Is Michael the Archangel also Jesus Christ?

“All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (New World Translation “NWT”)

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB)

Do you believe that Scripture is God-breathed for teaching, correcting and training, so that we as His people are fully educated on what He teaches and instructs?  Some will say “absolutely,” but in application during everyday life, man’s biblical teachings often supersede God’s breathed scriptural communication.

Let us imagine for a moment that God called you on the phone, because He wanted to become your personal instructor.  He then provided you with His personal training manual … “The Instruction Manual.”  Nothing on earth could trump the absolute truth found from every word on every line of every page. Within the binding of this “Instruction Manual” (yes, the Bible), God told man everything He wanted them to know. So it is based on God’s scriptural teaching that we examine whether Michael the archangel is also Jesus Christ.

The Watchtower Position

“[T]here is Scriptural evidence to concluding that Michael was the name of Jesus Christ before he left heaven and after his return.”  WT (May 15, 1969, pg 307)

Michael the great prince is none other than Jesus Christ Himself.”  WT (December 15, 1984, pg 29)

The Watchtower Invitation

The Watchtower invites careful and critical examination of its contents in the light of the Scriptures.”  WT (August 15, 1950, pg 263)

We should prove by the word of God whether the things found in the Watchtower are from man or from the Lord!”  WT (May 1, 1934, pg 131)

To be sure, the Watchtower (“WT”) invites a critical examination of their theology in light of Holy Scripture.  So never feel uncomfortable about investigating and questioning WT teachings.  They invite you to examine their theology using God’s breathed Word.  However, their Bible must not be used, because it is biased material.  Instead, use other Bibles for examination purposes, and use their translation for comparison.

Question 1:  Do Angels Rule Over Man?

What does God’s breathed Word say about angels ruling man?  Is the human race in subjection to angels?  Have angels ever ruled man?  Does God permit it?

We are not interested in what man has to say on the subject; rather, we are interested in God’s answer (remember 2 Tim. 3:16), which can be found at Hebrews 2:5:  “For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking.”  Even the NWT reads, “For it is not to angels that he has subjected the inhabited earth to come, about which we are speaking.”  In other words, God is saying that angels do not rule man … and will not rule man in the future!!

God’s Word teaches us that man will never be subjected to the authority of angels, which includes Michael the archangel.  Angels will never rule over man.  God said it … not me.

Question 2:  Is Angel Worship Permitted?

Our 21st century reeks of Gnosticism.  Cult churches teach Gnostic heresy as being God inspired biblical theology.  The problem, however, is that the average person is readily ignorant of Gnostic writings and can be easily deceived.  Christians should make themselves aware of Gnostic literature.   These false gospels of Christ (called the Nag Hammadi library) teach a different Jesus, and their heresies are spreading daily.

The Nag Hammadi library (named after the town near where a farmer discovered a sealed clay jar containing 13 leather bound codices) was discovered in 1945 in Egypt, and was finally made available to scholars for translation in the 1970s.  In the codices are 52 tractates in various genres – gospels, revelations, treatises, etc. – written in Coptic that are 4th century translations of texts most likely written in Greek during the 1st or 2nd century in Israel/Palestine or Syria.  These Gnostic writings (heretical so-called Christian teachings) caused great discourse within the 1st century Church.

“Our knowledge of Gnosticism comes from several sources.  First, there are the Gnostic texts, which are among the New Testament APROCRYPHA.  These texts are not recognized as Scripture because they contain teachings that differ from those in the Bible.  Then, there are the refutations of the Gnostics by the early church fathers.  Some of the more important ones are Irenaeus, Against Heresies; Hippolytus, Refutations of All Heresies; Epiphanius, Panarion; and Tertullian, Against Marcion.

“Still a third source about Gnosticism is the New Testament itself.  Many Gnostic teachings were condemned by the writers of the New Testament.  Paul emphasized a wisdom and knowledge that comes from God and does not concern itself with idle speculation, fables, and moral laxity (Col. 2:8-23; 1Tim. 1:4; 2Tim. 2:16-19; Titus 1:1016).  John, both in his gospel and in the epistles, countered heretical teaching that, in a broad sense, can be considered Gnostic.” (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, pg. 500)

Gnostic revelations are not God approved.  As the apostles Paul and John, as well as others, warned of their influences, true Christians must become aware of what the Gnostic gospels teach.  Only by understanding what is false, can one stand tall for biblical truth.  Cults latch onto false heretical theology and mix it in with true biblical teachings. If you are unaware of what the Gnostics taught, you could become a victim of cult control.  Therefore, you should steer clear of all false teachings and all Gnostic gospels, but know the difference between heresy and true biblical theology.

Among the teachings of Gnosticism, the bodily resurrection of Christ is denied and angel worship is promoted.  The WT has adopted these teachings as major doctrines within their theology.  They worship Michael the archangel as being Jesus Christ, and they deny that the bodily resurrection of Christ happened.  As you can see, the WT refuses to accept God’s Word as the absolute authority, and demands that their members accept Gnostic teachings over God’s inerrant Word.

Paul addressed the Gnostic influences as a direct threat to our only means of salvation … that of Jesus Christ.  Another example of Gnostic teaching relevant to our discussion here, is the “Colossian Heresy,” which taught a false philosophy that denied Christ as pre-eminent and promoted angel worship.  Our brother, Paul, refuted this heresy:

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.  For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.”  Colossians 2:8-9.  [To clarify what Paul meant by calling Jesus Christ “Deity,” scholar Joseph Thayer in his book, “Thayer’s Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament,” tells us that Paul was communicating “the state of being God.”]

So what does the Bible say about angel worship specifically?  Listen to what God’s angel tells the apostle John:  “At that I fell down before his feet to worship him.  But he tells me: ‘Be careful!  Do not do that!  All I am is a fellow slave of you and of your brothers who have the work of witnessing to Jesus.  Worship God; for the bearing witness to Jesus is what inspires prophesying.’”  Revelation 19:10 (NWT)  (See also Revelation 22:9.)  Even angels know they are not to be worshipped, and the Holy Spirit prompted John to tell us so.

Paul also addressed this issue with the Colossians: “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind.”  Colossians 2:18.  Paul warns the brothers to be on guard and not to allow themselves to be contaminated by false heretical influences:  “Let no one keep defrauding you,” Paul said of the worship of the angels.  Only God can be worshipped.

Our early church Fathers also defended the true teachings of Christ, stating:  “Christ is not to be regarded as an angel as a Gabriel, or a Michael.” (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3, pg 534; Tertullian 200 CE)

Paul made it crystal clear that angel worship was condemned.  He also made it very clear that the worship of God the Son, Jesus Christ, was enough.  Today, we must continue to champion the true gospel of Christ, and distinguish biblical truths from erroneous pseudo-Christianity.  The foundation of our faith has already been delivered:  “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”  Jude 3

Turn with me to Daniel

Let us continue on with what Daniel says about Michael 

Daniel 10:13 reads:  “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.”  [Emphasis added]

Daniel 12:1 states:  “Now at the time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise.  And there will be time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.”

The WT teaches that Michael, referenced in the above verses, was Jesus Christ before becoming man … that Jesus was an angel, then became man, and then became an angel again.  But where in the text of these verses does God say that Michael (one of the chief princes) is Jesus Christ?  The answer is nowhere!  So, to posture and assert a position that Jesus Christ is Michael from this text is nothing less than heretical.  In fact, Jesus Christ is not even mentioned in this context, as explained below:

Archangelos (743) “is not found in the OT, and in the NT only in 1 Thess. 4:16 and Jude 9, where it is used of Michael, who in Daniel is called ‘one of the chief princes,’ and ‘the great prince’ (Sept. ‘the great angel’), 10:13, 21; 12:1. cf. also Rev. 12:7 … Whether there are other beings of this exalted rank in the heavenly hosts, Scripture does not say, though the description ‘one of the chief princes’ suggest that this may be the case….” (Vines Complete Expository Dictionary, pg 36)

In fact, since Michael is one of the chief princes, this indicates that there are others.  He (Michael) just happens to be named in Scripture.   On the other hand, Christ is referred to as “unique” (John 3:16), monogenes and one-of-a-kind, not one of many.  Jesus Christ is never called a Chief Prince.  He is called King, Lord, and Savior, while Michael the archangel is never given these titles.  “King of Kings, Lord of Lords” is much higher in authority than a mere “Chief Prince” (who is one among many).  The first has absolute sovereignty and authority; the latter has derived, limited authority.  And, as we have already learned, angels cannot rule over man and cannot be worshipped.

Therefore, based on God’s breathed Word interpreted in context, it is obvious that Michael cannot be Jesus Christ.

What About 1 Thessalonians 4:16?

What is God’s Word communicating to us in 1 Thessalonians 4:16?  Let’s review three different translations:

Because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first.”  (NWT)

Because very (one) the Lord in command, in voice of archangel and in trumpet of God, he will come down from heaven, and the dead (ones) in Christ will stand up first.”  (KIT)

Because himself the Lord with a cry of command, with a voice of an archangel and with a trumpet of God, will descend from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise first.”  (The New Greek English Interlinear New Testament)

This verse is best explained using a military analogy:  Christ (King of Kings who rules over man) comes with a cry of command (as a General commanding), the voice of an archangel (the General’s officer sounding out), and the trumpet of God (Christ’s total Authority).

NOTE:  Although the Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ is God, this passage is not one of them. This passage does not speak of the deity of Christ, yet the WT takes only the first half of the scripture and interprets it to mean that Jesus Christ is Michael the archangel, ignoring the second half of the scripture.  But if the “voice of an archangel” represents identity (“Michael”), then to be consistent, the phrase “with the trumpet of God” must represent deity (“God”).  So if I take the second half of this verse and make an assumption (like the WT does), then it must mean that Christ is God, because He is holding the trumpet of God.  Make sense?  Of course not.  This passage teaches neither that Christ is Michael the archangel nor that Christ is God.

Who Then Is Jesus Christ, If Not Michael The Archangel?

“All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight (man’s truth vs God’s truth), for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent (in what God teaches), completely equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NWT) [Parenthetical phrases added for emphasis]

First and foremost, despite 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the WT believes that God’s Word is “God breathed” only when it affirms or agrees with WT theology.  In fact, the WT tells us that the Bible is flawed, because God failed to accurately communicate Christ’s true identity.

In Colossians 1:15-16, we are told of Jesus:  “And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.  For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created by Him and for Him.”  (NASB)

However, the NWT modifies this verse as emphasized below:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all (other) things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities.  All (other) things have been created through him and for him.”

According to the WT, God forgot to insert the word “other” in this verse.  When He inspired the apostle Paul to write the letter, He made a mistake and Paul did not include the word “other” in the scripture.  But the WT, and only the WT, caught God’s mistake and corrected it by inserting “other” in their translation (the NWT), placing brackets around the word to indicate that it did not appear in the original writings (God’s breathed Word).  However, adding the word “other” changes the entire meaning of what God was communicating.  God’s Word actually communicates that Christ is the Creator (He created all things), but the WT “corrects” it to instead say that Christ created all other things, making Him only a thing.  This, of course, changes the entire meaning of the text, and nullifies a key principle of Christian theology.  This is just one example of the WT ignoring 2 Timothy 3:16 when it does not affirm their own theology.  So who are you going to believe … God’s breathed Word or man’s word, in this case the WT?

[NOTE:  While biblical scholars have added words to scripture when translating it, they only do so for clarity purposes, and not if it changes the meaning of the text.]

Jesus Christ is God

Isaiah tells us that Jehovah created all things“by myself.”  “This is what Jehovah has said, your Repurchaser and the Former of you from the belly; ‘I, Jehovah, am doing everything, stretching out the heavens by myself, laying out the earth.  Who was with me?’”  Isaiah 44:24

And Paul teaches us that Christ created all things.  (See Colossians 1:16 above.)  God’s Word never lies.

So was Christ Michael the archangel before He came to earth (as the WT would have you believe)?  No.  He was “the Word,” Logos, in John 1:1.  He was God.  Even the NWT says the Logos was “a god” (although it is an incorrect rendering of the text) … it does not say the Logos was Michael.  John 1:14 also says that “The Word, Logos, God” became flesh and dwelt among man (tented with man).  Therefore, God is clearly teaching us that Jesus Christ is God the Son and the Creator.

There is also the fact that Jesus could rebuke (reprimand) Satan, but Michael could not.  In Matthew 4:10, Jesus rebukes Satan:  “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Be gone, Satan!  For it is written, YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”

However, Michael could not do the same, as demonstrated in Jude 9:  “But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment but said, ‘THE LORD REBUKE YOU.’”

Concerning Jude 9, Dr. Spiros Zodhiates explains:  “This refers to an unknown incident in which there was a dispute between the archangel Michael and the devil concerning the burial of Moses’ body.  Jude related this incident to tell us that the archangel Michael did not bring a railing accusation against the devil, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you.’  He wanted to show that neither we nor angels, no matter how hard we try, will be able to put the devil out of commission, but that his time is coming one day.  It is said of him in Rev. 20:2 that he will be bound for a thousand years during Christ’s millennial kingdom and that finally he is going to be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone (Rev. 20:10).”

It is also important to understand that the Greek word for “Lord” in Matthew 4:10 (above) is kurios.  It is the standard word for Lord in the New Testament, and it is also a direct parallel to the word “Yahweh of Jehovah” in the Old Testament.  It is crucial to note that while Jesus is called kurios (Lord) many times in the New Testament,Michael is never called kurios.

Again, only God is to be worshipped.  Even the angels worship Jesus Christ, not Michael the archangel.

Always remember that nothing – no man or organization – can trump the Bible and God’s unerring Word, because it is absolute truth.  Our investigation has proven that Michael the archangel is just that, Michael the archangel.  He is not Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ created Michael the archangel.  Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He is our Creator and Savior and is to be worshipped.  God’s Word has spoken.  Who will you believe?

by Cochise Pendleton

www.thebiblevsthewatchtower.com 

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