Is the Messiah Michael the Archangel in the Old and New Testaments?
Researched by Rabbi D.
This article focuses on answering the issues of Michael the archangel being the Messiah in the Old Testament and New Testament. This is not a positional paper in view of dogmatic speculation. This is only a brief look at some of the biblical facts that we do have, and advise the reader to look carefully at the proofs that are provided. We are also not in view or agreement with other religions that may believe or claim that the Messiah was a created being or is a mere angel. Our point of view is explained below.
The confusion to this mystery begins with assuming that the Messiah, the Son of G-d is a created being based on the literal English word angel. We read in (Heb.1:4-6)
A. The Messiah is not a created being
Heb 1:4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? 6 And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of Elohim worship him.
Clearly the scripture here identifies that the Messiah called the Son of G-d is NOT a created being or angel. He is Both Eternal G-d and man able to receive worship from all created beings. No angel has or can receive worship from any person. For example in (Rev.19:10) stated;
Rev 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Yeshua: worship Elohim (G-d): for the testimony of Yeshua is the spirit of prophecy.
This person that Yohanan (John) fell to the feet of was an angel. Yet he received no worship and corrects Yohanan not to do it. The reasoning and redirecting of the angel was for Yohanan to give all worship to G-d. Proving that no created being is worthy of worship also showing that the Messiah is worthy of mans worship. All worship belongs to G-d and the Messiah alone. Next we deal with some confusion as to what the word angel really means. The Hebrew calls created beings (Heb.= Ma’lak) which means; messenger, or representative. Which is what a created being is as we learn from (Heb. 1:7&Tehillim Ps. 104:4) which states;
Heb 1:7 And of the Malachim (angels) he saith, Who maketh his (Malachim) angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
B. An Angel receives Worship
All Angelic forms (Heb.=Malachim) as we read are created by G-d to be messengers, ministers and representatives of G-d to man. They are created spirits not self existent as G-d, Yet in dealing with the word proper not one created messenger (angel) could ever receive worship for himself, this is again proved with the fall of Lucifer (Isa. 14:15). However as we turn back to the pages of the Torah we have various references which reveal accounts where one Angel received worship from men such as found in:
In these two passages we have what is known as a Christophany (appearances in Old Testament times whereby the Messiah appeared in the form of an angel/G-d’s personal messenger). They are accounts which also tell us that this angel who appeared to man at that time was no mere created being, but was the Messiah the greatest messenger and representative sent personally by G-d to man. The fact that the English word “angel” or the title “Angel of the Lord” is used does not automatically depict the Messiah here as being a mere created being as some assume. These special cases do not deal with an angelic created being but deal with the eternal Son of G-d. Having a generalized preconceived meaning about the plain word angel only confuses the issue when looking at the plain word itself. Most assume that this angelic person must always be a created being and cannot be a Christophany. Without distinguishing the created being from the one who came in disguise as an angelic being can confuse. But this is what must be taken into account when looking at these passages. The truth is that the Messiah was sent by G-d during Old Testament times as we see with (1stCor. 10:1) which states;
1Co 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;2 And were all immersed unto Moshe in the cloud and in the sea;3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Mashiach.
The Messiah was known to our Jewish people then as the “Angel of the Lord”. But again he is no created being. However in my opinion there are no other ways to interpret theses two passages other than them belonging to a Christophany. For as we have stated already NO angel can receive worship. How then can this particular angel of the Old Testament receive worship unless he is the Messiah who does receive worship as we saw with (Heb.1:4)?
C. Parallels between Michael and the Messiah
With this in mind we move once more to an obscure passage found in the Old testament book of (Dan. 12:1) which states;
Dan 12:1 And at that time shall Mikhael (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.
It is believed by a number of biblical commentators (a) see list of commentators below) that this person called Mikhael (Michael) Heb.= Who is like G-d) here in Daniel is none other than the Messiah himself. There are a number of instances which support this position from both the New and Old Testament. Taking into account once more the fact that this angelic person is not to be referenced to a created being. Why? For the following reasons;
1. Michaels title
2. Michaels purpose
3. Michaels mission
4. Michaels position
First we should consider Michael’s special title. According to Daniel he is called the “One chief prince” (Dan 10:13) NO angel other than Michael as far as I know has ever held a position of a single chief prince. His title clearly elevates and separates him above the rest. He is also seen in the book of revelation as leading the created army of beings (angels) into battle against the Evil one (Re 12:7-10). He is also seen as delivering our Jewish people at the end of the tribulation period (Dan 12:1). However biblical prophecy does not give a single angel the task of saving the Jewish people from destruction by the anti -Messiah at the end of the seven year tribulation. Yet Daniels prophecy explains that it will be Michael who will stand up (defend and protect) the children of his people? And at that time thy people shall be delivered.
a. Dan 12:1 And at that time shall Mikhael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people:
b. and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
According to the book of revelation the only person responsible for saving the Jewish people at the end of the tribulation period is none other than the Messiah himself as stated in (Rev. 19:11-21)
Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of Elohim.14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of El Shaddai.16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the Feast of the Great Elohim;18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
Clearly this person who saves our Jewish people is called faithful and true, and in the (heb.=Meleck Melohim, Adonai Adoneem) King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This person is the Messiah who saves our Jewish people and conquers Israel’s enemies. It says nothing here about Michael saving or delivering the people as found in Daniel. This event again also happens at the end of the seven year tribulation. Michael and the Messiah both can’t be saving the Jewish people for the text of revelation reveals nothing regarding this. Could it be that Michael in Daniel is just another key name for revealing the Messiah before he was clearly revealed in the New Testament times? Or is it that Michael defends Israel apart from these events in revelation? I personally find no where in scripture where Michael defends Israel as Daniel says, but only find an account of where Michael fights with the dragon or (the evil one) as stated in (Rev.12:7)
Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Mikhael (Michael) and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Here we find Michael fights and cast out the Evil one from heaven not earth. Yet in (Luke. 10:18) it is the Messiah who said;
Luk 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
If the Messiah said he saw Satan fall from heaven like lighting, when could have this event taken place? Does this mean that he had to be the one present to throw Satan out of heaven? As we know this event says that Michael fought with the evil one and that the devils angels were cast out of heaven. Does this imply again that Michael is really the Messiah? Let’s look at another interesting passage from the New covenant which speaks about Michael the Archangel. According to (1st Thess 4:16) states;
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the shofar of Elohim: and the dead in Mashiach shall rise first:
Here it is obvious that the Messiah here appears at the rapture and descends from heaven with a shout. The scripture is clear in relating that the voice of the Messiah is like the voice of the archangel (Michael) blowing the Shofar of G-d. The next event which follows is the dead being resurrected. However NO archangel can perform resurrection. Only the Messiah can do such things as stated in (Yohanan-John. 5:26-27)
Yohanan-John 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
The scriptures relate throughout that the only mentioned archangel is Michael and here this archangel’s voice brings the dead back to life. But as mentioned No angel can perform this! So it is probable that this archangel (Michael) is assumed to be the Messiah who brings back the dead at the rapture. Only the Messiah can resurrect the dead as stated in (Yohanan-John. 11:25)
Yohanan-Joh 11:25 Yeshua said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
Whether Michael is the hidden Messiah or Michael is just another supposed archangel is yet to be proven. But taking into consideration the special purposes, mission, and position of this unusual archangel really leans in favor of Michael not just being a created being but is again perhaps another name for the Messiah before he was fully revealed in New Covenant times. However we can say with certainty that we indeed have at least two accounts where the Messiah did appear as the Angel of the Lord in the Old Covenant. Proving that he was not yet revealed as Israel’s Messiah but represents G-d in the case of deliverance of Israel. Which when going back to (Daniel 12:1) the purpose of Michael there is to deliver, defend and protect Israel which to me is a very big similarity here between the two. These are matters which seem to parallel one other and would require the reader to compare each act and function one by one. In the overall process I believe in the end scripture will help support who Michael can be or really is.
(a) Commentators who interpret Michael as the Messiah: although there are many who dispute the issues of Michael being the Messiah there are just as many who affirm the issue. (See below).
Gills comments on Daniel
1. 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: (x) ??? "primus", Junius & Tremellius. (Gills comments on Dan 10:13)
2. 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" (c), ?? ??? "contra illos", Piscator, Gejerus.(Gills comments on Dan 10:21)
3. 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; (Gills comments on Dan 12:1)
Geneva Study bible
4.(a) Dan 12:1 The angel here notes two things: first that the Church will be in great affliction and trouble at Christ’s coming, and next that God will send his angel to deliver it, whom he here calls Michael, meaning Christ, who is proclaimed by the preaching of the Gospel.
5.(i) Dan 10:13 Even though God could by one angel destroy all the world, yet to assure his children of his love he sends forth double power, even Michael, that is, Christ Jesus the head of angels.
J. Wesley Commentary
6. Dan 10:13 Withstood me - God suffered the wicked counsels of Cambyses to take place awhile; but Daniel by his prayers, and the angel by his power, overcame him at last: and this very thing laid a foundation of the ruin of the Persian monarchies. Michael - Michael here is commonly supposed to mean Christ. I remained - To counter - work their designs against the people of God.
7. Dan 12:1 For the children - The meaning seems to be, as after the death of Antiochus the Jews had some deliverance, so there will be yet a greater deliverance to the people of God, when Michael your prince, the Messiah shall appear for your salvation. A time of trouble - A the siege of Jerusalem, before the final judgment. The phrase at that time, probably includes all the time of Christ, from his first, to his last coming
Mathew Henrys comments
8. Dan 12:1: 1-4. Michael signifies, "Who is like God," and his name, with the title of "the great Prince," points out the Divine Saviour. Christ stood for the children of our people in their stead as a sacrifice, bore the curse for them, to bear it from them. He stands for them in pleading for them at the throne of grace. And after the destruction of antichrist, the Lord Jesus shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and He shall appear for the complete redemption of all his people. When God works deliverance from persecution for them, it is as life from the dead.
Adam Clarke's Comments
9.Dan 10:13 [But lo, Michael] Gabriel, who speaks, did not leave Cyrus till Michael came to take his place. Michael, he who is like God, sometimes appears to signify the Messiah, at other times the highest or chief archangel. Indeed there is no archangel mentioned in the whole Scripture but this one. See Jude 9; Rev 12:7.
The Wycliffe Bible Commentary
10. Dan 12:1 Here see Jer 30:4-11. At that time (cf. on Dan 11:36). At the same time as the events of 11:36-45. Michael. See Rev 12:7; cf. Josh 5:13-15; 2 Kings 6:15-17; Isa 37:35-36; Matt 26:53. This is Israel's time of trouble. Every reference to it uses superlative language (cf. also Matt 24:21). It is a providential chastening by the wicked hands of Antichrist to prepare for Messiah's coming (cf. Jer 30; 31; Ezek 20:33-38. See R. Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days, pp. 69-76). Though especially Israel's tribulation, it is a time of divine indignation over all the earth as well; so others will suffer (Isa 26:20; Dan 11:36; Rev 16:10).