Is Jesus the Archangel Michael?

Author Tim Barnett Published on 10/26/2017

“Jesus is the archangel Michael,” Jack said to me as we talked on my front porch. Jack was trying to make a point about end times, so I let the claim go for the moment. I knew it would send our discussion off in another direction. However, when our conversation ended, I asked if he would come back to discuss the reasons why he—and millions of other Jehovah’s Witnesses—believe Jesus is Michael.*

More specifically, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the archangel Michael was the very first being created by Jehovah-God. Michael was used by God to create all other things in the universe. They often refer to Him as the “master worker” (Prov. 8:30). I’ve responded to these challenges here and here, respectively.

Later, at the appointed time, Michael was born to the virgin Mary as a human being, thus ceasing to be an angel. Then after His spiritual resurrection, Jesus resumed His identity as Michael. Therefore, Michael is another name for Jesus Christ, before and after His life on earth.

Mistaken Identity

Arguments are like houses. They have a roof that is supported by walls. The roof is the conclusion, and the walls are the supporting ideas. My Jehovah’s Witness friend, Jack, had asserted his conclusion without giving me any reasons to believe it. His claim was a roof lying on the ground without any walls. To be fair, I wanted to give him a chance to show me his biblical support.

That opportunity came this week. After we finished with pleasantries, I gave Jack fifteen minutes of uninterrupted time to explain his reasons for believing Jesus is the angel Michael. We started by turning to Daniel 10 and 12.

The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia.... But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince. (Dan. 10:13, 21)

At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. (Dan. 12:1)

Jack said to me, “See, Michael is the foremost, or chief, prince!” I didn’t say a word.

Next, he asked me to turn to Isaiah 9.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isa. 9:6)

Notice the prophet Isaiah calls the child the “prince of peace.” Therefore, Jack argued, since Michael is the great prince of God’s people, and Jesus is called the prince of peace, Michael must be Jesus.

He jumped to a couple of other verses, but let’s stop right there. If you’re an astute reader, you can probably identify a number of errors already.

First, Daniel 10 and 12 make no explicit reference to Jesus. He’s just not there in the text. This has to be read into the text.

Second, Michael is not called the chief prince. He is called one of the chief princes. There is a group of chief princes, and Michael is one among that group. Conversely, Jesus is absolutely unique. He is not one among many; rather, He is one-of-a-kind. Jesus is the “King of kings and the Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16), who created all the angelic host (Col. 1:16). He is God’s only Son (John 3:16).

Jack’s response was telling. He kept asserting that Michael is the chief prince. But that’s not what the text says. I pushed him to read the actual words of the text again. And it was as if he was so used to his interpretation of Dan. 10:13 that he didn’t realize what the text actually said.

In fact, he could barely read the words without immediately adding his own. “But Michael, one of the chief princes,” Jack began, but quickly added, “who is the foremost prince. Michael is the chief prince, who is one of the chief princes.”

It was difficult to witness such a blatant refusal to read and understand the clear words in the text.

Third, there is no connection between Isa. 9:6, and Dan. 10 and 12 to justify the conclusion that Jesus is Michael. True, Michael and Jesus are both referred to as princes. But, so what? A lot of people in the Bible are called “princes.” In fact, using the Jehovah’s Witness logic you can easily show that Jesus is Jehovah.

In Isaiah 9:6, Jesus is called “mighty God.” And a few verses later, speaking about Jehovah, Isaiah says, “A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God” (Isa. 10:21). Since both Jesus and Jehovah are called mighty God, Jesus is Jehovah.

Jesus Is Not an Angel

In Hebrews 1–3, the author sets out to demonstrate that Jesus is superior to the prophets, angels, and Moses. We’re told Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God (1:1–2), the Creator of the world (1:2), and the exact imprint of God’s nature (1:3). After explicitly stating He is “much superior to angels,” the author of Hebrews writes, “For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you‘?”

The obvious answer to this hypothetical question is that God never said that to any angel. Rather, in Mark 1:11, God says to Jesus, “You are my beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.”

In verse 6, we are told the angels worship Jesus. How could a created being receive worship? A created being cannot receive worship. In fact, when the apostle John fell down at an angel’s feet to worship him, the angel said, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God” (Rev. 19:10).

Finally, verses 8–12 make it abundantly clear why the angels worship Jesus. It’s because He is Jehovah-God. In light of Hebrews 1, Jesus cannot be a mere created angel—even the archangel Michael.

Upon close scrutiny, the arguments for Jesus being identified as Michael do not hold up. Furthermore, the author of Hebrews goes out of his way to show that Jesus is vastly superior to any angel, including Michael.

At the end of my discussion with Jack, I was a little speechless. On the one hand, Jack claimed the Bible has no evidence for the deity of Christ. And, on the other hand, he boldly asserted that the Bible teaches that Jesus is Michael. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. As we spoke, the apostle Paul’s words echoed in my head, “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie.”

Please join me in praying that God would guide Jack to the Truth.

*The Watchtower, 15 December 1984, p.29, “Michael, the great prince, is none other than Jesus Christ Himself.”