The name Michael occurs 15 times in the Holy Bible texts, and once in the apocryphal book of 1 Edras. Ten of those biblical references and the single reference in 1 Edras, are of human Jewish individuals. Our article is concerned with the 5 times when the name has reference to Michael the archangel. We hope to identify just who he was and his position in the purpose of God towards mankind.
Let us first list the five references which can be shown to be concerning this celestial being. The first mention of Michael the angel, is found in the 10th chapter of Daniel. It is a chapter somewhat difficult to fully understand. An unnamed angel appeared to Daniel and is thought to have been Gabriel by a number of scholars. He mentions one named Michael in the 13th verse and refers to him as one of the princes. Most scholars seem to believe that his was a prince of the Persian kingdom being referred to, and therefore is counted as one of the ten times where the reference is toward a man. Although this writer does not consider himself superior to those other scholars, nevertheless, feels that the reference is to that of the archangel. The interested student should read the entire chapter ten.
Daniel 10:21 - "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."
Verse 21 above is accepted by most scholars as being in reference to Michael the archangel and is here referred to as prince. Also, the following verse of Daniel 12:1 also refers to him. Notice that he is again referred to as the great prince.
"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."
Those are the only references to this archangel found in the Old Testament. The other two references , found in the New Testament, once by Jude and another by John in his writing of the book of Revelation.
Jude 1:9 - "Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee."
Revelation 12:7 - "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,..."
There is little reason to wonder at numerous questions and conjectures which come forth in a discussion of this exalted angel, since the above is about all the facts we have. There are other times when an angel is referred to without details and probably have Michael in mind. There are numerous ideas from various students which, although may seem possible, are nothing more than conjecture.
One thought is that Michael was not a created angel, but rather was Jesus, a member of the Godhead. Here again, although possibly an accurate assumption, however it is only such since we have no clarification. There are 88 references in the Bible of, "The angel of the Lord". These messengers were normally delivering a direct message from God to the recipient. And many of those spoke as if they were indeed God or a portion of the Godhead. Numerous scholars, probably the vast majority, contend that these messages were delivered by Jesus himself prior to his coming to earth to live and die for lost mankind.
It is not beyond reason to consider the activities of an angelic nature as directly delivered by Jesus. There are a number of cases where it strongly appears that Jesus or the Holy Spirit were involved.
The first two verses in the Holy Bible make a statement which appears to involve at least two of the three entities of the Godhead. When the term "God" is used, it is possible that it can be intended any of the three entities. Notice this:
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:1-2 KJV)
That this has reference to God the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit is of a certainty but precisely which ones are involved is a toss-up. All three are God. All three are Spirits. So which of the three spirits was the one which hovered over the waters? It says the spirit of God. Yet we find the following message spoken by the inspired apostle John:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men." (John 1:1-4 KJV)
This passage alone, could be interpreted to mean either of the three beings. However, as John continues his discourse, it becomes clear of whom he was speaking, read on:
"And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:5-14 KJV)
The last few verses make it very clear that he has reference to Jesus. And notice that John insists that nothing was created without him. We shall attempt to clarify the perfect unity of these three members of the Godhead farther along in this article.
We have to keep in mind as we study this angelic state. The word 'angel' simply means a messenger. But those referred to in the Holy Bible are created spirits, of which God has an innumerable number. Spirits, at least those of the Godhead, can manifest themselves in any way they wish. God appeared to Moses as a flaming bush. Notice the terminology.
"Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. 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." (Exodus 3:1-5 KJV)
If this was not God himself, it certainly sounds as if it was. So, we can know that either of the three persons can appear to man and in other scriptures, have appeared as men themselves. The inquiring student is urged to carefully read chapters 18 and 19 of Genesis. Abraham is approached by three men, so reads the scripture. Yet the men were human apparitions. In reading these two chapters, you will find that these were angels of God, one of which was God himself, or perhaps Jesus.
And another interesting scripture is that of Exodus 13:21 and Exodus 14:19 where Moses describes the Lord as He leads the Israelites:
"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" (13:21)
"Moses later describes this being that led them this way: "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" (14:19)
Angels are spiritual beings. They are not visible to the human eye unless they manifest themselves in some physical form. Spirits and angels the same type beings, only angels are messengers. A spirit can be called an angel if it has delivered a message or advised someone of some facts. To say that each person has a guardian angel, is not backed up by scripture, nor is there any evidence of such.
Now let us briefly attempt to understand the fact that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are separate entities, yet are one! First of all we absolutely must understand that heavenly beings are totally spiritual, not human nor physical in any way. Although we are unable to fully comprehend such a being, we must accept that this is exactly what they are. The only way a human being can see one or many, is by their being manifested into some form of physical matter.
The reason Jesus can rightfully describe himself and the Father as being one, is their spirit (mentality, thoughts, ideas, ways and goals) are identical. They both know all there is to be known. Infinite knowledge, infinite wisdom, infinite power, and omnipresence. Spirits are not subject to time, to space, natural laws or anything else pertaining to physical matter. Therefore, since each of them have the infinite thoughts and ways, there is no room for any differences so therefore they are one!
Once man dies, his physical body is of no more value whatsoever. There are no more physical health problems, mental health problems (since these are caused by physical abnormalities). The only thing facing the risen dead is their works which will have followed them and they will receive just recompense for those works, whether they be good or bad.
"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." (Revelation 14:13 KJV)