin for them. Which is His purpose and the reason for His advent.
- "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death, He might destroy him that hath the power of death, that is the devil,
- and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."
Christ Conquered the Dragon and saw him as lightning fall from the kingdom of heaven. When His witnesses spoke of their power over the enemy, Christ told the seventy that He saw Satan as lightning (God's judgment) fall from heaven. He saw the victory of the cross that make the saints more than conquerors in this spiritual warfare. Christ cast out the Serpent and keeps the messengers from harm by scorpions and dragon and all power of the enemy.
- "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."
Some people seem to forget the evident symbolism of Revelation, and they get confused with looking at impossible interpretations. Christ gave us the power to overcome Satan so that NOTHING he could do can harm us. He can persecute us, he can have us stoned to death or even fed to the Lions, but ultimately, he has lost power in the Kingdom because his accusations of sin by the law are meaningless through the work of Christ. He is bound and cannot harm us in any way, most certainly not by false Gospel. Again:
There are some misguided souls who take these things literally and choose to go out into the desert and physically handle snakes. But that's not what's in view. When Mark chapter 16 says we can pick up serpents and not be harmed, and when this verse says we can tred on serpents and scorpions and not be hurt, what is in view as the serpent and scorpion is Satan. He is the Serpent that cannot harm us, not a physical snake in the grass. He is the scorpion whose tail sting cannot harm us. These are symbolic word pictures, and is in no way putting forth a promise of literal immunity from snakes or scorpions!
- "And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as Lightning fall from heaven.
- Behold I give you power to tred on SERPENTS and SCORPIONS, and over all power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
How did the messengers of Michael in Heaven overcome Satan and his messengers? We should not ask man, but get our answer DIRECTLY from the scriptures. And scriptures tell us plainly.
The accuser of the brethren is sin, and Satan is the essence, the embodiment and ruler of sin. At the cross Michael (Christ) cast down that accuser by purging us from sin, and destroying (bringing down) Satan who held this fear of death over us (Hebrews 2:14-15). We read, Now has come salvation and strength. That didn't happen because of a battle between angels, but because of the victory Christ secured at the Cross. And we are further told "exactly" how Michael's messengers got the victory:
- "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, now is come Salvation and strength, and the Kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of the brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."
The Messengers of Michael overcame Satan how? By physically attacking them alongside a Dragon and a woman floating in heaven? By a Dragon casting down physical stars with his tail? God forbid. They got the victory to overcome the Dragon and His messengers by the blood of Christ and by the word of their testimony. Were they testifying in heaven? No, their testimony is in earth. ..Even unto death! Can angels die? If we study these scriptures carefully we will see that it refers symbolically to Christ defeating Satan and his messengers, and how they all were cast out of the kingdom, and the Kingdom given to another (Matthew 8:10-12). Those who Jesus said were of their father the Devil, are the messengers of the Dragon. They are those whom Christ said were the children of the Kingdom that would be cast out. They are those who fought with Satan and against Michael. They are the unsaved messengers of Israel (the Kingdom). They are the fallen messengers blinded in part (except for the remnant). This is the spiritual battle that was fought at the cross. Satan fought, lost, and his house was spoiled. He "NO LONGER" can accuse the brethren because they are no longer of his household and under the bondage of sin. Christ cast Satan out of the Kingdom of God and made it so His messengers could be freed from captivity there. Consider wisely...
- "And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death."
The Kingdom of God did come unto them, and so consequently, Christ "did" cast out devils by the Spirit of God. He was the one who spoiled (took by right of conquest) the possessions of Satan. And those possessions were you and I who the accuser Satan held in bondage to sin. But note that Jesus tells us, "FIRST" Satan had to be bound. In other words, Satan was bound at the cross in order that Christ could spoil his house. By the cross are Devils cast out and the accuser can no longer make accusation of us because of sin. Now is salvation and the kingdom of our God come, because the accuser has been cast out. Sin cannot condemn us anymore. No serpent can hold us anymore, nor hurt us anymore. We overcame him by the blood of the lamb. That is the marvelous symbolism here in verse eleven. When we look at this biblically and logically, we know of only one who can cast Satan out of the Kingdom of heaven. Michael, our Prince who alone stands for the people!
- "But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you,
- or else how can one enter into a strong man's house and spoil his goods, except he first Bind the strong man? and then He will spoil his goods."
From all that we have seen in scripture from this study, Michael is Christ. The Lord Jesus is the only one who qualifies to be Michael--who assuredly is God, the only one who helps the Lord's people. He is the only Chief Messenger of God who could do all these things. The only one who could contend with Satan and cast down the accuser that we are no longer in fear of death. The only one who could make sin and the law have no more power over us. The Archangel Michael is the Chief Ruler of the Lord's people, but He is not a created being. He is not an Arch-Angel, but an Arch-Messenger of the Lord has appeared time and again in the Old Testament to illustrate that He was assuredly God. Michael, the Great Prince that stands up, and standeth for the children of Daniel's people:
Copyright ©1999 Tony Warren
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