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THE ANGEL OF THE LORD
Lesson 26

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After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. When He saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to look more closely, he heard the Lord’s voice:” ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look. Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals; the place you are standing is holy ground.’”

A Controversial Point

Some readers may consider the following remarks to be blasphemy, but let me say that nothing could be further from the truth. Unfortunately, many people believe that it is slanderous to say that Jesus lived in the form of an angel before He came to Earth. Surprisingly, these same people have no problem accepting the fact that Jesus lived in a lower form of a man while He was on Earth. Do not misunderstand my statement that Jesus lived in the form of an angel before He came to Earth. Jesus is not a created being. He is eternal God, just like the Father is God, and He has existed from time everlasting. (John 1:1-14; Colossians 1:17; 1 Chronicles 16:36) The Bible plainly teaches that Jesus lived in Heaven before He lived on Earth. (John 14:24; 17:5; Hebrews 1:1-3)

Angelic in Form

Consider this possibility: Prior to taking on the form of a man, Jesus lived in Heaven in the form of an angel and the angels called Him “Michael” (which means “One who is like God”). Before we get too involved in this topic, I ask that you prayerfully consider a simple concept about the Godhead. I am not asking you to agree with me, but I would like to present a summary statement first, allowing you to see the big picture before demonstrating from Scripture that Jesus is Michael.

Here is the concept: Three Gods rule over the Universe; the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Each God is separate and distinct in His own right. They have the same authority, power and ability, but they function in different roles according to a mutual covenant between themselves. The role of the Father is universal focus. He is the object of worship and the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. (The “out front” position of the Father also makes Him the focus of litigation should a contest over governance arise.) The role of the Son is to live among the created beings as one of them, to faithfully instruct and demonstrate God’s love to all beings. The role of the Holy Spirit is to live within the soul of each created being, making intimate communion between God and creature simultaneously available to everyone – everywhere – anytime. This concept of the Trinity establishes that God is above us (the Father), beside us (the Son) and within us (the Holy Spirit). If this view of the Godhead is correct, the following information about Michael should be easier to understand.

Michael

Jesus is called by many names in the Bible. Each name is like a prism that reflects something new about His marvelous wisdom and ways. Whether He is called “The Word, “The Lamb of God,” or “The Rose of Sharon,” each name reveals another aspect of His beautiful character. The name “Michael” also reveals something very important about Jesus. It identifies how closely He identified with the angels before He took the form of a man. The subject of Christ’s preexistence is important because the disclosure of Jesus, His authority, power, and love and humility is a very encompassing subject. To the angels, He is Michael the archangel (the prefix arch means “over” or “above” all angels). To man, He is Jesus, Savior, King of kings and Lord of lords, the “arch man,” if you will. A revealing of all that Jesus is also exposes the other members of the Godhead since the members of the Godhead are one in purpose, plan and action. The Father and Holy Spirit are keenly interested in the actions and testimony of Jesus because as “The Word,” He represents them, too. Since Jesus is Creator/Heir of Earth, He will take possession of Earth at an appointed time. People who trust in Him for salvation should be willing to understand all they can about Him and His ways since He is Lord and Master to all who call on Him.

There is one Archangel in Heaven. Four books in the Bible offer information about Him:

1.      “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you! ‘” (Jude 9)

In this text, Michael is identified as the archangel. Some people are offended by the idea that Michael, the archangel, is another name for Jesus, the Son of God. Sometimes, a portion of this text is used to prove that Michael is not Jesus because Michael says to the devil, “The Lord rebuke you.” The argument goes like this: “If Michael is Jesus, why would He refer to Himself in the third person?” This objection is not valid. Notice what Zechariah 3:2 says, “The Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you!’”

The language of Zechariah 3:2 is identical to Jude 9. In both cases, Michael is speaking of Himself in the third person. He speaks with divine authority in the argument over the body of Moses and ends the argument without slandering the devil. This is Jude’s point in verse nine. Jude contrasts the words of Jesus with men who are like “unreasoning animals,” carelessly slandering celestial beings without realization of their wrongdoing. We also know that when the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus did not slander the devil or rail against him. Speaking to Lucifer, Jesus said, “Do not put the Lord your God {me} to the test.” (Matthew 4:7, insertion mine.)  Jesus knew who He was. So did the devil and he retreated.

2.      “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16) Before we examine the details of this verse, we need to consider two other texts. Notice what Jesus said about Himself, “I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” (John 5:25) Whose voice did Jesus say the dead would hear at the resurrection? Jesus also said, “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40)

These three texts harmonize only if the archangel is Jesus Himself. The Lord Himself will speak with the authority of the archangel and call the dead to life. When Jesus comes in glory, all the angels will be with Him. (Matthew 25:31) The dead will hear His voice at the last day. Some people try to ignore the weight of the textual evidence by saying the archangel joins with the Lord in raising the dead. Why does Almighty God need an archangel to help Him raise the dead? Jesus alone has the keys to the grave and He alone has the authority to redeem man! (Revelation 1:18; 5:9)

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:16 again and notice how Paul connects two important themes. First, the Lord Himself is the Redeemer coming down from Heaven to gather up His saints. Second, the Lord Himself is also the archangel. Michael, leading Heaven’s angelic host. Paul merges two perspectives about Jesus in this text. From man’s point of view, Jesus is the Redeemer. From the angel’s point of view, Michael, the archangel, is the Commander-In-Chief who leads the heavenly host. In other words, Jesus has great authority rising from both identities-He is the Redeemer of Man and Commander-in-Chief of angels.

3.      “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people-everyone whose name is found written in the book-will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:1,2) These verses reveal two impressive facts. First, the Great Tribulation commences when Michael stands up. This suggests that at the present time, Michael must be seated and Scripture verifies this point, “…We do have such a high priest, who sat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.” (Hebrews 8:1-2) In other words, when Michael stands up, His work of intercession at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 7:25) will be finished and a time of distress will then begin on Earth. Do not overlook the fact that Michael is the great prince who protects His people. It is well known that a prince becomes a king when the kingdom is actually handed over to him. The same is true of Jesus. At the present time He is “a prince in waiting”-waiting for Earth to become His dominion. (Hebrews 1:13; Revelation 11:17) According to the Bible, the Father will hand over the kingdom to Jesus during the Great Tribulation, at the time of the seventh trumpet. (Revelation 11:15-19) His first action (as King of kings) will be to pour out seven bowls of vengeance upon the wicked people of Earth. (Revelation 15 and 16) Therefore, when Jesus appears in the clouds of glory He will appropriately wear the title, “King of kings and Lord of lords.” Revelation 19:16) The second impressive fact found in Daniel 12:1,2 is that Michael, the archangel, is associated with a resurrection of the righteous. (Paul confirms this point in 1 Thessalonians 4:16.) Yet what makes the book of Daniel so amazing is that it was written about 600 years before Paul even appeared on the scene. From Daniel’s perspective, Michael had not become “Jesus” yet! When studying the Old Testament, keep in mind that the name “Jesus” was not associated with the second member of the Godhead. This did not happen until He was born to Mary. These texts from Daniel suggest that Michael is actually Jesus and His position in Heaven is “Archangel.” One text in Daniel is sometimes used to support the idea that Michael is not Jesus. “But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.” (Daniel 10:13) This text describes an event when Gabriel needed Michael’s help to overcome the devil’s influence over the king of Persia. At first, it may seem strange that Michael is called “one of the chief princes,” especially if He is the archangel. However, this use of language can be easily harmonized if the reader can accept two concepts. First, Jesus lived among the angels as “one” of them, just like He lived among men as “one” of us. In other words, Michael looked like the other chief princes of Heaven. Second, in Heaven’s administrative order, the highest rank is that of a servant leader. Jesus said, “The greatest among you will be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11) For example, when Jesus lived on Earth, did He awe the multitudes with His glory? Did He lord His divine authority over mortals or rule from an exalted throne? Did He surround Himself with an entourage of 10,000 servants? The answer to each question is “No.” Even though Jesus is Almighty God, He chose to subject Himself to the Father, the Plan of Salvation, and even death itself. He lived as a humble servant of man and Michael lived the same way in Heaven among the angels. Servant leadership is the highest order in God’s kingdom and Gabriel refers to Michael as one of the chief princes because He functioned as that. Keep this parallel in mind: From man’s perspective, Jesus appeared to be one of us and from the angel’s perspective, Michael appeared to be one of them.

4.      “And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.” (Revelation 12:7,8) I believe this war took place on Resurrection Sunday. This text describes Michael and His angels fighting against Satan and his angels. Michael and Satan are commanders, each having an army of angels. Lucifer is the Prince of Darkness and sin. Michael is the Prince of Righteousness and light.



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