Is the Archangel Michael Actually Jesus Christ?
Why We Care About the Identity of Michael
Michael is the name of an archangel we refer to on our What About Angels? page. Unfortunately, some people believe that Michael is actually Jesus Christ, appearing in the form of an angel. Aside from being incorrect (which we will prove on this page) the real problem is that such a belief alters the value of Jesus Christ. For an explanation of why it is wrong to alter the value of Jesus Christ, see the Public Enemy Number One box on our What is a Cult? page.
To clarify this issue, we examined all the references to the name Michael in the Bible. To decide who these Michaels were, we used one principle of hermeneutics, which states if the literal sense makes good sense, seek no other sense. These references fell into four basic groups:
Group OneMichael in the Old Testament History Books
The name Michael appears once in Numbers, seven times in 1 Chronicles, once in 2 Chronicles, and once in Ezra. It is obvious to the reader that all ten of these Michaels were men named Michael.
Group TwoMichael in the Book of Daniel
Daniel has two references to the name Michael in chapter 10. The first calls Michael one of the chief princes. Being identified as one of a group (even of princes) is not a description of Jesus. Such an interpretation would clearly contradict the remainder of the Bible which refers to Jesus as a single, unique beingthe Christ (Messiah) and only Son of God. The second reference to Michael says nothing that could indicate that this second Michael is not the same as the first Michael. Therefore, it is safe to say that the second Michael is not the Christ either. Identifying the Michael in Daniel chapter 10 as an angel makes the most sense.
Chapter 12 contains the third reference to the name Michael in the book of Daniel. It refers to Michael as The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people. Here, Michael is presented as the guardian angel of Israelin the same way that Persia has a heavenly prince of the kingdom in Daniel chapter 10, verse 13 (the prince they are doing battle with).
Group ThreeMichael in the Book of Jude
The next Michael appears in Jude. He is clearly identified as an archangel.
Group FourMichael in the Book of Revelation
The final reference to the name Michael is in Revelation chapter 12, verse 7 where Michael and his angels fight the dragon and his angels. The most logical way to interpret this passage (remember our rule of hermeneutics) is as a description of warfare between two armies of angels, each led by an angelMichael leading one army and Satan (the dragon) leading the other.
Also, the book of Revelation refers to Jesus as Jesus Christ seven times, Jesus six times, Christ four times, Lord Jesus once, and Lord Jesus Christ once. Why would the author of the book of Revelation suddenly call Jesus Christ by the name Michael? It makes no senseespecially since there is nothing anywhere else in the Bible that would support a sudden name change like that.
Adding up the 15 references to the name Michael in the Bible, it is clear that this name is only used for an angel (or angels) and men. There is not one place where a literal and logical reading of the text could be taken to represent Jesus Christ. Of course, you are free to interpret Michael as makes sense to you.
All Bible passages were taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Graphics courtesy of Shawnas Background Graphic Sets
Copyright © 1999 by Clarifying Christianity (SM).
All information contained in Clarifying Christianity is a resource for questions dealing with Christian issues. It is not to be taken as Christian counseling. Seek a qualified Christian counselor for help with all such issues. If you choose to work with a Christian counselor, it is your responsibility to ask pertinent questions before you begin, to assure yourself of their qualities and abilities.4226