Are Jesus and the Archangel Michael the Same Being?
By Milton J. Orgeron
In Part One of this series I presented the case for Jesus and Michael the archangel as the same being. Now I will present the case against this premise, and give my opinion in Part Three. I encourage you to be good Bereans and search the Scriptures for yourselves to see if these things are so.
The Case Against Michael Being Jesus
These points will be examined:
- Meaning of the name Michael
- Michael did not dare on his own to denounce Satan
- Gabriel mentions Michael in the presence of the apparent pre-incarnate Jesus as though Michael himself is not present
- No named angel including Michael is called “the angel of the LORD” (Christophany) in the Old Testament
- An archangel can be ruler of all other angels while still being a created angel himself, as are human rulers themselves also human
- The angel of the LORD receives worship in OT appearances, but an angel twice refused worship in the Revelation
- The two gold cherubs that covered the mercy seat over the Ark of the Covenant may have represented Michael and Lucifer before he fell, being the “anointed cherub that covers” and replaced after that by Gabriel—no indication given that either cherub was the angel of the LORD
- In the Annunciation to Mary, the angel Gabriel mentions the Father and the Holy Spirit, but does not mention that Michael will become incarnate as Jesus, a strange omission compared to the passages in Daniel
As noted in Part One, the name Michael means “Who is like God?” Now we give the opposite answer to that rhetorical question: No one is like God. Not even the archangel Michael. In the short epistle of Jude, “Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, ‘The LORD rebuke you!’” (Jude 1:9) I infer from this and other passages that possibly both Satan and Michael were created as archangels, and hence equals in the angelic hierarchy. This would not give Michael standing to pronounce judgment on Satan, however wicked and rebellious Satan had become. Indeed, only God is Judge and can render judgment in the spiritual world, whether men or angels are being judged. And in an epistle of only one chapter, the only New Testament epistle that mentions Michael, Jude had a golden opportunity to identify Jesus and Michael as being one and the same. Jude makes no such claim in the five places Jesus is mentioned by name in his epistle. If that claim were true, Jude would seem fairly compelled by the Holy Spirit to state it and affirm it. He does not.
In Daniel Chapters 10 and 12, Michael and a person who can only be the pre-incarnate Jesus are mentioned and appear respectively in the same passage, without ever being identified as the same person. If Michael and Jesus are different names for the same person, it would be as though one were sitting in the same room as Jesus and talking about Him to someone else as though Jesus is not even there. If they are not the same being, then it is perfectly natural not to mention their identity as each other, but to speak of them as different beings, as indeed they are.
Daniel 10: 4-9 describes the vision of a “man” in almost identical terms as the glorified Jesus in Revelation 1:12-18. And just as John falls at Jesus’ feet like a dead man, so does Daniel fall into a deep sleep with his face to the ground at the sound of the man’s voice.
4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river, that is, the Tigris, 5 I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. 6 His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult. 7 Now I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while the men who were with me did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide themselves. 8 So I was left alone and saw this great vision; yet no strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength. 9 But I heard the sound of his words; and as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.
Another being, apparently an angel, and likely Gabriel who had given Daniel the meaning of his earlier visions, now comforts Daniel and raises him to his feet from his stupor. This angel then mentions Michael for the first time in this long passage.
“13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.”
Conspicuously, the angel does not say, “… Michael, one of the chief princes, who you saw above the river dressed in linen,”, which would have been perfectly natural to point out if it were true and perfectly natural to omit as he does if it were not so. The angel again makes no such identification of Michael with the man dressed in linen above the river in his next mention of Michael, seemingly reinforcing their lack of identification with each other.
“21 However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.”
Michael is mentioned once more in the angel’s explanation of the events in Israel’s (“your people”) future, again with no mention of Michael being identified with the man dressed in linen above the river, who can be no other than the pre-incarnate Jesus.
Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.
The “man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river” then “…raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever…” (Daniel 12:7), nearly identically to the “strong angel” in Revelation 10:5-6. This “man” then speaks for himself to answer Daniel’s question directly about the final outcome of the prophesied events, and still does not identify himself as Michael. Even Michael “the archangel”, “the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people”, is never portrayed with the glory of the man dressed in linen above the river, or of the strong angel with the little book of Revelation 10, nor of the ascended and glorified Jesus of Revelation 1. In my estimation, this fairly shouts that Michael and Jesus are not and never were the same being.
The appearances of “the angel of the LORD” in the Old Testament are thought by most to be Christophanies, that is, visitations of the pre-incarnate Jesus. Occasionally someone is visited by “an angel of the LORD”, but “the angel of the LORD” specifically seems to have divine standing. But He never is named, nor does He reveal His name, even when asked, let alone acknowledge His name to be Michael. Indeed, He told Manoah, the father of Samson, that His name was “wonderful”, which NASB footnotes as meaning “incomprehensible”. And the writer equates “the angel of the LORD” with “the LORD”, just as Jesus said “I and the Father are One.”
15 Then Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “Please let us detain you so that we may prepare a young goat for you.” 16 The angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “Though you detain me, I will not eat your food, but if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the LORD.” For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the LORD. 17 Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “What is your name, so that when your words come to pass, we may honor you?” 18 But the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” 19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to the LORD, and He performed wonders while Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 For it came about when the flame went up from the altar toward heaven, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground.
Some assert that because “arch” denotes a ruler, above those being ruled, and because Jesus is portrayed in Scripture as being commander-in-chief of all the angelic hosts, that Michael can only be called an archangel because he rules the other angels as Jesus and commander-in-chief. But human rulers are of the same order of creation, man, as their subjects, claims of the divine right of kings and claims of deity of the Roman emperors notwithstanding. So there is no necessity for the top of the hierarchy of angels, the archangel Michael, to be higher than the created order of angels, but simply to have greater authority and power, but not divinity, bestowed upon him by God.
No created angel in Scripture, including Michael, receives worship, even when it is offered to them. All identify themselves as servants of God. Twice in Revelation an angel had to stop John from bowing down in worship to him in awe of the revealed visions. Likely all the faithful angels fear being tempted to follow Satan down to hell if they were to receive the worship Satan craved and tempted even Jesus Himself to offer to him. But the angel of the LORD received worship without objection and without rebuke from the LORD, and identifies Himself to Jacob as “the God of Bethel.” See Genesis 31:11-13; Exodus 3:1-6; Joshua 5:13-15; Judges 13:13-22.
In my examination of Jude 1:9 above, I inferred that both Michael and Satan may have been originally created as archangels from Michael addressing Satan (“the devil”) as an equal and invoking their common superior the LORD to rebuke him. This may also be pictured in the Ark of the Covenant that God command Moses to construct. The top cover of the Ark, known as the mercy seat, was where God was to dwell in the glory cloud. The mercy seat was surrounded and partially covered by two cherubs (fearsome angels, not chubby naked babies!) made of hammered gold whose wings touched other. The Ark, the tabernacle that surrounded it, and later Solomon’s Temple, were to be a physical picture of heaven and God’s throne. It is my intuitive speculation that the two cherubs represented Michael and “Lucifer”, that is, the “morning star” referred to in Isaiah Chapter 14, in the original creation of angels before Lucifer rebelled and became Satan. This would make Michael and Lucifer/Satan peers and equals as the two highest created angels, rather than Michael being God the Son or the angel of the LORD by another name. Ezekiel seems to describe such a “covering” role for Satan before his fall as “the anointed cherub who covers” God’s throne in heaven and its representation on the Ark of the Covenant.
11 Again the word of the Lord came to me saying, 12 “Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 “You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared. 14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 “You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found in you. 16 “By the abundance of your trade You were internally filled with violence, And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire. 17 “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, That they may see you. 18 “By the multitude of your iniquities, In the unrighteousness of your trade You profaned your sanctuaries. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; It has consumed you, And I have turned you to ashes on the earth In the eyes of all who see you. 19 “All who know you among the peoples Are appalled at you; You have become terrified And you will cease to be forever.”
Perhaps Gabriel replaced Lucifer/Satan as the other cherub covering the throne of God. Gabriel states twice in Daniel that he and Michael fought together against the “princes” allied with Satan.
12 Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.
20 Then he said, “Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come.21 However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.
Those who assert that the archangel Michael and Jesus are the same being must also by implication necessarily assert that Michael became incarnate with a human body and delivered into the world as Mary’s firstborn child. The same angel Gabriel who explained Daniel’s visions and gave him prophecies of Messiah the Prince also announced to Mary that she would bear Messiah into the world and name Him Jesus. But Gabriel said nothing of any role played by Michael in Mary conceiving while yet a virgin, only of the role of the Holy Spirit and of the Father (“the Most High”), and told her to name the child Jesus, not Michael. How odd of Gabriel, who fought evil princes alongside Michael, to omit any mention of Michael, if Michael is one and the same as the Messiah! See Luke 1:26-38.
Here rests the case against Jesus and the archangel Michael as the same being. Court will recess while you the jury deliberate! My personal verdict will be given tomorrow in Part Three.