Is Jesus Michael the Archangel?


Jehovah’s Witnesses, like the Seventh-day Adventists, believe that Michael is another name for the Son of God in heaven. Consider the following seven scriptures:

1. Hebrews 1:5

“For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”?

God here differentiates His Son from the angels, while giving him highest command over all angelic armies (Matt 26:53; 1 Pet 3:22). An archangel is an angel who is appointed as a chief over other angels but is himself subordinate to Christ. To illustrate: in the UK a Chief of Police is also a police officer but is accountable to the civilian Home Secretary who in turn reports to the Prime Minister.

2. Hebrews 2:5

“For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking.”

If no angel can rule the world, but only Christ can, Christ cannot be the angel called archangel Michael.

3. Daniel 10:13

“The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me …”

Michael is here called “’aḥaḏ hārišōnîm (אַחַ֛ד הַשָּׂרִ֥ים)” which all literal Bibles render as “one of the chief princes”. That is, he is not unique but is one among many of the same rank; a senior but not without peers. But the Bible says that Jesus is unique, not one among many princes that are equal in rank. Jesus is never called a “chief prince” (one with limited authority) but rather the “King of kings”.

4. Jude 9

“But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous [reviling] judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

Michael showed deference and restraint, but Jesus in contrast on multiple occasions ordered demons to leave people. Three times when tempted by Satan, Jesus rebuked and directly commanded him, “Go away Satan!” and Satan obeyed. On another occasion, rather than address Peter who was trying to dissuade him, Jesus directly rebuked the devil, saying “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matt 16:23). So, if Michael did not dare rebuke Satan but Jesus both rebuked and issued commands to him, doesn’t that show that Jesus is greater than Michael?

Here in Jude Michael is referred to as ‘the archangel.’ in a similar way that Alexander is referred to as “the coppersmith” (2 Tim 4:14), which was not meant to deny the existence of other coppersmiths. So, we read of “Simon the Zealot” (Luke 6:15), “Simon the Leper” (Matt 26:6), “Simon the Tanner” (Acts 10:32).

The word ‘arche’ means “chief, leader” or high ranking (Thayer). This prefix is used to describe two archbishops who preside over the Church of England: the archbishop of Canterbury (‘primate of All England’) and the archbishop of York (‘primate of England’). The United States has 34 active Roman Catholic archbishops. We see how archbishop could refer to one of a number bearing the same title, just as archangel likely designates one of the select group of “chief princes”.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words explains under its entry ‘Archangel’:

[G743, archangelos] is not found in the OT, and in the NT only in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and Jude 1:9, where it is used of Michael, who in Daniel is called ‘one of the chief princes,’ and ‘the great prince’ (Sept., ‘the great angel’), Daniel 10:13, Daniel 10:21; Daniel 12:1. Cp. also Revelation 12:7 …. Whether there are other beings of this exalted rank in the heavenly hosts, Scripture does not say, though the description ‘one of the chief princes’ suggests that this may be the case; cp. also Romans 8:38; Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16, where the word translated ‘principalities’ is arche, the prefix in archangel.” [ From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 142.] In 1 Thessalonians 4:16 the meaning seems to be that the voice of the Lord Jesus will be of the character of an “archangelic” shout.

5. 1 Thessalonians 4:16

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”

Where does it say that Jesus is the one making the ‘commanding call’? Couldn’t it just mean that an archangel accompanied him as a forerunner or herald for the king? (cf. 2 Thess 1:7). For example, a bailiff’s voice (“All rise!”) accompanies the judge’s entrance into the courtroom. Also, if being accompanied by an archangel’s voice makes him an archangel, by the same logic could we say that his coming with the sound of God’s trumpet means that Jesus is God?

Even if we accept that the “voice of an archangel” is meant to describe Jesus’ own voice this does not identify Jesus as being Michael. Suppose I described a man introducing himself with a very loud voice – I might say that “his voice was that of a lion,” – would you think that the man literally was a lion? Such a statement would be clearly a metaphor.

6. Revelation 12:7-9

This shows Michael and his angels warring against Satan. But do you agree that Revelation 19:11-16 describes a different event, a different enemy and a different time? Jesus, King of kings, leads his armies against the nations of the world.

7. John 1:3

“All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

The reality is that Jesus is not a created being, not even the most exalted created being. Rather, through him all things came into existence, including Michael the archangel and all the other angels.

Additionally: If Jesus is Michael the archangel, and JW’s pray to Jehovah through Jesus, then are they praying through an angel? Why don’t they conclude their prayers, “in Michael the archangel’s name”? By praying through Jesus as Michael are JWs contradicting the spirit of their own teaching which says, “The faithful angels do not want us to call upon or pray to them.” w10 12/1 p. 7

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