In this edition of Tomorrow’s World Questions and Answers, find answers regarding the separate identities of Jesus Christ and one of His powerful angelic servants.
Question: My friend’s pastor says the archangel Michael is the same spirit personality as Jesus Christ. Does the Bible actually say anything about Michael and Jesus being one and the same?
Answer: Some believe that Jude 9 is evidence that Jesus Christ and the archangel Michael are the same being. Their reasoning is that the term “archangel,” from the Greek archangelos, is singular, and so must refer to the existence of one supreme archangel. They then connect this verse to 1 Thessalonians 4:16—the only other New Testament use of the word—which states, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.”
The assumption—an incorrect one—is that the returning Christ must therefore be the same spirit personality as the archangel Michael.
Of course, to describe an archangel as descending “with the voice of an archangel” makes about as much sense as describing a human male singing “with the voice of a man.” It is far more rational for Paul to be referring to three different sounds—Christ returning with a triumphant shout, the voice of an archangel heralding His arrival, and the trumpet of God calling mankind to attention. This is how we can best understand Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
Another mistaken argument assumes that since Revelation 12:7 describes Michael and an army of “his angels” battling Satan “the dragon,” Michael must be the unique head of that army and must therefore be the same personality as Jesus Christ, whom Scripture elsewhere describes as the commander of powerful angels (Matthew 13:41).
This, too, is a faulty assumption. Every army has ranks and squadrons, such that a sergeant and a general may both call a group of soldiers “my men.” Michael having “his angels” does not preclude Michael himself from being an angel under Jesus Christ. Consider, too, the context of Michael’s war. Scripture describes Michael as fighting against the dragon and his angels. Obviously, though Satan has “his angels,” he is not Jesus Christ—and it is the same with Michael. Satan was once a ruler of angels, one who was perfect in his ways (Ezekiel 28:14–16). His existence as the luminous “Lucifer,” or “day star”—star being yet another term for angel and messenger in Hebrew—placed him in no less a position than that of a mighty archangel or “covering cherub.”
Scripture makes it clear that no angel is any more than a servant. Angels are not to be worshipped (Colossians 2:18; Revelation 22:8–9) and are limited in their office. Were Michael and Christ the same being, we would not see the vastly different ways in which they dealt with Satan. Note that Michael deferred to God's authority in his rebuke of Satan in Jude 1:9—a sharp contrast to Christ's direct and stinging personal rebuke offered in Luke 4:8!
Note also that Jude mentions Jesus Christ directly in verses 1, 4, 17, and 21 of his epistle. In no way does he connect his mention of Michael in verse 9 with any reference to Jesus Christ. He treats them as two distinct beings—which, indeed, they are.
So, where was Jesus Christ before He came to the earth as a human? Scripture explains that the Word—the Logos—was God, and was with God the Father from eternity (John 1:1). The Word was not a created angel. Indeed, it was the Word—not God the Father—with whom the ancient Israelites interacted, “for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4). Jesus Christ told His fellow Jews very directly that they had never known God the Father—only He Himself had known Him, and it was He who revealed the Father to them (John 1:18; 17:25).
No mere created angel could be a fit sacrifice for the sins of mankind; only the divine, eternal Logos, the perfect Son of God made fully flesh, could fill that role—and that divine Being had always existed, having no creator. Scripture clearly reveals that Michael the archangel is a created being who serves under Christ.
[Editor's note: This article has been slightly edited online to clarify that Michael's words to the devil were a rebuke, but rooted in God's authority instead of his own.]