Center for Biblical Theology and Eschatology

Who is the Archangel Michael?

by Tony Warren

A Brief Introduction
Who is the Archangel Michael? Many theologians have puzzled over the question of the enigmatic Archangel without resolution. Is he the supreme ruler of all the angels of heaven? Is he a ruling general over the armies of God's Kingdom? Is he the primary angel assigned to battle against other rebellious angels? Or, is he the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the [chief messenger] of the Kingdom? Moreover, the fact that a cult-like church group teaches that Michael is Jesus Christ only serves to muddy the theological waters even more. This is because when many Christians hear that the Bible teaches that Michael is Christ, they then conflate this with the cult group's false false teaching that Christ is an angel. This is incorrect, as Christ is God, Michael represents Christ (not an angel). But in truth, their doctrines should be irrelevant to whether your belief is correct biblically or based upon 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 such groups might believe some aspects of the truth. If we are going to discern truth concerning Michael, the archangel, 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 of Michael in the light of the Bible and seek to glean the answers, not from personal opinion, tradition or consensus, but from the pages of God's sacred book.

Understanding Michael

    The word Archangel simply means the head or chief messenger. It is taken from the two Greek words, [archo], meaning the first, and by extension top, chief or head--and [aggelos] meaning messenger, the one who brings tidings or news. The translation is the chief or top messenger. So "archangel" simply means "highest or greatest messenger." The word [aggelos] (meaning messenger) is also sometimes translated angel, simply because an Angel is a messenger from God.

As we all know, one of the ways God puts forth spiritual truths is in the names that He has assigned in the Bible. From the name Adam, Abram, Israel and David, to Christ, God assigns names that reveal some deeper spiritual truths concerning them. The name Michael is no exception. If we study it carefully and honestly, it gives us great insight to who this top messenger is. It's 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 understood to mean "certainly" and the scripture translated "who is certainly God" or "who is as God." This meaning is totally consistent with everything in scripture that deals with the work of the messenger Michael. For Christ, the first or chief Messenger of God, has or will do all the things that are assigned to Michael. Indeed, Christ is the Messenger of God that is seen in charge of the army of God. He assuredly is God, and that is what the title that God gave His Messenger "Michael" signifies.

Let's look at some of the argument put forth in opposition to this. One of the first objections by some Christian teachers is that the text says that Michael is "one of the Chief Princes."

Daniel 10:13

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.
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,

    Acts 5:31

  • "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."

God the Father also says that there is no savior but Him. A contradiction? No, because there is one God, but He is revealed in three. Christ is one of the Chief Princes (rulers) in the triune Godhead and He rules with God the father and God the Holy Spirit.

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:

    Daniel 10:13

  • "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

How is this different from Christ declaring in Revelation that He is alpha and Omega, the First and the last. How is His being revealed as the Prince of Princes (Daniel 8:25) any different from Him being revealed as the number one, top or chief Prince, or as the first of the Princes, or as the chief Messenger? It all simply points to the fact of Christ being the leader of His people, the king of kings, ruler of rulers, the top or first Messenger.

    Revelation 2:8

  • "And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;"

Again pointing to the work on the cross by Christ, that He is God the alpha and Omega nd the first resurrected from the dead, that in all things He might have preeminence.

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 Michael is the only one to help, this in itself is a confirmation and illustration that this refers to the Messiah. No one else is qualified. Only the top or head Messenger (not arch angel) of God could 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 10:21

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 physical army, just this one Prince and head messenger Michael. Michael, which translated means "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.

Psalms 146:3-6

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.

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 certainly God." He is the chief ruler in the triune Godhead and who is designated as our Prince (ruler), the only help of God's people. Without this Prince standing for us, we don't stand at all.

The Aggelos or Messenger of God is the Lord

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. 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] messenger is unquestionably demonstrated again and again very clearly throughout scripture. Nevertheless, Christ is not an angel of the Lord, but He is the [aggelos] or messenger of the Lord. And that's what the word 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 this term to identify the Lord. Our first example is in Genesis 31.

Genesis 31:11-13

Here we see clearly the [malak] (translated angel) of the Lord plainly identifies Himself as God. That is because this is not an angel at all, but Christ the Messenger of God. Thus we see clearly that this language speaking of Him as "angel of God" is actually Messenger, and is quite consistent with the Chief Messenger (Archangel) being the Lord God. Again:

Genesis 48:15-16

This is not an angel, but the Messenger Jesus Christ [malak] that redeemed him from all evil. It could be no other. Therefore, this translation of Him as an Angel is incorrect, It is the Messenger of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, that redeems Israel.

Luke 1:68

Christ is the redeeming Messenger of God, and a translation of this word 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 Messenger of the Covenant, the Lord Jesus Christ. The same Messenger that is one of three in the triune Godhead. One of those Chief rulers or princes. Again, we see this illustrated of Christ in the example of the burning bush and Moses.

Exodus 3:2-6

Here we see that the angel (rather, messenger) of the Lord in the midst of the burning bush, nd is identified in verses 4 and 6 as the Lord God himself. Note that scripture says the bush burned but was not consumed. This imagery is a "type" of Christ who went through the fires of Hell for us, and yet was not consumed by the fire of God's wrath on our behalf, neither in death did His flesh see corruption. It illustrates He is as a refiners fire wherein our sins, laiden in His body, are purified that we are not consumed by them 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 the Lord. This picture of Christ as this Messenger of the Covenant extends to the New Testament as well.

Acts 7:30

This Messenger of the Bush is identified as I AM (Exodus 3:13-14), is none other than the Lord Jesus. And indeed Christ also illustrated that He was this "I AM" as he spoke to the Jews in John chapter 8:

John 8:57-58

This was the Messenger of the Lord in the burning bush declaring, "say, 'I AM' hath sent me." For He is the first or chief Messenger of the Covenant, the only one that could be unconsumed in the refiners fire. 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 and literally means Messenger, just as the New Testament Greek word [aggelos] simply means messenger. For example:

Matthew 11:10-11

This speaks of John the Baptist. But is John the Baptist an angel? No, and yet here we have that exact same word [aggelos] describing him because John was a messenger of God. John was one who was "sent" with the glad tidings of God. That is what the word very literally means. Consider what we read in the book of James:

James 2:24-25

Of course those whom Rahab the harlot sent out were men (messengers), not angels. This is the exact same Greek word [aggelos], meaning exactly what he was, a 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 the word messenger. And the Chief [mal'ak] or Messenger of the Covenant is Jesus Christ Himself. Archangel simply means chief-messenger, and Michael means 'who is certainly God.'

Malachi 3:1

This aggelos or Messenger of the Covenant is once again a prophesy of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. So we see it not unusual, nor a forced understanding at all, because these 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. We find another example in the story of Hagar:

Genesis 16:9-13

This is God inspired scripture illustrating that this Angel/Messenger of the Lord that spoke to Hagar, was the Lord God Himself. Again:

Genesis 21:17-18

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:

Genesis 22:15-18

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 being messenger, even as illustrated in the trek in the wilderness of Sinai in Exodus 14:19, as compared with Exodus 13:21.

Exodus 14:19

Exodus 13:21

It was the Lord God who went before them, as He is the Messenger (or what has been translated angel) of God guiding them. The title Messenger is being used inter-changeably here with the Lord, because He was this messenger.

Judges 13:21-22

They were speaking with the Lord Himself who came to bring them this message. 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 His glory and he was lit up like a bright light. On this side of the grave Mankind only sees God the father through His Messengers, the Son and Holy Spirit.

John 5:37

No man has heard the voice of the father or seen His shape at any time, it is only through the Spirit of 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 facilitater, the intercessor, the mediator between God the father and man.

Judges 2:1

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 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.

John 5:26-29

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.

Exodus 19:16-18

Hebrews 12:18-19 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.

The Devil and the body of Moses

Another passage we need to look at carefully that speaks of this archangel is Jude chapter one.

Jude 1:9

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.

Acts 13:39

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.

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.

Acts 7:37-38

The Prophet who God raised up like unto Moses, was Christ, the fulfilment of the Moses "type." It is Christ that the prophecy declares the people would hear. Moses is being used here as a portrait of the Covenant of works that man is under, and Christ as the fulfillment and satisfaction of the law through a better Covenant. It is only in Christ Jesus that we can keep the law perfectly, and will hear the word of 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 law or 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:

Luke 16:31

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. Again, before Jesus was crucified, we see Moses and Elijah come to him (a portrait of the law and the prophets), a living witness to the fulfillment of God's word. Likewise, 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 death that the law required. As Christ also testified:

Matthew 5:17

The law of Moses stands for mankind. They are still required by law to honor thy mother and father, the law thou shalt not kill is still in effect, the law thou shalt not steal is as valid today as it was 2000 years ago, etc., etc. It's not done away with, it is fulfilled and 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 the Messenger 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).

Romans 10:4-5

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 people today) by the law. Christ opened not His mouth (as a lamb is dumb before the slaughter) in rebuke of Satan as He went to the cross "because" He was our help and stood laden with our sins, and was therefore guilty in the real sense wherein He had no protest. As Isaiah 53 so clearly declares, God saw the travail of His soul and was satisfied with the payment. The law declares that the wages of sin is death, and Christ fulfilled (satisfied) that requirement. In other words, He paid the price for us, and delivered the body of Moses from the death required by law. Thus all those redeemed by Christ are now free from the condemnation of the law.

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 from bondage to the law. And God says, if this be true, then the Kingdom of God has come to men. Of course, Michael, the chief Messenger of the Covenant did cast out Satan by the power of God, and so the kingdom of God "had" indeed come (Luke 11:20). With the coming of Christ, Satan has been bound and Israel delivered where he no longer has anything to accuse God's chosen people with, as the law of Moses is fulfilled in Him.

Matthew 12:26-29

This is the dispute Michael had with the accuser Satan about the body of Moses, the Israel of God. Satan by right held the people in bondage by law, and He disputed with Christ about the method of His redemption of them. Yet Christ went to the cross willingly, laden with all their sins whereby the law condemned them, and He never opened His mouth in protest against the law. He didn't bring against him a railing accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke thee." ..why? Because He knew man was indeed guilty by the law, so laden with man's sins He was numbered with the transgressors for their sake. When the requirement of the law was satisfied (Isaiah 53:11) in His death, God would rebuke Satan. For He couldn't say, "wrong Satan, the law doesn't condemn them," because it did, and He had to first come under the wrath of God to make atonement. Rather than unrighteously 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.

2nd Corinthians 5:21

And being found guilty with our sin, He suffered the wrath of God and as in a refiner's fire, we were purified and made clean. Michael brought not accusation because though He was without sin, yet He carried our sins to the cross in Himself, thus Satan's judgment could not be argued by the guilty, but by the risen Christ, in Righteousness.

Another of the chief complaints about Michael being Christ by some Theologians is the fact that Michael says, "The Lord rebuke thee." Many have theorized that this means that He is not the Lord. But again, this shows a lack of careful study on the matter, as this event is also pictured in the book of Zechariah.

Zechariah 3:1-3

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 in the exact same context as Michael saying the same thing. Another instances of the three persons of the triune Godhead revealed in that passage. 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 (Top Messenger), contending with Satan for legal rights to the body of Moses. Michael settled that contention as the Lord our help, by being our substitute or stand-in.

Isaiah 53:4-5

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. Not Physical agony, because many good men have suffered crucifixion and died valiantly. But the agony of suffering the wrath of God for punishment of our sins. He took on the likeness of man, in the flesh of man, that He could in that body pay the wages of all their sins required by the law. To suffer death so that we could not be accused. Once the price was paid, the accuser Satan was cast out of the Kingdom of God, no longer able to accuse or 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 set free in the body of Christ. In His death we are dead to sin, and resurrected or raised up to new life in Christ. Thus the promise to Abraham concerning his children could be fulfilled as their captivity is freed that they may enter the true promised land. This also delineated and confirmed in such verses as Hebrews chapter 2:

Hebrews 2:14-16

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 to accuse the body of Moses because of what Christ did. This great comfort is also beautifully illustrated in Romans chapter seven.

Romans 7:1-6

By the language of being married to "another," it is illustrated 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.

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. The moniker Michael, who assuredly is God, in Revelation chapter 12 illustrates He prevailed through conquering 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 as this chief Messenger, is in Daniel chapter twelve. There we read:

Daniel 12:1

This is in reference to Christ's second advent as it talks of the dead rising and those who are written in the book being delivered. Some of the dead 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 (Matthew 24:29-31) 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 none other than Christ.

Also note it says "The Great Prince". Who would be described as the Great Prince who stands up for the people of God when the dead are risen, but Christ? No one else qualifies as the Great Prince or ruler to Help in this time of trouble, and subsequent raising of the dead to life in the day of judgment. Indeed Christ is illustrated as this Great Prince throughout scripture:

Isaiah 9:6

This is the only Great Prince who could stand up for the people at this time. And it is precisely because this great Prince stands for "His People" that they can never fall, and how they have Peace with God, and that they are not judged with death as the unsaved are. This is the Great Prince Michael, who certainly is God. When the Apostle Paul is speaking about the rejection of Christ by Israel, under inspiration of God he declares:

Acts 3:14-15

In this Great Prince only, do we stand in time of trouble, and only in this great Prince do we find our help. Because He stands, we will stand. Because He is our justifier, strength, deliverer and Saviour.

Acts 5:30-31

This is the Great Prince who is most certainly God, and who stands for the People of God. That is what the title Michael stands for. And God declares that, besides This God, there is no Savior (Isaiah 43:11,   Isaiah 45:21).

Revelation 1:5

Again, the Great Prince, the Prince of all the Kings of the earth. Because He stands for us, we stand in righteousness for Him. No better is this illustrated than what we find in Ephesians chapter six:

Ephesians 6:11-14

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 of God. He is our defense, and our strength, and by Him are all God's people delivered to be raised to 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 Michael, who assuredly is God, that we "can" stand before God, without condemnation on that great day of His coming.

Michael and the War in Heaven

The passage in Revelation 12 is the one that some deem most controversial about Michael. There are Theologians who 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, symbolic imagery and figurative language. The fact is, they have to completely ignore that very clear context in order to come to this conclusion. Without even trying we can see 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 an absurd exegesis. 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 there. Literal? Of course not! And yet some theologians totally ignore not only the context, but the content and make the claim that it is a literal war in literal heaven by literal angels led by the chief of the angels, Michael. I'm sorry to say, this is a very sloppy exegesis of the highest order. In reality, John is seeing this revelation of 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 (the Dragon or Satan) 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 how the Kingdom (Matthew 12:28-29) of God had come. Christ came to cast the accuser out the Kingdom of Heaven that salvation might be established as He is the Messenger of the Covenant (Malachi 3:1). 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 chief Messenger of the Covenant going forth in spiritual warfare against Satan and those He rules over. Christ and Satan are the two spiritual rulers of good and evil that have been at enmity against each other from the very beginning (Genesis 3:15), and it is Christ who stands for the woman. Christ against Satan, Michael against the Dragon, in order to help the woman deceived from that Serpent. To be sure, there is no Chief Messenger or arch-angel who could defeat Satan and kick him out of the kingdom of heaven for the sake of salvation (Revelation 12:10), except Christ. Let's look at the pertinent scriptures.

Revelation 12:7-9

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 where God dwells. 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 distress and trouble. Her paths were crooked, and the prophets and priests were gone out of the way so that an anguish and apostasy had come over her. This is symbolized as the discomfort, pain and anguish of travail. 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 unrighteous zeal of the Lord's house had brought agony in its fierceness against righteousness as the Scribes and Priests had turned it into a den of thieves or robbers. In symbolic terms, the congregation was in pain or travail, and that is the imagery we see of this pregnant woman in the kingdom of heaven where Satan s there accosting and accusing in Revelation 12. This was a time of trouble and Israel and is pictured as a woman in pain waiting to be delivered of her Savior (Jeremiah 4:31). This is all a glorious portrait of the Kingdom of God and how it was full of hatred and spiritual murderers, and how the woman would come to be loosed from the grip of death that the accuser had over her.

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 the prophet had in view. It didn't speak of a physical warfare with swords and staves anymore than Revelation chapter twelve is. It spoke of a warfare that was infinitely more important than the fable of angels defiling God's Holy Heaven. We see this victory pictured gloriously as Christ sends His seventy out to witnesses of the gospel 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. The Messengers (not angels) of our Lord had this power over the enemy only because of the chief Messenger Michael, the Christ. Their battle gear was the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. That was what they went to war led by Christ, and the message is that their victory is assured in Christ. Listen and hear what Jesus tells His messengers as He sends them out two by two.

    Luke 10:16

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, He is demonstrating that as messengers, they represent God and any enmity against Christ's messengers, is enmity against God. Continuing in that vein, we read in verse 17:

    Luke 10:17

You see, the portrait is that neither Satan nor his messengers have any power to stand against them, because they stand as messengers of God. It was by the Power of Christ that the devils were subject to these Messengers of the Lord. This is because Michael their head, was assuredly God, and His power is that which cannot be withstood. The seventy witnesses that Christ sent out two by two rejoiced at this, even as the heavens rejoiced in Revelation 12 (Revelation 12:12) when Satan was cast out. And note "carefully" in verse eighteen Christ's response to their rejoicing at their victory over devils..

    Luke 10:18

This falling from heaven is exactly what the verses of Revelation chapter twelve is referring to when it says Satan was then cast out and the heavens rejoiced. This signifies that Satan had no more power over the army of God, and the kingdom of Heaven would go forth to the nations of the whole world because of it. That accuser Satan was cast out that the bondage wherewith he held men would be broken by the power of Christ's cross. This episode was a preview 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 wherein death was held over them. His accusations of law 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 the freedom of prisoners in this building of His Church. The same portrait of joy as the woman experienced in the deliverance that God talked about. A victory by angels fighting in Paradise, but by the blood of the lamb (Revelation 12:11). The Kingdom suffered violence and warfare, but Christ brought a cessation of warfare by being the Prince of Peace.

Hebrews 2:14-15

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 used the law as the accuser of the brethren, and he held them in bondage and the fear of death. Christ came and delivered them from that power and rule by paying the wages of sin for them. Which is His whole purpose and reason for His advent.

Acts 26:18

Christ Conquered the Dragon and thus saw him as lightning fall from the kingdom of heaven. When His witnesses spoke of receiving 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 makes the saints more than conquerors in this spiritual warfare. Christ cast out the Serpent and keeps the messengers from harm of scorpions and dragons and all power of the spiritual enemy.

Some people seem to overlook the very evident symbolism of Revelation, and they get confused with accepting impossible interpretations by men. Christ gave us the power to overcome Satan so that NOTHING he could do can do us harm. Satan can persecute us, he can have us stoned to death or even feed us to the Lions, but ultimately, he has lost power in the Kingdom because his accusations of sin by the law are meaningless through the blood work of Christ. He was bound and cannot harm us in any way, most certainly not by false Gospel, so that the church could be built. Again:

Luke 10:18

There are some misguided souls who take these things literally and choose to go out into the desert and physically handle snakes. But again, these are symbolic terms, and that's not what is in view anymore than pregnant women floating in heaven was. 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 the poison of a physical snake in the grass. God makes no such promise to His people. Satan 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.

When we want to know how the messengers of Michael in Heaven overcame the Dragon Satan and his messengers, we should not ask men, rather we must get our answer DIRECTLY from the scriptures. And the scriptures tell us plainly.

Revelation 12:10

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 obtained the victory:

Revelation 12:11

The Messengers of Michael overcame Satan how? By physically attacking angels and a big red Dragon vexing a woman floating in heaven? By a Dragon casting down literal/physical stars with his tail? Not at all. They obtained the victory in this warfare and overcame the Dragon and His messengers by the blood of Christ and by the word of their testimony. Were they testifying to angels in heaven? No, their testimony is on earth, even unto death. 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 children and messengers of the Dragon. They are those whom Christ said were children of the Kingdom cast out. They are those who fought with the Dragon and against Michael. They are the unsaved messengers of Israel (the Kingdom of God on earth). They are the fallen messengers who were 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 defeated house, nor under the bondage of sin.

Matthew 12:28-29

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 (take by conquest) his house. By the cross are Devils cast out and the accuser no longer able to make accusation of us because of sin. As Revelation 12 says, rejoice because now is salvation and the kingdom of our God come, because the accuser has been cast out. Satan using sin to condemn us is no more. No serpent can harm us anymore, nor cause death in 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 passage concerning Michael biblically and logically, we know of only one who can cast Satan out of the Kingdom of heaven. That is Christ, He is Michael, our great Prince, the chief messenger of the Covenant who alone stands for the people!


From all that we have seen in scripture from this study, Michael is surely Christ. The Lord Jesus is the only one who qualifies to be Michael--who assuredly is God. He is the only one who stands to help 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, and has appeared time and again in the Old Testament to illustrate that He was assuredly God. Michael, the Great Prince that stands up, and that stands for the children of Daniel's people:



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Copyright ©1999 Tony Warren
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