Michael the Archangel

This entry is part 326 of 374 in the series Inquiring Minds
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Is Michael the Archangel included in the important areas of biblical prophecy?

Michael the Archangel only appears in several biblical texts, Daniel’s writings (Daniel 10:21; 12:1), Jude 1:9, and Revelation 12:7. He also shows up in very popular Old Testament Apocrypha or deuterocanonical texts.

Because of the prophecy-rich nature of Daniel and Revelation, many people become curious about angels and how they affect end times events. Indeed, God uses angels throughout the book of Revelation to do everything from heralding the events to carrying them out.

Michael the Archangel seems to be the one in charge of the host of heaven. He is the commander of the military force of God’s angels. Every time he does show up in Scripture, he is fighting a battle or is part of one.

For instance, he is called one of the “Princes” doing spiritual battle in the book of Daniel. Each time he shows up, he is relaying a message to Daniel about the spiritual battles that have kept his answers to prayer from coming to him sooner, and being the protector of Israel.

In Jude 1:9, Michael fights with the devil over the body of Moses. We don’t know exactly where this account comes from, but the church father Origen claims that it comes from lost work called “The Ascension of Moses.”

The other place Michael is mentioned by name is in Revelation 12:7, where Michael leads all of the other angels in battle against Satan, the Dragon. This seems to be a war that divided the entire angelic host, pitting one against another. It seems that this is the origin of the difference between demons and angels.

John gives us a rare glimpse into the spiritual battles that occurred in heaven. The problem is that we cannot tell exactly when this battle happened. Most scholars put it at the beginning of time, so that John is looking back at it as part of the understanding of why the Dragon is after the woman in the desert.

Jesus might reference the same thing when he says he saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven (Luke 10:18). Some prophetic texts seem to be speaking of more than a human king whenever they address the same type of issue (Isaiah 14:12-16; Ezekiel 28:1-10).

These all help to shed light on how Satan came to be and what his aim is in attacking God’s people. Such prophetic texts to help us understand the enemy better. But as far as I understand Bible prophecy, especially about the end times, it is Jesus who will face off with Satan and the battle of Armageddon with his saints and angels and defeat him. The credit goes to Jesus, not Michael the Archangel.

Beyond biblical sources, many people are hungry to learn more about angels. There is an entire study of theology devoted to angelic matters, called angelology. It’s my opinion that people can get caught up in these minor matters of the Scriptures and devote too much time to them before they have fully engaged with major doctrines.

It’s not that we can’t, or shouldn’t, study angels in the Bible. It’s that we must give them the same amount of weight that the Bible gives them. Mostly they amount to God’s celestial servants, doing whatever he tells them to. They play a role but are not the main story of the Bible.

As far as deuterocanonical texts, Michael the Archangel is often found and described in 1 Enoch, a very popular piece of literature around the time of Jesus in first century Palestine. First Enoch “fills in” a lot of Jewish belief about angels and is very much connected with eschatology, or end times events.

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