Angels (Part Four)

This writing will consider two specific angels who are mentioned by name in the Bible.  Let’s consider –

Gabriel

Gabriel is explicitly mentioned in four contexts in the Bible (Daniel 8:15-27; 9:20-27; Luke 1:5-20; 1:26-38).  The name Gabriel means “Man of God” or “Strong man of God.”  He may be viewed as a great announcer for God.  He announced the future difficulties of Israel the coming Messiah, His rejection, and the fall of Jerusalem (Daniel 8:15-27; 9:20-27).  He announced the birth of John (Luke 1:5-20).  He announced the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38).

Michael

Michael is explicitly mentioned in four contexts (Daniel 10:10-21; 12:1-3; Jude 9-10; Revelation 12:7).  The name Michael means “Who is like God,” or “Who is like God?”  He is called “the archangel” or chief angel (Jude 9).  Michael alone is so-called in the Bible.  Some believe that he is one of the chief angels and not the only chief angel, since he is called, “One of the chief princes” (Daniel 10:13).  “The Jews have taught that there are four: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael (angel who receives the dead), and Uriel (angel who summons the judgment).  Uriel is also called Phanuel… the last two belong to legend and tradition” (Charles Hodge, Angel, p. 18).  Michael stands watch over God’s people (Daniel 12:1).  He is a warrior for God (Revelation 12:7-10).

Michael teaches us how to deal with evil adversaries.  Jude writes, “Yet Michael the archangel in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, ‘the Lord rebuke you’” (Jude 9 cf. Jude 4).  What was the contention about the body of Moses?  The Bible does not say.  Some have speculated that the devil may have wanted the location of Moses’ grave made known to Israel (cf. Deuteronomy 34:6), hoping that they would begin to worship him.  Others have other suggestions.  The Bible does not say.  However, the point is: Michael did not take things into his own hands.  He rebuked the devil by the authority and word of God (cf. Matthew 4:1-11; Ephesians 6:10-17; 2 Timothy 3:16; 4:2; Titus 1:9).  This is teaching us how to respond to a spiritual adversary (Jude 9 cf. Jude 4).  When confronted by a spiritual adversary do not be rash with the tongue.  Do not say something which you will regret later.  Do not cuss and resort to foul language. Do not attack the person (e.g. ‘baldy,’ ‘four-eyes,’ ‘fatty,’ ‘shorty,’ etc.).  Stick with the Bible.  Simply say, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Some have wondered if Michael the archangel is Jesus.  They make a couple of arguments. (1) It is pointed out that Jesus will descend with the voice of an archangel. Paul writes, “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).  Eric Lyons has written, “This verse does not teach that Jesus is an archangel, but that at His second coming He will be accompanied ‘with the voice of an archangel.’  Just as He will be attended ‘with a shout’ and ‘with the trumpet of God,’ so will    accompanied ‘with the voice of an archangel.’  Question: If Jesus’ descension from heaven ‘with a voice of an archangel’ makes Him… the archangel Michael, then does His descent ‘with the trumpet of God’ not also make him God?”  (Lyons, Is Jesus Really Michael the Archangel?, apologeticpress.org). (2)  It is pointed out that Michael said to Satan “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 9), and the Angel of the LORD said the same (Zechariah 3:1-5). Some infer that Michael is the Angel of the LORD, and they further infer that Jesus is the Angel of the LORD (see part three).  However, Jesus and Stephen said similar things (Luke 23:34 cf. Acts 7:60), but they were not the same person. Peter and paul some times made the same point (Acts 2:25-36 cf. 13:35-37), but they were not the same person. Stephen and Paul made the same point (Acts 7:48-50 cf. 17:24-25), but they were not the same person. similar words between Michael and the Angel of the LORD does not logically imply that they are the same person.

Jesus is described as “the Messenger of the covenant” (Malachi 3:1).  Messenger could be rendered angel.  There is a sense in which He is an angel; just as, there is a sense in which He is an apostle (Hebrew 3:1). However, such does not mean that He is one of the created angels of heaven (cf. Psalms 148:1-5; Nehemiah 9:6; Colossians 1:16).  We’re told of Jesus, “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3); “by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible… All things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16).

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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