The idea that Jesus Christ is an angel or “the archangel Michael” is utterly absurd. However, some major church denominations claim, using a few selected biblical passages, that Jesus Christ is the archangel Michael. In this Q&A, we will examine these Scriptures in depth, but also consider other Scriptures that are deliberately omitted, and prove that this idea is absolutely false.
We will begin with the first quotes and biblical passages that supposedly prove that Jesus is the archangel Michael.
One article states that it is reported in Daniel 10:13, 21 that Michael came to the aid of an angel and that he is described as one of the first princes.
The New King James Version translates Daniel 10:13 as follows:
“But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.”
The German Menge Bible writes: “…until at last Michael, one of the chief princes of the angels, came to my aid…”
The New International Version writes: “…Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me…”
The German Revised Luther Bible 2017 translates: “…and behold, Michael, one of the foremost of the princes of the angels, came to my aid…”
Michael is also referred to as “the archangel Michael” in Jude 9 (New International Version). The Authorized Version writes: “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.”
Note that the letter of Jude, as well as the other letters of Paul, speak of Jesus Christ as the Lord (Jude 4, 17, 21, 25; New International Version). When the Father is mentioned, He is identified with “God the Father” or “God” (Jude 1, 21).
It is the Lord Jesus Christ who will judge angels (Jude 6). It even says that we, once we are born-again members of the GOD FAMILY, will judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). It would be absurd to believe that we would judge Jesus Christ as an angel. Furthermore, if the archangel Michael was to be identical with Jesus Christ, the question arises as to why Christ did not dare to condemn Satan and why He said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke thee,” if the Lord is none other than Jesus Christ.
In our free booklet “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World,” we explain the following on pages 6-7:
“The Bible talks at times about certain ‘archangels.’ The meaning of this word is, ‘chief messenger.’ Only Michael is specifically referred to in Scripture as an ‘archangel.’ The name ‘Michael’ means, ‘Who is like God?’ Jude 9 identifies him as an ‘archangel.’ He is also referred to as ‘one of the chief princes,’ (Daniel 10:13) showing that there must be additional ‘chief princes.’ He is also described as ‘the great prince’ (Daniel 12:1). He is clearly in charge of other angels, as Revelation 12:7 explains (‘Michael and his angels fought…’).”
The German Elberfelder Bible states in a footnote to 1 Thessalonians 4:16 that the “syllable ‘arch’ in ‘archangel’ denotes the ‘highest-ranking or first.’”
Another biblical passage that supposedly proves that Jesus Christ is the archangel Michael can allegedly be found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. In an article that supports this view, the passage is rendered as follows: “‘The Lord [Jesus] himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God.’ So here, Jesus Christ is equated with the archangel or chief angel,” the article says.
This translation of the biblical passage is not precise. A better translation would be, as the German Revised Luther Bible 2017 renders it: “For he himself, the Lord, when the call [or command] sounds, when the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God sound, will come down from heaven…” Also note James Moffatt – New Testament 1913: “The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a loud summons, when the archangel calls and the trumpet of God sounds…”
The German Menge Bible renders it as follows, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven as soon as His wake-up call is given, as soon as the voice of the prince of angels is heard and the trumpet of God sounds.”
The German Elberfelder Bible is even more precise and exact: “For the Lord himself will descend at the cry of command, at the voice of an archangel and at the sound of the trumpet of God…” The archangel Michael is not the only archangel. And he is described as one of the chief princes of angels!
Hence, Christ will not descend until the voice of the archangel or a prince of angels is heard and the last trumpet sounds. This passage by no means proves that Christ is the archangel Michael. On the contrary, it proves that Christ and Michael are two different personalities.
We are then told that Christ is the archangel Michael, because “Michael” has the meaning of “Who is like God?” This does not constitute any evidence. For example, the name of the angel Gabriel, a high angelic prince and, according to tradition, also an archangel, means “God is powerful!” And the name of the prophet Joel also means “Yahweh is God.” So, we cannot simply define a person as Jesus Christ from the meaning of His name.
We say the following about Gabriel in our free booklet “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World” on page 7:
“Whether the second named angel in the Bible, Gabriel, is an archangel, is not clearly revealed. The name ‘Gabriel’ means, ‘God is mighty.’ While the Bible nowhere describes the appearance of Michael, the angel Gabriel has the ‘appearance of a man’ (Daniel 8:15; 9:21; see also the detailed discussion later in this booklet). He ‘stands in the presence of God’ (Luke 1:19) and is sent oftentimes by God to man with positive and important news (Luke 1:26, 31). He was sent several times to Daniel, and he was sent to Zacharias (Luke 1:11–13), and to Mary. Since the meaning of ‘archangel’ is ‘chief messenger,’ and since Gabriel is sent by God with important messages, the assumption is compelling that Gabriel is an archangel. He has been traditionally viewed as one of the other archangels and one of the chief princes.”
Furthermore, it is claimed that Jesus, who supposedly was the archangel Michael in His pre-human existence, has returned to heaven after His resurrection to resume His position as Michael, the supreme angel who would stand for the “glorification of God the Father.” In this context, reference is made to Philippians 2:9, whereby this passage is supposed to mean that “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him [Christ] and given Him the name [Michael] which is above every name…”
This interpretation is provably wrong. Let’s look at Philippians 2:9 in context.
The New King James Bible translates Philippians 2:5-11 as follows:
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
The Bible is quite clear in this regard and Paul tells us unmistakably that the name of the Lord is JESUS CHRIST, not Michael, and that His name is above every name, which includes the name Michael. Jesus Christ said in John 14:13: “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” Jesus goes on to say in verse 14: “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” In John 16:23, Christ promised us the following: “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.” But Christ also says in John 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”
Christ is saying that Christians should or must ask the Father in their prayers to God “in the name of Jesus Christ” and not in the name of “Michael.”
In our free booklet “Teach Us to Pray” we state on page 98:
“Since we belong to Christ, Christ allows us to do and say things in His glorious and all-powerful name. That is, we can do things through the power of His Holy Spirit in us. When we pray, write, or say something in the name of Christ, we are actually asking Christ to do those things for us. We speak to the Father through Christ. It is as if Christ speaks to the Father on our behalf—as if Christ communicates our prayers to the Father, helping us express to the Father what we think, how we feel, and what we are going through…
“When we end a prayer by using the words ‘in Christ’s name,’ we had better make sure that we CAN say this—that Christ IS actually speaking through us, or interceding for us…
“Every time we use the words ‘in Christ’s name,’ we are to be very conscious of the fact that Jesus Christ is acting, at that very moment, as our Mediator, Intercessor and Advocate…”
Interestingly, Jesus Christ emphasized four times that we are to ask God the Father for something in His name, i.e. in the name of “Jesus Christ.” What is so interesting about the fact that He said it four times? After all, Christ could have said it three times, or five times or six times.
“The number four is used many times to signify God’s revelation. God will often reveal something about Himself, or about something or someone else in this way.
“The Bible contains four gospel records, in which the human life of Jesus Christ and His preexistence is revealed. It is interesting, too, that Christ was born in the year 4 B.C. The Holy Scriptures are helpful and profitable for four things, as 2 Timothy 3:16 explains, namely ‘for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness.’”
Another Scripture concerning Michael is found in Revelation 12:7, which is also said to be evidence that Jesus Christ is the archangel Michael. This Scripture describes how Michael and his angels fight against Satan and his angels and how they are finally banished from heaven.
Revelation 12:7-10 states:
“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.”
This passage does not even remotely suggest that Christ could be the archangel Michael. A clear distinction is made between Christ and Michael.
But the evidence that Christ was not and is not the archangel Michael is overwhelming when we consider Scriptures that have not yet been mentioned or fully explained here.
Let us return to Philippians 2:6. It says that Christ was “equal” with God [some say: “like God”] before His birth as a human being. This is to be understood quite literally; Christ was not only “similar” to God the Father, but rather completely like God or equal with God in divine nature and character; He was and is the image of God the Father (compare Colossians 1:15), just as we too “shall be like” or equal with Christ in the resurrection, not just “similar to Him” (compare 1 John 3:2). Furthermore, we read that Christ was “God” before His birth as a human being, not just “godly” (compare John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God [the Father], and the Word was God”).
Angels, however, are not God or equal with God. Rather, we read in John 1:3: “All things were made through Him [the Word, ‘Logos’, the speaker], and without Him nothing was made that was made.” Verse 14 then identifies the Word as Jesus Christ who became flesh.
“All things” that were made through the Word include all angels. We read in Colossians 1:16-17 that “by Him [Christ] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”
Angels are created beings, but Christ is not a created being. He has always existed with the Father, and it is said of Christ that His “goings forth are from of old, From everlasting [literally: “the days of eternity”]” (Micah 5:2). He is described as Melchizedek, “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither BEGINNING of days nor END of life, but made like [in the sense of “equal with”] the Son of God, remains a priest continually [the New International Version says ‘forever’]” (Hebrews 7:3). The phrase that He was “made like the Son of God” is confusing. A better rendition is that He is like (or equal with) the Son of God.
The absolute inequality of Jesus Christ with angels is also revealed in Hebrews 1. He is described there as the “image” of the Father (verse 3). Christ has become so much better than the angels (verse 4) that all the angels will worship Him (verse 6). Angels would not worship other angels. Even we are forbidden to worship angels (Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9); yet, we are commanded to worship Christ in the right way (Matthew 15:9: “And in vain they worship Me…”). In addition,Christ is clearly referred to as “God” (Hebrews 1:8-9), and as the “Lord” who created everything (Hebrews 1:10).
If Michael was identical with Christ, then Christ alone would not have had enough power over Satan. He would have needed the help of Gabriel to resist Satan or a strong demon (the demon of Persia or the demon of Greece) (compare Daniel 10:13, 20-21; 11:1). This consideration alone proves that Michael cannot be Jesus Christ. Even as a human being, Jesus commanded: “Away with you, Satan!” (Matthew 4:10), and Satan obeyed.
As a human being, Jesus was a little lower than the angels for a short time, but not anymore (Hebrews 2:9). He is not an angel and never was.
Lead Writers: Thilo Hanstein and Norbert Link
Initial translation from the German: Daniel Blasinger