Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Jesus Christ – The Archangel Michael or Michael’s Creator?

Sam Shamoun

There are certain pseudo-Christian cults such as the Jehovah Witnesses which believe that Jesus Christ is actually the archangel Michael. They further take this to mean that Jesus is not the eternal God but a highly exalted spirit creature, in fact the greatest of all created spirit beings, since to them Michael is a creature.(1)

However, this is a teaching which clearly contradicts the explicit testimony of the Holy Bible since, according to the inspired Christian Greek writings, God the Father created all things through and for Jesus Christ, his beloved Son. This naturally includes every spirit creature:

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones (thronoi) or dominions (kyriotetes) or rulers (archai) or authorities (exousiai)—all things were created through him and for him. And he IS before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:13-17

The words “rulers” and “authorities” appear elsewhere in Paul’s writings in respect to rebellious spirit beings whom Christians are called to war against:

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers (tas archas), against the authorities (tas exousias), against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

This means that Jesus created all spirit creatures, whether hostile or friendly, especially those with authority including the archangel Michael since he is said to be one of the chief spiritual powers or rulers:

“The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia,” Daniel 10:13 – cf. 12:1

Note that Michael is not said to be “the one ABOVE or OVER the chief princes” but only “ONE OF the chief princes” which means there are several of similar rank and thus this can only refer to several created beings of high rank. Jesus, however, is not simply one among many chief princes but is the Sovereign Lord of all creation, the King of kings and Lord of lords who is Head over all rulers and authorities:

“You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all… He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.” Acts 10:36, 42 – cf. Romans 10:12; 14:9

“and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above ALL rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” Ephesians 1:19-23

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over EVERY power and authority.” Colossians 2:10

“and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” 1 Peter 3:22

“They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” Revelation 17:14 – cf. 19:11-21; 1:5; 3:21; 11:15; 12:5, 10; 22:1-3

Thus, Michael is one of a group of creatures, however highly ranked they are, and thus cannot be Jesus who is their Creator and holds supreme authority over all creation.

The inspired Scriptures further teach that all angels and spirit creatures, not just some, worship the Lord Jesus:

“And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, ‘And let ALL the angels of God worship him.’” Hebrews 1:6

“Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?’ But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’ Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.’ Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’ Then I heard EVERY CREATURE in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: ‘To him who sits on the throne AND TO THE LAMB be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!’ The four living creatures said, ‘Amen,’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.” Revelation 5:8-14

Since ALL angelic creatures (in fact every single creature!) worship Christ, and Michael is a created spirit being, he must therefore be one of those spirit creatures who also worships Jesus.

What makes Hebrews 1:6 all the more interesting is that the author has taken passages from the Greek OT which speak of the angels worshiping Yahweh and applied them to Christ!

Rejoice, ye heavens, with him, and let all the angels of God worship him; rejoice ye Gentiles, with his people, and let all the sons of God strengthen themselves in him; for he will avenge the blood of his sons, and he will render vengeance, and recompense justice to his enemies, and will reward them that hate him; and the Lord shall purge the land of his people. Deuteronomy 32:43

Let all that worship graven images be ashamed, who boast of their idols; worship him, all ye his angels. Psalm 96[7]:7

This isn’t the only place where the inspired writer has done this:

But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.’ He also says, ‘In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.’” Hebrews 1:8-12

Here, the author applied to Christ a specific Psalm which contrasts creation which is changing with Yahweh who not only created and sustains the cosmos but also remains the same!

“In the beginning thou, O Lord, didst lay the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands. They shall perish, but thou remainest: and they all shall wax old as a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them, and they shall be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. The children of thy servants shall dwell securely, and their seed shall prosper for ever.” Psalm 101[2]:25-27 LXX

Thus, not only is Jesus distinguished from all angelic creatures he is even identified with Yahweh both in the worship he receives and in his role as Creator and Sustainer!(2)

With the foregoing in mind it is apparent that the NT does not teach that Jesus is Michael, a created spirit being, but that he is actually Michael’s God and Creator.

The epistle of Jude provides additional corroboration that this is precisely what the NT teaches. Jude writes:

“Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you.’” Jude 1:8-9

Here, Jude contrasts Michael from the Lord whose authority the archangel invoked against the devil. As we shall shortly see, this is a rather significant distinction that proves that Jesus is not Michael.

Jude further stated that Enoch prophesied that the Lord would come with his hosts to judge the ungodly:

“It was of these also that Enoch in the seventh generation from Adam prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness which they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.’” Jude 1:14-15

Jude cites the Pseudepigraphal work 1 Enoch here concerning the time when God himself will come with his heavenly host to judge the wicked:

“The words of the blessing of Enoch, wherewith he blessed the elect and righteous, who will be living in the day of tribulation, when all the wicked and godless are to be removed. And he took up his parable and said -Enoch a righteous man, whose eyes were opened by God, saw the vision of the Holy One in the heavens, which the angels showed me, and from them I heard everything, and from them I understood as I saw, but not for this generation, but for a remote one which is for to come. Concerning the elect I said, and took up my parable concerning them: The Holy Great One will come forth from His dwelling, And the eternal God will tread upon the earth, (even) on Mount Sinai, [And appear from His camp] And appear in the strength of His might from the heaven of heavens. And all shall be smitten with fear And the Watchers shall quake, And great fear and trembling shall seize them unto the ends of the earth. And the high mountains shall be shaken, And the high hills shall be made low, And shall melt like wax before the flame And the earth shall be wholly rent in sunder, And all that is upon the earth shall perish, And there shall be a judgement upon all (men). But with the righteous He will make peace. And will protect the elect, And mercy shall be upon them. And they shall all belong to God, And they shall be prospered, And they shall all be blessed. And He will help them all, And light shall appear unto them, And He will make peace with them'. And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones To execute judgement upon all, And to destroy all the ungodly: And to convict all flesh Of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, And of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” 1 Enoch 1:1-10

Jude’s reference to Enoch being the seventh from Adam also seems to be dependent upon the following passages:

“The second vision which he saw, the vision of wisdom -which Enoch the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, saw. And this is the beginning of the words of wisdom which I lifted up my voice to speak and say to those which dwell on earth: Hear, ye men of old time, and see, ye that come after, the words of the Holy One which I will speak before the Lord of Spirits. It were better to declare (them only) to the men of old time, but even from those that come after we will not withhold the beginning of wisdom.” 1 Enoch 37:1-3

And:

“In the year 500, in the seventh month, on the fourteenth day of the month in the life of Enoch. In that Parable I saw how a mighty quaking made the heaven of heavens to quake, and the host of the Most High, and the angels, a thousand thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand, were disquieted with a great disquiet. And the Head of Days sat on the throne of His glory, and the angels and the righteous stood around Him. And a great trembling seized me, And fear took hold of me, And my loins gave way, And dissolved were my reins, And I fell upon my face. And Michael sent another angel from among the holy ones and he raised me up, and when he had raised me up my spirit returned; for I had not been able to endure the look of this host, and the commotion and the quaking of the heaven. And Michael said unto me: 'Why art thou disquieted with such a vision? Until this day lasted the day of His mercy; and He hath been merciful and long-suffering towards those who dwell on the earth. And when the day, and the power, and the punishment, and the judgement come, which the Lord of Spirits hath prepared for those who worship not the righteous law, and for those who deny the righteous judgement, and for those who take His name in vain-that day is prepared, for the elect a covenant, but for sinners an inquisition. When the punishment of the Lord of Spirits shall rest upon them, it shall rest in order that the punishment of the Lord of Spirits may not come, in vain, and it shall slay the children with their mothers and the children with their fathers. Afterwards the judgement shall take place according to His mercy and His patience.' And on that day were two monsters parted, a female monster named Leviathan, to dwell in the abysses of the ocean over the fountains of the waters. But the male is named Behemoth, who occupied with his breast a waste wilderness named Duidain, on the east of the garden where the elect and righteous dwell, where my grandfather was taken up, the seventh from Adam, the first man whom the Lord of Spirits created.” 1 Enoch 60:1-8

The above passage is significant since it distinguishes Michael from God, who is called here the Most High and the Lord of the spirits. This isn’t the only place where the Lord God is distinguished from Michael:

“And then Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel looked down from heaven and saw much blood being shed upon the earth, and all lawlessness being wrought upon the earth. And they said one to another: ‘The earth made without inhabitant cries the voice of their cryingst up to the gates of heaven. And now to you, the holy ones of heaven, the souls of men make their suit, saying, “Bring our cause before the Most High.”’ And they said to the Lord of the ages: ‘Lord of lords, God of gods, King of kings, and God of the ages, the throne of Thy glory (standeth) unto all the generations of the ages, and Thy name holy and glorious and blessed unto all the ages! Thou hast made all things, and power over all things hast Thou: and all things are naked and open in Thy sight, and Thou seest all things, and nothing can hide itself from Thee. Thou seest what Azazel hath done, who hath taught all unrighteousness on earth and revealed the eternal secrets which were (preserved) in heaven, which men were striving to learn: And Semjaza, to whom Thou hast given authority to bear rule over his associates. And they have gone to the daughters of men upon the earth, and have slept with the women, and have defiled themselves, and revealed to them all kinds of sins. And the women have borne giants, and the whole earth has thereby been filled with blood and unrighteousness. And now, behold, the souls of those who have died are crying and making their suit to the gates of heaven, and their lamentations have ascended: and cannot cease because of the lawless deeds which are 11 wrought on the earth. And Thou knowest all things before they come to pass, and Thou seest these things and Thou dost suffer them, and Thou dost not say to us what we are to do to them in regard to these.’” 1 Enoch 9:1-11

And the Lord said unto Michael: 'Go, bind Semjaza and his associates who have united themselves with women so as to have defiled themselves with them in all their uncleanness…” 10:11-12a

“And these are the names of the holy angels who watch. Uriel, one of the holy angels, who is over the world and over Tartarus. Raphael, one of the holy angels, who is over the spirits of men. Raguel, one of the holy angels who takes vengeance on the world of the luminaries. Michael, one of the holy angels, to wit, he that is set over the best part of mankind and over chaos. Saraqael, one of the holy angels, who is set over the spirits, who sin in the spirit. Gabriel, one of the holy angels, who is over Paradise and the serpents and the Cherubim. Remiel, one of the holy angels, whom God set over those who rise.” 20:1-8

“Then answered Michael, one of the holy and honoured angels who was with me, and was their leader. And he said unto me: 'Enoch, why dost thou ask me regarding the fragrance of the tree, and why dost thou wish to learn the truth?' Then I answered him saying: 'I wish to know about everything, but especially about this tree.' And he answered saying: 'This high mountain which thou hast seen, whose summit is like the throne of God, is His throne, where the Holy Great One, the Lord of Glory, the Eternal King, will sit, when He shall come down to visit the earth with goodness. And as for this fragrant tree no mortal is permitted to touch it till the great judgement, when He shall take vengeance on all and bring (everything) to its consummation for ever. It shall then be given to the righteous and holy. Its fruit shall be for food to the elect: it shall be transplanted to the holy place, to the temple of the Lord, the Eternal King. Then shall they rejoice with joy and be glad, And into the holy place shall they enter; And its fragrance shall be in their bones, And they shall live a long life on earth, Such as thy fathers lived: And in their days shall no sorrow or plague Or torment or calamity touch them.' Then blessed I the God of Glory, the Eternal King, who hath prepared such things for the righteous, and hath created them and promised to give to them.” 24:6, 25:1-7

“And after that my grandfather Enoch gave me the teaching of all the secrets in the book in the Parables which had been given to him, and he put them together for me in the words of the book of the Parables. And on that day Michael answered Raphael and said: ‘The power of the spirit transports and makes me to tremble because of the severity of the judgement of the secrets, the judgement of the angels: who can endure the severe judgement which has been executed, and before which they melt away?’ And Michael answered again, and said to Raphael: ‘Who is he whose heart is not softened concerning it, and whose reins are not troubled by this word of judgement (that) has gone forth upon them because of those who have thus led them out?’ And it came to pass when he stood before the Lord of Spirits, Michael said thus to Raphael: ‘I will not take their part under the eye of the Lord; for the Lord of Spirits has been angry with them because they do as if they were the Lord. Therefore all that is hidden shall come upon them for ever and ever; for neither angel nor man shall have his portion (in it), but alone they have received their judgement for ever and ever.” 68:1-5

The book of Enoch also differentiates Michael from the Son of Man/Elect One:

“And after that I saw thousands of thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand, I saw a multitude beyond number and reckoning, who stood before the Lord of Spirits. And on the four sides of the Lord of Spirits I saw four presences, different from those that sleep not, and I learnt their names: for the angel that went with me made known to me their names, and showed me all the hidden things. And I heard the voices of those four presences as they uttered praises before the Lord of glory. The first voice blesses the Lord of Spirits for ever and ever. And the second voice I heard blessing the Elect One< and the elect ones who hang upon the Lord of Spirits. And the third voice I heard pray and intercede for those who dwell on the earth and supplicate in the name of the Lord of Spirits. And I heard the fourth voice fending off the Satans and forbidding them to come before the Lord of Spirits to accuse them who dwell on the earth. After that I asked the angel of peace who went with me, who showed me everything that is hidden: 'Who are these four presences which I have seen and whose words I have heard and written down?' And he said to me: 'This first is Michael, the merciful and long-suffering: and the second, who is set over all the diseases and all the wounds of the children of men, is Raphael: and the third, who is set over all the powers, is Gabriel: and the fourth, who is set over the repentance unto hope of those who inherit eternal life, is named Phanuel.' And these are the four angels of the Lord of Spirits and the four voices I heard in those days.” 40:1-10

And:

“And it came to pass after this that his name during his lifetime was raised aloft to that Son of Man and to the Lord of Spirits from amongst those who dwell on the earth. And he was raised aloft on the chariots of the spirit and his name vanished among them. And from that day I was no longer numbered amongst them: and he set me between the two winds, between the North and the West, where the angels took the cords to measure for me the place for the elect and righteous. And there I saw the first fathers and the righteous who from the beginning dwell in that place. And it came to pass after this that my spirit was translated And it ascended into the heavens: And I saw the holy sons of God. They were stepping on flames of fire: Their garments were white [and their raiment], And their faces shone like snow. And I saw two streams of fire, And the light of that fire shone like hyacinth, And I fell on my face before the Lord of Spirits. And the angel Michael [one of the archangels] seized me by my right hand, And lifted me up and led me forth into all the secrets, And he showed me all the secrets of righteousness. And he showed me all the secrets of the ends of the heaven, And all the chambers of all the stars, and all the luminaries, Whence they proceed before the face of the holy ones. And he translated my spirit into the heaven of heavens, And I saw there as it were a structure built of crystals, And between those crystals tongues of living fire. And my spirit saw the girdle which girt that house of fire, And on its four sides were streams full of living fire, And they girt that house. And round about were Seraphin, Cherubic, and Ophannin: And these are they who sleep not And guard the throne of His glory. And I saw angels who could not be counted, A thousand thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand, Encircling that house. And Michael, and Raphael, and Gabriel, and Phanuel, And the holy angels who are above the heavens, Go in and out of that house. And they came forth from that house, And Michael and Gabriel, Raphael and Phanuel, And many holy angels without number. And with them the Head of Days, His head white and pure as wool, And His raiment indescribable. And I fell on my face, And my whole body became relaxed, And my spirit was transfigured; And I cried with a loud voice, ... with the spirit of power, And blessed and glorified and extolled. And these blessings which went forth out of my mouth were well pleasing before that Head of Days. And that Head of Days came with Michael and Gabriel, Raphael and Phanuel, thousands and ten thousands of angels without number. [Lost passage wherein the Son of Man was described as accompanying the Head of Days, and Enoch asked one of the angels (as in xlvi. 3) concerning the Son of Man as to who he was.] And he (i.e. the angel) came to me and greeted me with His voice, and said unto me: ‘This is the Son of Man who is born unto righteousness, And righteousness abides over him, And the righteousness of the Head of Days forsakes him not.’ And he said unto me: ‘He proclaims unto thee peace in the name of the world to come; For from hence has proceeded peace since the creation of the world, And so shall it be unto thee for ever and for ever and ever. And all shall walk in his ways since righteousness never forsaketh him: With him will be their dwelling-places, and with him their heritage, And they shall not be separated from him for ever and ever and ever. And so there shall be length of days with that Son of Man, And the righteous shall have peace and an upright way In the name of the Lord of Spirits for ever and ever.’” 70-71

These citations from Enoch are vitally important since they show that Jude held to the absolute Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ and that he did not believe that Jesus Christ is the archangel Michael.

This can be seen by the fact that the Lord who is coming with his myriads in Enoch is not the angel Michael but Yahweh God, a point which the OT confirms:

“Behold, a day of Yahweh is coming, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in the midst of you. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women ravished; half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then Yahweh will go forth and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day HIS FEET shall stand on the Mount of Olives which lies before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley; so that one half of the Mount shall withdraw northward, and the other half southward. And the valley of my mountains shall be stopped up, for the valley of the mountains shall touch the side of it; and you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzzi'ah king of Judah. Then Yahweh your God will come, and all the holy ones with him.” Zechariahs 14:1-5

However, the Lord who is coming to judge in Jude is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ since he is the one identified as the Lord all throughout the epistle!

“But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” Jude 1:17-21

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 1:24-25

The statement that Jude’s readers were to wait for the mercy of the Lord Jesus is an obvious reference to the second coming, to Jesus’ return from heaven where he will show mercy to those who believe by saving them from the wrath to come:

“For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10

“Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief… For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him." 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4, 9-10

May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.” 2 Timothy 1:16-18

In fact, the NT teaches that the Lord Jesus will touch the Mount of Olives when he descends from heaven with his host:

“And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’ Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away;” Acts 1:9-12

The men (who happen to be angels) announce to Christ’s followers that Jesus will return to the same place from whence he ascended, that being the Mount of Olives, the very place that Zechariah said Yahweh would descend and whose blessed and glorious feet will touch and split the Mount in half! And:

“Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, ‘Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.’ Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.” Revelation 19:11-21

These examples show that the inspired NT writers believed that Jesus is actually the Lord God whom the OT says will come to judge the nations!

With that said, it is clear that Jude himself truly believed that Jesus is the Lord who will come with all his myriads. Jude provides further corroboration that this was his position as well since he writes that Jesus was the Lord who delivered Israel out of Egypt and destroyed the disbelievers in the desert!

“For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus [Lord], who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, HE [Jesus] has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” Jude 1:4-7 ESV

It is obvious from the immediate context that Jesus is the One who did both the saving and judging during the OT period since Jude has just finished stating that Jesus is our only Master and Lord. What makes this rather astonishing is that the OT teaches that it was actually Yahweh, Israel’s Lord God, who delivered his people from Egypt!

“And the Lord spoke all these words, saying: I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods beside me.” Exodus 20:1-3 LXX

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Chanaan, so as to be your God.” Leviticus 25:38 LXX

But I the Lord thy God brought thee up out of the land of Egypt: I will yet cause thee to dwell in tabernacles, according to the days of the feast.” Hosea 12:9 LXX

“But I am the Lord thy God that establishes the heaven, and creates the earth, whose hands have framed the whole host of heaven: but I shewed them not to thee that thou shouldest go after them: and I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no God but me; and there is no Saviour beside me.” Hosea 13:4 LXX

This means that Jesus is Israel’s Lord God according to Jude!

Noted Evangelical scholars Robert M. Bowman Jr. and J. Ed Komoszewski explain how both the variant readings and the context establish that Jude truly believed that Jesus was the Lord who saved and punished Israel at the time of Moses:

“After speaking of Jesus Christ as ‘our only Master and Lord,’ Jude could hardly have proceeded in the very next sentence to refer to someone other than Jesus as ‘the Lord.’ The Lord who delivered his people out of Egypt, then, must be the Lord Jesus.

“In fact, this is probably what the original text of Jude explicitly said. Many of the earliest manuscripts actually say ‘Jesus’ instead of ‘the Lord’ in verse 5, and this is most likely the original reading. There are three principles of the discipline of textual criticism that, when considered together, point to this conclusion.

“The first principle concerns the external evidence of the origins of the manuscripts. All other things being equal, the earlier and more widely attested reading is to be preferred. In this case both ‘Lord’ and ‘Jesus’ are among the earliest readings, but ‘Jesus’ is MORE WIDELY attested. The Vaticanus and Alexandrinus uncials (fourth and fifth centuries, respectively) both have ‘Jesus,’ while the Sinaiticus and C uncials (also of the fourth and fifth centuries) are the major witnesses for ‘Lord.’ The reading ‘Jesus,’ though, has MUCH GREATER SUPPORT from the early translations of the New Testament into other languages (such as Coptic, Ethiopic, and Latin) and BETTER SUPPORT from the early church’s leading biblical scholars, including Jerome (early fifth century) and possibly the third-century Origen. The reading ‘Jesus,’ then, clearly has the edge in terms of external evidence.

“The second principle is that, all other things being equal, the harder or more difficult reading – the one that sounds the strangest, to put it crudely – is more likely to be original (since a scribe is more likely to change a text from something that sounds strange to something that doesn’t, rather than the other way around). Here, the reading ‘Jesus’ obviously has the edge. Three of the five members of the editorial committee for the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament thought, in fact, ‘that the reading was difficult to the point of impossibility.’ The other two committee members, Bruce Metzger and Allen Wikgren, agreed it was difficult but not impossible, and concluded that it was the correct reading.

“The third and most general principle is that whatever reading is more likely to have given rise to the others as alterations is probably the original reading. The answer to this question is much disputed, but we agree with those who argue that ‘Jesus’ is probably original because it is more likely that scribes would change ‘Jesus’ (the admittedly harder reading) to ‘Lord’ (or, in a few other manuscripts, ‘God’) but not vice versa.

“Whichever reading we follow, though, Jude’s immediately preceding reference to Jesus as ‘Lord’ at the end of verse 4 makes it clear that he is the subject of verse 5. According to Jude, the Lord Jesus not only existed during the time of the Exodus but was the one who both delivered Israel from Egypt and then destroyed the unbelieving Israelites in the wilderness.” (Bowman & Komoszewski, Putting Jesus in His Place – The Case for the deity of Christ [Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI 2007], Part 2: Like Father, Like Son: Jesus Shares the Attributes of God, Chapter 8. Jesus Has Always Been There, pp. 98-99; bold and capital emphasis ours)

The NET translators agree that the reading Jesus is original:

sn The construction our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ in v. 4 follows Granville Sharp’s rule (see note on Lord). The construction strongly implies the deity of Christ. This is followed by a statement that Jesus was involved in the salvation (and later judgment) of the Hebrews. He is thus to be identified with the Lord God, Yahweh. Verse 5, then, simply fleshes out what is implicit in v. 4.

tc ‡ The reading ᾿Ιησοῦς (Ihsous, “Jesus”) is deemed too hard by several scholars, since it involves the notion of Jesus acting in the early history of the nation Israel. However, not only does this reading enjoy the strongest support from a variety of early witnesses (e.g., A B 33 81 1241 1739 1881 2344 pc vg co Or1739mg), but the plethora of variants demonstrate that scribes were uncomfortable with it, for they seemed to exchange κύριος (kurios, “Lord”) or θεός (qeos, “God”) for ᾿Ιησοῦς (though Ì72 has the intriguing reading θεὸς Χριστός [qeos Cristos, “God Christ”] for ᾿Ιησοῦς). In addition to the evidence supplied in NA27 for this reading, note also {88 322 323 424c 665 915 2298 eth Cyr Hier Bede}. As difficult as the reading ᾿Ιησοῦς is, in light of v. 4 and in light of the progress of revelation (Jude being one of the last books in the NT to be composed), it is wholly appropriate. (NET Bible; capital and underline emphasis ours)

In light of this it is rather clear that Jude did not believe that Jesus is the archangel Michael, but that Christ is Michael’s God. The fact that Jude references a Pseudepigraphal writing which distinguishes God from Michael and identifiers Jesus with the Lord God whom both the OT and the book of Enoch claim is coming with his myriads to judge affirms this conclusion beyond any reasonable doubt.

To summarize our discussion:

  1. The NT teaches that Jesus is the active Agent who created and sustains everything, which includes spirit creatures such as Michael.
  2. The NT also claims that Jesus is worshiped by all angelic creatures, not just some, which would naturally include Michael.
  3. According to the book of Enoch the Lord God will come with his myriads of angels to destroy the wicked and those who blaspheme his name.
  4. Jude cites this as a genuine prophecy made by the antediluvian patriarch.
  5. Jude, however, identifies Jesus as the Lord God whom Enoch said is coming to judge.
  6. The book of Enoch distinguishes the Lord God from the archangel Michael, a distinction which Jude would have been familiar with seeing that he references this Pseudepigraphal work.
  7. Even though he was aware of all this Jude doesn’t identify Jesus with the archangel but with the Lord God spoken of in Enoch, the same Lord who saved Israel out of Egypt and who punished them in the desert for their rebellion.
  8. It is therefore reasonably certain that neither Jude nor any NT writer thought that Christ was/is a created archangel named Michael. They rather believed and affirmed that the Lord Jesus is Michael’s God and Creator.

Amen! Come Lord Jesus, come with all your hosts to save those who love you and righteously punish those who hate you and your gospel! We pray that by the grace of the living God we will always love and worship you, O risen Lord of glory!


Endnotes

(1) It is vitally important to note that not all groups who believe that Jesus is Michael take this to mean that Christ is a creature. There are specific sects such as the Seventh Day Adventists who hold this view while also affirming the doctrine of the Trinity. They believe that Michael is not a created spirit being but is the name of the second member of the Godhead and therefore an eternal Divine Person (*).

One renowned Biblical scholar and expositor that also held this view was the late John Gill who wrote:

but, lo, Michael one of the chief Princes, came to help me; called in the New Testament an Archangel, the Prince of angels, the Head of all principality and power; and is no other than Christ the Son of God, an UNCREATED Angel; who is "one", or "the first of the chief Princes" {x}, superior to angels, in nature, name, and office; he came to "help" Gabriel, NOT AS A FELLOW CREATURE, but as the Lord of hosts; not as a fellow soldier, but as General of the armies in heaven and earth, as superior to him in wisdom and strength; and he helped him by giving him fresh counsels, orders, and instructions, which he following succeeded: (The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible, Exposition of Dan. 10:13; capital and underline emphasis ours)

And:

and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your Prince; Christ the Prince of the kings of the earth, he was the Prince, Protector, and Guardian of the people of the Jews; he is the Angel that went before them in the wilderness, and guarded them in it, and guided them into the land of Canaan; he is the Angel of God's presence, that bore, carried, and saved them all the days of old, and was their King AND THEIR GOD, their Defender and Deliverer, still; he took their part, and was on their side; yea, he was on the side of, and took part with, them that were for them, the holy angels; and there was none but him that exerted his power, and strengthened Gabriel to act for them in "these things" relating to their peace and prosperity: or, "against these", as it may be rendered; against the princes of Persia and Greece, the evil spirits that worked in these kingdoms, in the children of disobedience there; and had it not been for him, and the exertion of his mighty power, it would have been soon all over with the people of the Jews; as it would be now with the church of Christ, of which they were typical, but the Lord is on their side; Michael the Archangel, and his angels under him, fight for it, protect and defend it; and since he is for his people, who shall be against them? or to what purpose will an opposition be? the gates of hell cannot prevail against the church of God, the saints of the most High. (Exposition of Dan. 10:21; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Again:

And at that time shall Michael stand up
The Archangel, who has all the angels of heaven under him, and at his command, the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ; who is as God, as the name signifies, truly and really God, and equal in nature, power, and glory, to his divine Father: "he shall stand up"; which is not to be understood of his incarnation, or manifestation in the flesh, for this refers to times long after that; yet neither of his personal appearance in the clouds of heaven, and standing upon the earth in the latter day; but of his spiritual presence among his people, and protection of them, and continuance with them: this respects the spiritual reigns of Christ, the Lamb's standing upon Mount Zion, and the 144,000 with him, (Revelation 14:1) , and this will be at that time, when the eastern antichrist, the Turk, will be destroyed; for the words are closely connected with the last verse of the preceding chapter; and when also the western antichrist, the pope of Rome, will come to his end; for, as they rose, so they will fall, much about the same time; and then Christ will rise and stand up, as the glorious Head of the church, and as a triumphant Conqueror over all his enemies, and take to himself his great power, and reign, and that kingdom which of right belongs to him.

The great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people; the King of kings, and Lord of lords, the Prince of the kings of the earth; great in his person, and in his office; great in dignity, power, and authority; who always did, and ever will, stand on the side of the true Israel of God: he espoused their cause very early; he wrought out salvation for them in time; he intercedes for them now in heaven, and will appear to be their patron and defender against all their enemies in the latter day: here it seems to have special regard to the people of the Jews, Daniel's people; whom Christ shall appear unto, and for, in an eminent manner, to convert and save them, help and assist them, protect and defend them. (Exposition of Dan. 12:1; underline emphasis ours)

Once again:

Yet Michael the archangel
By whom is meant, NOT A CREATED ANGEL, BUT AN ETERNAL ONE, the Lord Jesus Christ; as appears from his name Michael, which signifies, "who is as God": and who is as God, or like unto him, but the Son of God, who is equal with God? and from his character as the archangel, or Prince of angels, for Christ is the head of all principality and power; and from what is elsewhere said of Michael, as that he is the great Prince, and on the side of the people of God, and to have angels under him, and at his command, (Daniel 10:21) (12:1) (Revelation 12:7) . So Philo the Jew calls the most ancient Word, firstborn of God, the archangel; Uriel is called the archangel in this passage from the Apocrypha:

“And unto these things Uriel the archangel gave them answer, and said, Even when the number of seeds is filled in you: for he hath weighed the world in the balance.” (2 Esdras 4:36) (Exposition of Jude 1:9; capital and underline emphasis ours)

And finally:

Michael and his angels fought against the dragon:
by whom is meant NOT A CREATED ANGEL, with whom his name does not agree, it signifying "who is as God"; nor does it appear that there is anyone created angel that presides over the rest, and has them at his command; though the Jews seem to imagine as if the angels were ranged under several heads and governors, of whom they make Michael to be one; for they say,

“when the holy blessed God descended on Mount Sinai, several companies of angels descended with him, (wtrwbxw lakym), "Michael and his company", and Gabriel and his company:”

"so kings armies", in (Psalm 68:12); are by them interpreted of "kings of angels"; and it is asked who are these? and the answer is, Michael and Gabriel. Lord Napier thinks that the Holy Ghost is designed, who is equally truly God as the Father and the Son, and who in the hearts of the saints opposes Satan and his temptations; but it seems best to interpret it of Jesus Christ, WHO IS EQUAL WITH GOD, is his fellow, is one with the Father, and in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily: he is the Archangel, the first of the chief princes, the head of all principality and power, who is on the side of the Lord's people, pleads their cause, defends their persons, and saves them; see (Jude 1:9) (Daniel 10:13) (12:1); and by "his angels" may be meant either the good angels, literally understood, who are his creatures, his ministers, and whom he employs under him, in protecting his people, and in destroying his enemies; or else the ministers of the Gospel, who are called angels in this book, and who, under Christ, fight the good fight of faith, contend earnestly for it, being valiant for the truth upon earth; or rather the Christian emperors, particularly Constantine and Theodosius, and the Christians with them, who opposed Paganism in the empire, and at last subdued, and cast it out: (Exposition on Rev. 12:7; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Hence, according to this view Michael is one of the names of the Lord Jesus Christ which therefore means that Michael is not an angelic creature but someone who assumes the form or role of a messenger (which is the literal meaning of the Hebrew and Greek words for angel. See the next endnote for the details). This position also exempts Michael from all of those specific passages which speak of Christ creating every spiritual power or that all created angels worship him since Michael is not an ontological angel, i.e. he is not a spirit being who by his very nature was created to be a messenger who serves God.

However, we do not feel that there is any Biblical support for such a view since we do not find any explicit evidence that necessarily leads to the conclusion that Jesus was called Michael either before the Incarnation or after his post-resurrection ascension into heaven. In fact, all of the Biblical data is strongly against this position. For instance, according to Daniel the archangel Michael needed support and protection from the angel who spoke with the prophet:

“Then he said, ‘Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I go out, behold, the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince. And as for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up to confirm and strengthen/protect him.’” Daniel 10:20-21, 11:1

Jesus, however, doesn’t need any angel to strengthen or protect him for battle since he sustains all creation by his powerful word and has every creature under subjection to his power:

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Hebrews 1:1-3 – cf. Colossians 1:16-17

In light of this it seems reasonably certain to conclude that Jesus and Michael are not the same Person.

(2) This is not to deny that Jesus assumed the form of or functioned as an angel, but to make clear that he is not merely a created angel. After all, there is very strong Biblical evidence that Jesus is actually the Angel of Yahweh who, although distinct from Yahweh, is said to be Yahweh God and is worshiped as such. It is important to keep in mind that the word angel both in Hebrew and Greek simply means messenger. As such, Jesus assumes the role of a messenger since he is sent out by the Father to speak on his behalf and to carry out the Father’s will, which is what angels are supposed to do. Hence, the Lord Jesus is an angel functionally, not ontologically.

This is similar to Jesus’ roles as prophet, priest and Davidic king, i.e., Christ is the only One who holds/held these positions who is not a creature, whereas everyone else who held these offices were created beings. In the same way Jesus is the only Angel/Messenger of God who is not a created being even though all the other angels/messengers are creatures of God.